I was hurt, beyond hurt.
The writing was on the wall. And within 48 hours ... what I had predicted ... came true.
It has taken three and a half years to build up my confidence to trust a few peeps after being burned by some friends (shortly after Cliff died) helping themselves, under the guise of helping me. Back then, in February 2009, I was standing in my hallway, getting the feel of Cliff's Samurai Sword in my hands, when my friend Shaun turned up 2 hours earlier than expected. Thankfully. I stuck it through a floorboard and he pretended not to see it ... or maybe he really didn't. Grief, especially that raw stage ... you know when you're not sure if you have lost your mind because your body and mind and soul just can't process the fact that everything you believed in ... has gone. Forever. So contemplating going through some one's door with your dead husband's sword is no biggie compared to the fact that your dead husband is dead.
I've been unwell this year. Tried to keep it hidden. But my physical health has gone steadily down, taking my mental health with it. I got so stressed and ill a few weeks back, that I drove the two hour journey in my slippers and PJ bottoms, without brushing my teeth or hair, to my sister's ... out of my mind ... knowing she would baby me and sit with me so I could figure out what I had to do. I was only staying for one night ... but each day, she would say, "You don't have to go today, you know." We took it in turns each day to cry when she said that. For seven days I think.
My weight has dropped to just 6 stone something. I am now a UK small size 6 (but need a belt with jeans). Cliff - if he were alive today - would divorce me purely on the grounds that my once beautiful boobs have almost gone. So my Diabetes is not on track. Gulp. Big gulp. Confession time. I have been so low (booing now, but have to get this out, so I can deal with it) - I haven't tested my blood glucose since the day I returned from Australia (May 2010) only to find that the house had been burgled. And considering my blood sugars were on target within two months of diagnosis by the end of trip to Australia and Singapore ... everything got ugly and unravelled fast after May 31st 2010. I'd started to feel healthy. I was so happy visiting old school friends and felt safe again for the first time since I lost my Cliff. Getting to that point in my psyche was like reaching the summit of a mountain. And some little chav sent me back to the start. Right back to January 6th, 2009. Booing again. I have to get this out today and deal with this. I guess I subconsciously figured that it wasn't worth climbing all the way back up because there would only be another opportunist waiting to kick me back down. As it turned out I was right.
But those were hard indisputable facts. This is different. Not tangible. It's about communication and interpretation. And if both parties are good or not so good at this 'art'.
I'm going to try to better manage my emotional response to stuff. I don't want the relationships that I really value to break down because of misunderstandings. Having worked through this post and coming back to edit it, I am confident that I've really over-reacted to what I perceived as a betrayal. I have been let down and I know that I have a right to be annoyed, that said, the rest of it was my bewildered uninformed situation. In fact, one minute ago I got a lovely text. Instantly, I was up and at the fridge, fixing my supper, and singing away. They do care. And they were oblivious to my heartbreak, caused by: the message that was sent was NOT the message that I received. And my paranoid widow-brain sieved through the tiny bit of data, added a shedload of meaningless shit to it and came up with scenarios way more complex than portrayed in "A Beautiful Mind".
And I got so upset that all the veins on my arms are protruding (attractive), which match my penguin-like feet and fat old lady's ankles ... so my BP is way high ATM.
But worse than that I have self-harmed. My back. I just kept gouging it. Because that pain was better than the other pain I couldn't really deal with. And now, my back is really really sore. And my hair kept irritating it. I couldn't find any scissors, so I got innovative and used a carving knife to lob it off. Actually I remembered Cliff doing this once when his family drove him round the twist one day.
But I think I've been a little further than round the twist the past 48 hours.
I couldn't breathe properly all night and my diabetes review is due in 3 hours so ... I will attend the review, via telephone. She'll just be happy that I got in touch. I can write down all the numbers for cholesterol, blood sugar, etc. And we can arrange another review to record progress. There's no choice this time. I know. My intuition is screaming at me. I've got my DASH Diet shopping list, new monitor for blood glucose (cannot find old one) and ketones, the stabby things, the sticks, the record book (if you don't use the meter), along with my meds and glucose tablets ALL IN ONE NEAT BLACK BAG. Ahem, that's if Alison doesn't tell me I'm heading for a coma and she's putting me on insulin instead. I don't care. I just know that I have to do it. I've no stamina, no strength in me. I've been working on setting up my business, which is great. But it's not so good if you can't market your house because you're like an old lady in body ... low in spirit too ... crying for your husband to come home please because he looked after you and made you eat your greens, and you slept like a baby every night all safe. Then, IMHO due to a pushy-crap-at-planning-so-it-became-my-emergency-every-fucking-day, I ended up crashing on the sofa with my dogs each night, living on yoghurt, cereal, toast and micro-dinners-for-one. No energy to do anything else each evening. Since taking redundancy, I have achieved 2 out of 3 goals (set up business, sell car - check ... sell house ... outstanding) and because I've got to a point that I'm that low ... sometimes I just don't care and I'll eat rice pudding for brekkie, lunch and then for variety, custard for supper. Minstrels for dessert. The dogs think those days are great. But it's not great in reality ... I am really low. In body and mind. I've almost been living like a tramp. I haven't let anyone in my house for the past year. Out of shame. An inability to physically sort it out. But we have made a start. Now I'm really booing.
