Tuesday 31 July 2012

The Hat

Lesson learnt this week: taking kids to the cinema is really good fun. They laugh at inappropriate moments, they jump up out their seats to try swipe the baddies and they share their sweets with you without you even asking.

Granted, if I was at the cinema watching something more grown up than Ice Age 4 I would probably want the person next to me to sit still and be quiet (although snack sharing would be encouraged) but it made watching the fourth film in a tired franchise much more exciting. I even found myself giggling along with jokes about 'boogers'. 

Not that any of this should be surprising really. I expected it to be fun. That’s why I wanted to do it. Kids are good at showing unashamed excitement and that can be infectious. Sometimes it’s just nice to be around people like that, even if they are aged five, seven and ten.

Tuesday 24 July 2012

Decisions, decisions

So, finally, a post not just all about feelings. Finally a post about me actively doing something.

Sunday 22 July 2012

The power of words

Personalised Scrabble Tiles available from MixtGoods

Death. Dead. Deceased.

Is or was? Were or are?

Committed suicide? Completed suicide? Took their own life?

One thing starting this has really made me consider it is the power of words and how we choose them.

Obviously I have experiences talking about what has happened before I started this blog. And talking about Nathan’s death does throw up some of the same issues as writing about it. A lot of advice I have read warns people from using the phrase ‘committed suicide’, suggesting that it still carries with it the criminal implications the act of suicide had in the past. Personally, I find this is the first phrase that comes to mind when using the word suicide and I often find using ‘completed suicide’ sounds awkward.

Wednesday 18 July 2012

My first 'first' completed....but I feel like a cheat

Picture by James Cridland

Yesterday I completed a first. As I was sitting in a curry house in Brick Lane with my friend, we were talking about how this was something I had wanted to 'cross off my list' when I was living in London and never got round to it.

The lamb bhuna was delicious, and made all the more satisfying by the appetite we had worked up walking round the streets of the East End looking at street art (I highly recommend the the Alternative London Tour to anybody visiting the capital).

All in all, a very nice new experience.

But it was only this morning that I realised that could actually class it as this week's 'first' and I felt like I had cheated a little bit. Not only in that I had planned to do something to help somebody as my first official 'first' but also that I had no intention of it being part of this blog at the time.

In order to try and gain maximum satisfaction from this task, and a proper sense of accomplishment, I've decided it is necessary for me to decide in advance what it is I want to do each week. So I will get started on making a list (I do love my lists) of things I want to do and to keep a records of 'firsts' I have achieved. Watch this space.

Monday 16 July 2012

Gender and Suicide

The Guardian have been reporting on the rise of suicide among older men and it brings up a recurring theme that I have experienced when talking to people about suicide; gender. 

I have recently started attending a support group so that I have an environment where I am actively encouraged to consciously think and talk about what has happened. It is amazing how different everybody's stories are. Some people have similar experiences to me, where the suicide is extremely sudden and there appears to be very little in a way of warning. Others have lost people who have attempted to kill themselves several times. Some have lost children. Some have lost spouses. Some have lost siblings like me. Some lost youngsters, some of those who died were grandparents. Some people there are posher than others. But the people we have lost all have two things in common. Number one is that they have chosen to take their own lives. Number two is that they are all male. 

Sunday 15 July 2012

Week 1...

There have been a couple of firsts already this week. Thursday marked a year since the death of my brother. I cannot explain how awful I felt that day. Even after I had worked up the drive to get out of bed, I climbed back under the duvet at one point and considered staying there (and not just for the day). 

I had deliberately made sure I had no work planned for the day; I knew I would be in no state to concentrate. But my family had plans for the afternoon and evening, which included a trip to the cemetery, a picnic in the park and a trip to see Rhys Darby AKA Murray from Flight of the Concords - we thought that's where Nathan would have been that evening if he was still with us. I think this was a fitting way to mark the day. And I actually enjoyed the show. In some ways it is good to have some time as a family where we have a shared sense of grieving. Sometimes it is all too easy to carry on about our individual lives without acknowledging that we're all thinking of him. 

Today has been another first. My lovely little niece, my first and only niece who was born a few weeks after Nath's death, was baptised. She looked so lovely in her little white dress and was so good. Despite not being particularly religious myself, and despite the obvious trials of family get-togethers when one person is so obviously missing, it was a really lovely day.

That may seem enough for my first week of ‘firsts’ but I feel the need to do something else. 

"When you feel helpless, help someone." - Aung San Suu Kyi

I saw this quote recently on a website for a project called We-are-lucky (a brilliant experiment in giving, you should take a look if you haven't heard of it already). Helpless would be one adjective I would use to describe how I feel at the moment. I feel helpless in the face of what has happened. Helpless to control my emotions. 

But, most of all, I feel helpless to help other people. In particular, I feel helpless to help the rest of my family.