Thank you ….

How do you thank somebody who constantly goes beyond the bonds of friendship for you?  This is a question that I ask myself every day.

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When I ask these pillars of my life what I can do to show my appreciation – the answer is always the same.

I am happy to do it for you.  I don’t need anything.  Glad I can be there for you.  If you want to do something, help someone else …. pay it forward. 

Opportunities to pay it forward are not always available to me.  Often I don’t have the financial means to say thank you in the way I would like.  If finances are tight, which they usually are, you can be sure that I will want to send flowers!!!! I’m sure it’s because I love to receive flowers as a gift, that I harbour this want.   Maybe if I grow some flowers in my garden, I may be able to fulfill this desire.  My garden needs a lot of work so don’t hold your breath, Pillars!

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A simple Thank you, verbally, just doesn’t seem enough.  I mean, these people go into battle for me!  And not just once, but over and over and over.

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Being there for them in their time of need is also a good idea.  But most of them have families and spouses to support them.  They choose not to let me know when they are in need because they don’t wish to burden me.Thank you gift wrapSo what to do?

The longer I need to rely on others, the more I ponder this question.  Maybe, my job is to just do all I can do to improve my mental and physical health & well-being?

friends are pillars

Maybe, this is the best way to show my appreciation to my Mandy Pillars!

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A Day That Made My Heart Sing.

What a gorgeous day I had yesterday!  I slept in.  No work on a Monday is great!

I met up with my girlfriend and we went to see the beautiful Cinderella.  Yes, you heard correctly!  Two plus 55-year-old women, with grown children and no grandchildren, went to see the movie Cinderella.  It was gorgeous and lovely and magical and sigh ….. We were taken on a dreamy journey from the very first “When you wish upon a star” – straight back to our childhood Sunday evenings.  Those Sundays and that song, signaled a family viewing of the wonders of Walt Disney’s Disneyland on TV.

Cinderella had us entranced from the very first scene, as we were transported back to our little girl dreams of finding our own Prince Charming.  Now, I’m not really a sparkle and princess kinda girl but I loved it.  Judging by the sighs coming from the seat beside me – so did my mate.  We had a magical  time of glass slippers and fairy godmothers and “Isn’t that Rose from Downton Abbey?” and “There’s the guy from Game of Thrones!”  It was great!  As was the catch up chat over lunch.

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Later that evening, another great friend and her hubby took me to the most stunning church on the top of a hill – yes you guessed right, it was a Catholic church – with the most stunning night-time view, to hear the most stunning music.  It was glorious!

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Old Boys from St Laurence’s played guitars, in a choir of no voices but only strings, that had me entranced for the second time in a day.  Then came a quartet of guitars playing JS Bach, that could only be described as exquisite.  Next, the Community Choir sang with such beauty and spirit, that my friend tells me that we (her & I) will aim to be a part of that group next year ….. and I think I agreed!!!  Lastly, the hour and a half of music ended with the Old Boys Choir!  As the mother of 3 sons, I had completely forgotten how much I love to hear men sing!  It was to die for and the Ave Maria brought tears to my eyes, as it floated back and forth between the divided groups at the front and the group at the back of that gorgeous church.  What a blessing that evening of music was to my heart and spirit – and all for a free will offering that was going to a mission project in Asia.

With my heart overflowing with joy and music and beauty I was transported home where the love and gratefulness continued.  BabyBoy, who has been staying with me for a while, decided to go on a late night Maccas run and we had some of the best fries we had eaten for ages!  Apple pies ….. did I mention apple pies?  Yum!

McDonalds-Apple-PieEnchantment from morning ’til night.  How lucky am I?

Loneliness.

How do you deal with feeling lonely?  Maybe you don’t ever feel lonely?  Maybe you can feel it creeping up on you and so you take steps to stem the tide of the wave that is being alone.  I can, mostly, recognise it coming but I don’t really know how to stop it or to protect myself from the inevitable downer that it brings on.

This weekend was a holiday weekend, that is in fact, the last weekend before the kids end their Summer holiday.  When I was teaching, it was that last busy few days to get my own kids organised for their return to school and prepare my classroom for the return of my special kids in the Special Education Unit.  But now – I haven’t been teaching for many years and my kids are long grown up and living far and wide.  Many of my friends use this as their last chance to hit the beach before they settle back at work properly.

I spent my weekend trying to structure my days, so that I wouldn’t fall into that hole of loneliness.  It didn’t really work.

I certainly had a productive weekend.  I sorted and purged my wardrobe and I cleared out my floordrobe thanks to another of my favourite bloggers, Smaggle!  I drove to the shops and bought storage containers that fit under my bed and culled my shoes!  I even gave away those shoes I love but are impossible to wear anymore.

