#7 Dear Steve
Love letters to my dead brother
Steve was my best friend and losing him is the the most painful experience I have ever gone through in my life. And I’ve been through a lot!
It has been my intention for some years to write a book as a series of letters to him of all the things I have wanted to talk to him about. All the things I want to ask. All the things I need to express to him. All the family experiences he’s missed. I think it will tell a story, a sort of memoir of our lives together, but also show people how to come through grief and live again.
Thursday 31st August 2023
I am crying because I forgot to keep loving them for a while. So hell bent on creating a better life. So overwhelmed with everything I had to do. So intent on getting on and getting it all done. The routines, the rigmarole. The daily grind. And I forgot. I forgot to keep loving and instead pushed. I pushed and pushed and pushed them. To grow up faster. To fulfill their potential. To be more. To be independent. Never accepting. Never allowing them to find their own way more until Luke died. I learned my lesson. But in so many ways it was too late.
The conditioning had already happened. The patterns already set. I see now all the mistakes I made. I beat myself up and though I am aware of what I am doing I can’t seem to stop. It’s not that I do it all the time, it’s just that I do it at all. Then of course beat myself up for doing that. I am a ‘nana.
I know I was young. I know I did my best and made the best decisions I could at the time. I know I didn’t have the knowledge I have now but I also know that I knew I was making bad choices and ignored my intuition. I suppose something had to wake me up.
Then I remembered to keep loving them and I still kept pushing. I forgot to love myself. No-one ever told us that was important did they?
Instead, pushing myself over and over again. Getting in my own way. Jumping from one project to another. Impatient. Always impatient. Too much to do. Resentment and frustration building up. Trying to prove myself. Trying to be successful. Forgetting what success really means. Comparing myself to others too much. Wanting to be something. Never satisfied.
But I like crazy me too. I like fun me. Humourous me. Dancing, laughing, teasing, smiley me. That me is much more present now. I love it when that spark is lit!
It’s funny that that me is more present now at a time when finances are more stretched than they have been for years. When, some may say, I should be thinking of getting a job rather than playing with writing and painting.
Ashley’s operation went well. He almost didn’t have it done. He had been feeling better for about four days and when he told the surgeon this on the morning of the operation, the surgeon asked if he needed it. For ten or fifteen minutes I thought we were going to turn around and come back home. I asked about the damage to the nerve if he didn’t have it and he said the risk was the same either way. Then Ashley asked if he’d looked at the MRI scan they had done for their research project and he hadn’t. He went off swiftly then and came back with the news that the disc prolapse was in fact bigger. Thank goodness that made the choice easy.
The keyhole surgery went really well. Only an hours blip for me when I phoned at the allotted time and was told to phone back in two hours. I immediately thought there must be something wrong and was relieved when Ashley phoned me himself an hour later. He was hungry. Always a good sign for someone who lives to eat!
Now it’s going to take time to build up some strength again in his legs having not had any exercise for seven months. Of course he overdid it. Did short walks once a day, three times a day, four times a day. Then his calf muscles complained too much and he hasn’t walked for two days. It’s amazing we (people generally) keep pushing beyond our capacity.
This week though I have been feeling grumpy, sad, irritable. I think it’s another wave of grief. Grief for how our lives are changing. And because I miss you. And perhaps because my life still revolves around everyone else. I need some time out. A day to myself. To do something different. So I have some plans.
Tomorrow Carmen and I are going to Ectstatic Dancing at a village hall. I’ve been before but not for about four years and she has not. It’s a bit like the village hall discos we went to when we were kids but without the alcohol and with better music. No chairs to sit, just space to dance. Music building to a crescendo as we move our bodies and then back down again over three hours. My muscles and joints are not young any more. Just thinking about it makes me feel knackered but I know I’ll enjoy in while I’m there.
If the weather perks up next week I might to a day at the seaside and I’m wondering if I can get away with a holiday in October when Ashley’s more recovered.
And I’ve been clearing out. The trampoline has gone from the garden. The old treadle sewing machine that I never got around to using is going tomorrow. I thought I was going to do loads of sewing when I got it, thought it would save electricity. But these things need servicing and you need to know what you’re doing. I haven’t had the head space to work it all out. It’s been sat there for nearly two years goding me, making me feel guilty about not using it. Using up headspace and energy. I just don’t have time or energy for all the things I want to do so I am proritising. Making space. That’s going. The paints and easel are staying. The cupboard full of fabrics is staying and I’ll finish some sewing projects by hand which is soothing to do.
Making space so I can do a few things well rather than lots of things poorly. And decluttering is always so therapeutic for me. I know you understand this being a minimalist yourself.
I’ve been meaning to ask you Steve, is Luke there with you? His Nan came to me in a dream before he died and said she’d look after him. Of course I didn’t know who him was then and I certainly didn’t think my dreams were premonitions. But are you connected with our other friends, relatives or acquantances who have also passed?
Lots of love, hugs and kisses,
XX Karen XX