The Story Of A 29 Year Old British Girl Who Moved To LA To Make Her Dreams Come True; Only To Move Home To Care For Her Mother Diagnosed With Brain Cancer. Day-To-Day Thoughts, Updates, Love And Laughs (yes, I'm still allowed to laugh...)

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Reality Taking A Big Bite

After 5 hours waiting at Heathrow, I caught my flight up to Manchester. I feel I am always prepping myself; preparing myself for the worst and taking a deep breath to "put on a brave face." I performed this familiar routine and left baggage claim expecting to see my aunt and uncle. They weren't there, which is highly unusual as they are NEVER late. Instantly, your mind goes to the worst case scenario.  Was I too late? Has there been some emergency and Mum is in hospital? Why is no one here?

I tried to remain calm and called my aunt's house, no reply. I figured I'd give them another 20mins-traffic, surely? It was. They turned up and I had prepared myself for most things except how much everything had taken a toll on my Aunt. I knew how much stress she was under caring for my Mum, but seeing her cemented it. My aunt looked exhausted, she had lost a lot of weight, and seemed on the verge of tears; her hair longer than usual, because presumably, she hasn't had a second to think about her own well being.

The journey back to my mum's house was long, rainy, and filled with more mental prep. I knew I would see a change, I knew mum no longer communicated, but when faced with it, it can be a whole other thing.  I entered mum's house, the comforting hall way, the memories of Christmas' and happy, excited visits gone before, when Mum would greet me at the door with a banner saying "Welcome Home!" and kisses and cuddles galore. Now it is a very different feeling, and a very different sight.

The hospital bed remains the same large grisly reminder of the situation-whirling every 15mins to help prevent bed sores. And there is my Mum-my beautiful, talented, intelligent, loving Mum. M from next door is by her side feeding her a cup of tea and automatically stands up as I enter to take his leave. He gives me a sad look, which I ignore and emphatically exclaim " Mummy! I'm home!" She opens her eyes and smiles-the best I can hope for and it means the world. M and M (neighbors of the year-actually millennium) are in and saying how happy they are to see me.

Mum's poor, battered body is covered in red welt-like areas. I asked my aunt what they were. Due to the steroids Mum is on, her skin is very thin meaning even a small scratch can result in blood loss and severe scarring.

Everyone left and I sat with Mum and stayed up until I couldn't stay awake any longer. It was a miserable journey over, but I was with Mum and I refused to be miserable with her-I am with her, she is with me, that is how it should be.

Saturday, 26 July 2014

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Champagne, Beer, Emotional Brit and 11 Hours On A Plane Do Not Mix

I got to LAX pretty much on auto pilot. I seem to be here so often, never for anything to look forward to and usually $800 poorer.

As usual, the flight was packed and the lines through security were long, slow and suicide inducing. Getting through them, I usually go to one of the lounges (contrary to popular belief you can buy a day pass into 1st class lounges very cheaply)but this time I walked into the only place in the shitty lounge area that sold alcohol-an equally shitty bar- and ordered a pint. Gulping down the Blue Moon I listened to the disgustingly happy group next to me speaking excitedly about their trip to Ireland. I'm not ashamed to say I felt jealous and bitter. I just looked at them and wanted to be as care free as they were; being in an airport excited to land and go on an adventure. I feel as though I'm never away from  airports yet never on holiday. I just fantasize about going  on a vacation. Not feeling sick at the thought of another trip to nowhere.

So, due to feeling seriously sorry for myself, I downed another pint...and another.  *Bad Idea Beginning* I got on the plane pretty buzzed to say the least and I was sat  upstairs at the very back in the middle of a three. The man to my right, next to the window, I clocked immediately as being an arsehole. Slightly presumptuous you may think, but COMPLETELY accurate. I can usually tell a lot about a person very quickly-I'm rarely wrong about people- except boyfriends, I'm pretty much wrong about them 100% of the time, but that is another story for another time....

I was finishing sending txts and made a quick phone call to J and got off the phone when Mr Dick next to started huffing and puffing. Here's the deal, if you like to act like economy is below you DONT FLY ECONOMY-Mr Dick certainly thought he was on another level and he was already pissing me off.
The beer was really kicking in as take off began, and due to my mild drunkeness and small bladder, I decided I was going to pee myself if I didn't get to the toilet, so stood up and beelined for the bathroom behind me. The stewardess quite rightly told me to sit down as I declared to the entire section of  the plane "but I REALLY need to pee!" I sat down, crossed my legs and hoped for the best. The man on my left assured me he would jump up as soon as seat belt signs went off. He did , and I already knew he was the polar opposite of Mr Dick to my right.

