Posts Tagged ‘Mum’

My mum often used to say, “It’s not what you know, but who you know”. For many years I never really understood what she meant by this as it didn’t seem to make sense to me.

As I grew up I began to realise the truth in my Mum’s statement, and sadly have come to realise that much of life is not about who we are as individuals, how loving, honest, trustworthy we are, but actually about who we know and who our friends are.

I can see many examples of this in my life and of those around me, and while it is common place it doesn’t make it right does it? It’s difficult and hurtful when we find it’s not what we know but who we know, and relationships that come about because of who we know, don’t really sound like relationships that will last, or ones that we should want.

Do these sound like relationships we should seek out?

who you know

In the last few weeks we’ve been practicing a piece of music entitled Procession to Covenant. It’s a piece of music that’s been part of our repertoire for a number of years, but one we haven’t played for a while.

It’s a piece of music that has always been quite emotional to play because of the real emotive music and the wonderful climax at the end of the end. But for me it’s the words that make this music even more powerful:

O love that wilt not let me go,

I rest my weary soul in thee;

I give thee back the life I owe,

that in thine ocean depths its flow

may richer, fuller be.

 

O light that followest all my way,

I yield my flickering torch to thee;

my heart restores its borrowed ray,

that in thy sunshine’s blaze its day

may brighter, fairer be.

 

O joy that seekest me through pain,

I cannot close my heart to thee;

I trace the rainbow through the rain,

and feel the promise is not vain

that morn shall tearless be.

 

O cross that liftest up my head,

I dare not ask to fly from thee;

I lay in dust life’s glory dead,

and from the ground there blossoms red

life that shall endless be.

As this is Mother’s day I thought I’d share this music with you today, as in the last few weeks when we’ve been practicing this piece I’ve found myself getting quite upset as the words just seem to be talking directly to me, and made me think of my Mum and the wonderful Christian example she was to me through the way she lived her life and taught me about God.

Please follow the words of associated with this music, as you listen to Birmingham Citadel Band of the Salvation Army playing Procession to Covenant.

In so many ways I wish this wasn’t the end of 2015, as once again I find myself looking back over the last year with great sadness.

Mum 70thWhile 2014 had not been great as Mum was diagnosed with Diffuse Large B-Cell Lymphoma, she had coped well with the chemotherapy so I had certainly started 2015 full of hope that 2015 would bring good news for Mum. Sadly my hopes were dashed early on, as we got the news in January that while Mum’s treatment had helped to a certain extent, the lymphoma had continued to progress so were told they no longer hoped to cure Mum, but still hoped to get her illness under control for as long as possible.

Despite a course of radiotherapy and then starting a course of oral chemotherapy, it was clear in July, Mum’s illness was progressing, and so Mum was admitted to hospital for further tests/treatment. after further scans/test we were summoned to meet with the doctors and Mum, and were told there no further treatment they could offer Mum as her illness was continuing to progress quite aggressively. After a few days of discussion with Mum and the palliative care nurse, Mum agreed to go to the Prince and Princess of Wales Hospice, initially just for a couple of weeks so we could all be sure she was going to be able to be safe if she went home. Sadly though, Mum never got home, as on the 6th on September she passed away peacefully in the hospice.

TiggerMum wasn’t the only member of my family to pass away this year, as in April we also had to get our cat of almost 20 years, Tigger, put down. We got Tigger as a wedding present on our 1st wedding anniversary, so he would have been 20 years old this July. There was a huge emptiness in our home after Tigger died as other than the first year of our marriage, he was part of our married life, so it was a big change for us not having Tigger around the house anymore.

That wasn’t the end of things either as another member of my family passed away from dementia/Alzheimer’s – my Aunt Vida, passed away in August less than 3 weeks before my Mum died.

