Grief, in its rawest form.

•March 9, 2018 • Leave a Comment

They say that death is not the greatest loss in life, the greatest loss is what dies in us whilst we live, and I can’t help but agree with this.

You go through life thinking that you know what heartache feels like, you’ve been dumped before or had friends let you down through your own high expectations, but let me tell you something; you do not know real heartache until you lose a parent. The person that raised you, loved you, moulded you, created you, no, you will not know real heartache until you lose this person.

I was there when my dad passed away. I was right there, by his bedside. I watched as he  expelled his very last breath. I watched as his weakened body finally shut down. I watched the life leave the man who made me.

It wasn’t until I was standing at his funeral, with Bob Marley’s “Three Little Birds” playing, that I really knew heartache. Of course I was grieving my father, my family’s hero, but I was also grieving for myself, because I knew in that moment, I would never be the same again, and I’m not.

I can’t use the downstairs bathroom in my house anymore because that’s where his downward spiral began. I can’t sit at his seat at the dinner table because thats his seat. I can’t sit in the arm chair in the extension as I don’t want to disturb his Daddy Bear cushion. I can’t bring myself to consider buying a new car as he brought me my current one. These are all trivial things I know, but there’s even simpler, yet deeper things as well, like the fact I can’t sing in the shower anymore, because I just don’t feel that happiness anymore. I don’t feel happy anymore. Yes there are occasions where happiness does infect me, I do laugh, but before, I used to feel content with my life, but now it’s just surviving. I miss the old me, the me before grief.

The biggest thing for me though? The biggest thing for me is sleep. I am so tired, all of the time, as it’s when I come to lay my head down to sleep at night that I get presented with all the thoughts that I don’t want to remember, a slide show of the worst of my life, like watching my father take his last breath, or the moment he broke my heart, or the feeling of my cats heart stop beating as they put her to sleep. I don’t think some people realise how much of a fight it is to battle through grief, how difficult it is to make it through each night, so when my darling mum asks me daily “Whats the matter?” I merely reply with “Oh I’m just tired” because I am, it’s not a lie, but the thing is I’m tired with the constant fight for happiness, and I don’t have the heart to tell the woman that gave me my life that I don’t want it anymore.

This grief is consuming me.

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For Lilly, the niece that I will never know.

•September 19, 2017 • Leave a Comment

Lilly,

Today was the day I said my final goodbye to you, but how can I say goodbye when I didn’t even get the chance to say hello? You were born too early princess, I know it’s an Underhay trait to try and arrive everywhere early, but darling, this really should have been an exception.

The day I met you, Saturday 29th July, is a date I will now never forget, I only wish that you had a chance to meet me too. The moment I saw you, this beautifully tiny, perfectly formed human being, you had me. As soon as I picked you up, right away, I felt it. I held your little body in my arms, and even though you weren’t there inside of her anymore, I felt it, all I felt was love.

I held your little lifeless body towards mine for so long I pictured a future. I envisaged dressing you in sweet little dresses that I know your big brother would have hated. I saw school photo days where your mummy would be calling me up in the morning to come do your hair, because no one does a better french plait than Auntie Salsy. I saw you and your big brother Oscar playing trains in the living room, because Oscar would make damn sure that you love trains just as much as he does. I saw you coming to me for advice as a teenager because I was the younger, wilder aunt who would understand you. I saw you growing up, I saw you having your dads eyes and your mums lovely long, thick hair. I saw Oscar being an amazing and protective big brother, just like your daddy is to me. I saw you, Lilly Underhay. I watched you grow before my very eyes. I saw the future, I saw the future in you, I saw potential in you. Unfortunately I witnessed a future that was never destined to be.

So today Lilly, we say goodbye to you, for now. Just know that, even though you didn’t get to meet us, we got to meet you, and you’ve left footprints on our lives and our hearts that will last a lifetime. Thank you for being my beautiful niece and letting me love you, even if you couldn’t do it back.

You, Lilly Underhay, are, and forever will be, our little sleeping angel.

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Dear Jason,

•July 11, 2017 • Leave a Comment

I feel like I should be writing happy birthday to you, but I suppose that seems pretty disingenuous of me if I do.

It’s been six months Jason, six months. Six months now without you here. I wouldn’t exactly say that things have got easier, its more that I’ve grown accustomed to your absence now. Not accustomed in a good way like I’ve now grown used to seeing the sun because of the heatwave we’ve had these past few weeks. No, it’s more like my damaged ankle, the pain is always there, but it’s been there for such a long time now it’s become part of me, my body is used to that horrible dull ache in my bones, but I still feel it, every hour of every day.

