All posts tagged Grief


Published November 1, 2021 by helentastic67


It’s a strong word and by November every year, it’s an emotion I find I’m overwhelmed by. It’s when I also purposely don’t write. I just shut down and deal because I’m so very grumpy, but if I never write about it, maybe everyone out there in the world will never know they are not alone.

So, months later, ok two months later, I sit to write, hopeful that the strong case of grumpy (or hate) has mellowed sufficiently so people I know don’t all quickly reach for the pills or razors or tequila (just don’t do it!).

Later October it’s my birthday, I mean, I normally try to upsize all of October to make it “my month” But while Covid kicked everyone in the face in 2020, the few things I look forward to in October, I missed out on. Going out for lunches, cake, coffee and adventures.

My birthday generally sucks anyway and not because It’s when we get older. Whatever, who gives a Tutti Frutti. (Trying to swear less this year? See how long that lasts!) but my birthday is not a big celebration.

Not since my 8th birthday when my baby sister was born and a year later, we were both sick on my 9th birthday and her 1st birthday. So, 15 months and a week after her birth, she passed away from cancer. It was very ordinary.

To say in the early 80’s people, family, complete strangers did not know how to deal with the grief of losing someone so young. Still don’t, but really didn’t back in the ’80s. So, anyway birthdays suck. Check!

November rolls around and I have to start thinking and planning what is happening for Christmas. The ladies, my mum, two sisters, one partner at sister and me, that’s five. Check!

We go out for a lovely lady’s lunch, somewhere nice. Often expensive. There is wine (not for me, thanks) yummy dessert and banter. The exchanging of gifts to be unwrapped later (maybe).

My older sister is often issued the warning “No shakey, shakey!” She is terrible, can’t help herself. It’s hilarious.

Money is always an issue, some of us worry about money, some don’t. So, there is a balance of power thing going on. Then there’s actual Christmas, who will be where? My mum and younger sister live in the country, I lived there with them for two years around 2000. The home is perfect for them and putting a third in the mix unhinges us all. Upon arrival there I’m issued a warning as soon as I get out of the car. Be careful. There is the constant OH & S (Occupational Health and Safety) warning. Yeah, I get it. It’s a fucking hazard! (That didn’t take long, did it?) I could slip or trip or just plain face-plant. There was the year I stepped onto my mum’s front verandah to smell the fresh country air. This was the warning I received, “Be careful! If you go for a walk over by the water tank! There’s a snake living in the weeds!” To which I promptly turned around and went back inside. FUCK NO! I did not come home to be messing with any snakes. No! No! No! No! No!

My older sister and her now fiancé, live in the opposite direction. We all used to gather down there so we had Christmas together, they have a holiday house that meant we could stay there without being all over each other. Obviously, there is always a matter of who does the most on the day in the kitchen, but even one-handed I can pack a dishwasher like a Pro and I do my share as best as I can. But I miss the fun times in the kitchen, planning some yummy pasta dish for Christmas Eve, the hands on making of it, the hunter, gathering to prepare all the ingredients, etc too. Unfortunately, I am excluded and that hurts.

For about 4-5 years now I’ve gone home to my mum’s. Yawn, the place I lose my independence as soon as I arrive. We are all tired, grumpy and have our own interests. By which I mean I am not sitting and watching Survivor or MasterChef episodes from earlier in the year. Just NO!

So, I spend a lot of time alone. Mum gives me her bedroom so I can spread out. I take my cat (normally) who stays down that end of the house. We hibernate, I binge watch my TV shows too, because when I come out to see what’s happening, I’m literally shooed away. And if I don’t go home to mum’s, my older sister doesn’t think to include me. There’s the whole cat/dog ratio thing too.

Dog people/ Cat people!

When I have taken my cat home, they also have a cat, and they need to be kept apart. There’s are outdoor neighbourhood cats, they roam, looking for food. What a nightmare.

My father? Oh, my parents divorced twenty-five years ago, after twenty-five years of marriage. Don’t get me started, from my mum I never hear the end of it. I love both my parents.

