Your way

When my cousin got married on Friday she had planned (or maybe not planned ..) it entirely around the day she and her husband to be wanted. We didn’t get a postal invite, there was a Facebook group set up! There was only 30 seats in the tiny exquisite beautiful room bathed in blue sky and warm sunshine. There wasn’t an usher in sight or a wedding booklet. No singing or long speeches. No seating plans. No formal sides to sit on. No dress code. No cars with fancy ribbon. No veil. No colour scheme. No walking down the aisle. No standing around for endless photographs. No formality.

I hear later that my cousin walked to the shop without her shoes to get herself a bacon bap an hour before her do, that she played football on the beach with her kids and that when her sister got there to do her hair with ten minutes to go it was still wet!!! Still, she turned up looking absolutely stunning.

The Facebook group did say “you may have to watch us get married through the window” which I thought was a joke!! I had the honour of doing just that with our Grandad who couldn’t manage the steps inside. He probably said the funniest thing of the day when after driving an hour to get to the venue and then another half an hr managing the steep steps down to the building … during the ceremony he said to me.. louder than perhaps he realised… “I don’t know why they didn’t just get married in the Blue Lion!!”

The ceremony itself was beautifully simple. No child had to be on best behaviour and we giggled and laughed along with my cousin as she tongue-twisted around the complex Welsh words which after 15 minutes did pronounce them man and wife.

There was no photographer but a friend with a camera, my cousins eleven year old daughter also took some amazing photos as she caught pictures of the guests relaxed and unaware. Friends and strangers mingled with flutes of champagne in the garden and the bouquet was thrown and caught by the bride’s twenty year old niece, so cute!

As the day went on the wine flowed, the kids searched for insects and played hide & seek. Aunties danced in the garden along with the bare footed bride, the cake was cut, cousins gathered around the pub tables laughing out loud loving this rare time we have together, kisses and hugs were abound as we all became not just tipsy on the sauvignon but tipsy with love at this beautiful, unpredictable, informal, pretty wedding.

So, congratulations you two for doing it just the way you wanted.

I think we should all take a leaf out of their book.

Life is for making your own rules and doing it …your way!

Happy Sunday x x x

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Fog

I’ve deliberated a lot about whether to post this blog.

It’s sad and it’s personal and it’s probably a bit heart breaking.

However I started this weekly blog after my lovely daughter died. It became a place to write about loss and survival and now I write on Sundays about something of significance to me that week. At times I feel guilty that the blog doesn’t often specifically relate to Tes and that I veer away from referral to grief.

Who wants to read about grief on a Sunday morning!?

So if you don’t.. and I totally understand that. Give this week’s blog a miss.

Four and a half years later and it can grab hold of me with such force it’s hard to breathe and I spend much of my time trying not to be physically sick. I cancel plans and I just survive. Do I talk about it? Will I upset my nearest and dearest by talking about it? Do I still stay strong and get up and go to work even though I want to cry buckets under the duvet? Do I tell anyone because then it’ll ruin their day and they’ll end up worrying about me? Will people start to avoid me if I tell them?

I went to Uni this week to start my MSc. When I got there a woman sat next to me and immediately started talking to me. They asked me this morning – what had I done that I was proud of, she said. I’m proud of the fact I’ve raised my children and now I’ve got an adult daughter and she’s not dead yet.

That’s what she said.

I managed to say ‘oh’ and I think I faintly smiled at her joke.

She wasn’t to know that on the drive on the way to my first day at Uni that at one point I had to physically bite my fingers to transfer the pain to stop myself from crying. If she did know she’d feel awful. I know that.

There’s not a huge point to this blog this week, there was a need in me to revisit grief because I know other people who have ‘lost’ read it too. There’s a point where I guess I just want to shout…. ‘I’m hurting’ but then I don’t’ expect anyone to do anything about it. You can’t.

So – not the happiest of blogs and I apologise but that’s been this week. The grief fog lifted yesterday. I didn’t realise until I found myself dancing in the kitchen while making breakfast. It’ll be back but like others I’ll find a way through it and despite the part of my heart that hosts grief…. the rest of my heart is still ready for a life of love, travel, walks, friends, family, plans, laughs and even this MSc!

