Out With Old, In With The New

Junk piled into Imogen’s room (granddaughter)
More junk!
Even more junk!
More junk still!
Junk and the washing in Tom’s room (I forgot to take more photos, but believe me, it was a lot worse than this!)

Just for a change, this post contains mostly photos. It may not be of interest to anyone else, but hey, it made me happy to write it as it’s about my forthcoming family situation.

I’m finally getting there … I shared a post back in May called Family Moving In. It will make a lot more sense if you read this briefly to get an idea of what’s happening for me in my life at present. I wrote in that post about my son, Tom, and two grandchildren, Imogen (9) and Charlie (7), needing to move in with me. There’s been a slight change of plan. Tom is now moving up North (UK) to be closer to his work, but the children live not far from me with their mother (Tom’s ex-wife) This means that instead of being with me full-time, my son and the children will be here several times a month rather than permanently. I have to say, apart from the fact that it’ll be so lovely to see them all more often, it’s quite a relief that they won’t be here full-time. I’ve lived alone, quite happily, for over twenty years, so it would have been a tough change of circumstances for me. It means I’ll still have to write and study.

Since that last post, the house has been in a state of chaos. I’ve had to get two spare rooms turned from junk rooms into bedrooms. The work has been hard even though I’ve been lucky enough to have a lot of help from friends and professionals to decorate, lay new carpets etc. Imogen’s room looks beautiful and fit for a princess. I’m so happy with it. Tom and Charlie’s room is now a bright new bedroom, too. Below are the photos of the finished rooms.

These are the photos of Imogen’s room …

And these are the photos of Tom and Charlie’s room …

The trio bunk (double at the bottom for Tom and single at the top for Charlie)
New furniture and other bits
Thought Charlie would like the metal bike on the wall. Underneath (but not clear) is a photo of Charlie in his karate gear and a picture of Peanut
Modern art
Family – Love
The lightshade isn’t up yet. It’ll look like the night sky when it is

Contrary to the hesitancy I felt when I wrote the first post, Family Moving In, about this situation, I’m now so looking forward to them all coming to stay with me. I’ve done my best to make their spaces as homely and comfortable as possible. It’ll surprise them all as they haven’t seen the rooms yet. I hope they are as delighted as I am with the finished result. When they come to stay for the first time (in a couple of weeks), I’ll buy a big celebration cake and have candles on it to celebrate many happy years together in the future.

Decluttering the Clutter – Stage 1

The mountains of clutter in the garage!

I’ve just been so exhausted with all the goings-on this week that I can barely think. You may have noticed that I didn’t post anything on my blog this past week. I’m usually known for my punctuality, but this week, it was impossible. On May the 2nd, I posted a piece entitled Family Moving In. I explained there that my son, Tom, and two young grandchildren, will be moving in with me for, possibly, the long term. It was meant to have happened by now, but as circumstances are, it’s more likely to be in the autumn.

Nevertheless, the junk room must be turned back into a bedroom for my son and young grandson (7). My granddaughter (9) already has her own room (my daughter’s old bedroom) as she’s previously come for sleepovers. There’s so much to do, as you can imagine. In addition, the garage needed to be cleared out so that Tom would have storage space when he moves in. I had a friend, Callie, come over on Monday morning to help with this onerous task. I’d hired a 6-yard skip which is currently sitting on the front lawn, slowly killing the grass!

Bearing in mind that I never go into the garage as I don’t own a car, I was mortified by the sight that greeted us when I opened the garage door. What a mess! Callie put her hands on her hips and rolled her sleeves up to the elbow. She meant business. “Where on Earth do we start?” she exclaimed in horror. I was physically unable to help, so she got stuck in while I gave instructions. She does house clearance as a part-time job, so was an expert on decluttering. Just as well with that lot to go through.

