She wasn’t an adventurous woman, any trip further than Wigan brought her out in a cold sweat, but she made a good brew, she cared brilliantly for the old people in her care for over 20 years for her job, she was a vehement Wigan Warriors supporter and her fruitcake was the stuff of legends.
She left behind my dad and husband of 43 years, myself and my sister, 2 granddaughters, and a whole host of other people that loved her. She is missed. I miss her. I am nowhere near as sad as I have been since it happened, but I always feel a little “off” around this time. The upside is I get to talk about her a bit, which I don’t do so much anymore.
Grief is hard and weird and nothing like I thought it would be. But whatever it feels like, it does, in fact, suck.
Ok people get ready, it’s that time of year…..I have entered the 2018 Race for Life. Around this time every year since 2004 I enter this race, which is a 5k that I do to raise money for Cancer Research UK.
I have already lost 3 of my grandparents to cancer and in 2015 I lost mum. I have blogged before about how heartbreaking my mum’s cancer journey was and I honestly wouldn’t want another family to go through it. It almost broke me in two when she passed away.
Race for Life
Mum & I at my sister’s hen do
Also in 2017 I started a fitness journey, which is still ongoing. In July 2017 I did the Haydock Race for Life and I was thrilled to walk around in a decent time, so in 2018 I am hoping to do a sort of run/walk and maybe create a new personal best!
Anyway, if you have got a spare £1 or £5 or anything at all really, I would really appreciate it if you could support me and Cancer Research UK by clicking on the picture below:
So I thought I would write a dead honest blog tonight. I try to remain positive and happy as a rule, but we all know sometimes it harder than others. I have to say, upfront, that I am definitely not sad, but I am very very tired.
As you might have seen in previous posts, I have been seconded into another role at work, which has seen me working away on and off since mid-October. I am now VERY familiar with the Travelodge and even the not so glorious Ibis in Leicester. I have also been working super hard on the new project and my 43 year old brain is a little fried. So the combination of the train journeys, many nights in hotels and the extra work, combined with my current commute to and from Manchester (anything from 40 minutes to 2 hours) I am ready for a good old rest.
I haven’t been able to get my ducks in a row to do VLOGMAS this year and I am sort of letting my YouTube channel stagnate. I have made arrangements to do things and see friends with genuine intentions, but after long days and things, I just can’t be bothered. Tonight was one of those nights, when I couldn’t muster the energy to go to the WI Christmas party. I REALLY wanted to go, but I just couldn’t drag my weary butt into the shower and I am not sure greasy hair and comfy pants is really all that Christmassy. 😫 Then of course there is the feeling again this year, that Christmas without mum, is just a little bit shitter.
BUT. I have just one week to go until M and I finish for Christmas. 7 short days until I can switch off the alarm and call “job done” for 2017. Then we have got a lovely mini-break to Harrogate before the hoopla of Christmas kicks in and even a night away in Chester in between Christmas and New Year. So 7 sleeps until I can just actually sleep past 7:30am. I can’t bloody wait!
This is quite a difficult post to write for me as it’s quite an emotive subject and unfortunately something I have had to deal with quite a lot over the last few years. If you have been following my blog at all you might know that I lost my mum in 2015 to Esophageal Cancer and that single event almost broke me in two. But sadly for me, this wasn’t the only massive loss in the recent past. I lost my Gran (last remaining grandparent) 3 months after our wedding in 2012, we lost our beloved Peggy-dog the week I started at The Prince’s Trust in 2013 and then in 2014 my mum was diagnosed with Cancer and she passed away almost exactly a year later.
So since 2011 (Gran’s diagnosis) something shitty has happened every year, with 2016 being the first year nothing devastating happened. Granted, M’s dad had a massive operation and was in HDU for a short while, but he has bounced back quicker that Katy Price’s norks, but I digress.
For 5 solid years I was either dealing with or recovering from something awful and quite honestly and inevitably it took its toll. My mum had the most harrowing time whilst she was ill and she sort of leapt from one heartbreaking set back to another. My Gran got constant water infections due to her bladder cancer and basically went a bit crackers. I spent one interesting afternoon, whilst taking her to radiotherapy, answering the same 5 questions over and over again, whilst feeding her jaffa cakes. Peggy dog spent the last 3-4 months of her life just being properly miserable, not being interested in us at all and slowly going deaf. However her ability to sniff out a decent bit of chicken, thankfully never left her. But it was all very very hard to watch and once all three of them eventually left this world, it left me so so sad.
About 5 months after mum died, I still wasn’t sleeping and I was still having such terrible nightmares. My worse one, was dreaming on and off all night that people kept telling me mum had died and in my dream, I was hearing the news afresh each and every time. Experiencing that heartbreaking news most nights and then crying at the start of some annual leave because I wasn’t looking forward to it, forced me to take action and I went to see my GP.
