Life Sparkles

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 Music Sparkle.

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

 

Life Sparkles

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.

 

Life Sparkles

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

 

Life Sparkles

Is it too late…

…to wish you all a very happy 2019!

For the first time ever Christmas appears to have fitted in around our life at home whereas it usually becomes the main focus of December for us. This Christmas though things were very different at home. Christmas seems to have come and gone with little or no recognition at all. We watched Midnight Mass from Knock Shrine live on You Tube. We had some visitors popping in and out and I did manage to get Christmas cards written and sent and gifts organised. Thank goodness for the Internet!

A beautiful surprise on Christmas Day in the evening when some neighbours arrived at the door with home made soup, Christmas dinner, dessert, cheese and biscuits and Christmas crackers. They knew I would struggle to put together a Christmas dinner as the caring role continues as usual whatever day it is, so they decided to share. To me, this was the true meaning of Christmas, love, caring, sharing and kindness.

A few photo’s below of my Christmas time. I wish you all a very happy, healthy and blessed 2019. (I will continue my update from the last blog post as soon as I can).

I just love this photo, my sparkles and my boyfriend’s trainers.

A beautiful surprise gift from a school friend.

I couldn’t put up our usual tree so I bought a small sparkling one for Mom and Dad. It was lovely to sit and watch the colours changing.

Life Sparkles

A broken wrist…

…that’s how this latest sequence of events got started. I heard movement via the baby monitor, I rushed out of bed but I just didn’t get to Mom in time, I heard the thud as I entered her room as she fell to the floor. Dad presses his Careline alarm, the ambulance was on the way, it was 6 am on a late September Tuesday morning.

Thankfully the only bone breakage was Moms wrist. She hit her head and knee when she fell but all appeared to be well. After all the X-ray’s and tests we were taken to the “Elder Care Day Unit” for further assessment prior to discharge. Not much happened here to be honest. A Doctor spoke to me about DNR (do not resuscitate), which frightened the life out of me, what were they talking about, Mom had broken her wrist and her obs were fine! Blood tests all fine too. A lady spoke to me about it being better to be home to heal which I agreed with especially as Dad was currently at home with the carer. The lady made a comment about older people who stay in hospital “not going home if you understand me”. Again I was perplexed, we are dealing with a broken wrist, not heart surgery.

The unit closes at 4pm, it was obvious they wanted us gone by then. They wheeled us down to the coffee shop to await our lift home. I didn’t check Mom’s mobility, I never even thought about it, neither did they. When it was time to get into the car Mom couldn’t stand up, never mind walk. She was frightened and had pain. Two paramedics were close by and they helped Mom to get into the car. We started the journey home.

Half way home Mom experienced a low blood pressure crash, she was quite unwell. We stopped the car and called for the paramedics. They arrived within thirty minutes by which time Mom had recovered. They didn’t want to traumatise her day further by taking her from the car to the ambulance for further checks. Better to get home and call them again if required. We were just five minutes from home. I asked if they could follow us home but unfortunately they couldn’t.

We reached home. It was 7pm, a very long, exhausting day for Mom. It took four of us, thirty minutes to get Mom from the car to the chair lift seat in the hallway. She was so tired out she was bent double with her eyes closing, desperately trying to put one foot in front of the other with the aid of the walking frame and four of us. I honestly thought we’d never get inside. Another low blood pressure crash and more paramedics. They lifted Mom into her chair in the lounge, checked her obs which were all good and Mom was a little more settled. Dad was crying with the trauma of it all and I honestly don’t know how I held it together. A friend who lives close by had come to support me and once Mom was safely in the lounge I cried and cried and cried as my friend comforted me in the kitchen.

Slowly as it became late night, carers left, neighbours left and my friend also had to leave. I started to make some phone calls. I needed some support. I was alone, I felt isolated and unprepared to deal with things alone. There was nothing. For all the emergency back up I thought I had in place for these situations, everything failed, I was the wrong type of emergency.

It had been one hell of a day, it was just the start of things to come.

This is why I have been missing from my blog for three months and very sporadic on social media. Life has altered so much at home, a lot of changes and I’ve been full on, all things to everyone is how it feels. Trying to get to grips with everything, keep on top of everything, looking after the changing care needs of my parents has been exhausting. I decided to write about it all in chunks, it will help me process the journey to where we are now as Christmas rapidly approaches. Who would think a small break to the wrist could be so life altering?!

Over the following few days we received some beautiful flowers from friends and relatives who came to visit us. I was struck by the Yellow theme, it made me feel my Sister was close to us, helping us from heaven.

I’ll be back with the next chapter as soon as I can.

With love and sparkles xx

Life Sparkles

Has it been that long?

Well yes it appears it has been a month since I managed to get to my blog.  Mid September already, the long hot beautiful Summer is already becoming a memory as we drift into the cooler days and shorter evenings of Autumn.

It has been busy, as usual.  Caring really is a full time, 24/7, no days off, no night off, profession so I take my breaks when I can.  As you know the past five months Dad has experienced illness after illness after illness.  It has been so tough on him, on Mom and on me.  Dad has gone from being able to do quite a few things for himself and his chosen jobs around the house to not being able to do very much at all, so it has fallen to me.

We’ve had a great run again of getting to bed at night, 42 nights in a row broken only the other night when Mom decided to stay up.  So we start counting again.  42 nights is amazing, it has been years and years since we have had any good run of getting to bed and we’ve had two good runs so far this year.  I’m aware that Sundown season is approaching but fingers crossed.

