Bunny who?

Why? Who? What's this blog about? It's about MEEEE!

Being a Widow

My experience of dealing with grief as a widow

Astrocytoma

About Jane's brain tumour journey: Astrocytoma.co.uk
 

Aaron Freeman on planning your funeral

26 January 2013

Sometimes things happen simultaneously that make me cry.

After a day of hard, hard working on my assignment, I suddenly burst in to a small flood of tears when a song by the Counting Crows came on iTunes. This was one of JD's favourite bands. No idea why this suddenly made me cry. I mentioned my crying on Facebook and tagged JD in my status update. This then lead me to go to her page where a friend had posted something very beautiful that I had not noticed before. My random crying lead me to JD's page for the first time in months and months. Normally I would have looked and read this thing my friend posted and not cried. I would have found it beautiful. But now that I was already sad, it just made me cry more. For about 5 minutes. And then it was over.

In the early days, this kind of crying would have lasted for hours. Funny how time heals.

Anyway.....what this friend posted on JD's Facebook page was a quote from Aaron Freeman. On a radio show in 2005, he discussed how you should have a physicist speak at your funeral. You can hear the segment here:


Below is the full text. I think it is beautiful. It feels spiritual and yet it is pure science. JD would have loved a physicist say something like this at her funeral.

"You want a physicist to speak at your funeral. You want the physicist to talk to your grieving family about the conservation of energy, so they will understand that your energy has not died. You want the physicist to remind your sobbing mother about the first law of thermodynamics; that no energy gets created in the universe, and none is destroyed. You want your mother to know that all your energy, every vibration, every Btu of heat, every wave of every particle that was her beloved child remains with her in this world. You want the physicist to tell your weeping father that amid energies of the cosmos, you gave as good as you got.

"And at one point you'd hope that the physicist would step down from the pulpit and walk to your brokenhearted spouse there in the pew and tell them that all the photons that ever bounced off your face, all the particles whose paths were interrupted by your smile, by the touch of your hair, hundreds of trillions of particles, have raced off like children, their ways forever changed by you. And as your widow rocks in the arms of a loving family, may the physicist let her know that all the photons that bounced from you were gathered in the particle detectors that are her eyes, that those photons created within her constellations of electromagnetically charged neurons whose energy will go on forever.

"And the physicist will remind the congregation of how much of all our energy is given off as heat. There may be a few fanning themselves with their programs as he says it. And he will tell them that the warmth that flowed through you in life is still here, still part of all that we are, even as we who mourn continue the heat of our own lives.

"And you'll want the physicist to explain to those who loved you that they need not have faith; indeed, they should not have faith. Let them know that they can measure, that scientists have measured precisely the conservation of energy and found it accurate, verifiable and consistent across space and time. You can hope your family will examine the evidence and satisfy themselves that the science is sound and that they'll be comforted to know your energy's still around. According to the law of the conservation of energy, not a bit of you is gone; you're just less orderly.

"Amen."

Aaron Freeman
Keep Reading: "Aaron Freeman on planning your funeral"

How to concentrate, ADD-style

24 January 2013

I have cracked it. I have cracked how I work best and how to get myself to concentrate on my wok for an hour or so and write my essays.

Unfortunately it is a very time-consuming method and it makes no sense to most people. Here is my feeble attempt at explaining it.

First of all: I can not concentrate very well. I am easily distracted and getting started on something is almost impossible. I have tried sitting in a pub, in my bedroom, in the university library...you name it, I've tried it. No success. Basically: Having Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD or ADHD) sucks. A lot.

So what works for me?
First of all: sitting at my desk does not work. That is a shame as I have a nice desk. But it is not happening. I spend hours at my desk doing everything but work.

Sitting on my sofa in my bedroom does not work. The sofa is simply not comfortable enough and I am constantly distracted by being uncomfortable.

What *does* work is sitting on the sofa in the lounge, alone, with the TV on. I sit myself down, have dinner & a cup of tea. Then I tell myself to start working. Which I don't. I open all the relevant documents and the links in my browser to articles that I need to read. But no work gets done. Because there is TV to watch. And news to read about. And Facebook to check. And links to follow.

So for about 2 hours, I tell myself to work but find myself unable to do actual work. The half-hearted concentration means I re-visit the stuff I have done so far and usually (because I can not concentrate and think straight) I think it is all rubbish and I start re-writing. But the re-writing is not very good because, remember, I am not concentrating very well.

