Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Not Another Year Older - A New Normal

Yesterday, the 21 September, was Clinton's birthday. Well, it should have been his birthday and he should have turned 26. Yes, I am a mother of a 26-year-old. Only he never got to turn 26 or 18 or even another year older. Through a cruel twist of fate and at the hands of others my beautiful son never got to be 18 or 21 or 25 and he never turned 26 yesterday. Clinty's baby brother reached a milestone that he never reached and never will reach. His baby brother no longer has a brother to look up to, he now faces the world and life as the "first timer".

I have now after all these years, all 8 years and 6 months of them realised why Chad does not like talking about Clint. Why he buries his feelings deep down, way under all his other baggage so that no one can tread near them. I should actually say I now understand why Chad does it. A new normal is a very real thing and talking about your feelings and like in Chad's case talking about Clinton just digs deep into that new normal and it hurts like hell.

I want to live my new normal without analysing how I feel and why I feel. This is now my life, it hurts like hell and it will always hurt like hell. There is no scale or ruler to measure the hurt and pain - there is no other pain like the pain caused by the death of your child. People grieve differently and react to death differently and cope with death differently. Some mothers hate using the word dead or died. I absolutely hate the word lost - it is all over my blog - how much I hate it. I did not lose my child. I did not go off to the shops and lose Clint somewhere, somewhere along with my keys and wallet. Death is not pretty, it is not nice - nothing can make it anything other than death, so using "nice" words is not going to make it less terrible and devastating. My child did not "pass" he should have passed his grade at school - when he died he did not pass - he died. He is not late and I think out of all the words people use the two I hate the most are late and passed. What I am getting at is everyone grieves differently and copes differently with different crutches, but what goes hand in hand with child bereavement is a new normal.

The pain never goes away, time does not heal we just create a new normal. A normal where pain and grief and hurt is a part of your every day - it is no longer foreign it is normal. So although I am blurting it all out on my blog, a very public forum; I don't want to talk about my feelings and none of it makes sense, other than my blog is my personal online journal where I purge my inner most thoughts - not my inner most, just my thoughts.

This is my new normal and although I have been eating my feelings pound for pound with white bread and marmite. I know that even if I eat a whole bakery full of white bread it will never fill that hole that Clint's death left, but the cycle of guilt and stuffing my face and then more guilt is a part of my new normal - I will rather eat my feelings; gorge and pig out and make myself feel sick than dig into the depths of my feelings and analyse my feelings and talk about my hurt and pain.

I just want to be left alone living my new normal - with my heartache and tears for another year that Clint didn't get older. I buy flowers and burn candles but that is all they are - flowers and candles and no celebrating or happy birthdays with Clinty and our new normal is devastating and tragic and right now that is all I care about and all I want to think about. Fortunately, I do have Chad to pull me out of my dark pit and make me smile and laugh whilst I try and hide my tears.

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Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Speaking Without Thinking - Life Update

The other day Chad was in one of his clowning around moods, full of jokes and just generally ribbing me. I grab those moments with both hands and hold on to them dearly. He can be quite the moody child!!! Anyway he was joking around with me and we were laughing and a few times he said something that was quite on the crude side, but because we were having a fun light hearted moment I just laughed and said hey I am your mother. Chad being Chad he goes on and on. If he thinks he is funny or has said something funny he just goes with it over and over. He was doing this on that day and I said over and over hey I am your mother, but laughing and joking. He would slip it in every few minutes with a few other crude things and I said but laughing, hey I am your mother not your brother. There was just silence... we were both shocked at what I said and I have no idea why I said it, other than the light hearted fun humour, I said a word that rhymed with mother and devastatingly it was what Chad really misses not having. His brother, that he should have been joking and laughing with and saying these rather crude things to.  Clint was Chad's hero and yes they had their squabbles, but Clint was his protector and hero. That moment just compounded the fact that Clint was not here for Chad. In that moment, the hurt in Chad's eyes was as clear and pronounced as ever. He hides his hurt and grief so well, but that day it was there screaming at us. Like a balloon that was untied and fizzled to the ground so did our fun and laughter. After a few moments, I just said 'I don't know why on earth I said that'  No more words were needed. We both understood and we have not spoken of it again.

