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2012: Why I don’t feel like celebrating.

31 Dec

Don’t much feel like welcoming in a New Year – 2012 – a year my mother never saw.

All change and every first is tinged with enormous sadness now. I turn around, bursting to share my news, to feel and share and experience together.

It’s just not the same.

But I WILL try and embrace that difference. There is going to be an awful lot of it this year.

Love to all for the year ahead.



30-something orphan

17 Sep

Original sketch by Doodlemum

Today marks the 4th anniversary of my father’s death. It is also 5 months exactly since I lost my mum.  Two journeys, both with many more miles to tred.


This week I locked myself out of the house.  Returning from a hard day’s work – forlorn, within an inch of my patience. Two tired children yelping and jumping at my knees like impatient, rivalrous puppies vying for  attention.  A childminder desparate to reclaim her family home, a husband tied up in another meeting, neighbours immersed in their own bedtime squabbles. My desparate calls unanswered – two, three, four times.

And as I stood on my own doorstep I have never felt so alone.

When you lose your parents, you cease to be someone’s child.  An obvious point, but in that subtle twist of perception is something more significant. The moment you are orphaned you lose the people whose primary role is to protect you.  Unconditional, instinctive, tribal. This is no comment on my loyal husband who I love dearly, or my sister who is truly exceptional.  Yet as peers, the needs of our own families must come first.  The selfless, unquestioning devotion is focussed on the children whose lives we have been entrusted to protect, nurture, bring to fruition.

And the truth is, my parent’s job was done.

Yet the vulnerable needy child in you is always there.  The infant yearning to be wrapped in its mother’s arms, safe from the loom of the bogeyman. We still crave to hear those words  “Don’t worry darling, I’ll sort it all out for you”, to hide under the duvet and to let someone else carry the burden.

But the truth is, the buck now stops with you.  There won’t always be someone else to come to the rescue.  And that can be a lonely thought.


29 Apr


Angry that the grandparents my children will know, grow up with, remember, won’t be MY parents. That the one they will call Grandma won’t be MY mum, the one they will know as Grandad will be someone else’s.

I’m angry that my Mum will be a hazy recollection, snapshots – splintered and one-dimensional – just as my Dad is now just a photo on the fridge. Their absence juxtaposed against a life filled with love and cuddles and memories from their other, “real” grandparents.

I’m angry that it won’t be my mum that picks them up from school, that wraps her arms around them and asks them what their day was like. That she’ll never see the expression on their faces as they unwrap her carefully chosen Christmas present, or heap praise on them when they read their first words.

I’m angry that I will have to live more of my life without her than I have done with. One of the most important people to me – my mother, my best friend – here for just a fraction of my life. Killed off after only the first few chapters.

I’m angry that the person that has been at the centre of my universe for 34 years has been snatched away from me, cruelly, suddenly, and that I have to relearn to live my life without her.

I’m angry that at just 34 I am an orphan.

I’m angry that my “go to person”, my reference point for all the decisions I make, the person at the end of the telephone when I’m feeling unsteady or unsure, has become unavailable. Permanently engaged.

I’m angry that I have to make sense of all of this by myself.

I’m really fucking angry, and my rage is selfish and personal. For now it’s all about me.

Saying nothing is never an option

18 Mar

My darling friend, Vick, originally published this post on her blog at the beginning of February, but I now feel comfortable enough to post it here.

So you don’t know what to say?….say SOMETHING
Can’t find the right words?…..try the WRONG ones
Can’t solve it?… don’t TRY to
For saying nothing is never an option.

You worry that your words will sound trite, smug, empty
That nothing you could ever say could take the pain away
So best not to say anything at all.
But saying nothing is never an option.

The truth is, I am falling
And you can’t stop me
At a hundred miles an hour.
And I am scared
And you CAN’T change that.
But you can say SOMETHING

Because I am lonely, frightened
Wondering if I have the strength.
And behind those few words
You will tell me I am not alone,
That me and the ones I love matter.
And that I do, and will, and can
Get through this.

Saying nothing is never an option
Because saying something, anything, is what matters.

