It's been almost a month since I last wrote. Life has been a little crazy in the past few weeks and each time I've had five minutes to myself to write I've just come to a complete block.
I had my first jab on the 25th March and felt a little rough a couple of days later. 12 days later though I felt really unwell. High temperature, shivering and a general feeling like someone had pulled the plug out. I ached all over, had a constant headache and felt sick. I'm not one to take time off work, but I was incapable of doing anything. I did a lateral flow COVID-19 test and that was negative but after a couple of days feeling like this I was a little worried. I spoke to my Dr and had a test sent out, fortunately it was negative and the Dr has put it down to a reaction to the jab. After 5 days I felt OK just a little worn down.
Since the easing of the lockdown restrictions I've been travelling to the office 2 days per week and it has been so lovely to see colleagues. To actually see faces without masks. I've managed to meet up with some old friends and also with some new friends made through my group. I really enjoy being in company. To spend a few hours in a garden or walking along the beach having a coffee, chat and a laugh has been so needed.
We have had some happy news in our family, the first in a while. My daughter proposed to her partner on her partner's birthday, and she said yes! My daughter had spoken to me a couple of months ago telling me her plans and asking for my opinion on a choice of rings. It meant so much that she included me and her partner's mum in the proposal plan. Being a big softy I cried with happiness when she told me and struggled to contain my excitement when the day came. A couple of days after I spent the afternoon with my future daughter-in-law, and although they are not planning to get married in the immediate future she did tell me what they are thinking of. It was so lovely spending time with just her as my daughter was at work. I feel so lucky that my daughter is so happy in her life.
My son is 17 this week and I always get emotional around my children's birthdays. He is growing up so quickly. He's just applied for an engineering apprenticeship and got an interview next week. I am so proud of the young man he is growing into. He also gave me a huge scare two weeks ago.
Both of my children are type 1 diabetics. My daughter was only diagnosed last year aged 21, but my son was diagnosed at 12. The first year after diagnosis was a massive learning curve. He had to carb count which meant weighing everything he ate and working out the number of carbs in the ingredients, then working out how much insulin to take. Due to his age and his hormones going mad it was a very up and down time with several hospital admissions whilst we learnt to adjust to this new and ongoing way of life for him.
Type 1 diabetes is considered a lifelong chronic illness and can cause many complications. My son learnt very quickly how to manage his diabetes to the best of his ability, but there are factors that are beyond his control that can cause huge problems. His ever-changing hormones as a teenager or when he has a sickness bug or even the common cold can affect his sugars. Hypoglycaemia and Hyperglycaemia are common for T1 diabetics and whilst we now recognise the symptoms and can usually manage the highs and lows without medical intervention there are times when it just doesn't work.
Two weeks ago was one of these times. My son had been perfectly OK all day. His sugars for the most part are exactly where they need to be on a day to day basis. He went out at about 8pm that evening for a walk with his friend. He was home 30 minutes later and said he was having a low. He looked awful and was dripping in sweat. This is unusual for him. Usually with a low he gets dizzy, verbally aggressive and if too low gets disorientated, slurs his words and is lethargic. That alone is scary, but this was something different. I checked his blood sugars, and they were at 1.6, this is dangerously low. He had told me he felt low halfway through his walk and had eaten some high sugar bars, but it had not helped. His clothes were soaked with sweat, and he was shaking uncontrollably. I got him out of his wet clothes and wrapped him in a duvet. I needed to treat the low so gave him something to bring his sugars up. I checked his temperature and was shocked as he was at 32.5 degrees. Hypothermic. This has only ever happened once before and that was in 30 degree heat in July just after he was diagnosed.
He sounded like he was drunk. His words were slurred, and he was finding it difficult to think or process what was being said to him. I know with hypothermia you need to warm the person slowly, but I also had to continue to treat his low. After 30 minutes of doing this and with no improvements I phoned the hospital. Fortunately we have a direct number to the Children's Assessment Unit, and they are fantastic at giving us advice or if more urgent treatment is needed they organise directly.
Although I was scared I was so calm. The hospital was concerned but reassured me I was doing everything right. We needed to wait another 30 minutes, keep warming him gradually and treating the lows but if no improvement an ambulance would have been needed. I did exactly as required. His sugars started to rise, but he was still incredibly cold. With his sugars rising he was able to get into a warm shower. After a while his temperature rose to 34. I spoke to the hospital again, and they were happy an ambulance wasn't needed although from previous experience his sugars can then go the opposite way then plummet again taking us back to step 1.
This low and hypothermia had really taken it out of him, and he just wanted to sleep. I kept him in my lounge and let him sleep on the sofa as I still needed to monitor his sugars and temp for a while. Eventually at 11.30pm I was happy he was stable enough to go to bed. I however needed to check him again an hour later and repeat throughout the night every two hours. It is like having a newborn baby again. After he went to bed my calmness disappeared, and I sat and sobbed. I had been running on adrenaline and when that leaves your body it can cause a low. My son is growing up and wants to live a normal life. I worry about if things like this happen when he is away from home, who will help him? Would he be able to phone for help? The reality that I cannot be there for him forever hit me like a brick.
The following day I had to go to work, exhausted as up at 2am, again at 4 then up for work at 6. My son spent the day with his grandparents as he was still feeling wiped out and his temp was still only 35 degrees. We don't know what caused it, but it can happen at any time without warning. My son has a great circle of friends who are for the most part sensible, and they know of my son's condition. This does help put my mind at rest a little. I can't wrap my kids up in cotton wool but oh it is so hard sometimes. After it all returns to normal my son is fine but gets cross that I worry too much. Maybe he will understand one day when he has children of his own that all you want to do as a parent is protect your child. I would do anything for my children not to have this illness, but I cannot change it. I have to let him grow and get on with his life whilst keeping my fears hidden away.
On Friday he will be 17. He is excitedly talking about learning to drive, holidays with friends and the possibility of travelling in the future. I will happily support my son in everything he wants to do but inside I will always worry, sometimes too much, but that's what mums do.
I wanted to write about the fantastic last 2 weeks I'd had, about the excitement and emotion of finally seeing my daughter. About the day I spent with my friend who I'd bumped into last year for the first time in 25 years and how we had a great day, and he had me laughing until my sides hurt. All of this happened and was amazing but from Friday until Monday it was overcast with sadness.
Easter Sunday would have been my husband's birthday. The fifth one since he passed away, so why did it feel like the first all over again?
I really was the happiest I've been in a long time but waking up on Good Friday I felt as flat as a pancake. It's quite normal for me to feel off, in the build up to an anniversary, but I'd not felt this flat in a long time. I found myself withdrawing. I stopped interacting with my group and stopped responding to friends. I was irritable and also worried my dark depressive period I'd suffered from October till January was returning.
I felt lost and a huge sense of sadness. I couldn't work out why the build up to this particular anniversary was hitting me harder than previously. Last year I was OK for his birthday. I was more than OK. Someone came to stay on that day for the first lockdown, so I was busy sorting and arranging the house. Easter fell later last year so by the time that came around I had company and was distracted. This year the birthday falling on Easter and being relatively alone hit me hard, a 16-year-old boy who is also grieving doesn't want to sit with his sad old mum, he wants to deal with things his way which is OK by me.
All day Friday and Saturday I felt on the brink of tears. I tried everything to lift my mood. I practised the mindfulness that has been working well for me, I tried to read, I certainly didn't want to listen to music as I knew that would start me off crying if certain songs played. I went for walks but all I saw were happy families and couples holding hands, that made me feel even worse. Even when my mental health has been at its worst I can usually fake it and portray to the outside world I'm fine, but I couldn't find the energy to do that.
Sunday came along and it was awful. I woke up crying. How bloody stupid! It's been 5 years since so why was I in this state. The more I cried, the more frustrated I got with myself. I had no motivation to do anything. My son had gone for a walk, he likes to act as if an anniversary is a normal day, so I was conscious of being upset in front of him. I did drag myself into the shower whilst he was out and just slumped to the floor in a ball and sobbed. The floodgates had opened and I couldn't stop. I knew I had to pull myself together for the sake of my son, so I got dried, put on some clothes but really couldn't face anything, so I climbed into bed. I must have cried myself to sleep. I woke up a couple of hours later feeling emotionally exhausted. I'd lost my appetite over the past couple of days and really couldn't stomach a meal. I cooked for my son crying the whole time. I hid away whilst he came down to eat, and when he went back up I came back down.
I've been a member of a group for young widows and widowers for quite a while and know that it is usually a great place to get some support or advice. Sometimes just chatting to someone who has experienced something similar is such a help. I chatted to a lady who was 10 years older than me but who had lost her partner at the same age I had. She got me completely. She said she had found the anniversaries since lockdown particularly difficult even though she's happily remarried for the past 5 years. This helped me to feel 'normal' and to stop beating myself up.
Grief is a peculiar thing. When Andy first passed away I was still trying to process his illness, but I went through the motions. I cried every morning on waking, on and off throughout the day and cried myself to sleep every night. There were many times I wished I wouldn't wake up, so I could be with him but knew I had to carry on as my kids needed me more than ever. Then after a few months I noticed I didn't wake up crying but then may do for another week or so. I laughed and felt guilty for doing so. Then I'd notice I didn't fall asleep crying and so on and so on until I realised it had been a week with no tears, then a month. Laughter comes easily and without guilt. Anniversaries come and go. The first ones are awful. The second ones are bad, the third a sadness. Each one becomes a little easier to live through. For the past 2 years I've been OK for most of the anniversaries except for the anniversary of his death last November when I was at a real low point and of course this weekend just gone.
There is no instruction manual on how to grieve. There is no timescale for how long it will last. Everybody grieves differently there is no right or wrong. Grief for me is like the sea. Like a tide, grief ebbs and flows. You can go months with a calm still sea then suddenly without warning a wave of sadness can hit. It can last moments it can last days but with each wave you know it won't last forever. It will subside until the next storm, or until a pebble causes a ripple effect. For me grief is not like depression, with depression you have no idea when 'normality' will ever return. Depression becomes your normality. Grief is different, it's a process. It is painful at times, but I believe it is healthy to grieve. You can only grieve for something or someone you have loved and lost. People always say time is a great healer. I agree to a certain extent, as time goes on you learn to live without that person. You learn a new way of life. I'm learning that it's OK to still grieve and that some years may be different to others and that too is OK. The strangest of years we've all had combined with the anniversary of a loved one has just been harder than normal to get through but unlike those early days of grieving where you never think you'll smile again you learn that you will and the memories of the past will once again give you pleasure not pain.
Today, apart from feeling unwell as a reaction to my COVID-19 jab 12 days ago, I'm OK. I have a temperature, ache all over, but the sadness has lifted (my lateral flow test was thankfully negative). I'm also prepared that future anniversaries will come and go without any sadness, but there could be that one in the future where it is difficult to get through and that is allowed. Grief is a perfectly normal part of life that I have to accept. I cannot control it. I just need to ride the waves when they appear and remember it does get easier again.
Today is Mothering Sunday. I'm feeling very emotional as it is my first one where I can't see my little girl. She's not actually a little girl anymore, she is a beautiful strong 22 year old woman, but to me she will always be my little girl. I received a bouquet of Roses and Lilies, my favourite flowers, from my daughter and her partner and my present is still to come from my boy. He is really upset it hasn't arrived in time, I have told him it doesn't matter and his thoughtfulness means more.
Today I have thought alot about being a parent. I have been a mum for exactly half my life. I always wanted children but had never put a time frame or age on when. When I met my husband he knew before we got together it was what I wanted. He on the other hand said it was not something he had ever considered and wasn't bothered if he ever had children. 3 years into our relationship I discovered I was pregnant. A happy accident? I didn't see it that way at the time.
My Grandfather had passed away and the following day my husband had gone to work. I was devastated and had taken the day off. A friend came to comfort me. She was heavily pregnant herself and when she arrived at my house took one look at me and told me I looked peaky and was pregnant. I told her I had been crying all night but she insisted on dragging me to Boots Chemists and ordered me to buy a pregnancy test. I was emotionally exhausted so went along with her mad idea for a quiet time of it. We got back to mine and I took the test. I didn't need to wait the 2 minutes as the instructions said, the blue line appeared instantly. I remember standing in my bathroom in utter shock. I walked out of the bathroom and just handed the test to my friend. She was so pleased and excited and hugged me. I stood like a piece of stone. Motionless and totally emotionless.
Although I always wanted children, Andy and I had not ever discussed it fully and I was terrified he would leave. We had been saving hard for a house and used to enjoy the freedom of just us, doing what we wanted when we wanted. A baby was going to change that. I spent the rest of the day rehearsing how I was going to tell him when he got home. I had it all planned out in my head, make him his dinner and then whilst we were relaxing just tell him. I even prepared myself for the expected angry response. He was such a chilled out guy but I was convinced he would go mad.
