Relatively Speaking, Transition

Freedom Of Movement

I wasn’t sure that I was ever coming back here. Life changed, time moved on and my need to share completely abated as things stutteringly started to get on track for me. My life currently has actually been better than I ever thought it could be. So I got fairly lazy with the updates whilst enjoying everything the world had to give me. And then the whole Coronavirus thing happened and the notion of ever writing another word here had also disappeared for a while. Somewhat unluckily for you, that’s about to change, although the regularity of the blog might not entirely. But forewarned is always forearmed.

It’s always been a stream of consciousness sort of affair here. There was never a huge deal of planning in my posts. It just kind of meandered along based on what I was maybe feeling or what mattered to me at the time. The biggest obstacle to picking it back up again was having no really pressing concerns and consequently not ever knowing where to start. Until I decided it didn’t really matter, as long as I started. So here goes. Bear with me.

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Living La Vida Lockdown

The latter part of my maternal Grandmother’s life was a seemingly endless procession of entirely homogenous days within her own home, which I remember she always bore with a steady grace. The future prospect of a similar fate filled my own Mother with existential dread. My Gran’s softly sanguine advice to her was usually “One day you will just have to content yourself at home”. Neither my Mother or I subscribed to this advice all that much at the time.

But a quarter of a century later, it turns out the Grand Old Duchess of our family knew what she was talking about. It’s taken a worldwide pandemic and the associated lockdown we have all had to endure, for me to find the wisdom in her words. Our lives just now are distant strangers to the ones we brought in the bells with. Full of expectant hopes. We couldn’t then see the rocks we were heading for.

And yet, I’m still pretty happy with my lot. I’ve been very lucky. I have a job I love which has continued to pay me as normal throughout lockdown. Few I know can say the same. I have good friends who have kept in touch and checked in on me. I have to acknowledge I’ve not always been as good at that as I attempted to batten down the hatches. And besides being confined to my own home for the most part, I really don’t have much to complain about at all. I’ve not ever really suffered because of lockdown. I’ve lost no-one. I’ve never gone hungry. I’ve slept in a beautifully comfortable bed. There’s a future beyond this. And my Gran’s advice has always rung loudly in my ears. Contenting myself was the only option available. All of this and still being in contact with my brothers makes me feel I’ve gotten off lightly.

Being in lockdown is still the most surreal thing I have ever experienced though. But definitely far from the worst. Losing my Mum by increments makes this seem like a minor inconvenience. Because of her I’m trying to stay positive and recognising how lucky I am has become my new mantra. Although the official mantra of this blog has definitely always been “There is always tomorrow”. This also remains true. Lockdown will end and life will somehow eventually start to resemble the sort of normality we took for granted. But at that point, I genuinely wish that lockdown will have changed me enough for the better. I constantly look forward to seeing the people I care about. I look forward to going to them, hugging and kissing them and admitting how much I missed them. Something a parochial Scot doesn’t offer easily. FFS! I look forward to seeing the flimsiest of acquaintances and hearing every little detail about how their week has been. And appreciating all of it with real gratitude. Lockdown has actually allowed me to go to other, better places, within myself and I’ve hopefully moved forward because of it. I hope I’m not so shortsighted as to forget all of that at the very first scent of real freedom when it comes . Enough for today though. We will get our lives back. It will take time, patience and money no doubt. But we still shall. Stay safe and be well.

Relatively Speaking, Transition

Everybody Needs Some Time

Going to kick off with an admission that I absolutely hate November. It’s the cruellest month of my year. It’s the month that took my Mother a year ago. My Father some 20 years earlier. It’s the month I last saw my nephews, just over six years ago. And this week it should just have also been my Mum’s 71st birthday. So I hate it with a passion that I just can’t normally muster.

It’s generally a month when I choose to retreat a little. I never feel more than ten minutes from breaking and that has never sat well with the Scottish Stoicism bred into me. I have no wish at all for that to happen in front of witnesses. Arguably, I’m perhaps just too proud to let anyone see me crack. But if it was ever going to happen, November would be the time and place to bet on. Although you’d still likely lose your stake. I’m way too stubborn for that.

