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Saying Sorry

Posted by Mum About Town
Mum About Town
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on Thursday, 21 May 2015
The way I see it, there are two camps: those who can and those who can't. And those who can, perhaps say it a little too readily. And those you can't are simply missing that apologetic gene as, more of than not, generations before them have trodden an unrepentant path. But just how important is it to be able to ask for forgiveness? How much is too much on the sorry-front? And where would be without the word 'sorry'?

It wasn't just the incident at school that made me think. Although I praised the concept of last night's homework being an apologetic letter to the teacher in question. Being able to craft a sincere and appropriate apology will stand them all in good stead. Whether or not they 'did it', is actually irrelevant.

Does it ever make anything better? One of the Smalls enquired. Yes, I think it does – if delivered with proper thought and ample qualification. A tail between the legs or relevant non-self-justification rationale can go a long way.

On the other hand, saying it too readily, too loudly or totally unnecessarily, is equally futile. London Underground is full of them. Terribly British over apologetic middle-aged one-journey-a-month travellers. SORRY they shrill when a commuter steps on their toe.

Lastly, up there on the high shelf sit those who lack no remorse whatsoever. The ignorant, the bad and the ugly. The man who mugged my dear friend. The terrorists. The pedophile. They don't feel the pain they cause. Perhaps because they are already feeling too much of their own pain? Either way, one day they'll be sorry.

I feel so very alone in this life

Posted by Patricia_Marie
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on Friday, 15 May 2015
Dear Patricia Marie,

This is the second time I have written to you for advice and comfort. I am so thrilled that The Lady now has an Agony Aunt, as I do feel that you genuinely care, Patricia Marie. Thank you for giving me someone to talk to.

I am 72 years of age, and have no children or partner, so am becoming increasingly concerned about what will happen when I can no longer look after myself in my own home. My closest friends have pre-deceased me, and I feel so very alone in this life. I do not know how to go about selling my home, sorting through all my possessions and perhaps moving into a care home. The thought of all that would be involved in that scares me witless. As my health seems to be deteriorating lately this has been a recurrent anxiety for me. Do you know of any organisations who could help guide me through the process?

Thank you.

Patricia Marie says.....

Firstly, I am delighted to have been of help to you in the past, and would like to thank you for taking the time to write to me again.

I can fully understand the anxiety you have with regards to making future plans, however, what really saddens me is the loneliness you are suffering. It is particularly upsetting that your friends have all passed, which has contributed to you feeling so isolated.

Nevertheless, you are very much here, and need to be enjoying your later years.

Age UK is the largest UK's charity, dedicated to helping those of mature years. They provide information, support and advice to help get through those difficult times the elderly can experience. Whether you're wanting help regarding property matters, have concerns about the possibility of going into a care home, or having trouble sorting benefits, this charity can assist with all your practical worries. Furthermore, they can put you in touch with your local branch, who can organise for you to join in some of their regular social gatherings, where you could meet others who are in the same position as yourself, and hopefully get to make some good friends who live nearby.

I also recommend The Silver Line. This free help line was established by Esther Rantzen who wrote about loneliness after the death of her husband in 2002. She described loneliness among the elderly as a "creeping enemy which erodes confidence" and wanted to offer a telephone friendship service for the lonely elderly.

This charity organisation provides friendship 24 hours a day, and could organise a befriender to call you regularly - so you would always have someone there for you.

Please don't distress yourself any further. Make these calls - the help you are desperately seeking is only a phone call away.

Hopefully you will soon be able to fully embrace the next chapter of your life, with new found friends.

Age UK: 0800 169 6565. Available every day from 8am-7pm.

The Silver Line: 0800 4 70 80 90. Available 24 hours.  

Barts Sixth Birthday

Posted by Young Ladies About Town
Young Ladies About Town
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on Wednesday, 13 May 2015
Last month speakeasy, Barts, in South Kensington celebrated their sixth birthday.

Barts was the first project from Inception Group (who also own Cahoots, Mr Fogg's and Maggie's) , and is credited with putting the American speakeasy trend firmly on the map in London, being one of the first of its kind to open in London.

