Wednesday, 11 January 2012

New Year New Beginnings

I know it's been an awful long time since I put down in words how my life is going, but suffice to say it just got worse. I don't want to go into the details but I have experienced things I never want to ever again (some of my own making and some of which has been taken out of context when passing on to others). I got myself into a lot of trouble and I hope by the end of this month it really is a new beginning. I am having to declare myself bankrupt this week but I really believe that at last it will mean I am drawing that line under the saddest and hardest time of my life.

There will be still be repercussions of the last 18 months that will continue into my new beginning but i have realised that it is truly out of my hands - I cannot be responsible for other people's choices, so all I can say to my sister and her family is that I still love you all and should you ever wish to be part of my life the door will always be open.

We have had some nice moments during the past 18 months. I have a wonderful new (well not new know) job back with Jackie and Barry (and I mustn't forget Colin), Jamie is at University and loving every minute and has a lovely girlfriend who fits in to our mad house beautifully - Alex is doing his A levels but has been offered 4 different places at university for september, which is an amazing achievement by anyone's standards and to top it all we've moved into a new home - which is a little small when we are all here, meaning one of the boys ends up sleeping in the dining room - but cements the fact that we are trying to make a fresh start. We've signed the lease for a year and unless I can sort the shower out (which is a minute trickle) then we will be moving after that!!!!

As for my crafting, as Mum and Dad moved us out of the last house, my contents that weren't essential were put in various garages - so my crafting stuff is all over the place. However, after 18 months of not doing anything at all I have found the basics for card making and brought it into the house. I have managed to make a few cards for us and a few that Mum has asked for (with another order given for some more cards) but I saw a project called a smash book. Yes, for those in the crafting field, I know I am at least a year behind everyone else but I thought it might be good to make one to log the next 12 months without having to actually scrap everything that happens - although I do definately want to start my scrapbooking again - I have very limited room in the new house but I will fit it somewhere!!!

I hope to start being able to blog again regularly, mainly for me to remind me how far I've come, how strong I have been and to remind myself that when I have those very dark days which I am sure I will still have, there is a lot to keep living for - but especially 3 very special reasons. It's those 3 reasons that I have got through the past 18 months and it is for 3 reasons that I will make a new life for myself. I will never forget Stewart, the pain hasn't gone but I am beginning to accept he won't be coming home and beginning to let the pain walk beside me and not take over my life. I will make my children proud of me again because although I want to prove to my parents and brother that my mistake was just that - the only 3 people in the world that truly matter are the kids. I also want to be able to remind myself that I am very lucky and although there are plenty of people who have walked away from my life - the people that have stayed (and luckily there are too many to mention them all) are real blessing to me and the kids but I do have to say a special thank you to Susan and Neville, Sarah and Ian, Debra and Malcolm, Jackie and Barry, Michelle and Zelik, Marie and to all their families because without your support this would have been more intolerable than ever before.

So here's to a decent 2012 (I am not expecting miracles here!!!) and to NEW BEGINNINGS.

Sunday, 4 April 2010

Cyber crop alert

Yep, it's happened, they've announced another cyber crop on UKS - it's slightly different as instead of buying kits they have given you a kit list or a list of what you need as an alternative - and its the latter I shall be using as I cannot possibly buy more stuff LOL. However, saying that I had a little splurge this week as I am definately under the weather.

I seem to have had a flu type bug - aching body, sneezing, swollen glands, temperature - oh that's been fun and very typical as I have a few days off work as it is the Passover. The kids have been great tho and today I feel slightly better. However to cheer myself up yesterday I went and ordered some fancy pants papers from Sarahs Cards (whoops LOL) and then a couple of punches and a template too from Modscraps (whoops again) but at least I have something to look forward to receiving this week.

Anyway, the point of this post is that the cyber crop has meant I had to sort out some of my papers last night and then I had a bit of a scrapping session - and here are the results.

This one was a LO I started at the paper dolls crop but couldn't think of a title - well I found a wonderful website www.theperfecttitle.com/songs/songs.shtml which gives you lots of ideas and this is the result

I then decided that with another Sarah's cards retreat some 300+ days away, I should do the LO on the first retreat and here it is



It's difficult to do a LO with so many photos but this paper seemed to be perfect (Fiskers Cloud9 kit that I bought eons ago) so I am pleased to find something to go with it.

