Death, Depression, Family, Grief, Step-father

What happens after (Part II)

This post is a little traumatic when talking about my brother, proceed with caution.

So we’ve covered the horrible step-father, getting kicked out of home and the plethora of health conditions, now we’re going to cover my brother dying and then write about my anxiety, depression and my suicidality in part 3.

My brother dying:

I was at the pain clinic for the day getting all my assessments done and I was talking to the psychologist and she asked me if my brother dying was a shock to me and I just thought what a stupid question that was to ask. No, I totally knew Chase was going to die and it wasn’t a shock at all (include heavy sarcasm when reading that). Like seriously? Who even asks that?! Of course it was a shock! The psychologist also asked me to explain what it was like Chase dying, it was not only a shock but a heart breaking experience that I will never ever be able to articulate and understand. I will never be able to explain how it was to watch Chase loose all his motor functions and the ability to walk, talk, eat and eventually breathe. I will never be able to explain what it felt like when I literally saw him take his last breath or what it was like to see his little blue coffin with superheroes all over it get lowered into the ground. Or how he looked before we nailed the coffin shut. Those memories will haunt me for as long as I will live. So yes psychologist lady, it was a complete shock when Chase died.

On May 31st it will be 4 years since Chase died and I still haven’t fully come to understand what that means. I’ve mentioned Chase before and a few memories but I thought that I will write down the whole experience in this post.

Here it goes:

It was a Thursday evening at home and Mum had noticed that one side of Chase’s face seemed to droop a little bit. She then asked him to do some pushups and he couldn’t do them (he always could, he was a strong little man) and when he stood up he was all dizzy and nearly fell over. This was not normal behaviour and now we were all a bit worried. The next day (Friday) Mum took him to the Royal Children’s Hospital to get him checked out. She was there all day and all night. When I got home from school on Friday Michael had to go into the hospital because Mum called him telling him that a neurologist and oncologist wanted to talk to them because they had found something on Chase’s MRI. Michael drove us all in (Michael, Dusty and me) into the hospital and we met Micahel’s brother Paul there. Michael left us with Paul and went to go find Mum.
I didn’t know what was happening and what was wrong wth Chase or that Mum and Michael had to have a meeting with the oncologist and neurologist, I learnt this later on when Mum told me. Paul took us (Dusty and me) to McDonalds and then to get ice-cream at the Docklands. Paul wouldn’t tell me anything that was happening and after the ice-cream he drove us home. I had to go into the Royal Children’s the next day (Saturday) for an MRI of my shoulder. Paul drove us in that morning and we met Mum in Chase’s room. I still didn’t know what was wrong. Mum was crying and Chase was just sitting on the bed playing with one of his toys. I got the MRI of my shoulder done and I drove home with Mum and Chase. In the car when Chase was sleeping I asked Mum what was wrong and she started crying again, I asked if Chase needed brain surgery and she said no. She then said to me “Maddy, Chase is VERY sick.” I then started crying also and asked if he has cancer, Mum said yes and then I yelled out “NO” and told her that I thought she was lying. Mum said she was sorry and that she would tell me everything tonight. We went home and Chase wanted muffins so I made him some muffins. That night when he was asleep Mum told me that Chase had Diffused Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG) and that it was terminal and that he didn’t have much longer to live.

My aunty drove up from her farm Sunday and we had all our family come over. I took Monday and Tuesday off school. On Tuesday Mum and Michael went back to the hospital to talk to some more doctors about what could be done. Basically nothing, Chase could’ve had radiation and chemo but it would’ve been for every day for 6 weeks and it would’ve only made him sicker and not actually help anything and even if it did shrink the tumour a little bit and give him another few months he would’ve spent those months in hospital incredibly sick from the chemo and radiation. So Mum and Michael decided against doing any of that and took him home: plus Chase hated hospitals.
I went back to school on Wednesday and got the school counsellor there to tell my home group and teachers what was happening. We didn’t tell Chase what was happening, he was only 5 but he was so clever and smart that he knew what was going to happen to him anyway. He started asking Mum questions about death and what happens after you die which was weird because he had never asked those questions before and he was only 5 and what 5 year old asks about that stuff?

We had an early Christmas and birthday because we didn’t know if he was going to make it past his birthday and to Christmas. The  Make A Wish foundation funded the birthday party for Chase. They hired a limo, had people dress up as superheroes, rented out Ace Space, got a birthday cake made and presents donated. They did a great job and I thank Make A Wish for everything that they did.

Chase started deteriorating pretty rapidly; from diagnosis date to the day he died it was 12 weeks. March 8th to May 31st. Chase lost the ability to walk so he had to be carried everywhere and then the ability to talk, swallow properly and then to breath.

