We are Macmillan. Cancer Support
Trying to be supportive to recently-widowed mother while suffering from long-term depression myself
New baby Isaac or maybe Zach (to be confirmed). Born 11.9.12, 9lbs. Cuddles with proud grandad J. Not allowed to post pictures to facebook, so you haven't seen this. ok? x x x
Talk about, it never rains but it pours... On Tuesday this coming week, my dear mama will be scattering my father's ashes.Next weekend, we may be scattering the ashes of father-in-law.That's all. I seem to remember reading in the book, The Shipping News, of a relative tipping ashes into an outside toilet. Funny the things that pop into one's mind.
It's a month since J's dad's funeral and his house is awaiting being sold. It's odd driving into town and not going round to see him! J is 'okay' and 'fine' and hasn't said a word about his dad at all. Nothing! He appears quite cheerful and is busily getting on with life, so I just leave him to it and make sure he knows he has someone to talk to, should hell freeze over and he wants a Heart to Heart. Very heavily starched upper lip, has J.
Mother is on the phone every day, obviously lonely, and I do my best to be cheerful and positive and so on. #1 daughter spent 3 weeks with her, helping to catalogue 2,500 books (some of my dad's library). That was fine, but when daughter got home, it transpired she had been bitten by some monstrous insect and the bite was horribly infected: as in Jabba the Hut living on the back of her thigh. Many, many, many visits to doctors, nurses and out of hours surgery later, she has still got a packed wound and has twice-weekly dressing changes by the pracice nurses. The infection has gone (I think) and she can now walk again, so that's good. It was very nasty but she's a stoical lass (unlike her mother).
Son is due to start work at Mercedes on Monday, an induction day, so he's raring to go. Quite a weird feeling, my little boy (16 and 5'9 and still growing) being a Working Man. Life is all change, isn't it... No standing still.
Stepdaughter #2 is now 36 weeks pregnant and has got to the fed-up stage (I remember it well) and just wants the baby to arrive and for all to be well. She was on heavy medication when she conceived (unplanned) so we'll all be relieved to see Junior here, fit and well, God willing.
I am in the process of reducing my dosage of my antidepressants, currently on 20mg, down from 30, in the hope of getting rid of them once and for all. I was down to 10mg every other day, last summer, before my dad's cancer became terminal, and that was the end of that. I've put on about 2 stones in the last 18 months (probably due to my own idleness, greed and nothing to do with the drugs or the menopause, which I blame for everything). I'm a bit fed up with being flabby and round but am making a big effort to move more and eat less and hope that makes a difference.
I find myself quite down and disheartened today: despite a letter telling me that my routine smear test result is 'normal'. On this site, of all places, that is great news, and I am SO thankful for it. Memo to self: stop whingeing and start counting blessings. Not sure if the reduced-level pills have anything to do with it, but I'm very tense and jumpy and tired, and not a lot of fun to be with. Trivial things are upsetting me and I don't like it!
End of ramblings: nothing really wrong, except in my head. Just wanted to tell somebody.
It was quite a good day, for a Monday. It rained, of course, but I didn't collide with any deer on my way to work, didn't get held up in roadworks or stuck behind a tractor.
When I got home, J was still out at his dad's but was back in time for tea.
Today's alarming news was that my stepdaughter's dog had had a fit this morning, and her partner had been bitten when trying to stop the dog choking on its tongue. The dog, apparently, has recovered and their vet has told them to monitor him... We are meaant to be babysitting said dog at the weekend when they go off to Greece for a last 'couple' holiday before the baby arrives in August. I HOPE the dog is all right. Already I have nightmare scenarios in my head of how to break bad news to them on their return.
J and his siblings are edging closer to the Care Home option for their father as the only realistic course of action. He (dad-in-law) is drifting further and further away from the person he used to be and is physically wasting away.
On Thursday, J has agreed to attend a meeting at our local hospital, organised, I think, by Macmillan, as a sort of support group for people who have had his sort of cancer (tonsil/throat). I wasn't sure if he would feel up to that, as he rarely talks about his experiences from 2009, which sadly coincided with his elderly mum's death from liver cancer. A hard, hard time for my lovely, uncomplaining J.
To my surprise, we had a long chat about all that this evening: quite a good thing, I think, and I feel more able to talk & to support him since being on this site and meeting such fantastic people.
So that was all good.
Then my mother rang: J answered and chatted for ages then when I spoke to her, she hung up on me! I said I had been upstairs doing stuff: oh, you didn't think to phone your poor old mother, says she, and when I wasn't fast enough to make a convincing response, she hung up...
So now I feel crap again, even though I don't THINK I've done anything wrong.
J's dad died about 3 a.m.on Saturday 23rd June 2012. We had bee tensed up waiting for it to happen since 8p.m. on Thursday... It was a difficult couple of days and nights (or however long it was) with 4 adults in his room at his bedside (his 3 offspring and me, there to keep an eye on J).
On the last night we were joined by Margaret, a lovely Hospice at Home nurse, who was quiet, calm, gentle and efficient, and that was very reassuring. About 1 a.m. she sent the 4 of us into the residents' lounge (in the care home) and 2 slept on recliner chairs and J and I were on the floor. We had resisted leaving the room but were obviously all shattered and we did all manage to sleep for a couple of hours. Margaret called ius through and it was obvious DIL had only a few minutes left: his breathing had gone from stertorous to almost imperceptible and his colour had changed again. (At this point J went off to the loo and I had a very nasty moment thinking he would be having a pee while his father took his last breath...but no, he got back in time).
Margaret discreetly left us in private for a while and then the care staff (extremely caring and so nice, all the time, to all of us) had made us what appeared to be afternoon tea which we all picked at. It was quite surreal, at 4 in the morning! The doctor came and then the undertaker (who had overseen J's mum's funeral back in 2009, and knew the family well and is cheerful and kind. We took our time to make the bedroom look as though 4 squatters hadn't been camped out there and packed up all DIL's stuff. Then we went our separate ways: SIL to near Penrith (where she found her dog had had hideous diiarrhoea ALL over her kitchen floor and her husband and daughter were obliviously asleep...yuck), BIL back to DIL's house for a nap before driving back down to Derbyshire, and J and I in separate cars back home (5 minutes away). Throughout almost the whole ordeal the rain bucketed down and the world was grey. Seemed appropriate.
J and I slept for a few hours but are still drunk with tiredness. It'll take a few days to reset our body clocks, I guess. We are all sad, but accepting. He was a good dad, J said (himself the best dad I've ever met). The siblings all get on well and were all unceasingly gentle and loving towards their poor old dad, who was so very frail and tiny. SIL (the ex-nurse) really came into her own with her practical care of him: I'm definitely NOT that kind of a daughter, but it obviously makes a difference if your dad is lovely and you love him dearly.
Although it was a difficult experience, I thiink, no, I KNOW I am glad to have had it. It exorcised a few demons for me: it was the kind of experience I wish I had had with my own father, but it couldn't really have been more different. The image of DIL's drawn. skeletal face and open mouth is very vividly before me, but I believe that, latterly, he wasn't in pain any more, and I hope the image will fade, and that this experience will 'cancel out' my earlier one last November.
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