Letting go: 1. Loss

Letting go: 1. Loss

Grief is not only for the dead.  It for the loss of anything of importance that you value in your life.  We may grieve for the things we haven’t done or for friends that have moved on,  for anything that leaves us with nothing but the memories…

“I have learned that many people are not good for me.  No matter how hard I love them.” 

So where do I begin?

Maybe I should start with questions. “Why is it that at the end of every year, I always end up feeling so miserable and unhappy?  Why do I still feelings of such utter sadness, loneliness, and still feel that I have felt no real love in my life?”.

LOSS

There is a void in my life that has been filled with sad memories, disappointments and unhappy moments.  These moments of feeling such loss, have choked me up so much.  So. much so, there has been no room to let real life in.

I have often said, “I have had no time to grieve for the loss of my brother, my mother and my sister…”, and this now more recently includes my beloved dog.  But in truth, I have done nothing but mourn, and grieve, and ache for them.  As well as many other losses or things that have happened that I cannot change.  No amount of tears, anguish or darkness will bring about a better resolution or a change in circumstance.

I have allowed grief to completely envelop me, thereby imprisoning me with demons of my own making.

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Of course, I miss them dearly, they left at a time when I needed them most. Not that there could be a more convenient time…

The emptiness

The emptiness they left behind has been a part of me ever since.  Gone were the many daily conversations, the sharing of woes; and the laughter that inevitably followed as we saw the funny side of each dilemma.  Gone were the feelings of love I accessed through a telephone line, when sickness on both parts prevented travel.  Just gone.  No second chances, no more time and no more opportunities.

Not many people actually appreciated what Christmas was really like for me 8 years ago, but it was an extremely difficult time.  Two days before Christmas, I had sat with my mum in hospital while we received the news that cancer had spread into her liver, and that there was nothing more that could be done.  The next day I was driving up to Kent, to be with my sister for Christmas, for what we knew would inevitably be her last.

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_27Bedside chats

During this time, my mum and sister were able to have bedside chats, by using video calls.  So they could speak with each other from their respective beds. Two days later I was back with my mum at the hospital, and so it continued, until she passed away on the 29thJanuary.  Little did I know that 2 months later, after sitting at my sister’s bedside for nearly a week, that I would say goodbye to her too.  And my brother also passed just after the new year, but many moons before.

So I guess it’s not surprising that Christmas has never been the same since…

At the time, I struggled with keeping my mums’ wishes by downplaying it to everyone, instead of speaking the truth, so that they were fully in the picture.  But I did my best to honour both sides.  At times it felt like they needed my permission to stay away, to not have to face it, as if their busy lives were more important.  At times, it felt like they didn’t want to take the responsibility of their choices.  But my mum definitely did not want or need anyone weeping at her bedside.

Trying to be rational while others around you are falling apart is by no means easy, and I felt the full force of that from every direction as people looked to me for answers.  Endless phone calls, endless questions, endless explanations, endless tears and endless sorrows.  Not one of them even thought about how the same loss, was affectively silently killing me inside, and they were making me bear the weight of their grief too.

Many wished them back, saying it was too soon, but I had to remind them what they were really wishing for… more cancer, more pain… when their bodies had already been violated by illness and/or surgery.

Grief

Naturally, I bore feelings of resentments, and I probably have never forgiven some of my family for their behaviour back then; while they took a back seat to participate in the grieving process.  I have often sensed that somehow, they resented me, as I was the only one with my mum when she died.  As though I had left it to the last minute to tell them of her downward turn, which meant they had to rush to get to the hospital in time.  It’s a horrible thought, but it’s one that crosses my mind at times, but I didn’t choose her moment to slip away…

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When my sister took her final breath I was with her.  On that day and the days that preceded it, I felt there was no other place for me to be.  For me, I had done the right thing for both myself my darling sister, making sure she had company throughout all her waking hours.  I did not want her to slip away unnoticed, and by being there gave me some kind of peace.

