Friday, 28 September 2012

Dear Alex, What a home visit!!!

28th September 2012

Dear Alex,

A strange sense befalls me this morning; a sense of cogs halting very suddenly, as I realise I am not in a rush. I do not need to run this morning.

It’s Friday, and home visit number 5 is scheduled for you…I am not needed to go in and pick you up, accompanying you on the to and from journeys. They are bringing you to me this morning! My pace halters and I am so strangely at odds. Not used to this. Keys open the door, I occupy the time washing clothes, changing beds, cleaning out cupboards (?!) and preparing for you. At 10.30 you arrive. Beaming face, mine too!

We listen to music and you sing your heart out to the Beatles ‘Abbey Road’. So many things come to me this morning. The lyrics are in your memory, and although if asked ‘do you remember…?’ your answer is frequently no. But this shows the depth of memory even if it is not consciously remembered.

This past week I have spent thinking about how we can move forward. Your progress was so obvious and outstanding to begin with, I have felt the drag of the slowness at which things are progressing lately. Often wondering to myself if this is finally it, as far as you are getting? Looking too far ahead, thinking of the years this will take and fearing for you, the kids, and me for all this entails.

Your visit home today, the fifth time goes so well, and your singing, your spirit, your smile, your communication display how much good this does you. I feel you have reached a point where you need different stimulation; it all speaks to your spirit. Your environment, separation from your family, medical surroundings, nurses tending to you. Your spirit, for a year now has been in this particular environment, and I think with your awareness and sometimes understanding of the situation your subconscious is crying out for more. It cries for more normality, not to be so shut away, detached.

I have been wondering about your progress, and I feel today spoke volumes of how, as I spoke of the other day, love, prayer and believing in this, refusing to let go of hope as the focus, the trust I am learning to have in the Most High, all of this, these ‘other’ things, I have realised their importance in your progress. It’s not as though I wouldn’t explain that to other people, to you, but I think saying something often enough can sometimes make you forget to act on it. Saying things is not enough, rather, it’s that true belief, realisation and wearing this like a second skin, inside and out, that makes the change.

These other factors are crucial. That’s why I want you home as soon as possible. Yes, you’ll need therapy and continued care on a daily basis, but being an outpatient somewhere, and coming home at the end of the day, waking up to the bedlam of four kids, cats mewing, the dog tripping you up in his desperation not to be forgotten about and wanting to come on the school run! This is how you will progress further, this will feed your inner spirit. A great deal of this is tied up with your subconscious, as the damage to your brain and your conscious thoughts is so profound.

It gave me a rest, a rest from a racing mind, from searching as to how I can help you further, I know and I see today the results. I spend time massaging your left arm and hand, stretching out the curled fingers. Orientating you by making sure your head is straight, and you are listening to make a picture of where things are in relation to you.

Legs up on the sofa, singing, stroking the cat, talking to me. I can’t tell you what  seeing you like this has done for me today. I feel a sense of peace, of focus, and a quiet mind.

Today was incredible, more than that, it was unadulterated bliss! I felt true happiness in your arms today, lying next to you singing along to the Beatles too.

I tell you I am going into school to Mitzi’s class to do French with them every Friday afternoon, you raise your eyebrows, laugh and say ‘are you? What time?’ Just totally normally. You also told me you are able to notice light and dark, nothing more, but at least it is not total darkness all the time for you.

Thank you for the best day in nearly a year! It really was, and I am still grinning from inside out!

See you tomorrow my baby,

Me xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx  

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Dear Mitzi Joy- Happy sixth Birthday!!!

September 26th 2012

Dear Mitzi Joy,

Six! Six years old today my little Mitzi-moo! And where do I start?

At just 5–weeks-old, you, tiny, Lola 17 months and Monty just weeks before he turned 3, your daddy, your big strong daddy, turned to me and said ‘if we don’t move to France now (with now 3 under threes) then we never will…Shall we do it?’ To which I agreed. Two weeks later we had got rid of everything we owned, bar a couple of suitcases of clothes and your cot. We packed the car and set off for a new life in France. The journey was intense, we travelled day and through the night, arriving in Mimizan, a town in South-West France in les Landes. I remember trees, and lots of them, I remember the ‘on the brink of divorce’ direction chats your dad and I had in the car, in the dark, three kids tired, fed up and crying.  I remember going round and round the same streets daddy saying’ I know it’s here somewhere’ but not having the luxury of a GPS in those days, we relied on my ridiculous screeching ‘no turn RIGHT!’ directions, trying to read a map of a forest thick, deserted area of France, and in the pitch black!

But we eventually arrive.

Late November, I couldn’t speak a word of French, and I remember feeling very lonely and as daddy went off regularly to try and find work (oh yes, we had no work either!), spending the days feeling as though all I did was try and get you kids to have a nap in the hope tiredness was the excuse for how grizzly you all were, only to find it never worked! However it was one of the most cathartic things I have done in my life, getting rid of everything, starting anew, a new country, not speaking the language. A very humbling time, not speaking the language, you have no personality and often rely on gesticulating, apologising for not understanding and grinning inanely!