He came in from work and all my pre-planning went out of the window. The poor sod had barely stepped over the threshold and I just blurted it out. I'm pregnant. I can still see the look of confusion on his face as he said "do you want a cup of tea". I just nodded and sat down. He made the tea, sat down and started to tell me what had happened that day at work. Surely he could not have heard me so I said again I'm pregnant. He looked at me and said he knew and had heard me. I waited for an explosion but nothing. We sat in silence for what seemed an eternity then the phone rang. It was my mum checking to see if I was ok. At the end of the conversation she asked if I was pregnant. What a bizarre question to ask when her Dad had just died but she said she had a strange feeling the last time she had seen me and had actually told my Grandad I was pregnant the day he died. I told her I had taken the test and it was positive. She was so excited, her first grandchild and some happy news for the family at an awful time. I told her not to tell anyone as I had no idea how Andy felt about it.
I got off the phone and in no uncertain terms informed Andy I was having this baby. He had never even suggested the opposite but had said nothing so I had no idea what was going through his head. The days that followed were extremely strange. He was so good at comforting me over the loss of my Grandad but seemed to avoid any conversation about the baby. This was the first time in our relationship that I felt unsure. I had no idea if he wanted the baby, whether he was planning on leaving or how he felt at all. My mum was keen for me to share the news with my entire family as in her eyes it was the best possible news. I asked Andy if he was happy for me to do so. It seemed he didn't have an opinion and told me to do what I wanted. I told my family. They were ecstatic. This baby was very much wanted by both sides of our families but I still had no idea what would happen to us.
I had a serious car accident 2 weeks after my Grandad died. I was taken to hospital via ambulance and for the first time was terrified for my unborn baby's life. Andy was at the hospital when I arrived and was extremely concerned for me but again no mention of the baby. I had an internal scan and there for the first time I saw the little flicker of my child's heartbeat. I was only 12 weeks pregnant but there on the screen was visible proof of a life growing inside of me. Something as big as a plum was growing and developing rapidly. A baby made of Andy and I. That was the day I became a mum. That was the day I knew it was what I wanted more than anything before.
I was not worried about my own injuries, I was only concerned for my baby. I was assured that the baby was very well protected and no reason for it not to continue to grow. At 16 weeks we went for a routine scan. I was amazed at how much my child had grown. I cried as we heard the heartbeat for the first time and although I had no bump I found myself stroking my tummy. Andy sat in silence. That night whilst in bed I woke feeling a little uncomfortable and noticed I was bleeding. I woke Andy and within minutes he was driving me to the hospital.
Another scan showed my baby was ok, for now, but no explanation as to what was happening and also being told very bluntly it is common to miscarry and I should just go home and rest and what will be will be. I was so scared of losing this little life but knew I had no control over it. Andy fussed over me for the week I was told to bed rest but still no mention of our baby. I was in a constant state of worry that I would lose this little life.
A couple of weeks later I was in work and felt the strangest of feelings. My baby was moving. It is a feeling you can not describe well. The best way I can explain it is like a number of real butterflies moving around inside of you. It is the oddest of feelings but for me reassured me that my baby was doing well. I would sit waiting for that feeling to happen again and again but would get frustrated when Andy couldn't feel it with his hand.
My body was changing drastically. My once flat tummy had turned into a pod belly but I loved it. It was physical proof I was a mum. The movements were becoming more frequent and one night I was laying in bed, Andy had his arm around me and on top of my tummy. I felt my baby move. He leapt out of the bed. I asked him what was wrong and he just said "what on earth was that". I remember laughing at his shock and said it's our baby. He got back into bed and put his hand back on my tummy. He did jolt for the next few movements then he began to stroke my growing belly. It was beautiful.
At 6 months pregnant I said we should start thinking of names. I had bought a book and would read out names I liked. He hated them all. At work one day I again became uncomfortable and again I was bleeding. A colleague drove me to hospital. Yet another scan showed my baby was ok but there was a concern I was going into early labour so I was admitted to hospital. Andy arrived and again was very concerned about me. I was kept in for a couple of days and with no explanation as to what was happening was sent home. Although it was visible to the outside world I was pregnant I was told the baby seemed very small. I was also told if I went into labour at this point, 24 weeks pregnant, that there was a slim chance of survival for my baby.
I knew more than ever I had to have a name for my child. We went home and I read a list of names. Finally he agreed on 2. One boy and one girl's name. I said I wanted the baby to have his surname as we were not married. I was dismayed when he said he didn't mind. I could not fathom for the life of me why he seemed so uninterested in our child.
The weeks went by and I was having regular scans and tests. Still no reason could be found for the bleeding. One midwife told me sometimes it happens and the baby is perfectly ok but I was in a constant state of worry. At 34 weeks pregnant I woke one day and looked in the mirror. My face had ballooned so had my wrists and ankles. I looked like the Michelin man. I phoned the midwife and was asked to go in immediately. My blood pressure was sky high and I was told I had first signs of pre-eclampsia. A condition that affects the arteries carrying blood to the placenta, my baby's lifeline. If left untreated it can be fatal to both mother and baby. I was advised to stop work and rest. I was again told my baby was very small.
I followed the advice of the medical professionals and stopped work. I rested. I was so bored and had never been this inactive. I had a neat little bump and from behind didn't look pregnant but within 2 weeks I looked huge all over. I was constantly in hospital having blood tests, scans and mine and my baby's heart monitored. The swelling had reduced but I was still massive. My due date was getting closer and closer. To be honest I was so uncomfortable I just wanted the baby out. The pre-eclampsia seemed to have disappeared so when my due date did come there was no rush for them to get the baby out much to my dismay. I no longer walked, I waddled. I spent more time in the bathroom than any other room of the house. I looked and felt fat and uncomfortable but with each huge kick my baby gave I knew it was worth it.
I was so excited for my baby's arrival, Andy seemed so uninterested. My mum had been staying with us since just before my due date as I wanted her at the birth with Andy. My hormones had gone haywire and I broke down and cried to my mum that I was worried Andy wouldn't love our baby. She tried to console me but there was little she could say as she had also noticed how detached he seemed. Finally after nearly 2 weeks overdue I was told I would be taken to hospital and my labour induced the following day. I had read so many birthing books and was fully prepared for a long slog of labour.
The morning of my induction arrived I was terrified and excited. I looked around my house as we were leaving knowing that the next time I would be home would be with my little tiny baby. Us two would be a family of 3. We lived 26 miles from the hospital. My mum, Andy and I drove to Musgrove Park Hospital in Somerset in silence. Lots of tests were carried out, I was attached to a monitor and given a pessary to hopefully bring on labour. I was told it could take as many as 4 pessaries and if that didn't work I would be given a cesarean. We sat all day just waiting. Just before visiting hours ended I was given a second pessary. Andy and mum had to leave.
