Words that flow...

Words and images - powerful elements of our everyday life. Most of the time we take them for granted, but sometimes something happens to make you aware of how important they are... and how thankful you are to have the opportunity to use or appreciate them. Here lies some of my words and pictures (which are untouched apart from cropping, unless I've said otherwise) - Please add your words to mine, and leave a comment. Thanks for visiting!

31 December 2007

A Happy New Year to you all!!! (wrote this a while back)

I am popping in to wish all my lovely blogging friends a very Happy New Year and, whether prosperous or not, I hope that it is a year to remember in a good and lasting way. I also hope to reacquaint myself with you once again this year, but first I must make that confession I was going to make last summer, and which I've studiously avoided doing... (it's alright...though it may be long, I'll intermingle it with pretty pictures, and you can skip the writing bit :-) )

Ok, for starters, you may have noticed how I stopped blogging. I loved blogging, so why stop? Well, partly, after my friend Julia died I felt I'd lost a part of myself. When you've known someone forever, and you always expect them to be around, even though you have years of warning, you never quite get beyond the dying bit to imagine what it would be like without them. And even if you do, you're doing it while they're alive, so part of you doesn't quite believe they won't be there. I lost not only a very good, true friend, but part of me closed down with her departure. That was the bit of me I reached out to others...

I fully intended to return much earlier, but I've put it off and put it off, so I did a lot of soul-searching to work out why I was avoiding something I so obviously enjoyed! I came to a conclusion that seemed nonsensical in that it was a self-fulfilling prophesy. I think you know the sort I mean. But, if you don't I will attempt to express what I mean. To do so I'll have to step back a few years....

Up until just before the turn of the century, apart from a few very important losses (in particular my dad and brother) I considered I'd had a pretty happy and 'lucky' life. I don't mean everything went my way, but I was quite happy to make the best of it and did. Then I went through divorce proceedings that even my solicitor said was virtually the most acrimonious in her long career. Around this time hung a few extremely bad years of stress and wrenching out of the old life.

I went to stay with my mum, and unfortunately took the stress of my life with me to her. She wanted to protect myself and the children from the unhappiness we were going through, but couldn't. Though I couldn't be sure, I suspect it was our coming to stay that was the catalyst for her alzheimer's. It certainly didn't help. I also suspect the stress of that time was the catalyst for my thyroid disease. All I could think of was 'Jeg er ked af det' [I don't know why I thought it in Danish, but it means 'I am tired of it'] and so I got a disease where I couldn't stay awake, was tired all the time, and was gradually (I say gradually, but it was over a few months) going into a coma...

I fell asleep during the twenty minute coffee break I had, and came home and slept. Making dinner for the kids was a massive effort, and by 6pm I was asleep on the sofa for the night. No-one could move me. Occassionally I'd drag myself up to bed, but whether I slept upstairs or down, in the morning I'd have difficulty waking up enough to get the kids ready for school and myself for work. Over the coming year they did investigations, found my thyroid spiralling into decline and begun treatment. And so, tired and stressed, I had to watch my mum's memory problems develop. I took care of her. She lived only a half mile from me, cooking her dinners and checking her shopping. Her Alzheimer's got so rapidly worse in that first year, I thought she would be in a home before the end of it.

Anyway, I gave mum vitamins (super strength plus extra B vitamins) and phosphatidylserine supplements, and whether or not they have the official go-ahead to help, they certainly seemed to help her (even reversed the symptoms for a while!). But though they slowed the increasing and worsening symptoms, they didn't stop them, and I found I was caring for her more and more. Because she only lived up the road from me, she could still, at that time, find her way to me quite easily and she was at my house more than her own. She ate, slept and bathed at my house, only returning home to sleep. But my sisters and I worried about how she was coping in the daytime when I was out to work, so we found her day centre. I, or my sister, would go to her in the morning, get her dressed, give her pills and make sure she had breakfast before being picked up. It was exhausting, on top of my own ill-health, and growing repercussions on myself and my family, which was feeling the pressure.

For myself, as I said, I was exhausted and quite frankly don't know how I got through the day. But get through it I did, and usually with a smile on my face. I took everything in my stride. But I had no energy for anything nor anyone else. I lost contact with all my friends. I no longer visited them at weekends, and no longer went out. I had to be around for mum, the kids, the dogs etc etc. There was one side that kept shouting out inside, 'keep in touch, else you'll lose contact and you'll lose their friendship', but despite these internal warnings, whenever I thought I'd get in touch and see how they were something would 'come up' or need my attention. Then Julia found she had breast cancer, and it had spread to other parts of her body. We thought that meant she would die then, because it was already in the lymph nodes. But she didn't.

The next two years were the hardest of my life. Not only was I losing my mum through Alzheimer's, but I was having to take care of her along with my own four children whilst worrying about Julia's health. Weirdly, mum wouldn't stay with my sister, who'd been keeping an eye out for her for years, doing everything for her...