I was still having to go to school and do all that, that was because of Michael. If I had it my way I would’ve been at home with my brother who was going to die and spending as much time with him as I could.
Chase only really wanted Mum throughout the whole thing. She was amazing and I will never know how she did it. She literally became an angel and looked after Chase with so much love and support. My heart aches for her when thinking about everything she went through.
With Chase only wanting mum it was hard for me to spend any time with him. I did teach him to play crocodile crocodile though and that was nice. I don’t resent Mum or Chase for that, but it does hurt that I wasn’t able to spend as much time with him as I would’ve liked…

Now to the hardest part, the day he died:

It was a Thursday and I got up to go to school. Chase wasn’t awake when I left so I don’t even remember what the last thing was that I said to him or did with him was.
I came home from school and the palliative nursers and doctors had come during the day when I was at school. When I got home from school Chase was in his bed with a whole lot of needles in him for the medications they put him on (pain meds and stuff like that). I knew then that he wasn’t going to be around for much longer, I just didn’t know he was going to die a few hours later. The offical date and time that he died was Friday, May 31st 2013 at 12:12am.
At around 6pm on Thursday his breathing started to change and mum rang the palliative care team. They listened to it over the phone and told us that it won’t be much longer, I sat on his bed for most of the night holding his hand while mum was laying next to him. I also took a lot of pictures because I knew this was the last time that I would be able to. Chase was unconscious the whole time.
Mum stayed with him in bed while Michael, Dusty, Mum’s friend Anna, Dusty’s grandparents and me watched a movie in the lounge room. It wasn’t my choice to do that but anyways…
At 12:10 am (Friday morning) Mum yelled out Michael’s name and we all went running down to Chase’s room. Chase had died in Mum’s arms. We all stood there crying and watching him. He then he took a breath; the hope that I felt in that moment was like nothing I will ever feel again. I can’t even explain it, but then he breathed out and didn’t breath again, that was at 12:12am.
I literally saw my brother take his last breath. I can’t tell you what happened after that as I don’t really remember. I do remember Mum and Michael washed him and put him in new clothes but I don’t remember much else. I do remember that I finally went to bed at 4am and when I woke at 8am, Anna and I went and drove to pick Holly up (she was living in a share house somewhere). At 4pm, my friend Casey came over and she spent some time with me while her mum spent time with my Mum.

Mum and Michael decided to do the funeral themselves and not take Chase to a funeral home as they’re evil and don’t take care with people’s loved and departed ones. They hired a mobile fridge that was plugged in in the carport and put him in his little coffin and that’s where he stayed until Wednesday June 5th, 2013 when we buried him.

There were a lot of people at Chase’s funeral. It was no where near a ‘celebration of his life’. It was depressing, sad and tragic that we were having to bury our 5 year old son and brother. Mum wrote his eulogy and the funeral speaker lady read it out. I wrote a poem and I read that out myself.

Here it is:

Our lives go on without you Chase but nothing is the same.
Our broken hearts are opened wide when someone speaks your name.
I don’t know how we’re going to live a life that you’re not in and never again hear those superhero songs you loved to sing.
You’ll always be my baby brother that I kissed and held so tight and that is what I think about in the coldness of the night.
I love you Chase

After that was done we carried his coffin over to his grave and lowered him in, we then each got a handful of dirt and threw it on. There was a wake afterwards at the pub, we went to that and at around 4 I got a lift home from my neighbours. The next Monday, Michael made me go to school and we were made to continue with life as if nothing had happened and that we didn’t just watch Chase die and bury him. I still can’t believe Michael was able to start again that soon afterwards.
I had a really hard time at school with friends and classes. I spent a lot of my time in the Wellbeing Centre crying and trying to figure how I was meant to go on with life without my baby brother next to me.

I love Chase so much and he was my best friend. He was the sibling I connected with and got along with the most. He was my personal superhero and I miss him every single day. I think about him every day and every day I wish he was still here with me. Chase shouldn’t have died, he should still be here growing up and living and experiencing everything life has to offer. He would be 9 now if he was still alive and in primary school probably being the smartest kid in his class. He was so smart, loving, caring and such a beautiful soul. He was so wise and everybody who met him felt like they had encountered something special. Chase was everything and he was taken away by cancer. I still ask so many questions to myself and to my counsellors about why he died and why it was him and I will never get the answers that I’m looking for. I will never know why he died or why it was him. Chase left a big hole in my heart that will never be filled and I will continue to miss him and love him and cherish the memories I do have with him.

Chase will forever live in our hearts and he will never be forgotten. 

My psychologist gave me a quote when I first started seeing her from Jon Kabat-Zinn and that quote was: You can’t stop the waves, but you can learn to surf.
I honestly think that that quote covers grief. Grief does come in waves and I am learning to surf those waves and to try not to let them drown me. Grief is so incredibly complex and no one can compare you for what it feels like. 

I love you Chase. 

Keep surfing everyone,
Maddy xoxo 

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Abuse, Body image, Chronic health condition, Death, Depression, Exhausted, Family, Grief, Step-father, Tired

What happens after (Part 1)

What happens after you have a horrible step-father, your brother dies, you’re kicked out of your home, you get a plethora of health conditions, you become incredibly depressed, you become suicidal and you have such bad anxiety that some days you can’t even look out the windows or leave the house because of how anxious you feel? What happens after all that? Well, it changes you in ways you didn’t know even existed and you learn to live with everything as sad as it sounds. How I’ve felt for the past 4 years has become my normal and that’s so depressing because my new normal is sh**! The only good thing I still have is my mum, that’s all. One person keeping me here on earth. 

