Barassie Beach

I keep forgetting that Glasgow has some wonderful open and clean beaches about a half hour drive away. Yesterday I spent an afternoon meandering along from Barassie to Troon and back, and it was a perfectly calming experience.

I saw the real world getting on with itself, dogs running in the tides and people wandering and enjoying a sunny, if blustery, afternoon. Peaceful.

I admit I had a bit of a funk as I sat staring out over the Firth of Clyde over to Arran, but I am learning to understand the funks and all they mean. I am not so shocked at some of the things I think and I realise that they are normal and natural. And what better place to have funks than on a beautiful open beach with a sunny breeze, looking out into the west.
The Red Sails in the West

There are more at my Scotland flickr set

Answers to how i feel?

A good friend has just sent me this website, SOBS, and it has a list that describes how I feel, it helps me understand that what I am feeling is “normal” and stuff I have to work through.

Know you can survive. You may not think so but you can.

Struggle with ‘why’ it happened until you no longer need to know ‘why’ or until you are satisfied with partial answers.

Know you may feel overwhelmed by the intensity of your feelings, but all these feelings are normal.

You may feel rejected, abandoned, share these feelings.

Anger, guilt, confusion, denial, forgetfulness are common responses. You are not going crazy; you are in mourning. Be aware you may feel anger, appropriate anger, at the person, at the world, at friends, at God, at yourself; it is all right to express it.

You may feel guilty for what you think you did or did not do. Remember the choice was not yours – one cannot be responsible for another’s actions.

Find a good listener; be open and honest about your feelings.

Do not remain silent – about what has happened or about how you feel.

You may feel suicidal, this is normal, it does not mean you will act on those thoughts.

Do not be afraid to cry, tears are healing.

Keeping an emotional diary is useful as well as healing. Record your thoughts, feelings and behaviour. Writing a letter to the deceased expressing your thoughts and feelings can also be part of the healing process.

Give yourself time to heal.

Expect setbacks. If emotions return like a tidal wave, you may be experiencing ‘unfinished business’.

Try to put off making any major decisions.

Seek professional advice. Be aware of the pain of your family and friends.

Be patient with yourself and with others who may not understand.

Set your own limits and learn to say no.

Ask questions, work through the guilt, anger, bitterness and other feelings until you can let them go. Letting go does not mean forgetting.

It is common to experience physical symptoms in your grief, headaches, sleeplessness, loss of appetite etc.

Know that you will never be the same again, but you can survive and even go beyond just surviving.

A little restoration would be nice

It has been three weeks since we found out about Tony. It is fair to say that I do not know how I am feeling; “confused with a busy head” is one good way to describe it. This is not so much with what has happened, but more how people around me have dealt with it. It is fair to say that whilst I have had amazing support from my friends, I do not feel I have had much from my close family (apart from what ended up being rather irritatingly frequent calls to see what was happening).

When Tony’s family arrived from Canada I was left to take them round for two days; to undertakers, the minister’s home, Tony’s flat and his work. I think it was seen that I am a ‘doer’, and was more than capable of doing it, and yes I did do it and now that it is done it is as if my family have retreated further back. That leaves me confused.

Tony is still the first thought in my head when I wake up in the morning and my sleep is still disturbed by certain images that I saw then I first went into his flat a couple of days after he was found. My head is so busy with thoughts that I cannot grasp hold of to see what they are and I find it incredibly difficult to be in the company of those who do not know and even more uncomfortable to seriously talk about it to those who do.

I am guessing this is grieving, something I never had time to do until now, when everything else is done.

I have done a lot of things in the last three weeks, many which I never thought I would ever have to do, I look back and see how terrible things were, a horror unfolding in front of my eyes, but I was running on a kind of autopilot, working through lists I made of people to see, things to do. It is now that I start to realise what it was like……..

Antony David Crichton

As I write this it is all pretty real and raw to me, on the 21st July 2006 the police found my cousin, Tony, dead in his flat.

Tony was a Canadian Scot, he and his family (my Uncle Barrie, Aunt Margaret and cousins Donald and Michele) all emigrated there when Tony was 4 or 5.

I can vaguely remember a summer when they all came back when I was about 4, really I remember golden sunny days out in my Aunt Carol’s garden, but the tales of my sister Julia chasing Tony for a kiss are family lore.

The next time I met Tony was when I went across for Michele’s wedding in February ’98. He has been out of contact with his Canadian family for some time but came back for the wedding and I can remember the day out I spent with him and my night out in Toronto with him.

It was a surprise when, in 2002, the Scottish family were asked if we could put Tony up as he wanted to come back to Scotland, to naturalise himself and then go on to explore around Europe.

I was excited that he was coming; I had got on well with him in my brief time in Canada and looked forward to seeing him again. He arrived in August 2002 and stayed with my aunt and uncle for a couple of month, visiting me in Glasgow a couple of times and meeting my friend Kirsty, with whom he found love and happiness.

Tony moved up to live with me in Glasgow in October 2002 and although the next three years had there good times and their bad times I remember some highlights such as his creative flair in the kitchen (and his inability to clean after these).

At times he struggled with things, after arriving here he was diagnosed as being Bi-Polar and had a great deal of difficulty with the medicines prescribed and what he saw as a recurring back pain. It is difficult to think back now and realise that this was the slow and steady problem that has lead to this tragic event.

Tony was intelligent, creative but very much aware of his illness, which makes it incredibly difficult as he knew his state and could do nothing to change it.

I know I have a degree of guilty feelings, but through talking to family and friends I realise that nobody could have rescued Tony, he had to want to be helped and unfortunately he could do that.

The last three weeks have been the toughest in my life, I have had to do things I would never imagine having to do and be places I never want to be again, however I am not angry with him. Through out his life I think he made an impact on people, I only wish he could have seen that.