A 2016 critique

Firstly, I have to give credit where it is due and admit that today’s post is inspired by the lovely Alice at More Than Toast. I loved her “what 2016 taught me post” and felt like maybe looking back on last year and seeing how far I have overcome might not only be cathartic for me but may FINALLY be the missing piece in the jigsaw to getting some sort of blogging mojo back.

Not to pull any punches 2016 was shit and followed a number of years which have been getting gradually shitter for the last 10 years. Yep, how terrifying is that not only has my life been on a downhill slide for a while now, but I am also old enough to refer to things that happened 10 years ago and not be referring to my childhoodL

10 years ago I graduated Uni. I had my forensics degree and I had secured a job in the local police force. I think I was about as happy as I could have been. The future was bright and I was ready to embrace it.

Sadly, the job with the local police force was where it was all going wrong. 5 years of constant mind games and horrendous bullying I walked out one Christmas Eve a broken woman. I wasn’t eating, wasn’t sleeping and had reached levels of low I never thought myself capable of. However, the one positive I thought I had come away with was I had met OH. Ha ha. My time lines get a little blurry, but I think I must have had a couple of ok(ish) years before OH kicked me out of our house 9 months after buying it. Then came Raoul, then Grandad got bowel cancer, and within a week of his “all clear” Dad got his terminal diagnosis.

I entered 2016 knowing there was a good change my Dad would not come out of the other side of it. I hoped and prayed for a miracle but on the 24th June, the day the world was watching Brexit happen I watched my Dad take his last breath. He took one final breath in, and never breathed out.

I have no idea how I survived it. My Dad was my rock, the one person I could rely on and the world is a much darker place without him in it. Two weeks after burying my Dad, my Mum had a heart attack and I was back to hospital visits and predictions of gloom.

2016 wasn’t all bad. The one positive has been that S and I had our first date. He has become something of a rock for me, which is as terrifying as it is useful. Having someone who I can call when things get rough means a lot, the ass kicking he gives me when I need it, the motivation he gives me to keep moving forwards is something I need. But it does make me worry. I am in a position where I have no idea what I would do if he left; he is my grip on reality and the one ray I can see in an extremely bleak life.

Mums care has fallen on me. I know it would, it’s why she moved to be closer to me but I had no idea quite how much time it would take. I feel that I have stopped being me and I don’t see an end. That’s the thing that seems to get to me at the moment; I don’t know when this will end. We thought we just had to survive Dad dying, but then I had to get through the heart attack, then there has been a whole plethora of other health issues. Every time we get one beat we seem to be faced with another one. And I don’t see an end. I don’t know where to turn to for help, and I worry I am drowning.

I just want to give up, walk away from it all. I would love to go somewhere where nobody knows my name and I could make my life what I wanted it to be, rather than this disaster it appears to have become. I feel like I am trying and failing at everything I put my hand to. I am constantly fighting with my sister, the family has fallen apart and I worry I am not enough to fill the shoes my Dad left behind.

So, to get this back to where I started, what have I learnt from 2016? Well, I have learnt that I am strong and that I can’t be broken. I am either too stubborn or too stupid to stop fighting I don’t know how to. 2016 is the year I faced the worse thing I thought would ever happen to me, something I didn’t think I would have to face until I was a proper adult (although 2016 has also made me realise there are no proper adults, we are all just sucking it and seeing) and I made it through to the other side. I am bruised, I am shaken but I am not broken.

I am also a lot braver that I was this time last year. I stress a lot less and I don’t waste time worrying, well not as much as I did. There’s no point. Things that would have once terrified me don’t as much. In fact, my only concern is that I don’t waste my life, as I know life is short and every second is precious.

So here’s to 2016, you took so much but you also taught so much. 2017, any chance you fancy being kinder?

It’s a bit weird.

*ok, so a little bit out of order but this is what happens when you write a blog post then forget to hit publish!

So last night, I sort of had a mini-freak out. Sort of.

Mums moving date is approaching, although we still can’t tie the solicitors down to an actual date, and this means the time had officially come to go through Dads stuff and begin donating as much as we possibly could to charity shops. I have to admit to being quite impressed with myself. I let more go than I thought I would and have only come home with a couple of things the vast majority of which is very practical and is stuff that I will use in my day to day life.

The rest went to charity. We only threw away 5 socks and that was only because we couldn’t find the matching pairs. I am not saying that everything is 100% perfect and that the charity will be able to sell them all, but they were my Dads clothes and I couldn’t bear to see them in the bin. In fact, the only t-shirt which was resigned to the bin, as it had a whole in the back of it, has been removed and is now safely nestled in with the rest of my PJs. I just couldn’t see his clothes thrown out.

Anyway, going through it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. I mean there was an awful lot of tears, and at one point I felt sick to my stomach. But it is done, and the world keeps turning. As it seems to.

However, back to my little freak-out.

Dad had this really lovely, very stylish white shirt. It’s one that we all loved him in, but there was no way it would be of any use to my sister, my Mum or I. It was a button down the front, short sleeves, intentionally frayed t-shirt type shirt. (I feel I am not selling this particularly well, and this probably explains why I will never cut it as a fashion blogger!)

Anyway, we all looked at it and said it’s a shame we don’t know anyone it will fit. Then I thought, hang on a minute. I think it would fit S and it’s the sort of thing he would wear and look good in. So, without thinking I sent him a text asking if he wanted a new shirt.

He responded with “why?” and so I started writing a text to him explaining that Dad had a shirt, and I was giving him first refusal before we put it in a charity bag.

As I was writing the text I thought “this feels a bit weird”

His response was “isn’t that a bit weird?”

I have to admit it was. But I can’t for the life of me figure out why it felt quite so weird and we all know that when I can’t figure something out I start to worry.

My first concern was he would think this was some big romantic gesture. It wasn’t. Had he been in the room I would have said to him “do you want this” he would have said “no” and I would have thrown it into the charity bag and moved on to the next shirt.

Then I worried he was saying no as he felt it was some statement of where I thought this relationship would go. It wasn’t that either.

I think it probably had something to do with the fact it was my dead Dad’s shirt, a man he never met and I hate that. I hate that the fact my dead has affected things. Would it have been so weird if Dad was still alive? Or did it have nothing to do with Dads death and if he was still with us would it have still been weird in its own right?

I don’t know. All I know is I don’t like it.


I can’t catch a break.

I don’t know what’s going on with my life at the moment but I seriously don’t seem to be able to get a break.
Obviously, everything with dad and then with mum has left me knackered. I’m so busy trying to fit in seeing people in haven’t seen whilst dealing with Dad that I’m not sure I’m going get
I’m so busy trying to fit in seeing people in haven’t seen whilst dealing with Dad that I’m not sure I’m going get a chance for a holiday this year. Which I know I shouldn’t moan about but seriously the idea of just sitting by a pool and doing nothing,  which usually would do nothing for me, but after this year just having no responsibilities and being able to focus on me – it appeals!
Honestly, I just want some sun and a bit of ‘me’ time.
However with things being up in the air with the move, at the moment the best I can do are weekend here and there with various friends. The idea is I get a few cheap nights away, where I can relax and be pampered, for once. The plan was to  drink plenty of wine,  talk about my Dad and just let them look after me a little bit.
That’s why I made a five hour trip on Friday night to see one of my friends, despite me worrying about leaving mum after everything she has been through. I felt if I didn’t get away I may have a complete breakdown.
I’d imagines a weekend sat in the sun in their garden, drinking wine, talking about Dad, being looked after and generally just getting a chance to recharge my batteries and have someone look after me for once.
However,  that hasn’t happened.
Firstly it’s rained. It’s rained the entire day and rather than needing sunscreen, I’ve spent the day searching for a blanket. But that’s not my big grr or the motivation for writing this post. After everything I have been through this year, it’s going to take more than a little rain to break me.
No, the thing that has gotten my goat, is that whilst I thought I was coming down for a quiet, self-indulging weekend, in fact I am coming down for a summer bbq and they have organised to have a house full. All weekend.
Rather than relaxing with my friend. I’m going to be stuck in a room full of strangers trying to make small talk for 48 hours.
It wouldn’t be so bad if I knew I could escape after a few hours but everyone is staying over and there is talk of a disco, dj and karaoke…
Had I known this was what I was signing up for when I came down I don’t know if I’d have come.
All I wanted was a weekend to talk about my Dad and have someone look after me. Was that really too much to ask for?