Eventually I get so annoyed that I am being prevented from working by all those distraction things that I no longer find them a distraction. They are now starting to irritate me. Because I feel I have WORK TO DO and the TV is IRRITATING ME because I can not CONCENTRATE with the TV on.

When that moment is reached, I turn the TV off and think: FINALLY I am allowed to get on with the work I need to do. Finally I have managed to shut that stupid TV off.

It feels as if I have had a battle with the TV and the internet and after a couple of hours, I have defeated them! I am victorious.

And then, providing nobody else is in the room and talks to me, I can work. I can concentrate. For about an hour. I still am able to check Facebook every so many minutes. But I am able to check, and then get back to work. In that hour, I work like a demon and write pretty darn good stuff.

Last night I had *just* reached 30 minutes of good working when my drunk housemates came in and started talking to me. Although they wanted to tell me how great they think I am, I was very annoyed but I could hardly tell them to leave the room as it is their living room too.

So, to get an hour of work done, I need a lead-up that can sometimes stretch to a couple of hours. And I need the living room to be empty and no housemates to talk to me. And what are the chances of all those factors coming together all the time, every day? When do I have 3-4 hours to spare to sit on the sofa in the house alone?

Very rarely. So I get stressed. Because what if these spurts of concentration do not come to me? What if there is not enough time before the deadline?

Keep Reading: "How to concentrate, ADD-style"

Snow makes me happy.

21 January 2013

So after my little self indulgent moan about how hard my life is, I decided to give Captain Morgan another chance. So on Saturday, I drank a lot of Captain Morgan again, this time with Girlfriend. And to my surprise, it wasn't Captain Morgan who was to blame for my Friday blues. It was my own self-indulgence. Because on Saturday, with Girlfriend, Captain Morgan actually made me happy & tipsy.

Spent a lovely evening with girlfriend, had a nice sleep and on Sunday, WE PLAYED IN THE SNOW!!!

I love snow. Did I mention this? I LOVE SNOW. I get happy just watching it. I cheer up walking around in it. I adore the cold, white stuff. It makes me as happy as the arrival of summer does.



Girlfriend and I went to the park with my brand new sledge. We flew down a little hill, walked around and we made a snow child. We called it Humphrey. But it refused to float on the sledge. So we drowned it in the pond.



Then we went home and ate curry that Girlfriend's dad had made.

Not much more to say about this: Sunday was a happy day. A very happy day indeed.

All because of Girlfriend and I frolicking in the snow.
Keep Reading: "Snow makes me happy."

Captain Morgan made me write this

18 January 2013

I wrote this post below earlier this evening. And then girlfriend made me see I am a sad, self-indulgent fucker who needs a kick up the arse (although in fairness those are not the words she used). So I'm off to bed now and plan to begin a new life tomorrow. For the umpteenth time I am telling myself that I will be organised and concentrated from tomorrow onward and that everything will be different.

=========

I should be thinking of doing my assignment.

I worry that I am giving up on this degree already. Like, in my mind, I don't really feel any pressure to meet the deadline because I feel I am going to fail it any way.

Even the practice module, my placement, has so much paperwork involved that I don't see how I am going to complete it all. I need testimonials from patients, I need other nurses to sign off on things they saw me do, I need my mentor to see me do things but I am her first ever mentoring student and she is not very forthcoming and a bit shy so the responsibility falls all on to me to make ANYTHING happen, I need to complete action plans, write goals that are SMART, write reflections and write a reflective diary and read up on things I have learned during the day.

And that is just for my placement. Let alone the assignments I also have to do for other modules.

I am thinking I should maybe just give up and work as a health care assistant.

I am not cut out for working alone without supervision and support. And university is clearly unable to give me any. I need someone to bounce ideas of. A fellow student or a mentor who understands how I work. Even when I don't know how I work.
I always think in abstract concepts

I have thought about pros and cons of certain techniques. I have read about them. I understand the research. Why can I not have a verbal exam on it? Where I can TALK to someone and explain what I know and understand. Instead of having to write it down?

It is so frustrating to KNOW that I know these things and yet nothing comes out of my fingers on to the screen.

For every paragraph I write, I think it is rubbish, I need to start all over again. And I re-write what I have already written. And I get stuck and can not move forward.

or I suddenly have a bit of inspiration and I write a whole bunch of stuff. And then nothing for days. So then i start worrying about what happens if the next bit of inspiration does not arrive in time for me to meet the deadline? Well I might as well not bother.

