Sunday 26th June 2022

Being Me & The Month That Was April 2022. #WOTY. 28/2022.

Being Me & The Month That Was April 2022. #WOTY. 28/2022.

Word Of the Year Link Up Party.

Joining in with these kind bloggers:

hosted by friends Deb, Sue,  Donna and  Jo too.

You too can join in, clicking on one the above links:

Look for this image, and add your post.

 

April 2022: Being Me & The Month That Was. 

April started for ‘being me’  with less self confidence and some inner conflict.

I have been at odds with my perceived appearance (once a woman with overeating and overweight issues) that I could not shake. I needed evidence. Fortunately for me, and my current images, I now know my mind has been telling me stories. Who knew*? *sarcastic font.

And that was one of the reasons, lack of some self confidence,  I chose to make myself (and anyone who wanted to join in) a 30 Day Challenge via social media. Instagram specifically.

Being Self-Compassionate!

Dear Readers, I stopped the challenge at Day 20. I was getting little to no  engagement via my daily posts. And whilst I was wanting some likes and perhaps a comment, nothing happened. I like to engage with those who comment. So, I was a bit sorry that it did not happen. I was also taking part in a daily challenge from Fat Mum Slim about food, and using it to share knowledge and experiences from my head and neck cancer. And I stopped it at Day 20 as well.

 

Lesson learned: Perhaps I post too much and perhaps with an expectation of interest in what I post. But I can see, that having a private account, along with content that my on-line followers have seen enough of since 2017.

I am unlinking instagram from the blog as it truly was a nuisance with its updates. I am now just posting on Instagram when I have something I want to share. I have also unlinked Instagram from the Denyse Whelan Blogs facebook page. AND, in case you are not aware, I have deleted as many photos as I wanted to because Meta (owner of both FB and IG) own the images until you delete them. It takes a while to do it. But I didn’t want as much on line.

On Changing & Ageing…Being Me.

It’s all very well for people to say, “oh age is just an attitude”…and yes to an extent that is true but to deny the fact that we humans age in many ways (all different for each of us) but towards the common denominator called death, is for me and my husband, a non-realistic way to LIVE in the NOW, but keeping an EYE on our future.

What We Both Love About This Time Of Our Lives Is:

  • being together for parts of the day, week and so on
  • having some separate and private times
  • pursuing our differing interests and hobbies
  • coming together a few times each day, and at 9 p.m. to chat, laugh and listen
  • no one to answer to any more…no bosses!
  • lack of direct  responsibility for any other humans…those dear kids are in their 40s & 50s with our fast growing up grandkids as their responsibility
  • where we live now
  • having a limited but sufficient income with which to live our now modest lives

We went to Norah Head Lighthouse on Good Friday.

What We Accept Is Coming…one day…who knows when?

Our different and chronic health issues may impede some of our planning.

Already we have accepted that for two different reasons, both physical changes within us, we cannot travel or have a night staying anywhere. We both have eating and digestive issues that are managed with ease at home, and whilst we can venture to a cafe for morning tea or visit our family for a meal, that is it now.

My husband has a severely comprised spine – surgeries have helped him stay upright – and pain is with him 24/7 so he is most comfortable at home with all the needs met here. And of course, my reconstructed mouth means eating away from home is in fact, too hard!

I tend to want to know, research and read…(and listen if it’s via Audible) and “he” has learned so much in his University Counselling Degree and working as a Counsellor that he listens to me and nods ….because, dear Reader, is he WISE!

Mind you, we both do still learn from each other and he is understanding of my need to know and with my father’s age at 98 I have seen so much about ageing as it happens to him..I want to understand more about what it not only IS but what I can accept…so, learning for life me, learns! Here’s a few ways:

And this is truly BEing ME!

BEing Me.

Has changed considerably this year.

For the better.

I have, finally, taken stock of what was causing me some anxiety and worry and stopped being an always happy to say YES person.

I now have worked out whose health matters most, mental and physical and that is mine.

