Thursday, 4 March 2010

Sometimes it's okay to need.

It's odd isn't is how reading another blog post can take you to a place inside yourself.

It happened a couple of weeks ago when I was reading Lyn's tribute to her Mum. And again this morning when I was reading about Pam's parents move into sheltered accommodation.

I wrote a comment for both. But I've come unstuck with the last sentence I wrote on Pam's site. I was full of good intentions to work my way up my blog list reading and commenting, but I can't till I've let go of some of the stuff that is circulating round my heart right now.

I just wrote~ I miss my parents~ I don't think I ever say it like that, I usually go through patches of missing one or the other, but to feel that pain of having neither of them is so difficult to bear.

I know why it's more poignant right now, my last remaining older family member, my Uncle Bob, my Dad's brother, is having to deal with the terminal illness of his wife. He is in his mid 80s. His daughter lives in America and therefore my sister and I are his closest living relatives in distance from him. And he is becoming increasingly frail and right now scared.

I come from a reasonably dysfunctional family. In that they don't bother with each other, they never have. But I am my mum's daughter, and I have been the person to try and keep in touch with family members, whether it was going to visit my cousins in Boston or London. I used to hold family parties and invite all my uncles and aunts . They would all come and say, we must do this more often, but it never happened. Nowadays this horrible phrase, and similar lack of action happens at funerals instead. And still no one, but me makes any effort.

So today I am in a place of reminiscence, thinking about my Mum and Dad, remembering them in odd fragments of memory. Seeing my Old Uncle Bob, as he's been known for ever, in and out of my childhood. Like Friday lunch times, when for some reason we went home for lunch from school, when my sis and I were little. And OUB would take us back to, and if we were very lucky he's let us sit in the open back of his tiny little truck.

OUB was an antique dealer, for years he had antique shops. Again as children my sis and I would go with Mum, who always held the fort when Bob and my Aunty Cynthia went away and we would get soooo bored in the shop. But it is where I fist learnt about the wonders of antiques.

I have been an avid collector all my life. Nothing that would set Christie's alight, no Chippendale you understand! But of what is known as Smalls, so I have a wondrous collection of old perfume bottles with silver tops, the oldest is from 1900. They are housed in a wonderful old shop sweet cupboard with still bears the name Fry's in gold lettering on the bottom.

That is just one of the things I have lots of, there are powder compacts, silver cigarette boxes, wooden toys that belonged to my Dad and his brother, very old sweet tins, glass bottles, some of which were dug up when we found the midden at the farmhouse and barn I used to live in. And on and on.

I don't buy stuff anymore I have enough and nowhere to put anything else at all!

So many of the things came from my Mum, who used to love going shopping with me to old dusty antique shops and would always buy me things.

And now I think I've come full circle as to why I'm upset this morning. It isn't just Pam's post that's got me it's Helen's as well. She has a wondrous post about the generosity of a friend of hers from the other side of the world, who has sent her a present.

I give things to people all the time, whether something simple as flowers or books or even magazines. I bake cakes for my sister, I buy my youngest son little foodie treats when he doesn't ask for them. I slip him the odd £20 when he's skint. Upstairs in my wardrobe is a book by my eldest son's favourite author, awaiting his visit in two weeks, just so he can have something to do when he's here.

Like so many of my clients and I hear this time and time again. That they give out, not in presents, but in time and advice and just being there for others.

And right now today I miss my parents for that. To be able to phone up Dad, just cause I wanted a chat with someone. To see my Mum who'd always have a little treat for us when we came home from school, like the first fresh peach of the year, or some cherries.

Don't get me wrong I'm not writing this cause I'm being grabby and just want to be given things. I don't. I just miss the spontaneity of been given to that I used to have, that is totally tied up in missing my parents. That unconditional positive regard, otherwise more sensibly known as love! That meant the thoughtfulness of a bunch of daffodils, just cause.

And I'm very good at self soothing, I can give to myself without a qualm, hence to daffodils everywhere in the house this week. It's not that, it's just getting affirmation of someones love for you when it's not been asked for.Even though I know without doubt that my family and friends love me, I sometimes yearn for someone to phone me, hug me,give me bunch of daffs for no reason at all and that I rarely get anymore.

Hey ho


Lyn said...

Oh Mandy ... what poignant words. It was my mom in our family who was the unconditional "giver" hence the huge hole she left behind. I try to find peace and solace by emulating her acts of kindness and thoughtfulness. I too sometimes long to be on the other end, and sometimes I am. But I have learned to derive my fulfillment from holding all of the family events, making regular calls - trying to be the glue that holds our wonderful family together. I know one thing for sure -- expressed or not -- all of those people whose day you brighten with unexpected attention and outreach truly appreciate it. It just seems that sometimes when you are the foundation, people come to regard you as strong with out need. But you know you are a gem and are making the world a better place with your love.

Lia said...

It's funny that it is the little things that you miss when loved ones have gone.
And; yet it is the little things we remember the most and get those cosy feelings of remembrance from the most. Lovely post.

By the way your dog sent me that photo, apparently the dog is not afraid of the vets, but rather feels that there is a big draught coming through that door and has no desire to see you get cold.

Much love

Pam said...

