Thursday, March 31, 2011

Shutting down

Recent days might have quite clearly shown some fogging over of the senses and some distancing from what's going on around me. Today however started with a bit of a literal wake up call. On this sharp and brief wake-up I have noticed something alarming, and am starting to realise its been going on for a while now.

Getting up in the mornings is a bit of a chore some days, we all get it, but being able to sleep in til gone 10am is almost unheard of for me in recent years. "Catching up" on sleep etc is just an excuse and not really real. so my night time sleep has been broken from time to time, but not enough to make me feel so lethargic during the day.

But its not as clear cut as that, oh no. Once I am up and doing something, walking to dogs, meeting people etc I'm right as rain, alert, awake and full of conversation. But once there is a period of down time, that's exactly what I do, shut down. Any time of day, be it midday, or late afternoon, my current strong desire is to just go to bed and go to sleep.

I don't feel ill, or drained, in fact nothing like that at all. I probably physically feel better than I have for a long time. But something in my head just says "tired-sleep" and if I can I do exactly that. Which when I'm back with it just feels like an utter waste of time, lazy and then the worry (like now) starts. What is going on in my head? Am I now starting the downwards journey of depression here, or is there just something lacking. Stimulation, direction, oh I don't know.

I hate the confusion of not knowing what's going on in my head, just writing this all is waking me up and stirring interest in my mind, I'm starting to feel alive and revived again. I'm guessing a trip to see the doctor about this is called for, and maybe some drastic changes to my environment. I had planned to get away again soon, as its been some time since I have, but with all this in mind, that plan needs re addressing and I need to work out what is best for me here and how to achieve that. Confusing eh!

Right, I woke up because I have things to attend to, but wanted to jot this all down so I can read back in a bit and once stimulated, hopefully make more sense of it all. Maybe start conversations with others about it too and start working it out.

Early days on this trip, let's hope its a short uncomplicated one!
Regards
Michael

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A defining moment

You know every now and then you need something that reminds you why, defines your role, and just shakes things up a bit? Well I guess I just had one myself.
Recently I have kind of lost reasoning and my sense of duty here with mum, with the arguments and confusion over finances etc. Taking a back seat from my responsibilities, and putting distance between me and my mum.

Well just now, at about 6.30am I got a reminder of all of the above. I'm asleep at that time usually, but have not slept too well over recent days. This morning the dogs were being quite active, and as I begun to stir I could hear my name being called. Looking out of he bedroom window I saw mum sitting on the doorstep in the back garden... Never a good thing.
I got to the door quickly, carefully opened it, and there she was sitting there. Not distressed as such, but stuck. She had tried to squat to pick something up and just carried on going til she made it to the ground, thankfully unhurt. I helped her up, checked she was ok,and made sure she had not falled and was not hurt.
She explained what had happened, seemed relaxed about it, so I left it there.

That's why I bought her the new walker with the seat on it, so she could safely sit her bum down for such moments, and still be able to get up again. It also serves as a stark reminder why she has a Linkline panic button too.

There is a balance to be struck here, and that it between caring and worrying. I have a sense of responsibility towards her, but that's always been there really. However that responsibility has to end somewhere. As I walked back to my room I could just hear a voice in my head saying "that's why you can't leave her alone", but I have to disagree. Yes I care, and I should, and DO do anything I can to avoid her being distressed, however at the same time I realise that I can't be here for everything, and need to share that load with others.

I would not say it has shaken me up, let alone even woken me up, hence the poorly put together entry we have here, but it has reminded me of why I worry so much, how I ended up in the state I am in, and most of all puts in black and white WHY I have been off work for so long. For moments just like this. It also reminds me of why I have always tried to plan the visits from other people out so carefully. Avoiding overlaps and crossovers of visitors at the house etc. While she has a bit of mobility and can still potter about, she can at any time get into a situation like this one. Armed with a panic button, and a mobile phone help is never far away IF she were to use them. On the other hand, with regular visits to the house, she would also not be left in such a situation for too long if one re-occured.

It also brings into question why I don't want to over medicate for my situation, I guess broken and light sleep has its advantages eh?

So again its time to see what can be done to make the situation safer for her in that environment, what changes can be made to make things easier out there. But also a time for me to NOT over react, not dwell on it, and realise if I had not woken, or not been here, that there would have been an alternative form of help, and the situation would not have spiralled out of control.

I guess this is the icing on the making up cake for me and mum, a renewed sense of purpose, and a reminder to her that while words like trust and abandoned are batted around, once again I was there when it counted. OR of course it could all just get thrown in my face with a simple "now imagine if that had happened while you were off on one of your trips" comment, which is always possible here.

Right, I'm gonna rest and smile, but there you go, Michael ACTUALLY did something helpful and was appreciated. Woohoo.
Regards
Michael

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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Celebrity status!

Thank you Amber for making me feel like a superstar today at lunch. Its the first time I have walked into a restaurant with someone and them be greeted so warmly, let alone them know someone has been out of the country and have a regular table haha. Awesome is what it was. The food was pretty good to I have to say, and as ever the company was splendid. I should add, thanks for picking up the tab at the end too. Shameful I know.

Like most trips out with Amber I was again out of my comfort zone, eating foods I would otherwise not dare touch, and today.... I used chopsticks! Go me! Lol.

Was nice to get away from it all for a bit, and have such a down to earth chat without the other person dropping off. What is it with BBM bringing me all these people, usually women, to bring sanity and relief from the stresses of life. Samantha, Cadell, and Amber, get me, how lucky am I eh.

So I just thought I would blog this while I stand on a scary almost rush hour train heading home back to reality. *sigh

But I have a smile on my face, which I'm sure will only grow as next week approaches.

Here's to BBM and friends :)
Regards
Michael

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Morning world!

Well, after listening back to the conversation I had with mum last night (I recorded it) and deciding I was polite, factual and didn't try and influence her decision, at least I am happier about one aspect of my life. For now at least. Her decision is as long as she has money in the house in case she needs my sister to get something for her she is happy for me to hold the card. But I will be leaving it in the house from now on anyway.
Her other requests of going through the bank statements with her, shopping at Sainsburys, and explaining all her meds to her I can handle too. I'm still surprised that none of this was ever mentioned before. All easy to deal with really.

The meds side of things is a bit of a worry, as I don't prescribe the drugs, I only organise them in the pill box, so maybe the GP or nurse are better qualified to explain their purposes to her. All drugs having a number of uses, so better she knows the right reason from them, rather than a Wikipedia explanation. The volume she takes, I can understand the concern, but it also highlights issues with her memory that are starting to show.

Yesterday she asked what one pill in particular was, I explained its use, but was a little shocked that it was only prescribed and explained to her a day or two ago. Maybe she just didn't listen properly, or maybe she forgot. But the next one is more worrying. After my sister called back a nurse yesterday to arrange an appointment, she informed mum that the nurse would be coming around on Friday. By the time I got home, mum was convinced that the appointment was for today! I have said a few times now that Paula said it is Friday, but she is adamant that its today. So that's a bit of a worry that her mind is working that way. Hence me deciding to start recording important conversations.

The next worry is rationalisation of situations. It really needs an outside influence to decide if this is affected in any way. I'm no expert, and also somewhat biased about matters, so would be wrong for me to judge. So calling it into question for another to make a judgement is the best I can do. Again hospice staff to the rescue I think. Her conversation jumps from one subject to another. Maybe trying to change the subject, or maybe just unable to keep the thought train steady. I really don't want anything going wrong with that area, but something just screams 'prepare' right now.

Thank you to everyone who has reached out and helped in these matters recently, it is deeply appreciated and humbling. Its nice to know this blog reaches caring people, and to know there is a safety net beneath :)

So today I start with a different approach to things, more hands on, more communication, and start to explain some things to her. Let's see how that all goes.
In the meantime I am waiting on a call from work for a pre 12 meeting near work to discuss the on going absence. But its getting a bit late now, and will be short notice soon, so I hope that happens soon. I am also still planning a break from here. I know I usually get away at weekends but have not done that this week. However I feel this time a few more days might do some good, so that's the plan. Derby and surrounding areas here I come. Places to stay for the night required if you are reading and have one lol. Just got to sort out kennel fees for the dogs. Its unfair to expect others to take care of them for so long. Donations welcomed lol.

Right I better get ready in case work call, and get on with my other duties too.
Thanks for reading, and here's for a positive day.
Regards
Michael

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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

An update on today

After a long deep breath, and contemplation with a good friend today, whilst supping coffee and talking about life, a few things became clearer.

Situation that I find myself in seem less confusing, reasoning for things more apparent, and a little sense of direction returns. Its amazing how the ear of another person can make things seem a little more straight forwards. And a few (many on this occasion) words of advice can go a LONG way.

When I got home this evening I spoke to mum about the situation, in order to try and understand where all this came from. By all accounts a few little things have caused a massive over reaction to things, and for some reason it all blew out of proportion. Naturally its still my fault, of course. But at least I understand the situation a little better, and now know what she actually wanted all along.

Her choosing silence over discussion was probably not the best idea, especially when she chose to tell me "its good to clear the air". Ironic or what! So there are some things to attend to tomorrow in order to get things back on track.