There were items in there that had been in the garage for decades – ancient tins of unusable paint, rusty and broken garden and DIY tools that hadn’t seen the light of day for many years, an old vacuum cleaner that I’m keeping for emergencies, big pieces of cardboard that my new kitchen came packed in about seven years ago, offcuts of chipboard shelves, rolls of old Lino and carpet … I could go on, but we’d be here all day. There were so many things I would have hung on to if it hadn’t been for Callie’s ruthless personality. Just as well as we’d have got nowhere with me in charge. As she worked through the clutter, she threw most of it into the skip. I couldn’t believe how much stuff I’d collected over the years.

After three hours, we decided that we’d done all we could do. We stood back and admired the beautifully tidy garage that I could now call my own.

Almost there

And this, ladies and gentlemen, was what the skip looked like when we’d finished!

In the last couple of days, I’ve had the decorator in to strip out the junk room. It’s been chaos here. It’s also meant having to get up very early every morning (I’m not usually an early bird, so I’m tired out). Once he’s finished, the carpet has got to go down. Then, it’ll be getting new furniture and beds. That’s a whole other story – I’ll be writing about those adventures in my next post.

Now, I need someone to come and make me a lovely hot cuppa and settle me down with a box of chocolates and a new head.

Family Moving In!

(Image courtesy of Pexels)

Well, that was a blow! It’s Sunday afternoon. I’ve just had a very long phone call with my son, Tom. He was married about 16 years ago and had two children, but that didn’t work out, and he split up with Karen after ten miserable years together. Since then, he’s been in a relationship with a woman called Kim, but that’s not working out either (after six years). Tom and Kim had bought a big house between them as Tom has got my two youngest grandchildren, aged nine and seven. I call them my ‘little ones’ because my daughter and son-in-law have ‘my girls’ who are older. Kim has three much older girls still living at home. As a Mum, I sensed something was wrong quite some time ago. I hadn’t said anything, but Tom just called to say they’re definitely splitting up. The house will have to be sold.

Tom had a question to ask me. In fact, it was a huge ask. He said the big house would have to be sold so that he and Kim could afford to each find somewhere smaller for themselves. Until then, he can’t stay in the house with Kim as they’re not getting on well at all.

“Can the children and I come and stay with you for a few months, please?” I wasn’t expecting that! I’ve been living alone very happily for many years, and as much as I’d love to see more of them, I need and enjoy my space and privacy. I like that it gives me plenty of time to do some studying and writing. What on Earth do I say? We talked at length; “Can I think about this for a couple of days, please, Tom”? Tom was willing to do that, naturally. I love them all very dearly, but suddenly going from living alone to having the house occupied by family will be a bit of a shock, to say the least.

There’ll be a whole heap of things that will have to happen first if I agree. They’ll have to sleep in the spare room and the junk storage room. They’ll need clearing out, decorating, carpeting and new beds and furnishings to make it habitable. They haven’t been touched for decades. The garage will have to be cleared of ‘stuff’ so that Tom has some space to store furniture etc. It’s going to be chaos. I hate having decorators in because of all the mess too.

I’ve now got a couple of days to think about all this. I really don’t know what I’m going to do. It’s come like a bolt out of the blue. Tom is an adult, so I didn’t ever expect to be playing the role of Mum again. I’m not sure I can go ahead with it, but what else do I do?

MOVING FORWARD – THE PASSAGE OF TIME AND BIRTHDAY CAKE

Image result for Steampunk Clock

Why an image of a clock to begin this post with? This is because it is actually a good depiction of my feelings and where I’ve been at for some time. Life has felt rather surreal during this last year. The clock face also shows the passage of time I have been through over the last few months.

At last, I’m beginning to feel like I’m getting back to normal after my Mum became ill, had a stroke, and I finally lost her only five months ago (almost to the day). There was the funeral to get through (and all that encompassed) and now, we are dealing with probate, Mum’s will and the sale of our family home after spending my first twenty years of life there.

However, as far as my psychiatric health in concerned, I’m feeling brighter which is good (and about time too). I am now on different and new medication which, in the last week has begun to help improve my state of mind, and I’m sleeping so much better which makes a great difference to how I feel during the day. The severe anxiety attacks have also lessened which is a huge relief.