The story now spirals into shame, tears and embarrassment-but this blog is nothing but honest, so, for fear of total humiliation, I will continue with this tale....
I proceeded to order a beer, and another then thought it would be a genius idea to order a mini bottle of  champagne for one.  I remember barely eating my food on the plane (can it even be classified as food anyway?) and I just suddenly realized how drunk I was and every emotion I had been suppressing in the past few days just came pouring out. I began talking to Mr Dick next to me and he seemed fine and I began asking him the usual boring travelling questions and some point during this I began to tell him my tale and why I was heading back to the UK. He faked being interested and sympathetic and in hindsight I should have stopped there, but I think I was so scared, lonely and depressed (and drunk,don't forget drunk) I kept talking. The next thing I remember is him offering me a Xanex  (who gives a drunk stranger on a plane Xanex?) which I said yes to-but the gods intervened and I dropped it. I got on my knees trying to find this tab, removing the seat and god knows what else when I realized I had spilt my remaining champagne on him. He jumped up and started calling me everything under the sun and demanded the stewards move him. I was apologizing and crying and he simply said "you're a drunk, stop annoying me"

I got all his belongings that were next to me and handed them to him and he just laughed at me.
Ok, I fully understand how annoying I must have been and I'd have been pissed off too-but he said such cruel, cruel things to me I ended up having a full blown melt down. I was sobbing uncontrollably, trying to stifle my sobs as I realized drunk people on planes get fucking arrested, and curled up into a ball as Mr Dick went to First Class.
I was an idiot for drinking that much, I shouldn't have done what I did and I completely embarrassed myself, but I had just told this man I was flying home because my Mum was dying and he called me awful names. My saving grace was the man to my right, he was so very kind to me, he stopped me from doing something even worse-that would most certainly have got me on the no fly list. It ended up he worked at Forest Lawn cemeteries, a macabre twist of fate; but was used to dealing with people-admittedly probably not as drunk as me....Anyway he calmed me down and told me that man will get his karma for being so disgusting towards me and said "empathy should be a necessity".

What can I say? I was a drunken emotional mess, but Mr Dick was a cold bastard who wanted to be upgraded anyway and he got his wish.... I fell asleep eventually waking up as the plane landed with a sore head, dehydrated, full of shame and never wanting to drink again. Most definitely the worst flight of my life, but I haven't drank any alcohol since and can't imagine for a long time. I needed a wake up call with my drinking and maybe this was it. Silver lining anyone?

Prelude To A Flight To Remember...

Cheers for sticking with me birdies.

So as I previously wrote I had changed my flight from returning at the end of August to two days time. I called my agent to cancel the week I had booked on a show, scrubbed my house top to bottom (cleaning is a great distraction and somewhat cathartic exercise), began packing and called my brother. Even though he is 5 years older than me, I felt I have to protect him from the reality of mum's situation, but then realized how ridiculous that is. Due to visa issues, my brother can't come back to the UK. He hasn't had to deal with, or see the things I've seen as mum got progressively worse, he is already sheltered from that, he's older than me and anyway-who is protecting me? There is a part of me that would love to have not witnessed what I have, not have to see my mum in a hospital bed, left it to someone else-but I can't and I won't.
I didn't mince my words, I tried to tell him it's bad, she's declined and I needed him to be a big brother and support me. The convo went ok I suppose until he told me he was moving the next day and couldn't have Johnny (my darling baby kitty in case you forgot) as his house-instead he was bringing his monster sea-cow cat over to mine because he can't have cats at his new place. Ummm...when exactly was he going to tell me this? Anyway, I split the care taking of the beasts between him and my darling friend Clint. I said a sad farewell to Johnny and Sea Cow and locked the door-ready to embark on a flight to remember....

In case you have never seen what a Sea Cow/Monster Cat looks like.....Meet Sid (and the hole she created in my sofa cover)

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

A Side Note About Ms Peaches Geldof

This is a pretty off topic entry but I thought there was some relevance and significance in it.

Today the inquest into the journalist, wife and mother Peaches Geldof was concluded. The coroner ruled her death was indeed due to a heroin overdose; Peaches had apparently begun begun using heroin again in February this year after being on a methadone program for two years. It seemed such a shock to so many of her fans, people who followed her on various social media platforms and even people who knew her.

I had met Peaches several times-by no means were we friends or acquaintances-but I'd met her as a younger girl with her dad and sisters as we flew to Ireland, and later in life when she helped me with a music magazine I worked on. She was kind, fiercely intelligent and seemed sweetly self conscious.