She suggested getting the cash card back, to which I said I'm not bothered either way, as long as its decided like adults and not all cloak and dagger with me left in the dark about everything. Her other requests were, explain what her meds are, that's something the nurse is better to do, not me. Have her bank statements, which is fine, they are all filed, and now she tells me she doesn't like Tesco ready meals and wants it from Sainsburys instead... So why not say that sooner, doh!

So, slightly happier right now, but still need a proper break from it all to get to grips with myself.
Regards
Michael

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A whacking great wedge

That's what it feels like has just been driven between me, and my mum. Almost feels like my sister is on the side mum is on too. Meanwhile I'm just left confused about what the hell just happened here.
So a couple of days ago mum quite aggressively asked for her cash card back so she could give it to my sister for her to do some shopping. On questioning why she didn't just ask me to get shopping as usual, she shot me down by saying that she was sick and tired of having to ask me to get her money out for when my sister bought her things. OK so that's that, there you go, cash card returned.

So then yesterday I got thinking, what are we doing about rent and bills etc, so I text my sister to ask her what was going to happen. I guess somewhere along the line I thought that giving me the card back for the bulk of the stuff and just giving her cash for shopping would have been easier. Once again I was wrong. I thought my sister would see the easier side of things, and realise it would be easier to do things as I suggested, but instead I got a reply saying in short, I wish I could do something to help, but it is what it is. In other words, I have control of the finances and will deal with it from now on. Suggesting I work out what is needed and she will pay me monthly. Great!
So it goes from being a fluid situation with me shopping when required, paying bills and balancing the accounts throughout the month, to a strict regimented routine where I now have to request payments of sometimes hundreds of pounds at a time and re-think the whole monthly financial situation! And this is all because mum felt bad having to ask me to get her twenty quid out of the bank here and there? Seriously!

Amongst all this, I'm not meant to take this personally, feel like I'm being pushed away, and just go on as if nothing has changed? Trust has been questioned in my eyes, and now I am honestly feeling like I'm having the piss taken out of me. Why the hell should I lay awake at night worrying about mums health, run around tidying up, keeping things safe and sterile for her, be there to let carers in, and do all the other stuff I do, if the fundamental basis of the whole relationship has not only just been questioned by her, but in fact been torn to shreds and then thrown in my face by her and my sister.

I just let the district nurse in, and wondered why I was doing it. If it were not for the dogs right now I would be so far away now its unreal. Angry, enraged, frustrated, confused, and hurt by how and why this has all happened like this.

When I was trying to talk to mum about it just now, she gave her reason of not wanting to ask for cash, and added that it was "one less thing for me to worry about". OK losing control of the purse strings for the household is LESS worry? Wtf! Hoping this was just temporary, I asked her if she wanted Paula taking care of all this now, to which she said yes. I then asked why this had come about and not been discussed prior to all the change, she didn't answer.
So I went on to say well I need to work out what's happening with bills etc each month. It seems little thought has gone into this, and like my sister she suggested I work it all out.

How the hell did something so simple go so out of control?

So now I'm left wondering, but actually too weak and afraid to ask, what my position here is now. Am I expected to keep getting up early, letting carers in, calling doctors, cleaning up after things, doing chores, taking her to appointments, collecting and sorting out her medication etc, or is my sister taking all this over too? Part of the benefits mum receives cover the costs of some of these things I do for mum, but again that is all now out of my control.

So here I am, trapped. Off work with anxiety and stress, struggling to function day to day, and have now just been punched in the stomach with this. Suddenly feeling un appreciated and taken for granted. Expectations that I will carry out the duties I do, while apparently not being trusted with the simple things and the day to day stuff like money.
If I'm not needed, then I would rather not be here at all right now, but at the same time I can't just leave the dogs. And putting them into kennels is going to be expensive.
My plan is to somehow afford the kennels for 5-7 days, then get the hell away from all of this for a while. A rest for me, some space to think, and if I'm honest some time for it to all sink into my mum and sisters head how day to day life really works. Of course the outcome will be me being the bad guy, abandoning his sick mother, not caring about her in her time of need. But right now, if I don't I am gonna end up locked away somewhere.

I used the word 'breakdown' for the first time yesterday, and that was not lightly or for effect. The way my mind was spinning, the confusion going on inside was and still is becoming over whelming for me right now. Options are limited, see the doctor and end up on more meds, carry on and end up falling apart, or trying to take time out for myself and try and cool things down a bit. Accept the new system, adapt to it and keep smiling while working through it.
Reality is, the last option is the only one that makes sense. But the time away is key to it all working. On return a new system can start to work, and I will work out what is required of me.

Ultimately this is still my mother, I realise this, so of course no matter how much confusion and frustration surges through me, I have a moral obligation here. But at the same time, I'm not willing to drive myself into the ground over this. Flexibility, common sense and some respect is also called for here. Is my sister ready to take on the full load, can she cope with the next round of appointments at the hospitals coming up, spend enough time at the house to make sure mum is well, morning, afternoon and evening?

I'm going nowhere with this now, and just repeating myself I guess, but I can't get out of this spiralling downwards feeling. Most things bother me for a bit, then I think, then I blog, then it cools off. But this is lingering now, it won't budge. Every time I try and talk it out I just hear something else that sucker punches me again, and the whole cycle starts over.

Time for a break now. Now just to find £100 or so to get the dogs in kennels. And I'm outta here!! Unless someone wants to dog sit them for a few days lol.

For the first time in ages there is no sigh or deep breath of relief at the end of this entry. Instead its still bobbing around in my head, who do I talk to, do I play hardball, do I confront my mum or sister? Who knows the answer, but you can be sure the outcome will appear here as an entry.

Thanks for reading.
Regards
Michael

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Monday, March 28, 2011

Comfort

Its comes in a number of forms, but without a doubt the easiest form to source is of course FOOD! Bad, evil, unhealthy food! However for all its down sides, it manages to make things so much better.... At the time at least. But its usually as the last bite goes in, and makes its way into your body, the sickness and realisation of what you have done hits home.

Recently with a break in my routine and feeling a little crappy, I have noticed the junk creeping back in. The annoying thing is, I know what I'm doing, its not subconscious thought at all, its all planned out in my mind. Late night binges, take away cravings etc. Ok so its not as bad as I'm making it sound, but its the beginning of the road to self destruction again, and one I don't want to take.

Sitting here after finishing a nice healthy breakfast, and actually hearing my mind starting the thought and planning process, I am putting my foot down and stopping it right here. Picking up a chocolate bar or some tic-tacs on the way to a meeting or while doing something, fine. But keeping stuff at home just to binge on when I'm 'bored' or want a distraction, that's just not on.

I doubt I have done any harm to myself over the past week. Maybe gained a pound (that's 454g Amber lol), but nothing serious. The good news is that I am taking control of it again, and not letting this continue. Having been ill for a good few days now, I think the added carbs and sugars have just maintained what I was otherwise going to lose, so not all bad.

What I need is to find an alternative comfort. Its not like there aren't any. I have my fluffy dogs, good friends to distract me, and other options too. Its just about not expecting to be able to have what you want, when you want 24-7, and accepting that others have their own lives, and their own things to do too. So a little patience goes a long way. The other option is apply so much pressure that they give up on you and walk! And that's never a good thing.

When I take a step back and look at yesterday I realise how panicked and attention seeking I became over what was probably just a petty situation. Sure I was pissed off and upset, but it wasn't life and death, nothing was going to go catastrophically wrong, and talking about it in person to someone right at that second was unlikely to change the feeling of frustration I had.

Instead some time out, a distraction from thinking about it and just letting it go for a bit was the better solution. My my what an emotional wreck I have turned into these days. Taking so much to heart so quickly. The bigger issue is how I spill this all over other people. Putting pressure on them to be there for me, or to feel obligated to do something or accommodate poor poor me. Without taking into consideration what is going on in their lives. Funny that, I spend more of my life worrying about others, but at moments like this I just become a selfish attention seeking twat who throws his toys from the pram because the world can't stop turning for ME! (Cheers for that line Sam)

So if you put up with my tantrum last night, or I was moaning at you in a way that made you feel guilty in any way, I'm sorry. I am aware it was unfair, childish and stretching our friendship.
But most of all..... Thank you for being there last night, and thank you for still being there today :) x

So on the grand scheme of things, maybe comfort in the food is the easier way out, especially for someone like me who as good as sticks pins in people in order to get a reaction. Or maybe the answer is to learn to deal with situation better in the first place? I think that might be something to look into.
I have made an appointment to see my counsellor this afternoon, to try and get to grips with the past few weeks, and make sense of whats going on in my mind. At this point I don't want to consider upping my meds again, as 90% of the time I'm fine as I am.

Hopefully a steam blowing session with my counsellor will help no end. Someone neutral to it all. Thinking back though, I have seen a lot of people and spoken with them recently, I had almost forgotten how many people I have seen in just the last week alone. Thank you to all of you :) . I am also hoping that speaking to the counsellor will try and make me see the whole money thing in a different light too. And maybe I will even speak to my sister about the situation and try and get to the bottom of why it arose in the first place.

