Sunday, 15 January 2017

RILEY's RAMBLES: HAPPY VALLEY, COULSDON.

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Friday, 6 January 2017

MY DAD IS DYING... TRYING TO KEEP A GRATEFUL HEART.


It probably seems super bizarre that I should be writing a blog post about all this at such a crucial time in my life, but I have always found that writing helps me, it's so therapeutic and in such heavy times it can really help you lighten the load and get things a little bit straighter in your mind. On top of that - If I put it out here on the internet, the likelihood of it helping someone else is far greater than if I write it all in a diary that I keep to myself. 

Let me give you a brief history of my father and I's story. My Dad brought me up; growing up he was my mother, my father, my best friend, my brother, my teacher, my partner in crime, my idol, my guru, my therapist, and my entire love supply. It didn't matter that I didn't have a Mum around because my Dad provided enough love to make up for that of an army. My father and I did everything together and we really were a little tag team. We travelled from place to place and he gave me the most wonderful childhood with the best memories a girl could ask for.

When I was sixteen, my Dad got cancer of the pituitary glands in his throat. He went through radiotherapy and beat it though so we got on with life and got back to being a tag team after endless nights of lots of tears, breathing machines and split wounds. Then when I was twenty and had moved to Spain, we found out my Dad had the dreaded C again. This time in his oesophagus and stomach, but after another war, he beat it again with chemotherapy and radiotherapy. Then last year, when I was twenty-four, we found out he had it again - and HE 'BEAT IT' but one month ago, we were told that he hasn't beat it at all and that all the torment and misery was for nothing. My dad has cancer in his bones and there is nothing they can do.

What I have seen my father go through is a lot like the things you would have seen in the holocaust. My dad has gone from a body builder weighing eighteen stone to what he himself describes as a skeleton. The chemo has killed his cells and the radiotherapy has eroded his bones. The radiotherapy took his teeth and surgeons wouldn't replace them for years, so at one point, he had half a stomach that could not digest or absorb his food and no teeth. He has been in constant pain and now cannot walk. His quality of life has dipped into oblivion and I'm not sure my Daddy has felt fully content in at least four years or so.

At first, I was angry. I personally do not believe one iota in pharmaceutical drugs OR the dairy industry. They gave my Dad endless amounts of dairy when he was sick in hospital and that makes me sick to my stomach but no one would listen to me - my father included. That manipulation of growth hormones and animal protein in his body did not put him in the best position to heal and I know that in my soul.

There are other contributors to my father's illness too, which I won't go into, but one example is the fact he was in a toxic relationship that he stuck at because he is a man of honour. My dad has always set out to do the right thing, and he always sticks to his word. Come to think of it - he is the greatest man I have ever met. I am beyond privileged to know such a guy, let alone have him as my father and have his blood flowing through my veins. 

I fucking hate the system but I know that love is bigger than hate. So much bigger, I know that a grateful heart pounding with love is how I get through this. I know that in order to allow my Dad to continue living through me I need to lead with positivity, gratitude and the desire to live bold, big and bright.

So here is my troubled waters gratitude diary:
* Although my father is dying, I am so grateful that I have now with him, right here, right now he is here and I can feel nothing but gratitude for that. I can go and cuddle him, ask him questions, see his cheeky grin, laugh at his jokes, and give him a kiss on his warm head. WOW, I've just realised that I will be able to read this back in the future in the knowing that I wrote this with my pops next door, with so much love in my heart. I need to always remember that; life has to end, but love does not, and memories are the best things we will ever have!
* I am so grateful I have had my Dad at all. All of the amazing memories, all of the laughs, all of the things he has taught me. How lucky am I to have had a father at all as I know so many are gone or absent. I know that I'll read this back when he is gone with such pain in my heart and I might feel very unlucky for a long while but I hope I can read this in the future and feel the gratitude I feel now for having had such a brilliant Dad.
* In many ways, I am glad that I was pre-warned that I was going to lose my Dad. Even the first cancer was a warning sign to love my father fiercely and unapologetically. I am glad that I have time to say the things I needed to say. I know losing my Dad out of the blue would have meant that I couldn't say the things I have said and I might not have made him feel so loved and cared for.
* I am grateful that I didn't go gallivanting over to Asia like I had planned or I would have missed out on the extra memories I have made with my father. I followed my gut and held back on travelling afar, and now it turns out that was definitely the right choice for me.
* I am grateful that I am here to help care for my Dad. I can't save my Dad as I would obviously like to, but I know I can ensure he feels calm, comfortable, and cared for and that is the only way you would want to send your loved one to what my Dad calls 'his going home party'.
* I made my Dad a scrapbook and I read it to him from front to back. I am so, so, so grateful and glad that I got to read the poems, memories and thank you's to him. Although I am not prepared to lose my dad and never will be. I have never, ever - not once taken these opportunities to tell him how I feel for granted. I know how lucky I am to have that. It also turns out he was keeping a scrapbook of all the things my siblings and I had given him, full of photos - how amazing of that! Two peas in a pod us.
* I am so grateful that I have told my Dad more or less every single day since I could speak that I love him, in so many different ways. I have told him I love him over a microphone in a clubhouse full of people, via letters, via hundreds of texts, over skype, on the telephone, and over a megaphone on a speedboat in the middle of the Mediterranean. My dad knows just how much I love him and I am so glad I always made sure of that, even as a child I did. My dad is the main reason I am so full of love now, I constantly had those words running through me. Check out Dr Masaru Emoto's experiments here to know what I'm talking about (remembering us humans are made up of about 65% water when doing so). 
* I am so grateful for my friends, and my family. I have such a fantastic support system in my life. I do have fleeting moments of getting sad that no-one will ever compare to my Popsicle and it makes me feel super down, but there is no need for comparison. I am so lucky to have such thoughtful, supportive and kind people around me, especially at such a time in my life. I'll also learn to live with the 'nothing compares' aspect I am sure. The fact is, of course, I would trade lots of things to keep my Dad - but I just can't, choosing him over those who are staying here on Earth with me is not an option. So, it's a stiff upper lip and grateful heart that I have had him at all.
* I am so grateful for every single cuddle and kiss I have ever shared with my father. Every single one meant the world to me. There's no feeling quite like the Daddy-daughter cuddle. It's the safest, warmest, most beautiful place to be and I will cherish that feeling forever. 
* I feel so grateful for my little Riley. He joined the Daddy-Daughter team when I bought him home at 18 and will always be a part of my Dad. I love that dog so much and just like he saved my Dad some years ago, I feel that he is going to be my little saviour now. Today he came running into my room while I was crying with Ben Ben and Riles worked out how to pull the baubles off of the Christmas tree, chased them around the room like a crazy and insisted I threw them for him to fetch - it cheered me right up!  
* I am so grateful for films and TV programs at the moment.  Netflix, 4oD, and youtube have been my best friends recently. They provide much-needed escapism and lift my spirits. I found a good blog post here about films that help you deal with death. I also youtube how I am feeling when I am feeling it because it is comforting to hear from someone who feels exactly what you are feeling.
* I am grateful for the thoughtful gifts I have received recently... Katrina got me a book full of interesting lists to write. Anyone who knows me knows how much I love memories and cherishing them so anything personalised is right up my street. When you're going through such a tough time - it really helps to have people around you showing you how much they care and showing how much you've done in your own life too.
* I am grateful I do not pent up all my emotions, I am a real individual who will cry when she needs to and belly laugh at you if you do something hilarious. There is no fake smile with me. If I feel crap, I'll tell you why and ride the emotional wave. I am very glad that I am this way because I can really feel when someone is not being true to their own emotional body and it makes me feel uncomfortable so no doubt others pick up on that too. 
* I've been loving long, hot baths so much now. Water cleanses your physical and mental body and is much needed in times of trouble. 
* I am so grateful for the internet right now. I have been googling girl's who are going through and have gone through the same thing and it has given me strength and hope to see that they are pushing through with strength and as positive-as-can-be attitudes.

