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.

img_1808

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.

img_1781

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

img_1802

A new favourite, Vanilla Espresso Cocktails.

img_1817

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 ✨

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.

img_1629
Yes, another glass of Kir Royale kind Sir.

 

img_1633
Bistrot Pierre – reasonably priced and always, always busy.

 

 

Thank you for your wonderful support 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

img_8497

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.

img_1582

 

 

img_8474

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 ✨

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

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.

img_8462

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.

img_1555

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

img_8463

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.

img_1516

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!

img_7862

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

img_1518

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.

img_8382

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.

img_1513

Quorn Pasta Bake and it was delicious.

img_8325

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.

img_8346-1

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 ✨

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.

img_8361

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

img_8356

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

img_8359

Aforementioned drinks for raising a glass or two!!

img_1508

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

img_1498

Signs of Spring.

img_1505

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

 

 

 

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.

img_1497

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

img_0413

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.

img_1460

Roses Mom and I sent to Dad for his birthday.

img_1484

The Snowdrops are out.

img_8289

The love goes on.

img_1489

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

img_8312

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.