The memories

After so many years of feeling this way, I am exhausted.  I have been trapped inside this darkness of loss and grief, for so long that I am nearly blinded by it.  The memories and the sadness still overwhelms me, because only memories have taken their place, nothing real.

Getting my little dog was the best thing I could have done, unconditional love was mutual, and she had my heart in every single way.  Sadly a month ago she too was taken early, at just 7 years old I had to let her go.  It broke my heart all over again, but in a different way.  I guess the attachment you form with an animal, is on a different level to that you’d form with a person.  I suppose the sadness I felt at her premature death, was unlike any other loss, and the grief was different too.  She’d emotionally and physically seen me through times where my sister and mum could not, she was so very precious to me.

But, it is now time to put those painful memories somewhere for safekeeping. It is time for me to say goodbye, to release the burden of this grief.  The weight is far too heavy, and I have been wearing it like a mantel for too long…  It is time for me to take a deep breath and move on.

It is time for me to let them go.

Sharon Carter-Wray

(31st December 2016)

 

UPDATE:

Having read this again, I can see why it was so important for me to write 2 years ago.

Writing this, did not give me closure and I didn’t expect it to.  That is not the reason why I wrote it.  What it did do was to enable me to put my sadness in it’s rightful place.  Thereby, allowing me to view Christmas in particular, with fresh eyes, hope and to have love in my heart again.

The worst day of the year for me is still Mother’s Day.  Even though I don’t really give in to all the commercialism, it still tugs something inside.

There is not a day goes by when they do not come to mind.  Almost daily I have a conversation with them, whether it be in my head or out load.  They are a still very much a part of me, and I like it that way.

More and more, I am reminded of the many ways that I am just like my mother. I am grateful for that her kindness, generosity, humour and attitude to other people in need, has rubbed off on me.  I can still hear the things she used to say, and her wonderful quotes about getting on in life.  There are still many moments, when I smile at something knowing my sister would have found it funny too.  So in that way, they have never gone, they are still very much a part of me

I so strongly believe that grief cannot be rushed.  Even when you think you’re over it, it will strike again.  The pain may be less, but it will happen…  Most likely at an unexpected time, place and probably triggered by a complete stranger or something utterly unrelated.

I am in a good place with death.

Strange as it may sound, I’m used to it, and I accept it as being a natural part of life itself.  Now, I appreciate and dwell on the joy they gave me, rather than the sadness they left behind.  Sx ❤️

(Updated Tues 22nd January 2019)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