Right, another kind of therapy is called for right now, walking. Time to get the dogs ready for their morning adventure out, and try and get them both walked while fitting in with the rest of the daily schedule. Where there is a will there is a way, right?

Onwards and upwards from here, for a while at least eh.
Regards
Michael

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Chill time...

Peace finally found this evening with the help of one Amber Fox, and the surroundings of London Town itself.
A good refreshing walk around for a couple of hours, a friendly chat, and take in some sights in the peace of late night in town.
As per the pictures, it was a lovely evening.
Thank you to Ms Fox for her company and humour. Super to see you, and look forwards to our Chinese, see you soon my dear.
Regards
Michael

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Sunday, March 27, 2011

Runaway!

That's the only thought surging through my mind right now, runaway, as far as I can. To a place that all of this will just go away for a while, and to a place where I can seek refuge from all the voices and noises in my head. Demanding, wanting, expecting things from me.

What has brought this on? Well I think its a combination of things to be honest, all piling up slowly, and just now the final straw was added, and this camels back broke! This is the first weekend in a month I have spent at home, and while its not been that bad, its been a bite of reality, and has seemingly left a bitter taste behind. Having felt off colour for the latter part of the week, the thought of being at home, with no escape this weekend has probably only made things worse.

Money matters have slipped a little, with me letting things pile up, and not attending to them. That I am starting to get on top of now, so less of a worry, but has still contributed to things. Work preying on my mind too, with the up and coming meeting with them.

I guess from afar, looking inwards, the picture just looks wrong. There are so many things that don't fit, don't work, or just cause a lot of stress, when they really shouldn't. I want to fix that picture, and start making certain things work better, and work for me for once. Todays encounter with mum has sealed this desire. While totally unrelated to other matters, it highlights one major failing of mine... Selfishness... I need to try and be more selfish I think.

Constantly reaching out, trying to help, playing second fiddle to other peoples lives, then occasionally getting a glimpse of my own and realising how shockingly out of shape it can be at times. Its a pain in the arse, but I can't help wanting to help other people, but then when roles reverse something goes wrong. I don't think its the lack of willing from people to help, but more my rejection of such help. As discussed with my counsellor some time back, I think I believe I always have to be the alpha dog, the strong one, and never show weakness (other than in a blog eh) We discussed on a number of sessions, so its easier for me to identify now. But can I change? I really don't know.

Speaking of counsellors, that's another thing that has created this weeks problems. Not blaming her of course, but timing sucks. My first session in 3 weeks was cancelled due to her sickness. Right in the middle of one of the most fierce times of bad news and luck in my life. Can't be helped but that's the way the cookie crumbles eh. I could really do with that unattached sit down and chat right now. More an outpouring I think right now. That or a damn good cry! I would love one of those!

Then there is the final straw... Mum! That was always gonna be the way I guess. But again today she seems to have decided that I am the devil child, and at this point in time, as she wanders out of the kitchen without even looking at me, let alone speaking to me, she seems to have something to say, or something on her mind.
Earlier in a brief encounter, shortly after my sister had left from a visit, my mum asked very abruptly for her cash card back. I hold it for obvious reasons, like she can't get out of the house, and so I can do shopping etc for her. So its been the norm since Nov for me to carry it. Today she wants it back. Ok I thought, its hers, why not. But before doing so I quizzed was there a reason for it. She said my sister was going to do some shopping for her. OK I said, but I'm happy to get what you want if you just tell me what you want/need.
With that she snapped back that she was sick of asking for her own money. So at that I just gave her the damn thing back.

Sounds a little childish maybe on my behalf, but month to month I use both our accounts to balance the household books. As money comes in at different times, so different things are done with it. So its insulting to me, and a touch inconvenient. But its not about the request itself, its more about the wording and timing of the whole thing if I'm honest. I'm low, the insinuation of the situation is cutting and insulting to me I guess.
Petrol on its own isn't a fire, but today we have fuel, air and ignition... BOOM!

There are so many other little, and a few big things going on in my life right now, that even something as petty as this, probably no more than a misunderstanding can suddenly cut so deep.
Confusion about what I want from life, what direction I am heading in, satisfaction with what I already have. My wants and needs, and are they being met or compromised for an easy life. Am I selfless or selfish? I really can't tell these days.

So the thought of just running away from it all courses through my body and mind. The desire to put distance between me and all of this. Wrap up warm, hide away, and breathe for a while, at least until I can look at the situations rationally, be adult about it all, and set my chosen course into life's satnav.

I know this is probably a very confusing and conflicting read, comments without information can do that, but in my mind, as I write it, I feel like I am bearing my soul to the world. Revealing all and dropping my barriers. In the right context it all makes perfect sense, and I'm sure, in fact POSITIVE there are a few out there that understand this fully, and can honestly say, without you I would be a total mess right now.

Thank you for reading all of this. Now to go thru my little black book and see where I can run to on a Sunday night.
Regards
Michael

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Saturday, March 26, 2011

Slowly slipping back.

For the past few days now I have noticed myself slowing down, losing motivation, and just being a little bit detached from it all. Like now for example, gone 8am and in still laying in bed, wondering what excuses I can make to myself NOT to get up and walk the dogs. But I know if I don't do it soon I will mess the days schedule up. And also know that once I start the walk I will enjoy it. But that little voice just keeps yelling NO, and my body insists on remaining in that sleepy state to try and discourage me getting up.

Its been a stressful week I guess, and my routine has been somewhat broken, with travelling and eating all out of pattern, so I'm guessing I have life-lag, and am just trying to find my routine again. For some reason health has been a bit of an issue this week too, with mad muscle aches in the early part of the week, and nausea. By Thursday that was gone, but by that afternoon it was my stomachs turn, with cramps and unrest to say the least. The stomach has not really improved since. Still unsettled and at times painful when I drink. So my only concern is stomach pain following stress can equate to ulcers. Let's hope not eh! I will monitor it and see how it goes now.

The other problem is my eating habits. Again the past few days have been a bit disrupted and I have had a fair bit of junk, not as much in the way of fluids as usual, and dare I say possibly too many jelly beans, if such a thing is at all possible! Lol. It irritates me as I lay here thinking about it. Its not like its hard to eat sensibly like normal, but my mind says otherwise at the moment. Comfort food maybe, or rebelling against the normal intake to break free of the gut wrenching routine. I don't know, but what I DO know is, I need to kick the habit and get back on track.

As my intake slips, so does my mind. Heading towards that downward spiral of thinking too much, worrying about nothing, and becoming obsessed with nothing! Example.. Last few days I have had a few simple bills to sort out, and to contact work about a meeting, but quite seriously my mind won't let me. I can lay here and think about it, and acknowledge it needs doing. But trying to do it is different. Distractions, obstructions, and all sorts of reasons not to just do it. Then the outcome is feeling low that its still not dealt with. Vicious circle or what!

Its all this sort of thing that really worries and frustrates me. The simple things in life that give it its content and quality, these are the things slipping away from my control lately, and I need to get a grip, fast to stay in control. Hence blogging it. So I can realise what I am doing, and look back to kick myself up the arse about it.

I guess the other angle on this whole matter is weekend blues. Usually I am planning a get away, to see people and get some time out from being at home. I'm sure in the back of my mind, the thought of being "trapped" here for the whole weekend, looking after mum etc is playing on my subconscious thoughts somewhere. In fact I know it is. But after travelling on Wednesday, its just not possible to get away today or tomorrow as well. Next weekend maybe.

Oh speaking of incomplete jobs, and travelling, there is an example. On Wednesday afternoon when I left home I noticed my windscreen had cracked. Knowing I had the trip ahead of me, replacing it wasn't an immediate option, and the crack was out of sight (for the time being). I got back safely with it, and replacing the screen is a phone call away, but have I bothered?.... Like hell I have! Such a simple and may I say important thing to do, yet I'm not motivated to do it!

Right enough talking, time for action. With all the above in mind, I have a full on action plan for today, so I better get started. Loads to do, let's see how many I can tick off..

Drink more
Walk dogs
Breakfast me and dogs
Call insurance
Cleaning
Training

They are the keys of today... Let's see if I can just get those done without giving up and falling asleep. Hope your in a better place than me right now.
Regards
Michael

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Friday, March 25, 2011

Taken for granted.

People, services, cars, and lifestyles to name but just a few. We all have things, people or places we just take for granted. Part of the surroundings, the background or the scenery, we assume the things we choose and want around us will always be there. So your favourite bakery shuts down, oh bugger you say, and find another. But there are other things that you really don't appreciate until they are gone.

Forgetting when or how something came into your life is a bad position to be in. Losing track of its importance in your day to day life is the first stage of taking something for granted. I have owned a car since legally old enough to drive, and while I can't imagine not having a car at my disposal each day, I remember its importance and existence due to the monthly expenditure on it.