Over the past two weeks Dad has slowly, and I mean slowly, started to show signs of improvement.  He has managed to eat small amounts regularly which in turn has assisted with keeping that dreadful gunk he was coughing up all night and day, at bay. He still has the cough and the gunk but it is vastly reduced.  He is managing to get some sleep at night, another benefit.  He is feeling a bit better in himself, he is chatting more, watching the news again and has even reached for his diary and prayer books.  These are all good signs of Dad feeling a little better in himself.

Mom bless her has been so supportive of him, caring for him, advising him and trying to help him in her own way.  Sometimes she has been very frightened when the cough and gunk has been in full flow.  Somehow we have managed to come through the past five months.  I thank God every night for giving us another blessed day together as a family.

In the meantime, I have lots to share on the music front, some of which you may have seen on my social media which I have stepped up a gear.  I will update the music blog as soon as I can.  I have been reading your blogs as they come through on my email, when you are up at night and you need to stay awake they make excellent reading and I love them, they make me feel connected, thank you.

A few photo’s from the past month or so, with love and sparkles xxx

A random lunch with one of my friends and yes I had that dessert again but we did share.  Love my cup of coffee in the mornings.

Delighted that my Shamrock has started to grow again after the heavy snow and frost had killed it off earlier this year.  My little tubs and baskets didn’t do too badly either this Summer.

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And Snapchap still makes me giggle and does away with the wrinkles…Go Snapchat!!!

The Music Sparkle.

Here it is!

I wrote in my blog post yesterday that I would share my cover version of the Randy Crawford classic “Almaz” so here it is…

https://youtu.be/G89N3onMDJY

I’m both excited and nervous about sharing this, there is something a little scary about putting yourself out there but I love singing and I just wanted to share this beautiful song. I really hope you enjoy it.

With love and sparkles xxx

The Music Sparkle.

This is like work!

Well a quick update, actually can I do a quick update? A quick update for me is something like 1,000 words!! I’ll do my best, honest.

There has been much going on, on the singing front.  The singing it appears is the easy bit, it all the other bits that take the real effort, organisation, research and time oh yes that precious commodity time.  So far we have the tracks recorded and all bar one is completed.  Everything is on course at the moment for the video shoot at the end of August.  I’m very lucky to be working with Rivermade Films   Mulk is so easy to work with, he is aware of my restrictions as a carer with regards to location being close at hand in case I get a call to come home, keeping things simple yet effective and listening to my thoughts on the songs and turning them into a vision.  Mulk has already provided me with lots of information on his thoughts and plans for the video shoot and every time I read them I get goosebumps. Mulk has such vision and creativity and I’m so looking forward to the day and also nervous about how I will be in front of a camera.

I had a very insightful and useful hour with Paul Dunphy Esq  Paul is a Social Media Curator who I “met” on Twitter some years ago.  His knowledge is incredible and to anyone looking for advice on how to use social media for their business or hobby I would highly recommend Paul.  Paul advised me to just be me, don’t bother with a separate Facebook page or Twitter account for the music, just use what I have already, be me.  Paul pointed out that as a full time carer I won’t have time to keep two lots of accounts going so keep it simple and keep it sparkly.

I told Paul I am not very confident in pushing myself forwards, self promotion but he put me completely at ease with this.  As Paul says, most people are nice, most people like to engage with people they like, people want to know more about the person, the back story behind the music or whatever passion it is you have.  My Instagram is already filling up with pictures of me.  It still doesn’t sit quite right but I would love to share the music with as many people as possible and this is the way to go.

I have been researching the various licences I require in order to release a couple of my tracks commercially.  This is time consuming as I want to be 100% sure of what I am signing up to.  I have done hours of research over the weeks on music aggregation and I have narrowed it down to two organisations.  Digital music is changing all the time it seems and having the correct licences for what you want to do is very important. I’m still hoping to release “Summer Love” by the end of the Summer, it just all depends on how fast people get back to me, how quickly license applications are handled and how fast the music aggregator will work once things are in place.  I probably could have done this quicker with more time to hand but I don’t have that luxury so dipping in and out of things is how I’m getting things done.

I have located the Musicians Union website and located it is all I have done so far.  I switch the laptop on in the morning, access a website and then sometimes get no further and I end up switching the laptop off before I go to bed.  Just depends how the day goes caring wise.

I know the above all sounds like hard work and I suppose it is but I am really enjoying learning all about this industry and what you need to do if you want to do anything at all with your music.  I have scribbled a few songs, sudden inspiration would hit me and I’d reach for the phone to record the tune and lyrics whilst it is fresh in my mind.  I was brave enough last week to play two to my guitar tutor and he said they were good!! I was amazed.  He has given me the guitar chords to the tune in my head so that I can practice. It just is so exciting and it does give me an escape in my head to the stresses of the day and I think too brings peace to my soul.

I’m hoping to upload a song to You Tube this weekend.  It’s my cover of the Randy Crawford classic “Almaz”.  I love this song so much.  There isn’t a video, just a photo of myself.  I will do a quick post to let you know when it has been uploaded.

My chap has been practising his photography skills taking some photo’s of me in the garden, for social media purposes.  I have included some below, I do hope you like them.

With love and sparkles until the next musical update xxx

 

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!!