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I did 3 loads of laundry – washed, hung out, folded and put it away in my newly cleared out wardrobe and drawers.  I watched a movie, The Ides of March, with Ryan and George but even they weren’t enough to fill my emptiness.  I paid some bills, played online games, updated facebook,  tried to read (I’m still struggling with concentration), listened to the hottest 100 on triple j  and, of course, I watched some sport on TV!  Busy busy busy!

But …. I did every one of those things alone.  I spoke to nobody.  I connected with not one person the whole weekend – other than by text or facebook.

READERS PLEASE LISTEN:  I am not trying to make anyone feel guilty about not calling me or inviting me or visiting me!  

You all have your own families and lives to live and I don’t wish to become a third leg in your life.  I understand and appreciate all you give and do to/for me.  I know you care about me.  Guilt is not what I want to put on anyone.  I know I am not alone!  I am not looking for pity.

But I still feel this shitty loneliness that quickly turns into self-loathing  and what I call a FAT DAY!  Once I get to this point I no longer have the confidence to go outside, go swimming, call anyone, cook, answer the phone ….. Need I go on? I hate feeling this way.

So what I am looking for, is any ideas or strategies that work in your life.  Things that you do or have done in the past during those unwanted lonely times.  I know that many of you would be thrilled to experience some time without your family, doing just what you choose.  I am not talking about those times.  I, too feel this way somedays.  It is those times when you need to feel connected to others and it just doesn’t seem possible without imposing.

So, I’m off to shower and put on a clean pair of pj’s.  While I’m gone, I’m going to hit publish and you can hit me with your thoughts and ideas or just share your feelings if you, too, feel loneliness some days.

I Miss You, Adrian!

Today it happened!  For the first time, since beginning The Mandy Diaries, a couple of months ago, I don’t really know what to write.   I am thinking, should I write a post about my obsession with Christmas?  Too early?   I should write about being a single parent of three grown men?   But is that really interesting?  Maybe because I wrote about my Mum, I should also write about my wonderful Mother-in-law?  She does turn an amazing 96 years old this week!  I just don’t feel motivated to write about any of the above things.  I need to write about something but I feel blocked.  I  am just not feeling it.  For me to write it, I must be feeling it.  So what am I feeling?

I just miss you, Adrian!

There I’ve said it.

I miss you, Adrian!

It’s been five and a half years since you died and as the years go by, the loneliness does not get better, it just gets different!  Sure the day to day functioning improves.  Change happens because it has to and because you want it to.  But, for me, the aloneness  hits often and hard and when I’m least expecting it!  Like today!  So this is what I am feeling so I will write it.

I miss you, Adrian!

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First family photo.

We were a team for 30 years – 28 of them married and living away from each of our families.  Yes, the leave and cleave thing ….. we did that alright!  We were different but we were the same.  One of our mutual friends, when hearing that we had met, fallen in love and were to be married, said  that we deserved each other!  We laughed at hearing this but as the years passed not a truer word has been spoken about our relationship.  We loved hard and played hard and fought hard and we never gave up on each other.  Our life together was littered with hard stuff – lots of it!  Loss was a common theme.  We lost babies before they were born.  We lost our beloved Ministry.  We lost our fathers.  We lost businesses.  We lost our health.  We lost money.  But we continued to have each other.  Loyalty was our thing.  If you picked on one of us, you got both of us.  When one couldn’t any more …… the other did!

I miss you, Adrian!

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Our life together was sprinkled with amazing stuff too!  We had three incredible boys who now are, creative and adventurous men who show tenderness and loyalty beyond measure.  We had a wonderful extended family who went on this journey with us but allowed us to choose our own path.  We had friends that went beyond the bounds of what friendship should expect.  We had shared celebrations to make memories forever.  We had holidays and football Grand Finals and weddings and music and a lovely home and great food!  I still have every one of these things, today! But ….

I miss you, Adrian!

Not the big  things because you are still in all those things.  Not so much the physcial  things because I see you every day in our sons, that have so much of your ways about them.  Not even the doing, as much as the being!

I miss you, Adrian!

3 Monkeys
Photo credit to Andrew Barclay.

I miss the banter and verbal jousting that we had.  I miss the knowing look across a room, that told me that you saw me and was on your way to rescue me from that boring person or topic, in a conversation.  I miss watching out in a crowd to see if the person you were talking too, needed rescuing from you!!  I miss calling you up to share some life altering sporting news that only you and I would see as life changing!  I miss the deep breath we took together, before we faced the world of decision making – whether it was a School Principal, an Oncologist, the police or hospital on the phone!  I miss being able to share news and talk about mutual friends that no one else knows.  I miss knowing that I don’t have to cope alone, no matter what the situation.

So today, that is NOT a special or important day. NOT an anniversary.  Not an especially hard, lonely or emotional day.  These are the things I miss. These are the things I am feeling, so these are the things I write about.

I miss you, Adrian and I’m thankful.