Lots of love to you all today – go hug someone!! xx

A phone call

It was my friends birthday this week and as we all do now I sent her a message on Facebook. About 10 seconds after posting it I thought to myself. That’s just not good enough. So I picked up the phone and gave her a call.

Earlier that day as I was driving to work and I was thinking about her and it being her birthday I noticed when I thought about her I literally had a warm fuzzy feeling in my heart!! Which led me to think where did that involuntary feeling come from? So I let my mind wander about what came to my mind when I thought about my friend. Someone who’s overcome many barriers to be a beautiful mum and have a successful career. Someone who is driven and yet would always make time for you. Someone literally beautiful outside and inside. Someone who sees the best in people and gives everyone a chance. Someone with passion about fairness and someone compassionate about our future. Ultimately a friend that I may see only a few times a year but who makes me feel more complete for being part of my life.

And so in a more concise way (because she was in the middle of a romantic dinner).. this is what I told her on the phone and maybe for the first time I told her I loved her too. Because I do. I love you too she said.

We (anyone pre Howard Jones/Erasure/Bronski Beat era) know we’ve lost so many different and more personal ways of communicating. There was nothing better than receiving a letter from friends at Uni or abroad (I have a huge suitcase full) and I remember a time when my house phone rang several times in the evening. Now I don’t even have a phone plugged in to my land line! Social media has a firm and great place in our future but it really is….. good to talk.

Happy Sunday xx

Where has Wonder Woman gone?

I’ve been deliberating whether to write about ‘this’ today because ‘this’ isn’t a happy subject. In fact that’s why most of us pretend ‘this’ isn’t going on because we don’t want to put ‘it’ on others.

So what is it?

There’s a few names I have for it… the black cloud, sadness, grief….my bad Tesni days seems to be the closest to how I properly describe it. It probably happens every 6 months or so. I think it’s a build up of what’s there that eventually has to surface.

It started Sunday night and it ended properly on Friday. It arrives with force. Tears. Lots of them. Wailing. Stomach hurting tears. Swollen eyes. Lack of interest in anything. Bed becomes the only place I want to be and I sleep. For the first time in months I sleep. Properly. Lots of sleep. I made myself work on Wednesday from home and Thursday I dragged myself back to work. I felt like I was walking around with water swimming in my head. Like I wasn’t really fully in the moment.

Not sure why I’m telling you this. I write about things in my life, what I see and feel. A lot of it is positive but I’d feel a fraud to not talk about the purely awful times too.

So how did it stop? Just like if I’d been physically ill I received a prescription. On that prescription were many things and eventually I got well again.

The first dose of medicine came from one of my oldest friends who happened to be back home. A hug. A chat. A glass of wine. It was a start. Secondly when I rang in sick I didn’t lie and say I had ‘a bug’ I told the truth. I was low and not coping. The reaction was just lovely. Almost every person I work with messaged me and when I got back I came in to flowers bought from the reception team and lots of hugs. My partner drove miles to see me in an already busy life even though I was no company. My dogs still insist I walk them and the rivers and trees distract me for a short time. I was taken out for lunch with mum and my boy. Despite being miserable they wanted to spend time with me. I saw my nephews for a short while and even though I couldn’t stay because I was going to cry I love seeing their faces. A phone call from my brother that I couldn’t answer. I knew he was thinking of me. Some photos put through the door from my sis in law which have made my temporary abode feel a bit more personal. Crazy friends who cycled 50 miles (yep!) to catch up. A text from someone I haven’t seen for too long to arrange lunch. A step dad who gives up his morning to help me and an uncle who swore a lot while doing it but got on with some diy at my house.

To be honest the list could go on. It made me realise that we can be very open about our mental health. In fact it was by being honest that I received so much help and although I’m rubbish at accepting help and am fiercely independent and determined to make every day a good one…. sometimes you just have to accept… as my lovely colleague Barbara said to me … for goodness sake Dwysan you’re not Wonder Woman!