I always find it difficult to talk about my grief, because grief is so personal, no two people deal with it the same, but I always found it easy to talk to you. I mean how many times did I turn up on your doorstep crying over crappy boyfriends and family troubles? You were my go to guy! But who do I go to now that my go to guy has gone? That is my struggle.

There are so many things I wish I had done whilst you were still alive, there are so many things that I should have said to you. I wish I had put in more of an effort these last few years. I wish that I had replied to that text. I wish I had called you more. I wish I had stolen more of your clothes. I wish I had hugged you more. I wish that you had met my nephew. I wish that I had seen you before you passed away. I wish I could have taken the cancer away. I wish I could have made you better. I wish I told you more often how much I love you. I wish that we could trade destinies. I wish this didn’t hurt so much. I wish that wherever you are, you can hear all these things that I am saying to you. I’m sorry I’m saying them so late, but I’m saying them now.

I wish, so much, above all things, that you were still here, but it’s been six months now Jason, and I know now that I’ll never see your face again, and that you’ll never make me laugh, I accept that, but it doesn’t mean that I have to be okay with it, because it’s not okay. I’m still not okay.

Fuck it, Happy Birthday Jason. I’m giving you the biggest cosmic hug possible tonight. I hope you can feel it.

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My crazy philosophical blog about death.

•March 24, 2017 • Leave a Comment

Death. Wow.

Death is probably one of the greatest and yet least talked about fears that most human beings have. It’s not an easy subject to talk about is it? Death? Whenever I’ve tried to have a real conversation about it with people in the past, they’ve got all angsty and nervous and avoided the subject matter. So even though I know there’s no one actually here to have this conversation with, I’m going to attempt to put my current thoughts about death into words…

My own mortality has never been more prominent to me than it has been in the past six months. In October I lost my Grandad. In January, I lost my dear friend Jason, and I very nearly lost my Dad. In March my family lost a long time neighbour and friend, Alan. That is a lot of death to happen in a short space of time.

I’ve always been one of these people that feared death. I was terrified at the thought that one day, I will cease to exist. There have been millions of people that have roamed this planet before me, and there will be millions more after I pass, and yet us as human beings get so terrified at the mere thought of our existence leaving this earth. If you really think about it, its rather egotistical that we are daunted by the fact that the world will one day be without us, that life and time as we know it will continue without us. No matter how kind, loving, caring or outstandingly amazing you might be, when you die, everything will continue, no matter what. ***EXISTENTIAL BUMMER!***

I think what most people fear about death is the unknown. Us as humans have built up images and expectations of death since the day we were born. These images and expectations are not our own, these have been fed to us by society and the media. I personally feel as though death has been displayed to us as something that we should be afraid of. We are constantly being bombarded with news reports of death, “8 people were killed today in a road traffic collision on this motorway” or “Extremist group Islamic State have opened gun fire at this place and killed 56 people” out of all the amazingly brilliant news there could be going on in the world, society and the media choose to hone in on everything bad and force feed us images and news reports of violence, murder and death, and society wonders why depression and anxiety stats are higher than ever?

Ancient Eastern teachings in Buddhism, Hinduism and Jainism illustrates a concept that a living being starts a new life in a different physical body or form after each biological death. These teachings have been around for thousands and thousands of years, I’m not sure to what extent that I believe in reincarnation, but the notion that we are all recycled souls living and trying to better ourselves in each life is a comforting one. Even teachings within Christianity tell of an afterlife elysium, a heaven in which you are one with an almighty deity who will secure and support you for eternal life. And yet, now more than ever, these concepts are not ones that the modern day nation chooses to embrace, instead we choose to reinforce the fact that when you die, that is it, you’re gone, you and everything you’ve ever known, done or ever worked for is rendered inconsequential. ***EXISTENTIAL BUMMER CONTINUED!***

After all this I can’t help but wonder, when is it that this culture lost all sense of faith? And I don’t mean that in a religious way or hippie dippy way, but surely theres got to be some faith out there somewhere? Something for us to believe in? Something beyond ourselves right? Surely we haven’t evolved over millions of years into these phenomenal entities, just to struggle, pay bills and die? Call me crazy, most people do, but I believe that we’re made for more than that; we have to be.

Truth be told, no one really knows what happens when you die, because to experience death, you actually have to die (Duh?) I know this has happened, where people have died and doctors/medics have been able to bring them back to life, but no one has experienced death, like really experienced death, for example no one has spent a prolonged amount of time biologically dead without breathing, brain function or a heartbeat, and come back to tell the tale have they? It is just a case of having faith. I’ve never had any real form of faith before, it’s only a recent thing to me, and that is all thanks to my Dad.

On the 4th January, my Dad was admitted to hospital with a severe infection that almost cost him his life. He contracted sepsis and he went into organ failure, we so very nearly lost him. A few weeks later, once he was out of ICU and in a normal ward recuperating, he told me about how he died. He told me about how his spirit left his body, and he was there, watching himself slip away, and all he wanted to do was make contact with us, his family, to tell us that he wasn’t going to make it. Whilst in this phase, he told me that he was not alone, that there were other entities around him, he couldn’t see them, but he could feel their energy, and they provided him with a certain aspect of serenity. I don’t know if this can be considered an accurate representation of “passing on”, or if it was just the sheer amount of drugs he was on to keep him alive, but either way, his ordeal has provided me with a sense of promise.

This new found faith has been a comfort to me recently, where I once feared death, I look at it now as just one of the only other certainties in life along with birth, everything in-between is what you chose to make it. Don’t waste it.

Don’t live your life fearing death, otherwise you’ll never truly live.

sielos-giminyste

 

Snuff, The Brain Dance, Machines.

•March 13, 2017 • Leave a Comment

I love music.

I love the way that music can make us as human beings feel. The sheer magical transcendence you go through when one of your favourite tracks plays is like no other feeling in this world. When a certain track plays, within moments you can be transported back to a certain point in time all over again, just because of one song.

I use music as a coping mechanism; always have, always will. I find it hard to talk to people, by that I mean really talk to people, to connect, to open up, to air my woes, and I find that music can convey how I feel a hell of a lot better than I ever can myself, that’s why I connect to it.

I’m a true believer that behind everyones favourite song there is an untold story, there’s a definitive reason why they love that song so much, so thats why I’m going to go through the stories behind three of mine.

Slipknot – Snuff.

In 2011 I was in a very mentally unstable place. I suffered from severe depression and did a lot of things that I am not proud of, and this all stemmed from a very bad relationship with someone who consistently fed off of my instability. At the time I didn’t realise what a terrible human being this man was, at the time I thought he was trying to help me, get me back on track. It’s only now all these years on, I can openly see that I was just a play thing to him, a source of money, a way to boost his ego and fill his time.

When the relationship inevitably and FINALLY dissolved (after several months of breaking up “being friends” breaking up, getting back together) I was hurt, feeling used, but my God was I angry. So I listened to Snuff, over and over and over again reiterating the lyrics “you sold me out to save yourself” “I only wish you weren’t my friend, then I could hurt you in the end” and “If you still care don’t ever let me know” there’s such pain and anger in those lyrics, and at the time they spoke to me on a level that was incomparable. THAT was how I was feeling. THAT was how he had made me feel, and in a way hearing those raw, bitter words being sung comforted me in such a way it reassured me that people had felt like this before me, hell Corey Taylor himself could have felt that way hence the inspiration for Snuff itself.

Snuff will always mean a lot to be, because it will forever be a reminder of how far I have come from being that bitter, angry, self loathing 21 year old. It will remind me of a person I never want to be again; “So if you love me let me go, and run away before I know” and that is exactly what I did, I let that person, that horrible part of me go.

Animals as Leaders – The Brain Dance.

On 5th January 2017, I learnt the devastating news that one of my oldest and best friends Jason had lost his short battle with cancer. Upon hearing the news I was devastated, I mean who wouldn’t be? When someone you’ve known and loved for over 10 years of your life suddenly passes away at the tender age of 27, something inside you just breaks. It was then, when I was in an inconsolable state, a mere 10 minutes or so after hearing the life altering news, a friend of mine, entirely out of the blue, sends me a link to a song I’ve never heard before. No rhyme or reason behind them doing so, other than the fact that they like the song and they thought I might too. This song, at that definitive moment in time, felt as though it had been delivered to me by some form of guardian angel. I was completely inconsolable, until I played this song. As soon as the melody played out and kissed my ear drums, I was in love. The song flooded me with good vibes, and provided me with a very real, however temporary, feeling of serenity. This song would then go on to be be played over 150 times in the space of 1 month, I would listen to it when writing Jason’s eulogy, I would listen to it on the way home from work, and above all, it was the only song I could listen to to calm me enough and eventually send me to sleep at night. This song was my comfort blanket during extreme adversity, and it still is now to an extent. This song is tranquil, it soothes me, calms me, provides me calm within chaos, and I will forever love it for being able to do that.

