First Steps.

Going out for a walk with himself and then having lunch was an experience.  It was perfectly pleasant, a normal kind of thing to do except that we haven’t done anything like that for a very long time.  It was a strange experience for me.  If I did pop out over the last three years I had the phone almost always in my hand, just in case I received a call to come home quickly.  I was forever checking the time to ensure I was back before the carer who was covering for me had to leave.  This gentle stroll and going for lunch was an experience for me as I no longer need to check my phone for missed calls.  I no longer need to be back home by a certain time.  There is no one at home that needs me anymore.  My brain is having huge problems processing this information.  “New Normal” has not yet kicked in.  For now I shall continue to write about my journey from carer to former carer, from daughter to…what?  I suppose I still am a daughter but my parents are gone ahead and I can’t see them although I talk to them all the time, it helps.

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Yes, another glass of Kir Royale kind Sir.

 

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Bistrot Pierre – reasonably priced and always, always busy.

 

 

Thank you for your wonderful support xx

No words.

Yes, I have no words.  I feel the need to write about how I’m feeling yet I cannot seem to find the words.  How do you describe “this”?  I have no idea how to convey the feelings of loss.  Loss of my Dad, loss of my Mom and a loss of me.  I don’t know who I am anymore. I was a full time carer.  I was on the go all the time and I do mean, all the time.  Sleep was a premium item, you just keep going because you have to.  Now I have all the time in the world to sleep and can’t.  When I do wake up in the morning a feeling of complete emptiness consumes me.  What do I do?  There isn’t anything to do.  No-one to look after, no meals to prepare, no washing to do, no phone calls to health professionals, appointments to keep, prescriptions to renew, nothing, absolutely nothing.

The carer’s who were assisting me no longer need to call, no further need for the district nurses to call in nor for the Doctor to visit.

When I go out I am still constantly checking my phone for a missed call or a voicemail to tell me to come home, I still watch the time so as I am not out too long as I need to be back as the carer will be leaving and I still get up from my seat at certain times to get Dad’s medication or to put the music on for Mom.  It’s all just too much and it’s all happened too close together.  That’s life, this is what happens, none of us escape these losses.  I sob and sob and sob, I let it out, I scream for my Mom, I talk to my Dad, I feel them near, I am comfortable at home, I’m close to them here.  This is the one occasion in life that no one can make better, no one can make this right again.  I just don’t know who I am anymore my identity has been stripped away.

It’s early days of course, just six weeks for Mom and just over five months for Dad.  I get through each day, I have amazing friends, fabulous cousins, a wonderful man and lots of fantastic online connections all of whom are rooting for me, supporting me and helping me through.  I’m blessed.  I get strength from my faith.

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Treated myself to scone and cappuccino when I went to arrange Mom’s flowers.

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I’ve made a small altar next to the two chairs Mom and Dad always sat in.  For now I have Mom’s Mass cards there but I will take them down when I feel ready.

 

After Mom’s funeral I stayed at my chap’s home for the weekend and helped him with his Mom.  He’s a great cook, above are freshly made poppadum’s and onion bhaji’s. My current diet consists of mostly Prosecco and chocolate…not good I know but that’s just how it is for now.

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A Vanilla Espresso Martini – one of many drinks I have raised in celebration of my parents and yes that includes Mom’s favourite, the cup of tea.

Thank you for bearing with my blackness, I just don’t have any sparkle at the moment.

Devastated.

According to the online dictionary I have just used, the word “Devastated” means “to cause (someone) severe and overwhelming shock or grief”.  I have to say, that sounds about right.

Unbelievably I am back into a surreal nightmare.  Just four months after losing Dad, my beautiful fairy of a Mom passed away suddenly and peacefully during the late afternoon of Saturday 8th June.  How can this be happening?  How can I have lost them both within such a short space of time?  Suddenly I am plunged into this unreal world of pain, loss and nothing to do.  Yes, I’m busy once again arranging a funeral, sorting out administration and trying to adapt to a house of just me.  But I was a full time carer.  My day wasn’t my own, I was on the go all the time and now…I’m sitting wondering what to do.  It feels like someone has driven a bulldozer right through my life, everything is destroyed, everything has gone, what am I supposed to do now?

Mom was healthy, the doctor had checked her out and all observations were normal. Mom had been telling me for a week or so beforehand that she was going to God.  Not a day went by that she didn’t tell me this and she sounded excited about it.  One night she told me that Dad was in the room.  Another when I was struggling with her bedclothes she told me to shhhh as Jesus was there.  Another night she called me at 3:15 am to tell me she was going to God.  For days beforehand she was completely lucid, absolutely no confusion at all.  On the Saturday she went to God, I had decided to put Mass from Knock Shrine on the TV as we hadn’t had it on much since Dad passed.  I answered the prayers, Mom rubbed my hand.  I started to answer the Rosary as they said it at Knock.  Half way through the TV turned itself off.  At the same time, Mom’s breathing changed and within ten minutes, no matter how much I cried or begged her to stay, she went to God and she went to God with a huge beautiful smile on her face.  Whatever or whoever she had seen my wonderful Mom was happy.

I’m not really in the mood for anything much but as I have time on my hands and writing my blog helps me, I’m sitting here typing away because I need something to do, I need to write, I need to cry and I want to scream.

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Mama and Dad on holiday in Galway a lifetime ago, now reunited in heaven.

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The house is full of beautiful flowers at the moment.

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The house is also silent apart from the sound of my tears.  Death is so final, you are helpless to prevent it when the time comes.  As my Mom would say, you can’t alter God’s Plan.

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

 

 

 

 

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 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

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