We went for many forest walks and we started to settle in, daddy finally found us an apartment to rent, and I stated to make a few friends.

This was a very different start to life for you. And you were big-eyed, inquisitive and climbed everywhere, walking across a car park at just 10-months-old. Physically you have had a determination to do things, to climb and you have the need to be active constantly, just like your dad!

You are a complex little girl, extraordinarily loving, climbing up anyone who stands long enough (thirty seconds and she’s on you!) life in France was ideal for you. Your inquisitiveness, your depth of character, appearing outgoing but hugely shy and unconfident at times.

I do, however, see that starting school, making friends, being funny, mischievous, explorative in nature, that you seem to be finding your niche and your confidence has excelled.

Daddy was your idol! Always marvelling at what he did, how strong he was, a real interest in what he did and why. You loved the surf trips to the beach, and watching your dad surf. You were the first on a surf board, and when we recently went back on holiday to France, you were in your element, I can’t get you out of water! You will attempt anything, and fear is something you find a strange concept, because you love challenges physically, they don’t scare you as they do me, you have this need to try it, a passion for water-and that’s your dad too!

And then just after your 5th birthday, days after, daddy has his accident. You have been a difficult one to read. You seem to accept it more naturally than the others…you’re not old enough to have the profound memories of how daddy was, Lola and Monty are very marked by how different and changed he is. Although you cry most nights heartbroken and missing your lovely daddy...How my heart aches for you and I wish I could take this away...

To begin with you were scared, you didn’t want to go near him, you were scared to come to hospital, you had to have me near you, cuddling or carrying you, and you would hover not that near to his bed, the only one to not give him kisses. Looking back I realise you had no idea how this could have happened. A concept that at 5, you couldn’t comprehend.

So I didn’t force you, I let you come to him in your own time.

Now visits with dad are very different, you are the one sitting on his lap, cupping his face in your hands telling him to say things, asking him to do things and without knowing it, my precious little girl, you incite in daddy a desire to get better, just from your presence,  just in how you talk to him, and how much you love to make him laugh and how you try and make him smile.

Your laugh Mitzi is contagious, a wicked little chuckle that sets everyone in the room off! Your eyes shine with love and happiness and you are so expressive!

What has happened to daddy has broken my heart, and one thing I wish for you kids is that you are happy, despite.

How you are with dad is an example of the simplicity of uncomplicated love, daughter for father. Sometimes I sit and watch you with him, it brings tears to my eyes and a smile to my face as I see how natural you are with him.

Many lessons us adults could learn from how you are with people, with dad. There’s no judgement, no prejudices, just pure love and energy and an acceptance of what has happened, but your love for him runs as deep as ever-as his does for you.

I hope my little Mitzi-Joy, as you reflect your name at so many levels, that I am doing alright in this for you. That I am helping you as you need to be, giving you the patience and the love and affection you deserve.

Please remember that daddy didn’t choose this, that I make mistakes, I sometimes anger in the place of having ultimate patience-and my goodness you kids deserve all the patience in the world after going through this.

I am so privileged to have you, your brother and sisters, I don’t think I would have made it through this without you.

This is the life we have now, and I hope you see how full of love and blessings it is, even though we had tried to set up a different way of life. Life does change overnight, and you have to be resilient and grateful.

I love you to the moon and back again, and my soul is forever entwined with yours my angel…

Thank you for being my Joy, my hope, my inspiration to keep going and a wonder to me.

Carry on being innocent, loving, strong and confident in who you are, because you are wonderful. You may have the tendency to be hurt easily, but nothing should ever knock you, because you are a unique and inspiring character…

Happy birthday my Mitzi Joy!

Love mummy xxxxxxxx

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Dear Alex, The power of love!

Baby Mitzi with Alex, first few months in France...

25th September 2012

Dear Alex,

Two-dozen birds take flight from the trees as I pass by today, on my way to visit you, breathing in the skies. A song I used to listen to on repeat as a kid ( a young one at that!) Climie Fisher, still thrown by his name, as if?! But still loving his song. ‘Love changes everything’ although admittedly, yes, is very cheesy! These lyrics force me to think. I feel the need to justify my taste in music here, but I shan’t, just that it is very eclectic and when Classic FM, French radio or Radio 2 aren’t on, pop channels do…

In many ways I am completely out of control in this situation. I can’t get you the right medicine to heal you, I can’t make you better. When at the start, I was told the worst I knew the only thing I had the power to do was refuse to let you part this world. Begging God to let you live, for the kids sake, for mine. I sat by your bedside in visiting hours loving you, feeding you hope, strength, praying, talking to you with no despair, just reassurance. I would brace myself before walking down the corridor, the end room on the right in Intensive Care, always shaking, crying helplessly, not able to stand in the queue as the others did, I crouched down, head often in my hands, trying not to pass out with the sting of the pain that is rife and crippling. A deep breath always before I went in, the a ‘hiya babes…’ and chatting about all I could think of, determined that my energy and how I was with you would bring you through…

Now I feel much the same. I feel so helpless at times, so confused, so inadequate in my desperation for you to progress, heal. The song I heard today reminded me of the power I believed love had at the time when your life was in question…for ten weeks I kept this up, and the positivity and hope that I have ever since.