At some time in the early hours I started to get some strong pains. I had read all the books so checked my watch. Within 2 minutes I had another. I pressed the buzzer and told the midwife what was happening. She wasn't a particularly warm lady and told me I had hours to go and to just sleep. I couldn't. My back was killing me. I have never suffered back pain and this was awful. I took myself off the monitor as I thought walking might help as I had been laying in the same position for hours. I think I took 3 steps and bang I had a contraction. It wasn't agony but certainly uncomfortable. It seemed to last for ages. It subsided. I took another step and bang it happened again. The woman in the bed opposite who had her baby the day before said I think you are in labour. I felt a pop as my waters burst and just remember staring with my mouth open as this fluid flowed down the ward. The contractions were coming quicker and I couldn't move. The lady opposite pressed her buzzer and again the midwife, who this time had a face like a slapped arse, appeared. She pretty much threw me on my bed, examined me and said I was only 3cm dilated and had hours to go as a first time birth. Whilst she was examining me I was contracting and I laugh at this now but she had her hand stuck in me. I felt like a glove puppet. Sorry a bit graphic but oh so true. Eventually and with much tutting and sighing she unattached herself from me and walked off saying loudly how I was making too much fuss.
The unhelpful midwife returned a few minutes later and stuck a needle in my thigh. It was a sedative to make me relax. The lady in the bed opposite was disgusted and whilst I said nothing she was demanding that I was in labour. The midwife said to me as you are disrupting the ward I'm moving you to the labour suite. I was scared and just wanted Andy and my mum. This wasn't how it was supposed to be. I was unceremoniously dumped in a wheelchair and taken to another part of the hospital. I was handed over to another midwife. This one was a student midwife and was lovely. I asked her to ring Andy to get him to the hospital. It was 3am and the drive took 30 minutes on country roads. She said she would just give me a quick check over then call him. I said I was desperate for the loo so she wheeled me in.
What happened next is like a scene from a comedy to me. Whilst sat on the toilet I started to make some strange noises the midwife asked if I was ok. I couldn't answer. She told me she wanted to take a quick peek and within seconds I was told my baby was coming. I was put back in the wheelchair but as my baby's head was in the way I could not sit properly and was wheeled through the hospital with my legs wide open and my baby's head making its way into the world. I was put on a bed pushed 5 times and at 03.22am delivered my child much to the shock of the poor student midwife who I later found out had never delivered a baby before.
Due to the speed of labour my baby had become distressed and was not breathing. I remember laying on the bed on my own whilst people came running in and out of the room. I hadn't heard any crying from my baby and didn't even know what sex it was. I was starting to feel very lightheaded and sick due to the sedative but didn't want to cause any fuss as I knew they were trying to get my baby breathing. Finally after what seemed like an eternity I heard a cry. Then again but a little louder, then again but this time a full blown bellow. The student came over to tell me I had a little girl and that Andy and mum were on their way. I desperately wanted to hold my baby. I was told they were just going to weigh her then I was going to meet my tiny new daughter. The midwife went to the other end of the room and I caught a glimpse of a baby's leg flailing about as they tried to weigh her. The midwife walked back towards me smiling, holding a blanket in her arms. She then handed me my daughter. My beautiful precious baby but she wasn't tiny she was huge. 9lbs 9oz! I looked at my bundle and was dumb struck. She had masses of black hair, she was beautiful. I couldn't stop staring at her little wrinkled face thinking you are mine.
I heard the door open and saw Andy and my mum walk in. My mum burst into tears. Andy stood motionless. I asked if he wanted to meet his daughter and he just nodded. The midwife got him to sit down and she took our baby and placed her in his arms. He just looked at her then at me then back to her. His mouth moved but no sound came out. He sat for about an hour just holding and looking at her until the twitching new Grandmother could wait no more to hold her first Grandchild.
Later that day Andy drove me to the local maternity home. He had hardly spoken. He got me settled then left. He came back later with flowers and again just sat holding his daughter. After a couple of days I left the maternity hospital and bought our little girl home. Andy had been busy and the once bare empty spare room had been turned into the most beautiful nursery. He would have said it himself but he was pretty useless in those early weeks. He acted like she was made of porcelain. He seemed reluctant to pick her up and even more so to bath her. Nappy duties were not that often for him. For me I was in love. This perfect little human that had grown inside of me was now a part of my world. She was my world. Everything I had ever known up that point had changed. Something as simple as popping to the shop for a pint of milk was not the same but I was a mum. This little girl relied on me for everything.
A couple of months after the birth I went for a bath one night. I sat in the bath and could hear singing. I strained my ears to listen. Andy was singing My Girl. I went downstairs and there he was holding our daughter singing away oblivious to me watching. The tears poured down my face as I could see how much he loved his little girl. I needn't have worried she was his world. Later that night we finally spoke about his lack of reaction or emotion to my pregnancy and the birth. He had never held a baby prior to his daughter and was terrified. He openly admitted he was worried about being a good dad and how it scared him he may let her down. He was shocked to learn I had felt exactly the same about becoming a mother. We talked so freely and frankly about our worries as a Mum and Dad.
By the time I got pregnant again a few years later Andy was a confident and strong reliable father. When I told him the news he grinned and kissed me. He was the one who told our daughter she was going to have a brother or sister. He was the one who picked me up when we lost that little life, he was the one who just a week after I had surgery due to miscarriage, had taken a call from the hospital to tell me they thought I was still pregnant and I was needed to be seen immediately as it would be an ectopic pregnancy and my life was at risk. He was also the one who told me I was still pregnant with the twin of the baby we had lost and how the Drs were amazed this little one had survived the surgery I had. Every day as my pregnancy developed he would talk to my growing bump. When I was again induced for labour he didn't leave my side. When I was rushed into theatre for an emergency c-section after our baby's heart stopped, my parents found him sobbing in my hospital room, terrified our baby and I would not survive. He was the first person to hold our heavy weight 10lb 4oz son and rushed back to the hospital later that day with several baby outfits he had gone out and bought himself.
For 18 years with Andy we co-parented. It drove us crazy sometimes, other times it was a joy. At times we got it horribly wrong. Our kids are 22 and 16 now. They are strong, opinionated, honest, kind and pretty amazing humans in my eyes. Being a parent can be the most rewarding, exciting, frustrating and terrifying thing in the world. There is no instruction manual on what to do. It really is a case of winging it and hoping for the best. I can no longer remember not feeling like a mum and I wouldn't change it for the world.
Today is Mothers Day, a day that children are supposed to show appreciation for their mums. Today I appreciate my own parents probably more than I ever have before. I appreciate my children and can only hope that Andy would be pleased with how I have parented in his absence. The past 5 years have been some of the toughest and most challenging times I've had as a mother. My children and I don't always see eye to eye. They make me laugh. They make me cry but they have made me a mum. They are and will always be my biggest and proudest achievements.
