STILL LEARNING

Well, I am still learning. It is no mean feat learning how to navigate WordPress and do what I always used to do as a blogger who could see just a little bit. It has been an uphill struggle and I have still got a long way to go. Whilst I can usually post my own poems etc I find it almost impossible to go to the blogs of others without the help of someone else. I still get very frustrated about this because I am missing out on some great and interesting posts. So that makes me a bit fed up. Also I still have issues with replying to comments but I am getting a bit better/ my greatest wish is to be able to do what I used to do on WP. I wonder when that will happen. I still have to work at it.

IN THE COOL OF A SUNDAY MORNING

In the cool of a Sunday morning I say “Goodbye”
A lifetime of striving now gone as the sun rises high
Limp is my body pale in new morning’s light
Fighting for me now ceased in the ghostly white
So weak is my wavering voice unable to cry

Betrayed by a single kiss my reward comes nigh
No time in this world now left to ask why
With no strength in my voice my fingers curled ‘tight
In the cool of the Sunday morning

How swift does death come as here this day lie
Pale the white horse that rides on forever by
I walked so long by faith not by sight
The darkness comes as I walk in the blackest night
I hear no sounds of angels singing for me on high
In the cool of a Sunday morning

THE MOUSEMAN COMETH

The mouseman is coming on Friday. Poor little mice.

We have mice in our garage and under our shed. It is not fir the first time. They cannot get into the house but they inhabit our garden. One year a little mouse managed to get to our bird table that had food for the birds on it and it was eating away happily. Then I saw one running across our lawn. This year they have eaten hubby’s crocus bulbs.

Poor little mice. They can’t help being mice and they are just being what they are meant to be. Nice. Now they are going to die. I feel bad, but they spread disease and we have to get rid of them. Poor little mice.

WHERE SILENCE SLEEPS

When silence goes to sleep she cries
Lying where the rose bush dies
Pricking thorns become her bed
Here where once her dreams were fed

Sleeping as the willow sighs
Where the watching night owl flies
Earth is where she rests her head
When silence goes to sleep

Waking soon she starts to rise
With the best and with the wise
She in sleep her sadness shed
Evil monsters from her fled
As the lark flies to the skies
When silence wakes

CALMING LAVENDER TOILET PAPER

Well my hubby put some new toilet paper out today and I nearly went mad lol. I was like the wild woman of Borneo. Lavender scented toilet paper indeed. And not only that, but it had knobbles on too. It was called Wave. Well, I made hubby wave goodbye to it. It wasn’t exactly calming. We will complain that it did not meet its description.

KEPT WOMAN

Tonight
My heart like lead
Grieves for what I have lost
Never will I walk alone but
Be held
And leashed
Before me stretches a vastness
That I can only feel
As the wind blows
Gently

I long
To wander through
Green fields, on ancient paths
Without my leash, set free again
Blindly
I fall
As I try in vain to step out
And now I know the score
I am a kept
Woman

#FOWC – Slant

https://fivedotoh.com/2022/12/06/fowc-with-fandango-slant/

It was two days before Christmas and St. Augustine’s was putting up the Christmas tree and setting up the crib. They were much later than usual this year owing to a bout of illness amongst the parishioners, including the vicar. It was quite a large tree and it was placed right next to the lectern.

“Look,” said Ben. “It’s on the SLANT.”

Everyone took a step backwards amd looked at the tree.

“You’re right,” said Jim.

“Well there’s nowt we can do about it now,”said Ben. “It’ll be alright.”

It was almost midnight on Christmas Eve and the Reverend Stuart Blenheim was standing at the lectern announcing the hymn “While Shepherds watched their flocks by night” when the tree came crashing down. The organist, not having noticed what had happened, began playing the carol. The tree brushed the side of the face of the Reverend Stuart Blenheim, and blood started trickling down his face.

“Fear not said he for mighty dread had seized their troubled minds” the congregation belted out. By now the tree was lying prostrate on the floor and the Reverend Stuart Blenheim was wiping the blood off his face with a pure white handkerchief. “Who was it that said it’ll be alright,” whispered Jim to Ben. “It was all the angel of the Lord’s fault” whispered Ben.

BANG

In a
Moment your life
Changes for ever, BANG!
Pain courses through your body, head
Wobbles
Neck jerks
With a sickening thud, all stops,
You sit as if nothing
Has happened, dazed,
Fear hits
Then screams
Rise in your throat
You are trapped in your car
All that you want to do is run
You wait
Blinded
The rest of the story is gone
And now you are home laid
Remembering
The thud
In shock
Your body shakes
Tears come incessantly
Soon you will be empty and dry
You pray
For peace
But the trauma floods over you
Will you ever again
Be your old self?
Tell me

MEMORY OF MY BROTHER AND WHAT HAPPENED IN LONDON

Going past the place where we had the car crash yesterday brought another memory for me. Also because it is almost Christmas I am feeling very much the pain of my brother and my family. Here is what happened when he and his wife came to stay with us in London.