Biffy Clyro – Machines.

If any song is being crowned as my favourite song, it has to be this one. So much so I’ve already written a blog about it previously (Machines, published 12th May 2013)

The first time I heard this song, it was much like the scenario of that for Animals as Leaders – The Brain Dance. It was August 2008, 2 days after passing my driving test, I was calling home to tell my parents that I wouldn’t be home that night as I was going to stay out again. My parents were begging me to come home, saying they had some news to tell me, and me being a stubborn and selfish 17 year old at the time, wouldn’t have any of it. So eventually they had to break the news to me over the phone that my Uncle Andy had been killed in a car accident as a result of a drunk and drugged up kid being behind the wheel of his vehicle. The news had me paralysed. I was sat out on my friends balcony for what seemed like forever following hearing the news. When I eventually gathered the strength to walk back into my friends flat, I heard Biffy Clyro – Machines playing for the very first time. It was like a scene from a movie where the beautifully poignant song starts playing as someones world starts to fall apart; yep, that was my world. I sat there crying in the arms of two of my friends until my parents came to collect me.

Since that day 9 years ago, I have listened to this song over 2500 times; that equates to 1 listen every 1.3 days. This song is my survival song, the lyrics speak to me on a level that is just unparalleled. I listen to it when I feel hopeless, the lyrics “Crazy as it seems you won’t feel as low as you feel right now” provide me with hope. I’ll listen to this song when I’m at my lowest point, so I can hear those lyrics and think that I cannot be as low as I feel right now, this is it, this is rock bottom, there is only one way up from here. The lyrics “I’ve started falling apart, I’m not savouring life. I’ve forgotten how good it could be to feel alive” reminds me that I shouldn’t take my life for granted. I am gifted with a life that so many others would dream of. I have a roof over my head, a family that loves me and a pillow to rest my head on at night; so many people out there in the world would kill to have what I have, but so many don’t have the chance, or the opportunity was taken from them far too early, like my Uncle Andy or my friend Jason. I also listen to this song when I feel content, again because the lyrics “I’ve forgotten how good it could be to feel alive” are a gentle reminder to me that I’m not in that bad place, this is not rock bottom, that when I was there I had forgotten how good it could be to feel alive, and you know what? Most of the time, being alive is a pretty damn awesome thing.

It’s bizarre really, 3 of my all time favourite songs have stemmed from 3 of the most difficult periods of my life. These songs have comforted me, repaired me, soothed me, rebuilt me, and I don’t think that I would be the person I am today if I didn’t have these songs in my life to mould me, or essentially even more, create me.

Snuff taught me anger and resolve. The brain dance taught me serenity in turmoil. Machines taught me to have gratitude in despondency. It’s just such a shame I’ll never be able to thank these musicians for writing these songs that have had such a positive effect on my life because, where my words fail me, their music will forever speak.

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One for the freaks, the weirdos, the kooks and the outcasts.

•February 23, 2017 • Leave a Comment

Admit it. You aren’t like them, you’re not even close” Timothy Leary, 1920-1996.

If it’s one thing I have been called many times in my life, it’s a freak. Ever since I was in school, the oversized goth girl with the dark hair and make up, the girl that never really fitted in; that was me. Granted I had my clique, my friends: The Goths. We were the outsiders, so far outside the norm in fact that I even had to stay home from school on occasion for my own protection, because the “normals” didn’t accept me, accept us.

As I left school and got older, the edgy/angsty gothic look passed, I suppose I’ve structured myself aesthetically to appear more “normal” in order to attain and sustain a decent job, however my mentality remains the same. To me, it feels like the more I try to fit in, the more I feel like an outsider; an outsider watching these “normal” people going about their “normal” lives. I sit and wonder, how many people out there think the way that I do? When I talk to people, I want to know them, I want to learn. I want to learn what they love, what they hate, what they’re afraid of and what makes them tick. I want to know their views on existence, on religion, on love, have they experienced grief to such an extent that they thought they might actually be in a nightmare? Have they in their life ever taken any substances that have altered their perception of the world, for better or worse? Have they ever regretted anything in their life, and if so, what? I honestly want to know it all. I want to see into peoples souls, however in the past I’ve been told this attitude is “weird”, “unsavoury” and “inappropriate”, so I bury the urge, and in turn, myself, and stick to run of the mill catchphrases like “How are you doing?” or “The weathers looking good for the rest of the week!” Boring.Automated.Responses.