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My Awesome Week!

I’ve had an awesome week!

It started with a really fun night with my favourite people at the Robbie Williams concert.  I’ve only really been in love with 3 men in my life – the first being Rod Stewart, the second being my beloved departed husband Adrian,  and the third being Robbie Williams.  So, it was fun to take BossBoy & BabyBoy to experience  their mother screaming like a 16 year old, over a performer, for the first time!  We were joined by their Aussie Sisters and we had so much fun but we did miss BerlinBoy.

Robbie Swing

My awesome week continued a few days later, with dinner at my place with some of my favourite young people and their  gorgeous little men.  I love it when people arrive at my house and the kids feel at home straight away.  They know and love the toys in my toy box; they are cuddly and happy; they are confident to ask for what they want but always polite.  Good job Mum & Dad B!

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One of my favourite things about dining with the B Family, is when the boys say Grace before we eat.  Kids know what we need to be thankful for – for people, for lovely days, for visitors & for food! Sometimes Grace is short and sweet, sometimes it is a shaggy dog story but it always leaves me feeling warm inside.

Next, on my awesome week was the celebration with my dear friend, G, of her birthday.  We went to our favourite Indian restaurant and enjoyed the familiar menu and realised that in the 4 or so years we had been eating there, we had never tried the desserts!  So we did and discovered the most delicious tastes around.  Yes!  We will eat dessert there again!

Glenys Birthday

My awesome week continued with the Australian Football League (AFL) Grand Final where my team was not playing.  However, this is a traditional family day for the Weber Family and the Boys make their way home to my place and we include any other surrogate family members that wish to join us.  This year we were joined by  A, a sister from another mother, who was an AFL novice but she was a quick learner.  We ate, drank, chose a team to support and had fun like only family can have.  We don’t enjoy watching at a Bar or in a large crowd.  We like to watch & analyse & discuss & tease each other & appreciate good play.  We did all of this and Adrian would have been proud of us.  The team we chose to support won – well done Hawks!  The players we each picked at the beginning of the game to be best player came first with 10 points & second equal with 9 points!  We are great judges and we know it!!  We miss Adrian  a lot on Grand Final Day but the tradition and ritual we follow each year helps.

Hawks

So, has it been the great food, drinks or entertainment that has made my  week awesome?  Or has it been the beautiful weather that we are enjoying in Brisbane at this time of year?  Or has it been the fabulous sport that I love so much?

No!  It has been  the wonderful people I have spent this week with!  They are my family here in Australia.  They give to me in a totally loving way.  They care about me and I care about them.  I may not live close to many of my blood family but this family that have chosen me, give me all the love and support and fun I need.  I am grateful  for the love and laughter and fun and care, as are my blood family!  They are my AWESOME family.

Group Robbie

By the way – I have tickets to see Rod Stewart in April next year! I am truly blessed!

 

I’m Drowning …….

I’m drowning in clothes!  Everywhere I look in my bedroom, there is a pile of clothes.  Two washing baskets of clean clothes waiting to be folded.  One basket of laundry waiting to be washed.  Folded clothes on the seat at the end of my bed which don’t fit in my drawers.  Clothes, not dirty enough for laundry but not clean enough to put in the cupboard!

I’m drowning in trash!  My rubbish bins are over flowing and I need to take the outdoor rubbish down to the community bins.  I haven’t collected my mail for a couple of days and I have been surviving on out of date milk.

Do you notice a pattern here?

So what does this tell you about me?  I have too many clothes?  Probably.  Am I  lazy? Maybe a  little bit.  I don’t have enough storage in my bedroom?  Could be!

Blog bedroom

What this tells me, is that my depression is alive and kicking and it’s probably time to ask for help.

So you didn’t know I was a mental illness sufferer?  Well, I am and I have been medicated for quite a few years.  I feel lucky that it hasn’t been so severe that it has defined me as a person.  But lately this has changed.  For a multiple of reasons, my anxiety has been having an impact on my ability to work.  I have been avoiding stuff – like going out alone, going to new places or going to the footy.  I have been avoiding doing the things that help to make my life move forward – like healthy eating, household chores and getting in contact with friends.  Home has been my safe place.  I have been feeling disconnected from myself and my life.

But I saw the signs and asked for help.  I have great doctors and wonderful friends & family that care about me.  Some of you that have had contact with me, may not have even noticed.  The drowning feeling is subsiding and I am moving forward ….. s l o w l y!

The Mandy Diaries is part of my forward movement.

This doesn’t mean that I am expecting to take over the Internet.  Just as it doesn’t mean I will automatically become a domestic goddess.  I wish!  But it does mean that I will take my rubbish out and I will try to eat regularly.  I will keep posting my thoughts on life.  It helps me feel connected and helps me focus on the important and positive things in my life.  

Oh yeah – this what my bedroom sometimes looks like!

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