You may have noticed it’s been my birthday this week! I’m of no massively significant age but I make a fuss of my own birthday! I get excited about my own birthday. I love opening cards and receiving messages. I get merry at the idea of a family get together with cake. Like a giggling toddler I rip open up presents and I love the dancing pink balloons.
I ask myself this. Why do I love my birthday? I’m getting older and wrinklier and my hips hurt now and again! My hair is speckled with some ‘alternative highlights’ and if I haven’t got my reading glasses with me it’s a major catastrophe.
In addition to this obviously I have no Tes. This week was the fifth birthday without her and all day I felt it like a heavy small but significant weight inside my stomach. I visited ‘her’ but as usual I get little comfort from her purple flowered plot with teddies and letters. Who would? I kiss the silver teddy with the letter T as I do ever time and I say …I hate you not being here. Then I blow her a kiss. And I leave.
So why and how do I still enjoy my birthday? I think the main answer is because I can.
Because I’m healthy and I have super friends and a partner who makes me smile and an AMaZInG son, and even a fab ex husband and his lovely wife and their gorgeous son in my life. I have brothers who tower over me that make me so proud. I’ve a mum that I’ve driven mad at times who loves me nevertheless and a step dad who is gentle and inspiring. I have nephews and a sister in law and grandparents and cousins and uncles and aunts.. . ……. and of course my lovely dogs.
I’m surrounded by hills and mountains and rivers and lakes and empty beautiful beaches . And there’s theatre and markets and galleries to visit. There’s writing and painting and cycling and piano playing and photos to take.
This whole blog may be me, yet again, justifying how I can have fun despite what has happened. Maybe I have to justify it to myself whatever the reason. This is why I like birthdays because ……I CAN.
Have a beautiful Sunday xxx
As I walked through Manchester yesterday I saw this on the wall of a grey tunnel.
I love it for all kinds of reasons.
Firstly someone bothered to write it.
I love the grammar because I’m assuming that means the author is young.
I love the fact someone young expressed themselves so vibrantly.
I even love the fact the person who wrote this has had an experience meaning they know …. the course of true love certainly doesn’t run smooth!!!
In a week where the younger generation have had their voices heard and have provided what I think is a legacy that we can build on for the future. A voice for Decency. Calm. Determination. Truth. Inclusiveness. I’m basically writing a high five to you.
Nobody should be scared to express themselves. It could be telling someone they make you happy or even telling someone they’re not. It could be giving your voice to a cause or writing down in a diary just for you. It could be that you simply smile or say well done. It can be through music or a painting. It could be through tears or laughter. It might be through love.
Whatever way it is.
Happy Sunday xx
A few months ago in work my colleague Barbara said she ‘needed’ to go and see Robbie Williams! Barbara is 65 and 3 years ago lost her soul mate and husband of 40 years. Our losses created a bond of support and understanding. On occasion being able to share our darkest thoughts that we couldn’t otherwise. 3 years on she misses her husband absolutely but has also managed to build a life that I can only say is inspirational. That is what many people do. We survive stuff and most of us get up and say.. hey life… you tried your best then to keep me in bed staring at the walls but you failed.
So Barbara was going to see Robbie by herself! Again an amazing thing in itself to have that confidence. I’m not sure I would. Anyway of course I say I’ll come and off we went last night and we had a scream. We were both nervous after the awful Manchester attack but we both felt a sense of f*ck you to wherever is trying to steal our liberties away.
This morning we awake to more devastation and carnage and loss and heartache. I don’t have the answers. What I wanted to say though that these events are a tiny part of an amazing world. That’s not to minimise it. It’s horrendous. However I was with 51 thousand people last night. Couples dancing. Women in purple wigs. Thousands singing together. Strangers starting up conversations. Fabulous smiling faces. Friends holding hands.
I looked out and thought this is who we are. This. Try as some people might we will not be defeated or kept indoors by a cowardly few.
Barbara would certainly have something to say about that. Be more Barbara!!
I’ve had a beautiful weekend. Sun. Jacuzzi. Love. Dogs. Walks. Fizz.
All the time though Manchester is not far from my heart.
It’s heart breaking to read the devastation of innocent lives.
Almost as difficult is to read the tirade of abuse towards one culture.
What can we do? Words only can seem futile…. yet bombs, knives and guns…… just kill people.
I could go on a political rollercoaster but I won’t.
Laugh at this or call me a do-gooder… we can only judge someone when we know them. We can only be responsible for how we behave. We can choose to be kind. We can decide to bring our kids up to be compassionate. We can be accepting of people who are different. We can change. We can look out for our neighbour. We can smile and say hello to a stranger. We know better than to only look after ourselves. We can stop pointing the finger. We can stop spewing hate. We can be kind. We can.