Attention seeking, wannabe controversial, E-list "celebrities" have voiced their disdain at the cause of Peaches death and her role as a mother  Utterly useless, self indulgent comments made by these trolls disgust me.
Peaches' struggle with addiction seems to have haunted the entirety of her short life. She had publicly turned her back on living in London and indulging in the party scene and was now married, living in an idyllic house in the country with her husband and two children.
Followers of her Instagram saw her multiple postings daily of her animals and children with notes of love, happiness and adoration. It has come as such a shock that the photos in the last few months of her life showed her looking beautiful, with flawless skin and rosy lips-but significantly thinner as the weeks went on.

There is no doubt Peaches adored her children and husband, and yes, it is hard to believe behind the beautiful Instagram photos she was a heroin addict, but people's struggles are not  always so easy to spot. The individuals that have voiced disgust at her addiction and its effect-leaving her children without a mother. Coming from someone who is writing a blog about slowly losing their mother due to powers completely out of our control, I understand people's anger, but do not agree that blame and judgement is what should be happening in the aftermath of a 25 year old's death.

Peaches Geldof's story is excessively sad one. Whether it will be a warning for anyone in a similar situation, who knows, but stop the finger pointing  and blame and remember that a young man has been left widowed with two children under two, her family and friends have been decimated by her death, every part of this tale is just very, very sad. A young woman struggled and lost-but I'm sure in the belief neither her battle nor loss was intended to leave her children motherless. Empathy and sympathy should be at the forefront-not blame and judgement.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

"Oh, I Remember You!"

Remember me? I'm that one girl that writes about lip gloss, Louboutins and lashes. Actually-I write about a subject a lot less vapid and a lot more depressing-cancer.

Well, it has certainly been a while. Hmmm, there is a lot to catch up on since I last made an entry. I will start at the beginning the best I can-without making a dissertation out of it-and fill you in on where I am now.

Well, after leaving Mum in March to return to The States, I had booked a return back to UK at the end of August. My Aunt reassured me, that I needed to go back and try to return to my life in Los Angeles. Plus, I seriously needed to work-it really adds to the pile of emotional stress caring for a parent when you add on transatlantic plane fares and the upkeep of an apartment and all the bills that go with it all while being 6000 miles away. And you can't work.

Going back is always such a cornucopia of guilt, sadness, worry, relief (and then guilt for feeling relief) happiness in seeing your friends, familiar things and ecstasy at getting back your social life-which of course comes with more guilt.
I wanted (and needed) to get back to work ASAP, so I called my agency and said "dudes, I'm broke-let's land me a national commercial and we'll all be happy" Actually, I just told them I was back-but that's what I was thinking.
They were great and got me working a lot-I worked on a fabulous new Zach Galifinakis movie (he is a ridiculously nice guy by the way) booked a couple of beer commercials (are they trying to tell me something?) and was lucky enough to work on the "True Blood" finale-Sadly, I signed a confedentiality  agreement or I would spill all the details here. All in all I was getting quite a lot of work and desparately trying to seek out distractions-some healthy-others,not so much;but I will get into that more later....

Being 6000 miles away-you have the advantage of not being face to face with the disease and the constant every day challenges that faced Mum. I set an alarm to call my aunt every morning at 8am my time-it was 3pm UK time and at that time every day my aunt was at my Mum's house. My aunt was going down to my mum's house, help with laundry, groceries, clean the house and deal with everything concerning carers, doctors, district nurses...the list goes on. My aunt is 70-a very young 70, may I add-but she has her house, but husband who also has cancer-the stress of it all was really getting too much, I could tell.

The carers come in 4 times a day, district nurses every other day, and there would always be an issue with mum that my aunt would have to deal with, called down to the house to deal with-over the phone, I could really do nothing and felt helpless, despondent and don't forget guilty.

I was progressively waking up to more txts from my aunt that weren't bringing any good news. In the past few weeks Mum had been having seizures, one very big one and she was taken into the local hospital. As you know, Mum is completely bed bound so getting her to and from hospital was a nightmare.

Two weeks ago I spoke with my aunt and I knew it was time to come back. My aunt really seemed to be at her wits end. Mum had another seizure, was sleeping more and becoming less responsive. As life goes, my agency had just got me a week on a new FX show "You're The Worst" but of course Mum comes before anything so I called and explained the situation and changed my flight. It was all last minute, something I have got so used to. Before I knew it, I was headed back to LAX to fly home. And then came the that was the epitome of a nightmare. Champagne, beer, Xanex and an emotional breakdown do not mix....but that is for the next entry.....