Well, it's been a long journey for me so far and it isn't over yet, but I am truly beginning to find my way to enjoying my life and not just making the most of it.
I have found it hard to write these past few months as it has been a time of trying to understand my emotions and behaviour of the last year. If anyone had told me that I was behaving irrationally at the time, I would have thought they had lost the plot. I knew that I had done some pretty strange and erratic things like going on spending spree’s and parting with money far too easily, but only when it was too late and then I didn’t know why. It has been explained to me now and whilst it is embarrassing, I understand it now and feel I can share it with you in case you ever go through anything similar.
Apparently the last year has been spent with me trying to cope with the loss of Tom which one would expect, but sometimes people who are grieving do things totally out of character in an effort to try to stop the pain. Some turn to alcohol when they have never drunk before, others work like mad to forget and in my case, I spent money on new clothes, taking to people to dinner every day, looking after others financial problems and on it went until it wasn’t possible to do it anymore. I felt happy when I made others happy. When it stopped I had to face reality and try to get a normal life back on track. I did pay off my mortgage and any other debts I may have had, so some good was done, but I also made it so I have to be extremely careful now with what I have to live on. What’s done is done and it was my way of getting through the pain.
I also learned that when I felt that I had no interest in my birds and animals, it wasn’t that I’d ceased to love them. That was a numbness that enveloped me and I felt nothing. I went through the motions of looking after them, but it was just that. No feelings, nothing.
There is a lot more to grieving than what I’ve mentioned and everyone is different. All I can say now is that I have gone through those periods and now I am accepting.
Today I woke at 5.45 a.m. which is early for me of late. It was a beautiful morning and I thought I would motivate myself and go out to Langness with the dogs. What a wonderful reward I received for doing just that. Lapwings were soaring as 3 herons stood in the stillness of a large pool left behind by the sea. Wheatears and Meadow Pipits danced across the small road, from bush to bush. Flocks of oystercatchers reflected the sun from their under parts as they flew across the rocks. A small baby seal sat basking in the sunshine on a rock. Skipper and Suzie rolled in the lush green grass and then galloped ahead. As I walked towards the point I saw two porpoises making their way round Langness and out to sea, one slightly ahead of the other with fin and body rising out of the water with each thrust. My heart swelled and I wish I could have shared all what I could see with others. I didn’t feel lonely though. I had my thoughts and my memories of Tom and how we did that walk so often together. My mind would think of how he would have loved it today and then as an aircraft took off, I could hear him saying “Flipping planes.” They were such an intrusion when he was trying to listen to nature. I would have been giving him a running commentary of what I could see and to which bird the sound belonged to that he could hear.
Last Sunday my friend Anne and I went to the wildlife park at 5 a.m. It was to listen to the dawn chorus and have it explained to us by Chris Sharpe who knows just about everything there is to know about birds on the Island. It was something Anne and I wanted to do last year but it wasn’t a good time for it. We weren’t disappointed. The first thing we encountered were bats flying rapidly about. I’d have thought they were swifts or something in the dusk. I didn’t realise they were so small and flew so rapidly. From then on it was the start of the dawn chorus and as we made our way through the wildlife park and into the Curraghs, Chris explained each song, bird, nuances etc. There were lots of tracks from the wallabies but no sign. Then there was one sitting in the middle of a path. It didn’t bolt. It just sat there at a distance of about 60 metres, letting us view it with our binoculars. By 7 a.m. we were in the café having a full breakfast and by 8.45 I was home ready to uncover Orry and start my day feeding the birds and the dogs,
On the wildlife front I have some interesting news about Gertie the goose. If you remember I brought her into the garden last summer it became apparent she was going blind. She spent the winter with me and was very settled in the garden with the hens. In the winter the hens all got colds and coughs. I know it sounds nuts but it’s true. They were sneezing like mad and some were pretty bad. It went through the flock pretty quickly and so I put them all on antibiotics. They all got better and then I treated them all for worms and mites in their drinking water. Whatever did it I don’t know, but Gerties opaque pupils cleared and she was able to see again. I put her back on the river and she has been enjoying the last few months back in her own environment with her husband and sister. Last week I had to go and rescue a baby heron that couldn’t fly and it was unable to fend for itself. It has been living outside on the wall and surrounding area and being fed by me. Although it is a baby, it is still quite big even if it is half the size of a full grown heron. I felt so privileged to be able to hold such a bird after years of just looking at them. I was able to feel the long beak, stroke the long soft neck and also feel the toes and long legs. Once I got him in a place I could keep my eye on him, it was then time to shower and make sure I had to mites etc. I’ll include some photos in the near future.
On the pet front, Skipper is still rounding up the hens, Suzie is still rolling in every cowpat she can find and Orry!!! Hmmm, Orry! He now has added to his already large vocabulary, ‘Oy’, ‘sod it’, ‘stop it’, ‘come ‘ere’’, ’get off’, ‘good boy’, ‘come on’, ‘hey boy’, police sirens, heron calls etc etc. His intelligence is improving and he is starting to answer back sometimes. His cognitive speech is improving as he will shout ‘come on, come ‘ere’’ when he see’s me in the morning and wants out of his cage. Suzie got a sharp rebuke when she stood too close to Orrys cage when he was just sitting in his doorway eating a morsel. A bash on the back followed by ‘Oy’ sent her scurrying to her basket. Take something off him which he shouldn’t have and he also yells ‘oy’ at me. He’s great company. The hens are laying well and they have also started their own party trick when I take the tray of food out to the aviary. The all jump up and try to mug me for the tray which when up ended, scatters egg, sprouted seeds and sweetcorn all over the floor.
The other day I went to my first band concert for quite a few years. After starting back with Castletown band and since my last blog, I had virus after virus and didn’t have any continuity with regards practices etc. I am over all that now and I love playing again. I don’t seem to be any worse for my time away and the bandmaster has asked me if I will play some solo’s again. I haven’t done it for years, but I’m up for it. It is all therapy and another interest.
I didn’t really think many people read my blog anymore and wasn’t sure if it was worth me doing it, but I have met people in various places that have mentioned I haven’t written for ages. People I never dreamed in a million years would read what I blather on about. I will try and keep you up to date with things. Motivation is the problem and has been with lots of other things, like emailing people and I still haven’t yet started to paint!!!! One day perhaps. After my little (under statement) spending spree I may have to start pretty soon to keep the wolf from the door.
Toms Mum has not been in the best of health and has been in and out of hospital. She had a particularly bad do last week when she was sent home before they had sorted out her blood sugar levels and last Monday we were pretty close to losing her with a hypo incident. She is doing better now. Orry the parrot is knocking on the window, strutting up and down the window ledge and shouting ‘Barbara’. Oh, I forgot to mention his other new word ‘wor ever’.
I’m off to see the Priests tonight with Anne. For those who don’t know, they are 3 Priests with the most fantastic classical voices. I just hope they get over with all the volcanic ash clouds.
I’d better sort out my aviary birds now. It is nice to be talking to you again and I hope my motivation continues.
From a much more settled Barbara on the banks of the beautiful Silverburn River.