But how about people. Recent events in mine and other peoples lives have proven that we should not take our life, nor that of another for granted at all. Life is a right after all.... Isn't it? Look at the beautiful surroundings of the country you live in. You may or may not have grown up there, but choices in your life will have taken you there, and the betting is that you can look at others in the world and appreciate what you have both personally and available to you. But all this can be gone in an instant. Recession, civil war, or natural disaster. They have all hit hard over the past few years, and many millions of people have received a wake-up call that most of what they take for granted day to day, is not longer available, people they love are gone, possessions lost forever, and a way of life deleted.

So the people near to you, the ones you tell openly of your feelings towards them, the important people in your life.. Do you remember the beginning? How you met, why you grew so close and why they are so important to you? Think hard about this now, and I bet with a few people you will stumble for a moment.

Recent times have called for a reality check, a stock take, and a bit of a shake up of things. Probing my mind for memories of the first time we met, first words, and why a second time ever happened. What was it about these people that made me decide to put them in a special place in my heart? And more to the point, do I let them know why I feel that way enough. Do I even make that known at all? For me right now, its all about reaching out and communicating clearly to people I love and care about, how I feel, and letting them know they are dear to me. Remembering, respecting, and reinforcing that bond.

Don't take anything for granted, the next 10 years or the next breath. Friends, family, and loved ones. Possessions are material objects which can be replaced. Losing one is an inconvenience, but you will get over it. Lose a person from your life... That hole will remain forever.

Regards
Michael

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Thursday, March 24, 2011

Lucky or unlucky?

See I can't decide. Some say with everything going on around me, that I am unlucky as hell, and it has to change sometime. But AM I unlucky, or am I very lucky indeed?
The arguement for unlucky is a simple one really, grew up without a dad, on the poverty line, not had great luck, split from my daughters mum early on, poor health, and issues with family and friends illnesses etc. But is that unlucky? Or just all part of life.

Look at the other side. Famous quote for a beginning, there is always someone worse off than you. The line most unsympathetic people usually open with when you try and pour your heart out.
OK so break it down... No father.. But then nor was I abused by him, or lived with a drunk for a dad. Mum did well bringing me up all things considered.
No money, but then unlike some spoilt little shites I know, I know the value of money and am grateful for things when I am gifted with them.
Losing contact with Sian is a hard one to see any good in, other than she is fit and healthy. A beautiful and intelligent young girl, and hopefully we will be back in touch soon, so its not all doom and gloom.

Health, well asthma had me rolling around like a wheezing little porker for the early years of my life, and I managed to break a fair few bones too, but I was having fun growing up, being a boy, something few kids get to experience these days. Later in life I manage to attract illness and issues, but most of the serious stuff has been corrected successfully with surgery, so no drama.
Unlike other friends who have suffered from a young age. Michael Carter, major organ issues in his early teens, Lee Brown didn't make it to 17 to drive his pride and joy car, but suffered miserable health issues his whole life, Paul Morris killed young in a road accident, Adam King same again, struck by a car, John Littlebury, John Weston and Kevin Flanders all lost their lives on motorbikes. Tas has just lost his battle with a brain tumour, Aunt Mary lost her life to cancer, Aunt Joan and my mum both holding on but diagnosed terminal with cancer.... But I'm still here!!

So while I have little trips and stumbles along the way, I can't say I am "unlucky" at all really. Those who have not been allowed to live to their full potential were the unlucky ones. Those who live miserable lives, unwilling to push the boundary to find happiness, and those who just live a day to day mediocre life, with no ambition, no drive, and no passion for the life they are given.... THEY are unlucky and unfortunate.

I hope this all makes some sense.
Having had 24 hours of fresh air in Derby, taken some time out, spent time with friends, and enjoyed some sunshine, I again remember how fantastic life can really be. Regardless of all the pressures and worries in life, its a blessing to wake for another day. And truly a sin not to take that day and live it to its full potential. Make a difference, raise a smile, acknowledge your appreciation of the day you have.

Lucky or unlucky, you decide.
The way I feel now, I was lucky to have known and shared moments to cherish with the people I have listed, and they live on with me each day in my memories. Thank you for being a part of my life. May you all RIP.

There is one other aspect of course. The more people you know. The more you grow closer to, then the more likely you are to lose someone dear to you. Again, through things like Cruise-South I made many an acquaintance, some who went on to be very good mates and even a few true friends from it all. Popular I have not been, but "known" I have, and from that I have revolved in many circles where I have met volumes of people. Inevitable that you will lose a few along the way I guess. But again, I'm lucky to have been a big part of the website, and having met so many people and shared so many memories.
I grew up in poverty, but am massively wealthy with a mind full of experiences and memories from these times, which could never have been bought. Money doesn't buy happiness or friendship, but I have both, in abundance.

Thanks for reading once again. A day of deep thought I think.
Regards
Michael

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Farewell

Just sitting at Oxford services off the M40 at the moment after attending Stourbridge Crem for Tas's send off. I have to say the first thing I noticed was how small the number attending was. I realise people have commitments, and would not for one second expect the whole world to show up, but Tas was such a loving a popular guy I am shocked at how few made the trip. Tas's side of the family was missing, for what I understand to be religious reasons, so it was left to some close friends and loved ones to be in on the service.

I have not seen Tas for a number of years now, and while he was dear to my heart, I didn't feel I had a place in the actual service, so waited just outside while it all took place. I waited and spoke with Kim, Tas's ex-wife who also wanted to pay her respects.

Once the service had finished and people begun to exit, I left. The one thing I hate about funerals is the falseness of some of the people you will meet there. Fake smiles, false recollections, and empty "nice to see you, we should get together" stuff. Seen and heard it all before, and quite frankly it makes me feel sick, so I prefer to avoid it.

The setting and the weather however... Beautiful to say the least. A warm, clear, sunny spring day, and a hill top crematorium for him to begin his final journey.

So as I put distance between myself and the event, I sit in the sunshine reflecting on 10 or so years of knowing Tas, the moments we shared, and how things went over the years. A quiet loveable guy, loved to smile and be in groups of car lovers, pride in his ride, and an appetite for life. Tas, you were one of the genuine ones out there and your passing is a great loss to many many more than who came to say farewell today.

I am thankful that I managed to get to see Cadell and Archie (my newly adopted son lol) too. Its nice to mix some happiness with the sadness of today. Another Travelodge ticked off my to-do list. This is becoming a bit of a habit now. And a visit to a Sainsburys which seemed like something from the past lol.

So as I drive back towards London shortly I wave farewell to much from the past and present, and wonder when I will next travel these roads. Possibly to see my aunt at the weekend, who knows.

Til then, its back to the realities of home again. Sort mum out, get the dogs walked and get back on with life. Time to get off my arse, out of the sun and back on the road now I guess. *sigh
Regards
Michael

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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Complex in life, complex in death.

How complicated can life possibly be, and how can it get even more complex after the life has ended? Its amazing how living your own life is complicated in itself, but once decisions start being made for you in your absence it gets wild and crazy. Reading of wills causes bickering between immediate family, final wishes cause confusion between loved ones.
It is truly astounding that while many live selfish lives, that in your passing the fighting doesn't end, but instead seems to intensify. Everyone knowing a small aspect of a persons life, one little piece of an entire existence, yet we all become experts in their wishes and wants in life.
The passing of a friend, an acquaintance, or a loved one is a time for grieving, celebrating and coming to terms with the fact that they are no longer with us. Not a time to dig up the dirt of the past, hold grudges or start fights. From near or afar anyone who has shared a connection with the person has a right to pay their respects in some form. Maybe not be a speaker at the service, maybe not the closest person to the deceased any longer, but if done tactfully and in line with the wishes and respects of those closest, they should be allowed to say farewell.

When my nan died, the first thing that happened was an out and out war over her house. How it should be sold, what price etc. Nan's final wish was for the two sides of the family to be one again, but that lasted all of about 2 hours! Now, the family is divided as it ever was. All the wishes of nan left behind, all the respect that should have been paid to her and her wishes have been lost in greed and selfish behaviour of others wanting to be in control of the situation. Acting in "the best interests" of the deceased.

It honestly sickens me when this happens. An hour, a day, the last one we can share with a person we claim to care about, but instead it descends into turmoil and one final bitch fight.

Its times like this I think, when I die, shove me in a box, invite no-one, burn me and let me just disappear without being the cause of more anger and conflict!
Regards
Michael

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I feel like crap!

Physically for once, not mentally. It could be a bad nights sleep, it could be all the recent activity catching up with me, but I have a feeling its something more sinister. Achey muscles, feel a bit warm, and a really heavy head. Could this be the beginning of something fluey like? I really hope not.
At the moment I am trying to fill myself with fluids to eliminate being a little dehydrated. It could be that simple, as yesterday I didn't have anywhere near my regular fluids intake, so I'm crossing my fingers here. But adding burning eyes to the symptoms and now its not sounding so hopeful.

I should say at this point, this isn't me saying "OMG I think I have man-flu", but something far more serious. If I have anything contagious so to speak, then effectively I have to quarantine myself from mum. Anything like a bad cold etc right now would be very very serious for her. And if that IS the case, then the dynamics of the whole situation here changes drastically.