The many cogs in this clock also represent changes in a more positive way … slowly … as time has ticked by and the wheels have been turning, my relationship with my son has improved, and we have become closer which means I have more contact with my two beautiful grandchildren, Josh and Lily who are a delight to me. I have definitely become closer to my sisters, particularly the one who lives the furthest away from me. We may be separated by many miles but are hearts are inextricably linked and always will be.

The recent passage of time, like each cog, has been whirring, clicking and ticking by slowly but steadily. A lot else has changed in that time too. My eldest granddaughter has now turned eleven and will be going up to senior school in September, and my youngest granddaughter will be starting primary school at the age of four-and-a-half (she seems too young). Where has the time gone? Am I really old enough to have a granddaughter in senior school? Goodness! I must be older than I think! I’m definitely older in years than I feel and I am fortunate enough to be told by several people that I don’t look my age. However, I am reluctantly coming up to ‘a biggy’; a big ‘0’ birthday in three month’s time (which I’m trying to ignore) … ugh! How am I going to get all my candles on one cake?!

Image result for Birthday Cake with Many Candles

In addition, I would like to say thank you to my dearest friends here at WordPress who have stuck by me through thick and thin over the last year or so – it can’t have been easy at times. Their blogs have kept my head above water some of that time by distracting me with their diversity, interest, humour and compassion. So, shout out to Bun at https://bunkaryudo.wordpress.com/ and Mick at https://mickcanning.co/ and Carol anne of https://therapybits.com/. Also, thank you to any of you who may have called in or dropped by my blog and hung around with support and kind words too. Love to you all, Ellie xxx

MAKE LOVE ~NOT WAR

Image result for Love and Destruction

A few parts of this post are taken from one of my previous post, last year, with some new additions, adjustments and amendments. It includes a poem (below) that I’d like to share with you. written by a friend, Katie. Some of you might have already read parts of it but for those of you who haven’t, I hope it touches you as it did me.

I don’t claim to be an expert or even a particularly knowledgeable person when it comes to the subject of Planet Earth. I failed geography and history, abysmally at school. However, I do care about what we are doing to our world and beyond. I care about all the people who have suffered and lost their lives, those who are still suffering and those who will suffer in the future whether it be by natural causes, illness, disasters, war, violence, poverty or by any other means.

I care that we are destroying our planet; destroying our population; destroying our people, wildlife, and nature. I care that we are ravaged by war and violence; that we are polluting our planet and the atmosphere. I care that a huge number of people are homeless, roaming the streets, roaming the deserts, the plains, the forests and the wilderness. I could continue further, but many of us know the facts already.

A very close friend of mine, Katie, wrote this very moving poem which I wanted to share with you here….

The winds of Mother Nature are blowing on the Earth
Accepting all we’ve done to her since our sweet sacred birth.
There are babies curled in cradles unaware of hate and crime
Dreaming of their Mummies in the loving hands of Time.
Forgive us sweetest Mother for the ways that we’ve grown old
For independent streaks in us that turned our hearts too cold.
We’ve sinned so much we’re hurting and the pain is plain to see
That first we were so innocent on a gentle, rocking knee.
How love could turn to awful hate and safety turn to terror
Is based it seems on single thoughts that have their root in error.
Behind us and in front of us is such an awesome Love
That would have us in its gentlest hold in time with God above.
If only we could fall down flat and beg to stop the violence
Our hearts might cry sincerely out, then rest in hallowed silence.                                    

©Katie Marsh 2015

The recent and past atrocities have really brought home to me just how fragile our lives are. If only the power of love could overcome the power of war then maybe, just maybe we could experience peace in our time. Perhaps it would be a start

I am scared for all our futures; I’m scared for our children’s futures, our grandchildren’s futures and all future generations after that, if by then there is still a habitable planet to live on. The list goes on and on … and on … and on … and on … until infinity …

MAKE LOVE ~ NOT WAR.

