Life Sparkles ✨

Restart.

Things are so different.  You wonder how is it possible for life to change so completely, so quickly and with such heartbreak and yet it has.  I know I am not alone in this.  I know this happens to people on a daily basis.  Of course I am struggling with my own loss of everything right now and so I write about my story, my grief journey and about restarting my life.  That’s how it feels, that somehow, right now, in the midst of everything I’m having to deal with this dreadful pain, the loneliness and yet restart my life.

Our GP said to me that if I was married, or had children or had still been at work, the days would be easier to get through because I would have distractions. However as my life for the past three years has been as a full time carer for my parents, with both of them passing so close together, suddenly my whole world was gone.  I have to find myself again.  Some people have said this is really exciting as I can now decide to do anything I want to, which is true.  However right now, I don’t want to.  Does that sound mean of me?  I would give my life to have my parents back with me right this second. Perhaps that is mean of me, it’s selfish of me.  I truly believe they are in heaven and fully restored to health.  Things that they both told me long before their sudden passing leave me in no doubt that they are there, together, reunited with my sister and other family members. So yes it is selfish of me to want them back here with me but I want to be with them. I miss them. I miss the life I had with them.  I know that I am incredibly lucky to have been blessed with them as parents and that I enjoyed such a great relationship with them.

Each morning is another realisation that this is it for me now, I can go out when I want, come in when I want, do what I want and I am just not used to this.  This new freedom makes me feel so guilty yet what can I do, I must keep going and build a new life. No big decisions for the time being, my brain is not operating as it was and I don’t want to do anything in a rush and make a terrible mistake.  If this is a new and exciting restart in my life I want to do it right.  Although small errors are allowed, how else do we learn.

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What was I thinking I bought Bikini’s and you know what, I’m going to wear them and not worry about curves and a bit of fat.  Holidays are coming and I don’t mean Christmas, more about that on another blog post.

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Dessert and a glass of Prosecco is never, ever, ever a mistake.

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A new favourite, Vanilla Espresso Cocktails.

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A new favourite flower, Alstroemeria, also known as Lily of the Incas.

I know my posts are fairly random as in randomly written but that’s just how I am, my brain is on automatic pilot, it feels like cotton wool some days but the blogging is such good therapy for me.  My wonderful chap makes me laugh and looks after me so well. My friends and family are good to me, checking up on me, taking me out, we have laughs, long talks and some tears.  My neighbours have been very supportive and are looking out for me too.  I have some great support and for that I feel blessed and very grateful.

Thank you.

 

With love and sparkles xx

Life Sparkles ✨

Death and Taxes.

In my opinion I don’t think anything can prepare you for the amount of administration, organising and general work that appears when someone close to you passes away.  All this work appears when you are in the worst frame of mind and least prepared to carry it out.  Having to do so much when my Dad passed at the end of January was a real eye opener, there were envelopes arriving every day with something to respond to, forms to complete, never mind the trip to the registrar to register the death and obtain the various forms required for the funeral to be carried out.  I had only just finished the administration for Dad when my Mom passed four months later and I had to start again.  Of course this time I knew what I had to do and when, but this time I had double the grief and trying to deal with everything was easy because I had done it once before so recently, and trying to deal with everything was difficult, because I had done it once before so recently.

Arranging orders of service, choosing readings and hymns, photographs for the orders of service. Liaising with various people to ensure everything could be done on a particular day and a particular time. Then designing memorial cards.  Sending them out to family and friends, whilst in the meantime dealing with the various forms and letters, telephone calls, amendments of names etc etc.  All whilst your brain has decided not to co-operate.  You cannot be prepared for these events.  I think it’s impossible.

Thankfully the people you are dealing with are used to talking to and helping bereaved family members.  Everyone I have spoken to has been supportive, kind, helpful and explained in terms I understand what I need to do and by when.  One of the nicest things that was said to me was when I was speaking to a chap in Ireland on the telephone and as he finished the conversation he told me to “mind myself”.  Irish people will know that phrase, it means to take care of myself.  It brought tears to my eyes, tears of comfort that a huge corporation had a human side and understood my pain.

A long time favourite film of mine is “Meet Joe Black”.  I loved a scene towards the end of the film where Joe reveals his identity as an IRS Agent.  The saying is correct, there are two things which are a certainty in life Death and Taxes.

With love and sparkles xx

The Music Sparkle ✨🎶

The Show Must Go On?