16. The Liberation of Sharon Carter-Wray

Right now,
I feel as though
I have just emerged
through the other side of such darkness.
A place I had been for years,
Sinking, lower and lower,
Feeling, darker and darker.
I, have been surrounded by people
Who didn’t see me
Who had no idea of the private hell
I was going through… all on my own.
Or the pressure
They sometimes added to my load.
But then a while back
I started to really take note of myself,
The people around me,
The situation I was in
And the fact
That I felt so unhappy,
So miserable and so depressed
I had forgotten how to smile
And I felt like this
All the time
The mental ordeal
Caused the physical sting
As I declined
I could not do a thing
My body was racked with pain
From top to toe
I had to lean on walking sticks
Wherever I had to go
There was not a part of me that wasn’t sore
In spite of me doing
A lot less and not more
Very slowly when a new day begun
I was blessed with a saint
A lady I’ll never forget
A lady who helped me
Moved forward on my quest
I opened my eyes for the very first time
And all too soon began to realise
How much stress
Was constantly in my life
Tension that was not mine to own
But more delivered
By some other needy soul
Every conversation that I had
Someone leant on me
Used my listening ears to air their woes
Or tell me of their ills
Each call was full
Of another’s misery and tears
It wasn’t about showing me care
And to every friend I turned
The story was the same
In the end
It became too much to bear
It was only then
That I knew for sure
I needed no further convincing
No one noticed me
No one saw my pain
No one could imagine my pain
No one could feel my pain
Sadly sympathy was in short supply
Even though it was not
The medicine that I desired
I felt so sad, so empty
I was so full of loneliness
But yet, I hid it all so well
Behind my beautiful smile
My lady,
Helped me to see
That it was not really others
Who were guilty
Of being the root of my pain
It was me 
I was self-harming in a terrible way
Every time I took on someone else’s pain
I used their words like razors
Lacerating my own veins
I gave my permission
I had opened those doors
But no one saw it was my blood
Dripping to the floor
That day,
I woke up
For the first time in years
That day,
I opened my eyes
And saw just how blinded I had been
I took a good look
At whom and what I had become
I didn’t like what I saw
It scared me to see
How my skin had been flayed
And my flesh was raw
Somewhere, along my path
During my journey through the darkness
I had lost myself
I had lost sight of who I used to be
The woman
At the very core of me
And all at once
I missed her so much
She had gone quiet for years
As though a part of me had died
I hadn’t noticed when she had left
I just knew she wasn’t there
No longer by my side
I called her ‘My Free Spirit’
Like a ship set to sail
She is the very of soul of me
And she is hell bent on
Not seeing me fail
Every now and then
She would majestically appear
And sparkle quite discreetly
Just enough for me to heed
To let me know 
She hadn’t gone completely
Every time I caught a glimpse
I felt stronger inside
As I grew stronger I became angry
The angrier I became
The more I wanted to rage
The more I learned
The more I knew
Something within my life
Dynamically and desperately
Had sought and wanted change
In fact, not something but someone
And that just so happened
To be me
So, with the help of my lady
I set about my mission
Ever so lovingly
Chip by chip and part by part
I dismantled myself
Starting from the heart
I gathered all the diamonds
And like a puzzle
I put them back as one
The picture told the story
Of my discontented life 
But
It wasn’t long
Before some of those fragments
Showed their truth
They simply didn’t belong 
Where they used to dwell
I could offer no more space
I needed and wanted it for
An entirely different shape
A form that could shift and alter
Allowing me to breathe
As I mused and pondered
Along came the answers
What I finally understood
Is if I didn’t make changes
This would be my life
For good
Now today
Some of that pain still lingers,
My smile is now true
No more will others
Turn my horizons
A dark shade of blue
My free spirit hadn’t left
She had stoically remained
Guarding all my diamonds
Until I was able to tell the tale
A true and honest account of 
The liberation of
Sharon Carter-Wray
Sharon Carter-Wray

(Rewritten 7th January 2019)
(Original 1st September 2013

A different mind set

Don’t know why, but for the first time in years, I didn’t end a year with frantically scribbling down words that spoke of disappointment and unhappiness; and crap that needed to be left behind.

Instead, somehow, I approached the end of year feeling quite calm, and at peace with myself.  Though the panic may have been in place to write, somehow, I managed to assure myself that this time round, it wasn’t necessary.

I know from reading through old written work, that I am no longer in the same place I was.  I have moved forward in so many ways in my life, that painful words from the past no longer hurt me.  It is an astounding feeling to be relieved of so much angst, that had collected and resided within.

I feel free of so many things that had stifled, stunted and restrained me.  I simple chose and still choose to turn my back and walk away, leave all the unnecessary drama far behind.

Better to lead a quiet existence, than to be down-trodden by people who do not value or think nothing of me.  But the truth is, I felt I needed to be a part of something, even though I knew it was never a good fit, I never truly felt I belonged, and I was never made to feel that way.

But for a while, when I was only taking my first steps to rebuild my life, it seemed they were a necessity, but I was quickly proved wrong; and that story never really changed.  I no longer look for recognition or validation, from people who should be give it freely, I just don’t need it anymore.  I am being nurtured and encouraged in other ways, by people all around the world.

I have continued to be open to new things, to be optimistic, to further empower the faith I have in myself, through the words I write and the many beautiful things I create.  And I intend to keep spreading my word as far as the world lets me.

That is something that no one can take from me, that is where my true beauty lies…

I have never felt like I had this power before.  It has put me a good place, and in spite of anticipating there are still possible battles ahead, I remain focussed and forthright.