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I said upside down you’re turning me

On top of all that, I’ve been nursing a fairly horrible chest infection for the best part of a week and spent the last 4 days in bed. The tin hat on it all. So, quite truthfully, November has entirely sucked. Apart from maybe Tuesday. For the first time in a long while, November offered me an olive branch. After a very lengthy wait, I have finally got approval to see the Surgery department at hospital regarding Breast Augmentation. It was an odd little appointment date, sandwiched between my Dad’s anniversary and my Mum’s birthday. But an appointment that went fantastically well and which I left feeling a step forward to my transition being complete.

There’s still another wait of at least a few months. But November has grudgingly given me something positive to think about. And I’m of the opinion that has to be an improvement. Things do inevitably settle down and grief, loss and sickness all eventually pass. Still, a little too much to process in a single month. There is at least comfort in knowing that somebody up there likes me. And that they maybe twisted an NHS Psychologist’s arm for me this week. Thanks Mum, can you do anything with lungs though? That would be a definite blessing.

Relatively Speaking

Long Time No See

Oh, there you are! Not been back here in an age. Mostly because life was trundling along all by itself and for a while, I had nothing much of consequence to offload online. I suppose that’s maybe not a bad place to have been.

Today is a little different though. It’s the first anniversary of my Mum’s death. And I don’t know where I am with that. Except that I am probably more than a little lost. In every way.

It’s been a strangely, kind of, pedestrian year though. Sometimes I’ve felt I’ve been moving very steadily forward. Often I’ve maybe been hurtling backwards. The direction of that travel hasn’t really mattered all that much to me at any point. Life still just happens anyway.

But here we are, a year in, somehow. And missing her just continues to gnaw away at me. Although the notion to continuously call her has abated for now. It only occurs to me about twenty times a day.

However certain I am about the loss I feel, I’m still a million miles from actually grieving properly. Possibly because I don’t really want to lose the thought that I could just call her right now. Because entirely acknowledging she’s gone might make that idea recede somewhere I can’t find again.

But the rest of today will now very much be about celebrating her. Because there’s only so far weeping and contemplation of your navel will ever actually get you. And that wasn’t what my Mum was all about. I was lucky to have had her here for as long as I did, and particularly, for her just always being the Mum that I needed and the best friend I could ever have asked for. Cause enough to celebrate. Always and forever.

Relatively Speaking, Transition

They Always Said That You Knew Best

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve been here. The short version is simpler to explain. My Mum passed away. Knowing it was coming did not make it feel any easier. But I’m not in the mood for despondency.

I’m determined that the rest of my life is going to be about the positives. A tone largely set by her funeral. A day I dreaded that turned out to be one of the most comforting and enjoyable experiences you could imagine. It was so good that I forgot to be sad. Surreal as that was.

Although it’s still early days, I have mostly continued to forget to be sad for the last fortnight. I’ll admit to pockets of tears but on the whole, I’m mostly just grateful for all that she was.

My own journey was only ever completed because of her acceptance. She even travelled 500 miles to bring me home after surgery. Which she could not be talked out of. She took Motherhood kind of seriously. And I’ll miss that. Just having someone totally in your corner. God bless her little cotton socks.

Relatively Speaking, Transition

Sudden Thaw

At the risk of being a bit same-y I’m keeping on the theme of family for now. It’s the only thing that has ever really mattered to me. Despite a four and a half year blip, it still is.

Families are difficult. Goes without saying. They can be fraught relationships, although you love each other at the core of them. But when the chips are down, family is maybe the one thing that you have.

And now, after all that time, I’m speaking to all of mine daily. No less fraught than it was but just lines of communication open. That is a blessing in itself. It still feels precarious and even surreal. I had adjusted to my new reality. This other reality could still evaporate.

But I won’t live my life worrying about stuff like that. I’ll choose to take every moment for what it is. And I’m happier for it. The last fortnight has made it very easy to let go of everything that went before. There is no other way to move on.

I’m no fan of unsolicited advice but you’re reading this of your own free will so you’re going to get some. Life is short enough. All sorts of slights happen to you. Both real and perceived. Park them if you can and find common ground with those you are separated from.

You lose nothing by giving an inch. I’m not suggesting you bend to the point of breaking but olive branches are easy. Swallow some pride, fire off a text to that person knowing that it could be unrequited and then try to understand if it isn’t. But please, maybe just try. If it breaks the silence, it was worth it. And if not, it’s at least a sense of closure. But it’s always possible that the first move is your best move.

“Now there’s no point in placing the blame
And you should know I suffer the same
If I lose you
My heart will be broken”

(Madonna : Frozen)