My Dad has cancer. He was diagnosed in February with Oesophageal cancer and cancer of the gullet. He has had a hiatus hernia for years and before Christmas 2013 he noticed that he was having difficulty swallowing and felt there was a lump in his throat. He does and it is a big tumour.
Only 5% of people with this type of cancer live beyond 5 years of diagnosis. This is a very 'hard to swallow' fact.
With three chemo sessions down and the 'rest period' about to start before he goes under the knife and they remove his oesophagus and turn his stomach into his food pipe, I can't help think about the next five years.
We never hit it off at the beginning. I thought you had an 'odd' smell about you; one of stale cigarette smoke, wilting flowers and dust. You were so dark in appearance: faded at the edges but a dark swirl of patterns - too busy for the eye to take in.
I didn't think I would be able to love you.
As the first few years passed, I stripped you back. I removed your layers to reveal a calmer, smoother appearance. Your fragrance altered to the smell of fresh beginnings and pink oriental lilies.
Lillies always remind me of you.
We went through many happy times together. Parties with friends who enjoyed spending in your presence. From summer barbecues to Halloween and New Years - the drinks flowed, laughter filled the air and we were all happy.
Cracks then started to show and sadness often penetrated deep within. There were awkward silences, lies, and then more lies. I left you for a short time but returned and felt welcomed and missed, noticing that smell - your smell.
We saw many changes together. I know there were times when you wanted to close all the doors and for it to just be us, so they could no longer hurt me.
We created an vibe, an aura of calm, love and acceptance. Friends came and left, friends partied and slept - all feeling refreshed, relaxed and at ease when they said goodbye. We were a sanctuary to many.
You met him when I did.
He needed our warm and welcoming embrace. Like me, he found himself whilst being with you. He grew, he mended and he began to understand love.
We were so happy together with you. Our own little world, together building a future, working as a team until the day came when we had to leave.
I cried when I left you and whilst I saw you many times after - it was not the same. Your smell was different. You belonged to someone else - you were their saviour now, not mine. You changed your appearance but deep down I knew you were still there.
They then left you and you were all alone. Slowly, I had to strip you bare and take you back to the beginning. Empty, cold and lifeless.
Your smell, musty and removed of life.
Yesterday I said good-bye for the last time. I am sad. You meant to much to me. You allowed me to be free and to become who I wanted to be. You meant to much to many others too. You gave us so many memories and I would like to thank you.
The pattern is obvious
if you know where to look.
Follow the lines
until they go underground.
Blue in colour
linking their fate.
Out of sight
yet not out of mind.
The beat of the heart
drums in sequence.
The pattern repeats
if you know where to find it.
I have been thinking about expectations and whether we should have them or place them of people.
In general, I do not expect anything from anyone and I tend to lower my expectations with certain people. This has proved a survival tactic in the past to avoid being hurt. If I expect nothing, when something does happen or someone acts in a particular (kind/thoughtful/caring) manner, well, then it is a bonus.
However, should I expect more. I know people have expectations of me. Some are quite high, some are unreasonable.
Is it wrong to expect the day to day things?
Should expectations not be about the bigger important things like honesty, trust and respect.
They are the only things I expect from the people in my life.
I need this space again. My emotional filing cabinet and space for dumping the contents of my head.
This week I had a session with a Life Coach specialising in Career Mums and women returning to work after maternity. I can't praise Zoe of Career Loving Mums enough. A complete inspiration and lovely person. For two hours over coffee I talked and talked after being asked: "what would you like to think about...?"
I thought about lots. My work, life, family, love, space, money and how I get back to being Jo again.
Prior to the session I had come to the conclusion, that in good old 'Jo fashion', I had not processed or dealt with anything that has happened in the last year. From the complete highs such as getting married to my soul mate and giving birth to our little miracle Violet, to the deep lows of moving away, a total hysterectomy and early-menopause. Talking to Zoe, it only reaffirmed that I had been shoving all this 'stuff' under the carpet; just doing what I always do and have always done - just getting on with it, pulling my socks up and just cracking on!
And in this process and following becoming a mummy, I have changed and have had to adapt to my new life. However, I have lost little bits of Jo along the way.
I discovered that physical space is very important to me and the fact that most of my things are still in boxes, split between north and south, it is no wonder that my feet are not on the ground. I need to plant my feet firmly in my northern home.
I also came to the conclusion that I am not dealing and coping with the new structure that my daily life now has. This is inevitable after having a baby, but I have gone from living on my own, never bothered about time and a life that flowed around me to a more timetabled structure which comes with not only having a baby but also two step-children. Life needs to run like clockwork now which means that I find it hard to stop; there is always 'something' that needs doing and why do one thing when hey! I am a woman and can multi-task, so two or three things can be done at the same time can't they? Or not and it just turns to chaos
This chaos is also in my head and the constant on the go has reflected how I have been working. Whilst not really having a maternity leave and doing a little bit every day to keep my hand in, I am now 'officially' back to work but lack of physical space and the internal chaos means that my 'smart' working is no longer. I faff; I start one thing, remember something else, start that. remember something else and hey! I am multi-tasking again but the result is not that of achieving lots but very much the opposite. I end up spending an hour whilst V is asleep, starting maybe half a dozen tasks and not achieving anything.
The result of not achieving anything and not feeling in control has resulted in a loss of drive and motivation in my 'northern office'. I almost have no idea what I am doing. I am not organised and I work in chaos - both mentally and within my physical space.
The lack of motivation and disorganisation leaves me feeling like a failure and that maybe, I can't be a successful business woman and a mummy at the same time.
The feeling of failure, chaos, and with 'Jo' still in boxes had lead to me being lost and unhappy.
What I want to get back to is the Jo that gets the adrenaline rush up as she hits the M3 - not because she is happy to be back south and wants to be back there, but because it means a week of work. A week of doing what I do best and what I am good at. A week of meetings where I am respected as a business owner and business woman. Those weeks are always full on, there are always issues to sort, I run around meeting people and generally don't stop but it makes me feel motivated, inspired and alive. I know I work best under pressure. When things go wrong or a deadline is looming or ridiculously tight - I thrive.
This is what I need to establish in my northern home. If I thrive at work, I thrive in all other areas of my life because that is what I know I do best, it is where I get my energy from. That isn't to say that everything else comes second or after - it is just my motivation. I know that I can be a business woman and a mummy, and if anyone tells me otherwise, well, it makes me want to prove them wrong.
If I am motivated, I am happy. If I am happy, then everything flows as it should and as we wanted and dreamed it to be.
So, first job... create an organised, clutter free (and therefore chaos free) office complete with lots of 'Jo' things to give me a physical space to work. Then to sort childcare to give me the time I need to spend in the nice new, organised space. I will then have a structured and set time to be 'working Jo', which means mummy and wifey time will be quality time without me having to 'just to a little bit of work'.
This plan along with some stronger HRT patches will get me back to where I want to be. And I know I it won't take long.
The other day I had the words. There was a beginning, a middle and an end. I knew exactly what was required and had a plan on how to get there. Today the words have slipped and fallen off the page. Like a worm, the thoughts behind the words have buried deep, hiding where they can not be heard.