The life of a young widowed father with the will to help others with advice and positivity.

Archive for: September 2013

How Do I Remain So Positive

 

So how do I remain so Positive?

Well quite simply… I don’t.

I’m not always positive at all and I certainly don’t believe anyone can remain positive and happy all the time. What I am able to do though is to recognise when those negative thoughts or sad emotions come into my head and to try and deal with them quickly. I flip them around to find any positives from it or I simply remind myself about how important it is for us all to continue with our lives with smiles on our faces.

Positive through grief, bereavement

 

Sometimes though the sadness and emotions can become too strong and difficult to deal with. When this has happened for me I consciously decide to take some time out and I let these thoughts linger in my head and do whatever it is they need to do. I kind of figure that they need to be there and need to get my attention for one reason or another. Maybe as part of the grieving process or just something I need to experience. Again though I don’t let them stay around for too long because the last thing I want is to let them drag me down or take me backwards. So, while I let them do what it is they need to do I also try and work through the positives or at least look for a positive outcome. This is I believe the key to how I stay on top of my situation and generally in a positive state.

For instance. One of the main thoughts which regularly pops in my head is about what Helen is missing out of in life especially when it comes to me and the kids. Now this thought is I am sure perfectly normal for any grieving person but it does provoke a sad and negative emotion. Initially this was hard to deal with and really brought me down however in time I realised that although such a sad loss for Helen she did actually achieve so many things in her life; many things that others will never achieve even if they live to 100 years old. She had a happy upbringing, good childhood, found true unconditional love, created 2 amazing human beings giving them a perfect start to life and made me very happy. Also with her naturally caring nature she indirectly taught me how to be a better Dad which in turn gives her much loved children what they need even without her around. So now when this sad thought pops into my head I have learnt to straight away think about what Helen has achieved in her life rather than what she has lost. Her loss is still sad but by doing this it just changes that negative thought into a positive one and therefore makes me smile.

I often think about whether I would be able to remain as positive if for instance one of my children were to become seriously ill or even if I were to lose one or both of my children. Now obviously these scenarios are horrific and not something I need to waste too much time on but I have had contact with some people who have sadly been faced with this so it does happen. The answer to my question is always… I don’t know…  What I do know though is that I would deal with it in some way because I believe humans are very resilient. If someone told me about what I would have to deal with after I married Helen I would have wondered how on earth I would be able to cope… But I did cope and I continue to cope. So from that I am sure I could cope with most things.

Other things I do to try an remain positive is to strip life back the basics. We are mammals, we live, we breath, we die and one day everything we touch will be no more. A harsh reality but a reality none the less. So what does this mean to me… It means I know I will die one day and I have no choice about that so until that day comes I may as well be happy.

 

A Family Picture after the Loss of a Parent?

 

So what is a Family Picture after the Loss of a Parent?

This is sadly something I had to ask myself recently when my sons nursery asked all children to bring in a family photo to add to the family tree display they had on the wall.

When I was initially asked it didn’t twig in my mind what I was being asked. Ha ha get it.. twig. I know I am so silly.. right serious again.

So it was a simple and easy request that I didn’t think too much of but it was only when I started to think about what photo to use that it dawned on me that my family picture looks much different these days. In fact it caught me off guard and hit me very hard. The realisation yet again that it’s just me and the kids now. But I couldn’t get my head around it because to me Helen is still part of the family and will always be. She is the mother of my children and you only get one real mum so she can’t not be part of the family nor the family picture!!

But then I started thinking more about it. We as a family will continue to grow and move forward but the family pics we have of the 4 of us will stand still forever. There will never ever be another family picture with just the 4 of us. No holiday snaps just the four of us, no more snaps from Christmas or birthdays with just our little family unit of 4. Yet another heart breaking realisation.

bereavement

 

A picture from a few years ago after the first cancer battle was over and our lives were perfect.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I guess though as years go on we will be able to accept this as our lives change direction. The kids will know nothing different than not to have a mum. I to some extent would have learnt to live with what has happened and will have a new life to lead. One thing for sure though is that I will never forget and I will make damn sure my kids never forget. We were all very lucky to have Helen in our lives and the kids were so lucky to have such an amazing mum. I have said it before and I will say it again.. I would rather have those 7 years with Helen than 7 years without her. No matter how hard it has been.