Therein lies the next issue ... I have been forced to accept a lower than anticipated price for my BMW, and my redundancy money finally ran out. And I have promised to pay xxxxxxxxxxxxx (this is between me and someone very dear to me and it's for something very worthwhile.) I will not break my promise. No way. Oh and my direct debits are all due ... and I actually had to get a wonga.com loan to eat. Yes. To eat. I thought I had enough cash to get through ... but that changed. So the beemer went for £3k cheaper than it should have. No choice. Which means I have a smaller pot of dosh to last me till the house is sold. And the magical money tree that Cliff tended got stolen by some ugly garden-dwelling troll with bad juju when he died.
Less mullah in bank, less coming into bank = colossal pressure to purge and pack house. I don't have the physical capability to do it. If it's not done, I will have house repossessed as there is still £15k to pay off mortgage and loan ... and you know how ruthless banks are. Booing again. Worse still, booing AND gouging back. Wincing. I swear my ankles are getting puffier by the minute and a panic attack is coming ... not right this second, but soon. I know what will help ... more Marlboro Lites - back in a min ... off to the shop. Maybe then I can work out the numbers and stop panicking and THINK.
But I'm angry as well as upset as well as panicking. Because I should not be going through this. I had it planned. Neatly. Then instead of walking on earth, suddenly I'm walking on air. And upset. Irrational. Back looks like it's survived Hiroshima. I twisted round to see it when I applied TCP ... forgot to dilute and screamed ... which was when I went back downstairs and looked for the sharpest carving knife. The one Cliff never allowed me to use.
And BTW, this is NOT a call for help. My sister will help me if needed. She knows I'm good for the money. But, I don't want her to know really ... she'll fret and I will squirm.
I have Kent Pegs, good timber and stuff to sell. It has to go anyway, so that's fine. But I also need a cheap town car to last me for 3 months. There's another grand.
Cliff could figure this in 30 seconds. Because I'm fucked up it'll take me all day. Maybe longer ... because I have lots to do today. A mighty long list :-(
And now I'm getting bad pains in my stomach because I think Alison is going to tell me that there are ketones present which equates to kidney/liver damage. FFS.
Well there is ... my friend is dying in hospital. Zero percent chance of survival. 2 - 3 weeks max. And she is in the hospital Cliff died in. Last time I went there (she was admitted there 18 months ago) I started shaking so much, a nurse came over to help me walk back outside. I just followed her husband to the ward ... and had no idea he was leading me to THAT ward. OMFG. I feel nauseous just remembering it.
I'm going in to say goodbye in my head. Obviously I shan't say goodbye out loud because I don't think she knows she is dying. She is heavily sedated and talking to her long dead parents. When she is semi-awake apparently she's asking for cold ice-cream and stuff. Her favourite is Tesco Cherrylicious (which I got her hooked on) so am going to get a tub of that for her en route. Just going to focus on the Cherrylicious rather than the reason I'm getting it. Because I cannot think about reality. I have to keep a grip. Time to cry about that later. Need to support her family ... not mope about crying about it. Not yet.
On Monday, I have to have my deaf rescue dog put down. Now I am howling. And I am really going to the shop right now. This is the toughest decision I have had to make in a long time. It's not a subject I am willing to discuss with anyone. My dog, my accountability. He'll be quite happy in my arms getting love and fuss. And the last thing he will see will be my eyes looking back into his. No fear. Sheer oblivion.
I'm back. Got brekkie and lunch stuff and read the paper in the car, which chilled me out. Then an old man (but v sprightly and fun) came along with his little dog. And she danced for me. The more I clapped and giggled, the more she danced (and the more treats she received LOL). So we got talking. About dogs. And when he left, I felt even more chilled out.
So, the review:
(I really hope that my sister doesn't read my blog any more .... shudder)
Smear - all healthy :-)
Mammogram - being booked (deep joy, sounds painful ... but good to check)
Kidney/Liver - all ok :-)
Anaemia - negative :-)
Urine - some protein.
Cholesterol - 7.4
BP - 155/88
HBA1C - 16 (should be 6)
and ... they discovered I have a thyroid issue.
Am booked into see the Doctor on September 3rd at 16h00. Alison and I both admitted that we were expecting "bad" results due to the fact that I have been so mentally down and so physically weak this year. It's been a real Catch-22. She did say that having thyroid issues on top of diabetes explained my being so under-weight and she said that I'd done well to accomplish what I have (setting up my new business etc.) and that just getting up each day must have been an effort.
I've started to tackle this. Bought "good" food. Got all my Diabetes info together. And being the natural researcher that I am, am going to learn more about thyroid, cholesterol and BP. *fingers crossed* that the DASH Diet will take care of the latter two, and a tablet a day will sort the thyroid. Lengthen the dog's walks. And repeat.
She said I must avoid stress at the moment. SNORT.
I keep feeling pins and needles in my legs and arms ... I thought it was psychosomatic ... you know ... because I'd been given the results. Nah ..... I've had to accept it's because I've never addressed my 'blind spot', consequently my emotional response has caused a bad reaction in body. That mind/body connection is so strong.
Forgive me for going on and on ... this post is more about me getting my act together and telling myself what I've got to change.
I came across two Insights Personal Profile Reports that I took in 2007 and 2010. Just below are some snippets that are very pertinent now. I did try to address these, but under-achieved. My mentors and friends, my manager kept reinforcing the message ... I kept trying, and kept failing. It's part of my make-up, so it's particularly hard to change. And again, I have to draw another line in the proverbial sand, to protect myself from emotional/mental damage. Otherwise there is no point fixing my diet and exercise. All or nothing. I choose all. But I must must must must be strict with myself .... forever and each day.
"Margo tends to be alert and is often uncannily correct. It is as if she has an antenna that enables her to detect dangers long before other people do. She is warm and gracious and believes in a philosophy of 'live and let live'. She would be prepared to walk across broken glass in her bare feet to help a friend in need and has a strong sense of loyalty. Achieving great financial success is not top of her agenda. Margo is flexible, tolerant and though she likes her help or the way she treats others to be reciprocated she is less expectant than most other types. Unfortunately, Margo may find it painful to face reality when there are difficult problems with people she cares about and may overlook unpalatable facts due to her deep desire to maintain harmony among the people she relates to. Considerate and sympathetic to the extreme, often sacrificing her own wants for the needs of the other person."
When communicating with Margo do NOT:
Use her quiet demeanour to seek to control or dominate
Shout or bully
Mistake silence as compliance or submission. (Her silence is most likely an indicator of her disappointment and loss of trust and respect. Margo's communication, intuition and people skills are excellent. Always be transparent and respectful, do not engage in playing 'mind games' as she will see through any attempt on your part, then may carry on regardless, opting to see the best and denying reality, i.e. anything she finds hurtful.)
Apply some objectivity and even scepticism, question the motives of others. Deal with issues 'head-on' rather than masking feelings to avoid having to take an aggressive stand when pushed 'over the edge'. Accepting that others may not be as considerate or thoughtful, or that they may not demonstrate their feelings in the same way.
Hmmmmmm. I guess a good start would be to not open my mouth when peeps start talking about their problems. Instead of instantly (and without thought) saying, "I can help you with xxxxxx."
And peeps have talked to me like shit. MY HUSBAND IS DEAD. I didn't talk to anyone like that even when he had just died! Hellooooooo Boo, wake up and smell the coffee. Actually, whatever. WHAT. EVER. Even having a dead husband doesn't give you the right to be nasty, mean or rude to anyone.
Don't mistake kindness as a weakness - the worst insult you can pay me.
And remember what my mother taught me ... the person who is nice to you, but not nice to the waiter, is not a very nice person.
For me, it's not about keeping a tally of what I've done vs. what peeps have returned. NO NO NO. It's my choice to give or do. Amongst friends, true friends, no balance sheet exists. ANYWHERE. NOT EVEN ON A BAD DAY. In fact, giving gives me pleasure. It's purely self-serving in the main LOL. I love it. It makes me feel GOOD. And happy inside. The colour of it is a dusty pink for some reason.
My girlfriends who live near me. We love each other in this way. Vicki, Shirley, Lynn, Manda. They are all very different and they all teach me stuff, and vice versa ... as we live our lives. We've all grieved, loved, laughed and been to rock bottom and back. Right now we are all trying to overcome our own stuff, marching to the beat of different drums, but still finding the time to help each other, whether that means: listening, helping, protecting, lending, caring, loving, laughing at/with each other, telling each other off ... the list is pretty endless. We all piss each other off occasionally, but it's down to understanding how we react to stress, and other influences ... being aware of what's going on in their lives ... then not reacting in a volatile way. Stop. Think. WTF did she just say to me? OK, I'm clearly not fully informed. Reply with care and thought. Explain your situation so they are in the know too. Oh yes ... we're both screwed up at the moment. Laugh at each other.
But it's ok for us to be like this. It's a safe environment because you can assume good intent. But if you let resentment build or the relationship feels like they are disrespecting you over a period of time ... this is the point that I need to speak out, instead of standing there stunned, hurt and silent. Then crying all the way home. I have GOT to do this as uncomfortable as it is for me.
