So Far.

So far I have managed to put one foot in front of the other everyday and keep going. Some days have been easier than others and some days I just haven’t done anything, because I just haven’t been able to.  I have become very conscious of looking after myself because I am all my Mom has.  I didn’t really think too much about self care before, Dad was here, he always knew what to do, who to contact and make the decisions.  Now Dad isn’t here, it’s all down to me and once you start thinking about that, it’s scary.

So far I have managed to get Dad’s memorial cards designed, printed and I have sent the majority of them out.  I have had a meeting at the hospital about the disgraceful lack of care my Dad received (I will blog about this separately).  The meeting really took it out of me, I was physically and emotionally drained, but it had to be done.

So far I have gone back to my music slowly.  I never feel like singing or picking up the guitar but once I do, I feel so much better.  Because I concentrate so much on what I am doing it releases stress and pressure for a little while and that feels good.

So far I thought I was doing well, coming to terms with things, not crying too much and then all of a sudden on Sunday night I had a huge outpouring of tears which came on suddenly and without warning.  Thankfully my man was here visiting and I could leave the room so that Mom didn’t witness these tears.

So far I haven’t done anything about the website I was putting together for my music. I have made a slow start to this.  With the website building taking place I will be downgrading my blogging plan here on WordPress.  I will still be blogging, I enjoy it and it helps me plus the wonderful fellow bloggers I have met on here which I certainly wouldn’t want to lose.  From July when I have the blogger plan I think any videos I have to share with you will have to be on the website.

And so far finally I haven’t really been up to that much.  At the moment I like it this way. I don’t want to have a full diary, or things planned ahead, I’m just not in that mindset yet. I want to take things slowly, to spend as much time as possible with my Mom, to plan my music and try to plan for the future.  As we know, the future doesn’t always go to plan.

A few photo’s of life over the past couple of weeks.

With love and sparkles xxx

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Tears totally out of the blue and when you least expect it.

Some delicious Irish Soda bread my cousin gave to me on her recent visit.

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Prayer is what works for me, it keeps me calmer, it soothes me and it makes me feel closer to my Dad, my Sister and all those who have gone before me.

And a little Snapchat to make me smile, take away the black circles and remove wrinkles 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

Kylie means Sparkle!

Following on from the evening with the Home Free guys, I went to see Kylie.  I knew we were in for a sparkling show, there was sparkle everywhere…hats, t-shirts, cowboy boots, cowboy hats, face painting, I was soooooo underdressed.  Himself has been a huge fan of Kylie for a long time and I really like her music, especially as on her last album she went Country. When I go out.

It was a great concert, huge disco balls, great dancing, fantastic singing, wonderful stage settings and it was like one amazing party.  It was fabulous to be there to see such a global sparkling star as Kylie.  I always feel a little sad that she hasn’t found her soulmate, if the media is to be believed she has been let down in love.  I suppose you can’t have everything.

As usual, a few pictures and some quick video’s from the night, I wasn’t too close but I hope you get the idea of how the arena became a disco party.

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This is Resorts World just outside of Birmingham, next to the arena which I believe has changed it’s name yet again, now known as Resorts World Arena.  Resorts World is full of bars, restaurants, shops, cinema and a casino.  I haven’t visited there yet but it just looked so lovely on a clear moonlight night as we walked from the car park to the arena to see Kylie.

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Home Free.

Before life started to completely unravel on me last September I did manage to get out to two live gigs, on consecutive nights!!  Nothing for months and then two, one after another.

One event I was very, very, very excited about.  Home Free were in Birmingham. Regulars readers of my blog will know that my parents discovered these amazing guys on You Tube last year and we all became huge fans.  I was jumping around the room when I discovered they were visiting my city and I was so thrilled to get tickets.  The weather was atrocious the night they were on, torrential rain, fierce winds but you couldn’t keep me away.  I actually let out a scream when they walked out on stage, thankfully I wasn’t the only one that did so.  Oh my, those guys can sing.  It was pure joy from start to finish.  I don’t have the words to convey how fantastic I found this concert, I think I’m probably obsessed by them.  If you haven’t heard their voices check them out  Home Free on You Tube

I have a few pictures from the evening…of course.

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Jeffery Joseph East was the support and he is definitely going places, a pure voice, great lyrics and built a good rapport with the audience. Jeffrey Joseph East

 

Yes I was fairly close and yes I have my eyes peeled for the next time they visit Birmingham, I so want to be there.

With love and sparkles xx

Pampered.

Back at the end of March was Mother’s Day here in the UK.  The hair salon I visit is also an Aveda Spa and they had put together various packages for sons and daughters to purchase for their Mothers as a treat.  Now I know I am not a Mom in the true sense of the word but I am Mom at home to my own Mom and I was for my Dad too.  The salon were only too happy for me to come along and have a bit of “me time” and have a treat.

I was still stressed leaving the house even though one of my most trusted carers was with Mom.  I knew Mom was safe and sound, looked after and I was ten minutes away but I still worry.  However, somehow, I actually did relax and for the first time in years I did cut off from the real world for at least ten minutes and just totally relaxed and listened to the sounds of the waves on the seashore that was gently playing in the background.

My pamper session consisted of a mini facial, a rejuvenating eye treatment, a hand and arm massage and a wash and blow dry complete with a head and shoulder massage and a glass of Prosecco and chocolates. It all felt amazing and I was so glad I left the house and treated myself.

 

With love and sparkles xxx

Easter Blessings.

I know, I’m a day late which is pretty good going for me really.  It is still officially Easter as it is Easter Monday.  I hope you have all enjoyed a wonderful long weekend, for a change here in the UK the weather has been amazing; blue sky, sunshine and warm temperatures.

Easter was another in my “year of firsts”, Easter without Dad.  The build up to Easter I found very emotional, it actually felt as bad as it did when Dad first passed but with more realisation of what had happened.  However, I watched the online services from Knock Shrine, I kept in touch with people via social media and I looked after my fairy of a Mom, my number one priority.

A few picture below of things that have kept me going the last few days.

A hanging basket of Viola’s I thought I had well and truly killed off last year bloomed beautifully.  The Robin Tree, Flame Tree and Willow Tree are all coming on this Spring. I’m doing my best to keep Mom and Dad’s garden in good shape.

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My own little growing project is coming on.  Our porch is like Spain when the sunshine and heat come through during the day.  I’m thrilled to see something I planted grow.

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Look, it had to be done, Snapchat filters are amazingly kind to me!!

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Happy Easter.

With love and sparkles xx

Back to the music and other happenings.

I wasn’t at all sure about the return to the music just yet. I wanted to and I didn’t want to, if that makes any kind of sense.  Was my heart truly in it?  Would it feel the same? I’m glad I gave it a chance.  The singing released a lot of built up stress, pressure. It just came out as I sang.  I was careful what I sang though, it’ll be a while before I can sing certain songs.  It did me good to sing.

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I wasn’t as rusty as I thought I would be upon my return to the guitar lessons. This was a different release to the singing.  My mind had to concentrate so much on what I was doing I relaxed for forty-five minutes and gave my attention to guitar chords.  I’ve made a list of the songs I was getting good at plus the ones I wasn’t very good at, at all.  This is my list of songs to practice until perfect with a view to an acoustic recording session and hang on, dare I even think this…gigging.  I just need to find some time to practice!

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One from last Summer, it feels so good to be able to play a song on the guitar.

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The list!!!

It was Mom’s birthday recently.  I think she knew it was a special day and she did enjoy opening lots of beautiful cards.  She received some absolutely gorgeous flowers. We made it through another first without Dad although I have the feeling he was most definitely here.

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Himself has got into the habit of cooking something for me.  He knows that if he goes to the trouble of cooking something I will eat it. I’m very lucky in how he looks after me when he can get over here and that he is a good cook.

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Quorn Pasta Bake and it was delicious.

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Himself.

I started to do a bit of cooking myself too, for Mom.  I was very pleased with myself that I made her a quite acceptable leek and potato soup, go me! I’m going to try her with smoothies next.

 

A little gardening project for myself for the Spring and Summer, you see I am endeavouring to keep myself busy and do some things for me whilst the carers are here to help me with Mom.

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As we have had some fairly nice weather I have started to go for a walk around the block when the carers first arrive as Mom is usually still asleep so I can get about an hour to do something for me.  Usually it is taken up with administration but it does feel good to get out in the fresh air.

 

Spring blossoms out far too early yet still so beautiful.

And finally for this particular blog post, mixed emotions and note to self.

 

Pictures are my own and these last two quotes are via Pinterest.

With love and sparkles xx

Automatic Pilot.

Well the weeks continue to roll by and I keep trying to make sense of things, adjust to this “new normal”. I still feel as if I have brain fog which is almost protecting me from the reality of losing my Dad although I feel reality is coming home a little more every day. Automatic pilot is wearing off, the tears fall and time is just flying by. I cannot believe we are into mid April already although I’m still a little behind on my blog posts.

I thought I’d do a “this is what I have been doing” blog post so that you can see I really am trying to deal with things, look after Mom and try to return to some sense of normal.

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Another “first” without Dad, we raised a glass to him and I hope there was one huge hooley going on in heaven.

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After telling me to start eating healthy and look after myself, himself rocks up with these little temptations.

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Aforementioned drinks for raising a glass or two!!

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Not traditional Irish fare for us for St Patricks Day – we had Indian instead.

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Signs of Spring.

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A “me time” cappuccino during a long overdue trip to the hair salon.

It’s the little things that matter the most.

Until next time, with love and sparkles xx

 

 

 

The Video Files.

As referred to on an earlier blog post, I had meant to tell you all about the excitement of making the music videos.  The build up, the amazing weather we had on the day, how things just seemed to work out perfectly and how wonderful my friend who was making the video was.  So professional, full of ideas, tricks and his schedule and project planning was spot on.  It was such a fabulous afternoon and I am so happy that I got to make that particular big dream come true.  Unfortunately life events took over and it is only now that I am endeavouring to catch up with my blogging.

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Trying out the dress for the video!

“How are things in GloccaMorra?” is a song from the film Finnian’s Rainbow and is something my Mom says to visitors to the house.  She wears a huge smile and asks “How are things in GloccaMorra?”  We heard Barbra Streisand sing a version of this song with a medley from the musical “Brigadoon” within the song, a verse of “Heather on the Hill”. I loved this version.  Getting a backing track was impossible so I had to commission one myself.  It was a difficult piece for the producer to replicate as it is an orchestral piece but he did an amazing job on it.  I recorded this song especially for my Mom and anytime we play it on You Tube she sings along.

I also made a video for the song “Summer Love” taken from the Neil Diamond film version of “The Jazz Singer”.  I love the melody to this song.  Imagine our surprise to be sitting on Friday evening in December watching the John McNicholl show on Keep it Country TV and for John to introduce me and play the video for “Summer Love”.  Oh my goodness how proud Dad was of me. It was an incredible feeling to see yourself on TV!!

I posted both videos on Facebook and I was overwhelmed with the response I received and the amount of views, this really is a dream come true.

Here is the link to my You Tube channel which I hope to update very soon.  I do have two recordings made last June when I made the other recordings which I haven’t uploaded yet.  Please give me a visit, I really do value your support.  Also below is the “GloccaMorra” video, would love to hear what you think.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCVHLg_2erVoITLESQY5trTw

 

The First Night Out.

Many people have mentioned to me that this year will now be a year of firsts.  The first time I do something without Dad, the first time we have birthdays etc without Dad.  I have experienced a year of firsts before, in 2006 when my sister passed away suddenly. It felt very different to how I feel now and of course back then, I had Mom and Dad to help me through it, we were there for each other.   This is different because Mom is happy in her own world and can’t support me and Dad is supporting me from his new home.  Yes it is all very different.

I had mixed feelings when my country music friends were messaging me about going to see John McNicholl when he played Birmingham three weeks ago.  I wasn’t sure I was up to it.  I know Dad would have been the first one to say “Go, go out and enjoy yourself”.  It was the emotional side of things that was affecting me.  Seeing that group of friends for the first time, crying, hugging, singing, dancing.  Was it all going to be too much too soon?

Once again my amazing man was there to help me by coming over to visit that evening and sit with Mom. If I decided to just go to the dance I knew Mom was safe and sound. I decided to go.  John had telephoned me about Dad and messaged me and I wanted to support him plus I felt it was better to get this particular first out-of-the-way.

I felt incredibly alone and vulnerable getting ready to go.  I felt physically sick leaving the house and I felt weak, barely able to walk when I arrived at the venue.  I never felt so alone as I did when I walked into the club. John was already on stage, people were dancing and I felt lost.  One of my friends appeared at my side, gave me a huge cuddle, a glass of wine and took me over to the table where everyone was.  One by one we hugged, had a tear and held hands.  The sense of support was wonderful.  A family friend who has known my parents forever was there to support me too.  When I cried he took me out waltzing on the dance floor and he tried so hard to make me laugh.  John as always was so supportive and lovely although I didn’t get to speak to him for long.  As usual I had arranged my taxi far too early.

One of the main things I missed was Dad worrying about me.  Whenever I went out alone to meet my friends at a dance he always worried about me travelling alone.  I missed that conversation so much.

Was I glad I went out?  Hmmm I’m still unsure how to answer that one.  It was lovely to see me friends, to see John and the lads and there was such a big turnout for a Sunday night I was very pleased for John.  I didn’t get my usual sense of excitement, I wasn’t my usual diva on the dance floor but how could I be, it was my first night out.

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Well it’s not a proper night out without a Snapchat filter!

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A little blurred but a lovely reminder of the support I received from a great friend of my parents.

John and the lads rocking St Anne’s with a Neil Diamond Medley.

 

Lost.

I don’t know what other word to use, I’m absolutely and totally lost.  So much has happened since my last couple of blog posts.  I had meant to continue with my story of Mom’s broken wrist which resulted in her becoming immobile which then resulted in a ten-day hospital stay due to severe dehydration, chest infection and low levels of various vitamins we need in our body.  Mom is currently on a hospital bed in our lounge. She is happy, she is much healthier and she can walk; as in she has the strength and ability to walk, it’s just down to fear/confidence and of course the state of confusion from her cognitive degeneration on the day which dictates if she will walk or not.

But I didn’t get to blog in-depth about these things, to write it down, to let it out because other events took over.  Dad was not well.  He had various medical issues for years which were all being managed by the Doctor and his medication.  However the end of last year he was getting weaker, feeling dizzy and his blood pressure was becoming very low.

Dad’s 92 birthday was on 19th January and the following week he became very ill indeed. We had an emergency admission to hospital on the Thursday evening after the Doctor had been to see us twice at home due to Dad’s increasing weakness.  On the Saturday afternoon Dad took a turn for the worse and the Doctor said he was very sorry but Dad didn’t have long left, his body was shutting down.  What happens to our brains when we hear these words?  I was still standing up?  I was crying but I was still breathing and I immediately went into protection mode for my Dad.  I stayed with him, I held him, I cuddled him, I talked to him, I told him I loved him and thanked him for being the most amazing Dad. I told him I would always look after Mom. I held his hand, I told him to go fly with the angels and he did in the early hours of Sunday morning.

The feeling of what I can only call energy around his bed was incredible, it steadily grew all afternoon, into the evening and onwards until he crossed over.  Half of my worst nightmare had happened, I had lost my Dad.  Yet I felt some peace as I was with him and he had been at peace and no pain.  Two of my cousins were with me as was my best friend and they took over to look after me.  My boyfriend was home looking after Mom. Mom knew we were at hospital but not how bad things were.

Somehow, with the help of my cousins I did all the formalities and arranged a funeral. I’m sure I had guidance from above as I just seemed to know what hymns to choose, what clothes Dad would have wanted to wear, the appropriate readings etc.  We had the funeral on 14th February, Valentines Day and it was a day full of perfect love.  It was even warm and sunny.

Mom doesn’t yet know what has happened, under medical advice for now not to tell her as it could have a detrimental effect on her health.  I am however convinced by middle of the night talks she is having with “someone” and the words that are being spoken, that she knows somewhere deep inside what has happened.

The loneliness is indescribable; Dad and I were always chatting about something or other.  Once the carer leaves mid afternoon that’s it for me and Mom until the following day.  Sometimes Mom is chatty, sometimes we put our music on and sometimes Mom is sleepy and I sit there, thinking, reading, online, catching up on messages but my heart isn’t in anything much apart from looking after Mom.

My man has been so supportive, he was over here every night for a month, cooking in advance to make sure I eat and generally looking after me so I can look after Mom. We got this down to three nights a week and this week we are down to two nights a week. It is a fifty mile round trip for him and he has his own Mom to look after plus he works from home.  He was getting so tired out and I know, I have to learn to live with this horrible new normal.  My friends and cousins too have been so supportive with their calls and messages and my online friends too have been great.  It’s one of those times isn’t it when no-one knows exactly what to say.

I wasn’t sure whether to blog about this, writing has helped me in the past and I can’t let my tears out unless there is someone to sit with Mom and I can escape so perhaps this blog post will be a little therapeutic for me.

I feel like a lost little girl who is having to be very grown up and responsible and look after things the grown up’s always looked after.  People tell me how strong I am. I don’t feel strong, I feel I’m a mess yet we keep going.  Our world has fallen apart never to be the same again yet the world keeps on turning.

I’m rambling, more so than usual.  I had so many happy things to blog about; my music, going to see Home Free  but I never got around to those posts.  We started to put a website together for my music and that too has been left.

It has helped in a scrambled kind of way to offload on my blog.  I was wondering if I would bother to blog again.  Then I thought of a favourite blogger Often Called Cathy who always manages to find something positive no matter how bad things are and it made me think.   I was truly blessed to have Dad as my Dad, I was also blessed to have him for so long in my life and it was a complete privilege to be able to care for him over the past years and to be with him as he crossed to the next life.

I made Dad three promises in January; that I would always look after Mom, that I wouldn’t lose my sparkle and that I wouldn’t give up on my music.  The first is easy right now, I’ll work on the other two.

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Roses Mom and I sent to Dad for his birthday.

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The Snowdrops are out.

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The love goes on.

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I had a walk around the block yesterday, get some fresh air, the daffodils are in abundance.

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Every day x