Tuesday, February 28

Thoughts on Death, and Dying.

This is not really to be a dark post, I hope.

Over the past months, since Gom died, I have had much time to dwell on the subject. It seems my mind got trapped in a timewarp, and I was unable to stop re-running our lives together in the past.

The reality of his having gone, and never coming back, was too much for me to accept, somehow. My whole life seemed to be meaningless,  and platitudes such as those given by well meaning friends and professionals, held no comfort. In fact they only seemed to rub salt into wounds I could not bear.

To try to make this lighter, I have interspersed it with some meaningless~or maybe not so meaningless~ pics.
So, if you dont feel like reading, just look at the pics. They represent life, and fresh hope.
 This is my current crop of parsely, a measly plant by comparison to previous crops, but nonetheless, delicious.
I am a great lover of herbs, and most of my meals contain some of one type or another.

On with the thoughts of Death.
When my mother died, fifteen years ago now, I felt I could never recover from my loss. Of course, you never do 'recover',  you just learn to live with the loss and the grief. Your mind adjusts to the fact that the person is no longer here. Her memory lives on inside me, and I hear her voice daily, and often see her face.

Before her death, I was lucky enough to be able to stay with her and take care of her at her home. She had had a dread of a 'Home' or Hospital, and so we enjoyed much time together, talking of old days and reminiscing about family and our life events.

When she got closer to dying, (though I did not realise at the time how little time she had left,) she began to have a series of dreams. I will not retell those dreams here, but I know they brought her great comfort ~and indeed, wonder, about death. Like me, she had been an Atheist all her life, but somehow the dreams would appear to contradict her beliefs. I know there is an explanation, but I won't discuss that here.

She began to retell the story of her life, she told me, and wondered if she was keeping me awake at night, with her voice. She said she retold her school days, and her life with her brothers when they were children. She told stories of her beloved father and mother, and I do believe she moved on as the timeline of her life had moved on.

I did hear her talking, but had not realised it was the story of her life, she was telling, or I would have gone to listen. Much of her life had been very sad, and her joyous patches mostly revolved around her family, children, and later, her grandchildren. Many of her heartaches involved family too, as they do in everyone's lives.

This is a self sown Thyme plant, which grows beside the clothes line, and it often gets brushed by the clothes basket, and releases it's lovely aroma, so fresh and inviting.

When my mother became too ill to be at home, I spent every minute I could, at her bedside, and we sat vigil as she died. It seemed cruel that she had to die in a Hospital, but she was so ill, and at least we all spent as much time as possible with her.

Though my grief is endless, I could never wish her back, for my selfish sake.

This is a pic of seeds on a very lovely cream Clivia. I know if my sister-in-law were here, she could get these to grow, but with my brown thumbs, I would not even try. 
They do somehow represent life's longing to carry on, and reproduce itself.

After my mother had died, I had a craving for planting flowers and vegetables, growing things,  and had a fair success. It seemed as though it was a way of denying death, to be able to give, and succour life in some form. I was too old for more children, which is often the way we handle the finality of death.  I longed for another grandchild to hold and love, but it was not to be, at that time.

I thought of how Gom and I had reacted when his father died unexpectedly. We clung to each other, and our lovemaking was passionate, and desperate almost, as if to deny death. We absolutely cherished our children, and were comforted by their beings.

This is some delicious Smoked Salmon Bruschetta, prepared at home by my son. I made the balsamic reduction, for the dressing, and it was delicious. Perhaps not a 'delicious' looking dish, but it tastes divine. We use some basil and a little mint to add some zing.

Now, I come to Gom's passing. I thought I could never come to any sort of peace about his death. In the days before he died, he began to reminisce about 'the old days' and of our time together throughout the 45 years of our marriage. Occasionally I would become a little impatient, but then I began to be fearful, as I remembered my mother re-telling her life.

We had thought we had more time left together, but I wonder if some deep part of Gom knew that he was going, sooner, rather than later.

I still have patches of denial, I still have patches of almost unbearable grieving, and I know I always will. I have been lucky to have had a wonderful counsellor, who seemed to just lift a lot of my deep dark thoughts from me. I am not sure how, but we even had some deep laughs, in the course of our couselling sessions.

My son also convinced me to begin swimming, or Hydratherapy, really. I have found it astonishingly good for both my knee, and my spirit. At first I could not bear to talk to anyone.

I was asked if I would like to join the Arthritis Foundation. I recieved a very startled look when I said, emphatically, "No Thanks".

I am a non-joiner, and have lived long enough to know that that is OK. I have been that way for all my life, and am happy not to change now.

I don't want to stand waving my arms about above my head, like some gangly leafless tree! I dont want to do chicken clucking motions with hands in my armpits.

I am very happy, and well, doing my regular exercises for my knee, which have been so beneficial, I wish some bl**dy doctor had suggested it right from the start, after the operation.

I find I can now bear to talk to other swimmers, doing their exercises, and have even been told by a 'trainer,' or physiotherapist, that I give myself a good workout, and am doing well.  

A gentle sunset, which preceded one of the most lovely days of summer we have had. It was a nice weekend, with rare sunshine, and lovely warm temperatures, without the horrible humidity.

