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I'll Start Again



It has been the longest I have been without blogging or editing Toms Blog but now I will give a catch up.


First of all, who wants to read about how someone is struggling over Christmas, the New Year and Birthdays with depression. That was where I was at leading up to Christmas and after, continually dipping. I only started to come out of it last weekend. It isn't something people want to read on a blog or perhaps that I want to write in too much detail. One of the effects is a lack of motivation and the blog fell into that category as did lots of other things.


Anyway, before Christmas I took on a task which has gone some way to keeping me going and a reason to get out of bed besides looking after my animals. The Vicar who buried Tom has become a friend of mine, along with her husband. She has been very supportive to me since Tom’s death and we share some interests. Her father fell and broke his hip at the latter end of last year and he has come over to the Island to be with his daughter and also to be looked after by her. I volunteered to help and since the day he arrived a week before Christmas, I go to her home each day to wash and dress him. He is a lovely elderly gent who will be 94 in March. Now rather than it being me that goes over to help him, he in turn has helped me. I have someone to focus on and help. His face beams when he see's me arrive and that makes all the difference. He didn't come over here to recuperate, rather to be nursed, but he has come on leaps and bounds and is playing the piano each day and doing exercises to try and improve his painful hip. In the first instance he did well to survive the operation on his hip at his age, but to find a zest for life and a motivation to improve is pretty cool. I could do with a bit of that zest and motivation myself. I only go for around 2 hours a day and I sometimes take him out in the car so he can watch the sea whilst I walk my dogs. I printed off every one of Tom’s blogs for him which he has read, including Tom’s book. His eyesight is better than mine and he has a sense of humour that is noticeably quick in which he never misses a trick.


My mother came over to be with me just before Christmas and stayed for nearly two weeks. I continued to look after my menagerie, my patient and each day I took my mother to dinner with a different friend. Christmas day I went to the flying club with my mother, Tom’s mother and his Aunty Trudy who also lost her husband last year as documented in Toms Blog. It was a lovely dinner and it was a change to everything we would normally have done on Christmas Day. We were out of the house and supporting each other, being waited on with a lovely meal at the Flying Club. No shopping, cooking, stressing or washing up to do. We just sat down and enjoyed being spoiled. I didn't allow my mind to wander over past Christmases with Tom and to be honest; I did try my best to ignore the festive part of it all. It has been very hard not to think of the previous Decembers and January's with cancer, scans, specialists and worries dominating our lives. That has probably been at the root of my dip in spirits and the fact that I still find it almost inconceivable that Tom and I have been parted. I felt sad for all the people who would be going through those same emotions that we had been through the previous years and knowing how they will have felt isolated and sad, whilst everyone celebrated. A young friend of ours lost his mother the week before Christmas and he came to me for advice on everything he should do about the funeral etc. He was devastated and had looked after his mum for a few years. He is 25 and had to bury his mum on Christmas Eve. We cried together as I tried to guide him through his grief and also tell him the practical things that had t be dealt with. He likes to look in on me and check I'm ok and he is coping with his loss. Christmas will never be the same for him again; even when he has children of his own there will always be a tinge of sadness.


I did start back in Castletown Band last week. I do tend to work on whims at the moment and this whim has seen me attend all the practices. I still have a lot of practicing to do to get back to not exactly my best which isn't that terrific. I'm enjoying playing with the band and there are quite a lot of new and also young faces which is encouraging. I still haven't commenced painting yet but we will see what the spring brings. It may awaken my soul and desire recreate the beauty I see.


This week I have been listening to the dawn chorus each morning. The Thrush is the first bird singing and the rest follow some time later. There are stirrings in the bird world now and changes in their habits. The herons aren't as frequent and I know they are busy nest building. In a few months they will almost camp on my shed roof when they expect me to supply them with the food to try and feed the brood they will have hatched. I have been enjoying watching the Lapwings dipping and diving in the fields and by the shore. I love their aerobatics and the unusual calls they make. The weather hasn't been conducive to long walks early on Sunday mornings. As the days lengthen I hope that I and my friend Anne will be able to resume our wanderings. I haven't done any hill climbing since I had Pneumonia last August, but I am fit and raring to go now. I just want it to stop raining.


Tuesday afternoon I drove back from Tesco's at around 4.50 and as I was driving up Richmond Hill I remembered how I used to feel excited at this time of the year when there was light in the sky and I would be driving home from work. I would feel the joy welling up in me at the thoughts of getting home whilst it was still daylight, running in to Tom (who would be waiting to give me a hug on my return home from work) and telling him to get his coat on quick so we could walk the dogs in the last of the light. Then my spirits plummeted at the thoughts that Tom wasn't there anymore.


I have been reading Toms Blogs which a friend of ours in America has collated and sent to me in a word document. It is amazing how his words have an impact on me even now. When I read them it is with a different view when he was alive and with me. The words speak to me, but in a different way. I feel ashamed of my low spirits when I read what Tom wrote with everything he was going through emotionally and physically. I have decided to have the entire Blog put into a book for those people who never had access to a computer as I feel he can still inspire even though he lost his fight for life. The profits of the book I will give to the Hospice on the Island as they are an unbelievable charity.


In my animal world, Orry is improving his vocabulary and also other sounds he has picked up along the way. He is the only parrot I know that only has to look at a bottle of Fentmans Dandelion & Burdock to do a rather loud burp. His territory has grown and I'm not sure if I have retained my position as head of the household. Suzie made a great recovery from her rather big operation before Christmas and is a little cutey. Skipper is about the same as he ever was but he and I are best pals now. I was sad over the Christmas period when I lit a fire in Tom’s room, put the TV on and closed the door. Skipper went frantic at the door to get in as with the sound coming from the room, it was obvious he thought Tom was in there. When I opened the door he dashed in and stopped dead when he saw and empty settee. It was only at that point that I realised that he hadn't forgotten Tom and still lived in hope that he would return. I have to say that I am finding it increasingly more comforting to sit in that room surrounded by all the models with nothing changed. There is a peace which is felt by all who I invite in. That room is largely left shut and used to bring visitors into and as I say, it is lovely to light a fire and sit contemplative like Tom used to do.


Anyway, it is way passed my bedtime & I do feel I have achieved something by actually doing this blog. I hope you are all well and not developing webbed feet. This is Barbara on the banks of a very wet Silverburn River looking forward to the spring.


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