Life really does change in an instance. When I wrote last Tuesday things were going really well. The therapy was working, and I was feeling confident, happy and had no signs of anxiety. Wednesday took the wind out of my sails and made me face something that nobody likes to think or talk about. Mortality. Death.
My first encounter with death was when I was 23 and my Grandad passed away. I was devastated. He was my favourite Grandfather, I was his eldest grandchild and the apple of his eye. The day after he passed I found out I was pregnant with my first child. That gave the family something really positive to look forward to and was a huge comfort to me. The next person close to me to pass away was my father-in-law 12 years ago. 8 years ago I received a cancer diagnosis but only thought briefly of my own mortality before going in to fight mode to battle the damn thing. When I was forty I lost my other Grandad. He was 96 and had a great life so whilst I knew I would miss him in my life I couldn't be sad.
2016 is what gave me my fear of death. Not of my own but of losing people I love. In the space of 3 months both my Nans and my husband passed away. It was too much to take onboard and process what was happening, and I became incredibly fearful of losing my children. I wanted to wrap them in cotton wool, not let them out. I knew this was completely irrational and the bereavement counsellor I saw at the time helped me to deal with the pain I was in and let them live their lives. I had a stroke 7 months after my husband passed away and again was not scared about dying. I have a warped sense of humour and can joke about my own death. I talk openly about what I want at my funeral and have even put down what songs I want played to remember me. They are upbeat, and I just want people to have a party when I pop off. What did scare me was the thought of losing another person I love.
Last Wednesday evening I took a call from my mum to say my Aunt was in the intensive care unit in Essex. This was totally unexpected. She had been unwell at the end of last year when she was taken to hospital as having difficulty breathing. During the current pandemic this was a huge worry, but she was informed she had a hernia pressing on her lung and would need an operation but nothing more sinister. She has been awaiting a referral since November. Wednesday night we found out it is not a hernia but one massive tumour and a second smaller one in her lung. As of this morning it has been confirmed it is cancer. My Aunt battled and successfully overcame breast cancer 21 years ago, so this is a huge shock for the whole family.
As my parents were both in the Navy the majority of my family do not live locally, but we are very close-knit. Due to lockdown to make up for the lack of visits last year we had weekly zoom quizzes to keep in touch which were great fun. I have yet to meet my cousin's baby who is now 7 months old. The closeness I have with my family has always been there. When I was younger my brother and I would spend 2 to 3 weeks of our school summer holidays at my grandparents, so it was always a home from home for me. I was always extremely close to my Aunt. She has no children of her own but has been very important and instrumental in my life. She was the one I could talk to when my parents "didn't understand" the hormonal, knew better than everyone teenager. I would often go and stay with her on my own, and we would go out shopping or to concerts, shows or meals, things I never did with my parents. I could also confide in her about anything.
The night my mum called I couldn't sleep. I was in shock. That shock turned to anger on Thursday as we received updates on my aunt's condition. Due to lockdown she can have no visitors. The information we are receiving is minimal and very frustrating. As a family we have really been through it in the past 4 years and this just added to my anger.
I was angry that yet another family member has been misdiagnosed and not given thorough tests when initially presenting with symptoms. I was angry that I can't comfort my daughter who is so distressed as her Grandmother is also currently battling and undergoing treatment for breast cancer. I had no answer for her when she asked me why is this happening to us, why is life so unfair. I was also angry as my mum is so upset she can not be with her sister at the worst possible time. I was angry at everything but didn't know where to direct it.
That night I had to host a zoom meeting for my group therapy session, so I did my usual, buried my feelings and put a smile on. Although the session was really successful I felt exhausted at the end, pretending I was fine and the floodgates opened. My son must have heard me crying, and he came into my room. He asked me what was up and in a snotty teary way I ranted about how crap life is. This was totally unfair of me to put this on a 16-year-old but he astounded me. He gave me a hug and said "yeah we've had some crap mum, but others have it worse". He went on to comfort me and actually spoke more sense than most adults I know.
My son amazes me. At 16, he has been through and lost more than most adults my age but his resilience and matter of fact attitude is really rather humbling. What was I doing ranting and raving about things I have no control of when this kid can take all the awful things he's been through in such a short time, on the chin. I am so proud of how my son reacts in the face of adversity, and he really has inspired me. After his dad passed away I worried he would go off the rails. I need not have. He has more sense and is more level-headed than many I know, and he is the one who keeps me on the rails.
Friday was my aunt's birthday. I felt incredibly sad as she is alone in the ICU, but I knew I couldn't dwell on it. I needed to go to the office to pick some bits up. It is the first time since November I have ventured over there. Fortunately it was a lovely sunny day so the ferry and train journey were actually really enjoyable. A journey I used to hate doing was a welcome break in what has been a stagnant few months. On the way back I took time to appreciate where I live. I spent ages just looking at the water; it really is rather calming. It made me think long and hard. I cannot control when I or the people I love die. It is the one thing in life that is a certainty. What I can control is how I will be remembered. What is the legacy, if you like, that I want to leave behind.
Material possessions matter not. What I achieve in work will not be remembered. What matters, is knowing you were loved and those close to you know you loved them. I have told my children every day of their lives that I love them, although I could not remember when I last told my parents or extended members of my family. I have always said life is short, and we need to make the most of it. This doesn't mean by necessarily going anywhere but making the most of what time we have on this planet and appreciating and making the most of those we love. Tell and show the people close to you how you feel. Resolve differences, hold no grudge and have no regrets. If I can get to the end of my days knowing I did everything I could to ensure my loved ones know what they meant to me then I have lived a full life.
My Aunt is an incredibly strong lady and whilst she has a huge battle to come I know that with the whole family to support her she will give it all she can. I have spent the weekend writing letters for when my time comes. I have also made sure my family knows how I feel about them now. My brother reached out to me before Christmas and after an estranged relationship for many years he is trying to build bridges. I was reluctant to let him back into mine and my children's lives but tomorrow is not promised only today, so we are starting again with baby steps. I can not live in fear of something that will ultimately come to us all. I can live each day as if it's the last. Look forward to the future but live, learn, laugh and love right now.
Do you believe in fate? Do you believe in serendipitous events/encounters? That everything happens for a reason. I believe fate was the reason I met my husband. I'd been in a horrendous relationship and left my home town with my ex to go to work at Butlins. Whilst my ex was sacked for hospitalising me, I stayed. My husband came to Butlins a few months later. He was on his way home from work and walked past a job centre in London where he lived. It had a board outside advertising work on the South Coast, with accommodation provided. He told me he didn't know why he went inside as he had a really good job as a Carpenter and Joiner, but he was feeling very disillusioned with London and within 2 days he packed his belongings and moved to the sunny South Coast. We consequently met and he never moved back.