I’m not quite sure how I’ve got through these last few months, particularly as this included clearing out my Mum’s house, which had not only my Mum’s belonging, but also many of my Dad and my Aunt Mae’s things too (they both died in 2013) – This was one of the hardest and most upsetting things I’ve ever had to do. I feel that in these last few weeks, that Mum’s death has really hit me hard, as prior to that I was so busy clearing her house and getting organised for hubby and I moving to my Mum and Dad’s house, I don’t think I really had much quiet or alone time to stop and think about all that’s happened this year. One thing I do know though is that my world fell apart when Mum passed away. Other than my hubby, Mum was the last of my immediate family who remained, so now Mum’s gone I feel so very alone – Mum knew how I was going to feel when she passed away as I remember her saying to me just a few weeks before she died, that she wasn’t ready to go yet as she wanted to be here for me. I really wish Mum was still here for me, but sadly her time here on earth was up, however I am reassured in the knowledge that Mum will now be with her Lord and Saviour, and that we will be reunited one day.

Just as in previous years, it’s not only been the bereavements that have been on my mind this year, as there have also been several other ongoing life issues to cope with this year which have added to the stresses and strains of 2015.

I’m finding life quite tough just now, as I really miss my Mum and continue to miss my Dad too. After my Dad and my Aunt Mae passed away 2 years ago there was one song that stuck in my head for a few months as it reminded me that no matter what I’m facing, and how bad life seems, God is there for me and He will always be there for me, and that song has once been going through my head again – so here is Kutless with Promise of a Lifetime:

So as you can see 2015 has been an awful year for me. I really hope and pray 2016 is a happier year for me and my family!

I hope 2015 has been a far happier year for you than it was for me, however if it wasn’t, I hope you have had the love and support of family and friends to help you through the year.

I pray that as we look ahead to 2016 you may go forward with confidence knowing that whatever situations you have to deal with, God is by your side not just during this Christmas season, but all year-long.

The Promise of a Lifetime by Kutless
 
I have fallen to my knees
As I sing a lullaby of pain
I’m feeling broken in my melody
As I sing to help the tears go away Then I remember the pledge you made to me  I know you’re always there
To hear my every prayer inside
I’m clinging to the promise of a lifetime
I hear the words you say
To never walk away from me and leave behind
The promise of a lifetime Will you help me fall apart
Pick me up, take me in your arms
Find my way back from the storm
And you show me how to grow
Through the change I still remember the pledge you made to me
I know you’re always there
To hear my every prayer inside
I’m clinging to the promise of a lifetime
I hear the words you say
To never walk away from me and leave behind
The promise of a lifetime  I am holding on to the hope I have inside
With you I will stay through every day
Putting my understanding aside I am comforted
To know your always there
To hear my every prayer inside
I’m clinging to the promise of a lifetime.
I hear the words you say
To never walk away from me and leave behind
The promise of a lifetime I know you’re always there
To hear my every prayer inside
I’m clinging to the promise of a lifetime
Looking back at me
I know that you can see
My heart is open to the promise of a lifetime 

A few of months ago as many of you will know, my Mum passed away. My Mum loved everything about Christmas: the music, the Christmas films, family time and of course the reason we celebrate Christmas, Jesus – so I have found this festive season particularly difficult.

Those of you who know me will know I have a few favourite Christian artists, one of whom is Mark Schultz, so when I heard the above song, and the story behind it on Facebook, it really touched me. I knew right then that I had to share it with you today, Christmas Day, in the hope that it may help someone else who is mourning the loss of someone close this Christmas – Here’s what Mark Schultz had to say about this song:

This song is special for me and my family. I wrote it with my wife after her dad passed away 3 years ago. It was our first Christmas without him, and Kate was decorating for the holidays. She came into the garage holding a box of ornaments and had tears streaming down her face. She said to me, “it’s a different kind of Christmas this year”.

At some point in our life we will all lose someone that is close to us, and that first Christmas without them is a tough one to get through. I hope this song will bring comfort to those who are mourning the loss of someone this season. Please share it with someone who might need to hear it this year.

May the peace and love of Christmas be with you today and every day so that the pain and loss you are feeling becomes a little more bearable.

Merry Christmas everyone!

 

Well thank goodness that’s us just about at the end of 2013, because for me, although it seems to have been a very quick year, it’s been a really rotten year!

Dad at our weddingI’m getting a feeling of deja vu here, as I seem to recall saying at the end of 2012 it had been a tough year for me…if I’d know what lay ahead in 2013, 2012 would have seemed like a walk in the park!