We were liaving in a flat in Hornsey at the time as my husband worked for Haringey Council as an Advisor. The flat was a large one and my sister in law loves going to the posh shops in London. Harrods is one. So they came to stay with us to get a holiday in London. One day, they set off in their car for the City and I went with them.we were going through the Piccadilly underpass when suddenly I felt very queer. I cannot explain what I felt, but I was ill. It all happened very suddenly. My brother stopped his car in a street and put me out of the car and told me to make my way home. He and his wife then went off to the shops.

I did not know my way at all and had no idea at all of the buses or where to get one to take me home. I was feeling so ill and shaky and could hardly walk. I was lost and could not get home. We did not have mobiles in those days and so I could not ring my husband. I remember sitting down on the pavement outside the entrance to a tube station. No tube went to where we lived anyway. I sat on the pavement for a long time not knowing what to do and feeling very frightened. People thought I was a drunk but I was not. Then I saw a hospital opposite to where I was and I wondered if I could crawl to the hospital. I decided to attempt to get up and walk and found that I could though I was wobbling all over and very weak.

I was so glad to see that hospital but as I got closer to the entrance I saw that it was a hospital for alcoholics. I thought, though, that as it was a hospital, there would be doctors there. I walked in a wobbly manner to Reception and explained that I was ill and needed a doctor. The lady behind the desk told me that this was a hospital for alcoholics and not a general hospital. I was distraught. I told her that I had become ill and was new to London and did not know how to get home. She asked a few questions and told me there was a general hospital down the road. But I could hardly walk. In the end I told her I needed to contact my husband. She allowed me to use the phone to ring my husband. I did so and asked him to come and fetch me. I could not explain where I was because I did not know where I was. However, I eventually managed to explain a little bit. He did not know London either and so I did not know whether he would find me or not. The Receptionist told me to leave the hospital and go and wait for my husband.

Fortunately, my husband did find me, and I got into the car and he took me home.

My brother and his wife arrived back at the flat in the evening and made nothing of it. They were not bothered at all about whether I was alright or not.

It turned out later that I had developed a problem in my inner ear and it had caused vertigo. I could never go through Piccadily underpass again with that memory of it.

GONE

Sitting on the dunes
We waved your ship Goodbye watched
Whilst it desappeared

You said you’d come back
We never saw you again
You have disappeared

At Christmas we hope
That somehow we will find you
But all is silence

CAR CRASH

Today we managed to get out for a drive. Om the way home, we passed the spot where we had a head on crash in 2016. It was dark, just like it was on that night. It was exactly the time that the crash happened, and near to the date that it happened, which was December 14. I shuddered as we passed the spot.

We were driving along the road when we came upon a very very long lorry parked at the side of the road on our side. It was lit up like Blackpool Illuminations. I had never seen so many lights on a lorry. As it was such a long lorry, my husband stopped to look around it to make sure that nothing was coming towards us. There was nothing. He pulled out to pass the stationery lorry and it much have been when we were about halfway past the lorry that it happened. I was blind then, but could see just a lottle bit. I did not, however, see the car lights careering towards us and my husband only very suddenly became aaware of them but by then they were upon us as the car was going so fast.

I suddenly felt an almight bang on our car and thought we had been shot at. I had no idea at all what had happened until my husband told me. Our car had stopped and would not go again but my husband told me that a car travelling towards us had crashed into us, and its front wheels had mounted the bonnet of our car and it seemed about to go through our front windscrren. However, for some reason, the car suddenly veered towards our right, and rolled over on the road and landed upside down on the opposite side of the road. We were both in shock but me more so, with being blind.

I was traumatised and my husband said that there was water all over the road from our car. I panicked. What were we to do? All the traffic on bothe sides of the road had to stop and a huge queue was forming on both sides. A man came to our car and said he had rung the police and the ambulance.

I started tp cry and was shaking uncontrollably. We waited, and as my brother’s business was nearby I rang him almost hysterically and pleaded with him to come and get me and take me home. I was not a well person even then, and I needed to get home and lie down. The police arrived and came to speak to us and after a bit of a discussion they said I could go home when my brother arrived. My husband of course had to remain with his car, be checked by the ambulance people and then wait for the breakdown people to come and load his car onto a lorry and take it away.

My brother duly arrived, and he was as uncaring and horrible then as he is now. He was angry with me and rfused to take my arm and guide me to his vehicle. I could not see the ground that I was walking on and it was rough ground at the side of the road.