I try every at Christmas, to see my father when I’m up north and It’s hard because my dad is not completely understanding all of my disability quirks. He is just very opinionated that I must move out of the city so one day maybe I can save some $$$$’s for a deposit and own something one day. He does not live in Helen’s real world. He does not know; he would not understand and there’s no point trying to teach him.

So, people think I’m included in Christmas and that’s the end of the stay. Last year (2020) I stayed home alone in the city, because it was better than being somewhere I need help all the time and lose my independence immediately.

Christmas and family time. I’m just saying. It’s death by 1000 cuts.

In January, I’m just glad IT’S OVER! I get next year off.

Jamima – The Human Cat

Published March 10, 2017 by helentastic67

Jamima face

9th March 2017

So, my apologies if I share some stuff about Jamima patch the pirate cat puddle duck. Seems important for me to share it now. Firstly, Jamima came by this name over time. She came home with her first and last names. Jamima is a well-known doll from the ABC children’s show or children called Playschool.

Puddleduck happened because she wasn’t very kitty litter tray literate. Clearly, I took care of that, mostly.

Over her left eye, Jamima has an interesting patch motley colour. So, that and the fact she loved to sit on my shoulder when she was younger and she so wanted to be close while I did the dishes after work. I would put her on my shoulder while I did it. When housemate ‘B’ came home he would come over and offer her his shoulder, B being taller she happily moved on.

I’ll save some good stories for when I’m ready to reminisce. For about 5-6 years now, every Friday I would finish my shopping adventures with my carers at my local shopping complex by visiting the pet shop. Kitten season of course was heaven but the rest of the year they usually had a cat or two from a shelter to be rehomed. They even have interesting names and a little profile. The pet shop often had bunny rabbits, guinea pigs, fish, I think you get the idea.

Jamima eating

I was a familiar face on a Friday and the staff knew I could be trusted to give a cat a friendly tickle and they also were aware I had a fur-baby at home. Early visits to the pet shop I humoured my carers who couldn’t understand my wanting to visit by telling them, it’s fine! I’ll just go home and act like I haven’t cheated on my cat.

The staff at the pet shop also were made aware that there would come a day when I came in very red-faced and sad and would be prepared to take home any furry ‘thing’ that they had at the time. That pet shop relocated about 6 months ago, not far but I no longer get to visit. Possible a good thing.

Jamima 5

The decision to let Jamima go to heaven in peace was easy when it came down to, if she was happy, if she was coping and if she could go on or was she distressed or in pain. It was not to make life easier for me to deal with her passing.

The vet was lovely, compassionate and empathetic in all the right amounts. She let me know I was the right person to make the decision for when was time and she told me many people wait too long. She kept offering me time at every stage of the process and that I could have longer if I needed. I admit and confess I was a complete mess from the moment I walked in. But tissue boxes appeared both at reception and in the procedure room. I was asked if I had done this before and I said no but I intended to be there.

The procedure went as expected, and I was no sadder than I expected. I also didn’t change my mind which I gather the vet thought I might do considering how miserable I was. Anyway, the procedure was efficient and painless, all things considered.
I left the room ahead of the vet and my last look back, I watched the vet flip part of the towel she lay on over her body. Her head was turned to the side and her ears were visible……. as I’ve seen her so many times before.

The tenderness from the vet was beautiful. I might write her a card at some point to thank her. Jamima has been left there for short term storage until mum is down next. As I think I mentioned.

Arriving home, I got busy collecting her food bowls and water containers so I wouldn’t be constantly reminded of her absence. I’m yet to move her scratching post, toys and sleeping cube. I have collected all her polar fleece sleeping blankets and the covers that were to discourage her from scratching the couch. The first night was really strange, habits of moving my glass from my couch armrest a foreign action of neglect. But it seems today, Jamima was here. Or winking down at me. She kept me busy today washing bed linen and organising the carpet to be dry cleaned. As she had obviously left some smelly patches conveniently in each room.

That’s my girl.