So we’re almost at the end of 2012. I don’t know about you, but this year seems to be over nearly as soon as it began! I know some will tell me that’s a sign of getting old, but I refuse to believe that, as I think it’s simply been because there’s been so much going on in my life this year…again.

I should have known when 2013 it was going to be a tough year as right from the start of the year it was apparent that Dad’s dementia was deteriorating, as from just before the close of 2012, Dad would not eat or drink anything, and thus was hospitalised on 4th January for the 2nd time in a few months.

Sadly this time he did not recover, and at the start of February Dad was discharged from hospital to his nursing home on end of life care. I think it was only when the nurses at the nursing home said “end of life care” that Mum finally realised what the hospital had been saying for the last couple of weeks. On the 21st of February, my Dad lost his life to vascular dementia.

Aunt Mae (Aug 2011)In January my Aunt Mae (Mum’s sister) was moved from her care home to the nursing home my Dad was in, as her dementia was causing her to become violent towards the staff at her care home and they could no longer cope with her there.

The week after Dad’s funeral, we got summoned to my Aunt Mae’s care home as they were waiting on an ambulance for her as she had a bad chest infection. It turned out they thought she’s had a mild stroke, but when they went to do the CT scan to confirm this, she had another stroke. Sadly on 3rd April my Aunt Mae passed away, due to a combination of her stroke and her dementia.

I’m not quite sure how I got through those months as being the guardian for both my Dad and Aunt Mae, I had to do all the organisation (with help from Mum and Sandy), clear out both Dad’s and Aunt Mae’s belongings from the nursing home, stay strong form Mum who, as you can imagine, was devastated. To be honest I don’t think it really all hit me until about May and then I really struggled to come to terms with the death of 2 of the people I’ve been closest to.

Unfortunately this was not the end of the bereavements for my family, as in mid November my Dad’s sister died, also from dementia, which knocked my Mum for six again, as we were always quite close with my Auntie Mabel and her family as when I was young, we used to spend just about the whole of our summer holiday’s in Cambridge with her and her family.

Sandy’s side of my family also suffered a couple of bereavements this year, so all in all we’ve had far more than our fair share of family bereavements this year. Add to these bereavements, my hubby’s health issues and my own on-going health issues, and you can see it’s not been a great year for us.

I’m still finding life quite tough just now, as I continue to miss my Dad in particular, but there’s one song that has been stuck in my head for a few months now which keeps reminding me that no matter what I’m facing, and how bad life seems, God is there for me and He will always be there for me – Here’s Kutless with Promise of a Lifetime:

So as you can see 2013 has been a rotten year so I’ll be glad to see the back of it! 2014 can only be a better year can’t it!

I hope your 2013 has been a far happier year than mine has been, however if not, I hope you have had the love and support of family and friends to help you through the year.

I pray that as we look ahead to 2014 you may go forward with confidence knowing that whatever situations you have to deal with, God is by your side not just during this Christmas season, but all year-long.

The Promise of a Lifetime by Kutless
 
I have fallen to my knees
As I sing a lullaby of pain
I’m feeling broken in my melody
As I sing to help the tears go away Then I remember the pledge you made to me 

I know you’re always there
To hear my every prayer inside
I’m clinging to the promise of a lifetime
I hear the words you say
To never walk away from me and leave behind
The promise of a lifetime

Will you help me fall apart
Pick me up, take me in your arms
Find my way back from the storm
And you show me how to grow
Through the change

I still remember the pledge you made to me

I know you’re always there
To hear my every prayer inside
I’m clinging to the promise of a lifetime
I hear the words you say
To never walk away from me and leave behind
The promise of a lifetime  I am holding on to the hope I have inside
With you I will stay through every day
Putting my understanding aside

I am comforted
To know your always there
To hear my every prayer inside
I’m clinging to the promise of a lifetime.
I hear the words you say
To never walk away from me and leave behind
The promise of a lifetime

I know you’re always there
To hear my every prayer inside
I’m clinging to the promise of a lifetime
Looking back at me
I know that you can see
My heart is open to the promise of a lifetime 

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 you may be aware, over the last few months, I’ve published a number of blog posts entitled “Managing Grief” and in them have given a number of practical suggestion on things which may help you following a bereavement. What you may not however be aware of, is that just over a week before I posted my first “Managing Grief” blog post, my Dad had just passed away, and that just 6 weeks after Dad’s passing, my aunt (my Mum’s one remaining sister) also passed away. I have therefore felt that shared my very real experiences of managing grief, may in some small way help someone else cope with their grief a little bit better.