The phoney war

13 Mar

“A period of 6 months after Britain’s declaration of war on Germany in 1939 where nothing much happened. Also referred to as “The Twighlight War” by Churchill, and “The Sitting War” by the Germans.” (Wikipedia)

Yesterday I was trying to explain to Mr Milk how I feel at the moment. “I just feel very weird.  A muted sense of panic, an uneasiness that won’t go away”.  ” Well it’s just like the phoney war isn’t it?” he replied. “Someone has declared war on you, but nothing seems to be happening.”

And he was spot on.  I am stumbling around in full body armour, pumped up and ready to fight,  but I find myself standing alone on the battlefield with no sign of the enemy approaching.   All around me  is spookily quiet and I’m struggling to make sense of it.

I know that the enemy will come, and when it does the charge might be swift, unrelenting, brutal, but for now I can see, smell, taste nothing out of the ordinary.  The blossom is beginning to form on the trees in the promise of summer and my darling mother looks as well and as beautiful as ever.

This silent and invisible enemy that stalks me is scaring the shit out of me;  I just wish he’d turn to face me, so I can look him in the eye and know what I’m dealing with.

Friendships divided

21 Nov

The Milks have just come back from a sejourn in Manchester. Mr Milk and myself lived there for 11 years. In fact we met there. We came to London when i had big Milk because we wanted to be near our families, but it was, and is, with a divided heart.

We’ve done alright in London, and we adore being nearer to our families. In truth we wouldn’t and couldn’t move away again. But boy do we miss our friends. When you become parents in a new area, you do make friends but separately. I have lots of mummy friends, but with the exception of a few i never see them outside school times. Firmly “first base friendships”.

Likewise Mr Milk has made good friends at work, and they might down a few pints after work sometimes, but the relationship ends there.

So if me and Mr Milk ever go out, it’s always on our own, which is lovely of course, but it is a bit one dimensional. There’s nothing quite like the fun you have with a crowd; it takes the pressure off you as a couple and allows you to explore and enjoy other facets of yourself. There’s nothing like looking across the table at your partner sharing a joke with your friends and thinking “Phwaor, you’ve still got it honey”.

So we miss our shared group of friends in Manchester, and it was with thick glasses of nostalgia and longing that we trundled back down the M6.

But life has moved on. In truth, it’s not just geographical distance that has changed things, so much as life itself. We’re all parents now, short of time and low on energy. Gone are the days as students when we spent all of our waking time in the pub giggling into our watered down pints of Fosters. I’m not so sure we left them behind in Manchester, as much as they grew up, just as we did.

Still, we can’t wait for our next trip up North guys, so put the Fosters on ice.

Kinky sex with the Terminator

17 Jul

The comments i had on my earlier post about flying dreams got me to thinking about other recurring dreams and whether other people share them.

My friend over at What will Julia do next? mentioned this one which fascinated me because i have it a lot. Discovering a part of my family home that i didn’t know existed. Usually an attic, or a big cupboard, full of my childhood things. Preserved. Untouched.

I’m also partial to a stabbing dream. (Freud eat your heart out). Usually i am being hotly pursued by a faceless, malicious entity with an unidentified grievance. When i was a little girl i used to play dead, quite effectively really, until the threat passed. Now i usually just keep running. If ever i do get caught i mostly don’t come to much harm. Usually when forced to face my fears, their legitimacy is seriously undermined by the realisation that it was just my granny after all. (or Desmond Tutu, or a.n.other least offensive person that happened to be in the news that day).

At least a few times a week i have “walking through treacle dreams” where i can’t walk or talk properly. Everything is alarmingly effortful as i try to put one foot in front of the other in painful slowmo. Often i am trying to drive a car. (Why you would try and drive a car when overcome with temporary quadraplegia i don’t know). I’m frantically trying to push down on the pedals or change gear, but my arms/legs are weighed down with lead. Passers by and fellow drivers are becoming more and more of an identified risk.

Most recently, i dream of being on my own. Alone in a big house or hotel, desparately trying to find friends or people i know. To make the dream even more cheery, there is usually a backstory that my husband has left me.

Let’s all have a party! Christ.

(btw my husband and i are very happy thank you very much).