I think I’ll talk about each issue separately starting with Michael:

A week after Chase died I was forced back to school by my horrible step-father, he went to work and my poor mum was left at home to deal with the silence and horrendous memories of the house alone. We were all forced to go back to normal by Michael (horrible step-father) but how were we meant to go bak to normal when our normal had changed so drastically and completely in 12 weeks? I don’t understand how he was able to get up and go to work so soon after! Like what?! Who does that? Michael also thought that two weeks after we buried my brother he would talk to me about how I’ve put on a little bit of weight and how I need to loose that and be more active outside. Yeah thanks Michael, that really helped. Psychotic asshole. 

 Michael was what you didn’t want in a father or step-father. He was angry, mean, cruel, hurtful, cold, selfish, fake, narcissistic, jealous, abusive and the biggest asshole to walk this planet. He was so mean and cruel to me for no reason. He used to tell me that I was fat and lazy and that I will end up smoking bongs on the couch doing noting with my life. After dinner when I would wash the dishes he would just sit in his spot at the head of the table and glare at me for no reason. I could feel him staring at me and judging me and sending his hate towards me while I was cleaning the pots and pans. He used to also lock me outside after I got home from school because he wanted me to spend more time outside and my mum couldn’t do anything because if she spoke up he would punish the rest of us and not give us money for food or firewood for the heater or water for the water tank and then mum, my brothers and I would all have to suffer at the hands of his anger. Mum stood up for me when he really crossed the line but in the end I learnt how to keep out of his way and stay away from him. When he wasn’t home after I would come home from school that was when mum and I caught up but as soon as I heard his truck or car come up the driveway I would run up to my room and not come back down until dinner time. 
I didn’t have much of a social life because all of my friend were scared and didn’t like Michael, they didn’t want to come over and talk or see him and I don’t blame them, I didn’t want to be there either. I would often think about running away but then where would I go? And leave mum there alone? I don’t think so plus I had no where to go. 

Michael started being mean to me at around the age of 10 as I was getting my own thoughts and feelings towards people and individuating into my own person. He didn’t like that I started seeing him as he was and not as the perfect do no wrong step-father I always thought he was. When I turned a little older that’s when the real glaring, judgement and negative comments would come.
When he and mum were fighting he would all of a sudden be nice to me and pay an interest in my stuff but that would only last until mum sucked up and apologise to him. Once they were back together and ‘all good’ again he would go back to not paying any interest in me and my school stuff and ignore my reports that I would want to show him because I got A’s and I was proud of that. 

Michael thought he knew everything about everything when in fact he knew very little. I understand that because he was raised by not very warm and loving parents and he grew up the hard way moulds him into who he is today but I don’t understand why he then has to teach his kids and treat his kids how he was treated. He never loved me, he saw me as a nuisance and a road block in the way of what he really wanted which was mum. When we used to go out as ‘one big happy family’ Michael would literally push me out of the way if I was walking next to mum because he wanted to walk next to her instead; how petty is that? I’m just a kid wanting to walk next to her mum and Michael the big bully has to come and push me out of the way. In the end it got very hard not to show my hatred towards him, it got harder everyday not to snap and tell him how much I hated him but in reality that would never happen because I was scared of him. He was a big, tall, angry, scary and a violent man. I never stood a chance. 

I don’t and never will blame or resent mum for staying with Michael for so long. I understand that she had no money of her own and no place to go or support, she also had Dusty (my other brother) and Chase to think about. We were stuck. All of us were abused by Michael and it has affected me in so many ways. Nearly every night I have a nightmare with Michael in it, if I hear a car that sounds like his I get anxiety and have to stop from having a panic attack and now I have such bad self esteem and body issues because of him and what he used to say to me that I loathe myself. I can’t look in the mirror without hating what I see. He used to also call me lazy all the time so now when I’m too tired to do anything because of my chronic fatigue instead of understanding that I have an illness and I’m unwell I just think of myself as lazy which means mum spends a lot of time reassuring me and reminding me that I’m not lazy and that I’m unwell with a medical condition and valid reasons for sitting on the couch watching TV. 

I often watch movies where the girl has the perfect dad who loves and cares for her and so wish that I could have what she has. I know that a lot of girls don’t have a dad like that but I still can’t help but wish that I had a dad who would do anything for them and who builds them up instead of smashing them down. Michael was a horrid man and I will always have to go through life with the damage that he’s caused to me and my body; mental and physical. I never want to see Michael or talk to him again, he contributed to my brokenness. One day I might be able to forgive him but that’s not right now.
I try, I really do but it’s so hard when I still think and am reminded about everything he did. It also doesn’t help that when Dusty comes over he’s a constant reminder by the way he acts and what he says, he’s exactly like Michael. Dusty has no respect for me and thinks I’m fat and lazy just like Michael does. 