He did bounce back and is back to his cheeky comical self. I had to write him a letter for school. It is a tradition the school has where the parents write a letter and or a collage of their lives and in my letter I wrote that even the cheek and insolence from him makes our lives a million times better so now every time I tell him to stop being disrespectful, he says "I am just trying to make your life a trillion times better 😉 😄

I bought a new bag the other day. I use one bag only, I am so past changing bags and matching bags. One bag and that is me done. Anyway, I needed a new bag and there was not much of a selection. I need a bag that can carry a huge amount of junk. A couple of days after I bought my bag that I thought was so lovely, Chad came into my room trying to climb into my bag saying in his usual voice for imitating me "ooo look at me I bought a bag so I can climb in it and hide away from people". I can't look at the bag in the same way since then, but yes would love a bag that I can climb into when I go to the shops and see people I don't want to see. It is actually huge and quite 'barrelly" and I have only seen that now since Chad made fun of it.

Chad could not wait to turn 18, besides to get his driver's licence that was a given, but so that he could go to a Comedy Show - not a club. Most shows are no under 18's and all the comedians he likes are all no under 18. Well he has been, we took him and he enjoyed it as much as he thought he would and he decided to take young lady on Saturday night. Only after he had bought the tickets and left to pick her up did I realise that she is not 18 and she wouldn't be allowed in. And of course, Chad did not respond to my WhatsApp message. I knew they had arrived safely because I track him with Bidtrack. They got in OK, they were not asked for ID, except one of the comedians picked up on their young love and they became fodder for his show. Apparently his whole act is adlib and he just plays off the audience. They said they were both 18, but still at school and that set the comedian off. They found it hilarious and of course, I heard the whole explicit story on Sunday. The Manager did however come and ask them if they really were 18 and Chad said he has his license and young lady said she is but didn't have her ID book with her. Her Strawberry Daiquiri came with no alcohol after that. Chad never drank, because he was driving, he had a PassionFruit and Lemonade and a couple of cream soda's. The manager was obviously not taking any chances with under age drinking, which was a good thing.  They seem to think she looks older than 18, but she doesn't and Chad also has a very young face. Chad was not impressed with me the other day when I asked him if he realised that she was not even born when we got Garfield - true story our cat is old.

On the topic of cats and dogs. Miss Piggy had her eye op today. I was so stressed out because the whole vet vibe took me back to the day that Pluto died, which took me back to the day that Clint died, plus Bull Dogs are a high risk when it comes to anaesthesia. She was all stressed out when I booked her in this morning. A Cocker Spaniel tried to attack her so she lost it and then someone came in with four yapping Maltese and she went berserk and I had to leave her in that state all stressed out and then go under anaesthetic. She is still very confused now and quite groggy and not up for much. She was home for nearly 3 hours before she would take a biscuit and she is crazy about biscuits. She won't drink water or eat and I think her throat is sore from being intubated. She panted and panted and panted when we got home and I was so scared she would have a heart attack, because the panting was from stress and not heat it is quite chilly at the moment. She keeps giving me her left paw and that is probably sore from the drip. She can't have pain killers today because she had injections. I just hope her eye is OK - it looks so sore and she was under anaesthetic for an hour.

Chad just came and told me he thinks Piggy is putting on an act because he heard her running in the passage, he went to see if she was OK and as she saw him she stopped running and acted all sore. Shame in her defence she may be scared that we will take her back there.

Between my baby dog stressing me out and my baby boy the grey hairs are multiplying.

Her Very Sore Red Eye - Poor Baby

And that is a bit of an update of our tears; happiness; joy and stress

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Thursday, 3 September 2015

Pooches Passports and Pedal Power

The triple "P" heading or is it the quadruple "P" add prelims to that and I am on quite a roll. Yea Chad started Prelims today - Afrikaans. He has been on study leave since last week on Thursday so that should mean top marks for Afrikaans - not a chance. On Monday, Mark went home during the morning and came back to work and said with all importance "Do you know Chad never went to school today" Seriously I leave home at 8.45 in the mornings I would be completely out of it if I didn't know. "Yes, Mark - he is on study leave" I replied with a sigh. "Humph - Chad does %$^&#@ studying" His response. "Ye well tell the school that I didn't give him time off" Chad has his books dramatically displayed on the dining-room table even though he knows that I know it is an act. I have told him he is old enough to vote; to drink; to drive and to smoke and that he should be aware of the consequences to his actions. He doesn't smoke; hasn't voted and doesn't drink and drive at the same time [I sincerely hope] and life is a joke at the moment. His last term's report was OK and every teacher said he needs to put in more effort and get better marks.

