Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Postnatal depression and bereavement

I awoke today for the first time since Clive died, with a smile on my face! I realised I was snuggled up to the 'Clive pillows' with my arm over them. Just for a nano-second I thought he was with me - then reality dawned - he wasn't. Yet somehow warm and cosy, with the sound of the birds outside and sunlight trying to burst into the room through the sides of the curtains, I felt okay. I was also cross with myself because I had forgotten to switch off the alarm on my phone, set for the previous morning, so the lie-in I may have had was disturbed.

Having decided that today was more about 'me, rest and recovery' than dashing to Manchester I stayed where I was for a while. I actually felt calm and decided that today already felt better than yesterday. I could chose what I wanted to do. First off was my Facebook family and a check on my ever-growing blog reads! How wonderful to wake to messages!

This morning there was a message from a lady suffering from postnatal depression who has discovered me via Clive's links. Mainly she felt so bad for missing out on her babies early months. This was my reply to her:-

Maybe that is why I am handling Clive's death 'okay' as PND and bereavement have so many parallels and the ways of dealing with them are also the same. We are not to blame, we are not alone and it will get better. Nothing can bring my Clive back but knowing and asking for help and support is helping me, also that I know the pain won't go away but I am learning ways to ease it. xxx

I felt robbed of my time as a new Mum. I was robbed of the joy of breast feeding. I was robbed of a 'normal' birth. I was bereft then. I cannot 'action replay' that era of my life as much as I would like to. I focus now on helping others to make the best of those times and encourage them not to dwell on what we have missed out on. What we CAN do is build on the present and future. It's like trying to drive through a cul-de-sac if we keep chewing away at lost times. Your journey gets stuck. Get out of the cul-de-sac and try a new route. Cherish the memories you do have and concentrate on making new happy ones!

Babies basically don't remember that much about who changed their nappies but ask a 5 year old who made pancakes with them and they will remember.

With that I bounced out of bed and began a much more positive day, cheered along by more messages and texts. Someone now checks my blog BEFORE their morning wee!!! Dedication or what!

Yesterday I was pathetic in the office. Today was easier although I had to cajoule myself into the huge mountain of tasks. I kept telling myself Clive's words - 'little steps'. I cannot do it all in a day but I can do little bits which will, in time, make all the difference.

As it was Shrove Tuesday I made myself a tasty pancake with the mixture Dom had made. It turned out perfectly so I took a photo and sent it to him! He is busy catching up with the school work he missed last week.

Lynn, Rod and baby Ruby called and were here when I took a call which might mean I can replace Clive at one of his forthcoming events - watch this space. I did a little dance of excitement! Here is a favourite picture of my man with Emily and Ruby last summer.

(Shame about the washing!)

That bit of hopefully good news inspired me further! Tasks on the list were ticked off little by little.

Then I got the go-ahead from the solicitor about my name change (see earlier post). Another little dance around the room!

Lynn and Rod said they were going out to play on their bikes and did I want to join them? Mum always says that life is better if you say 'yes' to invitations! How true! So by late afternoon they called for me and the three of us cycled up to the Little Chef and back on the A64. Having the sunshine and wind on our faces put colour into us all. Clive had once told me that if ever he 'went' I would only have to see the wind moving the trees and feel it blowing my hair to know he was still with me. Perhaps that is why I cycled and smiled today? Perhaps that is why driving with the roof down on his car also makes me feel happier?  Clive loved windy days the best. He would get quite giddy on stormy nights! It was only since Christmas that he had taught me how to use gears effectively. I always got mixed up which makes it easier or more difficult to pedal. One line from Clive and the principle sunk in -  'finger makes it harder'.  Sussed.

Lynn witnessed my name change, I did another little dance and I then nipped to post the form off.  The ladies in the Post Office were stunned when I told them about Clive. Just as I was leaving one had said 'Enjoy the rest of your day'. I replied that I would try but it wasn't an easy time. I still have Clive's business cards with me that have his photograph on and showed them one. They immediately recognised him as 'that guy who always had a smile and something fun to say'. I had also shared the news with some of my friends and business colleagues today whom may not have known. There are no rules or suggestions as to how you tell as many people as possible. Technology has been marvellous in all of this - my blog, Facebook and other networks have enabled the news to spread yet I guess I shall have to keep telling others for a long while to come. Clive used to get calls to speak from people who had heard him five years ago and now were in a position to book him. I shall retain his mobile number on a pay-as-you go so I don't miss any calls.

I insisted on having a proper meal and felt content that I have followed my own 'Hanzak' survival skills today:-
Honesty - going to Manchester was too much, too soon.
Attitude - has remained positive inspite of the huge hole in me
Needs - I have nutured myself, educated myself about changing my name and dealing with bereavement; I have exercised, had a good diet and had slept well.
Zest - I had fun with little Ruby, 'playing out' on bikes and had two little excited dances, plus a glass of wine to toast my new name.
Altogether - I have shared today through my blog; seen a few people and spoken to several on the phone.
Kindness - to myself and also knowing I have helped others by sharing through my blog.

I ended today chatting to family and friends on the phone. I respect and appreciate people being honest with me in that 'they don't know what to say to me'. All I ask is to be open and honest as I am trying to be. We can smile together about Clive. We can cry together. By sharing our emotions we shall be stronger. There is no need to apologise about anything. Just be ourselves. Please bear in mind that nothing anyone says can upset me anything like losing Clive has!

And here I am back in bed again. Another day without my soul mate. Now that I have chosen to take his name I actually feel lucky tonight and at peace with the saying 'better to have loved and lost that not to have loved at all'.

I truly adored and loved Clive Gott.

Elaine x

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