Posts Tagged ‘home’

Aunt Mae (Aug 2011)Today, the 23rd October, is another sad day for us, as today would have been my Aunt Mae’s 91st birthday.

It’s now just over 6 months since my Aunt Mae passed away, but just typing these words have started my tears flowing again. In many ways it seems like just yesterday Aunt Mae passed away, just 6 weeks after my Dad died. However in many other ways it seems like an eternity since both Aunt Mae and Dad were here with us.

I have thought of my Aunt Mae every day since she died.

I have shed many tears every day since Aunt Mae died.

I have missed my Aunt Mae every day since she died.

As Aunt Mae’s dementia worsened, she, just like my Dad, failed to recognised us or acknowledge that she knew us and latterly her personality completely changed, as she went from being a loving caring person to someone who was angry and aggressive…that just wasn’t my Aunt Mae. Having said that, during her final few days in the hospital, she did seem to have a the odd moment of clarity, as at one point when Mum apparently told her I was on my way in to see her she smiled and tried to say my name…

I am in no way saying there was no bond between Aunt Mae and the rest of my family, but I know there was always a special place in her heart for me, after all I was named after her as Mum and Dad gave me her name as my middle name, Mary.

These have been incredibly difficult months for my family, and my Mum in particular – Mum’s struggled to come to terms with the death of first my Dad and then Aunt Mae, but she’s getting there, as am I. I would however ask that today, as we remember my Aunt Mae in particular, on what would have been her birthday, that you continue to pray for us as we continue to grieve the death of two much-loved members of our family, my Aunt Mae and my Dad.

I love you Aunt Mae, and I miss you so much. You’ll always be in my thoughts and firmly in my heart. Dorothy xxx

Today is my Mum’s birthday (and no I’m going to tell you what age she is today!), and is it’s also another day when I’m sure we’ve both thought a lot about my Dad as it’s Mum’s first birthday since my Dad and my Aunt Mae passed away.

I had hoped to take this week off work so I could spend more time with Mum in the run up to her birthday, but that ended up not being possible. I have however spent some time with Mum several night’s this week so that hopefully she hasn’t all her time thinking about Dad and Aunt Mae not being with us any more.

We have arranged to take Mum out for dinner tonight to celebrate her birthday so hopefully she’ll enjoy that and, although we’ll probably end up talking about my Dad and my Aunt Mae tonight as we often do, but hopefully it’ll be because we’re remembering the good times we spent with them rather than focusing on the fact that they both ended up with dementia/Alzheimer’s and ultimate both died because of that awful illness.

So happy birthday Mum. I hope that despite it being a another day when we’ll think of those who are no longer with us, we’ve managed to make it a good day for you.

happy birthday mum

As some of you will know, a few days ago it was my birthday. Birthdays are normally a time of great celebration, even if we’re not very happy bout the age we are now celebrating. However this birthday for me was tinged with sadness, as it was the first birthday I’d celebrated without my Dad.

Dad in hospitalYes, my last birthday with Dad was spent visiting him in hospital, and while I remember he never spoke to us at all during our visit that day (in fact he hid under the covers the whole time), it was still special to me as our family was all together on my birthday.

Yes, hubby keeps trying to remind me that even last year at my birthday, it wasn’t really my Dad anymore, and therefore rather than have him here as a shell of himself unable to recognise or communicate with us anymore, it really is better for him that he passed away peacefully earlier this year. That of course is reasonably easy to say (or type in this case!), but so difficult to truly accept, as I really miss my Dad.

These last few days I’ve shed a whole load of tears for Dad as I miss him so much, not the person he was latterly in these last few years, but the person who brought me up, taught me and inspired me. I know I should be thankful for him that his suffering is over but, I’m only human, and therefore I continue to miss my Dad.

God_Loves YouFor the last few weeks I’ve found the following chorus has been going through my mind, and I’ve even found myself humming it…

Come, great Spirit, come.
Make each heart they home;
Enter every longing soul;
Come great Spirit, come.

I wasn’t entirely sure why this chorus has been in my mind lately, as it’s never been one that been particular special to me. However I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s been on my mind a lot because I’ve been struggling somewhat with a number of things in the last few weeks, and this is His way of reminding me that whenever I’m struggling, He is there for me, I just need to ask Him to help.

If you haven’t let God into your heart, say to him today, “Come, great spirit come, make my heart thy home“.