I know not everyone can see why I might now have changed but I have had to change.

I was being stressed over small matters that grew into big ones and they were, generally about people-pleasing.

It’s something I am more aware of now and seek to take a pause before I respond to something that perhaps I may have said yes to in the past.

On some occasions I wear my family circles but every day I wear this, a small heart within a heart to remind me of inner and self love.

Now, back to April: The Month That Was.

And some more:

I have visited Dad more often as the weather has brightened and he is needing company. I also bring little treats and food.

He no longer wants me to take photos of him but when he went to my brother’s for Easter, this image was taken and I love it….will be taking a copy “blown up” so he can see it next week. This is his youngest great grandchild and there is 97 years and 4 months difference in their age!

And that, my friends is April…..Word of the Year progress noted….and on Sunday it is May!

May, for many, can bring memories of Mother’s Days…and mothering, and grand mothering too if you get to do that.

It’s the month in which my oral cancer was diagnosed and my life changed from that time onwards.

Yes, there will be a post (or two) in May about it….

Take care,

Denyse.

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“Being Me” Was Hard in March! #WOTY Review. 20/2022.

“Being Me” Was Hard in March! #WOTY Review. 20/2022.

So, as regular readers know I chose “be me” as my guiding words in 2022.

From end of February celebrating B’s Birthday and using money from NSW Govt…for dining in at a favourite morning tea place.

I guess that IS the ultimate challenge for me, to “be myself” especially in my life where I knew how to be:

  • a daughter
  • a wife
  • a mother
  • a teacher
  • a grandmother
  • a carer
  • a volunteer
  • a patient
  • a blogger
  • a friend

But, left to be on my own I realised late last year when I became unwell, that perhaps I needed to be “me” just “me” ….being, rather than doing…..

Doing was what I knew well.

Being is actually much harder.

Having an inner conversation with me is like this:

so, what’s happening today? I don’t know, I find it hard to just ‘be’ when I want to ‘do’.

And the answer often lies somewhere in the middle of both doing and being…of course…but I still have to tame my old (very) tendencies to:

  • rescue others
  • take care of something for someone
  • go out and find items at the shops
  • do something useful ….with a product such as a meal/cake/gift for someone

As they say, and I have too, I remain a “work-in-progress”.

So far I know I am getting closer to “being me” when I feel less stressed about having to be somewhere I chose not to be anymore.

In fact, even though my people pleasing is still pretty prominent at least I recognise it and can actual say to myself “no, I don’t do that anymore”

I’ve really had to be far more truthful in how some of my past overdoing behaviours have affected me.

It might sound trite but I am now doing far less of any potential organising for anyone or anything.

I know I could. I always did. But now, I am leaving it up to others. If asked, then I may indeed be part of what is happening or:

drum roll, please:

I

CAN

SAY

NO,

thank you,

without any further explanation.

I did some of my self-care things but we were also in a very rain affected part of N.S.W. so staying home was safe. I ventured out a couple of times:

But wait there is more. 

Over the past month my resilience has faltered.

I have been over-tired (but over-wired) and not sleeping well on some nights

I sensed a familiar feeling inside and I remembered it from LONG ago and it felt like:

Burn out…work overload…as it affected me twenty years ago. Chapter here from Telling My Story.

I have been teary.

Impatient.

Unsure about things I am normally confident about.

Quick to respond angrily.

I went to the Psychologist I have seen before and off-loaded but she didn’t mention burn out (that came later from me speaking with B) but she did mention overwhelm and uncertainty and …tah dah….the last 2 years….Wrote about them too. Here and here..

  • But, the ONE aspect I could admit to during my visit was the scare I got (viscerally) when my brother let me know 98 yo Dad had been taken to hospital. It was “only” a two night stay in the end but to a man like my Dad, it gave him quite a scare, as it did us…and his homecoming, via my brother, was on the most awful day of the rains flooding streets in the Northern Beaches right where they had to drive to get Dad back to Dee Why and my brother back to Narrabeen up the road. It was OK. In the end. But, it gave me added anxiety about the “next steps” with Dad and how I might manage emotionally. I am fortunate too, to have skills these days and to have my counsellor-trained husband.