She has been struggling around the house this morning sounding very uncomfortable indeed. Seems to be worsening day by day. So this morning I have made an effort not to cross paths with her at this point until I know for sure. Worst case scenario is that I am "ill", in that case I would have to ask my sister to visit throughout the day to check in on mum. Then consider that any common area would need wiping down when I use it and so on.

Its frustrating as hell too, as I have not had the slightest cold, sniffle, or bug related ache for about 4 months now, which is amazing for me. So I guess the next couple of hours will tell really. A few drinks inside me, let the carer in, snuggle up with the dogs, and have a little nap.. Then see how I feel when I wake. Should just about do the trick. If it turns out I am "poorly", then we have another problem, in that mum is meant to see the GP today. I was going to take her to see him, but she would struggle with the short flight of stairs now. So I will have to request a home visit now. Main thing is to make sure mum gets the care and medical attention she needs without me having to come into contact with her for now.

I am left wondering where the hell I could have picked up a bug though.

Right, I'm gonna wait for the carer then have a sleep and some mushy dreams. Hopefully some more cheerful news later.
Regards
Michael

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If it aint broke....

....try and fix it! Right? Oh shit no that's wrong isn't it!
Well sometimes I get it right and other times I guess I just screw up perfectly good things. Like a conversation I just had. Ticking along fine, no real issues, no complications, but clever clogs ere decided that it was all too simple, and clean cut. Therefore the only thing to be done was to screw with it.

You know when you get into a conversation that you have no idea quite why you are having. Common sense ios screaming STOP! But the interfering part of you, the bit that destroys happiness and good things just refuses to STFU!
Digging deeper and deeper, and feeling the walls of the hole falling in on you. If you are lucky you will get a life line thrown in, and bail before you get buried.

Thankfully I have to say I got the lifeline from heaven on this occasion, and will try harder to remember the correct saying from now on... If it aint broke, stfu, back off and leave it the f**k alone!

Regards
Michael

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Monday, March 21, 2011

Taking the easy way out.

Going back to my previous entry of sliding doors for a moment, I am back to wondering about things. When choosing your path, what do you consider? Is it the ease of passage, the morals involved or just what makes you happy.
Like choosing your route on satnav really, fastest or shortest. If I choose shortest I get a warning saying it might use more fuel and take longer, and I guess life is pretty similar really.
Take the fastest route, don't take in the scenery or consider the reason for your journey, and proceed straight there. Or take the shortest route, expend a little more energy getting there, but arrive with a deeper understanding of your decision, and some background too.

Ok, ok I can hear you saying, wtf are you on about, but hear me out, there is some kind of story behind it, I'm just not going to go into too much detail.

You see taking the easy way out or the fastest route might seem the best option, and for many people this is how they choose to live their lives. Fast-track, a-z with no in between. But then look at everything they miss along the way. How many times have you driven a route for years only to be pushed on a diversion, then suddenly see a whole new way, no longer feeling like its all just a part of the daily grind, but you are now in fact part of a much bigger journey... Now apply that to life.

So much passes us by in life, in the blink of an eye, the speed we live our lives, we miss it all as it flashes by. So every now and then its important to back off the gas, slow it down a touch, and appreciate the situation fully before we make a decision. Occasionally something demands our full attention, a little more consideration than usual. So pause, breathe and make sense of it all before you fly ahead with your decision.

Can you look back at life with no regret? Can you put your hand on your heart and say every judgement or decision made was right for you at the given time. In reality that's all regret is, an ill informed or rushed decision we live to realise was the wrong choice for us at that juncture in our life. Take your time, consider the outcomes of both choices, and be sure that the one you go with, the sliding door you walk through is the best one for you at that time. And if you have done that, stand by your decision and live knowing that you made that choice for a reason. Whatever happens in the future will of course be influenced by that decision, but regret should never feature.

Sometimes the harder choice, the tough option is actually easier. You can flee a situation, or you can take the more complicated path, but there is a bonus there at times. Let me explain. Easy is usually yes or no, simple defined answers, where as complex is usually broken down into more stages, allowing a whole myriad of choices and decisions. Ok an example, chinese takeaway, set meal for 1 or choose 4 of your own dishes... You see what I mean? Make a decision for yourself and what you leave with is all about what you want, and not the simple acceptance of taking what's on offer as black and white.

For me, right now I am taking the B-road and un-named road route. I have a rough idea where its going and where I will end up, but the main thing is I'm loving the change in scenery, and whatever the journey throws up, I know I have committed to the final destination of it. There are many turns in the road ahead, but I travel it with confidence that I will get to where I'm going. It might take a while, I might change passengers along the way, or even arrive alone, but like the space shuttle heading for space, I have reached zero return... No turning back from here.

So don't take decisions lightly. Consider what lays ahead of you, and take that leap of faith from time to time, commit to the longer route, the bumpier twisty roads, and enjoy what passes you by. Life is for living, not fearing.

Live a little, live a lot... Regret nothing.
Regards
Michael

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What a weekend!

Respite it may be, but rest I did not. After getting my affairs in order at home, and making sure mum was cared for I made a break for the border and headed for Linslade to see Graeme. Been a long time since I saw him, and with recent changes I thought it was about time I showed my ugly mug at the house. On my arrival it was only his dad in, but he was due home so I was invited in to wait.
Having met his parents on a number of occasions, and being "mature", we click so are comfortable talking openly. So I had a good long catch up with his dad first.
Eventually Graeme and his mum came home, and while he took care of business I had a long chat with his mum, again very open and honest, which was both informative and emotive to say the least. I thank them both for entertaining such an exchange.
Sitting down to talk with Graeme I suddenly felt either old or at least grown up. Talking sensibly instead of being surrounded by lairy cars or a food fight, but I'm not complaining. Its times like this that you realise what friendship is all about, and I hope the feeling was mutual for Graeme too.
The visit was short, but rich for me. Touching base with someone you care about but have not had much contact with for an extended period is a heartwarming experience, and as I say it defines friendship. Not needing to be close together, but never far apart.
I will no doubt return there very soon, as I pass the area quite frequently, so would be rude not to.
The parting hug, as much as I joked about it at the time, very much sealed the purpose of the visit for me, not much more I can say about it other than, for a man hug it was nice lol.
See you again soon sonny.

From there, the plan was to catch up with Rachel for a drink and some food, but given the time, and her distance from where we had agreed to meet, it wasn't going to happen that day. So I headed north to see if I could make the time slot I had agreed with Sammi. I was hopeful but again in reality it was never going to happen, but not through lack of trying I can assure you. So 1 for 3 at this stage.

Next idea was stay over locally and see if I could catch up with Sam on Sunday (unlikely as I knew she was busy, but never give up eh) Calling on Cadell first, seeing if I could stay the night with her (and be climbed on and bitten to death by lil man Archie) but again luck was down, and her sister was staying over, so back up plan Operation Travelodge was called for. Going through the list of the locals but not having a clue where they were I got Cadell to lead the way to one. Great, right by a football grounds lol. We grabbed a bite to eat from a very weird (by London standards) kebab shop and had a chat, while being abused by Archie. Noooo Archie... NOT the Pepsi Max!! Lol

Bedtime, but really not that simple, it appears the roads around there are the drag strip for the locals with their 1.1 speed machines with large exhausts lol. Now I can't mock because I spent so long on the scene it would be hypocritical of me to do so. But I remember the days when a loud exhaust was on a frickin fast car! Now days they seem to take forever to drive past, not unlike mopeds lol. Eventually sleep was had.

Now one thing I like about Travelodge is the 12 o'clock checkout time. No need to rush. Just lay about, don't get dressed and relax in any way chosen for a while. Now that's what respite is all about eh. Needless to say by the time I checked out I was chilled.... And ready to eat.

Planning what I was going to do with the remainder of the day was as painful as having teeth extracted I have to say, but eventually on emailing Macca and getting a reply my destination was Peterborough, to pick up the walker he had kindly collected for me days previous. My sincere thanks for doing that dude, again a demonstration of what friendship is. Was also lovely to finally meet his wife Jude too. Will have to catch up properly another day. And that A605 would be a naughty road if I was in the Scooby!!

Final call of the day, and finishing the weekend off was a trip to catch Rachel at last. Just down the A1M which I was using to leave Peterborough behind, so quite handy really. Zoomed down there to Biggleswade and finally caught up in a car park to a leisure centre lol. It was cold, and Liam was waiting in the car so it was never going to be a long chat, yet we managed to cover off a good few topics in that time, and delve deep into the minds of the carers that we both are, and discuss the mutual friendship we share with Graeme too. So as short a chat as it was, it was well worth the drive. Finished with a lovely hug, and dressed up beautifully with compliments from Rachel. You really know how to find my good side don't ya hun. Nice hug too, for a lil person. Maybe picking you up was overkill but I was enjoying myself, ok!! Lol I wil see you again soon too!

So a weekend of hugs, bites and deep emotion drew to an end. Thank you to everyone who played a part in this one, to those who entertained and hosted me, and a sorry to those I didn't make it to see. I will get back to see you all soon I promise you that.

For now, its back to the weekday reality of life.

Mum has her new walker, which after discussing with her last week and explaining the benefits of its seat etc she absolutely rejected... Now she is buzzing around the house with it, singing praises to the seat it has. Tsssk.
Her health however is not so simple. Her breathing is not good, and she is quite weak. Slowly going off her food again at the moment, but this is not the cause of the decline I don't think. She feels she might have a chest infection, but something is telling me that it could be a little more serious than that. Progression of the condition seems far more likely.

So I have arranged an appointment to see the GP tomorrow now, and we can explore the situation and options from there. The breathing isn't wheezy, its just short and awkward. Time will tell all I guess. I won't guess any more than that.

Right that should be enough of a read for anyone I think, so thank you for reading.

Thank you once again to Cadell, and just to say Archie at lunch was hilarious. It WAS a nice carpet, before it was showered with chewed sausage and yorkie pud. I expected him to be bad at eating but your display was shocking lol.
Thank you to Graeme and his family for their hospitality, and to Rach for standing in a freezing car park and all your kind words.. You don't look so bad yourself.
And thanks to Travelodge and the teddies... Sleep tight ;o)
Regards
Michael

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Saturday, March 19, 2011

To the brother/son I never had...

The first thing I have to say is, I love you like my own flesh and blood, and my feelings honestly run no deeper in my my body than they do for you. For almost ten years now you have truly been a part of my family. Through thick and thin, from near and afar I know you are one of the few true friends who operated with the purest of intentions, and wear your heart on your sleeve always.

We have seen tough times together, confided in one another, and spent some very random, and also some very precious times together, all of which I cherish dearly. Stories of our antics as a group are almost folk-law now, and they will remain forever.

Forgive me as I talk of the past, I guess with the news you have shared I am left grasping at straws, memories, and happy times. Trying to find a smile to hold onto forever. Having had some pretty low times recently, it is as I write this that I actually realise who you really are to me, and how devastated I am to even consider losing someone so very precious from my life, especially so prematurely.

Confused, angry, deeply saddened and sick to the stomach are just a few things I feel as I type, filled with such self pity, and a selfish attitude, so I can't imagine what you must be feeling right now. I apologise if my writing this so prematurely causes offence, but I swore not to leave words unspoken to those who I love, and you are most certainly of the inner inner circle of my friends, and one of a handful I truly call my friend.

You are an inspiration to so many, regardless if you know it or not. But anyone who knows of your battle over the years, knows what a true fighter you have been, never giving in, and spending so much time feeling so ill, yet always finding the time to smile, and give others a smile. You always find your way into conversations, through the weirdest of avenues. Time and again there is reason to utter your name, and I promise you, over the coming months and years, your name will be no less spoken.

The day you leave us, may that be so very far in the future, you will leave a hole in my heart impossible to fill. But instead I will fill that space with as many memories and thoughts of you as I can find, so they are safe with me forever, and I will always feel a part of you remains with me.

Having known of the various issues for so long, I suppose you are meant to be prepared for this "we knew it was coming" and all that stuff, but rubbish, no, I refuse to accept that for one second. You may never read this. God only knows you have enough on your plate to deal with right now, rather than listening to the emotional blabberings of a mad man, but I write this to YOU none the less.

I have stood in the sidelines of peoples lives for a while now, watching their days pass, knowing they are unwell and will leave prematurely, but I can honestly say that even with two members of my immediate family diagnosed, nothing could have prepared me for this moment in time. I will wake from every sleep hoping this is just a cruel dream, as I'm sure you will too, but throughout the days I will spend them making a scrapbook in my mind of all we have done.

I could go on forever writing, reminiscing the times we have shared together, but instead I will wrap this up now with a few words from the heart.

You are truly my brother, a deep part of my life and I have so many memories and other things to thank you for. I will never forget you, nor forgive this cruel world for daring to try and take you from us for so long. Your fight will live on with me forever, and you will be the inspirational person for many in the future.
Thank you for blessing me with your friendship, and enriching my life with your trust for so long. My eyes actually burn and start to fill with tears as I write these final words for now, which is an amazing and intense feeling for me, and one I have not felt for so long.

Thank you for being one of the few who have defined me as a person.

My thoughts are with you and your family at this time, and please know that I am only a word away, always by your side, and here for you and your entire family throughout.

I love you, please don't leave us too soom my brother.
Regards
Michael

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Friday, March 18, 2011

OMG! Devastated.

I have just had yet more news, and this time its really hit home hard. I won't go into deep details at this point as the news is not out there yet. But I am at the point of really not understanding what its all about right now.

So many people, so close, and all in such a small time frame. Sometimes you are left wondering what is the point in all this, period!

I'm not thinking straight, and just babbling now, so will shut up, but dude.... My thoughts and prayers are with you, and I will be with you shortly.
Regards
Michael

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Nothing beats a good release!

Well, it doesn't does it. You know what I mean, when you have stored it all up for so long, then it all just comes gushing out. Ok that could be taken two ways I guess, so choose your own meaning, and follow me on this brief journey of discovery.

Sitting down to coffee with Tracy this morning was very refreshing indeed, not just the caffeine, nor the chocolate twist (or the Krispy Kreme I consumed while I was waiting for her lol), but I mean the conversation. It was nice to relax with someone I feel comfortable with, kick back, be open and just let it all flow for a bit. We chatted for over an hour, and the time flew by.

Over recent times we have both been consumed by complex goings on, and managed to get these out on the table in no time, delving deep into my dark and shady self, opening doors not touched for some time. If Tracy got half of what I got from the conversation, then it was an hour well spent in Costa, and well worth the travel for us both. Caroline being there would have been superb I think, but next time I hope, then we can have a good old fashioned threesome haha.

So going back to the conversation. Strangely one of the topics covered was friendships and trust. The amazing way you can connect with someone after 20+ years and just carry on like it was last week. That takes a combination of trust, openess and a genuine sense of connection with that person. Quite apt then that we have been out of touch for the best part of twenty years, yet can get together over a coffee and be so honest with each other about such personal and may I say intimate things. But that's good right? Amazing to believe that a friendship, a bond formed so long ago at a rather immature age can go on to be something so different many years later. That said, I'm thankful that it works like that, especially for me, Mr Super Complex life!

But getting to my point, the release I mention. We all bottle things up at time. Just a note, if you took "release" to mean something else, then I do NOT bottle that up, eeew! But in the mind at least, we carry thoughts, feelings, desires along with us, until such a time we can offload them, or at least find someone to share the load with. Which is what happened today. I spilled my load all over the table, and Tracy lapped it up. Haha ok a little crude, forgive me, but you know what I mean. Cards down, heart open, and out it poured, and she was there to help make sense of it all.

The most touched on subject today, other than sex (Tracy's preferred topic) was death and grieving believe it or not. Quite a range of topics to cover, but as I say it is something we are both dealing with right now, and it was 'nice' to share a moment with someone else going through it all. As well as Noel who has also recently lost a dear friend (RIP David).
The contrast between my own and Tracy's feelings on death was like night and day. While she is not consumed with grief at this stage, there is part of her obviously showing the wish and need to grieve (sorry to speak of you as a third person hun). The eyes and face show such sorrow when speaking of her Grandmothers passing, and then switch to frustration and anger at mentioning the family issues which now surround her. A situation I am familiar with following the passing of my own grandmother a few years back.

A time we should be remembering and respecting our loved one, but so frequently it turns into a competition to be the favourite, the most important, the most grief stricken or the leader of the pack. For god sakes people, deal with it in your own way. Stop ruining these precious moments for others, and let each person cope in their own way. If you have nothing nice to say, or helpful to offer, shut up, sit in the corner and do your own thing. Its not a time for competition, but for a time of contemplation. To remember those memories made recently and yesteryear, to create a final memory of the deceased, and a time to reflect that time is short and precious for us all, some shorter than others. And as per "If tomorrow never comes", we should deal with each day wisely, yet not save up our thoughts, feelings and emotions for tomorrow. But express in real time, leaving nothing unsaid, and no stone of interest unturned.

Wow, where did all that come from lol.
I guess that's me having another release eh.

Then there are other types of release, secrets, guarded parts of our lives. Not relevant to everyone in our lives, but worth a mention. Things going on in your life that it is worth running by a friend to get a different perspective on. Maybe their opinion, or maybe just for the sake of saying "there, I said it" and moving on.
I have never believed that there is any one person in someones life that you can tell ALL to... Close but not 100%. That's not a matter of trust or respect, but more perspective and relevance. Sometimes its easier to talk to someone who is slightly more distant to a situation if you want perspective. Speaking to someone as close to it as yourself doesn't change perspective, only opinion. After all they are seeing what you see, but may have a different opinion based on morals, not presented facts. Talk to someone across the way however and they can see the other side, and sometimes give you an angle you had not considered. Sounds a little weird but think about it for a second.

The refreshing part about getting another perspective on a situation, is when the other view is very similar, and you get confirmation that no matter how messy something seems, that even from the other side YOU have made a sound decision, and one that others understand, respect and support you in. I know at least one person this is relevant to, and hope to be sharing a coffee with soon, and much like todays with Tracy, I hope it is as open and revealing for us both.