Now a year on, however, I scroll down through September’s letters, knowing it’s been almost 12 months everyday I have written to you. Replacing the evening time we used to spend together, cuddled up in each other’s arms or sitting outside in the garden, or running up and downstairs to kids who wouldn’t sleep! It’s a cold replacement, a very obsolete one. Although it does serve in feeling connected with you in a way, something which is hard to feel with the distance between us…

I felt it was a lesson for me, this song. I haven’t heard it for possibly 2 decades! It, of course had me in floods, but being emotionally volatile is just part and parcel, I ignore myself crying these days it’s such a common occurrence! It was such a powerful reminder to me of how powerful love is.

One thing I have in abundance is love for you, the song I heard stood out as I haven’t’ heard it since I was a kid. It stood out because I have been feeling helpless and powerless. It was like a message directly to me, and I listened.

‘Love has a power of it’s own’

And it does. I have always believed that, why this has waned, I don’t know. Maybe due to the fact I am having to face this as a long-term thing, for the first time I have to accept this isn’t a ‘sprint’ as I had been so determined it would be when it first happened.

Anyway, here is the link for the song, I am going to play it to you tomorrow to see if you remember it, although you were probably busy listening to Bob Marley and doing other things….!

Check out Climie's hairdo!

So tonight, here’s to the power of love honey, and let’s see how high we can fly!

I love you,

Me xxxxxxxxxx

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Dear Alex, Something you used to say to me...

September 23rd 2012

Dear Alex,

Rain pours, chill in the air, Autumn strikes the trees, and where was the Summer? Grey skies loom and rain persists. Reflecting the feelings I fought hard to overcome last week..

Sometimes I do wish I wasn’t so emotional, I was more practical in my feelings and less ‘involved’. I am too sensitive, think too much, there’s a down side as well as a positive side to this. I reproach myself endlessly, striving to be better, do better. In one way it gives me the determination to challenge myself, but then would I need to if I wasn’t so emotional?! Who knows… what I do know though is that I do have to persevere with fighting on, and I do see it as a fight. I fight to wake up and give thanks for the provisions, the people, the incredible privileges and blessings I have in my life…and all this has to be despite. It has to be ‘despite’ because we all have things in our life which we find hard, we are troubled, we strive to get through busy days, never enough time to do half of what we need to and more than enough time to just be stressed constantly about it all. So, yes, I do see it as a battle, a challenge, and I also do believe that to move in the right direction in our lives, we cannot give in to how we may feel on a daily basis. If we never challenge ourselves, we’ll always just carry on existing and never strive to be better or more than we can be.

This challenging myself became vehemently part of my conscious and subconscious way of thinking and feeling. (talking in my situation) it would be something I could do, to give up, give in to the grief, the implications this has on me, on you, the kids, on us as a family, and wider afield. But if I do that I will be shirking my biggest responsibility. Being a mum. Showing the kids that life throws things at you, and whether or not you eel they are right or justified, unfair or whatever, you have to be the best you can be.

The phrase you always used in your charismatic, determined belief you had in the Most High and telling me how at the end of it all, it won’t and it isn’t between us and everyone else, it’s between us and God. You used to encourage me to be a ‘lion in my own consciousness’. I love this image. A fearsome animal prowling round, challenging our being, our thoughts, a hugely powerful animal. This is one of the biggest lessons you taught me, and I maintain this in my life, in everything. In particular now. When I think I may break, fall, to get up, withstand and refocus my thoughts. It’s mental retraining and it’s constant work. Yes, lots, I sit and weep, I feel lonely I miss you, and I’m not talking about that. But the actions on how we feel. If I constantly acted on the way I felt, I’d be a bitter, miserable intolerant person who no-one would want to know! I don’t always keep up the mental fight, I get tired, clouded, too sad to surmount it. Then I say to myself, ‘OK, you’ve had you’re time, now get up and man up!’ I try and challenge the grief by acting, being proactive and trying to show the kids how to be calm in the storm.

I often need to remind myself to just sit, be still (not physically, mentally) and despite the whirling wind and thunder storms going on around me, whatever may be causing them, and centre myself, refocus-be a lion in my own consciousness. That is you who taught me that.

So this week I feel I have harnessed that again. I am focussed, I am asking the Most High for strength to be light, I don’t want to be darkness and misery…And that does take work and commitment.

Armed again with force and conviction that I am not letting you feel my ‘I hope you’ll get there’ flippant vibes, but that you will feel seeping into your soul my determination and conviction and belief that you will…

Me xxxxxxxxxxxxxx