It's been a very long time since I've written on here. After chatting to a friend who recently started up their own blog, I reflected upon this and decided to return and start updating my own blog more regularly. I hope to update it - at least on a weekly basis.
In the scale of my mental health, April is usually a very bad month for me. For most people, April means springtime, improving moods and weather, and the growth of new things. For me, and since I was 14, April has been a month of sorrow. On 23rd of April 1988, my father committed suicide. He was 35 years old and would have turned 36 little over a week later. My mum became a widow at the age of 35, I was 14, my brother 12 and my sister just 10. Overnight we went from being a large family with foster siblings to a family of one adult and three children.
So why am I telling you all this? Well I guess I've spent a lot of the last few years thinking about this event, and how it has made me much of the person I am today.
In previous years I have marked my father's passing on his anniversary (yesterday was his anniversary). This year has been quite different. Upon reflection, I think my Dad was actually a very selfish man and he hurt many people. Yes, he was/is still my Dad, but it's important to remember all the parts of him and not just the rose-tinted view that I think death often promotes in us.
This year, I decided to focus on the living. I decided to thank my mum for being so wonderful. She really is the strongest person I know. It's hard to comprehend that she was younger than I am now when she became widowed and had to bring up her three children, single-handedly. I love my brother and sister so very much too. We are a close family who now have a very unusual bond. My Dad's death has affected each of us in our own way, but there is no doubt it has impacted upon the lives of each of us.
So yesterday, instead of the usual moping about and general relief that the anniversary has finally arrived and is almost over, I decided to take my son out to the cinema for the day. I switched off my mobile (for once) and focused very much on the people around me. We had a lovely day and it gave me pause for thought about how my father's death has influenced my behaviour (more to follow in a future blog I'm sure). My friends are amazing. I had no less than 45 comments about my Dad's anniversary on my Facebook page. So many kind people who wanted to let me know they were thinking about me.
If you're reading this, how has the death of a loved one affected you? How do you mark their passing? Has it made you consider your own mortality? Have you even planned your own funeral? What do you think of suicide? Are people who commit suicide being selfish and cowardly, are they simply very unwell or are they being incredibly brave and may be doing us a service in some way?
So how has his death affected me? It has made me less trusting. I want to love freely and without the burden of fearing that those I love will leave me someday. That fear often leads to irrational behaviour on my part to 'keep' close those people I care for, and is often the cause for them leaving me too. I also think I tend to blame myself for things that I shouldn't. Something happens and I apologise because I'm so anxious to please people and keep them from leaving me. I'm sure that sounds rather desperate however I really don't think my friends would say I'm like that. On the plus side, I seem to have a heightened sense of emotional intelligence and self-awareness. I consider everything in the minutest of detail. I hate hurting people and most of all I loathe liars. I'm extremely loyal. Most of all, when I feel loved I become less harsh and a lot more content with myself and life.
In summary, please take care of those you love. Please don't take what you have for granted, love those who love you and don't waste time thinking about those who don't. Remember we work to live, not live to work. Remember to tell those that you love that you do.
Thanks to those who bring sunshine into my life at the times when it feels like there is no light.
'Maybe I didn't treat you, quite as good as I should have
Maybe I didn't love you, quite as often as I should
Little things I should have said and done, but I never took the time
You are always on my mind, you are always on my mind'