Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Are you ok yet??

Am I ok yet? That's a good question...

I'm not far off physically. I can do most of the things I want to do now, although sleeping is still a bit of a problem as I can't get comfy, so I'm still very tired. I'm having a couple of naps during the day, so I'm not sure how that would go down in the office. Actually I have had a quick nap there once or twice before balancing on my hands, elbows on desk, looking like I was concentrating on something complicated. So maybe it wouldn't matter? Also I'm still not able to do all the things which I used to do which involved bending in the middle, but then again who actually wants to do laundry, unstack the dishwasher, or sweep the floor??

One answer to the question is how can I not be ok with these gorgeous flowers beaming at me?:

I still have most of the five bunches of flowers I received (although the chocolate is nearly gone and a fresh supply is being brought this lunchtime). Strangely the biggest and most impressive display died off first. I'm hoping that the sunflowers last for a while as they really do say what I need a bunch of flowers to say. They bring happiness and sunshine, which is sadly lacking with this miserable summer.

Nature has such restorative qualities. Just a simple ten-minute walk down the canal which runs along the bottom of the valley was enough to bring some perspective. There are ducks and quite large ducklings now, sort of teenagers in duck terms, still slightly fluffy round the edges though. The valley sides rise into imposing jutting hillsides, covered in sheep and cows gently calling, and it doesn't matter that it's not good weather, the whole scene is peaceful and makes me realise that life goes on.

(This is the view from my sofa - utter tranquility)

Someone once said, when explaining how devastated they were at their father's death, that they couldn't believe that the buses were still running that day. It's true that you have such a life-changing day and that you can't quite believe that it's just a normal day for everyone else and that things keep on going on regardless, but being in the midst of nature can really bring back to you the sense of insignificance you need to get cracking with life again. Of course now my head is raring to go but my body is still letting me down and I know it will for a few weeks yet.

I suppose really the question of "Are you ok?" doesn't mean what people think it means. To me OK means are you sound? are you ready to carry on? are you managing?. It doesn't mean that you're on top of the world, a hundred per cent happy. In a previous post I talked about visiting my family and seeing that they were ok, that they weren't going to burn out and that they had enough strength and mettle to fight the good fight. That's how I feel now, so as far as I'm concerned I'm ok.

At the moment I'm still in the section of my life where I'm getting special dispensation, I'm not expected to do my share of the housework, I'm not expected to be thinking about complicated situations or legal concepts because I'm off work, I'm not expected to be the best friend listening to other people's troubles (although I don't mind), I'm not expected to be "normal" yet. This makes me feel alright though. I'm as ok as people are expecting me to be. What I need now is to go back to normal life. People keep on saying "don't go back to doing normal things until you're ready", but I don't agree. Doing normal things, finding them scary or traumatic and then getting over them or finding a way to do them differently is what I need now. I need to go to the supermarket and feel overwhelmed and lost, I need to get on the train and fall asleep and get off at the wrong stop, I need to go back to work and find it impossible for a while, I'd rather get thrown off the horse again than get used to not having to ride it at all.

I suppose this is precisely when you are ready, when you can't stand waiting to be ready any longer. No-one is ever fully prepared for what life is going to throw at them next, but knowing that you're ready to stand up tall and face its next challenge is probably as far towards ok as you are ever going to get. At the moment I'm in the house, surrounded by reminders of the fact that a small tragedy has happened and I think it's easy to get pulled into dwelling on that tragedy when you'd really like to move on. I suppose I feel like I should be miserable for a bit as a tribute to the lost baby, but then again the best tribute to him would be to try again, to create the next life and to put the experiences to positive effect. We've had our first lesson in parenting, and it's a very important lesson, how to cope with loss and how to stick together. Actually that's two lessons... there are probably many lessons!

People think that you getting on with life means that you're over the tragedy. That's not the case. It's a hard little stone which you'll always have - you just smooth down the corners until it's not harmful to the touch anymore and you stow it neatly away to be carried around with you. You know it's there and you'll take it out and have a look at it or a feel of it sometimes when something in life reminds you of it. You don't ever let go of it, because it's part of you.

When will this be a distant and dusty recollection?
A set back, not an ending, a hiccup in the process.
When will I awake without the ache in my belly
And a hole in my heart where my nurturing love had swelled?
When will I awake without sorrow falling from my eyes?
When will this just be history, part of the family story,
Told to the grandchild wriggling on my knee?
When will I no longer have to swim up to gasp awake
Through the dark blue sea on which I am drifting?
When will this be a distant memory of a sad time,
Which makes the good times all the sweeter?



  1. Hi Pinkerbell, I'm glad to hear that you're doing "ok".You are one brave lady.
    This is a beautiful piece of writing- I hope that you'll keep it safe so that in times to come you can share it with your other children or grandchildren.
    I have a lump in my throat just reading it.
    Take care,((pinkerbell))

    P.S. Rose is one of nature's great "heart healers", so if you can, smell some roses, or get some rose essential oil. It's expensive, but health shops usually sell it diluted in Jojoba, and this you can rub on your wrists as a healing perfume.

  2. i'm glad to hear you sounding so well. healing takes time though. take yours. all of it. and you'll come out the other side with renewed hope and belief in what the future can bring...

  3. Mimi - thanks. Yes perhaps that's a good way to think, that I'll be able to pass my experience on to future generations. I think we have some roses in our garden - I will search them out.

    Shadow, I know I should learn to be more patient!

    Thanks for stopping by both of you.

  4. I am glad you are writing through this, and that you have lovely things around you.

    Arms out from across the sea.

  5. :) Glad things seem to be on the "up swing".

    Sorry I was so late in reading your pervious post and commenting. :(

  6. Thanks Su and E - it's nice to be thinking positively again.

    E - never any apologies needed - I'm hopeless at keeping up with all the blogs I follow!

  7. if being ok means doing laundry, sweeping the floor, unpacking the dishwasher then I can see the attraction to staying in bed! That's a [sort of] joke Pinkish, isn't it often the mundane things that provide the stepping stones? And cleaning [anything] has always been strong metaphorical therapy [for me, at least].

    Communing with nature too, as you point out. It has been said [and not wishing to get into things religious] that God is the world and Nature the bible that teaches us about her.

    thanks for posting news of your progress, you have a real talent for expressing yourself honestly and without artifice. Love the pictures too, your poem raises some questions in me tho. I get the feeling that you will look back on these writings with a whole bag of emotions one day.

    I'd echo the suggestion about finding a market for your work here, feel sure they would help others and strike many chords, GU, for example, often publishes similar pieces...

  8. Pink,

    I've not been checking into the blogosphere much recently, so only just saw your news.

    I'm really sorry you suffered such shock and disappointment. Entirely unfair. I'm full of admiration for how lucid your writing is here, how moving and full of clarity. Hope you feel better than ok soon, and best wishes for future happiness.

  9. File, you are right that the mundane provides the stepping stones, at the moment I have to build myself up to each step and it's painful progress! People find my list-making odd at times and it seems that everything needs writing down and ticking off at the mo, all the things which I would do daily without fear or question. I feel awfully pathetic that the thought of walking back into my workplace, walking down the room to my desk, fills me with such dread. As with anything it's the first time which is the worst.

    You're right about the bag of emotions, but I like to keep these things neat and tidy until I've worked out precisely what they represent.

    Pouty, sorry for being a bit backward in the cyber symbols - is that a very large hug you left me? Thanks :-)

    ExB, nice of you to visit and leave me a kindly message. I feel a bit of a spring returning to my step, as long as I can jump back on the horse I'll be much more than ok. It's just tricky because it'll be going much faster than the pace to which I've become accustomed.