Saturday, 28 January 2017

House of Bishops report

I've had a friend message me about this report from the House of Bishops. I really want to say to her that she is not, and never was,  a child of the Church but she is, and will always be, a child of God. The last time I said something similar, I got a long message about vocation and commitment to the Church.
I feel frustrated on behalf of some of my friends because  this is very predictable.I can't believe they can't see that this is going to happen again and again until the Church is dead.
Oh well, I have more pressing things to think about. I am so glad I am not committed enough to care but I am feeling for some people today.

Sunday, 15 January 2017

Sunday lunch

Today I went to Manchester for a meal and meet up with some members of a bereavement support group designed for people widowed (relatively) young. I was in two minds and even considered opting out this morning. I don’t get particularly daunted at the thought of meeting strangers, so it wasn’t that that put me off. It was more the general lack of motivation that almost stopped me; everything just seems too much effort and somehow pointless. Yet I really felt that I needed some contact with others who are in the same situation as me; although I can’t complain about the kindness of many of my friends and acquaintances, I rarely meet anyone who even begins to understand the huge, life changing event of losing a spouse.
I was very glad I went, the journey and finding the place was no problem and I found it very easy as well as a huge relief to talk to people in a similar situation and hear their stories as well as be able to tell my own. You can't be too gloomy when sharing a meal and most of the conversation was about topics such as family, work, weather, there was a lot of laughter and it was just sociable. I also felt quite pleased that I had managed to take what might seem a small step but is at least a step, perhaps forward.
The group makes an effort to ensure events are not too pricey as a lot of people face financial difficulties when bereaved, especially when children are still young, mortgages have not been repaid, pensions are not yet being drawn. A three course carvery meal cost seven pounds per head, which was great value, the train ticket (return) was only £7.60 and the venue was in easy walking distance of the station. I am needing to be more aware of what I spend myself and a day out for less than fifteen pounds is a pretty good deal.  There was a group going shopping in Manchester afterwards, I just did some window shopping, there is nothing I need and I am not a great shopper anyhow.

So many people commented on how they would find it hard to go home to a dark, empty house at the end of the day. It made me glad to be one of those who has offspring still at home for some company. There is no shortcut through the pain and loneliness of losing your life companion, but there are people to reach out to and that is good.

Friday, 6 January 2017

Jill Sager

 I was shocked to hear yesterday of the death of Jill Sager at the age of only fifty one. I remember the case vividly from the eighties. I have never experienced a one off horrific ordeal like Sager's, but I did experience sexual abuse by my grandfather from the age of four to thirteen and so  sexual violence and abuse is an issue close to my heart. I could write so much about Jill Sager and this case but I have written too many grim posts recently and what I want to focus on is her positive response to what happened to her. I think nobody would have blamed Sager if she had remained silent, perpetrators of sexual violence often rely upon the silencing effect of shame and distress. By speaking out, Sager helped improve the situation for many other women and bring about changes in the law. I also hope and believe that transforming such a situation led to post traumatic growth for Sager. Too often we see those affected by rape and sexual assault as victims and not as survivors and this too can be dis-empowering. As I said, I am not going to dwell too long on this post, but you can read here of how Sager help to bring about changes to both the law and the treatment of and attitudes to sexual violence, abuse and attitudes to women. A terribly brief life, but one well lived, I am sure the thoughts of many will be with her family and friends today.

Monday, 2 January 2017

Becoming invisible -Journaling grief 3

Well, in the end I even went out to a friend's to "celebrate" New Year's Eve. It was nice to see some of our old friends again - even to me they feel a lot more like our friends than my friends... I left at ten thirty with the perfect excuse that I had promised to let our neighbour's dog out for a toilet break hugely relieved to be missing all the happy New Years, fireworks and Auld Lang Syne. Cuddling the neighbour's dog was the best bit of my New Year's Eve; one thing about bereavement is the sudden lack of physical contact. Having said that I dislike even fairly close friends hugging on me or violating my personal space but with dogs I am just fine with it, plus they just sympathetically lick tears away- dear reader, if  even close friends were to attempt this I would rapidly ask them to desist:)
I thought I would feel better having got to the end of the official festive season but I woke up on New Year's day feeling incredibly low. The day before someone had said I must be longing to put 2016 behind me but it isn't as simple as that. 2016 admittedly won't rank as a great year but at least I had my husband for nine months of it whereas I face the whole of 2017 without. There is also that grief at the inexorable march of time, the New Year highlights that the person you loved is already becoming part of the past, being forgotten by others, if not by you yourself.
The final thing I found difficult was that Kev's brother and sister-in-law did not phone either on Christmas or New Year's Day. I wasn't too surprised at Christmas but they always phoned at New Year.  It is difficult to fathom the message behind a silent phone- it could be that they too have forgotten (unlikely as I just can't believe his brother hasn't thought about him this Christmas) ; it could be that they just don't think they have any connection to me now (quite possible), or it might be that they didn't know how they could phone me without saying Happy Christmas or Happy New Year- both a bit incongruous in the circumstances- and so they did nothing.
I think I need a dog. To a dog you are never invisible and, though supposedly dumb animals,they make their message crystal clear.