21 blog posts series six

21 blog posts series six

Six: “Loss happens and plays a role”

As I’ve gotten older and I suppose in some sense matured, I’ve started appreciate the role that the happening of loss plays in our lives. Life is a fragile thing, even when it doesn’t feel that way all of the time. I’ve experienced loss in my life, I only know of a few people who are yet to experience it. Circumstances play a part in terms of where to place blame on the sadness and even anger that you feel from loss. But sometimes the circumstance isn’t great and the loss simply shouldn’t have happened.

I think loss rattles us and brings up feelings you never even knew you had in you. This year and late last year I saw two dear friends experience loss and both had completely different situations that brought about the loss. But it was interesting then in contrast to see how both of my friends  has similar experiences in terms of how to possibly deal with the emotions of loss.

I write this on Mother’s Day, thinking of those I love who don’t have their mother to spend this day with. It’s something incredibly hard because that person who was once in your life is truly irreplaceable. No matter the individual strength of the relationship between mother and child, it is something that holds importance and is special in its own way.

When it comes to loss, I would firstly say that it’s something that happens and is something we must accept as part of life without a choice in the matter. I know that’s crappy and doesn’t really have a lot of positives but maybe, there’s something good to take from that about appreciating the time you have with a loved one. When somebody dies we are left with memories to cherish and hold dear, which of course we all do in our own way.

But for those left behind, death acts as a reminded of the frailty we are faced with. It gives the renewed chance to try our best to appreciate the time we spend each day, month or every once and a while with the ones we love and maybe even make more of an effort to appreciate that the power is in our hands to make the time for people that deserve it, be they family or friends.

Always place value on those around you that we may be sometimes guilty of taking for granted. It’s really about recognising that fact that you’ll truly miss these people when they’re gone and vice versa. Make the most of your time with them and create the memories yourself as I think we all have a role to play.

A slam poet I know recently realised a video for his spoken word poem that deals with appreciating our mothers and the role they play in our lives, demanding our love and respect for simply being themselves. The Irish Times did a feature on it too and I think it’s something spectacular, having seen him perform it himself. Follow the link here: https://www.irishtimes.com/culture/film/watch-mother-s-day-video-reminds-us-we-are-only-given-one-mother-1.3023336?mode=amp

We have a bit of a habit here in Ireland of not talking about the difficult things and I think death and how the ways that people die come into that. I get that it’s uncomfortable and we create these nicknames and things as escapism from reality. But, from what I’ve seen and experienced of it – dying by suicide is the worse than death as a result of any disease. It leaves behind a heavier grief, an impossible one. So please, if you’re having any form of suicidal thoughts be they big or small, seek the help that you deserve and should get. Your life is as valuable as anybody else’s.

http://www.yourmentalhealth.ie/about-mental-health/common-problems/mental-health-problems/suicidal-thoughts/

http://www.samaritans.org/how-we-can-help-you/different-ways-you-can-get-touch/what-happens-when-i-email

All images used are from my personal Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/cathyleex/

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21 blog posts series take two

21 blog posts series take two

Welcome back.

Day two brings us to the topic of travel, in that of appreciating how easy it is for us as EU citizens, the opportunities and adventures out there available to us.

Two: “Appreciating the ability to travel”

It feels strange writing about travel at a time like this. Just hours earlier on today, the city if London that I visited the week after my 21st birthday saw horror in the form a terrorist attack. The chaotic scenes flashed on to my TV screen when I arrived home today and took it all in. It felt strange to recognise the area so vividly, but it looking utterly different from the positivity I had seen there in early December.

I think in one sense of it, the aim of terrorism is to contribute in the form of creating that scene of distress, to take away the positivity associated with a place and flip everything over to show complete destruction instead. Destroying everyday like in causing heart-breaking chaos.

Of course following this, we’ll have heightened security and possibly further fear formed. I understand that this is of course necessary to protect citizens.

But I think to keep the sense of appreciation of traveling and staying true to ourselves as humans, travel and ease of travel needs to be part of what makes up human life. If we think of a world without integration and travel, without the mix of different cultures, people and places – I really don’t see that as a colourful or warm place to be.

Travel is essential and we are so lucky to have the ease of travel that we have. Just last week I went to visit a friend in Amsterdam, Holland. We also have another friend there who is studying on Erasmus. If the indicators around free travel within the EU and the systems of Erasmus were to change, these incredible experiences and opportunities for personal growth wouldn’t be possible. I’ve seen my friends grow and truly appreciate travelling, whether that be in the form of Erasmus, J1’s or even inter-railing. It’s all about the ability to interact like that and do so at ease. To really make travel your own independently.

I will admit that acts of terrorism can play a part in jeopardising that freeing mindset.

But one negative should not outweigh the endless positives. I think travel is something organic and easily integrated into our regular lives. It can play a huge role in the development of friendships and relationships, continued on wherever the people may be in the world.

Travelling to new places as a young person can really contribute to someone’s confidence as well as their own perspective on various things in the world, from humane issues to climate issues. It’s such an eye opening thing that I think everyone should get involved with in some shape or form. There’s an explorer or adventurer in us all and whether that be a big or small part of you, it cannot be ignored.