.gif - power of love - power of war

THIS WORLD IN WHICH WE LIVE

THIS POST IS TAKEN FROM MY SECONDARY BLOG WHICH I AM TAKING A BREAK FROM FOR A WHILE. IT INCLUDES (AT THE BOTTOM), A BEAUTIFUL POEM WRITTEN BY MY FRIEND, KATIE MARSH, WHICH I WANTED TO TRANSFER TO THIS, MY USUAL BLOG, TO GIVE IT CREDIT. SOME OF YOU WILL HAVE ALREADY READ IT BUT FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO HAVEN’T, I HOPE IT TOUCHES YOU AS IT DID ME X

gif - power of love - power of war

I don’t claim to be an expert or even a particularly knowledgeable person when it comes to the subject of Planet Earth. I failed geography, abysmally at school. However, I do care about what we are doing to our world and beyond. I care about all the people who have suffered and lost their lives, those who are still suffering and those who will suffer in the future whether it be by natural causes, illness, disasters, war, poverty or by any other means.

I care that we are destroying our planet; destroying our population; destroying our people, wildlife, and nature. I care that we are ravaged by war; that we are polluting our planet and the atmosphere. I care that a huge number of people are homeless, roaming the streets, roaming the deserts, the plains, the forests and the wilderness. I could continue further, but many of us know the facts already.

I am scared for all our futures; I’m scared for our children’s futures, our grandchildren’s futures and all future generations after that, if by then there is still a habitable planet to live on. The list goes on and on … and on … and on … and on … until infinity.

And the very recent and past atrocities have really brought home to me just how fragile our lives are. If only the power of love could overcome the power of war then maybe, just maybe we could experience peace in our time. Perhaps it would be a start.

A very close friend of mine, Katie, wrote these very moving words about the current situation that I wanted to share with you here….

The winds of Mother Nature are blowing on the Earth
Accepting all we’ve done to her since our sweet sacred birth.
There are babies curled in cradles unaware of hate and crime
Dreaming of their Mummies in the loving hands of Time.
Forgive us sweetest Mother for the ways that we’ve grown old
For independent streaks in us that turned our hearts too cold.
We’ve sinned so much we’re hurting and the pain is plain to see
That first we were so innocent on a gentle, rocking knee.
How love could turn to awful hate and safety turn to terror
Is based it seems on single thoughts that have their root in error.
Behind us and in front of us is such an awesome Love
That would have us in its gentlest hold in time with God above.
If only we could fall down flat and beg to stop the violence
Our hearts might cry sincerely out, then rest in hallowed silence.

©Katie Marsh 2015

THE RIPPLE EFFECT

ripple effect

I don’t know how one twisted woman can be responsible for so much emotional damage to a family. This woman is at the centre of this pernicious ripple effect. Tides of toxic emotion are flowing outwards in ever-increasing circles reaching as far as myself, my eighty-year-old mother and many relatives who are caught up in the middle of this turmoil.

[Since my last post, (Justice Stinks), the situation concerning my son and my grandchildren has got progressively worse. There is to be another important court hearing this week because my daughter-in-law, *Kate and her family are being totally bloody-minded, making everything as difficult as possible for my son, *Tom. Also, they are poisoning a little girl’s mind by telling her lies about her daddy and will doubt start to coach my one-year-old grandchild before very long. Going back to court is costing *Tom another $2,500 in legal fees (taking the total up to $25,000), not that you can put a price on a child’s head.

In the meantime, my daughter, *Clare, has become involved as she is supporting my son. As a result of this, my daughter-in-law’s family are making life hell for *Clare and her two young children too. At the bottom of all this trouble is *PL, (Kate’s aunt) who is the linchpin of this nasty situation. She was the one who, (if you read my blog post ‘Abduction’), is the cause of all the trouble].

How does one sick mind impact on so many people and have the potential to harm the emotional well-being of four children and numerous adults? It’s beyond my comprehension why someone in their right mind would go out of their way to wreak such damage. But then I have to ask myself whether, in fact, she is in her ‘right mind’. Should I (in this case) have more compassion under these circumstances?

  

MIND GAMES

Sorry friends…..it’s back to that boring stuff about my kids again…..

