Funny Matters

Finding the Positive

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Prayer Lanterns - Lisa Hull Photography

(‘Prayer Lanterns’ By Lisa Hull Photography)

Wow….What can I say?

You’ve overwhelmed me.

I was blown away by all the wonderful comments and messages you lot – out there – sent me in response to my last post.

For those of you who haven’t read it yet. It was full-on. Proper bare-all. My most personal post to date. ‘Down and dirty’ isn’t my middle name for nothing, you know *

{*Okay. Fine. It’s actually ‘Jane’. I know. Less impressive.}

Yes. I was bloody nervous about that post.

But all your support, love and general well-wishing made it totally worth it. So thank you.

And I’m so pleased I decided to stick by my belief. That speaking up about the tricky stuff – like miscarriages and grief – is important.

But there’s one thing I’d like to clear up.

A lot of lovely, kind, generous-of-spirit type folk have said to me. Over the past 3 years. 9 months. 1 week. And 4 days (who’s counting?):

“What a rough ride you’ve had”. “Such terrible bad luck”.  “A real run of shitty times”.

And yes. I guess on paper. It does look like that:

  • Mum’s terminal diagnosis. (Check)
  • My 10 year relationship breakup. (Check)
  • Mum’s decline and death. (Check)
  • 4 miscarriages. (Check)

What can I say? It’s been a busy 4 years!

On paper it sounds a bit like a Sophocles play. Or maybe in my case. A Jeremy Kyle special.

But. Here’s the thing. That list of ‘tragedy’ has little connection with the reality I’ve experienced.

When people tell me what an awfully tough time I’ve had. Momentarily. I’m taken aback. I even have to stop and think for a sec: Have I?

Because that’s not how I see it.

In actual fact. In many many ways. I feel incredibly – wait for it.. lucky.

Because. It’s not about all the stuff that’s been taken from me.

What’s more important. Is all the stuff that I’ve got. Good stuff.

Yes. Those 18 months of Mum being diagnosed. My ex-partner leaving. And my Mum dying. It was horrific. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone. Even Voldemort.

Like a cliff crumbling under my feet. Pretty much everything I believed about my life. My reality. My identity. Just fell away. And I got swept away in an undercurrent. Never sure which way was up. Struggling to come to terms with everything at once: Mum’s diagnosis. The end of a long-term relationship. Mum’s death. Her absence. My new role and identity in this new reality I’d been unwillingly thrust into.

But. On the other hand. It’s difficult to express just how grateful l am. Honoured. To have had those precious 18 months with my Mum.

To have had our relationship blossom in the way that it did.

To have developed a depth of connection with her that I could never have imagined.

To have been given that chance to not have any regrets. To do everything I could to make her feel as loved and as cared for as possible. In what was her darkest hour.

And again. Yes. My long-term partner left me. Just months after Mum’s terminal diagnosis.

Too right it was awful timing. And God yes – he abandoned me at the one real time I actually needed him in those 10 years.

But. With the greatest respect in the world. Thank fuck.

Because I wouldn’t have ended up. 6 months after Mum died. Meeting the most wonderful, kind, open, intelligent and funny bloke about.

The Clark to my Lois. The Scott to my Charlene. The Beavis to my Butthead.

And then there are my best friends. Who have been there for me. Every step of the way. Who let me be weak when – for everyone else – I had to be strong. Who guided me through. When I was uttterly lost. With whom – when I’m with them – everything feels alright. Funny, even.

To have friends that close. With that level of connection. It’s rare.

So despite the miscarriages. Despite my ongoing grief for Mum. And all the pain and sense of loss I carry. I still consider myself to be blessed.

Yes. I wish Mum was still here to call me her little bobby-dazzler. For her to pinch my bottom at every opportunity (is it weird that was our ‘thing’?!). Or to have Janet Street Porter ‘impression-offs’ with her in the kitchen (she always won!).

But she’s not. So I choose to be thankful for what I do have. And did have. Instead.

Let’s face it. We all go through shit.

We all have to deal with loved ones leaving. Dying. Being ill.

We all have to face our own mortalities. Our health problems – physically, emotionally and mentally. Our rocky patches.

It’s no surprise after all – we’ve all heard people say that life can be hard.

But fuck me. It can be bloody good too.

So why not do our best to concentrate on the good bits.

Let’s not waste time whinging on about what we don’t have in our lives. What we’ve lost. And what we should have.

But celebrate all that we do have. All of the experiences – good or bad – which have enriched us along the way. And everything in our lives that is positive.

I don’t want you to think I’m trying to wrap this up into some neat digestible parcel with a ribbon on top. Because life. Loss. Pain. Grief. It doesn’t work like that.

And I know there are a lot of people out there who have endured – and are enduring – more than I ever have, or probably ever will.

But let’s try. When we can. To look for the positive.

No matter how much it might be hiding.

