22 May 2014

Six years and counting............

My blog is six years old today.

It is six years since I first plucked up courage to write a blog about my husband's alcoholism and here I still am - 330 posts later.  I never dreamed I would be going this long when I first falteringly put hand to keyboard.

I had got into blogging purely by accident, looking up online a well-publicised blog at the time, just to see what all the fuss was about. Through that, I commented and came across other bloggers who either interested me because of their location or the subject matter of their blog. One man in particular whose blog I commented on asked why I didn't blog myself and I genuinely wondered what on earth I could come up with to blog about that would remotely be of interest to anyone other than myself. Surely I was not gifted enough to write anything and, furthermore, what in my boring old life could possibly be of interest to anyone else? For quite some time, I hung back in the shadows, just commenting here and there on other people's blogs, when I felt the urge to say something.

Then one day, it kind of just happened. I'd had a bad week with Greg, was frustrated with the medical profession and alcoholism counsellors who seemed to be doing nothing to help us. In addition to that I had plucked up all my courage to go to Kay' sixth-form coordinator at her school and air our dirty washing - namely that Greg was an alcoholic and Kay was having to cope with this whilst trying to study for her A-Levels and submit applications for university. Permanently near to tears the whole time, I felt as if my mental engine would blow a gasket and I needed to relieve some pressure. I sat down and wrote my first post to get things off my chest. I hovered over the publish button and cautiously decided to save it as a draft for some days afterwards. Did I really want to betray Greg or wash dirty linen in public? But living with an end-stage alcoholic is a crazy world and the tension in me was mounting. I needed to write to tell someone, anyone, faceless as they were, because I could not speak to anyone close to me.... I was still trying to keep it a secret from them or deny its very existence at all.

On 22 May 2008, I finally pushed the publish button and my blog was born. So much has happened in the time since. Greg grew worse, went in and out of hospital, got better, got worse, went back to hospital, got better, got worse and ultimately died. I've gone through the ringer of so many emotions too.  Relief (he'd gone); anger (that he chose to); sadness (what he was missing); longing (if only he were still here); frustration (why could someone have not helped him); and acceptance (it was an illness he could not avoid).  Quite a lot in six short years.

The blog has continued to be an air vent for me to cope with adjusting to life on my own as a single-parent to my daughter and carer for my elderly mum. It's been a friend when my feelings took twists and turns.  I am pleased to say it has also been a help to others in a similar situation to me, or even alcoholics themselves. If I have helped just one person, I feel honoured to have touched their life and helped. From that point of view the blog has been worthwhile and at least Greg's death has not been in vain.

Whether I have it in me to carry on with blogging for another year let alone six years is a big question mark. I do find it useful to look back and read it as a diary. To relive those moments and feelings. To revisit the past. We'll see. But for now, I raise a glass (not necessarily an alcoholic one) to Alcoholic Daze and thank it for helping me through a very difficult time.
Taken in my garden yesterday -
things to be thankful for

15 May 2014


Two stories in the press today caught my eye. 

One was the death of 19-year-old Stephen Sutton who although very ill with bowel cancer himself managed to raise £3.2 million for the charity Teenage Cancer Trust. The other was James Redgate who lived frugally all his life and on his death left a million pounds to local hospital charities so that others could benefit from new equipment. Even his sister (who was left nothing) supported his decision.

How refreshing in this day and age, where all we seem to read about is benefit fraud, large organisations making huge profits, footballers (who get paid extortionate amounts and still fail to kick the ball in the net) and all the other me-me-me celebrities strutting their stuff, to see two ordinary folk putting others first, even before their own very real needs.

06 May 2014

Exam Fever

I think I'm going to emigrate. Somewhere. Anywhere. Far away. With no phone signals. No broadband. No postman. Not even trees for resting carrier pigeons.

Kay's got exams coming up. Every year is the same. She's going to revise as she goes along, not leave it till the last minute. Make notes as she goes along. Learn it all off by heart and backwards. The trouble is life has a habit of getting in the way..... the important must-go-to party here, the obligatory meet-up in the pub there, tidying up a room for the hundredth time in a month. Then there's the lure of finding a late-night shop open for an addictive chocolate bar fix or actually finding doing the laundry an attractive option. Anything but revise. And here we are at the other end of the academic year with something like four weeks until exams and PANIC. The results of these exams next month are arguably more important than her finals will be next year, because the hospitals base their choice of what doctors they would like to hire on this year's exam results, as they start selecting in the autumn of 2014 well before the finals are taken in the summer of 2015. Therefore her whole career will depend on them. No pressure then.

She needs to know just about everything under the sun. She's mentally and physically tired, still on ward placements, also doing a long-term project and trying to fix up her summer placement abroad too. Too much all at once.

I don't know what is worse - being the one panicking or the one being panicked to (or whatever the verb is). All I know is I failed to pack my suitcase in time and emigrate. The phone calls have started already.