I have not started the year by making endless promises to myself, instead it is the same mantra that I continually repeat:

I shall be true to myself, and no matter what happens, I have dealt with far worse in my life already!

That feels like a pretty good starting point for me.

Sharon Carter-Wray

 

(Saturday 5th January 2019)

 

14. Why oh why?

Why is it that sometimes the people who are closest to you and should care about you, are the ones that actually don’t understand or give a shit?
I am almost lost for words to speak, but I think I have the ability to voice my utter disbelief and anger on these pages.

  • What is it about some people, that as soon as you open your mouth to express something, they are straight down your throat biting and spitting venom, before the words or sounds are even formed?
  • Why are they always on the attack, and so defensive first?   Why can’t they give it a moments thought that you may have something important or earnest to say?
  • Why do they always think that they are about to be blamed for something, or they’ve done something wrong, and are therefore protecting themselves just in case.

It kills me some times, when I think that I have spent 15 years of my life with someone that is so selfish and conceited, who is only happy when we are talking about him, his interests, his hobbies, his work, his problems, his family issues and his hang-ups of which there were many.  And of course I am indeed speaking about my husband in this particular situation. 650e5-how2bdid2byou2bget2bso2bempty

He is content with his selfish existence, because he can mock or block whatever or whomever he feels is not important or worthwhile at any moment in time.  Which is usually me.  As usual, I will just pick up the pieces, and repair them once again, or I will make anew and ensure that each time it is stronger. Sometimes I wonder why I do this, does it make me happy, feel more secure, feel cared for or loved, something special, or listened to?  The answer is no, because, all I do is wait for the next time, and wonder if next time, will be my last time.

Why does he only remember at the last minute, that if it were not for me he would not have the very things that he enjoys so much, and yet can be so selfish about.  Why does he take for granted, the one thing he should hold closest to his heart and nurture, because I am the only person who believes in him, no matter what?  He gives me no real thanks or recognition, there is no appreciation, there are always only words, and more words that essentially mean nothing or even less ,than the first time they were spoken with sincerity.  The poison is spat with such anger, but no thought – that will come later when he realises what he is possibly or most likely sacrificing.  Why does he not understand that by then it’s too late?

Words cannot be unspoken, unkindness and not be replaced and no soothing words will ever heal the damage that has just been caused.

All he has done is confirm what I already knew and believed, as I see in his actions, behaviour and his mood every day.  That will never change, as he lacks the respect within himself, to look into the mirror and see who he is really is, and what he has become.  It has been a long time since he really took a proper look, perhaps, it’s time for him to do it again, before he causes long term, irreparable pain.

556c6-dear2bexIt is the same blood that courses through his veins, as the other people that constantly torment and abuse him, but no matter what – it will always be my fault.  It’s always my fault because I can see the answers that he cannot.  I can also see the damaged soul that he carries with him, and I can put in the words what he is too weak to speak for himself.  But, most of all I know the man he hides behind and pretends to be, even though he will never admit that evento himself.

It is always my fault, which is why it is easier for him, to do battle with me, someone he feels is week, vulnerable and accepting of more abuse – even though he knows the real truth.  It is easier for him to feel some sense of triumph, to beat his chest and parade his fantastic feathers, because he believes he has conquered me– ‘the good side of him’ which enables him to do this in the first place.  But, the things is, I gave him the chest to swell with pride, I repaired the wings for him to fly again, and I bandaged his wounds so he could heal, so how I can I be at fault?  How, can I be wrong again?

So what do I do next?  Do I let him off the hook again, and pretend that all is as it was, and he can carry on with his ‘happy’ life?

Or do I stand up yet again, and prove to him that he has no right to do war with me, because I am his saviour and not his problem? 00177-10462841_673987222689399_3467623837117453863_n

Or do I add it to the list of unforgivable things that he has done or said in the past, which is making my armour and readiness to do battle with him even stronger?

You tell me.