When we got to my home, my brother came in with me and sat on our sofa and began blaming my husband without any knowledge of what had happened. He talked loudly and angrily and then told me that he and his wife were leaving the area as there was nothing for them to stay here for.

O think that this was the beginning of the breakup between me and my brother. His hatred showed up that night and he just walked out of my home and left me, shaking and traumatised.

Eventually my husband got home and he had been checked by the ambulance people and told that he was ok and could call a cab to bring him home.

WALK WITH ME

This is an older poem but it is one that I love

Come with me today, feel the freshening breeze,
Walking on the hill, above the river,
Remember now, this moment only seize
For soon it may be gone, it’s not forever
I know this far to well, but now I live
In the present moment, feel its glory
All that we have is this bright day to give
To the ones we’ve stored to make our story
Take my hand, we’ll walk this path together
I’ll show you things you never saw before
That always you will want to remember
Until we reach one day that farthest shore
But let the wind blow now here as we walk
And let us hear the silence to us talk

LIKE DYING

Becoming disconnected from the world is like dying. Gradually more and more disappears until there is nothing left. We are in an unfamiliar land, and what is more, we are alone. Waking, we realise that this is the reality. Something we want to run from. But we cannot run. There is no escape. Nowhere to go even if we could run. And we are abandoned. The world goes about its business. Unaware. Perhaps uncaring. Sometimes the string that connected us breaks. We are left spinning in space. Nauseated we try to hang on, but it is no good. The string is broken and it cannot be mended. We spin alone.

WILL RESPOND TODAY

Over the past few days I have been dealing with how to keep posting after WP did something that made it impossible for me as a blind person to post using my iPad. It has taken so much of my time, and so I have not responded to a lot of your comments. Apologies. I will respond to everybody today. I do read all comments but do not always have the ability to respond immediately. I think that that is known now but these last few days it has been particularly bad.

SOMEHOW

Waking with the familiar sick feeling
From dreams that only remind me
That today will be no different
That today the box I inhabit
Will vecome only smaller
Longing for humans
Longing for love
Longing for conversation
Panic rises
I am no longer part of society
Living in a darkened world
Straining to see what I once saw
Even in memory’s eye
No longer am I a person
But a shell
Just breathing
I try to wake up
Feeling of no worth
Afraid of this world
Not wanting to go on
This is my truth
But somehow I must rouse myself from this
Somehow I must believe again
Somehow
Somehow

Somehow

Somehow

WHEN YOU ARE YOUNG

When you are young you have no idea that one day you will be so incapacitated that you are totally dependent upon others for your life. I do not know what we would have thought had we known this when we were children. I do not suppose a child could comprehend this anyway. To be so incapacitated is the most demeaning thing in the world. Being cut off from the rest of the world is the most horrible thing as well. Today this has really got to me. Usually in my day, I start off not too bad, and feeling quite bright and hopeful. However when it starts to become dark I too feel dark. I will have been on my bed all say, in the complete darkness, courtesy of my blindness, seeing no one and speaking to no one. The only world that I have is inside my iPad. That was why it felt so desperate to me when I could no longer post because of WordPress making a new innovation which might have been ok for people who can see, but impossible for me. My life and my whole world is this blog. It is my only contact with people. Sad, but true. And yet it is not sad, because I have lovely friends in here and you are all saving my life. Thankyou for doing that. I so want my blog to be worth reading and I do try to vary it. Today, though, it has been a sad day. I feel as if I am on a roller coaster of emotions. It is like climbing the hardest mountain ever. Every step is so hard and difficult. But we keep going. There is no choice. I must keep climbing that mountain.

ARE THERE ANY MORE BLIND PEOPLE OUT THERE

Are there any more blind people out there in WordPress? If so I would love to talk to you. Are you completely blind or do you have a little bit of sight?

I am completely blind but my sight has gone gradually so I did used to have a little bit of sight. I am having problems being in contact with anyone. Our local Blind Society does not offer much. Just a load of brochures that are no good to me. As I am newly blind I would like contact with others even just on the internet to chat about how best to deal with practical things and maybe other things too. Anyone?