There will always be a place in my heart for Helen and the love I have for her is eternal.

I chose to take in 2 photo’s in the end. A recent one of just me and the kids and the other probably the last picture of the 2 kids and mummy. A good compromise as not having Helen on that wall would be again admitting that she is gone which is still too difficult.

 

The Lonely Evenings and Bed Time

 

From my experience and from so many others in my shoes the worst time of day is the lonely evenings and bed time.

Its definitely the worst time for me because I am left in a quiet house all alone with just my thoughts. I can easily make sure I keep myself busy during the days as that’s not too hard what with a full time job and 2 young kids but once those beautiful babies are tucked up in their beds dreaming about princesses and dragons I have no choice but to stay in.

It’s a hard time.. mainly because there was once Helen and I in this quiet house once the kids were snoring.. A time where we both shares our stories of the day, talked about the kids, made plans or just simply relaxed in front of the TV. The house goes deafly silent. In fact in a way my whole life has gone quite. Helen was a chatterbox and was always texting or phoning me no matter what I was doing.. that just stops…..

Of course I have had family or friends around who have kept me company in the evenings but people have their own lives and understandably they come round less and less. I think it has too though as for me I do need to find my own way in life. I need to work out my own emotions, work out what I want to do in life and also learn how to be happy with my own company. After all I was once married and shared everything with my wife.. Now it’s just me and my kids and I firmly believe that there is only one person who can rebuild my life and that person is me. Sure I can get help and advice but only I can find my new direction and work out the way forward.

Although now I can still feel very lonely at home in the evenings I have found things I enjoy to keep me occupied. I write (hence the blogs) I have learnt how to play the guitar again which I love, I work out in the garage or just watch movies. I just do the things I enjoy.

Bed time however  is another world of pain and continues to be for me. I can do all those things I just mentioned but there is always a time when I just have to go to bed. I often find myself searching for things to do.. anything to do so I don’t have to go to bed to sleep but that time always has to come.

Almost always as I walk towards the bedroom I still expect to see the lights on and Helen sat there in bed. I always feel immense sadness and disappointment because she is no longer there. The room is always dark, cold and lonely. So I then get ready for bed alone, get into a cold bed alone, turn the light out all alone and try to sleep all alone. No one to say good night too and no one to say I love you too… oh apart from the smalls of course but you know what I mean. It’s just an awful time because it doesn’t get more real than that.

Michael Adams - Clearlypositive.co.uk

 

I don’t really know what I believe in when it comes to what happens after death. Of course the thought that you do turn into some kind of angel and live in some amazing tranquil, happy world without war, famine, terrorism and bloody Cancer is a perfect thought when you lose someone so close. But I am way too black and white to fully believe that. However I still wish for Helen to come to my dreams to show me she is OK and happy. Unfortunately for me I am not a big dreamer.. either that or I dream loads and I just forget so its rare for me to have a dream at all let alone remember one with Helen in it.

That said I have had 2 dreams with Helen in the star role. One bloody awful dream I don’t need to divulge here and another one recently… Just before I went to sleep I asked her to please meet me in my dreams… She came that night, we didn’t speak but I saw her there, chatting and laughing away like she always did… she was happy….

 

My Kids Grief

 

My Kids grief…

I have said it before but that unbelievable time when Helen and I sat the kids down and told them about how serious mummies illness was and that she could die  (Link Here)  was one of the most important parts of the kids grief process. I still believe that gave them a head start in dealing with the loss.

So how have they been dealing with the loss? I think very well.

I personally believe the fact that the children were young has eased their pain… Kids seem to live for the moment and certainly when they are young they are very accepting. I guess because they know no different than what happens in their early lives. I do know that although they are doing well now that this may not be the case as they grow older which is one thing I will remain mindful of.

To get the kids to where they are now has been very difficult and I have had some very difficult questions to deal with….

When I said mummy has grown some angel wings and flown up to heaven initially they would say “well why don’t we go there to see mummy?” and “lets get in the car and drive to Heaven daddy?”

Kids of a young age don’t always have any geographical references, don’t really understand the finality of the word never and also don’t really fully grasp consequences. They couldn’t get to grips with that concept of never and also of a place where we can’t go unless we die. Heaven to them is a happy place so I am happy with that for now. There is no need to tell them that heaven may not even be a place at all (depending on what you believe).