Getting kicked out of home with nothing but a few boxes of my clothes:

It was a Thursday night and mum and Michael had been fighting for quite a while. Mum had cooked us all dinner but Michael wasn’t home; he came home after dinner had been served and we had cleaned up. Dusty was still eating his though and he wanted some more cheese but we didn’t have any as we had used it for our dinner. Michael went and warmed up his dinner and Dusty asked for some more cheese, Michael went to the fridge to get some out but as there wasn’t any left he started slamming things and yelling at mum about there not being any cheese. Mum went down to her room and Michael sat down to eat his dinner a few minutes later Micahel got up and stormed down the hallway to their room where mum was. He slammed the door and started yelling at her. Mum started yelling out that Michael was hurting her and to let her go and to stop touching her, I eventually went down do their room (I had NEVER interrupted their fights before, I usually go to my room) and opened the bedroom door and screamed at Michael to let her go. He had mum by the wrists and was screaming angry words and threats right in her face. He looked like a mad man and when I walked in. He let her go and told mum that she needs to get out of the house and that he’ll give her 6 hours to move out tomorrow (so Friday) after he had physically assaulted mum and told her to get us out he turned around and yelled at me right in my face to get the hell out of his way; he didn’t say it in exactly those words though. I honestly thought he was going to physically hurt me too. After had he had finished yelling at us and being physical with mum he went down and ate his dinner. Yes that’s right, after all that anger and getting physical with mum and went back to the dinner table and ate his dinner like nothing had happened, what a psycho. Who does that? Who can physically assault his wife and demand that she moves out of ‘his house’ and then go and eat dinner like nothing had happened in the past half an hour? A psychopath that’s who. After he finished dinner he went outside and got the boxes from storage and gave them to mum and told her to pack up her sh** and then he left again. Mum and I started to pack Chase’s room first, taking the most sentimental stuff like his clothes and toys and a few of his funeral programmes. After Chase’s room I went up and threw all of my clothes into boxes not taking notice of what I took and what I left. I left so many of my things behind, I literally only took my clothes. On Friday I took the day off school and mum and I moved our boxes to mum’s little investment house in the town over. The house was incredibly small with only one bedroom, no heater, no water, no gas, no firewood and no cooling; not that we needed cooling as it was the middle of winter! Mum and I had managed to move all our clothes and stuff within the 6 hours that Michael gave us to move out.

The hardest part of getting kicked out was leaving Chase’s room and everything in there. Chase’s room was where I could go and cry and miss him without the judgment of Michael. Living in that little house was incredibly hard when there was 3 people living in a one bedroom house. Dusty and I slept on mattresses that were given to us by friends on the floor in the bedroom meanwhile mum slept on a mattress in the lounge room. 
There was no privacy at that house and no place where I could go and break down and let out all the feelings I had abut what had happened and Michael. We got through it though and after mum borrowed quite a lot of money off one of her friends we were able to get out of that tiny house and move into a normal size house where I had my own bedroom and bathroom and mum had her own bedroom and bathroom. Plus it had heating and cooling which was great! My anxiety was just starting out but it wasn’t that bad that I couldn’t go to school or leave the house. My depression also wasn’t bad either, it was a year after Chase had died so I was still in the numb, processing stage and hadn’t completely gotten the fact that my brother had died.

Health conditions (Gastroparesis, chronic fatigue syndrome, pelvic floor dysfunction):

My health conditions mostly started after we moved into the normal house. That’s when the extreme bloating, pain, fatigue and other yucky symptoms started to happen. It’s also when my anxiety became severe and so did my depression and I ended up leaving my mainstream school and enrolling into Distance Education. I’ll talk about my anxiety and depression more in part 2 of ‘What happens after’ but for now I’ll talk about all the stomach issues and fatigue. 

After I had left my school and started Distance Education I’d wake up every day looking 7 months pregnant and in a lot of pain. I would also sleep for 15 hours a day and be fatigued for the rest of the hours I was awake. I made trips to the emergency room quite a few times because of my bloating and pain and also because I would have blood in my poo (TMI I know, but that’s part of my life and this is a blog about my life so…) which isn’t normal. I would always get sent home from the hospital and told that I was fine and to take over the counter pain relief; it didn’t help with all the other symptoms, it helped with the pain a little but but that’s it. I got referred to see a gastroenterologist at the Royal Children’s Hospital and he booked me in for a colonoscopy and endoscopy. As I had thought they didn’t find anything and he told me to go home and to come back in a few months. Well, I wasn’t happy with that so I went and saw a paediatrician who told me I have chronic fatigue syndrome and associated POTS but my bowel issues and bloating was because I was overweight and that I just had to lose the weight and I’d be fine. Yeah thanks. Mum and I were relieved that we finally had an answer as to why I was so tired all the time and got exhausted walking from my bedroom to the lounge room, but as my stomach issues persisted and I still had pain, bloating and blood in my poo we went and got a referral from my GP to go see a different gastroenterologist privately. My new gastroenterologist has been great up until now as there’s not much more he can do for me unfortunately. 

