Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Upbeat!

After the last post, and with the (literally) painful one I am writing, I thought an upbeat post may be good.

Today I went for my run, only the 2nd find time after an 8 week hiatus (see upcoming post). The weather was great, my running group was great and whilst I ache, it was awesome :)

Hello!

Thursday, 13 April 2017

Been a while

In fact, it's been fact too long. Which also describes this post... Too long. Sorry!

When I posted last year, on coming out day, about the journey that I had been on,  and where I had got to,  I really hasn't meant it to be a goodbye post.

I still stand by that,  though looking at my rate of posting you may not believe it...

A lot has happened in my life since then.  Unfortunately most of it isn't good. (But don't worry, I'm fine and happy enough)

Starting in September last year I started to make regular trips to the UK. I wasn't planning on regular trips... A family holiday in Centre Parcs Nottingham, with a trip to Leamington Spa for my brother's wedding and several days with my parents staying with us.  Doing things with mum, little dude playing with my dad - including playing football, which is something he really wanted to do - and watching him trying to do to much to make memories whilst he could. This was a great trip!

Back a month later to my cousin's wedding. Staying with a different cousin who I hadn't spent time with since before I transitioned. And had a great time. My cousin's wedding was fine, no Mrs Stace or little dude so it was a long night, but fun and I saw a whole raft of family who didn't make it to my brother'sday.

And a couple more days with my cousin before I went back that was amazing!

But, dad looked awful. In 4 weeks he went from looking good, if tired, to being a frail, old man before his time. I thought I'd never see him again.

So decided there and then I was taking a trip to see him at home.

Another few day weeks and I was there in Scotland. He slept most of the day, though we had fun chats when he was awake. The third day I was there he didn't make it out of bed. There was so much I wanted to say make to him, but choked every time I thought about it.  So I wrote him a letter, went to his bed and wept whilst he read it.  Which he told me of for and comforted me. He comforted me... And I felt so loved,  and at the same time so ashamed.  The pain he was in,  and as tired as he was,  and he cared more about looking after me than about himself...

After a few days I went home, in tears, knowing that I was going to be back soon.

I didn't realise how soon. I came home on the Thursday, spoke to my brother telling him that if he wanted to see dad again he needed to go quickly.  Monday came and I got the call I was dreading. Get to Scotland now. Considering that we are not that far away, just 1000 miles, it it not easy to travel between places. A last minute plane ticket, with stop overs, and as it turns out major delays, but I got there.

I spent the day with my mum, brother, his wife and dad. He was peaceful, and acknowledged us in the morning at least, at the end of the afternoon, just as my brother and I stepped out for fresh air he started to go - we swear he was waiting for us to leave the room, we ran back in time to hold his hand as he went. Letting go of his hand so the hospice nurses could get him cleaned is the single most difficult thing I have ever had to do. I took a long time, and my mum had to talk me through doing it.

I stayed with mum for the rest of the week,  coming home when she went back to Leicester to organise the funeral.

A few days later and we were on the road again, this time with Mrs Stace and the little man, to say our final good byes.

It sounds weird, and flippant - though it's not meant to be, but the funeral was is great. It wasn't religious and the guy leading it did his research so well and spoke about dad. Not facts and figures of his life, but about him. And dad picked the music before he went. Something that will forever put a smile on my face, even as the tears flow as they are doing now. We went in to 'I'm free' from Tommy, and left to "We've got to get out of this place" by the Animals.

A few days later we had a big family meal. My cousin, her husband and parents, my brother and his wife, my mum and us. Great closure, and we spent the day reminiscing.

All of was in November. Things have happened since, but as this has already turned I to a monster outpouring I'll stop there...

I'll just leave you with one of the last portraits I got of him before his health issues started.


Saturday, 22 October 2016

Autumn

The leaves are turning and the weather has chilled. I've been struck by a cold, powerful but hopefully short. Yesterday I could barely think, today I just feel like I ran a marathon!

The streets in my neighbourhood are wide and lined with trees, and make this time of year beautiful!

Sometimes the leaves fall in a could of days and the grass is covered by a carpet of yellow, red and brown leaves. Other years, like this year, it's more of a gentle trickle of leaves over a week or two.