Had I not have been with the person I was with, however bad it was, I would never have met my husband. I would never have had my children. I've always struggled to find a reason as to how fate resulted in my husband being taken from us too soon. The disease that killed him (Mesothelioma) was a result of work he did with asbestos some 15 years before we met. It laid dormant until 2016. A couple of days before he passed away he said to me that he bet I regretted him turning up at Butlins as I was about to be made a widow at 41. I didn't and don't ever regret meeting him.
Since I was a child I have kept things that hold memories for me. Little trinkets and notes that I've bought or been given over the years that have sentimental value. I even have my school-leavers books signed by everyone from that year. To outsiders, it would be junk, to me incredibly precious. I have a box with cards, obituary notice, order of service and candle from my husband's funeral. The one and only letter he wrote me, our first valentines and Christmas cards. Other personal effects. Last year I took down most of the photos as it felt right to do so and they are safely in the box. I haven't been into the box other than adding the photos. That was until the day after I wrote my last post.
I was feeling very low. I sat at the PC when a large bang behind me made me jump out of my skin. I looked to see the box had fallen from where it always sits. I have no idea what caused it, but it landed with the lid open. I could see the pictures on the top were not damaged. I went to close the lid and put the box away but for some reason I had a sudden urge to go through it. Under the photos was a memory stick. I knew this held over 50 or so photos of my husband. I haven't looked at it since it was played at his funeral 4 years ago, afraid of how I would feel. I decided to play it.
I sat laughing as each image filled my TV screen. Smiling at the memories. I didn't cry once watching. I then carried on looking through the box and came across a disc. It was a recording of the coroner's court that I had to attend and give evidence at 2 months after he died. It was a blur at the time as I was still in shock. As he had passed away due to an industrial disease this was necessary but incredibly painful. I had to fight to stop an autopsy being performed as he had been through so much already. That may seem bizarre to some, but he had endured so many biopsies and procedures before he died I didn't want his body being cut any more. I won my fight and the coroner agreed biopsy results would be sufficient along with my evidence.
I have never listened to the recording and other than my dad, the coroner, the recorder and a journalist that was allowed to be present I actually have no memory of what was said. I decided to play that too. It was so difficult to listen to. I didn't sound like me. The pain in my voice came across so loudly. I did cry listening to it, but I am glad I did.
I put everything back in the box, but it got me thinking. Looking at the photos and memories were happy. The recording was hard to listen to but after doing so I felt calm and peaceful. I started to remember other conversations I'd had with my husband in the days before his death. Some were very amusing, others very deep. The last conversation we had he told me to go and live my life. Be happy. Find another love and that he had always loved me. He was unable to speak again after this due to sedation. At the time I really did not want to hear that, but I thought long and hard about that conversation.
I took a call a couple of hours later from a lady I have got to know over the past few months. She said she had a weird feeling and felt she needed to call me and was I OK. I told her what had happened with the box and what I had done. She said "that is serendipity". Serendipity is an unplanned fortunate discovery. We talked at length about it and how I believed fate bought my husband into my life, but I could not justify it taking him away. She went on to say that she believes people are brought to us for a reason. That every person we meet teaches us something whether that be a good, fun, sad, learning, loving or bad experience. She went on that my husband was a gift to me and that after 7 years of abuse I needed him and that he had done what he needed to by showing me how to love and be loved. Now whether you believe in that or not I felt for the first time since his death totally at peace with that. I do believe my husband was bought into my life by fate. I was lucky enough to have loved and been loved by him for 22 years.
My low mood I'd been having that day lifted after my call with her. I started to think of other people who have been in my life in the past 4 years and left an impact on it in some way. Every person I thought of I have learned from. Whether it be through inspiring me, educating me, introducing me to new experiences or opening my eyes to things I wanted to try but never had the courage too. Every person I thought of no matter if they are still in my life now or not I am grateful for what I have learnt and believe it was meant to be.
I slept really well that night. I woke the following morning feeling refreshed and determined. Determined to do what my husband had said. To live my life and be happy.
I have created a kind of bucket list. I've always had so many things in my head I want to do or experience but actually putting them into black and white, gives me something to aim for. I listed my career goals. I've always wanted to learn to play the drums. Places I want to travel to. New things I want to experience and much much more. I've already looked into drum lessons for when lockdown is over. Later that day my son told me of his plans to go travelling after college. A possibility of living abroad. He has a list too it would seem.
This announcement from him got me thinking again. I've toyed with the idea of selling up on and off for a couple of years now but always decided against it as it's my children's home. They have grown now. My daughter left home 18 months ago and is happy and settled with her partner. My son will carry out his plans as he is a focused and determined young man. So that leaves me no excuses. I have spoken to an estate agent and will be having a valuation carried out when allowed. There is nothing or no one currently in my life that warrants me needing to be in my house or even in the UK once my son goes in just over a year.
The days that followed I have been so busy with work, my group (that now has over 400 members and counting) and looking at my list and planning that I haven't had time to feel low or miserable. I'm sleeping well and have a new energy. Who knows what's ahead. I certainly don't but one thing I do know is I just want to be happy, have fun and live my life because life is short, life is precious and to be enjoyed. I want to make the most of mine not look back in twenty years full of regret.
Have you ever had one of those weeks when you feel as if things have gone from the sublime to the ridiculous? Well that is exactly what has happened since I wrote my previous post last Friday.
I'd said I felt I was going crazy, and I was living in an unrealistic world. Well this week things got very real.
Saturday and Sunday I was feeling very much the same as I had been. Very long-drawn-out days and nights with little sleep. Monday is when it all changed. I'm still trying to get my head around exactly what has happened.
Monday started off as any other day for me at the moment. I got up after about 2 hours of sleep, had copious amounts of coffee and did some work. My group has been going really well. With over 300 members in the space of two weeks and growing daily it's getting busy. Recently a lot of members have been posting up their own stories and experiences and not just about dating. Some have posted about break-ups, some about bereavement others about mental health. Some of the posts have been emotional and inspiring.
My group is open to anyone over 18, and it really has attracted people from all over the world. Males, females, single pringles, married and so on. It's a mix of stuff that is posted. Monday evening I was on a long phone call to my daughter and when I got off there were a number of private messages from group members disgruntled by some of the goings-on in the group. I checked and must admit was appalled. I and my moderator who was a very trusted friend need to approve every post. It's hard going as on Saturday alone we had 150 to sift through.
I can have a naughty playful side and I love innuendo and banter and all of that is appropriate for my group, however there is a line. My moderator knew this line, but he allowed it to be crossed. I looked at my group to see absolute filth had been allowed to be posted, and he was using the group as a dating site. Which it most certainly is not. I was not at all happy. In fact, I was more than upset.
I have worked really hard in setting up and promoting the page and group and whilst it's all been for fun on the outside it has been a saving grace for me, and it has often been challenging considering how I have really been feeling. I couldn't actually cope with what I was seeing so decided to shut everything off for the night including myself. I wasn't sure what to do and was still trying to process the very distressing call I had with my daughter. She had text her grandmother only to find out she was in hospital and had been for many days and nobody had told us. She had also spoken to a wellbeing counsellor who had informed my daughter her dad's death was not traumatic, and she just needs to get over it. Now as I am sure any parent would be I was furious and devastated that I wasn't able to give my baby a hug when she needed it most.
Tuesday I needed to see if I had a group or whether the Facebook police had closed it down. I logged on. The group was still there along with other messages from members unhappy at the previous nights postings. I went through and deleted any offending posts, fortunately there were only two but that was two too many and the comments that a few so called 'ladies' and 'gentleman' had made were XXX rated. I'm no prude but there are plenty of other sites out there for that.
I felt very out of my depth and wasn't sure what to do. I also felt let down by my friend. I had work to do but in between was contacting the members who were upset. One of them was a lady who originally along with a few others encouraged me to set the group up. I spoke to my friend and to cut a rather long story short he apologized and said it wouldn't happen again. I trusted him so believed what he said. He is probably the only person on the planet other than anyone who may read this who knows what I've been going through and where my head is at, so why wouldn't I trust him? The long and short of it is, that I was wrong, and he allowed his ego to come before our friendship.
My confidence is already at the lowest it has been in years and this absolutely flawed me. I can't go into everything that happened as I am still trying to get my head around it. I put a very open and honest post up on the group and followed the lead from other members. I put a post up as me! Not hiding behind the profile picture of a fish but me, a picture showing my face. That took every ounce of bravery I had in me. My post was straight from the heart. I was going to close the group.
What happened next made me feel like I was in a fantasy. My alerts went mad. In the space of 20 minutes I had over 150 comments and messages of support. I sat reading everyone in disbelief. These people had taken time out of their day to encourage me to keep the group going. How much fun they were having and one lady said it had saved her. I received messages from a guy who runs Lads Bible page telling me I had created something unique and what an amazing job I was doing. Another from a lady who runs a group with 235k followers saying the same. Truly stunned.
Just before I went to bed I saw a blog from somebody I used to know. I read the last 3 entries and could see how well they are doing. It made me smile. Some of what was written about had been a bit of an issue when I knew them, some of it I could use myself, but the more I read the more the same feeling flooded through. Pride. Proud of them. Proud of myself.
Today is Thursday and the messages keep coming. It all seems so surreal. How can anything I have done impact this many people? I can't get my head around it. I have asked the consent of a gentleman who sent me a message yesterday and I would like to share that here. Not for praise, but I guess I am in shock, and maybe it will help me believe it's real.
Good afternoon POFUs. I just wanted to drop you a quick note to say how I think you are doing a great job and that I'm really enjoying the POFUs page. I've skipped over a lot of the stuff that's been said recently but what I have seen has made me sad for you. This is your group, and it is what you have made it to be. For those who want it to be something else, well, quite frankly they should be looking into putting the effort into making their own group in my opinion. I think you have the balance right between seriousness and frivolity and I think the community spirit you have generated is fantastic. I really hope that you are getting lots of support and that, while the detractors can be debilitating, that support is enough to keep to going. If I were to be running this group I would be proud of it, I hope you are too. Take care.
This Christmas for me, like so many other people has been one of the strangest. Apart from Christmas 2016, just after my husband passed away, which even now I have little memory of, this holiday has been incredibly difficult. I am so used to having a house full of family and friends at Christmas, it really hasn't felt the same. I was not able to spend Christmas Day with my daughter and her partner as planned and this affected me badly. They did however drop my present round which left me speechless and made me cry. It is quite honestly the best present I have ever had. I have always preferred personal gifts to any other. They had been through my photos on facebook and had a selection of them printed on canvas. Some of my best memories. It really is the most personal and thoughtful gift and something I will always treasure. It also made me think of things that have happened this year.
As we approach the end of what I can only describe as the most bizarre year I've known, I have spent a lot of time reflecting on what has happened since last Christmas. Christmas Day 2019 was so full of fun. I'd recently entered a new relationship the month before, my first since losing my husband, which was exciting and terrifying at the same time. I usually spend both Christmas and Boxing Day cooking for everyone and end up eating far too much, and regretting it, but last year I broke from tradition, the first time in 20 years and went to the football with my friend. It turned out to be the most fun Boxing Day I'd had in years. I spoke to my friend the other day about it, and we laughed at the memory but were also both sad as we knew this year wouldn't be the same.
The New Year held so much promise. I was the happiest I'd been in a long time as I saw in 2020, all seemed perfect, and I was so optimistic at what was ahead. The months that followed saw me the most content, happy and relaxed. Even with the outbreak of COVID-19 and a national lockdown, which no one had ever seen before and the challenges that brought, I was happy in my personal life. I took a huge risk and allowed myself to fall in love. Unfortunately it wasn't meant to be. Whilst I have been incredibly sad things didn't work out I can look back on that brief encounter and be grateful. I have many happy memories and I discovered a lot of new things and have learnt a lot about myself, about what I want, what I like and what I need. I've met new people, and I've found the courage to write.
The ending of my relationship, contributed somewhat to me hitting the low point at the beginning of November. I felt very lost and made some poor decisions. Several weeks back I was asked out by a guy. I really wasn't in the right place but agreed even though I knew it was for the wrong reasons. We went out on several socially distanced dates. I guess I was enjoying the company and attention I was receiving, but I knew in my heart it wasn't right. I have never been one to jump from relationship to relationship. He was keen for us to progress from dating. I wasn't as I'm still trying to put back together my heart and my head. I withdrew and became quite cold and distant, something that is the total opposite to how I am normally. He was very persistent and started to send me gifts which just freaked me out even more. I asked advice from one of my closest friends, and he told me quite bluntly I was being an idiot and that I was just going to hurt a decent guy and end up making myself feel worse in the process. He of course was right. I did the right thing and ended it.
Whilst I cannot undo what has been done I can accept I need time. Love is not an emotion that can be switched on and off. I have only been in love twice in my life. As my husband died that love hasn't disappeared, it's just different. Having a relationship end is not the same. For me there's regret, hurt and unanswered questions. There is also the sadness thinking of the fun times and also an element of what if.