My GP was new and I didn’t know her, so was a little embarrassed to explain my situation. It’s so hard to be instantly very vulnerable to someone who you’ve literally just met. But explain I did and the GP was lovely to me and explained that I could be signed up for some counselling and I only had to speak to the receptionist on the way out. However, on the way out, the receptionist told me that whilst I would be assessed quickly, the wait to see someone was 6 months. I sighed a hopeless sigh and walked out without ever calling the number they gave me. I waited almost another year before I attempted to get help again, as whilst some things have improved, I was still finding some things quite tough.
My salvation came on Twitter of all places in a thing called #sthelenshour which is an hour on a Monday night in which my local town’s business sort of go onto Twitter and shout about their business and support the town and all the amazing things that happen. I came across an amazing councillor called Maureen who was easy to deal with, reasonably priced and available. I had about 8 sessions and it instantly made a massive difference. I was of course in tears within a few minutes of starting our first session, but that was just what I needed. Maureen made me think about things differently and worked with me to help me cope with my grief and all the difficulties that come with it. It helped and I mean REALLY helped.
It’s so sad that this service isn’t provided on the NHS, but paying for a private therapist saved my sleep and changed my dreams from scary horror movies to the more normal confusing 1 act plays where you jump from your living room to your childhood playground, all the while knowing you have to be at work in 5 minutes and you can’t find your keys.
From everything I’ve experienced My top tip on dealing with loss would definitely be speak to someone. I am not a person blessed with lots of friends and so I couldn’t call the girls to come round. My sister is lovely, but obviously when mum died, she was not only going through the same thing, but she was also raising my two nieces. I wasn’t alone though, as I am married to the most selfless, kind, caring and compassionate man in the world. Without him, I am not sure where I would be.
But I guess what I am saying is… speak to someone, anyone – your GP, your therapist, your neighbour – anyone. Dealing with loss is so hard and bottling things up only makes it worse. Call the Samaritans if your village is just you and your dog. Their number for the UK and ROI are:
Dealing with loss is devastating and hard, so don’t beat yourself up if you are struggling. We are all human.
I hope that if you reading this, the answer to my questions “Could you sponsor me?” is Yes. You see, I am doing the Haydock Race for Life on Sunday which (if you didn’t know) is a 5k run/walk for Cancer Research Uk. I discovered Race for Life’s in 2004 when I lost my Grandad and in fact I have lost 3/4 grandparents to cancer and then of course my mum in 2015.
I am not a runner, but I do love a good walk and so taking part in the Race for Life means a great deal to me as it makes me feel like I am doing something. Cancer may have taken far too many members of my family, but the more research we do, the more chance we have of it not taking any more. Times have changed, when I first started doing this, someone always knew someone that had been affected by cancer, but now it seems that everyone is affected. No exceptions and I would quite like this to change.
So if you know me, even on Twitter and would lend me fiver if I needed it – then please sponsor me, I really would, love you forever.
Today marks 2 years since my Mum died. My lovely mum. Margaret. She was taken from us, aged 68 after a horrific year-long battle with cancer. I more or less took up blogging again when she was ill, some of which you can read here: >>2015<<
The last 3 years (1 year hellish treatment & 2 years grieving) have been very hard, but thankfully time has done its thing and after some grief counselling at the end of 2016, I do feel much more able to deal with her death and life with no mum. It’s not easy and I do feel as though her death changed me forever, but I can handle it now, well about 90%.
But mostly I am going to take today to think about mum, cry if I need to and just remember the happy times that we had. I definitely won’t remember the times she used to come around my house and point out dishes I hadn’t done, or windows I hadn’t cleaned. But of course I inevitably I will. Either way though, even though today is the anniversary of her death, I will remember her life and the many wonderful bingo games she played, rugby matches she watched and the way she loved my nieces. Gone far too soon.
Cancer is an utter bastard and I hope beyond hope that we find a cure soon.
So…… I have decided that this year I am going to do a Race for Life. If you didn’t already know, this is a fundraising event for Cancer Research UK. It’s actually a 5k run/walk event that has grown in popularity over the last 10 years and they are now help over the Spring/Summer all around the UK.
The main reason that I want to do this is to raise some money for CRUK. My mum died in 2015 from Esophageal Cancer almost a year to the date after she was diagnosed. What she went through was hard, no actually it was harrowing – both for her to slowly disintegrate as a person and for us as a family to watch it happen. I hate the thought of this happening to other people, so I just hope this small contribution helps in some way.
Haydock Race Life
Saturday 16th July 11:00
I need your help
I am doing this event in the hope it will inspire you to sponsor me. I have given myself a target of £200 and I hope will your help I can smash it. 5k might not seem a lot for you but it’s my nemesis. This will be challenge I hope I can meet and I would really love it if you could sponsor me. Just follow this link and throw a few pounds my way. Even £1 could make a difference.