Saturday, 29 December 2012

Goodbye to 2012

Well it was a funny old year. To look at the bare facts, it was nothing less than a disaster for me: Dad gets ill in January and dies in September. Steve (the ex) gets sent to prison for vandalism after attacking my ex-husband's car on my drive. Steve gets it on with his best mate's girlfriend who is 19, but he keeps on stalking me anyway. Still is. Mother completely reliant on me to do anything due to her dementia, whilst simultaneously refusing to listen to a word I say. It rains incessantly.

Yet in reality, this has been a very positive year for me.

Death always has things to teach us. When my brother died, it made me re-evaluate my life and come to the conclusion that I was existing rather than living - I had become stagnant and things had to change. For the first time I felt mortal, I truly realised that I could die - and if I could die I wanted to make sure that I had really lived.

Dad's illness and death taught me the depth of my strength and resources. It also taught me how responsible I was for my own happiness. Faced with a hopeless position - where I couldn't help, where there was nothing I could do to change things or make them any better than they were - I had to learn to let go. To let go of my Dad, to let go of the illusion of having any control of the situation, and most of all to let go of my need to save: because I couldn't save him, my mum, or any of my family.

The one person I could save was myself. I remember the sorrows and the depths, and the interminable pain of waiting for death to come as my Dad drained slowly away. Then slowly I saw that it's all a question of perspective - that I had a choice of how to react. I chose happiness.

Yes, my mother still drove me mad. Yes, it still tore my heart out to see Dad suffering - and tore it out to not see him, because I felt so guilty leaving him alone. But these were things I couldn't change, these were things that had to be endured. The sun still rose on some beautiful mornings. I still  had a wonderful little son. There were still snatched days and evenings of laughter and fun. I learned to live in the present because the future was out of my control.

I also learned to live my own life. That meant that I had to take control of the ex situation, and so I did. On Dad's first hospital admission this year in January, Steve overdosed on heroin on my birthday. His Dad brought him HERE, and me with my Princess Diana act took him in. When he was put in prison it was a massive relief, not just because he was getting what he so justly deserved and hadn't got before when he beat the crap out of me, but because he was out of the picture. I realised that there was no way I could have coped with Mum and Dad with Steve still around - he demanded so much time from me - and we weren't even together. He would have been turning up at all hours causing trouble. So I went properly No Contact and refused to respond to his attempts to contact me. I've tried this before, but this year I finally have succeeded.

The consequence of this is that 2012 was the year I got MYSELF back, because without him messing with my head, I was able to finally break free of him. Oh yes, he still pops up from time to time, just often enough to give me the odd bruise and the even odder entertaining story to tell, but he can't get a grip on me any more. One day I might blog about what it was like when I was with him, but for now, suffice to say that I never want to go back there.

So that's another reason I've been happy - my TV remote is my own, I listen to music I like (and never have to listen to The Strokes droning on ever again if I don't want to), I get up when I wake up, I eat what I want, go where I want, talk to who I want, generally do all the things that normal people take for granted but that I never will take for granted again.

So as the end of 2012 approaches, I am so much stronger than I was when it began, so much stronger than I have ever been. Cos what doesn't kill you.....

2012 - a big year. The year Dad died. The year I got my life back.

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