Well with everything that has happened and is happening in my life, the music has well and truly taken more than a backseat.  I think it’s probably in another vehicle, on another road in a completely different City to me – that’s how distant and disengaged I have been from my music.  Lots of very well meaning friends have said “get back to your singing you’ll feel better”, or “pick up your guitar and strum” you’ll feel better.  I tried. I didn’t feel better.  Music was a huge part of my life with my Mom and Dad, there wasn’t a day that there wasn’t a radio on, You Tube on, Keep it Country on, and all of us singing at one time or another during the day.  We loved the music.  My parents were so proud of me for following my dream but the dream doesn’t hold the same promise anymore.

My lovely guitar tutor on my first session with him recently suggested that we leave my usual genres of Country Music and Irish Music alone for a while.  It could be too sad for me.  So in order to get back to playing guitar and relearning the chords, we’ll try different genres.  Great idea!!  I did the same when I returned to my vocal coach and I sang some hits from the 1970’s. “Cherish” by Kool and the Gang.  “Native New Yorker” from Odyssey.  1980’s and a beautiful song from Sade “Smooth Operator” and a more recent hit from Bryan Adams “You belong to me”.  This was liberating and dare I say it, I enjoyed singing again.

I bought myself a new guitar book which has a range of songs within it.  I printed off some other songs from the internet which just happen to be Country…it would appear I can’t leave Country Music alone.  However, I am sitting a strumming this week for half an hour a day, the chords are returning and the tops of my fingers really hurt again as they harden up with the pushing down on the strings. (I have an acoustic guitar which has metal strings).

I returned to the choir recently although I sat in the back row and didn’t really sing out as my voice is still stressed, it will return in time.  I have lost a lot of confidence.  I know myself I am not the woman I was; confident, independent, fearless.  The trauma of the year so far has stripped me of me.  My confidence has been bolstered though when I looked at my You Tube channel Dawn Maxwell Music and seen that there has been a lot of activity recently with people watching/listening to the few videos I have on there. That made me happy.

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The new Guitar book. Some are way too advanced for me yet but looking through the book I can see quite a few that I do know the chords so I will have a go at those and yes, there are a few country songs in there!

I have been told by many people that if you are into your music, then the music will help you heal.  I’m beginning to think they are right.  If I take it slowly, not push myself, stay away from the songs that break my heart for now, maybe, just maybe it is time for the show to go on.

With love, sparkles and country music xx

Life Sparkles ✨

Carer Life.

It is a beautiful day today, it has been really good weather for the past few days but today is the best so far.  Blue sky, sunshine and it is 20 degrees outside which is a big change from having to drag the Winter coat out just over a week ago.

As a carer you don’t get to go outside much.  Today I was planning to go to the local village; I had some chores to do, a bit of shopping, walk in the sunshine a little and then come home and have a shower.  Very simple everyday things you would think but not to a carer.  The caregiver who was due to be here today to help with Mom’s personal care and sit with Mom so that I could go out is off sick.  In total I have three caregivers who are here over the course of a week on a rota basis.  Today all three are unavailable. Apart from the one who is unwell today, one is on compassionate leave and the other has a day off as she has hospital appointments.  You would never believe that all three would be unavailable on the same day but life happens.  Thankfully a senior lady from the caregiver office came out this morning to assist me and she will come this evening also.

Tomorrow I had planned to pop out for lunch as a long time family friend is due to visit me.  It’s possible I won’t have any caregivers again so no lunch out for me.  It cannot be helped and although I’m disappointed you learn over time to just deal with things as they come along.

People just would not believe that it’s not possible for me to go and have a shower and wash my hair because I cannot leave Mom unattended, I need to have someone to sit with her.  This is something that Dad used to do, sit and chat with Mom.  They would hold hands, sing and laugh together.  It really is the day to day little things that I miss so much.  I keep expecting Dad to walk into the room or to hear him call me.

Last week I was lucky, after three months of planning I did manage to get out for a quick lunch with one of my best friends and I honestly felt like I had been on holiday.  Another of my friends came to visit me and we sat in the garden for an hour, had a glass of wine and put the worlds to right and once again it felt like I had a holiday.

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I’m not Vegan but I do enjoy the all day Vegan Breakfast at Renato Lounge.

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A quick hairdo a couple of weeks ago and my favourite, skinny cappuccino.

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Beautiful sparkling Roses I bought for Mom.

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I still haven’t got used to the fact that I am the only one in the house that will eat these kind of goodies so I must stop random buying when I do get to the shops.  Yes they were delicious and yes I’m trying to be good, again.

