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 

The message

I receive her text early in the day. I read it quickly. Time stops for part of a second.  I close my phone and I park the text in the part of my brain that means I can only go back there when I can give it my proper time.

After a 12 hr day, a presentation, two dog walks, caring for my boy with a temperature, cobbling some dinner together, putting away some washing, getting the bins ready….. I think about dealing with the text.
First I open some post. There’s one for Tes from the bank. They say now that she’s in Uni would she like to know about the right account for her. It’s my fault. I’ve still not found the courage to go in and tell them. And sometimes, I like getting post for her. 

I pour a glass of wine and get my phone out. I read her text again. 

She. My counsellor says. It’s been a while since we met, is it ok to close your file now? 

She says I can go back anytime.

I want to text. You saved me. But I know she’d say. No. You saved you. 

That’s what she’s like. She takes no credit.
She’s wrong and she’s also right. Her safe space and insight gave me hope and she taught me that answers and strength lay within me.

I’m scared to sever this tie.
I know it’s right after three years to let it go. Sometimes I’ve had as much of a break as 12 months.  Then I had to go back.  It’s taken 3 years, 5 months and about 9 days to finally feel I can let her go.  Properly.  My counsellor.  With that I wrap myself in guilt which I also know is ridiculous. 

I’d like to share my reply. I meant every word

Hi. Yes that’ll be OK as long as I know I can delve in if I ever need. It’s not an exaggeration to say that you helped me survive. I’ll never ever forget your kindness empathy honesty and humanity. That’s not just someone doing their job. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. 

My blog has never been to advise or to preach but I do believe in learning from each other. Good and bad. If you ever find yourself in a place where things remain heavy and blurry always ask for help, it’s not weak. It takes strength.

Love to you all this Sunday.

Xx

Scared to death

Not my usual blog because this week I’m angry.

I try I try I try to be positive but bloody hell this week has been a test. 49 people dead in a club over in the States and of course Jo Cox – murdered for having an opinion.

Sensitive to me  because I’m gay and I’m also a woman. Did you know I almost entirely stopped using Twitter.  Do you know why? Because I’m scared of the repercussions of my strong views about violence against women. Women like me on Twitter are threatened with rape and murder. For having an opinion.  Some women like Jo are murdered. In fact 1 woman every 3 days in this country is murdered by someone she knows.

That’s what I’m angry about. Yes angry. This isn’t a one off. This isn’t just because someone has a mental health issue or just because he read the dire Daily Mail.  This isn’t just because our politicians breed hatred.  It’s because of ALL of that and much more.

I’m a feminist.  A dirty word.  All it actually  means is I want equality. That’s it. I don’t hate men. I love men. In my top three people in the world two of them are men.  For being a feminist i’m regarded as a nuisance or bothersome because… well I’d really  like women to stop being raped, assaulted and murdered for one.

And being gay on top of that. Well. What’s that like? I can’t go out without a man making a joke about a threesome. We let go holding hands almost automatically when someone walks towards us because we’re not sure if we’ll be abused. I’ve spent my whole life since coming out terrified my children will get a hard time and feel lucky because they haven’t . I’m told to my face that lesbians can be nasty bitches but gay men are funny. I’m also told in what I think is supposed to be positive that gay people are ok.. as long as they don’t kiss in public. In fact just last night I was surprised to hear someone I know upsetting a friend through their homophobic comments. This is the tip of the iceberg.

It’s still the best decision I ever made coming out but it’d be a lie to say it’s easy.

The reason I’m saying this is I’m part of a group of people this week  that were murdered for loving someone, for having an opinion, for speaking up. That makes me angry.

People are different.  That should be embraced not eradicated.

Jo Cox,  I am not just going to remember you today or tomorrow.  You have inspired me to have an even greater voice. You’ve inspired me to be even more passionate. You’ve inspired me to work even harder against that hate that killed you. I am not ever going to stand and watch or turn a blind eye or be scared to have an opinion.

Stand up for yourself.  Stand up for others.

Help, heal and hope. Not hate.

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X x X

Living the dream?

I’m writing this on Friday at 12.21. I have to write while I’m waiting.   I’m waiting to go to Trystans funeral at 1pm. I woke up thinking about it and inevitably about Tes. My mind wanders and worries about everything I possibly can and then I got up.

I open the dark brown curtains of my bedroom. I’m surprised by all the mist hiding the stone bridge and the tops of the cottages. It’s going to be a beautiful day I thought to myself. Of course it is.

I wanted to find a quote for some reason. To sum up these feelings inside. The feeling of love, life and loss. Also the feelings of hope.

There has to be hope.

I finally come across one.

Live your dream, don’t dream your life.

I thought it encapsulated what I knew of Trystans very well. He seemed to be living the life he had dreamed of.

I then left the house early and walked in what had now turned into beautiful sunshine. Lolly took our usual turn to the left as we got to the top of the hill but today I carried on. I wanted to be somewhere new. I wanted to feel.  To see.  To hear. New things.  I think I also wanted my mind filled with the enormous quiet empty peaceful space. There was no sound bar the quiet rumbling of a tractor in the distance. I stop to gaze at the beautiful view of the rural emerald countryside.  It’s magnificent.

As I keep walking I thought about the quote and gave myself a bit of a talking to. Are you living your dreams Dwysan? I asked myself! No. Not all of them. And with that I made a few decisions in my head. Some big. Some small. I’ll keep you posted!

I must leave now and say goodbye to a friend. A young man who lived his life.

Let’s all live our life.

Now.

X

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What if?

Where to start this week. On Tuesday I came home to learn that a popular and kind young local man, also a friend to both of my children and myself, tragically  died in a car crash.  I grabbed a chair to support my legs as the news seeped in.  I’d only seen him on Sunday and in a second he was gone.

It’s a terrible terrible feeling to think of someone we know now treading the same path as we do.  For families  who’ve lost their child.. it feels like a secret club because there are no words that express the loss or to express what has to go on to make you get up ever day.

Not a particularly positive blog this week. How can it be in the face of such rawness?

The only small glimpse of brightness I could take was to recount the conversation I had with him on Sunday.  I was busy and I walked past but I realised it was him getting out of his car.  He was in a rush too but we both stopped what we were doing and had a chat.  I’m so glad we did.

Life is full of what ifs and last moments.  You can’t live your life making sure every moment is a good one or making it special just incase. However I’ve learnt that it can take effort and it takes slowing down and listening and seeing to make those moments a bit sweeter. 

I’ve learnt to be myself and let things go because they make me unhappy so I have more time for what makes me happy.  I’ve learnt that I have to say yes when sometimes my heart says no ensuring others aren’t stifled by my worries. I understand I can’t be everything to everyone no matter how hard I try, freeing my time . I’ve learnt to slow down a teeny bit …to appreciate the small moments.  

I ran with my pooch this week and tried to catch the ball in her mouth. She darted around and I ran after her in the sunshine. I giggled out loud as I failed to keep up with her.   I felt like a kid.  It was a moment.

Like that one, life is a collection of moments that are happening now.  It’s what we have that eventually make up our life. People often wait for their life to start or for money or the right time. 

Now is the right time.

Love to you all on this Sunday and special thoughts to Trystans family and friends. I’m glad to have been fortunate enough to have had some memories and moments with him that I’ll forever cherish.  The last being his cheeky smile.

Xxx

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Changes

Inevitably this week with the loss of two prominent famous people I’m  drawn to write about loss.  Sometimes I try to write my blog without mentioning death or grief.  I know it can make an unhappy read. In fact someone told me a few weeks ago that my blog can be a very “hard read”.

I know that, so thank you for persevering.

I also hope that the essence of my blog shines through the greyness of grief.  Life is hard. For me. For you. Maybe not now.  Or always. At some point it will be. It’ll also be good. It changes.  It’ll be so happy you squeal a bit. It’ll be so much fun you’ll fill your eyes with unexpected tears from laughing.  It’ll  be exciting.  It’ll be beautifully full.  It’ll be both.

