Thursday, 27 July 2017

A little bit crap.

This evening, I exist in a state of extreme mortification. I have done something which has upset and worried someone I love and admire. What is even worse is that the kind person has been really gentle about it, when shouting and swearing should have been the order of the day. Worse than that, the thing was completely avoidable and happened because I was careless, thoughtless and lazy. That’s a revolting combination.
It’s all very well, doing the apologising, taking responsibility and promising it won’t happen again, but it should never have happened in the first place.
As I walked down to give the mares their supper, I pondered what to do next. Endless self-laceration is not helpful, although I do deserve a damn good bit of laceration. Making a good plan and making amends is the best thing, if I can pull myself out of the defensive crouch of the truly crap.

And then it dawned on me, in a rather shocking moment of revelation, that ever since my mother died I have been a little bit crap. My father’s death threw me off my stride for about a year and then I got back into the swing of things and started to behave again like a human being. But ever since my mum went, I have been absolutely hopeless. I’m always having to apologise to people because I have not returned an email or replied to a letter or because I’ve done something idiotic and stupid like the thing tonight. I can’t bring any semblance of order to my office, my work teeters on the edge of complete disaster, I forget to return telephone calls. I am, in fact, really, really annoying. If I had to deal with me I would be in a constant state of mild exasperation.

I kept thinking it was the menopause. I’ve never blamed hormones for anything in my life but people do say it is a thing. I thought perhaps it was because there were quite a lot of blows after the death, one damn thing after another, some of which are entirely insoluble and must simply be lived with. I thought perhaps it was worry about my sweet little bay mare who was sick and might not have survived. Every month I had to face the fact I might have to put her down. (She is much better now and we have hope.) I wondered if it was just a second phase of life thing. I even wondered whether it was because there was so much madness in the news, what with the Trumpsters and the Brexiteers, and every time I listened to the Today programme I thought we were all doomed.

Now I wonder. Is it a grief thing? Is this what happens? If you have two dead parents in five years do you just go a little bit crap for a while? I’m rather hoping that is the case, or I’m in terrible trouble. I like reasons for things. If a mind scrambled by loss takes a while to cohere again then I can get to work. If not, I’m going to have to change my entire personality and start again.


  1. Dearest Tania,
    I think you are being too hard on yourself. You sound as if you have lots of reasons to be a bit less together than usual and none of them are your fault. Also if the person you upset is able to forgive and be kind then it suggests there's enough goodwill between you in the bank as it were to allow the odd slip-up to be forgotten. Grief is a huge upheaval and people understand that usually because most of us have been through it by this time, and we remember how it affected us. You don't have to reinvent yourself. Just look at all the people who still love you just the way you are. We all make mistakes, all the time, all we can ever do is say sorry and try to put things right which is what you seem to be doing. Hope you feel better soon, Rachel

  2. Hi Tania,
    I think definitely give yourself a break, it's not like you simply don't care and allowed the thing to happen, in fact it sounds like you care very much and worry a lot. You musn't think you have to restart your personality. I truly believe that when all of us feel a bit crap it must be for a reason and it's important not to beat ourselves up about it but to concentrate on giving ourself a break and not adding to the stress that may already be lurking under the surface. I used to beat myself up about every little thing that I did wrong but eventually it got so much that I came to realise that this is me, crap and all, and I need to accept it in order to be remotely happy! It doesn't stop us feeling guilty or bad when we slip up but hopefully lessens those feelings somewhat to realise that we are who we are and as long as we are simply aware of the "things" that go wrong then we are compassionate enough, without needing to punish ourselves over it. Grief is a huge thing and often, even when you think you are ok, it creeps out in many varied forms, so I think that you have more than enough reason to be a little bit distracted at the mo. I hope that you feel better soon, Charlotte xx

  3. All I can tell you is my experience. After my father died, I gave myself six months (which I thought was a lot of time) to grieve. After two years I am just starting to come out of the "crap" phase. My grief did not manifest as crying or anything I recognized as grief. Instead, I pulled into myself, I avoided anything that reminded me of my father, and I stopped doing housework and making proper meals. I just didn't seem to have the energy to do those things. Thankfully, I am starting to have it once again. Two parents in five years ... that is a double blow. Add to it the other things you have had on your plate and - yes - I would say you have been grieving. Some of it after the fact and some in sad anticipation, "just in case." Be kind to yourself. And let others know, even if it's just a little bit, that you don't feel like yourself yet. It will help them understand, if they don't already. Perhaps your person at the top of this post already does understand. Sometimes it's easier to recognize something in someone else than in ourselves. All the best as you continue to navigate the new life you are in by virtue of being an orphan now, for that is what you are, no matter your age.

