This post probably should come with a trigger warning. So, T/W: Death
In September, life threw the biggest curve ball it could at me.
I’m not too keen on writing about it in huge detail because family can see this blog (though I doubt any of them read it, I’d hate for them to discover it like this.) In September, my Dad passed away. It was unexpected despite the situation he was in, and while he was busy winning one battle, another was taking place without us even knowing. It’s also totally flipped my view of death, especially within a hospital environment. I always though if someone was passing, the hospital gave them pain management and the person quickly slipped into a peaceful sleep that they didn’t need to wake up from. That’s not always the case. Sometimes, there is no peace involved.
We held his funeral on his 59th birthday. For some, holding his funeral then might seem odd – but for me, his birthday will always overshadow the fact that that day was his funeral. October 2nd will be a day to celebrate he was alive, and we forget that we also had to say goodbye. Maybe. It might get to 2020 and that won’t work at all.
It’s been a hard month since then. I’m currently with a fantastic charity having therapy, as certain situations are reminding me of the hospital and causing panic attacks, even though I’m normally totally fine with hospitals. I backed out of a panto I was doing to focus on my therapy (I won’t name the company here, but I’m eternally grateful to them and the wonderful CSM there who let me do it) and I’m just focusing on being happy. If I’m honest, I don’t think it’s hit me yet. I’m still very lightheaded about the whole situation, and that’s a scary state to be in, though I will say it’s preferable to overwhelming grief.
Counselling has been great, although we haven’t really spoken about Dad as much as I thought. Instead, she’s given me the chance to speak my thoughts out loud, and to ramble freely. She’s helping me rationalise the hospital noise triggers, so although I’m still suffering when I hear any noise that sounds like a breathing issue, I’m able to pass through the moment, rather than stay in it. I’m also being helped with my tendency to blow things out of proportion, and to calm my reactions to things. I’ve only had three sessions so far, and I’ve been pencilled in for 20, and it’s so helpful I feel I’ll be a rational, fully rounded person by the seventh session.
I’ve also been playing copious amounts of World of Warcraft with my family. We jumped on a Discord server, and it’s been a real comfort to have a place where we all sit and chat, but without any sadness. I finally hit 120 on my main warlock and started levelling a priest and a paladin. Time feels like it has slowed since I lost Dad, to an almost unbearable pace. Playing WoW seems to make things go back to normal, so although it seems a strange coping mechanism, it really does help.
Finally, after five years of begging him to let me, me and Matt have got ourselves a puppy. His name is Toby, and he’s a Keeshond. He is also an absolute horror, but he’s still a baby and he’s teething so I can forgive him most things. We tried getting a rescue dog, but because we have so many other pets, any terriers or dogs with high prey drives were out of the question. Because of work any dogs with separation anxiety were out, and then I had to see which dogs triggered my allergies. We weren’t having much luck with rescues, so we had to look outside of rescues and shelters, and at puppies. I’d love to say it’s all sunshine and roses and fluffy puppy cuddles, but it isn’t. Training a puppy is hard as they need your undivided attention, but not so much attention that they’ll develop separation anxiety. They bite, and you must let them so they acquire proper bite inhibition – which means you let your dog bite your hand, let him know it hurts and then praise him when the biting stops. Apparently, eventually, this will teach him to use a soft mouth, but so far all it’s taught me is that my pain threshold isn’t as high as I thought it was.
Matt’s gone away up North to work on a Christmas Light Trail for 2 months, so now Toby is fully my responsibility and I’m terrified – but he keeps me occupied. He forces me to get up and move about, he forces me to stay alert, and training him gives me a focus and a goal. I miss sleeping, but it’s worth it for Toby.
So, here I am at the end of the post with nothing to say. I’ll probably write a bit more about Dad in the future, but not yet.