In other news, Home Free have announced another World Tour and yes, they are coming to Birmingham and yes I have my tickets.  How I would love to meet these guys, talk singing and have the whole photo taken kind of thing but as a carer the VIP ticket price is well out of my price range.  One day maybe I’ll get to meet them.

With love and sparkles xx

 

 

 

 

Life Sparkles ✨

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 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

Life Sparkles ✨

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

Life Sparkles ✨ · The Music Sparkle ✨🎶

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

Life Sparkles ✨

How long has it been?!!

Mid August already!! How is this possible?  I have come to the conclusion that the reason I am on the go all the time and still don’t get everything done is because time is just moving too quickly these days…or am I just getting old?

I have a “to do” list a mile long but I have missed writing my blog so I’ve made myself a cup of coffee and decided to do a quick catch up post.  Thankfully I receive emails updates from my favourite blogs so I have kept more or less up to date with your lovely blog posts and of course I have my comments to make…that’s on the “to do” list.

Well since I last wrote poor Dad has been unwell again bless him.  We had that slight improvement and then things went downhill.  Once again the throat played up and we have a vicious circle going on.  Dad has no appetite as he has no taste on the food and his throat is sore. Because he is not eating so well he is weak, frail and has a mixture of reflux and other acid forcing it’s way up in the most awful coughing I have ever heard.

Another attack of Thrush or so we thought but after a week of treatment the white patches were still there.  The Dr tried another medication which has helped clear up the patches, reduce the soreness and in turn Dad has persevered to eat more substantial food which in turn has meant that the acid is reducing, the cough is reducing and he is getting some sleep at night.  I feel for him, this bout of illness, one thing after another, has been going on since just before Easter.  He is wore out.

In my last update I was celebrating a run of 33 days of going to bed, Oh I spoke too soon. July ran at two nights a week no bed and also into the start of August, we are having a good week this week…shhhh.  Mom is such a little darling though, she has been amazing looking after Dad in her way.  All that nursing knowledge is still there. So beautiful to watch them sitting hand in hand watching the TV and singing along with You Tube.   One night when I was tucking her into bed she thanked me for caring.  I said “Mom you don’t have to thank me at all”  and her reply was that it isn’t everyone that would give up their life to look after two old spirits.  I could have just wept there and then.  I don’t feel I have given up my life.  Undoubtedly my life has  completely changed but I have to say that I have an inner happiness and peace now that I didn’t have whilst on the corporate daily slog although I enjoyed that.  Such importance is placed on meetings, deadlines, payment times, performance reviews etc in that world but to me, in the grand scheme of things, those things don’t really matter to life.  I don’t miss the stress and anxiety of the corporate world.

In the midst of all of this, it was my birthday and we actually had a lovely weekend.  My chap was over for the weekend, I was so lucky to receive so many cards and some beautiful gifts.  Himself even bought me flowers which he never does and oh yes, I asked him what he had done!!  I have a few photo’s to share with you below.  There is much happening with the singing at the moment which I will write in another post.  I’m hoping that this is just the busy period, setting everything up and once it’s done, it’s done and I can get back to just singing when I can.

With love and sparkles until the next time xxx

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A simple thing but I really love the Twitters birthday balloons!

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My chap and I actually got out for a birthday meal together and this was my dessert and I enjoyed every single mouthful.  Meringue, Strawberries, Chantilly Cream, Pistachio’s, absolutely delicious and it was like a holiday.  The carer sat with  M & D and I had a whole three hours out.

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My beautiful flowers from himself.

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The snapchat fun photo – is anyone else missing the heatwave?  I loved the hot weather especially for getting the washing dry…we have loads of washing in this house!!

 

 

Life Sparkles ✨

And the latest from me is…

…We are still in the midst of illness here at home, it’s been a long six weeks.  Mom thankfully appears to be fully recovered from the chest infections.  Dad though, bless him, since he had the chest infections at the same time as Mom, also then had a viral infection. Swiftly followed by Thrush in the throat, more than likely caused by the heavy doses of antibiotics for the chest infections and now we have Strep Throat, so more antibiotics and a very heavy dosage.  Eight, 250 mg tablets a day for ten days to ensure the bacterial infection is cleared up.  This time I am ready with the probiotic yoghurt in the hope that we can prevent another attack of Thrush after this latest dose of antibiotics.  It is so hard to watch Dad suffering with the Strep Throat.  The Doctor showed me his throat when she examined him on Tuesday and all I can say is it looked gross.  No wonder he has so much pain, unable to swallow which of course is affecting food and drink intake.  I have no idea where Dad contracted this particular infection, either someone who has called to visit has been in contact with someone who has it or Dad’s immune system was very low after the continued infections.  I am praying Mom doesn’t catch this particular infection.