  4. Hi Sweetie, yes you are being too hard on yourself! I can say with hand on heart you have have and are going through some seriously stressful times. Losing both parents in a 5 yr space, especially your Mum, you are still grieving and learning to live with that gigantic hole in your heart. You don't "get over it", however, over time you learn to live with it and adapt. You are also going through serious illness with your little Brown mare and having to face the possibility of losing her too. Your animals are your family, and so we worry to death about them, like you would a family member. Also as you put it yourself you may or are going into menapause which can make you feel crappy and do the weirdest things to us both physically and mentally. From how you write and come across on your blogs you would never intentionally hurt someone you love and respect. If I were you I would write them a letter or a card telling them how much they mean to you and how it has made you feel crappy. Receiving some thing tangle makes it feel real, where as a conversation once heard is gone. Sending you a big hug xxx

    1. Sorry, that tangle was supposed to be tangible! Damn auto correct ☺

  5. If you go back and read what you have written, you'll understand that is isn't just one thing, it's everything. Even the strongest person can only handle so much, or so much at once. Losing your parents is a HUGE thing, and menopause is a large thing, and worry about the bay mare is a constant thing, and, and, and... Don't change who you are or who you are becoming, but refine the parts of yourself that you want to emphasize and don't blow up the process just because you aren't perfect all of the time. Only YOU can know how to best be you, so advice about handling each "transgression" is wasted effort. Instead, I'll just say that those of us who have been through things totally understand. And yes, you will find your footing. It's a difficult path at times, but grief evolves into quiet acceptance, menopause fades to a soft murmur without the jangly bits crashing in so often, caring for old horse friends brings both the joy of hope and the sadness of eventual loss, and all of these experiences influence your response to the world at large. Be kind to yourself and you'll be kinder all around. Healing takes kindness, not harshness. Give yourself the same leeway as you would a dear friend struggling with these things that you have in your own life and you will find a calmness that comes from the strength of having endured life's challenges. Peace to you. HUGS! :-)

  6. Letting our better selves go slack, and deliberately letting our good-thinking muscles go lax, we fall into the same habits athletes do when they stop exercising, working out and eating right. We become emotional/temperamental slobs. I discovered the secret of grouchy old people, people who were nice and kind when they were younger. We tend to be less patient when we age. We do not suffer fools gladly. We do not like unruly, ill behaved children . . . We change as we age.

    I've had best friends who lost both parents and they became kinder, gentler, more sensitive people. People are different though, and grieve in different fashions. Some bury the pain to the public, thinking out of sight means it's not there, but undealt with grief has a way of manifesting itself unconsciously. The wonderful thing about your revelation is: You're aware of falling short of your personal character development and lapses. Being human is so cool, yes? You're all right. All, and completely fine. :)

  7. What jan said: "If I were you I would write them a letter or a card telling them how much they mean to you and how it has made you feel crappy."

    And, as best as you can STOP BEATING YOURSELF UP.

    XX Pat

  8. Thanks for this informative article, I hope you will get most positive response specially for this post. . . .


  9. I am a member of WAY (Widowed and Young) and so many of us joke about Widows Brain, I honestly was a competent person before, now I am disorganised and yes, often lazy. When I have spoken to other bereaved women about when your mind returns to "normal" they laugh and say "it doesn't and then you hit the menopause" - so yes it IS a grief thing - be kind to yourself :-)

  10. Everyone deals differently with death. My lovely Mum died in January and two months later my remaining aunt died - the last of my Mum's family. It feels like the end of an era. Immediately after Mum's death I obsessed over memories and photos and how old Mum was when that happened or when that photo was taken, I spent hours thinking how old she and my Dad would have been when we did that or visited there etc. That has eased a little, but now I find myself repeating myself and I can't remember if I've told someone something or not. I also seem to have become hyper talkative, I was always chatty but it has moved up a notch. After dealing with the funeral and the admin etc when I was hyperactive & hardly ate or slept I have now become a total slob. The last few weeks it has become an effort to shower and get dressed and if I manage that and get out of the house I consider that an achievement. You are not a bad person, you are doing your best and yes maybe the menopause is not helping, but mainly I think you are still grieving for the loss of your parents. That's the other thing when my Mum died I found myself suddenly missing my Dad as well and he died 25 years ago, but the grief for his death was suddenly raw again and I found myself missing them both. I expect you feel the same. Try not to be so hard on yourself. I hope there is someone who can give you a big bearhug and tell you it will be ok.xx

  11. Firstly, you have sparked some great responses which made me feel ...validated, just reading them. There are some good people out there. My mum died in 1999 in her sixties and it was a massive shock. My dad died 4 years later and I reacted by having a 'shock menopause' - I never had another period. So I do think mind and body are inextricably linked. Apart from all that though you are being too hard on yourself. Listen to all the good people you have reached out to and think of the advice you would give. Love and forgive that silly, vulnerable, mortified, careless you and sleep easy tonight


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