Wednesday, 2 September 2015

HELP! How do I find back to


I am full of admiration for people who do what I’ve been doing for just the past four months for years, people who are forced into it for the long haul, until such time as death-in-life itself resolves the problem. An ending in terror seems much preferable to me than a terror without end. And don’t tell me that one gets used to it. Of course one does, one gets used to anything, or so they say. But at what cost? Being ground to dust between the millstones of fear and anger, exhaustion and jaw-clenching determination to see it through, leaves no room for the joy of living consciously.

How do you do it? How do you retain a sense of yourself when life itself seems to be suspended?

For me, the worst is over. In place of fear of the future there is now a void, a hole where this all encompassing feeling of frantic helplessness is slowly seeping away like a trickle of water in the sand. You’ve been holding your breath, every fibre of your being has been directed towards survival; when it’s over, you stand there wondering who and what you were before. Before and After. Before and After. The Before has been lost and the After is as yet a nebulous concept.

It’s funny, but when I myself was on the edge between living and not living I was never aware of losing myself. Perhaps one only does that when one is fighting for the continued existence of another person? Perhaps one ‘knows’ that one is not going to die, at least not yet? Not now?

Whatever it is, I think that it’s easier to cope with personal catastrophe than someone else’s, a loved one’s, catastrophe.

I am selfish enough to want ‘ME’ back, in capital letters. No doubt, since that famous 'corner has been turned’ I shall be able to dig deep and resurrect remnants of myself;  I don’t know what the future holds but I may not ever feel quite as overwhelmed and powerless as I did during the past four months. Acceptance may be the answer, acceptance and trusting to a sense of survival.

I may be around a bit more again. Blogging, trite as it may be to some, offers a kind of release from the daily grind and can lead out of oneself into the wider world.


  1. I have no answer to your question because it's different for each of us. For me it's been years of therapy by blogging and getting the right medication. Finding Willy Dunne Wooters has helped. Franklin is a joy to me. I've also learned that no one can do it for me. It has to be my decision. Talking to WDW or my son or a friend helps, but it's really up to me. It became too much effort to say no, so I have gradually learned to force myself to say yes.

    May God bless you and keep you.


  2. Oh Friko, all I can think of is a visit to the pub, to be among whole humans. For myself, I'd be off to the barn to see the horses. Can your pup take you to a dog training group? Like minded humans, failing miserably to coerce canines is usually uplifting.

  3. Oh Friko, English Rider and Janie Junebug have wise words in their comments here. For me, when my dad died, I decided to leave the house for the first time after, just to walk to the corner, very close by. I kept walking to the bay, and saw pelicans, our family bird. I counted 4 pelicans, one for each of four family members. That was the beginning of healing and the affirmation of my dad flying by. I believe I will meet my loved ones in heaven.

  4. Oh dear Friko ~ My heart aches for you. I was in a fog from the time my dear husband first had horrific pain, until he went to his heavenly home 4 months later. It was a time of tears, stress and survival. It was also a time of our love growing stronger.

    It will be 33 months on the 9th, since losing him, and the fog lasted a couple of years, this past year reality has really settled in and I am trying to find my new self without him. You just have to take each day as it comes and give it your best. I miss him daily and cry sometimes, but I also have lots of happy memories and feel his love here in our little haven we created.

    My faith is in God, and He has been my strength.

    You are still a whole person, uniquely you and you will survive what you have gone through and are going through. Blogging has been tremendous therapy for me. I've received so much love and support, a real blessing in my life.My gardens and needleworking help me too.

    You are in my thoughts and prayers. Love & hugs ~ FlowerLady

  5. You get through it because there is no alternative to so doing.
    And you're still there when you get through it.

  6. Keep writing. It's great therapy. You are going through a very stressful time. the rest of us have very little idea of what you are experiencing.

  7. I wish I could say something inspirational or something smart, but that is all phony. You are living the life, I will live that life and so many of us will be in the same position. All I can say is hold on, get all the help you can, and live your moments as best you can. I wish I could give you a hug and a hand.

  8. My heart goes out to you, Friko. It's such a scary, solitary journey in so many ways and different for each person. I'm living it with my closest friend right now as her husband nears total disability and death. She veers between savoring each moment left with him and wondering, with grief and terror, how she will live without him. She finds solace in friends and faith. I guess it's important to embrace what brings you solace, however briefly. Writing can be very therapeutic. Sending a hug across the miles. Please know you're in my thoughts and prayers.

  9. Thank You for being so honest. You help me to feel less alone; Less Scared. I adore you

  10. For better or worse, there is no going back to 'me' at any point in our lives. We only go forward. However the positive aspects of our Self are retained and the negative aspects can be left behind. We grow - painful as it is.

  11. I've not (yet) been in a situation similar to yours, but I've witnessed catastrophes in the lives of those dear and near to me, some with deadly endings. Like you, I felt those much harder to cope with than anything like it in my own life (such as the sudden death of my husband nearly 6 years ago, which is what determines my "before" and "after").
    Writing helps me a lot to clear up stuff in my mind, and to reassert myself of... well, myself. Therefore, blogging is probably something that can be helpful to you, I think.
    The sentence "For me, the worst is over" is the crucial one in this post - for me, at least.

  12. This summer has been a strange one for me too. I've been quite healthy all my life but since June have been back to the doctors' nearly every week to see what else has come loose. Although my wife has a very strong character, she is surely asking the same question that titles your post. It is of course, that strength and caring, love that makes us want to be better men, that helps us to get better. Do keep writing; it helps us all.

  13. Hi Friko - you take me back to my 'care' period of my mother and uncle - at that stage I wanted to learn more about the internet and had just started blogging ... inadvertently I built a structure around my life of nursing home visits, dealing with whatever was going on ... some not easy, and visiting my uncle. This set me up for a near enough daily routine, which became more entrenched and involved for the 4 months my uncle was in hospital and I was living in his house as well as 'the norm'.

    I didn't actually want to do anything else - I was exhausted, too involved and generally living minute by minute. The blog gave my brain something else to think about and the interaction I had with commenters helped hugely - even though I rarely mentioned the challenges.

    Interestingly today a cousin returned two cards (appropriate art work*) that I'd written to her aunt, whom my mother was fond of and who has recently died - the one near Hereford - and I was going to mention my mother and uncle both liked getting cards and letters from friends and family ... someone else for them to connect with and something for us to talk about.

    It also gave me a chance to get to know other sides of my family - however tenuous as my uncle was my father's BIL ... it's been a good connection, which is continuing.

    You have Millie and your wonderful walks ... as long as mossy stones don't bring you down - I hope you're healing ... with lots of thoughts to you both - Hilary

    * "The Gardener" .. actually a man smoking a pipe, wheeling a wheelbarrow full of cuttings ...
    t'other is Matsumoto Hoji's "Frog" ... obviously they'd been kept as they amused the Hereford gardener, as she was.

  14. It's just so hard and it will change you, but you will come through. Do whatever keeps you sane.

  15. Just know that you and Beloved are in our thoughts and prayers; and we're all hoping that there's a way for you to both soon be up on your feet again.

  16. Words escape me here, Friko, and those that sneak in have already been said. Thoughts and prayers are coming your way. Keep blogging, if you can; talking as you so uniquely do with your blogging friends.

  17. Thinking of you, Friko, going through all this. So many of my blogging friends have left words of wisdom and advice, but I can only tell you that I'm thinking of you and sending you love through the ether. I dread this same scenario happening to me. :-(

  18. liebe friko, versteh ich recht, dass dein "beloved" verstorben ist??? wie unendlich leid es mir tut... und was kann man anderes sagen, als dass ich an dich denke und hoffe, dass du schnell einen weg findest, mit dem gedanken des verlustes umzugehen. aber ist ein tatsächlich ein verlust, eine definitive trennung, wenn man weiss, dass ein mensch dir treu (im tiefsten sinne des wortes) gewesen ist und seinen lebensweg mit dir geteilt hat?! das, was bleibt/bleiben soll ist das wissen, dass er dich als mensch auf deinem lebensweg mitgeprägt hat... dir viele liebe tiefe gedanken und wir bleiben in kontakt!! und ... das schreiben ist ein teil von dir! renée

  19. Friko, once again you have given us wise and eloquent words, and have described how you have been changed by what you and your beloved have gone through. As I grow older and older, I am increasing aware of how my long time friends and myself have changed over the accumulating decades.

    Acceptance is a good tactic. I continue to reshuffle the priority cards in my head, mumbling about hints of change I feel in my own physical state. Many friends have had much more dramatic changes in their physical and mental conditions in the past year. Each person's life is so different...this cliche-bound truth becomes more and more apparent.

    Best wishes to you and yours. May autumn treat you all more kindly than has summer. xo

  20. wow. The You is there, maybe changed enough that you don't recognize it yet. Or perhaps it is just submerged still and hasn't completely come forth. You are right though, I think, that we handle out own catastrophes better than those that happen to our loved ones. maybe because when it happens to someone we depend on in whatever ways it is scary because we know that things may change our life so dramatically and in ways we aren't ready for.

  21. You nailed it spot on. It is infinitely easier to deal with your own catastrophe than someone else's -- because there is something concrete we can do about it, attitude wise, if nothing else. We can do our physical therapy, read on how to deal with maladies, seek out the right wisdom and pick ourselves up by the bootstraps if it is us. When someone else? Not so easy. We are trying to do the basics of our lives while we deal with the basics of theirs. And we do it with the sense of anxiety that if we don't, if we mess us, if we don't pay due diligence, that person may no longer be there with us and the thought of that is too dreadful to bear.

    I've been where you are. Not for so long with a live-in, longer with a parent who lived (theoretically) independently. The live in is much harder.

    I see in these words a longing for the ME that you are. It may have been buried under doctors and medicines and caregiving and concern. But it is still there, alive and kicking, waiting to be reborn again. Bit by bit -- an hour in the garden, a lunch with a friend, a few minutes on the blog, time for a journal or reading a book. Find your own spot. Someone can watch Beloved for an hour if need be. He might welcome a new face. Even five minutes in the bathroom can bring peace at times.

    I have been concerned about the bruises and pain you endured in your recent fall. I hope you are healing from these and that your own physical issues aren't extra painful. I wish I lived nearer. I'm very good at helping... but meanwhile, I send you positive energy "across the pond."

  22. Bless you
    You once again will find you...
    a word I am told over and over
    the last year.
    Little by little
    as this life changes.
    Blessings abound for us
    but we want the old way
    and guess not possible
    and changes are happening.

  23. Ah, the old self! I browsed on the computer this morning, after a long absence, too busy with life to think about writing, and found your words: or did I find my sentiments in your words? Glad to hear things are looking up for you; so much of what you went through I had to back track to find out.
    Time heals, I can tell you this.
    And you will be you; only enhanced with all the new experiences you're undergoing.
    Surviving with grace is tougher than ever.
    Sending good wishes for a speedier recovery for both of you.

  24. My experience is at the other end of life--but I know you are still you. You are just you pushed to your limits...needing a break...but there's no one but you to be there for the person you love. It is always harder to worry over a loved one than ourselves, it seems. You will manage to do what you have to do...and later be astounded...and exhausted. But all those moments and days are precious...even if we think we are too tired to even remember them or sometimes we cry and feel too weak to go on. Life never promised to be fair. But love is worth everything.

    The first twelve years of my son's life I was told he wouldn't live...and he wasn't well more than a two-month stretch at a time in all those years. He'd turn a grey-blue and his eyes would roll back in his head whenever he got a fever. I had many times I didn't sleep for 2-3 days or lived for a week at a time with 45 minute cat naps while he slept next to me. Even the neo-natal nurse who became my friend wouldn't babysit him because it was too scary for her. You live each moment--a day at a time. You look for the good things and appreciate that they are still alive when you wake up or when you stand over them as they sleep and watch their chest rise and fall.

    I'm so very lucky. My son had a new surgery when he was 12 and a pacemaker put in--and fevers didn't make him semiconscious anymore. Still no guarantees--patched and re-patched--a couple of other near death experiences...and several surgeries...but he's 40 years old. Still on borrowed time--but aren't we all.

