21 May 2021

Unlucky for some

Thirteen. Unlucky for some, but what's in a number? Tomorrow is the 13th anniversary of my blog started in May 2008. Thirteen years have passed since I felt the need to spill my churning guts out into a blog. Sometimes, it seems like yesterday. Sometimes, it seems like a lifetime ago. The topsy turvy existence I led thirteen years ago now seems like a bad nightmare, from which I have thankfully awoken. Life is so different now, quieter, more peaceful, less stressed. The Kafkaesque feeling of being powerless in a crazy world, stuck in quicksand with nobody hearing my call for help, has passed. My only problems now are what to choose for supper today. 

Of course, peace comes at a price. Nobody to share my day or future with. Socialising is very much the onus on me to make the first move. Most people rarely give thought to someone living on their own and what that really means, particularly during lockdown... talking to the wall, talking to the television. But the peace is infinitely better than tripping over empty bottles or waiting for the house to go up in flames from a dropped cigarette, as he slumbers intoxicated. My heart then was forever in a state of having run a marathon, waiting for the next crisis, the next shouting match, the next ambulance. Such a wretched disease is alcohol addiction. It doesn't just affect the addict but the whole family as well, even when the addict is long gone.

I feel most for Greg. Since his death in 2010 he has missed out on eleven years of living -  eleven years of news that made him come alive (he was an international radio journalist after all). What would he have made of Trump, of Boris, of Brexit, of Covid and the various disputes going on all over the world? I feel guilty for knowing about them, when he doesn't. He has missed out on Kay graduating and becoming a successful doctor. He has missed out on meeting her wonderful boyfriend. Sadly, he will miss out on her becoming a wife and mother with more career successes than the ones so far to date. I feel guilty he cannot experience that. It is not my fault and yet I still feel guilty.

Thirteen years and 560 posts. Not a lot compared to some, but written when I had something to say, something to get off my chest. At its peak, I had 70 comments per post including those from alcoholics and those living with or having lost an alcoholic family member. Like with anything, it helps to know somebody else is going through the same rollercoaster of emotions, to make your scary ride more bearable. I don't think I could have survived the last thirteen years, if he were still here, drinking each day into oblivion. Certainly, with lockdown, it would have been hell on earth. 

On balance, thirteen is unlucky for some, but not for me.

08 May 2021

Getting back to some kind of normal

This has been a strange old 15 months for me under Covid restrictions. Shielding for all of that time because of an underlying health condition has meant almost total isolation. In all that time shopping has been delivered to the house, courtesy of the local hypermarket, outings have been restricted to the occasional walk round the block and I have only made a handful of adventurous visits to the optician and dentist for check-ups when it was slightly safer to do so last summer. I have only seen my daughter on a handful of visits as she is effectively part of my "bubble" and I have had a rare outdoors encounter with the odd neighbour or two on my walks. 

In the last week, this has begun to change. Now that I have had both Covid vaccines and, now that things generally are beginning to come back to some kind of normal, I have been nervously testing the water to see how things go for me. I have been to visit a friend and had afternoon tea in her garden. Then yesterday I resumed duties at our local food bank. My pilates instructor has emailed to say that she is resuming classes again and I've been asked to rejoin the rota at the local park information centre where I volunteer. The shift yesterday at the foodbank seemed very strange. I met up with loads of new as well as old faces, but noticed how I had almost lost the art of small talk, having been so much on my own. It took great concentration. I am sure I shan't be the only one in this position. Just another side-effect of the pandemic to add to all the mental health problems people are suffering.

Covid is here to stay for a very long time, if not for evermore, so we all need to get used to the new kind of normal. I am gradually getting bolder about how that will look for me. I am ready to leave my cage and try it out with the right kind of precautions. 2021 here I come.....