Mandy. I think I'm heading in that direction you've written about so well. Regarding your sense of loss.My husband wants to live in a certain town interstate when he retires eventually, and this on my part, will only happen after my parents and his mother have passed on, because I wish to be there for them. By the very nature of this time frame,when and where he will be happiest, I, in turn, will be far away from good memories, friends, and suffering loss.The upside is that I have my husband- the downside is the compromise that is involved in a marriage and conflicting desires. I would rather stay here.At the moment, living in the present is good. You know being this age isn't easy, and I feel your pain, somehow made worse for me by knowing it may be ahead for myself, certainly so with a parents passing.I learn from your wisdom, and find your aspects of strength and vulnerability something to be greatly admired.I send you love and hugs, and am humbled that our posts can affect and in fact, support each other. I'd like to reinforce the sentiments of others here, that you are indeed a gem who writes beautifully and honestly. xxx

Rosaria Williams said...

Oh!!!!!!!!!!You touched all of us with this one. Missing People, missing surprises and that sense of joy when someone gave us an unexpected thing.

Great post. It's okay to admit these things.

Beatnheart said...

Knock,knock...its Cynthia at your door this very minute with a bouqet of daffs,bottle of White and some Walnut Whips ( don't remember if you drink or not..if not I'll have it all)..I know, sometimes I think I need to call dad and tell him about a show on History Channel or whatever and realize"oh yeah, he's gone..) I just send him warm hugs into the beyond...I know that he's getting them..c

nitebyrd said...

The unexpected is so welcome and needed at times. Yes, even dysfunctional families cause heart twitches now and again.

Let me give you a cyber (((HUG))) 'cause that's all I can do at this moment. I'd send you some "daffs" if they could be cyber, too!

speck of dust said...

I'm really feeling your loss with this post. When I became truly awake to the lack of love from my parents it occurred to me that it might be harder for someone who was given more love. I hardly ever got treats. I remember a missed birthday once and the guilty reward of being taken into town to choose any present I want - I chose an oil painting set and did my first oil painting age 10. Now, I feel pain round my parents everytime I am with them. I hurt even more when they are cruel. But amazingly, there are times when I am surprised. And my mum is showing care for my grandson and I am happy for that. I have to work very hard to not repeat their pattern in my own life and family. I remember reading about Patrick Swaze who became an alcoholic after his beloved father died. I can't imagine the pain and loss of someone so wonderful who was always such a big part of your own happiness. Thanks for posting. And you're a very kind and thoughtful person too.

Nikki (Sarah) said...

it is the little things. I have nothing really to hang onto in terms of good memories from my past but I do today...I am making the best memoires with my family. and it's the little things from them...with them that mean the most. Sarah

Paula said...

Yepp, it is ok to admit we need have needs, and yes, it is so very true so miss the little things who touch our heart which e remember for years to come. Who mke our heart light and heavy at the same time.

Miss Robyn said...

I miss my dad :( - so, so much.

Pix.. you are one in a million.. this post shows how kind and caring you are.
and these words hit home:
I come from a reasonably dysfunctional family. I used to hold family parties and invite all my uncles and aunts . They would all come and say, we must do this more often, but it never happened. still no one, but me makes any effort.
me too.. what you & I are in the family are the 'fixers'...
I do believe we must be related somewhere along the line.. antique dealers? smalls?,,,,, ahh yes, my Cornish Pa was that too!!
I love this post Pix ~ xo

Mel said... it the first time and got weepy.
Read it the second time--same results.

((((((((( the byrdie ))))))))))

Helen said...

Dear Friend ...
Your post deserves eloquent words today ... words that express the innermost feelings we have. Missing my mother, missing my father .. missing good friends ~ it's so difficult at times. I have told you before (I hope) that I treasure you. Thank you for just 'being.'

hele said...

* sending you a star - i hope it takes you on a magic journey to those you love while you sleep.

Tonjia Rolan said...

This is my favorite poem in the whole wide world, in lieu of actual flowers.......

"Daffodils" (1804)

I WANDER'D lonely as a cloud

That floats on high o'er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd,

A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.
Continuous as the stars that shine

And twinkle on the Milky Way,
They stretch'd in never-ending line

Along the margin of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.
The waves beside them danced; but they

Out-did the sparkling waves in glee:
A poet could not but be gay,

In such a jocund company:
I gazed -- and gazed -- but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought:
For oft, when on my couch I lie

In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye

Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

By William Wordsworth (1770-1850).

Nikki (Sarah) said...

came back to read this after just reading Paula's...Missing someone....letting them go...saying goodbye has always been hard for me but reading your longing to pick up the phone and just chat....I think those we love and have died...will always live inside us....Stay strong.

Lori ann said...

It was hard to read this Mandy, but i'm hoping helpful for you to write it. I know just what you mean, needing and missing. You are lucky to have loved both your parents and to miss them so deeply. I am sorry for your feelings, I do know that feeling too.

Angela said...

As soon as our flowers are back, you can come again and sniff at them, Mandy! And we can sit in the beach basket and chat about old days and the ones to come. We have friends - and our parents - for a certain time in our lives. They mean something to us, good or bad, we learn from them, and then they vanish...But a part of them stays with us. My parents were not so much of the loving kind, but I had others who taught me to love. And yes, sometimes I also want to pick up the phone and call them. I think I`ll now call my sister-in-law. She`ll like that.

Walker said...

My parents are alive and in their 80s now.
Most of my family is getting older like me.
Over the last few years i have attended no less than twelve funerals of close family members and have always left wondering how I would cope when my parents are gone.
They play such a huge role in our lives from the very beginning.
We are not who we really are until we find ourselves alone and realize how big a part of us they really were