Sharon Carter-Wray

(5thMarch 2012)

 

I know I was in a really bad place when I first wrote this, and I think it was the start of the deterioration of my marriage. It took until 2 years ago to finally admit to myself and label what had been going on, as mental abuse.  It had been a continual pattern throughout our entire relationship, but marriage somehow reinforced it.  I still carry emotional and mental fears, scars & wounds from that period of my life, but thankfully now I can say it is very much behind me.

I was able to walk away with my dignity intact, but it has made me very vigilant about who I have in my life.

(Updated 26thNovember 2018)

 

 

13. Keeping pace with pain support group

Yesterday, I attended a Keeping Pace with pain group at St Andrews Church in Southampton.  It had been suggested by my key worker, that I might find it beneficial in some way.

So I trundled along not really knowing what to expect, and I am really pleased that I did.  I was made to feel so welcome, and they were all very friendly people.

This session had a speaker- Fran Hodgson, who is a chair bound yoga teacher.  Fran, herself is very inspirational and has a very happy disposition.  At first I thought we would be doing stretching exercises, but instead we were chanting.  But these chants were sung rather than spoken, fortunately I found my voice and was quite tuneful!

It was a real eye-opener!  The whole experience was so uplifting, and I felt really good afterwards. 

They only meet once a month, and each session they do something different.  Every person there suffers from chronic pain in one way or another, but the time was not spent talking about it, which was really refreshing.

I will definitely go again!

Sharon Carter-wray

(16th September 2011)

I continued to attend this group, and others that subsequently grew from it, and I still find it uplifting, especially the art group that also meets once a month on a Tuesday.  This group is completely free to attend, and is run purely on donations.  Unfortunately due to ill health I have been unable to attend this year, but hope to start again in January.

If you have any local support groups like this in your area, that may give you social interaction, it’s worthwhile checking it out, if it’s available.  Sx 🙂

(Updated Tuesday 20th November 2018)

12. Retracing my steps

Finally understanding what being ‘burnt out’ hit home, it made me look at my career to date.  I was always after self-betterment, I had always wanted a ladder to climb to achieve things.  But now, I know all my employers had seen that trait in me, and wanted to make the most of me, while they had me.

At the age of 24, I had literally packed a suitcase, and began a new job that took me off on new adventures.  I spent 10 years of my life travelling the length and breadth of this country, doing store openings for Homebase, B&Q & MFI to name a couple of companies.  Each time, staying away from home for months at a time, until the contract was completed, the store was opened or re-opened to the public for the first time; before we could finally return home or go onto the next job.  It was not an easy job by any means, it was very demanding, each contract was 24 hours a day, seven days a week, living in some hotel or B&B.

After a few jobs, I was no longer doing the ground work, I was managing a team of up to 35 people.  I was responsible for making sure that the job was done well and done right on which ever shift I was working on.  I and my colleague who covered the other shift, were accountable if things went wrong.ff44d-humans2bare2bfragile

After a few years I became an account manager, having direct with the clients I began to run the jobs, organising my teams, sorting transport, accommodation, interviewing & recruiting new staff. All this whilst still travelling to do site visits, which was always rife with some complaint or other, which I had to deal with. When I was not in the office, I would be in my car, it became a very lonely job.  The toll that all these hours behind the wheel of a car would eventually manifest itself later in my life.

With a team of core people, plus locally employed general assistants, we worked hard and played hard.

I used to say, it took a strange breed of fish to do the job, either people were running away from something; or they were trying to find something.

I am not sure which category I fell into, but eventually the need arose for me to find a permanent place, where I could finally hang my hat, and empty my suitcase. bad09-i2bcan2band2bi2bwill

This sadly coincided with the death of my brother, who had been very ill for many years.  It was at that point, that I knew that I had to move on.  I had always said to myself, that by the age of 30, I wanted my first home, and real independence, and a month short of my 30th birthday, I finally managed to achieve just that.

It was a huge turning point in my life, and something I was so proud I was able to achieve on my own.  It meant I finally had a home, a space that I could call my very own.

Sharon Carter-Wray

(9thSeptember 2011)

(Updated Wednesday 14th November 2018)

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