The Photo Chad Sent Us When We Were Away - the Dogs Ignoring Him

Last night, I was going on about how lovely and warm it has been and the temperatures dropped quite drastically overnight. It felt as if it was going to rain but nothing - there was a chill in the air but not that cold. Chad cycled to school this morning. He only woke up at 7.30 and I was worried about traffic and getting to school late and missing his exam and getting zero. He was writing at 8.30. He shouted goodbye and when I was leaving for work I saw his keys on the table and wondered where he was because his car was there and the BMW (I thought maybe he went to school in that) but Sheila said he had cycled. I guess they thought it was warm enough to start cycling again so they can sleep later and leave home later. Crazy that it is quicker to cycle 7km's  to school than to drive 7km's. Never mind that he cycles home and then goes back to school to fetch his young lady. She isn't doing exams so she finishes normal time. He just writes and then comes home. I still haven't posted the dance pictures, because blogger does not have a simple way of making a post private. The whole blog must be private or public not individual posts. I am really rethinking going over to Wordpress because it is not that difficult like I thought.

Irritating Me And My Cat Earlier When I Was Trying To Blog

On Clint's Bed My Usually Peaceful Blogging Place

On Saturday, they went to Pretoria Zoo. He thought it would be cool and so did his friend's girlfriend, they just had to convince their respective partners and off they went. That kid gets around in his car!! Apparently the zoo wasn't that nice and it was so hot the animals never came out of their enclosures. They only spent a couple of hours there and someone scraped the side of Chad's car. It was covered in white paint, which he managed to polish out, but the deeper scratches are still there. He had to park outside the zoo and it was crazy busy with taxis and cars all over the place. He was pretty bummed about it but after he polished out the marks he was OK.

 White Paint Marks By Back Wheel Polished Out

Finally two months short of a year we went to renew our passports. We have been going to do them ever since this post at the end of October last year. Ours had expired and Chad's was still valid for a year. Not anymore coincidentally it expires on Friday. Time just flies and we just procrastinate. To be honest, the long queues and nightmare at Home Affairs was reason enough to procrastinate. We decided to go to the Home Affairs Office in Roodepoort because there is no parking at the Randburg offices and it is apparently a total mess. We were pleasantly surprised, we went last week on Thursday and it looked busy, but the whole process is very streamlined and organised. It took just over an hour and a half from when we arrived there until we left. The staff were all friendly and professional. You sign in at the gate and a security guard asks what you are applying for or collecting, takes you to the queue, you pay first, then get a number.  They call out your number for your photo and then to the counter to complete the info. No paperwork or forms to fill in. Everything is done on computer - even your signature. Applying for a passport the first time may be different, but everything looked as if it was running smoothly as well and there was none of the usual complaining and grumbling that is a given when waiting in queues at Government Departments in South Africa. The collection of newborn birth certificates didn't seem to follow the same number system, but it still seemed to be quick. Before we were even out the door we received a text message confirming our applications. We get a text message when they are ready for collection.

I took my cat to the vet yesterday for her annual check up and vaccinations and the vet was very impressed with her and said she is in very good condition for a 17-year-old. Her teeth have a bit of plaque at the back, but if she is eating OK and they are not worrying her then we don't need to do anything about it. The anaesthetic at her age would be more of a risk. She must be getting old because she normally goes crazy in the car - in a basket, but she cried softly a couple of times on the way there and waiting in reception and then she was quiet on the way back. She probably thought best she shuts up before she gets another thermometer up her butt and a jab in the neck. The vet even gave her a deworming tablet and he got it down her throat with no problem, normally I am sent home with the tablets and battle and she never gets the deworming. This is a new Veterinary clinic we found after the traumatic time we had with Pluto. Garfield still looks good, but she is starting to sleep a lot more than usual and she sleeps a lot . She has taken a liking to my new laptop and is on it all the time. If it is not the bag it is the laptop. I can be working on it and she will climb onto it and just lie there.