Dad at our weddingIt’s been a tough day for me today as it’s Father’s Day today – if you’ve been following my blog for a few months you’ll know that my Dad passed away earlier this year.

It’s not been a tough day because it’s the first Father’s Day I’ve not had to buy a card and present for my Dad, as I never did that…not because I didn’t love Dad, but because he believed Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Valentine’s Day etc were all just about companies making money from all the commercialisation that comes with all those events. I have to say, I do agree with Dad on that, as after all, we always agreed that our love for one another should be shown each and every day not just expressed by a the amount of money/effort put into a present once a year on a day defined by others.

These last few weeks, I’ve been finding myself thinking more and more of Dad (not that I’ve ever stopped thinking of him) and getting very emotional. People keep telling me it’ll get easier with time, but at the moment I feel it’s actually getting harder!

Anyway, for all you other folk out there who have had to get through today, Father’s Day, I hope you have managed to get through what will have been a tough day for you. For those of you who still have you dad with you, cherish them, tell them you love because otherwise, when they are no longer here with you anymore, you’ll wish you’d told them more often how much they meant to you…I know I do!

It’s been a few weeks since I posted anything in my “Managing Grief” series, but it’s not because there was nothing more to suggest, simply I couldn’t write the words down. As many of you will know, there have been two bereavements in my own family in the last couple of months (my Dad and my aunt), and I think it’s only been in the last few weeks that I’ve begun to truly grieve for them.

Anyway, onto today’s thoughts on how to manage your grief…

Be realistic in your expectations.

In Finding Your Way After Your Spouse Dies by Marta Felber, Marta writes the following:

My loved one died on January 25. Almost immediately, I began to dread the next Christmas without him, exactly 11 months away!

The way in which she coped with her anxiety about the coming Christmas was to plan carefully and keep her expectations realistic:

“Try to have reasonable expectations. There are important ways in which celebrations will not, and cannot, ever be the same again. So it is okay to plan for them to be different. Be realistic about what you can handle, both physically and emotionally. Be kind to yourself and nurturing.”

Elderly woman sitting in an armchairI can truly relate to those sentiments, as my Dad died on 21st February this year, and just a couple of weeks ago, on the 25th April, we had to cope with my Dad’s first birthday since he passed away. It was awful knowing that for the first time in my life we didn’t have to wonder what to buy Dad for his birthday, but, more importantly, we wouldn’t even be celebrating the day with Dad anymore. The 25th April was a working day for me, and I can truthful tell you that I don’t know how I got through that day at work in one piece as my heart was most definitely with Dad.
I can only imagine how hard it was for Mum. However to make sure Mum wasn’t on her own all day, feeling sorry for herself and getting upset as Dad was no longer here, we took her out at night for a meal…not to celebrate Dad’s birthday but just to remember Dad on what would have been his special day. It turned out though that Mum had actually been out most of the day, as in the afternoon, she apparently went down to the nursing home Dad had been in (and died in), and spent time there with the nurses who had cared for, and looked after Dad so well during his time there.
We got through the first of our significant days since our two bereavements by setting realistic expectations, so I know it will work, so please try this for yourself.

Today, the 25th April is another sad day for us, as today would have been my Dad’s 86th birthday.

Dad at our weddingIt’s now just over 2 months since my Dad passed away, but just typing these words have started my tears flowing again. It really doesn’t seem like 2 months since Dad died, mind you a lot of that has to do with the fact in that interim time as many of you know, my Mum’s older sister, my Aunt Mae, also passed away. My Aunt Mae’s funeral was just over 2 weeks ago, so I’ve found that since then, I’ve finally been able to grieve for my Dad, as up until then I never really got a chance to grieve because my Aunt Mae was so ill.

Don’t get me wrong, I do not mean I am not grieving for my Aunt Mae as well as my Dad, as I most definitely am, but as you can probably understand, I am really missing my Dad.

I have thought of my Dad every day since he died.

I have shed many tears every day since Dad died.

I have missed my Dad every day since he died.

Yes, Dad’s illness in his final few years meant he was never really the Dad I knew and loved during, but even in those days when his vascular dementia meant he rarely knew us, or had any kind of conversation with us, there was still the odd time when he’d look at me and say, “Hello my lovely young lady” – something he often called me for many years. The days he said that to me became fewer and further apart, but when he did day them, they always brought tears to my eyes…and they most certainly have again tonight as I typed this post. The sad thing is no sooner would he uttered those words than he would become that vacant vessel again which didn’t understand what was going on around him, who was with him or indeed understand that he knew us.