So here we are. I’m sorry I’m going to talk about death.  Two deaths this  week rocked the obituaries.  Bowie and Alan Rickman.  I almost cried at Bowie’s death. I don’t know why. I just felt so sad about it. He changed the lives of so many people by being himself.  He allowed others to know that was OK.  And Mr Rickman was in one of my favourite ever films. Truly Madly Deeply.  Go watch if you haven’t seen it but stock up on the tissues.  He always came across as a sincere intelligent and kind man. I didn’t know them but inevitably through their fame felt to know the tiniest part of them.

Losing people without doubt heightens your concern and angst about your own life. Especially when you’re hurtling forward through the  decades. I keep trying to live the life I want now instead of the one I thought I had to. I’m trying to stop wanting to please everybody because I’ve realised I can’t.  I’m trying to be less materialistic because I know a new sofa will never make anyone happy. I’m being a tad more selfish and am saying no a bit more often. Occasionally I even sit down instead of rushing to do the next thing as soon as I get in from work.

Gasp. You might catch me with a cup of camomile and a book for 15 minutes before I start chopping the courgettes and carrots. I find that really difficult to do. I feel selfish. But I’m trying not to. 

Learning from experience, your own and others is what’s important.  I’m still getting it wrong too. That is life.

I said to a friend this week in a very motherly way as she excitedly sent me a link to a new house she’s buying. .. be careful,  a house won’t make you happy.  I felt bad that I’d reacted this way but I wish that someone had said that to me ten years ago.  Because it’s true. A house doesn’t make you happy. Or a new car or that fabulous pair of shoes. Actually scrap that last one.  Shoes can make you happy!

I guess the point is what the point always is. Today do what makes you truly happy whenever you can.  We’re all busy but don’t be too busy for you.

Dwys x

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Paris

Ironically I was going to write today about the bombardment of bad news in our lives. From my office we play a local radio station for the waiting room. Almost every half an hour throughout the day I hear the misery of deprivation,  death, poverty,  pain, lies, abuse, inequality. The news. The list goes on.

I decided yesterday I couldn’t write the blog I’d intended to write.  It was going to be about why we focus on the terrible events in life
Even when we get together as friends we inevitably gravitate towards the bad things that have happened that day.

Friday brought about another tragedy. Too close to home. It brings pain  into our hearts and fear into our everyday living.  Are we next? We can’t help worry. We’re conditioned to worry. We’re bombarded with what’s wrong in the world.

Yet we will continue to live.

Why can’t we live a little bit better?

Why must we kill each other over our beliefs?? It amazes me that pacifists are almost treated like they should move out of the planet and live on Mars because, wait for it, ridiculously they’d like a peaceful solution. Damn those pacifists!! Killing, anger, bombing,  fighting,  declaring  (another) war, arguing,  murder … is another much better solution??

No. It isn’t.

Imagine if the world put their guns down. Imagine if we respected the person next door whether they’re religious or whether they’d rather go to the pub on a Sunday.  Imagine if everyone didn’t care what the person on the  street wore to go out shopping. Imagine treating other  people as equals. Imagine looking out for those with less than you. Imagine equality.  Imagine containing your anger and doing something more useful with your emotions.

All this is easier to do isn’t it than continue with the massive effort of war? 

Too simple I’m sure you’re thinking.  Yes it is. However we can all do our bit. The answer to Paris isn’t to hunt down anyone who remotely resembles what we’ve concocted in our head as terrorists.  Innocent people are dying all over the world. We can’t stand by and do nothing.  Yet we must acknowledge surely that bombs and bullets do absolutely  nothing to help. Nothing.

I don’t have the answers. I do know though the fragility of life. I know  the pain of losing those we love most. I know that anger does not help. What helps is understanding,  love, compassion, kindness, family, friends, hugs and kisses.

Is it so very wrong to want a world like that?

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