This New Year's Eve I won't be surrounded by people I love and care about. The first time in my life. I doubt I'll sit up to see the new year in, but I shall raise a glass and say goodbye to 2020. It's been a rollercoaster ride. I will also raise a glass to my ex to thank him for the good times and for giving me something that I am very grateful for, and to silently wish him the best for the new year.
I have one wish for 2021 and that is it will be a happier and healthy year for all. I hope we can reunite with loved ones and friends soon. I hope that everybody can look back this time next year and reflect on happier and fun times. Like the song by Soft Cell Say Hello, Wave Goodbye, I shall be doing just that. Saying hello to 2021 and looking forward to what it brings and wave goodbye to a year like no other, it's not all been bad!
Since starting this blog just over a month ago so much has changed for me. I was really rather broken and damaged, both physically and emotionally. I couldn't see beyond a day at a time and if I'm honest with myself I didn't want to. Everything seemed so dark and gloomy, and I couldn't see any light. I can now. My confidence was at an all-time low, and I was struggling to see my worth or what I have to offer.
I've struggled with my confidence for many years. This goes back to my youth where I spent my formative years aged 13 to 20 with a guy who controlled, beat and abused me on a regular basis. He belittled me constantly. Turned me against my family and friends and created a world where I would never find anyone better than him and nobody would ever want me. So I do have times of severe self-doubt. I worry that I'm not good enough, and I have huge body confidence issues.
I was very slim back then but endured years of being told how fat and ugly I was. It's a painful thing to hear but as time goes on you believe it more and more. I stopped eating for many months. My hair and nails started to fall out, and I looked as ugly as he said I did. My weight dropped to 9 stone and for someone who was almost 6ft tall that is not healthy. Nobody knew what was happening. My parents suspected I was being hit but the more they tried to get me away from him, the more I believed what he said. That my parents hated me. I constantly defended him.
I left home at 16 as life with my parents had become unbearable. The constant rows because they were just trying to do the right thing, and I was too stubborn to see, resulted in me leaving my safe comfortable family home and moving in with him. I had to quit college and my A-levels to get a job to support us both as he never worked. The abuse became worse then. I've told friends and family bits about what happened. I never told my husband the full extent, although he saw the photos sometime after we got together of the last lot of injuries I incurred. He was appalled and it made him sick. Fortunately he was the complete opposite of what I'd experienced before.
Some people saw bruises at the time, but it was just clumsy me. Nobody saw what was happening inside as I did my usual and smiled and laughed. I developed a coping mechanism. No matter what he did to me, I refused to cry or fight back. I refused to let him see how much I was hurt. I simply stood or laid there, motionless and emotionless, and took it until I either blacked out or he stopped. The emotional abuse was harder to endure. The name-calling, making me point out men I thought were attractive, then hitting me because I had looked at someone else. Him making up wild accusations about my family and friends trying it on with him. Cheating on me as he said he could get better and many more cruel things.
I don't know where the strength came from to end things for good, but I found it. I was 20 years old, he had beaten me so badly I suffered a broken nose, several broken ribs, a broken ankle and numerous bruises, cuts and bite marks. My face was swollen and bruised, so I didn't recognise myself in the mirror. I was taken to hospital, and it was there I made the decision enough was enough.
I met my husband a few months after, but it took awhile for us to get together. I was scared. He showed me the true meaning of love. He never abused or raised his hand to me. He built me up, supported and encouraged me, and I was lucky enough to have that until he passed away.
People say that I'm strong for what I've experienced. An abusive relationship as a kid, cancer in my thirties, widowed aged 41, a mini stroke 7 months after losing my husband and both my children being diagnosed with type 1 diabetes within the past 4 years. I certainly have all the luck! I am not writing this for sympathy. I hope my experiences can help somebody else. There is always someone who is going through worse times.
I am not strong and the past few months have shown me that, but I am not and never will be a victim! I have survived abuse! I am almost 8 years cancer free! I have experienced love and loss.
People ask how I do it. The answer is I have to. I have chosen to live and not let my past define me, although it can come back to add insult to injury. The past few months have bought some old scars to the surface, and I'm trying to mend my heart, but I will get through it. I guess I sat there several weeks back at my lowest point thinking why me! Why do I always seem to have bad things happen? Why does everything feel like a struggle? Why can't I just be happy? I slipped into a spiral of self-pity which just made me feel worse.
So after my wake up call on my birthday and along with all the other things I've been doing over the past few weeks to lift myself, I have been reading about mindfulness and Laws of Attraction. It was something I was introduced to after my husband died, and I found it really useful then. I had put it on the shelf so to speak, but I am revisiting and again it is helping me to relax, deal with my feelings and emotions and start to think positively again about what I want from life.
I have also been scrutinizing myself and one thing that keeps coming to my mind is forgiveness. I have never once got angry about what life has given me. I hold no resentment or hatred to anyone who has hurt me. I forgive easily. Some would say too easily and that I'm a fool. There is only one person I couldn't forgive and that is me. I have had so many regrets and held onto a lot of guilt. I regret the way I treated my parents when I was younger. I can only imagine as a parent myself what I put them through. I felt huge guilt over my brother. He idolised my ex, as a kid of 10 would. My ex also introduced my brother to drugs, something I've never done, which resulted in my brother battling a heroine addiction for 20 plus years, that has caused so much pain and I feel so responsible for.
I feel guilt over the time I wasted when my husband was alive, things I should have said and done that I put off. Also regret for not telling people how I feel or expressing myself clearly because of my fear of showing my weakness. I held on to the thought that if people could see my weakness they would know how to hurt me. Some of those people are no longer here, others are but unfortunately I'll never get that opportunity. I have however started to write letters. I cannot post them, they will never be received, but I can finally say what I needed to say. They are written in a book along with my poetry. No one will see them but me. It's not the same I know, but it has helped. Maybe I can start in time to forgive myself.
My confidence has taken a boost recently. My other blog has been picked up by a large UK dating site, and they have given me a page on their website, just for my blog. I have been completely blown away with how my daft writing has been received. I've again pushed myself further out of my comfort zone by promoting my page. I don't do self-promotion well and struggle to see why people like what I've written, but they seem to. I have approached numerous groups, pages and people to help share my writing (as I've been advised to do), and have had to do this as myself without hiding behind a picture. That alone has been quite scary. I have made a few new friends along the way who are supportive and encouraging and are adding value to my life.
I have started to walk tall. Head up looking forward. I know that I'm not perfect. I have many flaws, but I'm learning more and more each day about me. I'm beginning to get the hopeful realistic optimism back.