Peace out potatoes, All my love xo
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Sunday, 1 January 2017

Bonjour 2017


♥ Don't be so hard on yourself 
Currently, I am losing someone I love and I need to be there for myself, I need to look after the child in me and ensure I treat myself with pure self-love. I worry a lot and put a lot of pressure on myself in many different aspects of life and now is the time to break that and go with the flow. I often find/ found myself in life putting others before myself constantly, but you cannot lift someone else before yourself and you cannot fill anyone else's cup up if your own is empty. 

♥ Live in the now
I have been learning to live in the here and now and just focus on the moment. If you're not doing something out of complete love then don't bother doing it at all. Life is too short to be miserable and it will be even shorter if you pump cortisol and other stress hormones through your body constantly about what you cannot control, which usually is events in the future and the past. 

♥ Cut down the time you spend on your phone 
I am a proper phone-head - not as much as some of my friend's who are actually quite boring/rude to hang out with at times, but there are times where I just waste hours scrolling on my phone. I could be using my time a lot more productively, for example, I could be reading, studying, going to the gym, or listening to a podcast that improves my knowledge instead of scrolling through pointless pictures. I have also noticed that the time I spend on my phone actually drags me DOWN! I end up feeling like my life isn't sufficient, and I create ideas of what I want to do because I get inspired by others when really, I am a great believer in just going with your own intuition, but when you're distracted with social media and the internet, it becomes easier to ignore what your gut is telling you.

♥ Read more
I LOVE getting stuck into a good book! Reading does so much for me; It is a form of escapism, it expands your mind, and personally it relaxes me as though it is a form of meditation. I am going to aim to read at least one book per month, but I won't be hard on myself if I don't achieve that as I know life can get in the way. 

♥ Complete my TEFL qualification and use it to travel to someplace new
I am doing an online TEFL course and I want to use it to go to a new place and teach people English. I don't know when I will be ready to do this as I have a lot going on in my personal life and I know I will need time to properly grieve and heal my broken heart, but I would love to go on a two week course or something if I am ready and I am determined to complete the course and obtain my certificate. 

♥ Give up the alternatives, & vegan junk
When I first started on my vegan lifestyle; I ate a lot of raw and whole foods and I felt and (If I do say so myself) looked fantastic, but since then I have found myself eating a lot more of the vegan alternatives available. Sometimes I eat things I wouldn't have even eaten before being vegan - just because they are vegan, for example, cheese and chocolate.

♥ Get into a fitness routine
You can't have all the nutrition and no movement. I have a gym membership and I did get into it for a while, but I need to get back into it and I need a fixed routine because when things are a bit higglety-pigglety I end up losing sight of what I am supposed to be dong.

♥ Network, Network, Network
I want to go to all the vegan festivals I can with a batch of my business cards, and CV's in order to find more vegan and blogging opportunities. I want to go to lots of meetups in order to make new friends and improve on certain skills and interests I have. I can sometimes be a bit of a hermit but I have realised recently that I am more extrovert than introvert and actually, being surrounded by people (positive people) lifts my mood and makes me so much happier.

Peace out potatoes xo
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