Meanwhile, much as we love her, her presence in our household had adverse effects on the children. It's a very small house, and there aren't many places to go. Either you're in the main living area downstairs, or your bedroom. So, when mum was doing daft things like trying to stuff popcorn into the mouth of a child who really didn't care for it, or made comments throughout a movie, my telling them to have patience with her and to make allowance for her didn't allow for making allowances for myself and them. There was no choice but to put up with it the best we could.

Then one daughter started making excuses to stay at home. She ran away (admittedly not far, but it marked the beginning of a year and a half of refusing to go to school altogether) and so started over a year of anger, frustration and tears as I was supposed to force my child to do something she so obviously didn't/ couldn't do. There was help, but it was inconsistent and not actually very 'helpful'. I felt alone in my struggles. All I got from my ex, to start with, was recriminations and accusations. It was so obviously all my fault! Later, after years of not speaking, we got it together enough to be a united front so said daughter wouldn't play us off against each other. We kept looking for answers for our problems in our past rather than in the present, which didn't help. But things were better on that front than they had been for a long while.

Nevertheless, despite an improvement in this relationship, I already felt I'd lost my ex as a friend a few years previously during the divorce. I'd left my other friends behind and I was trying not to think about losing my best friend ever and my mum. My daughter hated me, and the other children were showing severe signs of stress. Tantrums and compulsions were developing into the call for the family therapy I'd been asking for for a long time . We never got that far. On the day we finally got it together to attend a session altogether the therapists 'forgot' about us and didn't turn up. There was never opportunity to repeat that chance. Things had come to a head for my daughter, and she found the only way of dealing with it was to go and live with her dad. Immediately everything else calmed down.

It wasn't long before we could no longer leave mum in her own house. She wandered the streets at night and couldn't remember it. We didn't know where she'd been or how long it had taken her to get back. I didn't even having my own room let alone a spare one for her to stay in, and coping with her memory loss was more than I could deal with at that time. With guilt and sadness we found her a home we thought a good one. It wasn't actually, but we thought it was at the time. Julia had held off the cancer for a couple of years and looked healthier than just about anyone I knew. I wanted to see my daughter, but she related all the stress and upset of the last couple of years to me, to mum and to the house. I knew she would, but nevertheless it hurt when she wouldn't see or talk to me. Knowing I'd done my best by everyone at the time didn't help.

At this time I cut off the few central friends who'd stuck by me throughout this messy period of my life. I thought I didn't know why, but now I have my suspicions. I cut them off before somehow they got cut off, or cut off from me. I couldn't face any more loss, so I removed all that might potentially cause any sort of pain before it could. But not Julia. I kept in touch, and went through her ups and downs with her, as she did mine with me. We supported each other. She was my sanity in life's madness.

When she started showing symptoms again June 2006 I hoped they could be healed as well as the first time. she hadn't expected to have so long, but was grateful for that time. She used the time to tie up loose ends and express her wishes of how her two children would be looked after. She'd written a will and letters to the children already, and now she was planning her funeral. This was about the time I started my blog. I thought it was to get my writings down, but it soon begun to be a life-line. The friends I made here might not be 'physical' in that I could sit and share a cuppa or glass of wine together, but they were real all the same. Folks around the world with their own lives and ups and downs. It was like re-opening my eyes how wonderful people were, and a reminder what I'd closed myself off from when I dropped contact with my non-blogging friends.

But I still didn't have time or emotions to renew old acquaintances. My mum was having regular seizures and I wanted to be there for her, my daughter uncompromisingly still not seeing me, and my best friend's pain increasing all the while. There was work during the daytime and looking after my family at night. But I found time to immerse myself in this positive, comforting and invigorating virtual world. It helped. The people I 'met' here have been brilliant, supportive, warm and embracing. So, when Julia died what did I do? I cut off the people I'd grown to care about as I had been doing for the last few years.

And to be honest, now I don't know how to break down all the walls I've built up, both in real life and here in the blogosphere. All I've been thinking about over Christmas (the kids were with their dad) was of all the people who aren't here anymore - grandparents, dad, brother, mum, daughter and friends who I'd started to write to or phone many times but got no further than picking up a pen, turning on the computer or dialling the number. And you.

And now, weeks after I wrote the above, I've been reminded how much I've cut off from everyone. I had an email today from someone passing on a message from a blogging friend. It hurts I've cut them off along with everyone else....

