Bereavement and grieving

Apologies for the lack of updates over the last couple of months.
Shortly after my last post, in the small hours of January 2nd, I got a frantic phone call from my brother telling me to get back to London as quickly as I can because our father had a heart attack. I couldn’t get there in time and he passed away before I arrived.

I’d always known that one day I’d have to deal with his death, it’s been my biggest fear since losing my mother as a child but wasn’t expecting it to happen just yet. He was only 75, he’d recently retired, had a new ‘lady friend’ and was enjoying his life.

I have not been coping well with the loss at all. I had what could best be described as a mental breakdown at the end of January. It’s triggered abandonment issues that I had when I was younger, I’m terrified to let Jack or Lucy out of my sight. I’m scared to go to sleep in case I don’t wake up. There was one night where I must have woken Jack 5 or 6 times because I was convinced he wasn’t breathing – the morning after was when he took me to see a doctor.

I’m seeing a therapist, I’m going to grief counseling, I’m on anti-depressants and sleeping tablets. I’m used to being the one caring for a loved one going through a mental health crisis, not the one in crisis. Throw in the guilt that I feel like I’m letting my family (and my students) down, and combine that with the knee-jerk reaction that I’m somehow too old to have this kind of inability to cope. It’s exhausting and terrifying and I’m completely adrift – Jack is my anchor

But I also know I will get through this. I know it’s going to take a number of months for me to adjust and start to heal – and that the healing and grieving process can take years. My doctor is confident that prescribing my anti-depressants should be a short-term help, but as she put it, depression makes it difficult to grieve properly – and that as I work through the process, my body will be able to find the reserves to fight the depression, that I can’t do it all – not alone, and not at the same time.

I’m also finding writing this is embarrassing to admit to yet logically I know that keeping it all bottled up inside isn’t helping. I have a physical journal that I’m writing in every day and I’m posting this as a first step towards becoming less isolated again. Collapse

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Walking in a winter wonderland

What is it about the best laid plans?
Today was supposed to have included a second trip to see Aquaman and catching up on Dreamwidth.

Hah!

I have been hobbling around like an old woman today. We’re ignoring the fact that turning 50 next week does actually qualify me as an old woman.

You see yesterday we went to Cardiff’s Winter Wonderland and Lucy & I went ice-skating. We tried to cajole Jack into coming skating with us, I even tried to bribe him with offers of a good spanking, but as he quite rightly pointed out, it would be a bad idea with his back and knees. Also, he can’t skate.

How have I known the man 21 years and not know that he’s never been ice-skating?

Today my body has been protesting the hour spent on the ice – and a few falls included in that. I have a black and blue thigh, the leg I broke last summer has been aching and my back has been very stiff. This is a very new sensation for me and it’s made me quite grumpy. There was a hot bath this morning, lots of cuddles on the couch and some painkillers have been taken.

I’m now in bed ready for an early night, one knee still aching and swollen (thinking I might have twisted it when I fell?), more painkillers taken

****

That was written at about 9pm last night. Ir appears I fell asleep before posting. It is about 4:15 am on Thursday, I’ve just been to the bathroom, picked my tablet up and found this still open

Notw to self: tag tomorrow

Sundays are my favourites

Lucy and I went to a ‘legs, bums & tums’ fitness class this morning, lots of lunges, step and squats. The instructor, also called Lucy, promised us our bodies would thank us for this workout. My body is not currently thanking me. My thighs, in fact, are protesting quite severely about it.

After all that vigorous exercise, we then had a much calmer afternoon. I made another batch of chocolate raspberry brownies (last week’s went down very well and more were requested) and we needed to replace the calories we burned off!

We cuddled up on the couch with Jack, who has actually behaved all week and properly rested his back and knees, and ate them while they were still warm and gooey, playing Cards Against Humanity and Exploding Kittens until my sides hurt from laughing, before we watched some Buffy.

I’ve spent some time futzing around online. I’ve re-written my mini bio, I’m a little happier with it but it still needs tweaking some. I joined in a friending meme and actually managed to comment and friend people. I found some physics RSS feeds that I’ve added to my reading page and I’ve discovered a book that I want to read – What is Real?: The Unfinished Quest for the Meaning of Quantum Physics Hardcover – 31 May 2018
by Adam Becker… is it too late to ask Santa?

This evening has roast beef in store, as well as Doctor Who. Other than that, I’m thinking a soak in a hot bubble bath to ease my aching legs with my book (currently reading Just For Christmas by Scarlett Bailey) and some music, possibly followed by an early night.

December 2018

I feel like I blinked and it’s December. I’m sure the school year just started and now we’re winding down for the end of the Autumn semester and into the Christmas recess. I’m not going to lie though, I’m thrilled. I love December. I love Christmas and it’s my birthday – not that anyone1 really remembers it, it’s in that awkward period between Christmas and New Year where it feels like you’ve fallen into a fissure in the space time continuum.

I’m very much looking forward to a couple of weeks of no classes, no students and spending quality time with Jack and Lucy. We’ve got no solid plans other than going to see Aquaman, and a board games afternoon. I’d like to get in some yoga and zumba classes at the gym as well.

Also, in December, I’m going to two Cardiff Blues matches – on the 15th and 21st. I don’t get to go to actual matches in person often enough so I’m looking forward to that.

I’m sure other plans will fall into place as the month goes on. Mostly, though, I’m looking forward to relaxing with my family and enjoying the festive season

1 Jack, Lucy, Dad and my brother remember. Sometimes my niece and nephew too, although somehow they manage to forget that their father and I are twins and share a birthday…

What do you want?

I thought it was supposed to be my students that caught the Fresher’s Flu, not me. I’ve been feeling pretty crap all week though I’m pretty sure it’s actually just a cold – fever, aches, chills, coughing, sneezing, throat full of razorblades. Saying Freshers Flu just makes it sound more dramatic

Freshers Flu, is, however, an actual affliction that first year university students get. Similar symptoms to a cold or the flu generally caused by large numbers of students from all over the place, including world wide, all arriving in the same place and bringing all their own germs and immunity needing to be built up. Combine that with the often unhealthy diet and large amounts of alcohol consumed during the first couple of weeks. AND they psychological effects of leaving home, homesickness, stress, making new friends, learning to be independent. Wham, a teenagers immune system buckles under the strain and they fall victim to Freshers Flu.

Frustratingly, it’s been a week with a lot of fun things to talk about and no energy after finishing schoolwork to come online. I didn’t even go to the cinema with Jack and Lucy to see Venom this weekend.

You see, the start of the new school year is one of my favourite times. It’s a time filled with excitement and promise and new beginnings and new ideas. Rooms and halls filled with new friendships, new relationships, and, with Donna Strickland winning the Nobel Prize in Physics, so many young women filled with a sense of what could be which makes me excited to have them in my classroom. The conversations that buzz around are about why they’re studying astrophysics and what they want from it. I love all the discussions filled with wonder, with purpose, with determination. I love that there are young women who believe they can accomplish something in the world of physics.

When they ask me what I want, I give them a standard answer about helping them become the best possible scientists they can, helping them achieve their potential.

what do I really want?
A horse!