I finally drafted a letter to send to both of my children and took it to counselling with me today to discuss with my therapist before finally thinking of sending it to them. I’d made my mind up after spending days, if not weeks or months deliberating over getting this letter ‘right’. It read (respectively):

Dear *Tom/*Clare,

I LOVE YOU; I HAVE ALWAYS LOVED YOU; I WILL ALWAYS LOVE YOU

but I can’t take the constant pain and rejection from you anymore. I long to be in your life of course and also that of my grandchildren (*J, *B, *I and *C). Now it is time to make a decision. I need to know whether you really want me in your life at the moment.

If you decide to live your daily life without me, then I have to accept that, as I know we all have our separate paths to follow. But I do, very sincerely, ask one thing of you and that is that you don’t ever let my beautiful grandchildren forget me. Maybe, one day, when they are grown, they may want to come and get to know me better. I hope you will encourage them in this.

Of course, I will continue to send them birthday and Christmas cards (and ‘get well’ or ‘congratulations’ etc. as appropriate if I hear of any news) and also small gifts at these times although it will be difficult to to guess what sort of things they like or need as time goes on). Please keep me ‘alive’ in their hearts and minds and remind them frequently that I love them and am thinking of them very often.

I will also continue to send you both birthday and Christmas cards – whether you choose to reciprocate is up to you but I have to respect your decision whatever you decide to do.

If you make the choice to follow your path without me, I will still get on with life and make it happy. I now have college, choir once a week,and will be performing ‘live’ at the Cranstead Theatre in a few weeks’ time, church activities, my current book that I am writing, studying and my involvement with the ACR University and hopefully further opportunities there, possibly opting to do an Open University Degree in the near future. I keep in touch with your Grandma (my Mum) every day because as you know she is getting elderly now and of course frequently with my sister abroad and occasional emails and phone calls to my other two younger sisters.

My door will always be open to you so that if at any time you wish to have a fuller relationship with me, I will be there for you and you will be welcomed with open arms.

So, my darling son/daughter, think carefully and please let me know what you have decided (of course when you have had time to think about it).

With My Love Always and Forever,

Mum xoxoxoxox

My therapist thought long and hard about this and then agreed that I had to take some action to defend myself from their continuing emotional abuse (which is basically what it amounts to). Surely, I’ve had enough abuse in my life without deserving further abuse from both of my children. I cried all the way home in the car with my Support Worker, knowing I should post this letter during the afternoon.

And then out of the blue, the telephone rings. I pick it up and am astonished to hear my daughter’s voice. “Hello”, she says, like no time has elapsed and as if no hurt has occurred. I was shocked! Why is it that just when I think I am sorting my life out or at least attempting to do so, a spanner has to be thrown into the works, so to speak. Not that I refer to my daughter as a ‘spanner’ but hell, do my children know how to get to me in the most painful ways! It was a short conversation but a conversation all the same.

Now, I am in a dilemma…..what do I do about sending that letter? Do I give them a second chance, or more like third, eighth or nineteenth chance? Another chance to hurt me and play mind games with me. I don’t know if I can take any more of this family drama, ongoing as it is. And I’m not sure if I’ll ever mention the subject again here on my blog for the fear of boring the pants off the few faithful followers I have left and just because I am going round in ever decreasing circles and if I don’t watch out, I’ll be running so fast that before I know it I will have disappeared up my own ar*e.

SORRY, RANT OVER AND YES I AM STILL ANGRY AND HURTING, AND IT’S BURNING A HOLE IN MY HEART AND A HOLE IN MY SOUL! x

BITTERSWEET BABY

baby-silhouette

Well……it’s official (apparently)! I am now a Nanny for the fourth time! I heard via text message from another member of my family that my son and daughter-in-law had a baby boy yesterday (my first grandson). That’s all I know – I don’t even know his name. I long to see him but I know this is nigh on impossible given my family situation. Do I feel happy that this new little life has been given into God’s kingdom? Yes. But, how can I be happy when I know I will see as much of this little one as I do of my other grandchildren? He will not know me, just as ‘the girls’ don’t know me and that breaks my heart.