When I went in for my first appointment he took me very seriously and listened to everything I had to say and told me that he thinks that I have Ulcerative Colitis, he put me on steroids and booked me into hospital to have another colonoscopy done and to get an MRI. Well, I went on the steroids and got the unfortunate side effects from them (extreme hunger, mood swings, moon face ect) and then went into hospital for what turned out to be a week long stay. I had to do a 3 day flush out which meant I couldn’t eat anything solid for three days and had to take a number of disgusting laxatives. If you’re reading this and you’ve had to have a colonoscopy before then you know what I mean when I say the actual flushout stuff is the most disgusting thing in this world. Anyway, I did the colonoscopy and they didn’t find anything (typical) so I was taken off the steroids and then had to have an MRI done of my whole digestive system; that was super uncomfortable as I had to lay on my stomach for an hour. Once again they didn’t find anything abnormal and I was told I just have sever IBS and I was sent home and to get another follow up appointment with my gastroenterologist. We went back to him and he told me because I’m so constipated I have to do a flush out once EVERY MONTH! Nooooo 😩😷 So I continued doing that and as nothing was improving, I was still bloated, in pain and constipated he told me that I needed to go get a gastric emptying study done (http://www.medicinenet.com/gastric_emptying_study/article.htm). So I went and did that and FINALLY something came back abnormal and we got some answers. It turns out I have something called Gastroparesis. This pretty much means that my stomach is a little bit paralysed and doesn’t empty food as quickly as a normal stomach does. I can’t tell you how relieved I was that I finally had some answers! So the end diagnosis with my stomach is sever IBS and Gastroparesis. My gastroenterologist has put me on a medication called Motilium which has really helped; I can now eat without getting a severe stomach ache and severe nausea which is nice. I still get pain, I’m still bloated and I still get constipated but now I know why. 
The cause of my constipation isn’t just from my gastroparesis and IBS though, it turns out I also have Pelvic Floor Dysfunction. The problem with my pelvic floor is that it’s always tight and doesn’t relax and let go. You know when you do your kegel exercises and you can squeeze in and then relax again, well my pelvic floor doesn’t relax when I let go. This means that it’s hard for my poo to come out and it also means I can rarely use a tampon when I get my period. I have exercises I do but otherwise there’s not much else I can do at the moment. 
I’ve talked about my Chronic Fatigue before so I won’t go into that again… https://depresssedmesswithanxietyandgrief.wordpress.com/2016/07/28/living-life-in-the-slooooooow-lane/

Alright peeps, this is a really long post so I’ll leave it here and I’ll upload part 2 next week. Stay safe. 

Maddy xoxo 

PS- Go check out a singer called Agnes Obel if you don’t know her already. She has some beautiful songs. 

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Chronic health condition, Death, Depression, Exhausted, Family, Grief, Tired

I’m so tired of everything

 

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I’m so tired, not in the sense that I need more sleep, well I do need more sleep, but I’m talking about being tired mentally and emotionally.  I feel like I’m in quick sand just trying to keep my head above board and trying to live day by day. If I only had my depression and anxiety and grief to deal with I think I’d be ok but I have so many other things to have to deal with. It’s too much; especially for a seventeen year old.

I don’t understand why some people have such easy lives with nothing bad happening and then some people have to struggle to keep going and not give up. I really do feel like I got the short end of the stick and I’m just going to say it… It’s not fair, I deserve better! I know people who live their lives with nothing  bad happening and they just travel the world and have a big group of friends and then there are people like me who have a dead brother, generalised and social anxiety, a plethora of health conditions and a mountain load of grief weighing them down everyday. I feel as though I deserve something more and better than this. I wake up in the morning in pain and feel like I haven’t slept at all even though I could have slept for 12 hours I then shuffle my way down the hallway to start complaining to mum about how tired and sore I am and how I look 7 months pregnant today instead of my standard 5 months, I then have to take my medication which I take three times a day so I can eat without experiencing horrible stomach aches and nausea and then I spend my day doing what I can depending on how tired I feel and how much pain I’m in. Then when it comes time to go to bed I lay there for hours and hours and end up getting to sleep after 3am or sometimes I don’t get to sleep at all! Yay for me.

How am I meant to do a diploma and placement if I feel tired all day everyday? I’ve tried taking sleeping pills and they work for the first week but then they stop and when they do work the next day I wake up feeling like I have a massive chronic fatigue flare up. I really can’t win. 

I need a break, even if it’s just for a day I would really like a break from my life and everything that comes with that, but that’s not possible and that’s really sad because this is my life and I have to learn to accept it for what it is. Yes it’s pretty sh** at the moment but I’m really hoping that it starts to get better soon and something changes because I can’t go through life not enjoying anything and just going day by day. I need something more and to believe that I will travel the world and have friends and a social life and that I will be happy one day. I need to believe that because if I don’t then what’s the point of living? My only reason is mum and that’s enough but it would be nice to live for something more as well. 

Well It’s 4am and I’m catching up on Millionaire Matchmaker while I write this blog and I don’t see sleep in the near future so maybe I should have breakfast?! 😉

Love to you all,
Maddy xoxo

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Ps- I love Greys Anatomy 

 

 

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Chronic health condition, Family, Mother and daughter, Uncategorized

A Letter To My Mumma Bear

 

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Dear Mum,

You are the most amazing person and mother I will ever meet. You inspire me to be a better person every day and to keep going, you are my rock for staying here and I yours. Your strength amazes me. You’ve been through so much in your life and the fact that you are still alive, especially after Chase is astonishing. 
Teachers at school used to ask us who our role model was or who’s a person that we look up to and my answer to those questions every time was you, and it still is. You truly are my role model and if I end up half as good as you I will be happy. 

You are the most amazing mum even though you don’t think so sometimes. For the past 4 years I have definitely not made your life any easier between my stints in the psych ward and all my heath issues you have stuck by me and given me the power to keep going. If I didn’t have you in my life I would be lost and most likely dead. You are my everything and I am so thankful that you haven’t given up on yourself, me and us. Thank you for loving me like you do and being not only my mum but my best friend and sister. I honestly couldn’t ask for a better mum, best friend and sister. You are my family. Me and you, just us two remember.

