Friday, October 29, 2010


I have a ghost in my life.
My best friend some twenty years ago took his own life. For many years I blamed myself for not being there to help him in his hour of need, but after a long, long time, I came to peace with the situation.
I was haunted by the memory of this friend for many years, but slowly learned to cherish our friendship and be grateful for the time we had.

Just as I was finding equilibrium after my father's recent death, I heard yesterday that a friend of mine had taken that route again. This one is not a very close friend, but we have known each other for a couple of years and have spent a lot of time together.
He was troubled, I know, and life was not easy......but his sudden death has shocked and stunned our little circle of friends.

It's a new month on Monday - here's hoping that life takes an upturn as all this October sad news is starting to get to me.....


Sunday, October 24, 2010

Footprints in the Sand

One night I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord.
Many scenes from my life flashed across the sky.
In each scene I noticed footprints in the sand.
Sometimes there were two sets of footprints,
other times there were one set of footprints.

This bothered me because I noticed
that during the low periods of my life,
when I was suffering from
anguish, sorrow or defeat,
I could see only one set of footprints.

So I said to the Lord,
"You promised me Lord,
that if I followed you,
you would walk with me always.
But I have noticed that during
the most trying periods of my life
there have only been one
set of footprints in the sand.
Why, when I needed you most,
you have not been there for me?"

The Lord replied,
"The times when you have
seen only one set of footprints,
is when I carried you."

(c) Mary Stevenson 1936

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


Grief is a most personal thing.
Every person grieves differently; they view the loss of a loved one in respect of what they themselves have lost.

While I have been upset by family deaths in the past, I have never really grieved as they are usually too distant to impact my own existence and I am able to move on.

Now I am mired in grief for my step-father. Whilst not my biological father, he was an important part of my life for nearly forty years, and back in the day he and I used to sit and talk about all sorts of things important in my little life - work and relationships. And we loved each other, me loving the father figure and him loving the child who turned to him for support.

Now he is gone I grieve deeply for the lifelong friend I have lost.

Rather than remembering the sick old man in the hospital bed, I am trying to remember him as the man who always greeted me with smiles and a bearhug, who allowed me teach him to swim, who persuaded my mother that I should be permitted to leave school and go to work, who bought me my first ever adult posh dress, who worked it so I could stay to the end of the school disco when my mum wanted me home early and who encouraged me to practice my driving in his very expensive car. So many little things he did for me over the years which have helped shape my life.

I want to be able to say a fond farewell to my friend at his funeral and then move on with my life, carrying his memory in my heart.


Sunday, October 17, 2010

Life and Death....

..and the small step between.

I am waiting. Waiting for a phone call. We know the phone is going to ring and someone is going to say a certain sentence, but we don't know when. So I am waiting.

My dad is dying. His body is riddled with the bastard entity that is known as cancer. It is an entity, growing and eating away at his organs until he can no longer fight it.

I spoke to his staff nurse and checked the four main things;
Is he in pain?
Is he comfortable?
Does he know we're there?
How will 'it' happen?
I don't need to know anything else, they are the most important things.

No, he does not appear to be in pain, but he is on a lot of morphine.
Yes, he is turned regularly, he can acknowledge comfort but he doesn't like the nasal oxygen.
When I was there he opened his eyes, recognised me and smiled. At one point he feebly reached for my hand.....his 'little girl'.
His breathing will just slow.....

This is not my natural father, but he is my stepfather. He met my mother and married her when I was about 9. With my biological father pretty much out of the picture and passing on when I was 17, this man became my dad in all but name. I never called him dad, we agreed it would not be appropriate, but in all senses of the word he was mine. We talked a lot, as I was taking my first faltering steps in adulthood, relationships and work he was the one I confided in.

We visited him yesterday. We live at least a couple of hours away from the hospital, so even if we do get some warning we won't be there in time. And he's slowly slipping away. So I took the chance to visit with him for a bit while he could still acknowledge me, holding his hand, talking to him, comforting him and saying my farewells to my dad....

And now we're waiting, waiting for him to finally admit defeat in his battle.

Update; my dad took that small step and surrendered at 4pm today. He was a good man, despite all his faults.