So many places I expect her to be. I leave doors wedged open and others closed purposely to cater to her having been here. Yet she is not. It might be a good thing I’m to be moving to a new space I’m not reminded of her absence. There is my old couch I’ve moved more times than you could imagine, in the last two years that lives in front of my heater in the lounge. It’s on wheels but I couldn’t part with it while Jamima was still with me as she loved to go under it and hammock herself inside the lining underneath. I found her there only Monday morning, me lying flat on the floor, hand underneath patting her head and ears. Her only time out of her hiding place, enough to get constant pats, her purring music to my ears.
I don’t know when I’ll welcome my next fur-child into. My home and my heart to nestle in beside the hole Jamima has carved out and will remain always but it will be when the time is right.

Until then I probably should avoid pet shops. I’ll keep you updated and you will be the first to know. Thanking you all for your understanding and support.

And many thanks to my friend Boo who chauffeured us to and from the vets and for the hugs and back-rubs. He himself having received horrible news that morning as a friend had chosen to end his own life.

I realise this might be hard to hear and it’s not a point I intended to make in this post but it is relevant because my Boo’s horrible news didn’t stop him from being there for me. It had been a serious challenge to find someone to help me. So now it is late and time to wind down, make a cuppa T and single task and likely shed a few more tears.

Sweet dreams.

Farewell My Lovely

Published March 9, 2017 by helentastic67



The Life of Jamima, My Human Cat…

8th March 2017

Today I made a decision that would break my heart. It’s been a decision that has upset me for years whenever the future probability has been put to me.

Jamima 5

Every year around late spring Jamima would lose her ‘winter chubbs’ so to speak. Living here for the last 4 years where neighbourhood Toms would come prowling around, this would disturb her. She didn’t seem to know what their howls were about. She had been fixed at the appropriate age and had her ear tattoo to prove it.

I always considered she would have been less anxious and more comfortable if she had been allowed to have kittens first. But I wasn’t allowed as Jamima had been adopted from a household with 3 female cats, 2 Toms and 3 litters of kittens all at once.

Jamima would often be a fussy eater, be very anxious to outside noises for example cars, people, animals being walked past out the front yard or birds fluttering on the last. Prompting me to give her the talk that birds were supposed to intrigue her and make her want to get out.

Jamima and Prawns

Jamima has mostly been an indoor cat only. She has had access to the backyard and thankfully in recent years has been large enough that I could rest easy, she was too big to attempt a break-out and my choice of homes for us always stipulated that the backyard be not only cat-friendly but cat-proof.

Jamima  indoors


The next paragraph is not for the faint-hearted. You have been warned!

When she came home with us, I had read an article in the local paper telling of people who steal cats for ‘fishing’ trips. They slash the back legs and then dangle the cat over the back of the boat. The blood and thrashing drawing fish to the surface and then attracted to the bait. When the fishing trip is over with no use for the cat they are thrown over into the water. The article continued to name suburbs cats were known to go missing from, it included ours. Jamima was therefore deemed an indoor cat only!

Jamima and I have always been very closely bonded. If I was upset she would come to me to comfort me, even if I was in another part of the house and surrounded by others she did not know. She also seemed to bear the brunt of anything she picked up from me. If I was anxious, sad, stressed or if she could tell a move of our home was imminent.

During her life, she lived in 6 homes, including the one she was born in and another move has been pending as I type this. I think she could always tell and it meant she ate less, stressed more and acted a little less at ease.
In recent months, she has picked up a few new quirks. Occasionally, I’ve woken to her sitting on my pillow against my hair. Sometimes right beside my pillow making me feel stalked when opening my eyes.

She would sleep on the bed, sometimes I would wake from a warm peaceful sleep on my back with a warm presence on my lap. I would slowly realise Jamima was curled up there fast asleep and I had no idea how long she had been there.


Such an opportunist.

The last few weeks, she has taken to hiding under the bed. But when I went to bed she would jump up for her pats, ear-rubs and chin and neck scratches and the purring would begin. About a month ago, her weight loss became very obvious. Her hollow-sides continued to include her spine and hip bones being pronounced.

