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Tuesday, 6 December 2011

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...

Our local funeral home sent us a letter with three memorial cards included. They send them to all of their 'clients' for the year, so that you can write the name of your loved one and a personal message to them and then hang them on the memorial Christmas tree in the window of the funeral home.

Apparently it's quite a common thing, a lot of funeral homes do it.

It's a lovely idea I think - something I'd never thought of before but it's very comforting to know that there's a 'tribute' to your loved one. To know that they're being acknowledged, and that the fact that they aren't here is acknowledged.

Having said that, it was more difficult than I expected. I coped perfectly well when I was actually in there - and it was very comforting to see that the lady from the funeral home actually remembered me, she asked after my dad and my brother and she let me hang the card on the tree for my mum. And then I cried all the way home, I cried a lot during the afternoon and I cried a lot during the evening - more than I have for a long time.

It was a lovely thing to do though, and I'm very glad I did it.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Thinking about the little things

Most people don't really think about the number of things that make them smile.

Not just the big things, but the little things in life. You don't necessarily need major events to make you smile. It's just those little moments that can genuinely make your day just because they make you smile.

Things like spending time with people you love, even if you're not really doing anything. Doing silly things to make yourself (and other people!) laugh. Getting excited about things, counting down to things, laughing about things. Things you can remember in the years to come, and wonder why you found them so funny.

Those are the things that really make you you. :)

Friday, 30 September 2011


It's a strange sensation, the time-shift.

It feels so long ago. So far away. So distanced. Such a long time that you can barely remember what it was like before. You miss it so much. Their voice, their face, their smell, the touch of your hand on their skin, the way they move, the things they say, the look on their face when they're happy, surprised, confused, anything. You spend your time going over it, thinking about it, remembering them. You're terrified in case you forget even the slightest detail.

And at the same time, somehow it feels like it was just yesterday. Sometimes even closer than that. Sometimes you feel like you're reliving that day all over again. It's all so new and so fresh. The memories are so vivid in your head. You're back there again, in that room. You see them there like it's just happening, and somehow at the same time it doesn't seem like it's them. You hear that sound. That sound that you will never forget. And then it's quiet. You stand outside and the doctors and nurses are silent, they stand in the reception and look at you in silence. It's strange. A&Es aren't known for being silent. You feel the pain as if it's happening all over again. You feel the hurt you felt when you heard that. You feel the shock you felt that night. You feel the anxiety, the sadness, the fear, the tension.

It simultaneously feels like so long ago and so new and close. And all that time you're living in a dream world.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

The subjectivity of time

Time is a very subjective thing.

When you're looking forward to something it seems to go so slowly. You count down the days and it seems like forever away, all the anticipation and excitement.

Consider summer holidays when you're a child. You look forward to them for so long, you can't wait to finish school and enjoy six weeks off. It goes slowly at first, just a long summer ahead. But by the end of August it's hard to believe it's almost over, and it suddenly speeds up.

And when there's something you really, really don't want to happen...time suddenly seems much shorter. It goes by much more quickly. 'A couple of months'. That can seem like ages away if there's something exciting planned in 'a couple of months'. But if it's your worst nightmare, 'a couple of months' suddenly seems so short, it's not enough time, and it's so quick.

The thing about time is that sometimes it's hard to live in the present. We live in the past, going over and over old times, or we live in the future, worrying about what's to come. But sometimes the best thing to do is take each day as it comes, to live in the present and to take time to enjoy things as they come. Because one day something hits you out of the blue and your life changes forever.

Tuesday, 28 June 2011


My mum is going to stay in the hospice tomorrow, just for a couple of days so that they can sort out the medications she's on and her insulin and get the pain under control.

It's a strange feeling knowing that your mum is going to go and stay in a hospice. I think it's because of the stereotype that hospices are where people go to die. It doesn't work that way; hospices do so, so much more than that. They offer support for the pain and medications, throughout the treatments, practical and financial support, emotional support and counselling, etc etc. They've been great so far, I don't know what I'd do without them.

Nevertheless, it is still a strange feeling. I'm ok on the outside, it doesn't seem to affect me much at home. But inside it hurts a lot sometimes.

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Results :)


I got a First in my degree apparently! That in itself was a huge surprise - I was just hoping for a 2.1 overall, but it averaged out as a First overall, mainly due to getting a First on my Final Year Project (which was worth quite a large percentage of my final marks).

The second major surprise was that I got home from Essex on Thursday night, checked my uni e-mails and received an e-mail saying that I have been awarded the Board of Examiners' 2011 prize for Final Year performance!

I haven't got a clue why: I've looked at my transcript and can't see anything amazing at all - I got 81% overall in Forensic Psychology and 71% overall for my project, but those were the only really good marks I got and they're nothing particularly special! But I'm not complaining, I'm so proud of myself at the moment.

If nothing else, I'm just glad we're at this point and that things are still ok at the moment. With the year we've had even just completing the exams was a huge achievement, let alone anything else. And I'm definitely considering future research now!

Monday, 23 May 2011

Procrastination and burnout!

How does exam revision suddenly seem so demotivating the day before the exam? I've kept detailed notes for each lecture with relevant readings throughout the year, I've done hours and hours of revision every day since April to shorten my notes done (in lots of different colours and everything, very important!), and the exams so far (4/5 completed) have gone ok (I think! Let's hope I don't regret saying that! Although is it just me who always comes out of exams feeling like I haven't written enough? I see people writing pages and pages and pages, and each of my essays today was only 1.5 pages long!)

...And then for the last two or three days, I have lost all motivation! Everything seems more appealing than revision: I've taken all my posters off the wall, packed up as much of my things as I can (moving out of my flat after exam tomorrow to go back home again!), I've put some of the boxes in my car, I've made some ice cubes, read some forums, looked up postgraduate degrees and ideas for research (seriously, I can manage to look up and be interested by research that I don't need to remember and write about tomorrow, I just don't have the enthusiasm for what I do need to write about!) I got back from my exam at about 12:05pm today, it's now 3:38pm and since I got in so far I have done precisely...nothing.

I think it's just complete mental exhaustion. I've worked so hard and stressed so much that I think my brain's just decided it needs a rest! I want to wake up in the morning and not feel like I should be revising, I want to watch rubbish TV all night, to browse pointless things on the internet, to plan things to do all summer, to go training and enjoy the freedom of being there and knowing I don't have to go home and revise.

Ah well...20 hours from now and it's over! And then freedom begins. :)

Thursday, 12 May 2011

The words used in children's advertising. And we wonder why boys like blue and girls like pink!

Ok, oversimplified maybe. But it does say a lot about the role of expectations and stereotypes in children's gender identity. Boys are expected to like guns and battle games, rough-and-tumble. Girls are expected to like dolls and magic, pink sparkly things!

And children absorb these expectations. In 1994, Parke said that parents' reactions to emotional displays help a child to develop their sense of self. And these get internalised - boys learn that they should be 'strong', for girls it is far more acceptable to be emotional. Boys' self-descriptions have been found to change depending on if they're alone or in front of a group of other boys (Banjeree & Lintern, 2000).

Children learn to describe themselves and their gender from a very early age (by age 3, 90% are correct at identifying their gender!). Not long after this they begin to segregate - girls play with girls, boys play with boys (well, until we reach the teenage years...another story!)

In one study on gender roles, mothers played with a baby who was dressed up as either a boy or a girl. The researchers found out that when the baby was believed to be a girl, the mothers offered the baby a doll. When they believed it was a boy, they offered a train. So even as very young infants the expectations of adults have an influence on our lives - clothes, behaviour, toys, emotions, everything!

I just find this quite interesting. :)