Hate breeds hate.
Love breeds love.
Too simple yes but it’s the only ammunition I’ve got.
Lots of love on this Sunday xxx
I’ve never really been one to be quiet. As a toddler I’d be organising who sat where at an imaginary tea party and as a teenager I’d march up to anyone who dared to be horrible to my little brother. Teachers included. Mouthy some may have said. Protective and learnt survival tactics l say.
When I took my A levels at 23 and the English literature lecturer asked if anyone would like to read a part… my hand was always first up. The young ones looked at me mostly with amusement and that look of ‘teachers pet’ as I got into the swings and throes of Pride and Prejudice.
This week I’ve noticed that lots of people think but don’t vocalise their thoughts. I was at a meeting where the majority of the room felt it wasn’t productive (ie a complete waste of time) but everyone got up and said thanks.
I said something. I couldn’t bare to see the waste of resources and time and not say anything. I had several emails and conversations with other attendees who were livid, angry, despondent.
Yet they said nothing.
Why is it so hard for so many to put their hand up, to ask a question, to give their opinion. Why do we sit quietly even if we know the answer? Why don’t we risk asking a question even when it’s really important to us?
I think a lot of people are scared, lack confidence or are too self critical to speak up.
Frightened to get the answer wrong.
Isn’t that worse than not saying anything at all?
Happy Sunday everyone xx
I’ve spent quite a bit of time in Manchester lately and I noted yesterday as I waited at the traffic lights there’s one big difference, in my view. Anonymity. Being inconspicuous. An invisibility.
Like anywhere, particularly I imagine in a busy city..what happens around us becomes an every day scenery of people and culture because we’re used to it. Its the same for me in North Wales. I now appreciate the hills and the streams and the pheasants and the lambs a whole lot more since seeing it through the eyes of my city living girlfriend. I’ve always been in awe of Wales but seeing it through new eyes and hearing gasps at a view of a river that I’ve seen a thousand times is a reminder to me to really appreciate what’s around.
To my new eyes in Manchester, I’m seeing what’s around me with innocent eyes. I’m no longer a day visitor or here to shop. I’m now here at times driving to work or walking the dogs or just going out for bread. In that time I’m overwhelmed with visions that I’m not used to and it fills my head. I know I’m not supposed to stare but I find myself staring. Secretly.
Yesterday as I wait at the very busy traffic lights there’s so much to see. A woman in a Ramones t-shirt, red jeans and clunky black boots busily walking under the bridge as the sun shines on her cheeks. A young man with dreadlocks carrying a guitar wearing large white headphones walking purposefully from the train station. I wonder where he’s going. Two men in their late 20s walking independently of each other but looking very much the same with their trendy beards, short hair and the beginning of a small pot belly. A woman in a colourful niqab with only her deep brown eyes on show trying to keep her playful children safe near the road. Some graffiti on the wall that I try to make sense of. A local market brimming with music and falafel. Kids playing cricket in the park, picking teams in a language I’m not familiar with and then speaking English without effort. Two golden pomeranians leading their owner on their walk. A beautiful magnolia tree with petals dropping to the floor resembling confetti.
It’s amazing what you can see in just a few minutes when you really look.
Have a lovely Sunday everyone x
It should’ve been my daughter Tes’s 19th birthday today. My blog really took off when I lost her just over 4 years ago yet as I had an incessant need to write. Over time my writing has moved away from the rawness of my grief and shock, as anyone who follows it will see it mostly unintentionally focuses on a moment from my week, an observation, usually something hopefully encouraging.
It is has been the oddest experience to feel unimaginable pain on a daily basis, to carry what feels like an immovable heavy stone in my heart and a permanent ache in the centre of my stomach but to also be overwhelmed with the desire to make the most of life.
It’s just a little blog from me today. I could write a thousand words about the awfulness of grief, birthdays are the hardest I feel – it’s a reminder of what isn’t here. In Tes’s memory though I accept the utter hardship of it but I refuse for her memory to be about her end. She had a great and fantastic life. One filled with love, books and passion. A life that made me proud and one that I remain grateful for. It is hard to accept that was her life but that is…. life. Unpredictable. Not straight forward. Not as you expect it. Which is why the urge within me to keep living and not just surviving is so strong.
Tes had a poster on her bedroom wall – ‘make everyday beautiful’. The meaning of that will be different to so many of us – be it getting under the duvet with a film, walking on the beach, reading your book, running through the woods, being silent, being loud, being alone, being with friends – whatever it is that might make our day beautiful, it’s worth trying to make it that day.
Have a beautiful Sunday xx