Early visits to the vet included disapproving looks when she was weighed indicating she was overweight and I was a bad parent. Recent cat blogs I’ve read would indicate Jamima was definitely not obese but her obvious weight loss did disturb me and I tried different foods and smaller more consistent meals.
Another blogger has stated chasing her cat around the house trying to fatten it up. Kinda feels like I did the same. Meals in the lounge room, food treats in the kitchen.

Her weight loss continued and my concern grew also. Most of you would wonder why I hadn’t taken her to a vet?

The answer is mostly one thing. The lack of money. When I committed to having a cat I was working and had a consistent and stable income. I had always put off having a pet until I knew I could afford those expenses and responsibilities.

The last 10 years my disability has meant my financial freedom has continued to get more and more restrictive. Particularly when life taught me we should live alone for our peace and sanity.

The last 4 years living at unit 1/111 Jamima and Helen Street. (obviously not the street name) life really was about us and life has been nice, until just recently, Jamima has been hiding more, eating less. Not bothering with tasty saucy treats I’ve left in my bowl especially for tempting her. I knew the time was closer and closer.

Today I woke and didn’t see much of my fur-child. And then I left the house at 12.30pm on my Hell on wheels’ scooter and Jamima was on the window ledge in the study in her sleeping position with her snout down in front of her against the timber. I knew when I left the house I had to make the decision I had been dreading.

I rang my mum to tell her my plans. I had to find someone to help me get her to the vet or the vet to do a house call and who I could ask to store her in a cool-room or such until my mums next visit so she could be taken home and be buried with her brother and sisters from another mother in country Victoria.

I didn’t want to bury her on a property that wasn’t mine for ever and I had previously contemplated my sister’s home but she has 2 dogs and my sister and I don’t always see eye to eye. Shall we say?

So today, when I got home from my acupuncture appointment, where I had lay texting with 8 needles in me, organising and finally managing to find someone to help me get Jamima to the vet. Before I scootered home, I booked the appointment for 5.15pm.

Arriving home, Jamima was still in the window. She didn’t look like she had moved. I called her name and I touched her cat-condo that was under the desk inside the study. She meowed and came out. As soon as she got to the carpet I heard a noise and I knew she was making a patch of urine on the carpet. I was tempted to admonish her…, is this where we do that? But really, it was my fault I had left her this long maybe? I easily ushered her into her cat-condo and closed the door. She didn’t seem impressed. I got her some water and opened the door again long enough so I could pour it in.
I couldn’t be dissuaded by guilt or her sweet meows.

She drank and then settled in, my friend arrived and came in to give me a hug and carry the condo out to the car.

Anyway, I think by now you all realise how this story ends.

By 5.30 pm on the 8th of March 2017 Jamima went to sleep and off to heaven on big fluffy clouds. Have been thinking of an appropriate cats’ version of the green dream. You can stay tuned for the upcoming post of the same name I wrote over lunch today when I knew how lonely my home would feel by the end of the day.

I keep looking around expecting to see Jamima in her favourite place. My gravy-laced bowl from dinner that will not be cleaned by her tongue. So many peculiar habits we shared that will never be again.

Jamima and bowl

Here are some pictures that will show you Jamima patch, the pirate cat Puddleduck at her best.
Sadly missed but never forgotten. Sad, so sad.

Jamima 2Jamima 3


Published January 12, 2017 by helentastic67



The hardest things to accept are the things we can’t explain. Death is something I make some dark jokes about as I’m often around people who don’t accept that it’s a natural part of life. Here’s a brief explanation on Life and Death.


Birth                                                      Life                                                         Death

                               All the shit in-between we make up as we

                                     We go and it’s what we make of it!


But the ending is going to happen at some point, no matter what we want or how much we plan. It’s unavoidable.

People we love will die! They just leave us! People we have never met or would meet will die! It’s what we do while we’re here that makes the difference in the bigger scheme of things.


To be blunt; The less time we have to prepare for someone’s passing, makes it harder to grieve.

Someone dying unexpectedly or by accident or before they get “old” (not young) makes it more challenging to deal with.


I’m sure I’m not done on this topic.


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