Had a little trouble as ran out of r's for the title so changed some of the letters to orange thickers as there seems to be a lot of orange worn at the retreat LOL

As for me - well Passover came and after all the work to prepare for it we seem to be doing ok - must say if I never see another piece of matzah then I won't be dissappointed LOL. But only got 3 days left (including today) and looking forward to a pizza at 9.30 on Tuesday evening LOL

Monday, 22 March 2010

And there's more

Yep, I have continued to scrap whilst designing invitations and starting making them - so along with work, kids and trying to keep the house clean I have been a busy bee.

The first LO is one I have done for the sarah's cards blog challenge here - I found some papers that I bought when I first started scrapbooking and have used these for a very rare LO of a birthday - I just don't seem to do these for some reason.


Not sure I like it - it was one of those LO's that took me absolutely ages but there we go - it's done and it's in the album.

This LO is using February's Sarah's cards kit - now this is an achievement because not only do I never use a kit before the next one arrives, it was one of those that I wasn't sure about - but then I found this photo and it all just came together - however I am noticing a theme of having a strip of paper etc running through the middle of the card - I blame Racheal for that LOL as I just loved her LO from the retreat.



As for the rest of my news, I am delighted that there will be another retreat next year - and on my birthday too - now that's exciting - unfortunately some of those there this year haven't got in :( which is sad but we are hoping that the they will get in on the reserve list but I am really looking forward to it - and Ali is coming with me again :-)

I am also going on the LPD retreat in July - so very excited I must say and hopefully I will be sharing with Ali again :-)

Right best get off to work and Gem off to school.

Thursday, 11 March 2010

Layouts, Layouts and more Layouts

Well here goes ........................... the first layouts are the completed ones from Sarahs Retreat


This was Lou's class - and she made me scrunch paper and ribble it too - boy did I have problems working that gadget LOL

Two layouts from Sarah's class - I have never done 8.5 x 11 layouts but am totally converted - i turned the photoshoot layout round to fit the fact that i hadn't read the instructions and me filmstrip photos were the wrong way round - but actually I really think it works this way too.


this was Racheal's class - and probably the most complicated but I love it - again I had to scrunch paper and tear and ink it - but it has turned out beautiful and I love the fact that the picture I chose matches absolutely perfectly.


this was Lianne's class and again I learnt so much - i have never really used a template on a layout or used pain in this way and I love the way we used the journalling paper by cutting them out and layering them up.

And now for my layouts that i did at the retreat - some of these were inspired by layouts and techniques I had learnt during the weekend






I adored the kit from Sarah's cards and as I had bought some of the paper before I thought it was a good time to use it up in a multitude of layouts - and these were the result.

My mojo has definately come back and this is the one I did based on racheal's class when I got home


As I am home today as Gemma isn't too well, I am cooking for dinner tomorrow as I have 7 of Jamie's student friends coming for dinner but I think I might just do some more scrapping.

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Retreat pictures

Here are the few pictures I actually remembered to take LOL - my apologies for the photography - i am useless with a camera LOL


this is my car - ready and packed - to be honest the box under the bags is the stuff I brought for the charity table and other than the pink tote and blue tool bag and my case I could have left everything else at home.

This is me with my roomie and friend - Ali - she is one of the most talented scrapper but more importantly she is the nicest person you could ever meet - thank you Ali for coming along this weekend and having such a laugh - now all we need to do is ensure that you have a bra that stays done up over the dinner table LOL ;-)


A view of the cropping room - everyone was really busy after the classes had finished on Sunday afternoon.


Sam and Gwyneth who sat on our table and shared the backrow of the classroom with us - and how we laughed together - bless them both - I loved being with you for the weekend and hope we can see each other again soon.


Here's a picture of Julie - and not sure where my picture of Helen is LOL - but they did make me laugh throughout the evenings (and the days as well LOL) - good luck Helen with your forthcoming op and I hope when you are back on your feet we can all meet up again.

Tara, who joined us for dinner, got more than she bargained for with Ali, but we did laugh and I LURVE the accent xx

And here are the ladies on the next table - loved them too and we did laugh - and I am so grateful that Chloe (back left) and I got out of Manchester car park to get to the retreat.

Here's Jane - doing what we all did very well during the weekend - shopping!!!!

Another picture which isn't quite the one I wanted - this was supposed to be Sarah and Lianne together (well they are but I only got the back of sarah) but it's a lovely picture of Lianne x


And a picture of some of the design team on sunday afternoon - they all did a magnificent job of teaching especially someone like me who just can take instructions LOL.

And here is Rachel clearing our table - was lovely to spend some time with her as have been friends for 2 years now - and I even managed to save her a train ride home.