I know I will always grieve over Gom.

I do wonder at the human spirit which somehow craves to live, even when all seems impossible.
I do wonder at the strength which seems to come from nowhere, to help us perhaps, begin to live on.

I have even done a little cooking, and now... hope to sew again!

Rufus Wainwright, Across the Universe.

Sunday, February 19

From one minute to the next,,

It seems that Blogger, the  Almighty, has decided I cant upload the pics I want, in the order I choose.
So here goes with what I have.

We seem to have had a Non Summer this year. All that we have had is clouds, rain, and thundrstorms.

It ix not our usual Summer weather. At this time of year we are normally suffering from high temperatures, and are waiting for the 'cool'.
This year, we seem to have had more than our usual share of Thunderstorms, and rain, dismal rain.

 The gathering storm clouds are a warning sign. We are soon to have rain,and possibly high winds.

As that one happened, it all passed us by, and the calm eventuated before the storm.

It is now late, and I have spent a lovely day with Family, and I need to be retiring.
To the sound of Thunder, and the flash of lightning.

Don't you just love being safe and sound for a Thunderstorm!

Suzanne, Leaonard Cohen

Thursday, February 2

Outings- no, not those kind of 'outings'...

This is going to play silly Bloggers with me again. I wanted the type to all align to the left, but it is not going to happen, since I have uploaded all the pics first.
On Sunday last, my Son B took me over to a beachside suburb, where there is a Market.
There were two Elvis lookalikes playing at the small stage in the Market. Sadly I did not take a photo of their extremely bad wigs, nor their white flared suits, complete with huge rhinestones~ and dark glasses.

I did, however take some pics of the Paradiso Resort. It has been here for many years, and has recently undergone a makeover, and I thought it is quite interesting, with murals, ornate doorways and wonderful stained glass windows.

 Excuse the poor photography, the sun was shining on my camera, and I could not see what I was snapping, so it was a hit and miss affair.

There were several murals painted on this upper wall, and it is a shame I did not catch them all, as they are rather good.
I am assuming the balconies are from the apartment part of the complex. Look at those massive doors.

It all has rather a nice Spanish style to it, and it would have been even better with some beautiful guitar music playing!

Stained glass again.

This is one of my Bromeliads, with it's pretty pale pink bract, which has blue flowers. When I lived in New Zealand I wished I owned one of these, but they were far too expensive. Over here, these are almost growing wild in my garden. In fact I am thinking of giving some away.

Here is dear little Honey, in her Please mode. She has done this since she was very small, and it never fails to appeal and tug on my heartstrings.

Here she was, at the top of the stairs, probably waiting to ambush Morty, as they seem to have a running battle with each other. Not really friends!

I think he is scheming on how he can ambush Honey, by leaping off this table, onto her head!
This is the Oregano flowering, before the rain dampened it all down, and the flowers got drowned. We seem to have one or two warm to hot days, then the rain and dull clouds roll over again.

To combat all this, Son B has talked me into going swimming at a pool, to try to improve my knee. I have just seen the Surgeon again, for a routine checkup, and he assures me all is excellent mechanically speaking. It is just the swelling and pain which are not so nice. He assures me this will all settle eventually. He also mentioned grief can affect healing markedly. I knew this, which is why I did not really want to have the surgery when I did. However I was more or less bullied into it, by the booking office at the Hospital. I was told if I cancelled, I would only get one more chance, and if I postponed or cancelled again, I would be off the list. GRRRR.

The good thing is, I am really enjoying my workouts in the lovely heated pool, and have chatted to several others having gentle exercise, for various ailments. Of course one has to listen to what ails them, then they have to enquire what ails me. I am not so keen on these chats, and do my best to head off on my walking laps.

It is win win, for myself and my son, as he does laps in the outdoor Olympic pool, and he really enjoys that.

To go for these swimming experiences, I had to go and shop for a swim suit, since it is ages since I owned one.

My goodness, what a traumatic affair it all turned out to be!
First of all, the selection proved to be nonexistant very very limited. Too late in the season. Of course it is!  Winter stock is all arriving in the shops, and normally, it would be around 30 degrees Celsius over here, at this time of year.

After looking in all the expensive shops, thinking no one would have bought their range, all I found were garments that one would not wish to be caught dead in, let alone still living!

Finally, in a more downmarket store, I found two bathing suits that I felt I bring myself to actually try on.

A most hideous, and traumatising experience, and what I now want to know is "Who stole my nice slim smooth thighs, and replaced them with dimples and cottage cheese??"
When I told my GP of this horrible fact, he actually laughed! All very well for him, he is only 50, and as slender as a Greyhound!

I find, as long as I dont look at myself in any mirrors, I can ignore myself in the bathers, and just get into the water as fast as I can, then slink out wrapped in a large towel, and wait until we are home again, to have a shower and dress in covering garments.

Because it has been so unseasonably chilly this week, I have arrived home shivering and have had to get out the woollies again, to warm myself.

I suspect this cold weather, and the exercise, are causing my appetite to go into horse mode, and the indecent craving for chocolate has really shocked me. I have never before been a chocolate lover.
All very curious!

Hot Chocolate seems appropriate.