Ultimately the stories we carry and secrets we bare will eventually consume us, not with guilt necessarily, but with the amount of time it comes back to make us dwell on it over and over. A problem shared is a problem halved. So don't carry a burden, and find someone you trust and can confide in to relieve yourself. Share a release with a friend, and who knows, maybe you can have a mutual release together.

Sometimes its hard to know just how bad something is eating you up inside, until the pressure is released. Then as soon as the tap is turned, it all starts flowing, and just keeps coming and coming.

So today, I thank Tracy for her time, and offer that mutual release at any time you need it. You know how to get in touch.
And in the past few days or weeks, I thank those who have been there and supported me through recent issues in my personal life. Without you I would not be me. Thank you.

Regards
Michael

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Waiting!

It sucks doesn't it? Something we expect to wait a long time for, other things, the slightest delay just drives you crazy. I'm laying in bed, its 7am and usually I'm snoozing, but this morning I'm distracted. Caught waiting for the little purple light on my Blackberry to flash to say the conversation has begun. I'm on a knifes edge wondering when it going to happen, but then again it is rather early and maybe I should really be asleep.

I seem to spend a lot of time waiting these days, for carers, for builders, for emails to confirm the next stages of things, and my favourite waiting game, appointments and waiting rooms of course. They truly are kings of the waiting game.

Right now, as Friday begins my mind is focused on the weekend ahead. Something tells me there will be some waiting involved there, but as long as its for the right reasons, waiting is fine. So now that means I'm waiting to wait... Hang on a minute, that's bad surely! Lol.
The weekend is what I look forwards to right now though, I have a few chores and some house calls and coffees to have, and am picking up a walking frame for my mum too (thank you to Macca for collecting).

So waiting, is it such a bad thing? It builds anticipation, which is good, and of course there is frustration too which is not so good. But you can't have one without the other, ying-yang, clever-dumb, good-evil.... Its all about achieving balance right? And take it from me, if you want something bad enough, its worth trying real hard to find that balance.

So while I wait, and anticipate, I shall try and get some rest again.
Mind working overtime because some idiot forgot their tablet last night.
Message to my Blackberry ... Flash damnit FLASH!
Regards
Michael

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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

"You abandoned me"

That is what my mother told me earlier today. I went to tell her that I was going out to catch up with an old friend for lunch, jokingly saying "I'm abandoning you for the afternoon", so was a little taken aback when she replied that she felt I HAD abandoned her, and had not been around for weeks! WTF seriously?

She didn't laugh afterwards, so I can only assume there was a certain aspect of seriousness to her comment, which is both worrying and upsetting. Yes I have taken time out at weekends recently, and had some space from the routine I have been in for 3 years now, but abandoned her I have not. Shopping, arranging, medicating, cleaning etc is still all part of my role.
So I have asked my sister to take a more active role recently, spending more time with mum, taking the leading role with medical interventions etc, but I'm still there all the time. Somewhere along the line something has gone horribly wrong if this is how she truly feels.

Just as things were starting to make more sense, just as my mind was starting to settle into a routine with these new, precious respite breaks, and all of a sudden it seems I have done wrong by her. My feeling on the matter was that the break was doing us all some good. Mum not putting up with me all the time, me getting time out, and Paula getting time in. But what makes me wonder is why she has not said anything sooner. Maybe it was a joke after all, just badly delivered... Maybe she has just been waiting for the right time for me to drop myself in it.

Either way I am left a little confused now (nothing new eh) and wondering how to tackle this. Sitting on the train, blogging away looking weird, and trying to fathom out the best approach to it. I think a simple straight question will do the trick really, but not looking forwards to it if she is serious.

Maybe I'm just over sensitive to it all and need to take my chill pill, maybe there is something there I need to address with her, who knows eh.

So in the next hour I will find out if I am the outsider now, or if indeed it was all a bad joke. I hope so!

Either way I think we should have "the chat" about my time away, and I should make sure she knows how important it all is to me right now, and how much of a difference it is making to me being able to cope with my life right now. One of us is about to find out a truth, so let's see how it all pans out.
Regards
Michael

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Sliding doors

Todays metaphor is Sliding Doors. Yes I have written about this before, but today I find myself deep in contemplation of things around me.

The actually sliding doors today are those of trains as I travel to see an old friend who I have not seen for what seems like a lifetime. Our lives have changed a lot since we last met, so I am full of excitement about seeing him. Probably the first time I have had a reunion like this in my life. So I'm on my way there now, watching doors slide open and closed.

The other side of the doors are the decisions we make, and how our life subsequently plays out. Each time we make a decision we choose to walk through a door, leaving behind all the other choices we made. Sometimes the path will loop back to the same junction for us to eventually choose again, but sometimes its very one way and final. Sadly there is no map to show us which door to choose, and in some cases we feel fear and doom the second the door begins to shut behind us.

However we can always find redemption, and good in our decision, after all, we made it for a reason, right? Regret to me is a pointless emotion. Like missing a train, there is NOTHING you can do about it now, so let it go, adapt, adjust and follow the path you chose. I know, I know, its not always that easy is it, but you can't just give up! What's the point in that eh!

There is another kind of sliding door though, and that is the one that I am in front of now. Imagine a cabinet or patio door, the door opens both ways, but can only open one way at a time. Allowing us to pass back and forth, or select something from one side at a time. Not allowing us to have both sides at the same time. And in some cases this is a good thing.
I used a term with someone today which made perfect sense. Is it wrong to buy veg from the green grocers and meat from the butchers instead of all from the same supermarket. Of course not, its a choice. But buying your spuds from the butcher, well that would be plain wrong, obviously! (Sorry could not resist adding that bit)

I digress, back to my point. Our decisions. As long as rational, well thought out and something we can deal with day to day, well then its the right decision.
Should I stay or leave, should I browse or shop, should I speak or be silent. Whatever the decision, just remember once you pass over the threshold, you are committed. And from there on in don't know the distance to the next door of decision.

My advice, don't be afraid, follow your heart, speak your mind. Dig deep and ask is this what makes you happy, and if it is, sod the world and smile damnit!

So as I stand before these doors at Canada Water station, and the doors open before me I will commit to the train, and take the journey on offer. Todays destination is known, but the other planned journeys don't yet have a timetable or planned route, and I am at their mercy. Yet I offer myself completely to them, knowing that deep inside, what I seek is to be found at the end. Regardless of the journey, rough of smooth, I commit, right here, right now.

So I take a final breath, and step towards these doors with open arms and an open mind, hoping and praying that what lays beyond is ready for me and will embrace me.

Ok, I'm getting strange looks on this train now. So will wait for the sliding doors to part once more before continuing my journey. So if you are afraid to commit to the doors, breathe deeply, close your eyes and take the leap of faith.
Regards
Michael

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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Walking all day, but still right here!

What's that all about? Both geographically and metaphorically speaking I mean. Nothing is ever as simple as a comment with me, surely you know that by now.

Today I have covered about 18 miles or so, with a combination of chores and dog walking, and I have to say there is an ulterior motive there too.. That I will sleep really well tonight. Not sure what it is, but recently my sleep has been all over the place, quite literally. Managing a few hours here and there, and sometimes going to bed and not managing a wink. So hopefully tonight after the last dog walk (that's right, not finished walking yet!), I will sleep well.

Sometimes, on days like today when so much distance is covered and I end up back here 4-5 times a day I really do wonder if the energy would be better spent getting somewhere else, away from here, rather than going back to a place of such stress SO many times a day. Its almost like self inflicted mental torture when I think about it like that.

Either way you look at it though, my heart will be grateful for the workout, my body will benefit on my mission to tone up, Nike will benefit from my destruction of another pair of their finest, and let's face it, the dogs love it.
Add that to the low calorie intake for the day, and the positives start to shine though finally. Takes some polishing to get any shine out of it though!

Then we have the metaphor of the title. Better known as being on the road to nowhere. I once read something (usually write but occasionally read) which said the aim of every day was to "make a difference" somehow. Ok so that sounds all mushy and sentimental, but think about it for a second. Is it really that hard to do without breaking a sweat. Help someone with a bag, hold a door open, hey, just make someone smile, and in that single moment you just made a difference, and made an impression on someone else. Who would then hopefully pay the favour forward and so on. What a great place it would be if that were the case.

OK, so I held the door for a couple of people while at the chemist earlier, and some other bits, but what difference have I made for myself today? Not a lot really. Picked up my medication, that's about the only thing that's gonna change anything about me, by drugging myself. Hardly an achievement eh. But all in all, I can't be that down on myself. Over recent days I know I have made a difference, and hold my head high with pride for that, but its still a disappointment when you know you could have done more.

Today has actually been an annoying day, filled with good intentions, but ruined by people with poor timing, mixed with missed opportunities. A couple of things I have not managed to do today which will have to carry over a day or 2.

However the receiving end of things has been a different story all together I have to say. Not really much I can say other than I have been kept entertained today by the wonders of BBM again, and in the company of the wonderful Cadell, how could I fail to smile and laugh :) I hope the exchange has been mutual.
While it might have seemed quite a sombre mood with me today, deep inside there has been a grin all along. I have just been a bit touchy, so sorry about that.