I know my photos are lousy in comparison to others but it was such a wonderful weekend that I just never thought to get my camera out of my bag until late on Sunday afternoon. My apologies to those I wanted to take a picture of (which to be honest is all of you at the retreat) and didn't - hopefully next time (that's a hint to Sarah and Lianne xxx)

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

My daughter the footballer



Thought I would put a little something nice on here that isn't scrapping - this is a picture of my darling daughter (far right) with her team mates who all play for the Amazones. She has just joined them and is loving every minute. The gentleman on the far right is the kit sponsor. She has played in a couple of games and surprisingly is quite good - or so I am told as so far I haven't managed to get to a game due to work commitments or being away on a retreat!!!!! Having stood at many a match for my eldest, I am looking forward (I think) to standing by the side of a pitch once again cheering on the team
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Sunday, 7 March 2010

A wonderful time

It seems like such a long time since I blogged about anything nice, but hopefully this entry will be the start of many nice things.

The year so far has been better than expected - and although there have been some ups and down we are all doing ok.

This weekend I have been on the Sarah's Cards Retreat and what a retreat. From the minutes I set off from Leeds on Friday morning to the moment I got home I have had a ball. Ok, I admit in all my excitement I arrived far too early but the pleasure of sitting in the foyer of the hotel and watching the world go by and the people arrive was well worth it.

The whole weekend was amazing from the new faces I met, to the old friends that were there - from the welcome from the team and the goody bags, to the classes and the make and takes. From the laughter to the tears, from the new friends made to the old friends who will continue to be there.

This experience has been awesome. I have met so many people who knew my story and have shared it through UKS and this blog and I have met so many people who didn't but who cared about it when they heard. I have laughed with my new friends and with my old ones and many of us shared tears of both laughter and sadness over our life stories.

Yet with all this going on I have learnt so much from those teaching (and their wonderful helpers). I have learnt that it really is ok to tear and scrunch paper, that you ink every edge LOL, that you can do 8.5 x 11 LO's and they really are amazing too. I have worked wth acrylic albums and made mini books that go on to your LO, I have cut, folded, distressed, painted, added embellishments, layered and even added a butterfly or two to a LO (thank you Rachael Elliot LOL). I have been told that I look younger than my photo by more than one person but most of all I hopefully have made friends with so many and hopefully for a long time.

I have managed to do 14 LO's - some of my own too which I am incredibly impressed with and will upload hopefully tomorrow. The lessons taught were so inspiring and the fact that the instructions were clear and consise made all the difference. The bonus of having the teachers on hand after the lessons whilst you completed the LO's meant that you never felt out of your depth and from the bottom of my heart I thank the organisers, Sarah and Lianne and all the DT at Sarah's Cards for their friendliness and helpfulness and I hope that I can use your inspiration to continue to produce LOs that may, one day, be as beautiful as yours.

However, the ladies that attended the "conference" (and I haven't a clue what the staff at the hotel made of us all LOL) made the experience whole. I have met so many of those I have spoken to on UKS, I have met some of those who have supported me through the past 18 months, I have met ladies who were a total inspiration and I have hopefully made some new friends.

All the ladies were warm and welcoming but I have to mention some very special ones who made the weekend what it was (and this excludes the list of all the DT because they are automatically included).

Chloe - how lovely to meet you and how lovely to share the experience of driving round and round the Manchester Airport short stay car park - I really did think we were going to spend the weekend there.

Gwyneth - well what can I say - you are such a wonderful lady who I am so grateful to for your continued friendship - but to meet you IRL was a joy - you made me laugh so many times, not at you but with you and I hope your first experience of speed scrapping wasn't too bad - you are a true inspiration and I can honestly say I love you sooo much.

SamG - you have made me laugh and cry - you are such a warm and funny lady and I am so grateful we had you on our table all weekend and we shared our classes - love you too hun.

JulieM and Scrappydog (Helen) - well what can I say - you made me laugh and laugh. You are two of the warmest, kindest, most wonderful ladies and it was such a pleasure to be in your company. Helen, I hope your back op goes well and you are on your feet quickly again and back to your scrapping. I just want to bundle you both up and bring you home wth me because you truly make me smile. I hope we see each other again soon xxxx

Tara - you were lovely to meet, you made us laugh and I think you have a wonderful husband and family - remember you are the parent and you know we are always here for you.

Jane and Denise - well what can I say - Jane, you know how I feel about you and it hasn't changed, and Denise - you are as lovely as Jane says and I felt from the start that I knew you and you were just as wonderful as I thought you'd be.

Trina - how funny that we didn't know each other was going - next time TELL ME and I'll take you over you daft so and so - hope you are feeling better soon hun xxxx

Rachel (W) - so lovely to actually spend some time with you - remember you are a talented young lady and deserve to be where you are - don't forget the promise of a shopping trip xxxx

To all the other ladies I met, far too many to mention - you are all stars.

However my special thanks has to go to Alison - there is noone I would rather share a room with, no one I would rather share a weekend with and no one who makes me laugh as much as you do - you are such a special lady and I am so thankful you are my friend - love you babe xxxx

So now it's 11.30pm, I am knackered and the washing machine has finally finished so I am off to put my washing in the dryer so the kids have uniforms for tomorrow and I am off to bed.

But before I finish there are three special people who deserve a thank you and that is my amazing kids - not only did they make me go away but they looked after themselves whilst I did it - they kept the house tidy - the didn't fall out too many times and without them I wouldn't be who I am - so Jamie, Alex and Gemma - I LOVE YOU ALL TO THE STARS AND BACK AGAIN.

I promise to blog my LO's tomorrow but from me, goodnight xxxxx

Friday, 1 January 2010

Welcome 2010

I suppose today is a time when people reflect on the past year, and that is no exception for me.

We have had some good times and some bad times but most importantly, with the help of some wonderful family and friends we have got through it.

We spend last night with dear friends exactly as we did last year. It was quiet but good to be with people who didn't expect me to be the life and the soul of the party and we were able to have more a giggle this year than last.

So what does 2010 have in store for us all? I suppose that is the million dollar question and one you just dont know the answer to. I hope for us all it brings love, laughter, health and happiness but for the kids I also hope it brings some peace.

Jamie, my darling eldest has a huge year ahead of him, with A levels, hopefully starting university (Sheffield) and watching his beloved Leeds United actually do well in the league and possibly the various cups they are involved in. I hope he finds someone to share all this with, someone who cares for him but at only 18 I mostly hope he is able to have fun with life.

Alex, my little boy, who isn't a little boy and is growing up and turning into a man right in front of my eyes. For him I hope he manages to cope with his GCSE's, gets to go to Israel in the summer and has an amazing time and hopefully will start sixth form. I hope his friends stick by him and he is able to make new ones and that he will start to have the life he so wants.

And as for my baby, Gemma, she has so much to look forward to with starting high school in september. I hope during the next few months when they have taster days there, she has a great time, I hope the two girls giving her a hard time at school leave her alone to enjoy the last few months of primary so that her memories are good ones, I hope she lets go of some of the anger about her daddy and starts to progress forward and I hope she copes with her Sats.

As for me, my greatest wish is to get through May, June and July with all the exams in the house without killing any or all of my kids LOL - but I hope that this year I can start to get some order in my life and start to find ways to fill the huge time I sit thinking about Stew. I hope that he carries on being part of my life and walking by my side and letting me know he is still there, I hope that I find time to scrap, time to spend time with my friends and family and generally get through the year - maybe finding some peace in my heart along the way.

For all my family and friends, and those of them with sick relatives and friends, I hope this year is a good one, that those who are unwell get better.

I hope that a cure for Cancer is found, although it will be too late for us there are dear members of our community who need this more than ever. I hope that I can continue to raise money for both Cancer Research and St Gemma's so that they are both there when needed.

Now that I have had a deep and meaningful post, I want to finish with this.

Although I may have been unlucky to have lost my darling husband, I am still the luckiest person alive. I have three wonderful, gorgeous, healthy children, parents that are amazing (even if mum has forgotten I am an adult LOL), an amazing brother, sister, brother in law, sister in law and nieces and the most unbelievable friends - both here in Leeds with me and on UKS - without any of them I wouldn't have made it through the past 12 months and I hope that I can be as good a friend to them as they have been to me. May this year bring peace and happiness to all.

Saturday, 28 November 2009

A day to remember and a competition

This week has been great because I got to go and be pampered after the fun and games of having the new dining room fitted out. Debra and I went to Manchester to have a photography session and we were treated to a facial and hand massage to start with followed by some fun photos. It was a great day which we finished off by walking round the german christmas market in the centre of Manchester. To be honest we didnt mean to, but we stumbled upon it whilst looking for a restaurant and had a lovely time.

Once the picture we ordered arrives I will upload it because I think it is the nicest one of me in a long time.

However, today my fun continued and I went to the LPD crop - it was a great day with some great ladies and I managed to do lots but the most important thing I completed was my entry into sarah's card's blog competition


This was a picture I have been waiting to scrap for a long time and the new kit was ideal - I even managed to use some ribbon brads I have had since I started crafting which I found during my clear out :)

Right as it's late my other pictures will have to be added during the week.