Here are a few words I would use to describe you:
Kind
Compassionate
Loyal 
Trustworthy 
Generous 
Loving
Funny
Strong
A survivor 
Spiritual 
Courageous 
Considerate 
Empathetic 
Sympathetic 
Intuitive 
Passionate 
Reliable 
Witty
Amazing
Angelic 
A role model 
Beautiful 
Brilliant 
Inspiring 
And there’s more but my brain isn’t working and I’ve gone a bit blank… sorry about that! 

You really are all those things I mentioned above, you’re pretty freaking amazing.
I’m sorry your life has been so hard and you have never really had a break from all your stresses, but the fact that you’re still living after everything you’ve been through really does amaze me. If I was you I would’ve died a loooong time ago.

Thank you for keeping me safe from Rohan and Michael. I know that you feel as though you could have done more about Michael sometimes but the truth is, is that you couldn’t! You did everything you could to prevent Michael from becoming worse and making Chase and Dusty suffer more also. I do not and never will resent you or blame you for what Michael’s done. You stood up for me and helped me get though the abuse the Michael did caused and you were always there for me, I’m just so sorry that you had to go through that for so long and suffer the way you did. It broke my heart to see you so depressed and sad while with him. I wish that I could’ve done more to help. 

I’m so so sorry that you lost Chase, I can’t even begin to imagine how that must feel. I’m so sorry you lost your soul mate and twin flame. So many times I wish I could trade places with Chase so you would have him back and live a life with him. I just hope I’ve been a helpful support to you and helped you through your grief a little bit. As much as the thought of you dying kills me, I’m looking forward to you finally being free and being able to be with Chase again forever. It must be so hard to have to stay here for me and Dusty when you just want to be with Chase and that is totally understandable, if I was you I’d feel the same. 

You and I have been through so much between your health conditions, my health conditions, Chase, Michael and everything else in-between you have stayed strong and kept going. I will always love you with all that I am and I will always be there for you. It’s going to be a sad and hard day for me when I move out and we won’t see each other everyday.

All I really want to say is thank you and I love you. Just thank you so much for everything that you’ve done. You are the most amazing and inspiring woman I will ever meet and you truly do inspire me everyday to be a better person and to keep going. 

I love you so much Mum and I will always fist you and tips you (this is a private joke and in no way entails what it sounds like 😉 )

Keep going Mum, I know you can do this and I will always be there beside you to help you and push you to keep going. 

All the love in the entire solar system and more,
your daughter Maddy. xoxo 

 

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Death, Depression, Grief, Uncategorized

A letter to my brother

Dear Chase,

I miss you, I miss you so much it hurts all of the time. I still can’t believe that you’re gone and that you’ve died and that you’re not here. That you will never experience what life has to offer; good and bad. You will always be five years a month and a day in my eyes, you will never grow up and have children or get married, you will never have your first drink or travel the world, and you will never be there growing old with me. You were my little brother and you meant so much to me. I loved you so much. You were my favourite sibling and you always will be, not because you’ve died but because you were meant to be my brother and because we come from the same soul group; I truly believe that. I also believe that one day I will see you again because the alternative is that I will never see you again and that’s just too hard. 

You were so brave and strong. You were the most amazing person, you and mum inspire me everyday to keep on going and not to give up, even though I want to many times a week. Sometimes its so hard to remember why I can’t kill myself and why I do have to keep on living and the two reasons I always go back to is that one: mum needs me and I can’t leave her, that’s just too horrible and two: I believe that if I kill myself before my time to die I will miss you and mum and have to reincarnate and I will never get to see you again. You and mum is what’s keeping me alive on this planet and you’re not even here with me! You’re dead, you died. You died and left me. You left me and you left mum and since then we’ve had to go through so much crap. I get so angry at you sometimes for leaving and dying but then I feel bad because what sister gets angry at their dead brother from dying from cancer? Am I a horrible sister for not going to the cemetery also?

I still can’t believe that you’ve died sometimes, my brain can’t comprehend that I will never get to see your beautiful face again and play superheroes and crocodile crocodile with you. But the truth and reality is is that you are dead and that I will never get to play superheroes and crocodile crocodile with you again. 

You got diagnosed on March 8th and died on May 31st and between those two months I watched you deteriorate to the point where you couldn’t walk, sit or crawl by your self, mum had to carry you every where and you mostly just stayed in bed while I had to go to school and not spend time with you. Your cancer was terminal, you were going to die and yet I had to go to school and waste seven hours a day learning stuff I still don’t remember now while you were at home getting killed by your brain tumour. 

The day you died I remember not seeing you in the morning and it was a Thursday, I went to school and had to re-take a maths test that I’d failed (gee I wonder why that was!) and then I got on the bus and came home and the palliative care doctor had come while I was at school and you had IV lines in you with medication and you never woke up. Your breathing became different around 5-6pm and mum rang the doctor and they said not much longer and then on the Friday at around 12:12 that morning you died. I literally watched you take your last breath. The feeling of hope I felt when I got to your room and saw you take that breath was a feeling like no other and is indescribable and I will always remember that feeling there is also no way I will ever forget how I felt in those five seconds thinking that you were still alive and then you didn’t take another one. It was official, you had literally just taken your last breath. 