#FOWC – Flounder

https://fivedotoh.com/2022/12/03/fowc-with-fandango-flounder/

Bill was getting more and more fed up with Jo’s meanness and cruelty. They had married on the spur of the moment, and money was always tight. Bill had to do twelve hour shifts regularly at the local steelworks in order to earn enough money to keep them. Jo had a job as a dinner lady at a local school, but still they struggled financially.
It was not just the finances that were the problem though. Jo had ceased to have any feelings for Bill, except bitterness. He had always had a weakness for women and he alwaus had another woman in tow. When Bill went to work on his twelve hour shifts Jo would pack him up a couple of paltry rounds of bread with a blob of jam right in the middle of the bottom slice. She never put any butter on and she never bothered to spread the jam. Bill constantly complained about it, saying how could he do a twelve hour shift on just that stupid pack up. But Jo didn’t care.
Despite all of this they did sometimes go for days out. Ones that didn’t cost much money. One of these days saw then walking round a reservoir in a nearby beauty spot. It being quite remote, there were few people there. The reservoir was very deep, and as they walked, Bill thought about his lot in life and Jo’s meanness and cruelty. There was no love left in the marriage. Suddenly he could bear it no more. In a sudden impulsive moment as they walked at the edge of the reservoir he pushed her into the water. For a moment or two he watched her FLOUNDER but he did not want to save her. Soon she was gone, right under the water. Nonchalantly Bill continued his walk around the reservoir. In his mind he planned the best meal he had ever had.

THREE OF US AROUND A FIRE

Three of us sitting around a fire
On a long cold winter’s night
Flames leaping high up the chimney dancing
On our backs an icy breeze
Grandad tapping his old wooden pipe
Grandma peeling autumn’s apples

Gorgeous pies were made from the apples
In the grate a glowing fire
Grandad always in his mouth a pipe
The News on the wireless every night
I the child who was always dancing
In winter’s chill and summer’s breeze

How I loved the summer’s breeze
Climbing trees that were to bear apples
Up in the tree my heart was dancing
How my spirit was on fire
Lying in my bed at night
Smelling still old grandad’s pipe

Grandad often smoked his pipe
Watching the cattle in the warming breeze
Late he would come in at night
Ready to eat dear grandma’s apples
Sitting by the dying fire
The flames were now no longer dancing

Life could be harsh there was no dancing
But still old grandad smoked his pipe
Life was dying like the fire
Soon there would be a colder breeze
No longer would grandma be peeling apples
Soon would come the eternal night

Grandad too would die in the night
Now there would be no more dancing
No more pies stuffed full of apples
Yet still I smelled the lingering pipe
I felt Love’s spirit blow in the breeze
In my heart the eternal fire

I CAN’T SEE WHAT I’M WEARING

I can’t see what I’m wearing. Have you ever tried to get a bloke to describe an item of clothing to you.

“What colour is it?”

“I think it’s yellow.”

“I don’t fancy yellow.”

“It’s not yellow. It’s orange.”

Then he tells me ithas got writing on it but he wonttell me what it says. He’s very vague.

I have no idea which top it is lol. I think I end up lookiing weird every day lol

THANK YOU TO ALL

Thankyou to you all for being patient and bearing with me whilst I attempted to sort out my blog after what WordPress did. I apologise for the number of test posts etc. I think I am able to post ok now. It has been a very trying time and a whole day wasted in chat with the Happiness Engineers but I can post now. Thankyou for all your kindness and support.

PROGRESS OR NOT WITH HAPPINESS ENGINEER

Well, hubby has spent hours online in chat with the Happiness Engineers since last night. It has been exhausting and draining. It is really hard when you are disabled with arthritis in your hands to keep up with chat. Also his brain tires easily. But he continued with it because he wanted the problem fixed. They have admitted that it is their fault. But they are having problems doing anything about it because the site developers put that prompt there in block editor to get posters to choose the right block for them. So they ask you things like what clothes you like to wear or what technology you can do without and why. That question appears as soon as you open the text box to post. For the blind person it is impossible because this text is impossible to remove because voice over cannot read where it is exactly. But in order to get rid of this the engineers or the developers have to go through a very long process and things are coded in. I doubt they can now do it. But they put it in to enhance the blogging experience not thinking of blind people who are already using wordpress successfully. We are still people actually but I think they think we are not.

They have asked us to try various things, but they do it as sighted people, and they know nothing of how voice over works. Without voice over I cannot do anything on wordpress at all. Apple put voice into their iPads especially to aid blind people. It is incompatible with wordpress now.

We have threatned them with legal action but they know they are a big organisation and that they have the upper hand. It is discrimanatory but we would have to go through a long process to do anything legally about it. They know that and so are doing nothing. They are pretending to be doing something but they have no knowledge of voice over or blindness so they cannot actually do much. They need a blind Happiness Engineer and we have told them that. But I bet they will not get one.

In the neantime hubby is both exhausted and to be honest, depressed. I sometimes can post just by luck but at other times I have to write a post in Word and then get hubby to copy and paste it. He has enough to do here, without having that on top.

I don’t feel so depressed now, but I did last night and first thing this morning. I just wish someone would take up our cause because it is getting impossible for hubby to spend any more time in Chat. I hope the Happiness Engineers are reading this.

THE BOOK BY BLIND DAVE HEELEY

Some of you may remember my recent post about blind Dave Heeley who replied when asked what it was like being blind,

“It’s bloody awful.” I stated that I felt exactly the same. I have to say that there are things and situations that when you are sighted you don’t realise how very difficult and sometimes impossible they are for blind people. That is not their fault as you have to experience something for yourself before you can understand it properly.