These have been incredibly difficult months for my family, and my Mum in particular – Mum’s struggling to come to terms with the death of my Dad and Aunt Mae over these last couple of months. Therefore I’d ask today, as we remember my Dad on what would have been his birthday, that you continue to pray for us as we continue to grieve the death of two much-loved members of our family.

I love you Dad, and I miss you so much. You’ll always be in my thoughts and firmly in my heart. Dorothy xxx

It’s been another sad day today, as just 5 weeks after saying our final farewells to my Dad, we said a final farewell to my Aunt Mae, Mary Waddell Gilchrist (23/10/1922 – 03/04/2013).

Aunt Mae (Aug 2011)

My intention again today, just at it had been on the day of my Dad’s funeral (see the blog post Farewell), was to write a tribute to my Aunt Mae, but I’m afraid again it’s just too soon for me to be able to write anything that would do her justice. At some point in the coming weeks I hope to write tributes to both Dad and Aunt Mae, but for today I simply want to say thank you.

Thank you to so many of you who have offered words of comfort and solace to me, Mum and Sandy over these last few weeks as first we lost my Dad, and then my Aunt Mae. I really can’t express strongly enough just how much your support in person, by phone and/or card, has meant to us all.

To those of you who have helped us get everything sorted out for today, I’d like to say a huge thank you to you.

To the many of you who shared with us today at Rutherglen Salvation Army for the service of thanksgiving, then at Rutherglen cemetery, and then afterwards back at Rutherglen Salvation Army for refreshments, thank you for taking the time to support us on this most difficult of days, as I’m sure it was very much appreciated by all my family. I’m sure my Aunt Mae would have been embarrassed by all that has been said about her today, but as far as I’m concerned, it simply shows the huge impact and influence Aunt Mae had on the many people she met during her lifetime.

I’ll miss you Aunt Mae, and just as I said about my Dad a few weeks ago, I will never ever forget you.

Rest in peace Aunt Mae xxx

tearsThere are some things which can seem endless. Some that are good and some not so good. Things like the love and support from family and friends can feel endless which is obviously good. While a continual string of bad or events which affect your life are the complete opposite.

I’ve felt for the last few years that my life has just been one constant struggle after another between my own health problems as well as health  problems and other issues affecting other members of my family. This has all culminated in the last few weeks with my Dad passing away and now my 90-year-old aunt being admitted to hospital a couple of weeks ago with a bad chest infection and not eating or drinking, and then just a few days ago being told my aunt had probably had a stroke and it was unlikely she’d pull through.

How does that make me feel? Well at times I question God, as I’m sure we all do sometimes, “why me?”, but other times I acknowledge that God wouldn’t let me go through these experiences if he didn’t think I could handle them.

That doesn’t make me feel any better during these tough days, and it of course doesn’t make my life any easier, but it does remind me that God lives me and walks beside me in all situations, even though it may feel to me that he’s deserted me.

So when you are going through what seems like an endless string of bad things, remember God is there and is supporting you in all at all times.

The following video of Susan Best singing God is Always There will hopefully help you remember that God is always there for you:

It’s been a sad day today, as we said a final farewell to be Dad, Edwin (Eddie) Robert Johnson (25/04/1927 – 21/02/2013).

Dad at our wedding

My intention had been to write a tribute to my Dad today, but I’m afraid it’s just too soon for me to be able to write anything that would do my Dad justice, so I’ll save my thoughts for another day once Mum, Sandy and me get back to some kind of normality.

So today, I simply want to express my gratitude to everyone who has offered support and love to us during these difficult days either by phoned, in person or have sent us cards. You will never now how much your support has meant to us all.

To those of you who have helped us get everything sorted out for the funeral today and helped with the funeral itself, a huge thank you.

To the many of you who shared with us today at the crematorium and then afterwards at the hotel, thank you for taking the time to support us on this most difficult of days, again it was very much appreciated by us. I’m sure my Dad would have been embarrassed by all that has been said about him today and also by the number of you who attended his funeral, but as far as I’m concerned, it simply shows the huge impact and influence my Dad had on so many lives.

I miss you Dad, but I will never ever forget you.

Rest in peace Dad xxx

Just for you Dad, one of your favourite jazz musicians, Tommy Dorsey, playing I’m Getting Sentimental Over You: