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

Life Sparkles ✨

Family Ties.

My family has been amazing.  My cousins here in the UK have built what I can only call a wall of comfort and love around me.  I feel so protected by them.  They are not in touch with me every day, they don’t need to be, they are there, I only have to reach out.  With WhatsApp we are in contact, we meet up for lunches, we plan meeting up in the future and they make sure I am as ok as I can be at the moment.

We recently had a fairly impromptu visit from our cousins in Tipperary which was wonderful.  We hadn’t seen each other for such a long time it was fabulous to get together.  Fourteen of us got together one evening for a birthday meal and it was just a crazy, everyone talking at once, laughing and enjoyable family evening. We even had two cousins arrive from Ireland that we didn’t know were coming, as a surprise.  My Dad’s brother was so happy that we were all there together.  Again, I felt protected, loved and looked after.  We wondered if our respective parents were looking down from above and loving that we were all together after such a long time.

My cousin Marji and I go back a very long way, to my holidays as a teenager with her in Tipperary and the freedom we both had going to see the Irish Showbands at the dancehall miles away.  My Dad was always there to drive us, bless him. We reconnected as if we had only seen each other last week.

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Such a happy group photo – it was like herding cats getting us all in one place for photo’s, I think this was the most of us that managed to get into a photo at any one time.

My cousin Marji has the most beautiful voice.  Marji runs the Tipperary Gospel Choir. Here is a link to her solo performance on RTE last year. Marji Maxwell

Her brother Michael runs Laois People which now also has a 24 hour country music radio station.  Country music, Irish music and singing must just be in our DNA.

We may not get together very often but our family ties are strong, we have that bond and that’s what matters.

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 ✨

I didn’t want a Birthday this year.

I was dreading my birthday after losing Dad at the end of January.  It was unbearable to think of a birthday with both of my parents not here as Mom followed Dad so quickly.  I was quite happy to just let the day pass unnoticed.  Family, friends and himself had other thoughts.

A treat at my local hairdressers.  On your birthday they give you a choice of gifts so I chose the wash and blow dry – always cheers me up.  I also had a recommendation voucher which I used for a manicure – what a treat!

One of my lovely friends then treated me to a celebration afternoon tea at a beautiful local hotel. It was a beautiful sunny and warm day so we sat outside, batted away wasps and enjoyed hundreds of calories.

Himself took me for my first night away from home in four years to Lichfield which is a small but beautiful city not too far from where I live.  We used to go there for New Year’s Eve back in the day, go to our favourite Indian restaurant, have a few cocktails, stop over and head for home the next day.  And that’s exactly what we did the night before my birthday and I was fine.  Not a tear.  It felt very strange to turn my phone off when I went to bed, no-one was going to be calling me and I’m finding that hard to deal with.

Huge brunch which meant I didn’t eat until very late Saturday night.  I received lots of flowers, chocolates and my very best friend bought me a rather large and sturdy suitcase with the words “get travelling woman”.  The sobbing started when I opened up my birthday cards, that was very tough indeed.

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I bought this bottle of Champagne last Christmas and I was saving it for a “special occasion”. I’m no longer going to save things, if I have them I’m going to enjoy them and live for today.  As the saying goes, tomorrow is never promised and it takes pure heartbreaking events for us to really understand this. As my Dad would say “life is for living”.  I drank the whole bottle over the course of three days and I don’t regret it one little bit.

With love and sparkles xx