Tuesday, December 24, 2013

The Price of Christmas

Twas the night before Christmas and the shops were still busy
The hustle and bustle would make you dizzy
No cash to be seen but credit cards appear
No expense is spared....it will be paid for next year

The must have items have gone down a treat
Christmas for the bosses will be so sweet
Tonight they are rubbing their hands with glee
Because they'll find a bonus under their tree

But what of the customers who've shopped at their stores?
They dread the bills coming through their doors
Some will pay it off throughout the next year
And some will be depressed with worry and fear

Some say the tv adverts are to blame
Telling the kids about a new X box game
The latest whatever, that they really do need
They look to their parents....and then they plead

So some parents will try their best to please
Sometimes getting in debt up to their knees
They can't let their child be the one without
But is this what Christmas is all about?

The shops, the banks, the taxman as well
They love the money, love its smell
They encourage everyone to spend, spend, spend
And when there's no money, they'll even lend

Perhaps it's time for a change next year
To make Christmas simply about good cheer
About love, about families and about sharing
Because shouldn't Christmas be a time for caring?
E. Sirrell 24/12/13


I hope everyone has a truly happy, caring & sharing Christmas. Thank you for reading my blog, for allowing me to share a little part of me.



Thursday, December 19, 2013

Being Thankful

When things go wrong in life, we are often quick to complain. And very often the complaint is justified and necessary so that things can improve. Whether it be cold food in a restaurant, a rude shop assistant or poor hospital treatment, it is only right to complain in order that management can learn about and fix the problem.

But when things go the right way, we don't always show appreciation. We just accept it, because that's how it should be. But perhaps it would help people to continue doing a good job if they are told that their work is appreciated.

A couple of days ago, we were travelling to a hospital to visit my sister who has been ill. We were listening to the radio on the journey. The news came on and mentioned a "damning report" about three hospitals in the area, one being the hospital where my sister was a patient. There was a list of complaints about the hospitals and one of the failures mentioned was the quality of care. That certainly hasn't been the case with my sister. My family cannot praise the hospital staff highly enough for the care she has received. As worried as we all have been, we knew she was in the best possible hands. So this is definitely one occassion when we will be saying thank you, and telling people they have done a good job, especially since my sister was well enough to come home last night.

There are very often pressures on hospital staff, whether it be understaffing, extra long hours, too many patients but not enough beds, or targets to reach. It must be soul destroying at times for caring staff who do their best to look after their patients to hear of those reports, especially when the blame probably lies at the hands of management. Maybe a report in the media saying how good hospital staff are would do more good and raise morale.

Everyone needs a morale boost from time to time. And it really doesn't take much time or effort (or money) just to say "Thank you" to let people know how much they are appreciated.




Friday, December 06, 2013

My Mum

I've written about my Mum before in the posts Dear Mum and Mother's Day. She has also been in a few of my other posts, so I am sure you will have picked up that my Mum was very, very special.

To be honest, I didn't think I would ever write the post which I am about to write. But today, something is just making me write it.

Four years ago on this very day, my family and I were sitting around my Mum's bed waiting and hoping that she could have as peaceful an end to her life as possible. And thankfully she did, just a few minutes after midnight, my Mum passed away.

My Mum, out skipping with her granddaughter
Right up until the summer of that year, my Mum had been in perfect health. Better than perfect, in fact. My Mum was in her element when playing with her grandchildren. She would be outside 'running races' or skipping with my young niece. If the weather wasn't good enough to be outside doing that, she had the grandchildren in the kitchen baking pancakes, scones and cakes. If they were happy, she was happy.

But at the end of that summer, my Mum developed an irritating cough. A lot of people in the area had a similar irritating cough so nobody, including her doctor, thought it was anything to worry about. But it became persistant, and was dragging her down. The doctor was doing all the usual things doctors do for irritating coughs, but nothing was helping. I can remember visiting and I got a shock....she looked ghastly.

The doctor was coming in to visit the following day, and when he did, I think he got a shock too at how fast she seemed to be going downhill. He had her admitted to hospital. She was put on oxygen and looked so much better. But they had to find out the cause of the cough.

Turned out my Mum had cancer of the kidney and it had spread, and obviously now her lungs were affected. It was so widespread, and nothing could be done. She had no symptoms other than that cough, so there had been no reason to go to the doctor earlier. The doctor showed us the scan, and I remember asking if they were sure that was Mum's scan. She only went in with a cough, and now we were facing this.

We got Mum home, and just tried to make the most of the next few weeks. My Mum just faced up to this with a strength which was amazing, but didn't really surprise us.

I have told people in the past that those seven weeks were the worst weeks of my life, but in a strange way, they were also the best weeks of my life. The times we shared were more than special. I stayed there most of the time and we talked, we looked through photos together or we played scrabble. We laughed. We talked more. Sometimes we didn't talk. Sometimes we just looked at each other....no words were needed.

My Dad, sister and I kind of held each other together throughout those weeks. Actually, I think it was my Mum who was holding all of us together. But we get through it. And now today, four years on, it still feels as though she should answer the phone when I phone my Dad. It still feels like she should be in the kitchen when I visit, making me those treacle pancakes. It still feels like she should still be there. And I have realised that I like that feeling, and I never want it to stop. I like the memories and I don't want them to go. My Mum will always be part of me, part of who I am. She will always be in my head and she will always be in my heart giving me hope and strength when I need it.

So today is just one of those days when we have thought even more than usual about my Mum. And she has been there giving me and my family hope and strength today as always. And I know she always will be doing just that. She was special...very, very special.
My Mum at our wedding in 1992