Ugh. Enough moaning.

Captain Morgan made me feel this way. I hate Captain Morgan. (I love it, really).

Maybe I will feel better tomorrow, after playing in the snow. Which of course is no procrastination at all. Nope.
Keep Reading: "Captain Morgan made me write this"

Happy New Year

06 January 2013

Let me be the first to wish all my (5) readers a happy new year....oh wait...what?

Well, how different this was from what I imagined it would be. Last year I escaped to New Mexico and I knew that this year I would have to face the holiday season without Jane for the first time. I was convinced it was going to be horrible. After all, on January 1st 2013, I would no longer able to say: My wife died last year. It would be 2 years by then. Two years. That sounds so long ago that I surely would start to forget about Jane.

But of course in hindsight that is not what happened at all. I have not forgotten about Jane. But mostly, what I did not know back then, what I could not have imagined back then, is that I would be happy with someone who has lit up my world and brought me back to life.

One of the things grief counselors tell people is that the hardest thing after losing your partner is finding yourself again. Having been part of a Couple for so long, you are no longer sure of your own role in life, in the world, when that partnership suddenly stops.  Who are you? What are your hopes and dreams? How do you interact with people? How do people see you? Those things you stopped doing, was that because you no longer liked them or because your partner did not like them so they were sacrificed on the altar of your relationship?

It is that uncertainty that I have found hardest. I was myself with Jane. Or at least, I was someone I was very happy to be. How in the world was I ever to find a happy me again? I don't like doing things on my own. So doing stuff alone is no fun. Doing it with someone you love is great. So how the hell was I supposed to find out which things I really loved doing if I had nobody to find that out with?

I am one of those people who is just better in a relationship. Not because I am needy but because I thrive on sharing. I get ultimate happiness from doing something that makes someone else happy. I like thinking of others. I like being thoughtful. I like looking after someone. I like playing a part in someone's happiness. I guess I am to love what evangelists are to Christianity: I just want to share, share, share, share. Because sharing happiness is the most wonderful thing.

You know how many women say that it wasn't until they became a mother that they felt they were fulfilling their true purpose in life? Well, I know that MY true purpose is to be in a relationship that makes two people happy. It just is. I have accepted that does not make me needy or dependent or that it means I ignore my own needs just to make someone happy. Being myself, for me, means making someone happy in a way that matches my own feelings, opinions, beliefs, loves, hatreds and interests (just in case you were thinking I put someone else's happiness way way before my own).

Well, there she was. And the rest is history.

Aaaaaaaaaaanyway........ I was going to actually write about the awesome New Year I spent with Girlfriend. The whole "who'd a thunk" thing was only supposed to be a sideways remark. Oh well. As always, these blogs never are about the thing I thought I was going to write about.

However, I can understand you are now desperate for some pictures of my holiday. So, I'll keep it brief.

We went to Yorkshire. Stayed in a most wonderful place in Sedbergh, near Wensleydale, called The Moorcock Inn. If you like your landladies no-nonsense and typical Yorkshire, then there is no better place. In fact, I had such a great time that for the first time ever, I felt the need to write a review on Trip Advisor.

We had nice food, fun watching people get stuck in knee-deep floods, saw Wensleydale Cheese being made, visited a fabulous waterfall and had a most relaxing new year's eve. And all that whilst staying in a place that made us feel at home, rather than in a hotel. Niiiiiice. In fact, we liked it so much, we are probably going back there this year (which has nothing to do with the landladies inviting Girlfriend and me back so that Girlfriend could play a gig there....)

Yorkshire roads are pretty.

The Moorcock Inn is pretty.

Yorkshire waterfalls are pretty.
Our next trip is already in the planning. We are thinking Paris in April. If only I can find the time in my busy university schedule. Oh yes, university. Did  mention that I am shitting myself with worry about passing this year?

Happy New Year everyone.
Keep Reading: "Happy New Year"

To Anonymous (You know who you are)

02 January 2013

Just to let you know: There is no point in leaving abusive comments about the Liverpool Care Pathway all over this website, even on old posts not related to it in any way. They will be not be published and marked as spam.

They don't upset me, I am just worried that you are wasting precious moments of your life leaving uninformed, rude comments when you could be doing fun stuff, like walking on the beach or help the homeless or visit a sick neighbour.

Happy new year.
Keep Reading: "To Anonymous (You know who you are)"