    I well remember those years, though. Praying for sleep...a break from all the responsibility, really. If there had been internet back then I would have been blogging when I could. Reaching out so I didn't feel so alone. We are here. Any time you need us. Any time at all. Love and hugs!! :)

  25. I understand something of what you're feeling. After Mom's death, it took me a couple of years to realize just how isolated I'd become -- of necessity. The more she needed care, the less involved I was with the world around me. It took time to realize that, and then to begin doing something about it. I'm still working on it.

    In the midst of all this there may be some pleasant surprises. I suspect the "me" you're looking for, and surely will find, will not be a "me" from the past. It will be a new you, shaped by the experiences you've had. You may find new interests, new qualities, new enthusiasms popping up, and wonder, "Where did that come from?" But it's the way of life. As the poet puts it, "The force that through the green fuse drives the flower, drives my green age..." The force still is there. You'll bloom again.

  26. depletion doesn't get refueled easily. i imagine you are exhausted all the time and that alone trumpets a change in self. i wish i could offer some tangible support. i hope you are able to get away for a night or two, just with yourself. i know from my own experience that at least helps. i also hope you get some comfort here in our beloved blogs.
    it may in fact get better, and you with it. you are still you, even in exhausted form.


  27. Yes, you will find yourself and it will be a bit of a different you. I can feel your exhaustion and your confusion and I so wish I could provide an energy or wisdom. One Day at a Time is the philosophy that gets me up in the morning, but it does not provide renewed energy. Music, time away, doing something that you love, all can help, but will not change this journey you are on. Sending some peace and a hand on your back.

  28. It'll take time ... more time than you'd believe . And you'll come out the other side a slightly different shape .
    But you will survive .

  29. Hello, Friko. I very much appreciate your blog. The thoughtfulness. The honesty. The talent you have for painting pictures with words, I did not understand a couple of things you said here, though. The part about " the worst is over" and " the corner is turned." Those sentences make me wonder if something changed ? I know you have been going through tough times. I also know that you are one strong lady who will rise above whatever troubles you encounter. Thank you for including us in your world.

  30. I had to dig around to find out what you were referring to, and am now as much in the loop as anyone else here. You have been through hell - I'm so sorry for both of you and hope that the corner has been permanently turned. Or at least for a good long while. As for not being Florence Nightingale, I don't know of anybody who is, frankly. I certainly am not, and learned that hard lesson in my previous life as a caregiver I've let P know that I probably haven't got it in me if ever something happens to him that requires long-term care. Delirium/dementia is a special horror, as well - the essence of a self is lost, and how to deal with that? Thank god it was reversible. A fierce Canadian hug to you, U.

  31. Checking in again. I am not on as much myself anymore. Its difficult, but our priorties shift. Just keep checking in okay. Don't want to lose you. Thanks, your friend Dianne

  32. Don't know what happened to my previous comment, but want you to know I am thinking about you and hope you are finding the light at the end of your tunnel. Love to you and prayers too.

  33. I think your plan to go and see things and do things is very good and will lead back to "yourself".

  34. Dear Friko! What people do under the circumstances, what I would do, is to hope. Concentrate on coming back to one's usual self and hope! My dear aunt and closest friend did it. I am sure you will do this too. See how many people support you from around the globe? God help you!
    With love,

  35. I've been to the pit and back in the last 9 months, and back again, awful year so can relate. I think I've got in touch with me again, I lost me for a while. Life seemed kind of pointless.

    We rise again. I've missed you.


  36. Hello. I so much hope you are feeling better! I check on you every morning. Have a good Monday.

  37. I'm glad you're blogging more -- glad that it is helpful to you. And you know that your thoughts may be helpful to many of us who are or will be in similar straits.

  38. All blogs from you are cherished and I'm always glad to see a post. It is good to continue on no matter what because we are able to support and even get that what you feel may be just a tad like a moment inour own world, a human connection that is precious to readers and there is much respect as well. Carry on please:)

  39. What wisdom you give us here, Friko. Such great wisdom. Yes, perhaps acceptance of the circumstances is the key to enduring times such as the ones you have been enduring.

    I've been away from blogging because I've been busy living. I'll be catching up on my reading for a few days to come.


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