 

  • After that experience and talking it through I could see I really needed to keep up my self-care and my time out in nature (once she settled down) and try to retain some of my more balanced life choices.

 

  • That kind of worked but I was still feeling the short fuse, and it happened after a couple of health visits where I knew I was over thinking and trying to over control what was happening at these visits …..and I couldn’t overcome how I was.

So, I let time pass. That hard thing to do.

But I did, and then over time, because that’s how it works for me, I could distance myself from how I had behaved and see that what I was trying to do was come to terms with more health issues and how HARD it is to do that after the past 5+ years of dealing with cancer.

Sometimes I forget my health past….

It is hard being me at times….

So, I backed off my inner pressure person (the teacher, the one in charge, the perfectionist if you will) and let myself grieve.

I grieved for what had happened to me in so many different health procedures and more…and how I had to hold myself strong to manage to get through it all….and I cried.

I could see that I was now tired.

And I am also in my early 70s. Ageing brings its own and different challenges.

I am using self-compassion to BE me more than ever.

In fact, I wrote about it here, and am keeping myself honest and planning to share an aspect of my self compassion over 30 days of April. More here.

I made a little set of reminder boards here and they sit right within my eye-line at the computer.

Word Of the Year Link Up Party.

Joining in with these kind bloggers:

hosted by friends Deb, Sue,  Donna and  Jo too.

You too can join in, clicking on one the above links:

Look for this image, and add your post.

Thanks for reading and commenting. I certainly send my good wishes to you all.

Denyse.

 

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Self Compassion: My Healthy Life Challenge: April 2022. 19/2022.

We Missed Mondays…..

I had some nostalgia last Monday, wondering “what do I do on Monday mornings now?”

I thought I was caring for my health by stopping the weekly link up at 280 for Life This Week, and that stands….

But for me, and it seems a few/most of my blogging friends, the ‘once a month’ thing wasn’t feeling all that friendly. So, as I said, we I can change my mind…and with that…Mondays, every 2nd week, will be blog link up time again. A slight name change so it’s a bit different. Life’s Stories and the link up will be open this Monday at 5.00 a.m AEDST. Denyse.

 

Self Compassion: My Healthy Life Challenge: April 2022. 19/2022.

In my post for Word of The Year March 2022 I will be writing more about how hard it has been in some ways to:

BE   ME

This got me looking back to my Self Compassion course done via an app in January 2022 (see this post for more) and continuing my progress to become more self compassionate.

I have had some emotional and mental turmoil take over parts of my being and I need(ed) to challenge and ask what was going on.

More about that in the post that is coming.

For now, and into the 30 days of April, I offer to others a  Healthy Life Challenge about being:

Self Compassionate.

An example from recent weeks and my self compassion (inner talk, self kindness, care, criticism and so on):

Left: been to skin doctor & had biopsies taken. I felt somewhat sorry for myself…..and took myself out for a coffee and consider how that had unnerved me a bit.

Right: an ordinary every day selfie. Pointing to where the skin was biopsied. What IS it about me and selfies, my husband recently asked…I said

“I have never felt confident at all about my appearance, especially my face, until post-head and neck cancer surgeries, and I like to get reminders, in the selfies that my outside is looking good, even if, at times, my inside tells me different stories”

Having completed the January 2022 course, I was pleased with my growth in self compassion, but it takes so much reminding and practice to learn!

Link to course is here.

Some words from within the course.

“our human compassion binds us to one another – not in pity or patronizingly, but as human beings who have learnt how to turn our common suffering into hope for the future” Nelson Madala.

What IS Compassion?

  1. We have a brain and body that has been built FOR is, not by us – our brain and body evolved with emotions (such as fear and anger) and behaviours (such as fighting, avoiding and running away) to help us survice. But these can cause us a lot of pain.
  2. We grow older and eventually our lives come to an end – not writing this to make us sad, just that this is a reality of life. But for many of us, knowing this will happen can cause a lot of distress.
  3. We’re shaped by life experiences, which are not always in our control – those experienced shape the minds we have, and the people we become. For example, if you were raised by your next door neighbours rather than your family, it’s likely you’d be quite a different person, with different interests, lifestyle and even political and religious beliefs.

 

 

Over the years, via this link to Kristen Neff’s Self Compassion quiz, I KNOW I am doing well.

Yet, because of the habits of life till recent times, I have forgotten or remembered too late about

Self Compassion

So, as I make big shifts in my life, changing from doing (less)  me to being  (more) me

I made a challenge:

(and I always seem to like one of those!)

Changing from less doing to more being.

  • 30 Days
  • Instagram (@denyse.whelan -ask for follow)
  • Facebook (@denysewhelanblogs)
  • and Twitter (@denysewhelan1)
  • What does my self compassion look like, feel like today
  • Share with an image or representation of self compassion done your way
  • Share a quote or image that sums up how you are helping yourself be more self compassionate

Do you know that we are far more likely to be self compassionate to friends and family than to ourselves?

I would highly recommend some books that you can read, borrow or listen to, that have helped me in many ways:

I’ll use these hashtags

#selfcompassion

#selfcare

#timeforme

#takingcare

#healthinageing

#lifetransitions

The RULES….for this challenge…there are no rules.….

other than to learn to be more self compassionate, and to forgive yourself on each occasion you forget.

and, 30 days is arbitrary.

Posting is as well.

Make this something that works for you, with self compassion at its core.

I will be continuing to review my days via the app, using gratitude as the base and to write to help me heal and grow. All within the app, and private for me. It’s a discipline to remember as I have another diary app but I am enjoying the value of both, along with the writing reflections I do after each Calm meditation.

How about it?

Are you thinking you could be helping yourself with some self compassion?

Let me know your thoughts,

with love, AND compassion,

Denyse.

Joining in with Natalie for Weekend Coffee Share today

Thank you Natalie.

https://natalietheexplorer.home.blog/

 

 

 

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Fifteen Years Ago. Why 5 March Matters To Me. 14/2022.

Fifteen Years Ago. Why 5 March Matters To Me. 14/2022.

CW: death, mourning, grief

 

Today is Saturday 5th March 2022 and it marks 15 years since my dear mother died.

I say “died”…because the messages/words around death need to be used as they are meant to…to  convey meaning, not to confuse. I heard recently of a person being told on the phone, that a loved on, in a care home, was “gone” and that confused the recipient even more, because “where had he gone?”

About her 80th Birthday.

Mum said to Dad after attending yet another person’s funeral, “why do people wait till others die before telling them what they meant to them?” She was right. So, for her 80th Birthday, 6.12.2004, we hosted a Family Birthday Dinner and Celebration of Mum. I made a timeline with photos and the story of her life, and we were all there for her. Her husband, her adult kids and their partners, her adult grandkids and 3 grandchildren…and we shared words to her, in written form, cards and a speech of sorts. In looking back at the night, because I recently found the photos, there is a little video of Mum speaking about the gratitude she has for us all. I found that very touching and I am so glad I have it.

over 17 years ago! My brother & I with our parents.

Mum & Dad with B & Me, and our two children. 2004

Mum was the birthday cake maker….but not for her 80th. The look is so much my Mum…and the 3 great grandkids helped her with those candles.

I wrote back in 2017 for Telling My Story, a little of Mum’s history and what happened to her health after the celebration of her 80th Birthday.

Up until Mum’s 80th Birthday in December 2004 she had been quite well. A few so-called minor things were wrong and I know where my worry/anxiety gene comes from. But my mum, just as I do, could put on a smile no matter what.

So, we as a family watched over our Mum as her health, and with that her demeanour changed. Speaking to Dad now he says “she just wasn’t the same” and I know now why. In the course of her eventual hospitalisation in late January 2007 and an MRI, Mum was diagnosed with secondary brain tumours. Her downward health spiral the 2 or so years before had including symptoms of bad pain and some tremor but despite some doctors’ advice and care, Mum was a very scared reluctant visitor to doctors and specialists…and to hospitals. Obviously it was based on fear and Dad had to do what he could to convince Mum to get help and care. A big challenge. So, after the diagnosis of the secondary brain tumours, there was some ideas of what her primary cancers might have been but there was no way to know and Dad decided against an autopsy.

And now it’s the 15 Years Anniversary.

I don’t really know WHY this one is standing out to me but I am making some guesses:

  • Dad had a stay in hospital this week and whilst he is now back home, he is a visually impaired and mobility challenged, fully cognisant 98 year old. So, yes, I did get concerned “this may be his time” early this week.
  • Dad has no more peers, nor family members alive. Those who are his friends where he lives are in their 70s and 80s.
  • Dad says he missed Mum more than ever. I suspect with the added loneliness and covid restrictions he IS indeed lonely.
  • I finally accepted that his death will be a shock despite what I logically know
  • I am now, thank goodness, well enough and better in myself emotionally, to realise the significant of my Mum dying
  • I was a pretty distant daughter in my own way but that was because of “my” views of me, and perceived critical views of me by my mum.

Here’s why I needed to write and post today.

  • I appreciate now more than ever the mother Mum was to me
  • I was, and still can be, someone who is a challenge in relationships…mostly fuelled by my old ways of seeing me
  • I know that she gave me unconditional love
  • I know I WAS loved
  • I know that by sharing this now, I may be feeling more loving towards my Dad too.

He and I will chat today on the phone and I will listen to his thoughts.

We only have one chance at this thing called LIFE and I wanted to write more to enable this to be seen and viewed by me and others.

My Tribute in This Image & Words. 5.3.2022.

 

This was going to be a facebook tribute but then I changed to a blog post. I now am pleased to have done this.

Today, Mum, it’s 15 years since you died.

Wow. You had been quite unwell for around 2 years before this, and it was via secondary brain tumours that you succumbed.

Dad is missing you more than ever as he ages alone at 98, having left the home you shared together 4 years after your passing, to live at Dee Why.

Thanks for your love, presence, care and support in my life growing up. And then when Ibecomea mum, a very young one, married to B, another teacher & living in remote northern NSW.

Thanks too for the love, care and cooking for our family too,as I was a full time teacher. Taking our kids to stay and have holidays with you and Dad gave me respite. And they loved Noreen’s porridge and rice custard!

Your life was a busy one, and you gave a lot to the community. Thank you. And before you turned 80, we decided as you always said, it was better to tell people how much they meant to you before you died!

We listened, and your family, including by then, great grandchildren, did so on 6.12.2004.

What joyful photos and memories there are here!

You are missed by many, Mum & Noreen.

 

 

Love is a wonderful and necessary human connection to sustain life, but to love someone is to mourn for them once they are dead. I know that there is a saying along the lines of grieving is the price we pay for loving.

If this post has brought up memories or more grief from your past, there are people who will listen here: at Lifeline 131114.

Grieving is on-going and shows itself in all kinds of ways. It is something we live with. I know my grief today is heightened as it is an anniversary day.

I am going gently and kindly and thinking of my Mum and all she brought to my life…by giving me life.

Vale Noreen Simpson nee Chapple. Mum.

Mum’s Memories. After her cremation, Dad placed some of her ashes in pots, along with her favourite flower. Other family members did similarly.

Thank you for reading. I hope that it has not been too sad.

I am finding the power of writing on my blog a force for good.

Denyse.

 

 

Joining in with Natalie for Weekend Coffee Share today

Thank you Natalie.

https://natalietheexplorer.home.blog/

 

 

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