The week has ended far more positively and there’s a couple of pieces of exciting news in terms of my house situation but I’ll have to keep some of that until next week… the biggest news is… I know the suspense is killing you.. …YES….. I have a BED!!!!! Hooray!

Bit of a ramble this week. Thanks as ever for reading. Have a lovely Sunday xx

Sauces and scrabble

Firstly. Still no bed. I’m trying to convince myself that I’m living in a Japanese themed bedroom and the mattress on the floor is all part of some unplanned feng shui phase.  Reality is I still have no date for my new house and I’m still mainly eating pizza or mostly going out to eat because I feel quite disasociated in my temporary home.  The house is fine but it is not my ‘home’.

It got me thinking what is a home. I’ve lived in a few houses through my life. 12 actually. Some of those houses I lived in for years and they never really felt like a home. Some for much shorter periods of time that became home.  What makes a place your ‘home’?.   You know that kind of home that even after a lovely holiday you’re excited and glad to step back into it.

For me.

The family inside, the pencil on the wall marking your children’s growth, a flower that miraculously grew from the seed you threw into the soil, the birds that visit regularly, the patch in the garden where the sun warms your skin, the ingredients in the cupboard waiting to be cooked, the postcard on the fridge and the scribbled note kept safely. The pooches playing with a new toy. The red nose that has been left on the wall from a home made Christmas party game. That tea set you had to buy. Heart decorations bought just for you. A box of collected memorabilia. The shells picked up from your favourite beach. A special photo that always makes you smile. Music that you have to dance to. A piece of furniture that you love. A charity shop bought jug full of your favourite flowers. A suitcase of letters from a time before Facebook.  The phone ringing with someone just checking in. A friend popping in for coffee (or wine!). Snuggling under a throw with your favourite film. A game of scrabble. Books.  Chats over dinnertime. Hugs on tap.  A notebook of dreams.  Pennies collecting in a jar.  Candles and fairy lights.   Pillows.  A box of crafts to be made into cards.  Recipes photocopied bearing food splashes.  A favourite mug filled with camomile tea.  The smell of home made tomato and basil sauce simmering. A piano waiting for you to finally learn that piece.  And of course. Most importantly…

Family (furry or not!).

Moments.

Memories.

Safety.

Security.

Love.

…….and also perhaps……..a  comfy bed!!!

I’m so excited to build all these memories again in my new home that will add to life’s memories of my last….

Join me next week for the next episode of…. ‘is Dwysan still sleeping on the floor?’ ….

Happy Sunday everyone xx 

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 

Dancing in diversity

I’ve figured out the answer to world peace!!

On Friday night I was invited out to an all women’s ‘disco’. It’s actually called the ‘shit lesbian disco’… which comes apparently from the fact a lot of the those types of events historically have ….. well… been a bit shit!

This one certainly wasn’t.

800 women filled this alternative music bar and it was magical. From the second the friendly organiser ticked our name off her list and we were offered a free shot from a woman with the happiest smile that was impossible not to respond to enthusiastically.

Making my way to the cloak room the line of women did not sit silently. We chatted easily and the woman who took my jacket sat on the floor cross legged as she labelled it for my collection later.

The staff running the bar were oozing energy. There was no frustrations at queuing just an opportunity to dance gently whilst waiting to be served.

And so to the music. Three women. Two laptops.  One music deck  (no idea if that’s the correct description!). Two of the women alternately chose a track and every time just got it so right as the crowd responded whooping as they danced. Later the tracks stopped and made way to the most amazing wordsmith who’s narrative was mesmerising and it was impossible not to listen to every letter within every word. The band then took their place debuting their new EP filling the room with rap, drums and guitars that compelled the crowd to stay and move their bodies in appreciation. The music then returned and everyone just continued. To dance.

This room was brimming with culture, diversity and more importantly love and acceptance. From the sari wearing DJ to the traditional dress of the wordsmith, to the women in heels and those in trainers. Women with make up and those without. Women in dresses and women in jeans. Black women. Muslim women. White women. Chinese women. Women with red hair and those with pink. Women holding hands and women just there for the music.

And that’s world peace in one room.

Music. Love. Acceptance. Dance.

Simple.

Happy Sunday everyone x