Happy New Year

Happy New Year from the Long White Cloud!

Last year I dealt with some serious blows to my life that I sometimes wondered whether I was coming or going. It was tough and I knew that I simply had enough at times and just when I thought everything was going right I would land another blow and another to the point that I was exhausted.

Sometimes when situations take their toll on us the only thing we can do is to take it one step at a time. To take stock of what the situation is and then deal to it in the best way we possibly can.

But what if like me that those blows were something that could not be avoided or what if they hit us when we did not see them coming?

For me the best way I dealt with them was to simply talk or to write.

I talked to my friends and I talked to my family about my frustrations, I shared my pain with them and I opened up and was frank and honest with what was going through this head of mine and fortunately for me, I have a wonderful support network but if you do not  have that, then please, please find someone or somebody that will listen to you.

The longer we bottle things up, the harder it becomes and if you have been brought up not to speak out about your issues, forget about that old idea and just get out there and do it. It will become a burden to you, a thorn in your side, a sore that will not go away and it will fester and grow deeper and deeper inside of you that  you will get sick, you will start to feel worse than what you do already and you may end up finding yourslef in a worse off position to what you were to begin with.

Last year I lost not just one person in my life but two. Two family members. A mother and a son. The son was a mental health patient and the mother was an Early childhood teacher. Both died under one of the most horrific ways thought possible and I was in shock. I had only seen my cousin a short time before he died and within a short time afterward I was at his funeral mourning his and my auntie’s loss while my Uncle lay in hospital fighting for his life.

It made national news, I had the press call me, email me and try and talk to me. They knew I had the same surname as my cousin. They thought I would give them my story but I wouldn’t talk and I still won’t so this bit online is as close as one is probably going to get for the press to hear what I have to say about it. I had a terrible task of having to notify my parents who were in the United States at the time, my sister and my brother. I had to deal with phone calls from around the country with people ringing to see how my uncle was, whether my cousin was still alive and what was going to happen because of the circumstances that surrounded the death of my aunt and my cousin. It was the worst thing one could ever imagine and even today I still have people wanting my  cousin’s sisters and I to give a statement or at least a story about it all.

I told someone who is close to my heart that if this was my fifteen minutes of fame then I didn’t like it. I hated the attention that it brought me. I am a private sort of a person and I know that the reporters had a job to do but I really found it tiring after just one day they were all wanting to get a story out of me.

So I learned to say no, I learned to be more politer than I already am and I learned that I needed to look after myself. The phone calls kept coming so I then learned not to take them, I even had to take the phone off the hook just so I could make my dinner, my lunch, sleep, eat my breakfast… You can boil a kettle so many times I said to one person before it goes dry. And there is only so many times you can reheat toast. I was finding that people as much as they were wanting to know would forget that I was only one person and that like them, I also had to eat, sleep, drink and go about my day. Sometimes as I have learned, people forget about that sort of thing.

Fortunately as I said I have a good support network and I am blessed with good friends and family members. My sister came and stayed with me overnight just so I could get some sleep and even when that phone rang I still felt compelled to answer it, it was like my body had been programmed automatically to answer calls in a short space of time.

Being one of the last to see my cousin alive came with a price and fortunately for me I had the wonderful support from our Police. I was so touched when I found out that they had given me protection over that time and had cars that were parked up at the entrance to my home  just to keep an eye on things for me and make sure that I was OK. They were really protecting me. I will never forget it and just because of what had happened they needed to know that I was safe so I am really in debt to them for that.

So when something does happen in our lives we really need to think about what we can do and how we deal with situations. My body was in shock for quite sometime afterward to what had happened. And that is the thing, allow yourself to go through the pain of what you are going through but do let it linger on for too long that it is going to make  you ill. I am also dealing with the blow of my health on top of this so it was like a double whammy for me but I learned that I had to allow those feelings to surround me for a while and then I had to learn to look at life again and how I could deal with it once those feelings had passed. Like Elisabeth Kubler Ross said there really is a stage that one goes through when they loose something.

Five stages of Grief – Elisabeth Kübler Ross

EKR stage Interpretation
1 – Denial Denial is a conscious or unconscious refusal to accept facts, information, reality, etc., relating to the situation concerned. It’s a defence mechanism and perfectly natural. Some people can become locked in this stage when dealing with a traumatic change that can be ignored. Death of course is not particularly easy to avoid or evade indefinitely.
2 – Anger

Anger can manifest in different ways. People dealing with emotional upset can be angry with themselves, and/or with others, especially those close to them. Knowing this helps keep detached and non-judgemental when experiencing the anger of someone who is very upset.
3 – Bargaining

Traditionally the bargaining stage for people facing death can involve attempting to bargain with whatever God the person believes in. People facing less serious trauma can bargain or seek to negotiate a compromise. For example “Can we still be friends?..” when facing a break-up. Bargaining rarely provides a sustainable solution, especially if it’s a matter of life or death.
4 – Depression Also referred to as preparatory grieving. In a way it’s the dress rehearsal or the practice run for the ‘aftermath’ although this stage means different things depending on whom it involves. It’s a sort of acceptance with emotional attachment. It’s natural to feel sadness and regret, fear, uncertainty, etc. It shows that the person has at least begun to accept the reality.
5 – Acceptance Again this stage definitely varies according to the person’s situation, although broadly it is an indication that there is some emotional detachment and objectivity. People dying can enter this stage a long time before the people they leave behind, who must necessarily pass through their own individual stages of dealing with the grief.
Reprinted from: Business Balls – The Five Stages of Grief http://www.businessballs.com/elisabeth_kubler_ross_five_stages_of_grief.htm

I was asked to speak at the joint funeral of my cousin and of  my aunt and I spoke of how we deal with situations can have an enormous impact on how we react to things. If I were to tell many of you my story in depth, it may shock many of you, it may scare you and it may be very frightening. But I had to be strong over this time, I knew I had to be and I learned to talk to those those that I trust about it so I got it out of my head and I could work with what I did know about things.

Today I just lost another aunt – this time with kidney failure.

I think that is all I can muster today!

 

 

 

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