I hear other people my sort of age talking about their grandchildren and how they come and visit with the sons or daughters they have. But not me, and it’s hard to hear sometimes, hard to listen because it is so painful. So, I smile sweetly and say “how lovely for you” and I mean it genuinely – I am happy for them but the pain I feel inside is heart-wrenching and continues to gnaw away at me because I know it will never be that way for me. I am the invisible Nanny, the non-existent one, “the Nanny we don’t talk about because she is a bit funny, (she has mental health problems and has a disability – you know how it is”).

I am deemed as useless as I cannot babysit, go upstairs to admire the gerbils, get down on the floor and play, chase them round the living room etc. What use I am to them? I write in the sky amongst the clouds, “Dear Son/Daughter, I love you – I have always loved you and I want to love my grandchildren and be part of their lives. I can still cuddle them, read them stories and be a positive influence in their lives. I am not mad or stupid. I am not a danger to my grandchildren. I love them and just want the opportunity to get to know them and for them to get to know me. My heart aches with my longing to see them. Is there no hope? Why, please tell me? Why?” Unsent letters, as writing would alienate them further so they remain in the clouds.

I keep journals though; love journals, one for each child where I write what I was thinking about today to do with them. I don’t write anything negative about anyone, especially my son or daughter.

If only…..Life is full of ‘if onlys’. Not just my life but the lives of many others for different reasons. We can but dream sometimes and we have to settle for that and be content, but easy, it is not! My heart is breaking I have to hang on to hope. Hope that one day when they are grown, they will and come and search me out and discover for themselves that I’m not what my son/daughter portray me to be.

“Dear Grandchild, I love you so much. I have always loved you from the minute you were born. I will always be here for you, waiting for you, waiting for the ‘if only’ to come true”.

Make a wish…..

dandelion-wishes

RANT – PREJUDICE AND DISCRIMINATION WITHIN THE FAMILY

Well……..This isn’t poetry or anything cleverly or attractively worded! This isn’t about my past experiences. This is a rant and about me feeling so p*ssed off!

I’ve just spoken to my sister who tells me that my daughter *Claire* doesn’t want anything to do with me because…. a) I have mental health problems, b) I am disabled, and c) because I choose to have a decorative cross on my living room wall, (pictured here), thereby ‘stating‘ I am a Christian!!

disabled people slogan             My beautiful cross from J & J            mental health

All this time, she’s been making excuses not to come and see with my two young granddaughters and now I found out it’s all about discrimination or being ‘different’! I am fuming…..I am so f#*$ing angry! (And yes, I know that’s not a very Christian word to say and that I should forgive her but at the moment I am hurting too much). She is basically ashamed of me and would rather not have anything to do with me or for me to be her Mum!! She objects because she doesn’t want her children to be aware of such differences! That’s not what I taught her when she was young so where did that come from?! Children needed to be educated about ‘differences’ in people, be it class, race, sexuality, faith, disability….whatever; not being taught how to be prejudiced and discriminatory. How would it go down, I wonder, if I purchased a copy of this book and sent it to her:

kids guide discrimation

…….Not too well, I should imagine!! And  perhaps I should send a copy to my son, *Tom*, while I’m at it as he shares exactly the same views, hence I don’t see my littlest granddaughter and I doubt I shall ever see the new baby due at Christmas :((

For goodness sake, it takes all sorts to make the world and I always say, providing nobody gets hurt, then ‘each to their own‘ and we should respect other people for who they are, not for what their label is…

don't label me

If it hadn’t been for my carers coming early and getting me into my pyjamas, I’d have gone out in my wheelchair and bought a bottle of something but I’ve been clean and sober for more than two years now, so that wouldn’t have been too clever. On the other hand, I haven’t coped with this too well as I have self-harmed, cutting my arm for the first time in nearly three years so sh*t, I’m not exactly proud of myself. And if my children knew; well, that would give them more ammunition.

And just to cap it all, it’s my birthday on Wednesday and I very much doubt I’ll get a card, let alone a phone call from either of them. Fortunately, I am meeting a new friend that day, for lunch so will have a lovely time, family or no family.

I don’t have therapy till Tuesday….how do I deal with this amount of rage and anger without doing myself any more damage?!