I want to say that this latest fiasco with WordPress is yet another example of this. We are desperately attempting to get across to them what their actions have done. Unless you are a blind poster you cannot appreciate the problem. I do not know how it affects people who use JAWS with a laptop which is the app that most blind people use. However I cannot use that one as I cannot bear the weight of a laptop and so I use an iPad. They are meant to be wonderful for blind people, with their voice over thingy in them. Indeed voice over is brilliant but WordPress has made it so that voice over is not compatible with their new innovation. This is actually in contravention of the law regarding disabled people. However as is usual we have to fight for our rights and it is stressful and exhausting. It leads to tears.

This is just one example of the problems a blind person faces and yes it is bloody awful. When you are not feeling well most of the time you cannot do with all of this, but we have no choice. We will find a way through but it is not easy. Please bear with us whilst we sort it out.

WHAT I DID IN COOKERY CLASS

When I went to Secondary school we began having cookery classes. The teacher, Miss Boughton was a tartyr. Everyone was scared of her. She was a big woman and she rode around the town on her sit up an beg bicycle with her very full skirts billowing out all around her. We she had a penchant for coming up behind you and slapping your bottom very hard. Such a whack she would give us and we never knew what the whack was for.

We had to get some kilner jars to put stew in that we were cooking. My mother complained and rebelled because kilner jars were very expensive. So I got into trouble.

Anyway I was an inveterate giggler. One day I sat down on a wooden folding chair as she was going to give us a lecture, and the damn thing collapsed. I just could not stop laughing. I tried my very best to stop laughing but the more I tried the more I laughed. I was laughing at not being able to stop laughing. I got sent out of class and was told to sit outside on the quadrangle. I did as I was told, but still could not stop laughing out there. Then I spied the headmaster walking towards me. He said to me,

“Lorraine Holden what are you doing sitting out here?” I replied that I had been sent out of class because I could not stop laughing. I almost started again but he gave me a hundred lines and detention. It was obviously a crime to laugh a lot lol.

JOY WAS BORN IN THE PAST

I held in my hands today my past,
And now it becomes the present,
Re-created before my eyes,
Living deep in my heart,
Always these things were in my memory,
But now the memory has changed.

Is it really me who has changed,
My present lives in my past,
It is so much more than a memory,
Transforming me in the present,
Things that live in my heart
Will always glow in my eyes

Blind now are my eyes,
How much my life has changed,
But love still lives in my heart,
The good that I knew in my past,
Comes to life in the present,
Love is much more than memory.

Sometimes I rely on memory,
A substitute for my eyes,
Darkness fills my present,
For now the sky has changed,
Beauty lived in the past,
But now it lives in my heart

One day your love warmed my heart,
I see you now in my memory,
There were good days in the past,
I saw myself in your eyes,
The colours in my life changed,
I see rainbows in the present

How beautiful is the present,
There’s dancing in my heart,
The song has never changed,
It lies deep within my memory,
Redundant now are my eyes,
My joy was born in the past

TRYING TO FIND WAYS THROUGH

Hi. This is Lorraine writing. We are trying to find ways through again. One way is for me to write my posts in Word and then get my husband to copy and paste them into here but he is so very busy and hardly has any free time as he is so busy trying to look after me, clean, get meals etc and he cannot always do this for me. Being blind I cannot copy and paste myself. We have been on with the Happiness Engineers again this morning and it has been very stressful and is making me iller than I already am. I must find a way to keep my blog going as it is all I have left in my life. It was a lifesaver. WordPress does not seem to understand this. We do not want to get into legal action but it is possible to do that. I just want them to find a way of letting me post again. I hope this does not make me lose people again as my blog was already losing people but I never knew why. I know I have some very good friends in here and I do not want to lose you. I will try throughout the day to make normal posts. Thankyou for your patience. Xx

SEA SHELLS

When we lived in Blackpool, the teachers at my school took us onto the beach to pick up sea shells. We were told about the barnacles on shells and we had to try to find the shells with barnacles on. I found some but immediately had to scratch them off as I could not bear them on there. I do not think my teacgers were very happy lol

WHAT HAPPENED EARLIER WITH WORDPRESS

I have had a terrible time late this afternoon and into the evening after WordPress installed a prompt into the posting box, but it only affected Block Editor. I could not deal with it as my Voice Over was not compatible with it. I post by clicking on Code Editor and then I do not have to use the Block systerm. But I could not get rid of those words that are now permanently there in Block Editor. A sighted person can do it but not a blind person. We spent a couple of hours with the Happiness Engineers and to no avail but we finally got a way through. It involves greater difficulty for me but I will have to master it. I could have done without it but there we are. I was just so gutted when it happened as at first it seemed as if it could not be resolved. My husband got mad and it was mainly him talking to them as, being blind,I cannot do Chat. Anyway I will practice now.

