Saturday, 22 October 2011

You know what they say about sagas....

Yes, they go on and on....

In the olden days of my childhood, radio serials abounded (TV not having yet been made available to the known universe) and at the end of each episode the listeners were exhorted to tune into the next enthralling episode....

It is eight months since Dr P died. It is strange how we mark off the passing of time, and note dates which seem significant. This one does, two thirds of a year. A year since I returned from Spain, and noted, with increasing alarm, anxiety, concern and sadness, the changes which had occurred in those few weeks of my absence. Having had the time away, the changes showed more clearly than if I had been there to observe them day by day. And from then on being responsible for so many decisions. And then his sudden death.

The grief is less, the shock has worn off, I am more accustomed to solitude, and the course of events has dictated how I spend my time. There are times now when I think I should write a little manual of how to prepare for such eventualities, and what to do anyway. One piece of fairly elementary advice is to have a joint back account, and to have utilities and other accounts in both names. One friend, also dealing with an increasingly frail, but still mentally competent,  husband, has now sorted out the procedures for such eventualities.

I fill my time in many ways, the housekeeping, reading, listening to music (lots of that), practising for choir, seeing friends, going to my classes, sorting out all the paperwork, which, try as I may to keep it in order, somehow finds its way into a confused state, and thinking, thinking and remembering. And wishing, and brooding. Hoping to emerge in one piece, whole and sane, in due course.

I wish I had a strategic sort of mind, but at least a couple of such  minds are on my payroll. Another offer was made, but we have made no response, either yea or nay, but rather allowed the effluxion of time to take care of it, while awaiting their compliance with the legal requirements.

This is likely to cause a certain amount of irritation and annoyance, and my immediate reaction to this is one of simple and unalloyed pleasure. This whole process is redolent with anxiety, crossness and frustration, reactions which should be shared even-handedly between all participants. I must not be selfish and keep them all to myself....

A couple of days ago I had another appointment with the counsellor. Was I angry with Dr P? she asked. Well, yes, for much of the time I was, and still am.

She recommended that I do some shouting and ranting to express and thus possibly free myself from the negative emotions caused by Dr P's selfishness, and meanness.  The car, she said, is a good place in which to shout, rant and abuse. Well, I do not drive far enough to follow this advice, and it would not be a good idea to do so while driving to choir practice.  A couple of nights ago I wandered around the house, sorting out the washing, putting the rubbish bins out, crocheting a few rows, and spoke some of my thoughts aloud.  It did not seem to do much good, as it, or something, provoked a very savage migraine, so that instead of going to my classes next morning, I spent most of the day in bed, with a hot water bottle on my head, drawn curtains, and an imperfectly functioning brain. I am much better now, just feeling rather wiped out.

Being alone now, the responsibility, blame or praise rests upon myself. So it behoves me to consider carefully, to think through all possible courses of action, to learn how to vent my emotions, and not to allow them to dictate my future. If I cannot get to my age without learning some sense, and a few lessons from life with its attendant bitter experiences, then heaven help me, and save me from myself.

Watching the film The Eye of the Storm  made me relive the process of watching and dealing with the deterioration, both physical and mental, wrought by age and the progressive failure of both mind and body. Watching the death once more. It felt like being raked all over by long and jagged claws. The tragedy, the pity, and the consequences. Feeling that my time is limited and that I must use it carefully and wisely. I must take responsibility for the rest of my life, and no longer permit myself to be tossed on the wild seas chosen by hostile or indifferent persons. I must carry my own life raft: no one will be there to throw one to me. In so far as is possible, I must make and be responsible for my own life choices. They are not choices to be rushed into. The healing process is slow and conditional on many things. it needs planning and resolution. And acceptance.

These are some of the reasons why I must fight for my future, and not submit to the dictates of others. Not to mention my desire for and passion for justice.


Jan said...

Your second last paragraph reminded me of my own thought. Even about keeping place tidy. If I don't it will soon degenerate into a pile of books and knitting.

On purchasing this place, I made a new will, bestowed and arranged power of attorney and a medical power of attorney. My sons know what i would like to have at any funeral and have bank details and passwords where necessary. Have left instructions for internet friends etc to be notified.

Am gradually sorting out bits which arise but am happy to have done that. My bills are paid by direct debit on my bank account. Had them on my card but had a problem, fortunately minor, with the card. My former husband was notorious for not paying bills and had phones and electricity and gas and water cut off several times over the years. I was determined not to live like that.

I find making these arrangements was necessary to my peace of mind. There are plenty of other things to think about and sort through and deal with without practical things which I can easily deal with to interfere.

Relatively Retiring said...

I totally agree with Jan. There is a lot you can do for your own peace of mind, and it's very satisfying to think that you have done things while you are able to do so.
I have had to sort out two very complex and painful situations after deaths (my husband's and my father's), and i don't want anyone to have to do that after mine.
Take heart, Persiflage. There will be a conclusion to this process, and you will go on to a different sort of life.

Frogdancer said...

I have no words of wisdom to say. Just hang in there.

(And STOP having migraines!!!

There. That should do it...)

Zenom said...

Hang in there. once this is done and dusted you'll be able to look back at it with pride of the tenacity.
Of course being wrapped up in my own little world doesn't help support you, but know that should a life line be needed you look to us.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps you should write that manual after all. Didn't you say that the books you'd been reading about grief were not always particularly helpful? Maybe you can turn your experiences into something useful, further down the track.

I also suggest this because I find writing the most therapeutic way to express myself. If you can't shout and scream as your counsellor suggests, try writing instead, either by hand or in a blank Word document. Even write in ALL CAPS if you want to. And then you can choose to save the document or just delete your words once you've let it all out. Of course, writing in your blog here is also therapeutic, but sometimes we need more private spaces.