My obvious responses to those questions sparked some further difficult question. They knew mummy died of cancer so when I said you only go to heaven if you die they would say ” well I want to die daddy ” or even worse ” I want to get cancer and die ”  My response to that was clear….. I said that mummy would be so upset if they died because mummy would want them to live their lives and be happy with me. I had to repeat myself many times but they seem to understand very quickly because these questions thankfully didn’t last long at all.

I knew Olivia understood it about a month after Helen passed away. We were all getting our shoes on by the back door and suddenly Marley said that he missed mummy. Now for Marley this was slightly out of character as initially he didn’t really speak much about Mummy. However when he said this Olivia took control, sat him down and told him all the things I said to them both about mummy not wanting to die, it wasn’t her fault she got cancer and that we all had to live our lives and be happy just the 3 of us. I was astounded and amazed at the things she said to him and how he really listened. That seemed to be a turning point for them both.

Now over 6 months on we all talk about Mummy in a very happy way. Olivia and Marley both ask about her all the time and want to know what she was like, what we did together when we first got married and how great a mum she was. Marley has also started talking much more about Mummy which is so nice but also quite difficult. He will often tell me that she is never coming back… almost like just testing the water that it’s still true and always my heart breaks that little bit more when I have to confirm his thoughts.

I have often over heard the kids talking to each other about mummy. Either Marley or Olivia being sad and the other saying ” I know mummy wont come back and I know you miss mummies kisses and cuddles too so I will kiss and cuddle you ” So sweet that they have this close bond and look out for each other. So sad though that they are actually having to say these things.

One of the main memories they both have of mummy which they often mention is when mummy was being silly with her prosthetic boobie. Helen was always messing around and one morning she put the boob on her bald head and made a funny face. We all burst out with laughter at Helen being so silly… That just summed her up really..

Another thing Olivia does often is say to me that she’s sorry I have lost my wife. She puts out a hand to my face and I can tell she really means it.  She will also often tell people that she doesn’t have a mummy which generally puts the receiver of this information in to total shock that a 5 year can quite happily say this with such confidence. She sometimes though follows it with ” but we still have a daddy ”

Also Marley has said a few times that he doesn’t want Olivia or me to die. I see this as a good thing. Good in that he is understanding the meaning of dying and with that understands what has happened to his mummy. It’s a sign that he is moving through his grief process and understanding some of it.

I think the key to the kids getting through is the example I set them. I cry and get upset sometimes.. of course I do.. I wouldn’t be human if I didn’t and I am happy for the kids to see this. I am happy for them to see me upset about what has happened because it is so desperately sad for me and them. However most of the time I smile and am happy even if inside I am not. I believe kids will follow and act how the people around them do although not sure that explains why they often run around the house shouting their heads off because they are over tired. But….. If I was in the corning crying all the time without the will to continue I am sure this is how they would act too. Instead they see their Dad happy, playful, smiling and getting on with life because it’s ok to do that.. It’s important to do that.

Kids holding hands

 

This is a pic I once took of the kids holding hands. We were all in bed watching children programs and they were happy together hand in hand.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Poem about Helen

 

A Poem about Helen

 

Helen was her name and everyone knew

That she was a strong individual and a fighter through and through

 

She had a special spark not many people have

A beautiful smile, sense of humour and a magnetic laugh

 

Her skin so soft, her hair blonde and silky

You would notice her in the room as she’d be the one being silly

 

She led her life with energy, grace and passion

And was such a caring young woman with so much compassion

 

Her dreams were fulfilled with marriage and a family

And she loved us all unconditionally and lovingly

 

Our beautiful Helen has been taken too soon

But you will see her star up in the sky near the moon

 

The hardship she experienced was not her decision

But she battled through it all with one simple vision

 

That she wanted to be with the people she cared for

Her husband, children, family and quite simply nothing more

 

The difficult times never took away her personality

As she still made us laugh as she faced her mortality

 

She was the most perfect person, mother and wife

And the 7 years we had together was the time of my life

 

Helen is gone and she will be missed forever

But she still lives on in her children Marley and Olivia

 

2 amazing children we made so perfectly

Both full laughter, fun and always happy

 

Our time together has now come to an end

But I will never forget my beautiful wife and best friend