And today I feel sadder than I have for a long time. Visiting mum in the home, she showed no signs of movement. She lay with her eyes closed, as Julia did, unresponsive to the world. Virtually in a coma. At one point she moved her lips to try to speak, but I couldn't understand what she said. I couldn't let go of her hand, but knew I had to go home and do normal things like cooking dinner. Inside my tummy is a chasm that I feel I'm being sucked into. Life can hurt. I'm not one to be able to 'let it go'. I'm working on it, but am not there yet. And, at the moment, all the people I've lost are uniting in my memories to create a gaping hole. Drepression? Yeah, I suppose you could call it that. But it isn't really. I think its fear. Fear of losing those others I care about. Many of you blogging friends included....

Yet here I am, hiding away, trying to make the world obey me. If only the world wasn't so small, reduced to the size of my cut-down life. But here I also am, trying to reach my hand through the barriers I've built. I hope I haven't made the barriers too thick and hard. They are certainly tough. I recognise my fear of loss, but realise it doesn't actually make loss not happen. I can pretend it will, but know it won't. I won't be coming back at once. With my mum the way she is, I'm overwhelmed by the surety that some time soon she will no longer be here, and that's a hard one to deal with hot on the tail of losing Julia. But I don't want to lose contact either. I value your friendships and think you're just brilliant folks...

© Annelisa Christensen 8:41 pm

Like the Post? Do share with your Friends.


At January 22, 2008 10:24 am, Blogger TopChamp said...

OH I HATE BLOGGER COMMENTS SOMETIME. I sat here for 10 mins writing you a message as I was so pleased to see you. And so sad to hear you have had such a horrible time recently. And not so recently.

Then I hit space and somehow deleted it all.

I have missed you a lot! How are you now? It's been weeks since you posted this.

I don't think you should be hard on yourself - as you have to deal with a lot and you should just do it the best way you can. If you can work blogging in at all - irregularly or regularly - fab.

At January 22, 2008 10:34 am, Blogger TopChamp said...

p.s. The pictures are beautiful of course. The ice one is very cool (boom boom)

At January 22, 2008 5:21 pm, Blogger Mother of Invention said...

Annnelisa, I am humbled and very touched by all that you have expressed here. I am sorry for all you've been through...you've definitely had more than your load..kinda like me on the medical issues...but you have coped amazingly well and the best way you know how so that has to be good enough.

You have such keen insights into what you're feeling and why, (heck, you could be your own psychologist and save the money!)you will deal with things more easily when they come along, as they cetainly will.

You have dealt with so much in your life and especially the last while, your response is absolutely understandable and makes perfect sense to me.

You will gently ease back into your blogging relationships and most will still be here and if not, you will meet new ones. I promise to be here!!

Thanks so much for this. E-mail me anytime. And of course, there's no timeline on the 2nd song...whenever you feel you want to do that.

HA! The word verif. was hugz!!! And I'm certainly giving you some!!!

At January 22, 2008 5:55 pm, Blogger bulletholes said...

I still think somewhere in the Universe there is a picture of you in that shiny hair and it is being worshippe by Little Green Men who are working day and night on a Rocketship, or a Time Machine, or a Photonotron that will bring them to you.

There are no walls...even when you are gone , we're still here! Even when he's gone, I'm still here!

We have a gUy here in the states that does a 2 hour Variety Show over the Radio, like the olden days...he says in this soft, kind and exressive voice
"It takes some time to get over what you just got through".

Yours has been a long season.
"don't cry...you're not alone....don't be so hard on yourself"

At January 22, 2008 6:13 pm, Blogger Annelisa said...

Aw, thanks guys!

I've missed you all so much! I wish I could wrap up all that lovely warmth you give, shrink it down and put it in my pocket to carry around. But I've still got it in my head...and it feels good. You're my champions! :-)

Love ya lots!

At January 22, 2008 6:29 pm, Blogger Akelamalu said...

My dear Annelisa I have missed you so much. I had no idea you were going through all this otherwise you would have had a virtual arm around you and a shoulder to cry on. You've been through so much (still are obviously) but what doesn't kill you makes you stronger honey. Your blogging friends have never deserted you my lovely, we've all been waiting until you were ready to come back. That's what friends do.xxxx

At January 22, 2008 7:13 pm, Blogger Annelisa said...

Thanks Sweetie - you're the most wonderful friend. I know you've always been there, and it's me that's not been, but I've been aware of your warmth even in my absence!

At January 24, 2008 3:20 pm, Blogger Pauline said...

You do not lose contact forever with any true friend. All it takes is to reach out and suddenly the emptiness of time and space dissolves. You must realize that you are not alone in these emotions. We all need to retreat from life on occasion in order to strengthen ourselves. To be able to continue life's journey. You have shared deeply this day and I have been reminded of my own journey. Those feelings of "only I can do this" those feelings of resentment at being alone, needing help and not knowing who would provide support for me. I am pleased to hear that your mother is in a place where she can be taken care of around the clock. I have seen many patients that are lost in time and confusion yet it is the families that love them who I believe suffer the most. You are aware of the loss she is in a place of veiled fog. Do not be afraid of losing contact with blogger friends for we are here and you have the ability to share and give a wealth of talent. Take good care of yourself for even the strong fall ill from stress. Utilize the services of group meetings at the facility for they will comfort you and new friendships may be found in this struggle. From one care giver to another I send a hug of peace and comfort.