LORRAINE CANNOT POST

 

This is Lorraine’s hubby speaking. WordPress have made it so that Lorraine cannot post anymore as a blind person. I have been on with the happiness engineers and they will not do anything so I am threatening them with legal action. Lorraine is sobbing her heart out because it all the rest of her life.

In short it is to do with the new prompt that they have put on the post template.

NOT A HAPPY POST re Christmas

This post is not going to be a very happy one so be warned. I make it because there may be others in this pposition.

I know that not everyone in WordPress celebrates Christmas but a large number do. I want to document what this time of the year can be like for some people.

For me, it is made worse because we think of children a lot at Christmas and I remember how when I was on the chemo ward the nurses were showing everyone photos of their grandchildren in their Christmas hats etc. Some of the children were really only babies. I found this particularly difficult because of what my mother did to my babies, but of course, I simply smiled and shared the joy of the nurses. Inside my heart was broken.

Christmas is always an awful time for me and I begin to dread it starting from about now. As soon as Advent is entered . At Christmas time everyone is in families and all the emphasis is upon families. Everyone is ensconced in their homes and families and we are just cut off. There is no one to ring and no one who will ring us. For days on end we are alone.

We used to deal with it by taking our dogs to the beach and getting out of the way, but that is no longer possible. We will be alone with all our problems and difficulties with no one to turn to.

I am getting more and more fearful and there is nothing at all that I can do about it. We reach out, but no one will respond to us. We are not gloomy or undfriendly or discompassionate people and yet we are like this. Often I wonder how we came to be like this. We are not members of society any more and it is so frightening. I am truly panicking right now. It is bad enough when it is not Christmas, but when it is Christmas it is.one hundred times worse.

I shall come in here probably but i know that it will be quite quiet. If anyone wants to come and say Hi I would be very glad.

ANOTHER EXCERPT from Chapter 1 of my book “Blinded”

I lost a lot of friends to cancer. They didn’t want to die. But they did. There is no one left now. There was Petal, who had metastatic breast cancer. She was a best friend too. If I mention people who I lost to cancer, it is often as if it meant nothing. They are just names. People glide over it and move on. But they meant something to me. I met Petal in the chemo ward. I heard her laughing. It was so unexpected.just gales of laughter ringing out in the ward. It shook me. Who could laugh like that in a chemo ward? Petal could. I met her in the corridor one day whilst waiting to go into the ward for my chemo. Someone was in my bed they had told me, and I had to wait for him to get out of it before I could get into it and have my chemo. I asked Petal how she could laugh like that and told her that right now I felt like crying. We talked for a while and from there became firm friends. She was terminal. We didn’t know whether I was or not. I was on a “leap of faith” according to the ward sister, but the haematologist had squeezed my husband on the shoulder one day and wished him good luck. He was about to go on holiday for three weeks and muttered that “something terrible” could happen to me while he was away. Petal and I formed a little support group together and she would come to my home along with Chris, an old school friend of mine who had terminal stomach cancer. We did nothing but laugh, all three of us together. Chris accepted her fate, saying that you cannot fight God. She lost her battle eventually one summer. Petal absolutely did not want to die. She did everything possible to live. She never really accepted that she was going to die, although we did sometimes talk funerals together. She died one summer too. Then Chris’s husband, another friend to both me and my husband, died of throat cancer. I have no friends left now, and what remained of my family have deserted me, wanting nothing to do with me. And so I look at the bridge after yet another night of pain, and think of falling to my death. I have often wished that the cancer had killed me, for the drugs that cured my cancer also destroyed my body, bringing about my present condition. I have often asked the question as to why I had to suffer like this. Didn’t my natural end come when I got that awful cancer? Without medical intervention I would have died, and quickly. I would not then have had to endure this. It is almost like a living death and will only get worse. There is no cure for it and I will become even more dependent than I am now. I have been in Nursing Homes and I don’t want to end up in one myself. I used to work in one, and vowed then that I would never go in one. I would kill myself first. That is what my mother wanted to do. Kill me.

“You should go to Switzerland,” she said when I had cancer. “We are only a small family and we can’t cope with you. It is your duty.”

Not only that, but my mother told me that if I did not go to Switzerland for assisted suicide, she would bring some tablets to my house and shove them down my throat. It was not for the first time that she had wanted to kill me. She had held me over a fast flowing river when I was three years old, and as she held me there in her hands, I felt myself slipping from her grip. Maybe that is why I am drawn to the river now. Some kind of brain washing maybe. I do not know, but I know that I want to follow Molly.

IN SUMMERTIME

In summertime the sun is high
The days are long soft as a sigh
Flowers bloom in colours bright
Our hearts are warmed at such a sight

Swallows swoop and dive and fly
With young in nests for food they cry
Soon they leave the nest and try
Their wings at flying in sun’s light
In summertime

Days then grow shorter autumn’s nigh
The fields are golden earth is dry
The farmers cut the corn by night
Time for them is now so tight
The long hot days begin to die
Of summertime

PART OF CHAPTER 1 of my book “Blinded”

Last night I went past the bridge where Molly jumped from. My best friend Molly that is. It is a lot of years now since she jumped. I can no longer see the bridge for I am blind but in my mind’s eye I can see the water. It is deep just there and if you jump you will surely drown. That is what Molly did. Drowned. She had tried many times before, wading into the water of the big river, but had been unsuccessful. I guess she knew that if she jumped from the bridge she would achieve her goal, to die that is. Many reasons were given for her death, but I knew her well and not one of them was right. Anyway, whatever her reasons I know how she felt. I too can see the deep water, though only in mind’s eye. But it is enough. It is enough to know that it is very deep and that if I jumped I would die. And that is what I want. To die. Many are horrified, but no one knows my life. Not fully. They know little bits. The things I tell them. But there are other bits. Bits that are unspeakable. Bits that there is no language for. People make judgements. Judgements that say I should be able to come to terms with this. Blindness that is. I invite them to come walk in my shoes. But of course they can’t. And they cannot imagine my life. For so long now I have tried to make good of blindness. To see the treasures within the darkness. And sometimes I have indeed seen them. I have made good of blindness. But I am tired. Just tired. Daily tasks have become impossible. Simple things like brushing my teeth. Dressing. Mind you, I am not just blind. There are other problems too. Like not being able to feel anything with my hands. It was the cancer that did that. Well, the cancer and the treatment to be exact. I feel around for the taps in the bathroom and I cannot find them. After having bumped into the sink that is. For the umpteenth time. I try to find my toothbrush, but knock it onto the floor. And that is just the start of things. I have a lot of pain too and damaged lungs, so that after performing even one small task in the bathroom my heart is pounding as it tries to pump oxygen into me. I am panting and trembling with the effort, and I need to lie down. I return to my bed, the pain ripping through me, and try to recover. It takes a while, but eventually my breathing evens out as my heart rate returns to something like normal. I sit up and look into the darkness. There are many hours in front of me. I go back in my memory and remember happier times. Times when I could walk. That is just what I would do now if I could. Walk. I remember times when I could see the beauty of nature. The trees in autumn. The berries on the bushes and hedges. The daffodils in springtime. The snowdrops. The birds. My dog’s face. My husband’s face. He cannot speak now. He lost his speech during the pandemic. I read and hear of people drowning their sorrows by going for a good hike or walk. I long to drown my sorrows in that way. But no, I must drown myself. Like Molly did.

The water calls me. “Deep calls to deep” it says in the Bible. The Bible that I was brought up with from the age of thirteen. I don’t think it means the deep waters of the river, but I hear them calling anyway. I guess Molly did too.

DIARY ENTRY – Yesterday’s Shit Piles

Yesterday I went to see the vicar in my home village. I do not see him often but when I do see him I am able to be myself. The last time we met, it was raining cats and dogs and the church roof was leaking big time and there was a veritable river flowing right down the church. This time there was no rain and no river, but it was freezing cold. The church may be due for closure as there are hardly any people who go any more and they have not got enough money to survive. However, whenever we are together we find a few shit piles. Yesterday was no exception though still, I did not say what I wanted to say as there were other things to say. But I do like how we can demolish a few shit piles lol. We stayed out after that, as I had made the effort to get to the car, which was painful and also dangerous to me, having to walk in the absolute dark. I thought about a lot of things and became rather distressed and upset. We had driven fourteen miles to see this vicar, which is ok but I felt so very alone because in my own town we are isolated and alone. I always hate coming home again to this terrible darkness and loneliness. With my husband having lost his speech there is no one to talk at all to. So here begins another day. The gardener is coming today though although I will not see him and he will get on and do his thing clearing up dead leaves. Perhaps he should clear me up too lol

GOING BLIND – It’s bloody awful

I am reading a book entitld Light to Dark, and it is about the runner Dave Heeley who went blind. I have just read a bit where he says that people often ask him what it is like to be blind, and they get an answer that they don’t expect. He replies to them,

“It’s bloody awful.”

He says how lonely and isolating it is. He describes how he never knows what is going on when he is with a group of people as he cannot see who is talking to who, or see hand gestures etc. He is describing exactly what I have tried to describe. He talks about the terrible frustration of it.

This hit me because I am forever berating myself for feeling those things. I too want to say it’s bloody awful. I too want to say how lonely it is. But I have attempted to not show this because I felt that people wanted me to be positive. I have said often in here that I want to write raw honesty and sometimes I do, but then I get scared and worried about having done so. I know it drives people away because they do not want to hear that. They would prfer to hear about the treasures of the darkness, which I actually do see too.

I veer between writing raw honesty and the sweeter approach. But what is sweet about going blind? I agree with Dave. It is bloody awful.

REACHING OUT

I have written some very dark things this morning. It is, however, my truth. I woke feeling the fear very intensely. Knowing that my body is deteriorating so fast, and that life may be slipping away from me, I wanted people around me. But there are none. Even my brother stated that we were not family and that he would not be there for me at the end. We live daily with this terrible knowledge of our aloneness and it is frightening. We have struggled to rectify this situation and have reached out to others but they all have lives of their own. Busy ones. They are busy living, which is of course what we all should do. But sometimes we can do that no longer and need just a little accompaniment along the way. Not to be gloomy, but just to know there is someone there.

LEFT ALONE

When you are a child you never imagine that you will end up in a state of absolute aloneness, left to wither and die alone without family or friends. You cannot imagine this state of disconnection from the world. Even an appeal to family members that remain bringing no response except a statement that no family exists now and that you can die alone.

I was always taught that even when all others and all else fails, God is there. We sing in one of our hymns, “when other helpers fail and comforts flee, Help of the helpless O abide with me.” For myself I am not aware of this being the truth. Life feels very dark right now. Left alone, I contacted what used to be our church until we could go no more. I appealed for help because we were so alone. The priest whom I spoke to responded that they were too busy to help. I had simply requested a phone call occasionally or maybe even a visit sometimes. I used to play my flute every single Sunday to accompany the singing. We used to attend regularly. I was always willing to help and be there for other people. Now, we are alone and left to get on with it.

I am feeling very shaky and crumbly right now as my bodily pain increases and life becomes even more difficult. Life is slipping away from me.

HOPING TO RESPOND

I hope to respond to all your comments on Tuesday but it might be later in the day. I have read every single one of them and I think you very much. We have had a difficult day, with first our food delivery being without many items and we cannot get to the shops. Then the IT man who was meant to be coming to give me a lesson on my iPad camcelled and so we were totally put out. Then something else happened and so it went on. I pray that Tuesday is better. I ended up with a migraine but I did see your comments. Thankyou all for being so patient. Xx

SHE LOOKED AT THE STARS

She looked at the stars saw heaven shining
The brightest of lights in the dark night sky
Just tiny dots all twinkling and gleaming

She wondered if she could jump up that high
And catch those gems whose beauty was streaming
Down onto the earth heaven heard her sigh

With joy she danced with her young face beaming
Tears ran down her face as she started to cry
Was this for real or was she just dreaming

She grasped grandma’s hand said tell me no lie
Is God right up there where love is teeming
Is that where we go when one day we die

For her young mind this was perfect timing
She looked at the stars saw heaven shining

HERE IN THE SETTING SUN

Here in the setting sun I found you
Under the beautiful rowan tree
How did it happen could it be true
That this was where I was meant to be

Did you wait all those years that flew
Whilst far away the wind blew free
In that cold earth the truth you knew
Under the rowan tree

You gave me to the God who grew
In me a spirit of love that we
Shared though unbeknown to few
The demons of the past we slew
My mother in God who helped me see
Under the rowan tree

TESCOS AND MORE

Tescos have not delivered many of the items on our food order. They have not had a chilled delivery for two days. I know they have been warning us about food shortages due to delivery problems.

On the brighter side our death certificate has arrived.

We sent for my great grandmother’s death certificate as blood cancer is in our family it seems and we wanted to know what she died of. She died comparatively young but she had had thirteen children, not all of whom survived. We have yet to read it so am looking forward to that lol

DO YOU UNDERSTAND THIS DREAM?

I awoke from a weird and horrible dream yesterday. I can usually interpret my dreams but this one escapes me.

I wonder if anyone can suggest anything.

I dreamt that I was going up the path to the little church where I used to love to go just to sit and meditate, in my wheelchair. In front of me I saw three figures going in through the door. Usually it is absolutely empty. I decided to go in anyway. I found myself sitting facing these three people who were sitiing on a pew facing me. I was my usual friendly self and said Hi to them. But they had kind of plastic faces and they all turned their faces to the left of them so that they were not looking at me or acknowledging me. They were all three dressed in black trousers and white shirts all identical in style.

I was phased out. They then left and could be seen walking away with the tall man in the middle holding onto what looked like older teenaged boys at each side of him, holding their hands. They sort of glided along.

Anyone?