These friends did not drop out of the sky and land in my lap. It's not luck or lucky. We all work at being friends. Deep and long friendships don't happen because someone sneezed fairy dust over us.
But if you're not in my little happy daisy chain of girlfriends, don't go there. You have no right. You're not smart enough to play games with me. You have no idea. I'll have seen right through you with eyes tinged with a mix of disgust and contempt. All you've done is show me that you've got no grace ... and that we are worlds apart. Just because we share a common interest doesn't automatically make us friends and I can't afford to let you suck the life force out of me. I barely have enough white light left for myself right now. And, it is my responsibility to walk away. Mine. If I stay around to take more shit, it's not your accountability, it's mine. It doesn't mean I condone you treating me like shit. But I can leave you to find someone else to kick. This is the behaviour that I have to be strict with myself about. Forever.
And, you know what? I've earned anything and any money I have. And worked very hard for it. So did Cliff. It's not "luck" ... it didn't drop in my lap courtesy of some goblins. Hard work. Investing it into a nice home for myself and a couple of rental investments. Time to relax and get well. The simple things in life. If you start talking about something you can't pay, like your *phone bill*, I'm going to keep my mouth shut. Firmly. Shut. Shhhh. Mush. And I'll be thinking of this:
or something ....
Anyway, sometimes peeps just tell you stuff, not because they're hoping you'll volunteer to sort out their stuff, just because they want to talk about it. I do that a lot, to help me go through the thought process, with them as a sounding board.
Again, I have to address this not because I've suddenly decided to stop being generous and start being stingy, but because this is my last chance to safeguard my financial security and lifestyle. I do not get another run at corporate life and slogging really hard. I'm 48 now. Never mind the fact that I'm not even capable of maintaining that high performance and pressure for more than a day ATM. LOL. Same applies to time and energy doing stuff.
Because I've just experienced the lesson the hard way. Cliff always warned me - their need is always greater than yours. Even if it's the "wrong" thing to do. You might put them first. They will NEVER put you first. You'll learn.
And I have.
Thank you for bearing with me while I worked through my emotions, and have now happily come to a less emotional conclusion and state. At least I'm doing that ... this is version two and much more balanced and lucid. I know 100% that I must be responsible for my reactions to stuff ... I can't control what people do to me, but I can choose how I react to it, thereby controlling my own emotional (and physical) response.
but before I go ...
one of my widowed community had a little dig at me, not by name, but by using words she knew I would identify with, i.e. I knew the comment was directed at me. I've since gone back to re-read the comment on Facebook and just as I suspected, the wording has now been changed.
Well here's a line in the sand for you.
I've never done you any harm. Never. Far from it.
I guess you got up in an ugly mood and looked for someone to be nasty to. Well you chose the wrong person and the wrong week. You did it because you thought you could ... you have before. (I still have that absolutely horrible message you sent me - wow can you be vicious, it shocked me so much ... but I see you clearly now. And my crime? I left you a note on Facebook saying well done for something. Somehow you twisted that.)
Not that I need to explain myself to you ... but for completeness, know that I had already 'unfriended' the person that sent that irresponsible status, because she was always sending out stuff that incited hatred or was simply sanctimonious or judgmental. You don't know me at all if you think that I would put that out there if there was a risk she'd see it. Just because she sends stupid posts out doesn't give me the right to hurt or humiliate her. Unless you have some examples you'd like to share? I've lived in the Middle East and there's enough hatred and suffering there without trying to set the Internet on fire too.
I suggest you sort out your own backyard before you start commenting on mine.
I'm done with you. This shit ends here. I am through with your constant insinuation that it's easier for me. I can go a whole week or more and not see anyone or speak to anyone. My health is crap too. I've been stressed to hell and back too.
You think I don't care about the consequences of my words or actions. Really? Well, I'd love to hear about that. And I'm sure you'll twist something around into something bitter, just as I'm sure you're going to hide the venomous sarcastic side you've shown to me a couple of times and wail and spit your dummy out and milk this for all it's worth.
And while I'm here, you keep asking why why why no one stays by you. I can't speak for anyone else, but for me it's this. IT'S NOT WORSE FOR YOU. YOUR PAIN IS NOT WORSE THAN MINE. YOUR LOSS IS NOT MORE THAN MINE. It's offensive. I lost my husband too. Get over it.
Thank you for the two lessons you taught me:
No good deed goes unpunished.
You can't do enough for some people.
Well here's one for you. We have a saying over here:
Kick me when I'm down, I'll break your fucking legs. (Figuratively speaking of course. I'm just a bit of posh totty living on the edge of an ill manor).
Don't contact me. Back off. Go find someone else to kick when you're ugly.
Don't mistake kindness as a weakness. It's not. It's a strength.