Tomorrow Miss Piggy is going to the vet to get assessed and then put on antibiotics and anti-inflammatories and then she has to go and have an operation to fix her Cherry Eye. It now has to be done. Her eye has become infected and I am sure Pluto used to keep it clean because for all these years it was not a problem and he always licked her eye or her butt or even cleaned their teeth. Let it be noted I love my animals but do not kiss them; feed them off my plate or touch them and then touch food without washing my hands. I am really worried about Piggy going under anaesthetic, she was sterilized but anaesthetic is a risk for Bulldogs and she is quite chubby.

I am also so busy at work doing stuff for our Accountant, as usual I am late and they need the stuff because tax season opened about a month or two ago. I guess I should get to sleep these late nights blogging to get my mind off real life stresses is just making me less inclined to work during the day and more stressed because I am so tired from the late nights.

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Wednesday, 2 September 2015

It's That Time Of The Year Again

We are having such glorious weather - from mid-August the days warm up and we go from freezing Winter temperatures straight into what feels like Summer. The temperatures normally drop in October and November when the rains start, but September is lovely and warm. Chad was stressing about his Dance because YL (young lady) was wearing a strapless dress and it was freezing cold and then came the week leading up to dance night and we were in short sleeves at night and he sighed a huge sigh of relief. He told me there was a 1% chance of rain on the day of the dance - never in August I said to myself whilst telling him to put an umbrella in his car it would chase away the rain. After the arrival and photos they were not bothered about whether it rained or not and it didn't rain, it was a lovely warm almost summer's evening. The next afternoon it bucketed down and we had massive storm and Sunday everything was clean and fresh. Yes, it does storm in August and it does get very hot.

Screen Grab 31 July 06.45 am

Screen Grab 26 August 7.05 am

Yes, I love Spring and the days leading up to September and Spring even though at times the temperatures plummet on the 1st, it is not for long and then we have Summer temperatures. The trees are full of blossoms, green buds are sprouting everywhere and although we have birds all year round, including the Grey Lourie, their cries of "Go Away"  just seem clearer and more distinct as the days get warmer and the garden is filled with the sound of birds and the sweet smell of Jasmine.

Then those fleeting moments of joy and happiness dissolve into pain and tears because as the seasons change my sorrow stays. March and September the big season changes - Spring and Autumn - Birth and Death - that is my life now. March was always an insignificant month in my life - Autumn was neither here nor there, but Spring, I always loved the end of August because it meant Spring was around the corner and Winter was over AND Clint was born in September. A joyous time - now a time of sadness and grief. March and September the two months we head off to the nursery to fill the garden, more importantly Clint's Memorial Garden with seedlings. Pretty flowers to fill an empty space with life and beauty only to realise that flowers and seedlings will never fill that space ever.

Seedlings Being Planted In Clint's Memorial Garden

I love going to the nursery, there is a sense of peace and tranquillity amongst the smell and sight of beautiful plants and seedlings. I love how beautiful the garden looks once the seedlings are planted and watered, but the reason and the season just brings a lot of pain and hurt and tears. Sometimes I wonder why I bother because buying flowers and plants makes no difference to Clint, he is not here to enjoy them and they don't take away the pain, but it is something I have to do and will always do. It is something I can do for Clint.

I don't do the actual planting because anything I plant dies, our gardener does the planting. I just tell him where to plant everything and I am very fortunate that he takes pride in his work. We went to the nursery on Saturday afternoon and bought seedlings and some plants and herbs and our gardener planted them today. It looked like it was going to rain but it never did which is a pity because the garden needs a good soak, our grass is so dry.

Some Petunias From March

Some of the Petunia's are still from the ones we planted in March and they still look good. Plants are getting so expensive (like everything else). We pay more every season and get less. We also needed to buy plants to plant where we removed all the trees last year. It is right by our gate and became a dumping ground for branches the gardener continuously cuts down and it was a real eyesore. It is looking a lot better. The massive roots and tree stumps are still there but to get rid of them professionally will cost more than 5k each - more than it cost to fell the trees so they are here to stay, unfortunately.

Where The Trees Were

Stumps Amongst The Flowers

Otherside Of The Front Gate

I also noticed today that our water feature by the pool is covered in cracks so that needs to get thrown away and the birds love drinking from it. I don't even know when the cracks started because the pool normally comes on during the night at around midnight and has been switched off for awhile.

Our Colander  Water Feature

So yes it is that time of the year again.... A time that should be joyous and a celebration - instead it is a time filled with sadness and grief.

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