I’m done with today.

It’s 9.14 and I am already done with today. In fact, I am done with today, this week and getting close to being done with this life. I’ve officially, had enough. Stop the bus I want to get off!

I miss Dad. It seems to be getting harder every. single. day. I just want him back. I don’t get how he has gone. He was too full of life, too strong. He deserved better than this. He loved life soooo much. It’s not fair that he isn’t here to experience it.

Then despite getting up early, a morning in tears led to me being late to work when, and I have NO idea how this happened, it took me 20 minutes to put on a pair of tights – and no I am not exaggerating. No idea how but it genuinely took me 20 minutes to badly put on tights and thus I ended up being 5 minutes late to work.

Then, when I go to make my morning coffee I find out someone has thrown my lunch into the bin.

We have things that have been sat in the fridge for months, yesterday I throw away some bread rolls that were completely green they had been on the shelf for so long. Yet my “eat within three days of opening” tub of humus has been thrown in the bin – and it’s only Tuesday. If it was Wednesday and someone was being VERY anal about best before dates etc then I could be a little bit inclined to forgive them. But it is Tuesday and the tub was open on Monday (that’s one day) and the tub is still half full.

Add to that the fact I have messaged S saying I am not in a good head space and he hasn’t responded yet and I am about ready to…

Well, I’m not sure. Half of me wants to punch a wall, and half of me wants to curl up in a big ball and cry until the world fades away.

All I know is roll on tomorrow.


I just want a hug

Well,  I think I have officially moved out of the denial phase, and I tell you it couldn’t come at a worse time.

This week started out with my Mum being rushed to A & E in the back of an ambulance having had a heart attack. Which means again I am in the rounds of leaving work early and spending my entire evening sat by a hospital bed. The fact that my Mum was at my Sisters when this happens means that rather than the hospital being a nice local one, I am looking at about a 3 hour round trip to go and visit Mum.

To say I am knackered would be an understatement.

I was barely over the lack of sleep I had while looking after Dad.

Mums doing ok. I mean she is very ill and looking at open heart surgery but she is still with us and they are talking about her getting out of hospital soon, so maybe rather than ok I mean not dead. But hey after the year I’m having so far I’ll take that as a win.

Of course, all of this has happened just as I am moving out of the denial phase into the “missing Dad like crazy and feeling sick every time I think about never seeing him again” phase*

*possibly not it’s technical name

And I don’t feel like I have ever needed my Dad more in my life.

Of course lessons from last time have not been learnt. My work continues to pay lip service to been supportive and my Sister decided she couldn’t go and visit Mum the one  night that I couldn’t cancel, only postpone plans I had made weeks. Honestly when I saw the message that she’d “spent too long cooking tea so it probably wasn’t worth heading back to the hospital” I could have swung for her. Although that might explain where my newly “aggressive” label has come from.

Yep, as if I am not dealing with enough shit, I have also found out that a few of my work colleagues saw it fit to complain about me in their recent reviews. Not one of those people came to me and talked to me about their feelings. Not one person ever thought to ask how I was doing or took a moment to wonder if my new “tougher” exterior had anything to do with the fact my world was slowly falling apart before my very eyes and I could do nothing to save it. Nope, they just slagged me off behind my back.

I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.

Between you and me, I have no idea how I am still continuing to function. All I want is a big hug from my Dad and for me to feel, for the moments I am in his arms, safe and loved. Yes, instead I am going through this semi alone. S has been amazing, I have a story for another time but to summaries, he spent almost 2 hours trying to find the hospital my Mum was in so he could meet me for tea and I have friends texting me all hours of the day or night. In fact, I had one friend offer to get in her car and drive to me so I didn’t have to spend the night alone.

But I am yet to have the one thing that I need, the one thing that would make it all ok… and I am never going to get that.

Just getting away from it all.