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 

Happy Christmas!! 

A short one today. Firstly whatever your religious persuasion.  Merry Christmas! I’m not religious. At all. For me Christmas means one thing… a time when people get together that little bit more often. Work colleagues gather. We all don hats and a dash of tinsel. Friends that haven’t been seen in too long visit and families give time for walks and games.  Communities gather and we keep an eye out for those that might not be so fortunate.

To finish, going forward I’m going to try  (hey don’t forget I’m not perfect I’ll slip up!!) … anyway I’m going to try and be a bit more vocal about what’s good about people around me and how they make me feel. I’ve had two or three cards this year from colleagues and friends that went that extra mile to say what I meant to them and I was so overwhelmed  at their kind words.  So I’m going to try better about being vocally kind! And I’ll start with you…. Thank you so much, particularly to those who’ve commented and messaged and to those that read in silence. It’s hard to put into words the depth of gratitude I have for you allowing and encouraging me to write. 

Lastly today will be one of sadness and an exacerbation of a void for some, I know for me my heart hurts that little bit more today as I visit Tes in a place I never thought I would. Love and hugs to all of you. Be kind to yourself. As I said to a very brave woman yesterday this getting older lark … And life itself…..certainly brings with it trials and the occasional mountain to climb, the thing is to make those bits in between the best you can. 

Lots of love to you all.
Happy Sunday, Happy Christmas Day xx 

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

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