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17 Comments on “Finding the Positive

  1. Melissa White
    October 18, 2014

    I loved this post! I often thought I was weird thinking that there was good that came out of my mom’s (and my brother’s) illnesses and deaths… but it is true! In both situations I learned so much about me, my strengths, my ability and capacity to love, what’s REALLY important in life! Bravo you… you found teh silver lining! xxx

    • Angela Wilson
      October 21, 2014

      Thanks Melissa…It’s SO lovely to hear you feel the same way! And I think it’s a wonderful legacy for our lost loved ones too… xx

  2. Ellen Hawley
    October 18, 2014

    Can’t find the damned Like button, but I–well, I virtually Liked this. Or air-Liked it.

    • Angela Wilson
      October 21, 2014

      Aha! Thanks Ellen…both for the ‘air-like’ (brilliant) and also for exposing my lack of ‘like’ buttons…thanks to you – this issue has now been rectified ;-). Also…is this the same person I met at that Guardian masterclass? If so, hello, great to hear from you!!!

  3. Fiona
    October 18, 2014

    Angela you have done it again. Your writing just keeps getting better and better. That’s not saying there was anything wrong at the start! I loved this post. Beautiful things are in your life and will keep coming 🙂 I loved the Scott and Charlene reference too!

    • Angela Wilson
      October 21, 2014

      Thanks Fiona, such a lovely comment. And yes, the Scott & Charlene ref was “especially for you” haha! xx

  4. Louise
    October 19, 2014

    I’ve said before, and I’ll say again, you’re a bloody amazing woman. You are strong, kind, witty, and much much more.

    Now for my own little *secret*, myself and my OH aren’t actively trying, but if *it* happens we’ll be over the moon to add a little bundle to our collective brood (one each, the same age).

    So, fingers crossed for you, you would make such an amazing parent,

    As ever, much love to you, I’m patiently waiting for the shoplifting incident though 😉

    L xxx

    • Angela Wilson
      October 21, 2014

      Ooh Lou – I love the fact you used my blog as a place to ‘out’ yourself about maybe inviting the stork over to yours again!! Brilliant….well, what will be will be…be sure to keep me updated though! And thank you so much for the lovely lovely words…soooo nice of you! xx P.S….I’m scared about the shoplifting story now, you might dob me in! lol

      • Louise
        October 21, 2014

        Ha ha ha! Never!!!

  5. Richard Pettitt
    October 19, 2014

    Oh my word you make me laugh. Potty mouth. Yeah, you’re right, rubbish stuff happens and it consumes our thoughts, but when you think about all the good stuff, there’s a heck of a lot of that too. So glad you met your Beavis. x

    • Angela Wilson
      October 21, 2014

      Thanks Richard and yes, you’re right – once we give that stuff any brain power, it can just take over! xx Oh and P.S ‘potty mouth’?! That was the clean version!

  6. Lisa
    October 20, 2014

    Hello! and thanks for sharing this post. We all need reminding here and again while on this journey called life. We must remember the good and savor each present moment so we dont wind up allowing the past to stop us from enjoyment and moving forward (difficult at times but we must try!)All the best to you.

    • Angela Wilson
      October 21, 2014

      Thanks Lisa – yes, it’s more difficult some times than others isn’t it…but we can try. And you’re right – it would be such a shame if we let the past ruin the present/future. Thanks again for leaving a comment, it’s so nice to hear from folks ‘out there’ x

  7. Jessica
    October 21, 2014

    Well done for writing this post. I do agree with you it’s important to focus on life as a whole, which includes good things, bad things, and just plain mediocre stuff.

    In my own experience it can be cathartic to write about things that have been rough, but also joyful to share happy moments too and we need both of these in order to feel complete; and need to ensure that we are giving others a complete picture of ourselves if our blog focuses on who we are and what we do.

    Personally I’ve been on an ill-health journey this year which has given me some very hard knocks but I’ve tried to see the funny side too. . If you’re interested in reading the address is and I’d love to hear your comments. In the meantime good luck and keep fighting. All the best, Jessica

    • Angela Wilson
      November 5, 2014

      Hi Jessica…thanks so much for leaving me a note and yes you are totally right about the needing both sides: the cathartic writing of the rough times and the joyful appreciation of the good!..I’ve just checked out your blog too and it looks great – think we’re on a similar wavelength! – Shall be signing up pronto! Really pleased to have ‘met’ you and looking forward to reading your future posts. In the meantime, sending you lots of virtual support and keep doing what you’re doing!… Angela x

  8. MummyWrites
    November 3, 2014

    I totally get this. People ask me how I’m not a gibbering wreck after my baby losses and the sudden death of my daughter, but I agree that I have a lot to be thankful for. I had twelve glorious years with Abi, I have three other gorgeous children. I miss my daughter, my grief is very present, but there are people suffering far worse than me every day.

    • Angela Wilson
      November 5, 2014

      oh what an inspiration you are to say that! how wonderful that you feel like that despite everything – and such a testament to Abi I believe. Yes, the light and the dark are interwoven I reckon…just because we feel grief it doesn’t mean we don’t have the capacity for joy..and vice versa. Sending you lots of love! xx

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