Also if indeed you are a bit of a home bird, I really think that you have to go away and come back to truly appreciate what you’ve missed and value your sense of belonging that comes with the security of home.

Being in the EU is such a resource to encourage us to travel. The dedication in the form of policy really places value of travelling during your youth and that in itself gave me a high appreciation for the mentality behind it. The inter-railing and Erasmus experience can be costly but in the end it’s something truly priceless. To put yourself somewhere new, challenges you to open your mind to new ideas and be immersed in something totally new.

The very best of luck to those taking on such a challenge and my heart goes out to those in London today.

 

All images used are from my personal Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/cathyleex/

Nothing in particular

By Cathy Lee

 

I’m not doing

Anything in particular

Just taking in those humble sounds

Of those around me, enjoying their selected company

 

From young to old, all collected here

 

It’s dimly lit and homely

Comfortably warm

While for show an unused fire,

Is completely provided for just in decoration

 

This is simply where I am

It’s recognisable

But not incompletely special

 

The wax trickles slowly down and it’s something steady

The bright yet translucent colour of the flame won’t give up

Not just yet

 

It’ll hold on with me, to welcome the next person to sit in its company

 

We’re in the land of a thousand welcomes

That is becoming something more special, now

Considering

 

Considering what’s going on, the current state of things

Those things that so affect us, going as far down deep as our morale and self-worth

 

The perspective of us, it’s shifting

The plates are moving further away

Shifting away from what’s known

 

I think these sails are facing backwards

The wind here is reckless and unusual

It’s no longer comfortable on this deck

 

I’d rather walk the plank,

Step off the platform and into the unknown

 

From one state of unknown to another

But consider this:

Coming out the other side,

Better.

A Message Amidst Madness Series: The Final Message.

By Cathy Lee

Everything is finite isn’t it? I mean infinity can’t even be defined.

The duration of your favourite film is set. There could be a sequel, but that has to end as well doesn’t it?

Just like this ‘A Message Amidst Madness’ Series, it has to end sometime.

I realise my last few posts have been rather political, but I can guarantee that this won’t be.

It won’t be political because politics doesn’t matter for what I’m going to talk about.

Last week, suddenly, my gran-aunt died for about fifteen minutes, casually, on Friday morning.

Weird right? She literally was at deaths door, said “no thank you” and made her return on back.

It got me to thinking and kind of put things into perspective a little bit.

I had come home to vote on Friday (I’m sorry I said I wouldn’t mention politics – woops!) and my mother picked me up off the train.

We drove for a little bit and caught up on various things. About twenty minutes in she announced that we had to go eat lunch.

I told her I wasn’t overly hungry, just wanted to go vote and get working on a few assignments due – as I knew that’s how my weekend looked like it would consist of anyway.

There was no protesting, we were going to get lunch.

At the table after just starting to eat my mother told me that we wouldn’t be going home and we’d have to go check in on my gran-aunt.

She then explained the reasoning and what her morning had consisted of.

Ambulances had been called and my extended family members had gathered in the home of my gran-aunt after her housekeeper had noticed her fall particularly ill.

“White as a ghost she was, cold, gone I tell ya” – I was told later on when we arrived to the house.

Now, after a near-death experience everyone is usually you know, shook up or panicked.

But not Theresa.  I swear she got a new lease for life.

When I arrived to the house, some relatives and friends were still lurking around.

They all chattered together, expecting her to take another turn.

I took a seat beside her bed when I arrived. We call to her regularly and it’s usually the same questions or trivia discussed.

Today was different though.

She complimented my ripped jeans and asked me what nightclub we’d go to that night.

I quickly informed her that Saturday nights were better for the night-life and dancing.

We laughed and she asked if she could borrow some of my clothes as a hand-me-down saying she missed being in fashion.

I told her no problem, that I would have loved to have had the opportunity to go to the dances with her. I knew this from stories of herself and my grandmother doing a few jigs up at the community hall in their time.

She said of the morning’s proceedings that she remembers being given some cornflakes and it was a regular morning. Then waking up to ambulance men and relatives in her room.

Her first thought was that there wouldn’t be enough cornflakes for everyone and that she hadn’t realised she was throwing a party.

For some reason I’ve always thought that the young and the old get on better than adults and children or adults and the elderly.

It’s simply because neither group take life too seriously.

I mean myself and Theresa could just laugh about going out on the town while the adults conducting their actions in panic over where Mrs. Keane was going next.

Theresa is 87, she knows what happens to people at that stage of life. It has happened for many friends, relatives and neighbours she knew.

I really think she’s okay with it. When we left her home, she got up out of bed and walked me to the door and waved as we drove away.

My mother couldn’t understand why I was smiling.

That weekend I worked at my essays, but I also took the time to see my dear friends. We had dinner at my best friend’s house and she even basked dessert for us.

I told the friend group of this story, we talked about the elections and we planned for the future of the fun things we’d do together.

I know we won’t have the future forever and may not even have each other either.

But I realised the truth that day, and that is my final message for you:

“Don’t take life too seriously, nobody gets out alive anyway”.

That saying used to freak me to my very core. But seeing Theresa face death and come back with a laugh, I’m inspired.

 

And so this is the end of the series. Thank you for taking the time to read this blog.