https://www.webmd.boots.com/cold-and-flu/cold-guide/strep-throat-bacterial-tonsillitis

We have experienced some amazing hot Summer like weather in the past week, our Bank Holiday Monday was apparently the hottest on record.  For me it meant washing everything in sight and getting it dried on the line outside in the fresh air.  I love that. Such simple pleasures.  Also, the flowers in the garden have really bloomed.  Mom and Dad loved spending time in the garden and buying new plants, I’m doing my best to keep everything alive!

 

I did manage to get out for a walk on one of the warm days, it felt so good to be out in Summer clothes, feel the sunshine on my legs and arms.  We have had such a long, cold and wet Winter here.

The daisies growing wild in the grass reminded me of school days and running barefoot in the playing fields.  I’m very lucky to live close to the city and yet also within a five minute stroll to the edge of the countryside, it does a soul good to see the fields, the flowers and trees, even on a wet day.  Now the weather is back to where it should be for Mid May – much cooler, quite windy and chilly today.

I know I have been a little quiet on the music side of things, but I have been managing to grab some time here and there and I will blog about where I am with my dreams very soon.

Snapchat has given me giggles when I have had a chance to try out some fun filters and I find a giggle always does me good.  This is one of me looking a little tired out…and Snapchat has given me a Hippie Flower in my hair and freckles…it did make me smile.

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I did get out to a couple of the concerts that I have held tickets for since October last year, again, that’s another blog post to come.

So for now, I’m off to do some more chores, this post has taken me all morning to complete.  Full time caring is demanding, it’s stressful, I live almost totally on the edge of anxiety and worry and you do the best you can even when you feel so helpless. When there really is nothing you can do but just be there.

I’m looking forward over the weekend to perhaps an hour or so to have a cuppa and sit back and read your latest blog posts which I love to escape into.

With love and Sparkles x

Life Sparkles ✨

Catching up yet again!

Once again I find that time is flying by and I’m not getting an opportunity to keep my blog updated. I have amazing ideas that pop into my head, subjects to blog about, songs to include on my blog, blogs I want to catch up reading and yet nothing gets done. I seem to be constantly on the go from the moment I get up until I get into bed…if we get into bed. Daily I am surprised that I get to 9 pm and not had a chance to do anything on my own “to do” list as I had more important tasks to do for my parents. Life as a carer is like this and I have noticed that I have become calmer within this role. If the past few months have taught me anything it is to just go with the flow. Don’t try to force anything, Mom will do what she wants to do when she wants to do it and everyone only gets stressed if I try to make things happen. It hasn’t been easy, I still silently scream inside when it can take fifteen minutes to cajole Mom into the kitchen to eat. Poor old Dad has had to get used to going with the flow also, we are all on a continual learning curve.

I have managed a couple of outings since early January and there has been some progress on my music dreams which I’ll share in another blog post…which hopefully won’t be in another six weeks time!

Lucky me, my favourite Irish singer John McNicholl was in town and my fabulous boyfriend came over to spend the evening with my parents so that I could go to the dance.

A friend I have made through going to see John McNicholl over the years had bought me some beautiful flowers. A wonderful surprise, I was spoiled.

Back on track with my healthy eating again. It took a while after the Christmas excesses, once I get the taste of the chocolate I’m done for.

I purchased a wholly unsuitable pair of sparkly shoes. I’ve not worn high heels for years, I need to get some practice in. Not bad for £25.00

Beautiful Roses which I bought for my Beautiful Mom.

A little Snapchat fun after a quick catch up lunch with my friend.

Absolutely amazing, incredible, fantastic concert from the brilliant Nathan Carter. This lad just keeps getting better and better and lucky me I got a kiss, swoon. Oh yes I was the cat that got the cream.

This is my little Bitmoji from Snapchat complete with hearts for Valentine’s Day. I like the whole Bitmoji thing, it’s fun, expressive, confusing and I could even add my lack of sleep lines to my eyes, result!

And finally, my Snapchat Valentine’s Day post. How I love these wrinkle removing filters. I was just about getting used to using the Snapchat app and they have now changed it…oh well, time to start learning all over again.

Huge sparkles to all, hopefully I’ll be back to the blog very soon.