It’s only been recently, that after years of burying this side of me, I’ve been able to mildly let myself go and talk to people on a level similar to me. I’ve been able to talk through these weird theories that I have in my head, like the theory that our natural born universe could actually be a micro-organism in a petrie dish, yet we would never know any different. When I’ve voiced a theory like that in the past, I’ve received comments back like “you think way too much” or “thats a bit of a freakish thing to even consider”, just shooting me down because I’m trying to interpret an idea that is beyond me, or beyond anything for that matter. So when I finally spoke to someone who could entertain this idea with me, it opened my eyes. Maybe there are people out there that think the way that I do, maybe not exactly, but if I can find even one person who can actually entertain my wild hair brain ideas instead of shooting me down and calling me a freak, it makes me think that there might be other people out there like me. Other over thinkers, other freaks, other weirdos, other outcasts.

As the late, great Timothy Leary once said “Do the unexpected, find the others…” Don’t you worry dear Timothy, I will find the others 👌

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Truth be told, I’m struggling.

•February 11, 2017 • Leave a Comment

I wrote a blog on New Years Eve where I reiterated the phrase “happiness is a choice” but truth be told, right now and for this past month or so, I have been struggling.

I get up every morning and go to work, as it’s my only consistency, my only form of constant, the only thing that distracts me from the crippling ache that engulfs me from the inside out. It’s the only place I find where I can really laugh and actually be myself, and just pretend that everything outside of work doesn’t really exist.

I’ve not seen my dad now in weeks. I went up to see him in hospital the immediate few days after Jason passed away, but I’ve not been back to see him since. I keep telling myself and everyone else that I’ve not seen him because I’ve been “ill” but in reality I’ve not seen him for a few reasons that I’m not proud of, and that I probably shouldn’t admit to. The truth is when I’m with him, I find it so difficult to be around him; he’s constantly complaining about being in hospital, about the hospital food, about the nurses, about the treatment, and all I want to do is shout at him to be grateful. He’s got a lifeline, he’s got potential, a real chance to recover from the cunt that is cancer, Jason didn’t. Jason got diagnosed and just twelve days later he was gone. Twelve fucking days. Twelve days from diagnosis to death. It’s just not fucking right, and to constantly hear my dad bitch about the amazing life saving treatment he is having just breaks me. Jason didn’t get that chance, when he above all people deserved it. I’m not saying that my dad doesn’t deserve it, but he could at the very least be grateful for it.

The first 42 days of 2017 have not been kind to me, and I feel as though I’m losing myself within the turmoil I’m having to deal with. I’m perpetually tired, however every night when I lay my head upon my pillow to sleep, my mind won’t let me shut down; so I stay awake, and stay that way for most of the night.

I continually want to talk to someone, someone to distract me and make me smile and consequently to understand just how my mind works. My friends are amazing, but I can’t help but feel as though I’m becoming a burden on them, like I’m this whiney little girl that craves their attention. In reality, I guess, I’m lonely. I’ve cut myself off from a lot of people over the past few years, and it’s only since my relationship dissolved last August that I’ve realised just how much and just how far I pushed people away, and that’s not okay.

I feel as though all this grief has hardened me, that maybe I’m not as compassionate and empathetic as I once was, that part of me, part of my happiness died when Jason did, because Jason was the best in me, the best in everyone. I don’t want to be this. I don’t want to be that girl that shuts off and breaks down. I don’t want to be that girl who shouts at her family. I don’t like what grief is turning me into. I look in the mirror and I don’t see myself anymore, I see a stranger, a monster.

Ultimately Jason’s death has changed me, and I really don’t like that, Jason definitely wouldn’t like that. I don’t want this grief to win, I won’t let this grief win. When I finally get myself back again from this monster that’s taken hold of me, and I will get myself back, that’s a promise, Jason I vow to live my life channelling all that is you, your integrity, your exuberance and your sheer unwavering lust for life, because in reality, that is how we should all live.

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