The come down from that feeling of hope is also another feeling I will never forget. You were so still and pale, you looked like yourself but at the same time you didn’t. You could tell that you were dead and that there was no more life in your small body. You died in Mums arms and that’s how it should’ve been, I’m glad you had mum there with you. 

Why did you die Chase? Was it so mum would leave Michael and find a new life for herself? Why? Why did you die and leave us? Why did you get DIPG? Why couldn’t you get another cancer if you had to get cancer that could be cured? I don’t understand why you got the rarest one, is that because you’re a rare human? There’s so many ‘why’s’ and I just want an answer to one of them. And why did you have to leave mum? She’d been through so much already and then you have to go and die and make it worse. I wish you would’ve made mum leave Michael another way without dying.

I know you’re still around, I get signs and I heard you say the other day say ‘I love you Maddy’ and I saw that avengers symbol on my top, but that makes me feel worse sometimes because it just reminds me that you’re not hear and that you’ve died. I try so hard to lock and shut those feelings down because if I let them out like I have the past two weeks I become incredibly depressed again and have to remind my self the reasons to keep on living. 

You truly were a superhero and shining star little brother. You were the best sibling and brother anyone could ask for. You and mum make me feel love I didn’t even know was possible. I am so proud of you and who you were in those short five years. everyone who met you loved you and thought you were amazing. No body ever thought you were anything other than amazing. 

I don’t know how to describe how I feel about you dying most of the time. Most of the time it’s indescribable. How do you explain to people how you feel about watching your brother die and then have to live with everything that comes after that? You can’t, it’s impossible. 

Did you know that you were going to die since you were born? Did you know that we would only have you for five years? I wish so much that you could give me some bloody answers. No one has answers for me, no one knows why you died and why you died of such a horrible thing. 

I love you so much Chase and I hope you know that. I hope you know that while I was stuck at school I wish I was at home with you even though all you wanted to do was play superheroes with mum. 

I wish I could do what mum says about thinking of seeing your signs as a blessing and knowing that you’re still around but I just cant do that right now, maybe one day but not today. 

I’m scared that one day I’ll somehow forget about you, that I’ll forget that I had a brother like you and I know that sounds horrible but it is one of my fears, right up there with mum finding someone else she’ll love more than me and want to spend more time with.

It’s coming up to that time when you tell someone about you dying and they ask how long ago and you say 4, 5, 6, 7 years and it sounds like such a long time ago when in reality it feels like it happened last week, yesterday or never. I don’t want that to happen I don’t want people thinking any less of my grief because it happened 7 years ago. I don’t want people thinking any less of your death because it was 7 years ago. 

I don’t want to make peace with you dying because I don’t want to accept that I will never see you again and that you’re dead. In a way me still being in denial makes sure that i will always remember you and that your death will not mean nothing. You meant everything and I still want to believe with everything that I am that you will come home one day or that I’ll wake up and it was just a nightmare but I know that’s not true and yet I still can’t come to terms with it. 

I love you so much Chase and I will never forget you, ever. 

With all the love that I have, 
your sister Maddy.

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Grief

Christmas used to be fun, now I’m the Grinch who stole it!

Christmas. Last time I heard christmas is meant to be a time to celebrate love, family and joy. Those words don’t make me feel any love or joy, they just make me feel incredibly sad.

Christmas in my household used to be full of all those things I mentioned before. We would put up a christmas tree and decorate it and then on christmas eve we would all open up one present just to get our christmas spirit even higher that it already was! Christmas morning was filled with laughter and joy at opening up our presents that Santa brought us and then after we would open all our presents, mum would cook her famous pancakes and we would have a big christmas lunch with family or a big christmas dinner. But during the day we would play with our presents and admire them. My little brother Chase was in love with superheroes, so he would be off in his room or on the lounge room floor playing with his new Buzz Lightyear toy or the new Iron Man figurine.

Christmas is not like that at all any more. We don’t even have a tree up and that’s ok because honestly, I’m not ready to make a massive deal out of christmas and act like it’s the happiest day of my life.
This will only be our 3rd christmas without my dear baby brother. The thought of having a good time on christmas day is just foreign to me; it makes absolutely no sense. Other family members don’t feel that way like mum and I do. They are acting like there’s nothing wrong, they’re actually excited for christmas! I honestly don’t get it but each to their own I guess…

It seems to me that christmas exacerbates a lot of families grief, I sure do know that it makes mine and mums grief way worse. I think it’s because like I said before, christmas is a time for family to come together and celebrate. And we don’t have a family. All I have really is mum and a dead brother who was everything to me. Sure, I have other siblings, but they are so different to Chase. Chase and I clicked, we were extremely close and we are really the own two siblings that got along. I have a younger brother who is older then Chase, and he is horrible to me! Just like his father, my step-father was to me. He treats me exactly the same as Michael did and it’s horrible! I also have an older sister, Holly. Well, Holly and I don’t really get along at all! We are pretty much polar opposites, all I have in common with her is the same mum I feel. She wasn’t around for more than half of Chase’s life so no wonder she’s not grieving like mum and I are. She used to bully me all the time, and now she just won’t listen to what I have to say and acts like she’s so much better than me, when in fact, she really isn’t! She’s damaged just like we all are, but she won’t do anything to try to fix herself because she believes that there’s nothing wrong with her, it’s always our fault. She and Dusty got along because they’re quite similar and then Chase and I got along extremely well. I now feel as though I’m an only child and that I have no siblings. To me Dusty and Holly are just acquaintances, not even friends! I have no nice feelings to them because Chase was a real sibling, he treated me how brothers and sisters should treat each other and that’s not how Dusty and Holly treat me.