I was lucky enough to go along to the evening and help celebrate by raising a glass (more like six!) of Moët & Chandon.
Click to see full details

The evils of perfection

Posted by Mum About Town
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on Monday, 11 May 2015
Small brought me his maths homework last night.

'I know this answer isn't right' he correctly volunteered. 'But I don't know how to do it so I guessed a number and added 2 to it.'

I took a closer inspection and the rest of the homework was pretty much in line with what the teacher had requested. And I have this thing about perfect homework so I immediately agreed that he could kick a football in the garden.

Honestly, there really is NO place for perfect homework in this world. Not only does it feel manufactured, bad and wrong, it also happens to be poor preparation for any future life.

In fact, from where I'm sitting, perfection in general is a bit of a curse. Unrelenting, non-authentic and with very few upsides, I'd strongly advise those who feel the need to dot every i. Because the harsh reality is that nothing perfect is sustainable, especially as we live in a society flooding us with unattainable expectations around every topic imaginable. How often we eat our greens, have sex, save money, spend time with our children/elderly parents, exercise, cook from scratch.... the list is nothing short of exhausting.

So join my gang in being slightly messy, that little bit imperfect and do add a random 2 to that sum you don't know how to do...

My daughter aged 13 died 6 months ago

Posted by Patricia_Marie
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on Wednesday, 06 May 2015
Dear Patricia Marie,

I do not know what to do, or where to go for help. I keep having panic attacks, and can't go on feeling this way for much longer. My daughter aged 13, died 6 months ago, after suffering a devastating degenerative condition. She gave me the greatest purpose in life, and now she's no longer here, I feel lonely and abandoned.

When my daughter was alive, I received much support from family and friends. However, since she's gone I have had little or no understanding from my close ones. In fact, if I mention my daughter, the conversation soon changes, leaving me frustrated and tearful. They insist time is a great healer, which offers no comfort whatsoever. I don't want counselling as this will not bring my daughter back, just wanting my friends and family to listen to me.

I am lucky to have another child, and a caring husband, but he gets annoyed with me for expecting too much from people. I am very close to my mother, but as soon as I mention my daughter, she becomes extremely upset, so I withdraw from opening up about my feelings. So I ask you, am I wrong for expecting others to be there for me?

Patricia Marie says.....

The loss of a child is the most devastating experience a parent can face, and you should not be expected to 'get over' the pain it causes at any stage.

For thirteen years you took care of your daughter who was totally dependant on you, and as you so rightly say, gave you a purpose. I make a heartfelt request to you to see that your purpose as a mother still goes on with your living child.

Let me ask you not to see your husband as annoyed, nor your friends as lacking compassion. It's not uncommon for friends to pull away during a grieving period, as they often do not know what to say. Have you considered your friends could be feeling guilty that they have children who are alive and well? They may well want to help, but don't know how - so tell them what you need. And don't push your husband away, as he too is having to deal with his own grief, as indeed is your mother who seems to be struggling to come to terms with the loss of her granddaughter. Your quarrel is not with them, but with what life has thrown at you - taking your beautiful daughter from you. Whilst you have every right to feel angry, by expressing it to others, you will only be hurting yourself.

Counselling won't bring your daughter back. Nothing will. But it will allow you to explore the feelings that you are clearly both needing and wanting to express. Grief can feel very lonely, even when your loved ones are close. I think you would benefit greatly from attending a bereavement group, as sharing your sorrow with others who are going through similar experiences could be comforting, and will help you to feel understood. Furthermore, I urge you to see your G.P for help with your panic attacks.

When you're lonely and wanting to feel close to your daughter, light a candle and enjoy those special memories you have - which can never be taken from you.

Your life is forever changed - but it's not over. It must seem at this moment that you won't ever recover from your loss, but be patient, and allow yourself time to heal. I believe with the right help and support, you may begin to find a way forward that acknowledges and continues to incorporate the love you will always feel for your daughter.

Cruse offer bereavement support groups in most areas: 0844 477 9400 

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