At January 26, 2008 1:28 am, Blogger Katie McKenna said...

Be good to yourself first sweetie. Damn I swore I wasn't going to cry.. You know, despite it all, there will always be friends that care about you regardless because you have touched their hearts as well. I'm sorry that you have had to go through so much.

Healing takes the time it takes.

with love and hugs always, Katie

At January 26, 2008 11:34 am, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Firstly lots and lots of hugs... you have been through far too much heartache and pain, but it amazes me the inner strength and reserve that us women bear.

I've always believed that as blessed as any life may be, once it starts tragedy begets tragedy begets tragedy. One day it does stop, but there are few who do not escape life without these traumas; it seems you have been given more than your fair share

True friends though are with you forever... they should understand you needed your time and space. I understand only too well the need to withdraw from the world and cut everyone off, I think partly because you don't want to talk about and explain all the bad stuff all the time, so it's easier to just deal with it and not dwell on it.

I wish your mother well, but I know that won't really happen. She is obviously well loved and cared for and when she passes her suffering will be over... her's is the natural order; your brother's wasn't but she will be with him

I am sending healing thoughts and prayers your way and lots of love

ann xxxxx

At January 28, 2008 2:34 am, Blogger Kilroy_60 said...

My wish for you, Annelisa, is a simple one...peace of mind. Keep the faith, and don't forget your friends are here.

At January 29, 2008 2:13 pm, Blogger Queenie said...

Ain't no mountain high enough babe to keep me from you (you hum it and I'll play it). Build your walls if they make you feel safe, do what ever you need to do do, to give yourself comfort/security, but never , never think we won't be there. I'm harder to get rid off than a grease stain, sorry to say. You have been there for me so many times darling, that I'm hanging around for that picnic with the rest of the blogging folks, even if it takes thirty years to pull off. (((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((HUGS)))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))

At January 29, 2008 5:08 pm, Blogger Akelamalu said...

How you doing babe, ready to come out and play yet? x

At January 29, 2008 11:42 pm, Blogger Mother of Invention said...

You see? Lots of us are still here and still missing you! Keep taking those great photos and posting them just to say HI!

At January 30, 2008 3:31 pm, Blogger Queenie said...

What happened to my comment? the other half of my hugs have gone missing, oh well here's some more,

At January 31, 2008 6:09 pm, Blogger goatman said...

With friends like this how can you be too sad? We are all of each other and will always be here.
Reminds me of a zen proverb:

"Man stands in his own shadow and wonders why it's dark."

Spring and rebirth await, we must cheer its' thought.

At January 31, 2008 9:52 pm, Blogger krystyna said...

Hi Annelisa!
Remember I'm always with you!!!
When I met you first time, it was my very happy day and still is.

You are great!!!!

Love and hugsss!

At February 03, 2008 6:55 pm, Blogger twilite said...

Hi Annelisa!

Walls? What walls?! We're on virtual...remember we're ALWAYS here for you. Please don't give up on us dearie!!!!

Do take care. Please pen a word or two to keep in touch. Miss you. As always, your pictures are stunning.

Tis hard taking care of your mum and growing children. Please, please give yourself space to retreat to. We love you and miss you most of all. Come back and see us. Please visit my blog...I need your encouragement too. Peace.

At February 10, 2008 1:46 pm, Blogger that frolicsome kid said...

Annelisa, I am so so sorry for not being there immediately in times of need. I have been quite busy as well with schoolwork. I feel sad that people you love have left you, and guilty that I blamed school for putting a drag in my life. =( And no, you did not bring Alzheimer's to your mom. In fact, your visits are enough to keep her mind occupied.

I really don't know what else to say. I really admire your strength in going through a tough time. And I am still here if you need to talk to someone. =) Please take care, and I wish you strength, courage and love.

At March 31, 2008 8:39 pm, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello Annelisa,I understand how you are feeling been there myself as of late...Just keep on keepin on...You are a very strong and sweet person...God Bless you and all your loved ones...This to shall pass...I have you in my prars...Take care of yourself as well as everyone else...You will be alright... [big strong hugs]Dana :0)

At March 31, 2008 8:51 pm, Blogger Dana Barnett said...

Here is a lil thing that was sent to me might help you as well..."Be kinder than neccessary because everyone you meet is fighting some kind od battle" strong women unite...lol :0)Dana Barnett aka [unkwon poet]also [nightengal]This thing will not show my name...Hope you still remember me...hahaa


Post a comment

<< Home