Right that's enough mush for now, so be nice to people out there, and aim to make a difference eh :)
Regards
Michael

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NHS budget being wasted.

Dear NHS, yes she is eligible, but also HAS breast cancer and is being treated by YOUR health trust! Save some pennies and update your records eh!
Regards
Michael

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Monday, March 14, 2011

Thank you all.

For making my blog a little popular. OK its not ground breaking stats, but knowing so many people read so much or my rambling, and that some even take something away with them is lovely for me.

I hope being part of my life is as special to you, as having you as a part of my life is to me.
Regards
Michael

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The most complex 4 letter word in the world...

...is LOVE! Simple to spell, hard to say, easy to write, and almost impossible to define.
OK Baljit, this one is for you luvvie. Or inspired by our conversation anyway, the rest is all me, so here we go.

I once wrote a whole book on the subject, and maybe one day I will finish and publish it, if anyone really cares. It turns many corners and covers many examples, but who has the ultimate right to define the scariest word to utter? We all have our own meanings of the word. We make it, we feel it, we celebrate it, and we sing about it. It makes us happy, confused, safe and sad too, but 99% of us spend most of our life looking for it. Yet we don't even know what it is.

For me love is such a diverse word. It has such a simple outlining meaning, but is used in so many terms, that unless we explain sentiment correctly, we can end up causing confusion more than anything else. Think about it this way, I love my daughter, my mum, some of my friends, and driving fast. So how can the same word possibly refer to all of those things. There are of course a number of other loves in my life.
People capable of making me feel like no other can make me feel. Special, wanted, warm, and amazing too. As well as secure, safe, and isolated in such a beautiful way. Are you one of these people? Then I love you too.
Is there a limit to how many people we can love.. No, I truly don't think so. But can there be a limit on the number we are IN love with. To this the answer is a yes from me. For starters being IN love is a very deep and conditioned state. A level of commitment to someone you have a huge emotional attachment to. And to me, so huge is this commitment, that feeling it for one person alone is huge, let alone more than one (that would kill me I'm sure) I have only one true recollection of feeling this emotion, and if you have ever truly felt it, you are blessed, as so few really have.

How many do I love right now. On the grand scheme of things many. On the true emotional level, the number is much much smaller. The emotional kind of love for me is about a connection, and for that person to find a way through my defences and into my heart. Through acts of kindness, affection, warmth and compassion. Touching me in a way that no other has, and creating an inner peace in me that blows everything else away. It is rare for me to allow someone in to such a depth, as to have that access leaves me vulnerable, and I have to trust them to respect me as I respect them. Each time I find myself feeling love for someone in this way, it is never comparable to that for another. Each is unique, almost like an individual place for each person, which cannot be filled by another.

To tell someone you love them, for some is a very difficult thing to do. For me, saying the words "I love you" is easy. But explaining HOW is somewhat more difficult at times. Try telling someone you love them, and most will either start to plan a wedding or run a country mile! Both before even contemplating what you mean when you say it.

Love conquers all, love breaks hearts, and love is SO under rated and misunderstood. For the few who have truly found the meaning of the word and embraced it, you are rare, and should cherish everyday of your confidence with this complex emotion. And those who don't understand it... Try harder, its in us all if we just let people close enough.

I guess this is a bit of a mish-mash of everything covered in my longer writing in the book, so probably a little confusing, but I hope you get the meaning of it all.

If you love someone, tell them, let them know, and let the world know. And if you are reading and wondering..... Yes, I do love you ;o)

X
Regards
Michael

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If tomorrow never comes...

Have you ever thought of writing such a passage, or even trying to record it on video or audio? Every time someone I know passes, I always wonder the things that were left unsaid. People who never knew that one thought they had always held onto, and maybe those who were never told how special there were.

We are all familiar with last will and testaments, but too often these are short formal documents that do nothing really than cause arguments and tension, and relate only to money and possessions. But what about your true final words, your secrets. The things you dared not utter until there was no consequence. Or could just never say to the said person.

Some of you will read this and say "I know exactly what you mean" and others will simply thing "wtf". So allow me to explain what I really mean.

In life we encounter many people, we get to know all sorts of people on so many levels. Some we grow close to and let them into our hearts, others we tread carefully with, damage limitation or a safe arms length is as close as they will ever get to us. Ultimately there is only a small select few that will ever share our full life, and know on our death bed everything there is to know. No hidden feelings, no secret emotions etc.

This for some people leaves a wide scope of people who will never know something we have wanted to tell them. It could be "I broke the window that you got the blame for when I was 8" or it could be something deeper, more passionate and emotive. Undeclared feelings, "I love you" or something else that a person could treasure knowing for the rest of their lives.

Problem is, does a married man dare declare his undying love for an ex, does someone in a relationship risk all to tell their old class mate that they were always the one in their heart, and so on.

Admission of guilt is one thing, coming clean, clearing the air and making amends is of course important, but we have ways of forgiving people for such trivial wrongdoings as breaking a window, nicking a fiver, or seeking out when you told your friend you were too ill to see them. However the emotional part is the awkward one. So few people are capable, let alone willing to express their emotions explosively, and truthfully. Many people carry a torch for someone in their past, but never admit to it. Not that knowing the truth would change the course of history for either person, but as a parting gift, leaving a piece of your heart is amazing.

Just before John Littlebury died we had a long heart to heart on the phone, apologies made from both sides for the distance that had grown between us, memories revisited, and common ground remembered, reminding us why our friendship was over 30 years old. On hearing he had passed I was naturally sad, but for the first time in losing a friend I also felt at peace with him, and him with me. I didn't feel anything was unfinished or unsaid, and having that knowledge really made such a difference to letting someone go so suddenly.

So I ponder my own fate, and think of all the things that circumstance has prevented me from saying. Thousands of things rush to the front of my mind when I think like this, many too trivial to cover off, but if time allowed me I would love to record as much as I possibly could, so that when my day comes, my friends and loved one can hear from me my favourite times shared with them, and if anything is left unsaid, that will be the time for me to wrap that up.
I don't think I have ever not told someone I love how I feel. But the reminders are important to. Knowing that love was there is nice, but to know you died with that emotion still glowing within is priceless to some.

So now I am left wondering how I write and maintain my parting words. I'm not planning on going anywhere soon, but time is a bitch and waits for no man. I have seen too many now, all young, just taken away in the blink of an eye, and wonder how many people never knew something that the person had carried with them for years, never finding the time or the words to share it.

I guess this is for me to work out how to do, and I'm sure I will be open about its existence when I start it. But to make sure everyone knows my thoughts and feelings about them today, until my final day is dear to me, and something I will do for sure.

So I ask you this.... Think carefully now. Does every person in your life, past and and present know their place in your life. Know how you feel and care about them. Have you managed to tell everyone you love that you love them, or thank them for their contributions to your life, regardless of how small. Imagine an oscar acceptance speech, a short window of time to think and thank as many as you can. Why rush, why leave anyone out, when you can write a journal, an email, a letter or a simple text file where you can direct someone to after your passing.

Leave everyone a gift, a sentiment, and your unspoken words. Leave them a piece of you to carry for eternity.

Thank you for reading.
RIP to all my friends I have lost already. Thank you all for your rich contributions to my life.
Regards
Michael

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Sincerely sorry..

...To anyone who had to put up with this miserable sod wallowing in self pity yesterday, seeking emotional attention for what now seems like the sake of it.
The weekend has been a long one to say the least. With a high load of emotion and complexity (my favourite word right now).

Lots of shocks, a few nice surprises, many smiles and laughs, and ending with the devastating news about Tas. Needless to say by last night when the news started to filter through I was truly emotionally at my capacity and over flowing. If I could have gone to sleep then I'm sure I would still be sleeping now, such was the feeling of being drained of energy.

I remember very little about the drive home, other than feeling sick, and spending the whole time trying to distract myself with happy and positive thoughts from the weekend. Luckily there were plenty to keep me going along the way, so thank you for giving me those smiles.

One thing I could not escape replaying over and over in my mind was the conversation with Kim. Hearing her happy on the phone, waiting for her to find some quiet at the party she was at to hear me properly, then punching her in the stomach so hard with those words. :( I'm sorry for doing that Kim. I still keep playing that over in my head.

Thank you also to Cadell for being there when the news dropped. Amazing how timing can bring you to a place of comfort just in time to receive such news. Sorry for dumping all that on you like that, especially as you were getting ready to go out. Hope my mood didn't affect your night.

I have just spoken to Dave Rolfe, a long time friend who I have not actually spoken to verbally for a long time. Quite emotive really, as it reminds me of how a close bond with someone neer really fades, and that you can always have a conversation like you last spoke only yesterday. The true sign of a friendship and its strength. Cheers for the call fella and hope to do lunch soon.

So today is starting slowly, a new dawn, a new day, opportunity to make a difference on this day. Just lacking motivation to even get out of bed right now. I'm sure I will soon though.

Right, with that in mind I better get on.

Sorry and thank you to all involved.
Regards
Michael

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