Last week I was out for dinner with my Mum and, as is often the case, the conversation got onto Dad and Aunt Mae, and about how difficult Mum was finding it to cope on a daily basis. At one point Mum said to me, “You seem to be dealing with it ok”, and I just responded by saying that I had my moments!

cryingMoments! A little bit of an understatement by me, as while I may look as if I’m coping well with Dad and Aunt Mae’s dead, inwardly I’m a bit of a wreck! I’ve been putting on a “brave face” with Mum ever since we were originally told they could do no more for Dad, as I knew she needed me to be strong for her. That hasn’t meant I’m strong all the time, as I definitely have my moments, normally when in the privacy of my own home…

However I certainly wasn’t in any kind of private place yesterday when thinking of Dad and Aunt Mae, my emotions got the better of me. I was in fact sitting in the middle of our band (Bellshill Salvation Army Band), in the middle of our morning service, when events and the music conspired to get the better of me!

Before I’d left the house to go the morning service I’d been reading this week’s Salvationist (a SA weekly publication), and had discovered the tribute (including photo) of my Aunt Mae was in this week’s edition…well that got me emotional before I even left the house!

During our service we sang Lord I Come To You (The Power of Your Love), which has been a very special song to me for a number of years. As I tried to sing, I just thought about those I’d lost, and so I could sing no more because of my tears…My worst nightmare had happened, falling apart in public!

It didn’t get any better as the band piece was In The Love Of Jesus, which always reminds me of my Aunt Mae (and my Gran), so again I found my tears started…I think I only managed to play the first few bars of the music before I had to stop again.

Everyone who loses a loved one has particular things which remind them most about them. You may have guessed by now, that for me, that thing is music! As a family, music has always been a huge pat of our lives and thus so much music reminds me of those I’ve lost. I also find playing in the band very difficult too (not because I don’t want to play), as I play trombone…so did Dad, and he was always the one I turned to for advice on alternative slide positions etc. I remember from a very young age, climbing up on the huge piano stool beside my Dad, to “help” him with his music compositions; I also remember as a young junior soldier, in the days when I sang solos, gathering round the piano at Gran and Aunt Mae’s to be taught my latest solo.

So why am I telling you all this? It was the 21st of February Dad died and the 3rd April my Aunt Mae passed away, i.e. a few months ago, but I still miss them loads, particularly my Dad…and that ok! God knows we’re hurting, and knows it will take us time to grieve. Likewise our friends and other family members also don’t expect us to get over the loss of a loved one in week or two. Therefore, don’t be afraid to admit to yourself and to others that you are still finding it difficult coping with the death of your loved one, months or even years later!

Finally I’d just like to say a huge thanks to those at Bellshill Salvation Army who have been particularly supportive in these last few weeks and months (you know who you are), I have appreciated your support more than you can imagine, thank you.

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

Why is it when you try to help some people you just get your head bitten off and they go all defensive about what they’re saying it what they are trying to do?

As you’ll be aware if you’ve been reading my blog for a while, my Dad suffers from dementia and so I’ve been doing my best to support and help my Mum as much as possible, particularly over the last 12 weeks or so while Dad was in hospital. I’ve been trying my best but much of the time it has felt like my best just isn’t good enough, as no matter how much I’ve tried to help and support my Mum, she’s made me feel at time like I’m not helping, or that I’m saying things that aren’t helpful, and so she gets annoyed me with.

I know Mum doesn’t mean it to come across like this, as I know she does appreciate my help and support, it’s simply that she’s finding it difficult to come to terms with the fact that Dad will never be home again, and after more than 55 years of marriage that must be so hard for Mum to cope with. So I guess it’s simply been that me saying things as they really are is hard for mum to hear as she’s still finding it difficult to accept how things are with dad these days.

No matter what people say or do sometime when you try to help them, don’t ever stop trying to help them, as often those in most need are those who “push” those trying to help them away.

Stay strong and continue to reach out to those in need.