My husband said to me that he thinks all dreams are manifestations of anxiety. Looking at my dream back catalogue i think i might have to agree with him.

So, are dreams our way of working through daily traumas, worries, fears through allegory? Is there a shared cerebral database of “self-help dream templates” that allow us to work things through in a safe and controlled way?

Or am i just a miserable, neurotic bint having miserable, neurotic dreams while you lot are dreaming of kinky sex with the Terminator?

Love thy neighbour

2 Jun

I live next door to a German (ex) prisoner of war. His wife died 9 years ago, and he has noone.

No family. No friends.

It’s true he’s pretty much alienated everyone in the street over the years. He doesn’t have boundaries. Is selfish and often doesn’t think.

But he has noone.

He comes by 5/6/7 times a day. I never ask him in.

He comes to drop off the Daily Express.

I don’t have the heart to tell him i’d rather pull my own teeth out then read the Daily Express. But he needs an excuse. For human contact.

And i wouldn’t begrudge him that. However inconvenient or annoying it is.

And it usually is. Very.

But he has noone.

You see, at the end, my dad was isolated.

He could be selfish, arrogant. So he lost friends. And when he was old. Deaf. Blind. He found himself very alone. So i did everything i could. I saw the hurt, the regret, and i tried to make it better.

I don’t do much. Shopping. Phonecalls. Drinks at Christmas and birthdays.

Because he has noone.

The other neighbours won’t speak to him. Incase he asks too much.

And all i can think is, his life is much harder than yours. You heartless bastards.

Henri no mates

17 May

Why is it that i’m the only person that invites ME anywhere?

I am always the one to suggest meeting up. Having coffee. Going to the park.

Noone ever seems to ask me.

I reckon either a) noone else owns a diary / is incredibly disorganised / unimaginative / grumpy or b) mildly agrophobic or (shock horror) c) noone actually likes me.

Now i do have low self esteem, but i’m pretty sure that some of them like me.

I mean they usually accept my invitations.

Plus, as i said in Who are you again? you only have to have children in common to make a shared outing more attractive than being confined to four walls. So i’m sure pretty much anyone could put up with me for a few hours under the circumstances.

So why don’t THEY ever invite me anywhere?

Why do i find myself most days walking up and down where i live, pushing the buggy aimlessly, staring into space and dreaming of conversations i might be having?

I wouldn’t mind except this full time mummy business can be ever so lonely, and i quite like adult conversation now and again.

Perhaps if you wouldn’t mind dialling the speaking clock on your way out, i’ve a lot of adult chat to catch up on…

Who are you again?

26 Apr

This post is inspired by Megdoan.

Noone knows, or even asks my name anymore. I am “so and so’s mummy”.

To be fair, i am the same. I have become an expert at avoiding the need to address anyone by name, and can manage hours of conversation without it.

If i’m out with the buggy people wave and say hello, sometimes stop to talk. If i venture out alone, noone recognises me. I am not wearing my “so and so’s mummy” badge.

When i bump into people at the park and start chatting, it’s only because their son has recognised my son, and it seems rude not to pass a few pleasantries.

I have never before known the name of the postman, or had so much to discuss with the man who delivers my shopping.

When we visit friends they sometimes ask whether my sons would like to stay for tea. Starving, i must wait until i get home. By then i am too busy.

I find this very similar to the situation at kids parties. There is never food for the adults. And the dancing is almost always exclusively for the children too. I wouldn’t mind except it’s the nearest i’ve come to a party for nearly 5 years.

My social life begins at 9 and ends at 5, and is dictated by who my sons like. It’s amazing how much conversation you can manage when you only have children in common.

I regularly get mail addressed to “The guardians of X”. The only mail i get for myself is bills. Otherwise they are addressed to the “householder”. Do the postal service not know my name anymore either?

It seems that, for a large part of the day at least, i have become invisible. Lost my identity. My needs, likes and dislikes no longer factored in.

At least when i worked i was Henrietta for a few hours a day. I miss that.

Being a stay at home mum can be lonely. It has taken me a good long while to start to feel like somebody again.

But then again, that’s a whole new post.