Mum and I don’t even call christmas christmas. We’re calling it J.C Day or December 25th. You can see how excited we are cant you?!
Dusty who lives with Michael is coming on J.C Day from 12pm to 5pm boxing day and Holly is coming over after work, so that will be fun… NOT!!! We’re having cold meats for sandwiches and salads which will be nice and easy for mum and I, as mum will NOT be having a fun day at all! I can not imagine what it must feel and be like to lose a child. I admire my mother so much for everything she’s had to go through. She was so extremely strong in the twelve weeks it took for Chase to die, she was with him nearly twenty-four seven. It was amazing to see the love my mum had for her little baby boy. My mum is my own superhero who I will be forever admiring her strength and determination. My thoughts and love is with her everyday.

My journey through grief hasn’t been fun, and I imagine it won’t be fun for a long time. Grief is not something you can explain. The definition of grief in the online dictionary is:
Intense sorrow, especially caused by someone’s death.

Well, let me tell you, intense doesn’t even begin to explain it! I feel as though the definition should be:
No definition, it is your own personal hell that will destroy you in so many ways but will also make your stronger in many too.

I still can’t believe that it’s been two nearly three years since Chase died. Sometimes it feels like ten years ago, yesterday or like it never happened, but around Christmas time it feels like it happened an hour ago all day.
The word ‘Grief’ is so strong isn’t it? Just like bereavement or passed away, they all signify that same thing: DEATH. In the end we all will die. Now I don’t know if I will die tomorrow, a year away or in seventy years, but what I do know is that I will spend everyday I have missing and grieving my brother. No one can take that away from me because right now, grief is the only reminder I have that he was real, and christmas is making that extremely real. Chase loved christmas and I hope that wherever he is now he can have a good christmas.

I love you Chase. Xx

( P.S. I am aware that christmas is meant to have a capital ‘C’ as the first letter, but as I feel that christmas is not important it doesn’t deserve a capital letter! 😉 )

Merry christmas guys <—- See, its kinda an insincere Merry christmas because I didn’t put a capital c!

Love,
Maddy. xoxo

 

 

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Depression

Depression will probably be the death of me

I have suffered depression for about a year and a half now. It was manageable in the first six months, but then it started getting worse.
The feelings that I were experiencing were different from anything I have ever felt before and that scared me. It overwhelmed me. I wish I could say that with all the counselling I got and my one supportive parent that I had, I have gotten on top of it a year later, but no, I am still drowning in the black hole that is depression. It’s true what they say, it honestly does feel like there is a little black dog following you around all the time ruining what little happiness you may experience. It is hard work getting rid of this dog, I am still working profusely to get rid of it. This dog seems to posses magic powers though, the power of making me want to kill myself. It’s not easy fighting off those thoughts of “You’re nothing” ,”You’re worthless and no one will ever end up loving you”, “You’re stupid and fat and no one is going to want to be around you” my favourite one though is “Just kill yourself already and end it all, because honestly what is the point of living? You have nothing to live for”. That last thought is the main thought I have to battle with. It crawls into my mind nearly everyday, just egging me on to give up and leave the one person who is there for me through thick and thin; my beautiful and amazing mother. I could never leave my mum. She is my rock and I hers, but a lot of the time it feels like her rock is getting smaller and it’s not big enough for me to hold on to anymore. Suicide is not fun. It makes me feel weak and like a failure. I do not like feeling like that Sam I am. I want to feel powerful and strong, but that damn dog just loves to bite me and remind me of all the reasons why I can’t be powerful and strong apparently. I try and not listen to those unhelpful and mean thoughts, but it’s easier said than done.

It seems that I am still ‘here’  though, wherever that is. I must admit that I have had a helping hand from the psychiatric hospital once or twice… and BTW, the psych ward is NO trip to Luna Park! It is cold, lonely, boring and depressing as hell!

I have worked for a long time with my psychologist to help ‘kill’ my little puppy that seems intent on hanging around with me and my bros (Ha! Just kidding! I have no friends, but that’s another story for another day. 🙂 ) I have tried Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT), altering my negative thoughts to positive thoughts, medication, the psych ward and what else? Oh thats right! A little bit of exercise just to spice things up a bit…. But in my defence that was really hard to do because my toes had to have surgery on them which I got done last week, so once they heal up 100% I can start to go for walkies every day! Yay!!! 😉

At the end of the exhausting day my aim is to wake up one day and not see the black canine wagging its tale ready for what feels like round one billionth in the never ending ball game of ‘Lets see what can wear Maddy down the most to see her break and try to stab herself or overdose!” Sounds like a fun game huh? Do you wanna join in?

I guess at the end of the day though, the only person who can help me is myself. And I am trying to work on myself as much as I can.

Keep safe peeps,
Maddy xoxo

 

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