And something's are just better in colour:

Monday, 17 October 2016

Get me to the airport on time

Well, after a truly fantastic weekend, it's time to go home! I was warned that airport security was a pain and we were worried about traffic so we left with plenty of time to get there. 

No traffic and security in 5 minutes mean that I have two hours until the gate opens, and nearly two and a half until the flight is supposed to leave! Never mind, rather really early than 2 minutes late...

A wedding, family Sunday lunch and today shopping with my cousin (how my suitcase isn't too heavy I so not know!), who very kindly put up with me for a few days and I'm ready to see my family again! 

It's always a strange feeling, going home. I've loved my time here, and yet cannot wait to see my other half our my boy again!

A tinge of sadness this time as well. We all knew that the next time we will be together will be to say our last goodbyes to my father who is not well. I don't think that anyone managed to say goodbye to my parents when they had to leave the wedding reception early as he was too tired with dry eyes. And then everyone felt guilty for crying at someone else's special day.

So, whilst we all want to see each other again, we don't want it to be any time soon...

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Coming out day

Something I am thinking of putting on Facebook for today:

Today is coming out day, not a day to force people to come out - that has to be done in your own timescale - but to make it visible that it's something very difficult that some people have to do.

Thinking about it took me back to when I started coming out, and made me realise that it's a process that doesn't really stop. For me, however, it did get easier to do.

The first time I was terrified of what people were going to think, how they were going to react and just how badly I was about to screw up my life.

And that is what stopped me for, oh, so many years. People commented on me being brave when I eventually did it. But I wasn't. I was petrified. In fact the only reason I did come out is that I was more afraid of ending up in hospital with a panic attack (again) or worse. Really, really not good times. I slept poorly, I could not concentrate on anything and felt I was spiralling away and had no idea what to do.

Thankfully the support around me, from close friends and family I told, to medical professionals, made that first round survivable. And so I moved forward. After each round of having to come out I had such support from a large majority of people that it gradually made the process easier.

But what I have noticed is that I still have to come out, even now 7 years after that first time. New people who give do a double take when I mention my wife rather than husband. Or those who get to know me well enough that my history becomes important (seeing as I refuse hide my past to those close to me - random strangers don't need to know my history, but I am not going to invent a second narrative to my life for those who get to know me now).

But, it is much easier now. Much. And for that I would like to thank each group of people that helped me in round before by being brilliant human beings and listening to me when I needed them to, and by treating me as just me when I told them.

Thank you! I have been unbelievably lucky with my story. Something I never take for granted. If only my story was the norm, as it should be, then there wouldn't be a need for coming out day, and  me from around 5 years old to 35 years old wouldn't have needed to be terrified and so alone.

Monday, 3 October 2016

Famous Five

Whilst walking between offices today I phased this alleyway leading to the back gardens of some houses.

My camera was drawn to the shadows, not quite the contrast I was hoping for, but nice enough.

But my mind was taken back more years than I wish to my childhood playing with my cousins in the summer holidays where we would cycle into the countryside, pretending to be from Enid Blyton's Famous Five looking for adventure down narrow pathways. Amazing how your mind can transport you back decades! (Not that we ever found smugglers, pirates or treasure though!)

Right time for some ginger beer and cake!

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Oh, what a beautiful morning

Driving to work this morning I was blessed witha sky painted by mother nature at her best!

There were scattered clouds, the sun was rising, and the con trails from the planes (ok, they are not that natural...) were working together. 

The sun was still rising, so the contrails were illuminated from below. But it had risen enough so that the low lying clouds were illuminated from above. Beautiful! 

I was thinking that I would miss the chance to get this photographed. I saw a rest stop on the motorway and decided that I would risk being late and just stop. Sometimes you just have to step off of the conveyor belt of life and enjoy the world!

As I said on FaceBook:

A beautiful sunrise this morning. The rising sun shining down into one layer of clouds whilst still illuminating the con trails from below was so impressive I had to stop at a rest area on he way to work to get these pictures.

Sometimes you just have to stop and enjoy nature!


And, because sometimes you need colour in your life: