7th May 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 

Be more sheep! 

Be more sheep! 

I was late again this week, despite the fact as usual I get up at six, 2 hours later I got in the car and I knew I’d be late for the course. Frustrated with myself I start the 30 mile journey and due to being late I encounter every single lollipop crossing on my way. This is just making me more late I’m thinking, Come on!

 
At one I end up waiting for what seems like twenty minutes but it was probably more like two. There’s nothing I can do but to accept it. I’m going to be late. Very late.

 
I look around. The lady in the fluorescent jacket with her stop sign has a cheery face with long blonde hair. I notice a young girl of about 9 walking towards her smiling, you could tell in that smile this lollipop lady was kind and funny. The 9 year old was looking forward to seeing her. On the other side a young boy of about 4 was about to melt my heart just because he looked ecstatically innocently happy, he skipped and grinned, his eyes lit up with everything he was hoping for that day, friends perhaps and toys and books and play. Behind him, his older brother, looking far less enthused and behind him was mum. She looked like me… …rushed, stressed, late.

 
It got me thinking about how we live. How the innocence of childhood grows into the frantic rush of adulthood. There’s no getting away from it for most of us. I can’t give up work or house or car and I’m certainly not giving up my dog or my son!!! I have responsibilities but I think that I need to slow down sometimes, take back the innocence of the four year old, run and laugh and savour rather than rush and frown and ignore. As we get older we absorb so many difficulties but we also are absorbing love and kindness and fun that sometimes gets trampled on …leading to fewer smiles and more frowns. I’m sitting here wondering how do I get it back? How to be that young person skipping down the road not worrying about my car or my job or money or health or time etc etc.

 
Worrying and stress is part of life but it shouldn’t be life itself.

 

On the same day I went for a walk and I saw a field of sheep. One sheep was running around and then hopping and trying to get the other sheep to play and then running again. I’d never seen a sheep behave like that before! It reminded me of the young boy earlier.

 
And there’s my blog this week, the realisation as we get older we may be less free but if we decided to we could be more like that sheep, living with what we’ve got but making the most of it.

 

Let’s all be more sheep!

 

Happy Sunday X X

What do you want to do when you’ve grown up??

Yesterday I wandered to the local garden centre. I’ve recently taken on a bit of an upcycling project at my new house in my overgrown garden.  I’m recycling old tins, spraying them and plonking plants in, hoping that it’ll divert eyes away from the patchy brown grass.

 

At the garden centre I of course got distracted and ended up buying coriander and parsley, I’ve a new love for coriander (have you tried it in a salad?!) and then I made my way to what I’d actually come for, some pretty little pots that would do the job in hand.

 

A young boy leapt out of his parents car, one parent spoke English to him the other Welsh. I marveled at his ability at the age of about four to converse easily swapping from one to the other.  He was very excited, he ran past the lavender and as I was smelling the coriander he shouted ‘hi’ in a very loud, excitable voice.  I turned around to his grinning round face and said hello back.  Loving his sparkle.  His innocence.

 

That’s when I thought.  In about 11 years time, someone is going to ask you a question and then you’ll be asked that same question over and over and over until you make something up just to stop them asking.  What do you want to be when you grow up?

 

What is grown up?

 

Aren’t we always growing?

 

I spent the best part of 48hrs this week with 16 year olds facing exam results, decisions about their future, stress, tears, laughter and of course adults continually asking them ‘what do you want to do when you grow up?’.

 

I’ve done it myself but the reality is there’ll be a lucky few – a footballer, a doctor, a musician, a vet that’ll have it in their bones but the rest of us meander from one thought to another and worse than that we probably do know what we’d like to be but we mostly don’t think we’re good enough.

 

When I went to my career advisor at 16, he eyed me up with a look of boredom.  I didn’t do ‘well’ in school.  I wasn’t one of the naturally clever ones.  I didn’t sing particularly brilliantly either. I was ok at sport.  I was ok really at most things. I didn’t shine.

 

You’ll probably be a secretary he said.

 

And that’s what I ended up doing for the first few years of my working life. Nothing wrong with that but in my panic and viewing this adult as someone who knew exactly what I could do I didn’t aim for anything different.  I didn’t aim to be a lawyer, a journalist or a run my own business.  I became an office worker.

 

I still actually don’t know what I want to do when I grow up.

 

What I do know is that most of the 16year olds, particularly the more miserable ones, did better than I did at that age at their GCSEs.

 

I did go on much later to do A levels and my degree in my 30s, finally accepting and believing I wasn’t ‘that stupid’ after all and actually I could be anything I wanted.  Anything!

 

Trying to get this through to young people is mostly impossible, particularly if they don’t fit in with school expectations and more importantly perhaps not fitting in with the needs for education establishments to fulfill their status.

 

I wish for a system that also focused on the abilities away from academia,  for those that take pleasure in planting a seed or that kid reading a book on astronomy, the child that relaxes while painting or another who is swinging a golf club at 4. What about the potential of the dreamer staring out of the window or the quiet one with an amazing imagination?

 

In my 4th decade I’m only just getting there in knowing what I might want to do….. and I expect that’ll keep changing as I keep growing up!

 

The truth is – we can be whatever we want to be when we grow up.

 

Don’t let anyone tell you different!

 

Happy Sunday everyone x

 

dice

 

 

A day

This week has been a roller coaster. 

A level results day meant I found myself on a warm Thursday morning finishing my walk at 7am with Tes. Pooch runs through the gates of the church and bears left.   She knows her way to where I sometimes sit to hold the silver teddy bear inscribed with a T as I chat briefly to the open air.

Tears involuntarily appear but are kept at bay all day.  I couldn’t help but feel hard done by, deprived. Today I felt sorry for myself.  

With that I genuinely was excited for all her friends who were starting new journeys.  But I wanted her to be on that journey too. As I said. Today I felt sorry for me. 

A person can change all of that though.  It was an exchange of messages that day that also simply said …call over if you like. I declined saying I planned to spend the evening under a blanket.

However at about 9 I decided to wander over and found myself at a mini gathering of family and friends. We sat out, giggled a lot and of course consumed a few vinos. Children played. Adults laughed naughtily. Presents were opened. Dark chocolate brownies were consumed.   

Like that, one person changed my day. 

It made me think how we can change a persons day. We can even change a persons life. 

On the radio this week I heard about a guy who had been hospitalised for 5 years with huge mental health problems.  His life has completely recovered. What changed him? Understanding.  Listening. Believing.  Compassion. Love.

I reflected on my week and wondered had  I had made a positive change to someone’s day this week? 

I did catch a large spider for a receptionist that was about to faint!! I also made mum a filled burrito and we sat in the sunshine with a large pot of tea. Hopefully I made the new person at work feel comfortable and I’m trying to be a listening ear to a friend in need. 

The great thing about trying to make life a bit better for someone else, as cheesy as it sounds, is how much better we feel about ourselves. 

I can change someone’s day. You can change someone’s day. Imagine the world we could live in!!

Happy Sunday everyone X 

Which way?

I was walking early (again) this week.
The sun was just rising and its burnt orange body partly hid behind lit up grey clouds.  We passed the spaniel without problem but a gang of rebellious younger sheep were in the corner of the field looking quite mischievous. Their heads poked through the fence as far as they could stretch. They clearly felt that the grass was certainly greener on the other side. For pooch this gathering was too tempting and in order to protect me from these hungry animals she quickly gathered pace and began barking at them from her side of the fence. 

 She’s about 12 inches tall. She thinks she’s 112 inches tall.

The sheep for some reason are scared of tiny dog and run away. However one is a bit naughtier than the rest and I hadn’t realised this leader of the pack had managed to squeeze it’s woolly oversized body under the fence. Panic set in and rebellious sheep made a run for it down the narrow leafy road towards the village, followed by tiny pooch. After a promise of a treat pooch strolls back towards me and I get her pink lead out while we sort out this sheep situation. Pooch is far from impressed.
I walk towards the corner bearing left and see the sheep about 25 yds away, it has stopped and is staring at us trying to make out whether the threat still exists. I squash us into the hedges as I try to create as much distance as I can trying to pass but sheep decides we’re too close and makes a further dart. We’re now at the periphery of the village. I don’t have time to walk all the way back so I have to keep going, playing the game with the sheep.
Finally the sheep takes a right and decides to run into the drive of a bungalow. I quicken my step in the hope that I can get by and the sheep will feel safe. Just as I get to the house the sheep has got its timing wrong and started to come back to the gate. The sheep literally has a look of surprise (somehow) on its face and takes a quick step back to safety. Pooch and I pass without further crisis and sheep then makes a run for it all the way back to where we first met this morning.
As I walk on it made me think about decisions we make. Decisions we have to make on the spot or decisions we linger about. The fact being that quite often there are only a limited number of choices and that we either have the choice to face up and make a decision, to hide and hope the decision goes away or to let that decision be made for us.

I had a conversation with someone this week about the age old saying glass half full or glass half empty. I was questioned about my positivity. Why be positive, I was asked. It felt clear that based on what’s happened in our family this positivity wasn’t really understood. What’s do you get from making a decision not to be positive, I asked. 
These days there’s so much stuff about mindfulness and positivity that it can sometimes feel we’re being dictated to being a perfect  all practicing yoga eating kale and drinking green tea with the gaze of *smug* oozing from our perfect natural eyes. Rubbish! 

Positivity to me is making that choice to *try* to be positive.
Decisions can be tough. 

This week I walked across a park and saw a toddler with golden brown shoulder length curled hair. She held her mums hand tightly. Trusting. She looked just like Tes at that age. I was in the middle of a field and for some reason in that instant my whole body was in pain from grief. I stood and looked. I didn’t move and my brain was tempting me to stay put. I imagined briefly not going back to work and just sitting in the field until someone asked why. And then I would tell them why. Instead I decided to take one last look. Then I decided to walk back to work. 

Just like the sheep we have big and small decisions all the time. Making it as positive a one for you as it can be has to be the best option. 

May Sunday be very good to you!
Lots of love x Dwysan x

 

Tes.

It’s an understatement to say I’m no royal family fan however this week it was hard to read how prince Harry hadn’t spoken about his grief of losing his mum until the last 3 years. I’m on holiday in Spain when I read his words and it pinches at my heart.
We’re on holiday. Without you. Again.

We laugh. We swim. I take pictures. I walk alone through graffiti walled narrow lanes. We play cards. We do the crosswords and we literally jump through (inflatable) hoops. We devour books. We sleep without covers and we sit on balconies. We find  new ice cream. We try different restaurants. We eat chocolate for breakfast. We get on trains. We take in the beautiful turquoise sea. We watch people. We drink coffee overlooking the beach. We buy a ball. We chat to strangers. We walk on the hot sand. 

None of this I do without thinking of you Tes. Yet it’s still hard to stamp on the guilt rising in my stomach. I read prince Harry’s words and I worry do we talk about you enough?  Sometimes I stop myself. I don’t want to hurt or saddened anyone but I’ve learnt people aren’t saddened or hurt or even if they are they’re glad to hear about you even if sometimes they don’t know what to say.
I was lifted to hear your nephew talk on holiday about how you were good at sucking up ice cubes from a cold drink and balancing it at the end of a straw! You come up in coversation a lot. Some of it doesn’t hurt. Some of it is painful and I find myself on the train wiping silent tears away as a memory catches in my throat. A young boy sees me and stares. I look out of the window.
It was a lovely week Tes. You’d have loved it. 

Whether you’re spoken about or not spoken about you’re in our hearts and minds all the time and always will be.
I love you darling 
Mum

x x x

The little things…

I heard an interview this week on the radio, unfortunately I didn’t catch her name but the author had written a book about her life as a black woman  This life clearly had been extremely harsh and brutal at times.  However her book was about all the good stuff that had happened.  She said she had been questioned about why her books ignored the harsh reality of her existence and pain.  She replied – why would I want to write about that?

It struck a chord with me because I don’t want to write a blog about all the bad stuff and I think that surprises people sometimes because the loss of a child is ‘bad stuff’ and it doesn’t go away.  Bad stuff happens in the week, it has happened this week but I don’t want to write about that – that’s not what my writing is about.  I can write about difficult times but I need to find an answer too that makes it not so difficult any more.  It’s how I work.

That doesn’t mean I ignore pain or sadness.  It doesn’t mean my life is one happy gin & tonic filled existence lying in the sun with a good book (though that sounds nice!).  My life is a normal one like yours.

I guess I am trying to explain why my blog tries to find the lightness in my week and with it share moments that have made me think or smile or take notice.

Like the ten minutes from my week that made me feel really happy.  It was ten minutes that I took to talk to a little five year old girl.  We were at the same birthday party.  I’d rushed straight from work, my trousers stuck horribly to my legs due to the heat.  Everyone in work was complaining and it took me half an hour to convince them all that  we did not need to panic buy ten new air conditioning units (I write this a couple of days later and all I can hear now is rain!).  I drove a little too quickly the thirty-miles finally getting to the windy hill and reaching the party.  Late of course.

I was fed pizza and peppermint tea when I spotted her.  She stood a little awkwardly tying knots in the bottom of her blue gingham school dress.  The boys were busy hitting each other with cushions and footballs, she wisely stayed away and didn’t look too amused.  I was tired and had just sat down but I felt her awkwardness and decided to see if she wanted to talk.  I began with the usual – what’s your name?  Her face initially had a look of slight panic and you could feel her thinking whether I looked safe enough to talk to or not as her parents warnings about strangers flashed through her mind.

She decided I was.  Once we got over pleasantries we went on to have a very interesting conversation.  She told me all about her pets of rats, goldfish and cats.  She described her birthday cake in great detail that she had a few weeks ago along with her knowledge of languages and how to say cheers in German!  We discussed siblings, dogs and chocolate cake and like that the twiddling young girl had disappeared, replaced with a confident, chatty, happy 5 year old.  Happy that someone had stopped for a moment.

So these two events made me think that it isn’t a bad thing to  try and concentrate on the positives in life, it’s a good thing.  Secondly it’s good to make an effort and make some time, tired or not.  If someone looks like they need a chat whether they’re two or seventy-two.  Stop, talk, listen, laugh & learn.  It’ll brighten up their day and also its likely to brighten up yours.

 

Happy Sunday everyone – xxx

|daisy