A new room?

Well, not exactly a new room but certainly a better one.

It was firstly cleared out and looked like this

and then the workmen (Chris and Paul) started work and here is where the funny thing started - Paul who works with Chris knew Stewart - they were at electrical college together and had been really good friends helping each other through the course - they had lost touch but it was so comforting to know that someone Stewart talked about and trusted was working in our home - he is a lovely guy and said some lovely things about Stewart - it was as though it was meant to be.

And here it is finished - everything has fitted into the cupboards and when I have recovered from the moving stuff around the house and cleaning I will try and get some semblence of order in the cupboards but I am so happy with it - it is a joy to work and be able to leave stuff on the tops without having to clear it up for dinner or for fear of Boo eating it

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Cyber crop fun

Well, I'm back scrapping and have had an absolute ball this weekend.

The wonderful UKS team have set up a cyber-crop and the theme this year is Wizard of Oz. I was put in the Scarecrow team - nothing like knowing your place is there - haven't had a brain in over a year so the right team to be sure.

There have been challenges and classes and you take part in as much or as little as you want - well having had the kids backing that this weekend would be my weekend, I got stuck in on Friday night and have only just finished. I attended the Paper Dolls crop yesterday so managed to do some of the LO's there with other paper dolls who were taking part.

Below are some of the results of my efforts.

a mini album designed by Voodoo Vixen

this was a challenge to sew on a layout showing an achievement

this was a class by tamiwha - which was great and although I didnt finish in time to collect the points I just loved the LO

This is a challenge to make a "sparkly" title, an embellished journalling tag and a border and the last challenge of the crop was to use all three on a layout.


This was the travel challenge and used a paper sketch which I've never done before - I thought the journey the kids have made from being three children in primary/nursery school to young adults deserved to be remembered.

I am absolutely shattered but have had an absolute ball.

Right, I now need to go and be a mother again and to continue packing all my craft stuff into boxes as I have sold my craft box and am having fitting units in the dining room - I am very excited about it but hope that in 2 weeks it will be over and done with and I will be back to normal and have a tidy house. Gemma is off for a week to Buckden with school in 10 days and I hope I manage to get everything sorted for her in time - I am sure she will have a wonderful time with her friends and gain some self confidence.

Right off to do the washing/ironing and some cooking.

Friday, 30 October 2009

So Long, Farewell .......................

and if I could spell auf Wiedersehen I would have added that to the title.

I think tonight's post is my final post before returning to my scrapping, although no doubt my everyday feelings will come into the blog but I want to turn a corner and I think this might be the moment.

So much has happened in the last few weeks that I think this could turn into an epic posting, so my apologies for anyone who is reading this but I hope that by the end of it you will understand why.

I would firstly like to re-iterate something I have written on many occasions throughout this blog and that is my gratitude to those of you who have followed my story. Many of you have taken time to either leave a comment of here, post on UKS, send me emails or private messages or in some cases all of the above. Your constant support over the past 14 months have given me strength at times when i couldn't see the wood for the trees. There have been many nights when I have taken the time to re-read your comments that I have realised that although those 14 months have been horrific, there has been some good come out of it and your friendship has been one of those things.

I knew I wouldn't be able to face posting this blog for a while and it is only now that I truly believe I can do justice to my final chapter on this story, for although the story will go on continuing, it is time to stop looking back and to look forward.

Over the past few weeks we have finally conquered the last of the obvious firsts that we knew we had to face.

We faced the first Jewish new year without Stew, something that was very poignant because one of his last wishes that we were able to fulfil for him was last year when we took him in a wheelchair to the synagogue on the first day of the Jewish New Year. He only managed an hour there, but to sit upstairs (as we ladies do) and look down on my darling husband, my two wonderful sons and my daddy all sat together, it was a moment that I knew I had to keep in my head and my heart forever because I knew it was the last time. So this year I bottled out of going to the synagogue because I knew it would be too hard, but my wonderful boys went and although difficult they did it.

We also got throught the Day of Atonement, the day it is said when god decides who should live and who should die during the next year. Last year I wasn't there because by that point Stew was back in the hospice and we knew we didn't have long. This year I faced it and went to the synagogue. I am not sure how much I still believe, in that such a good man wasn't given another year but who am I to judge? I only hope our prayers this year will be heard and we will all have a happy and a healthy year along with all our friends and family, no matter what religion they are.

We then had the Jewish Anniversary which is traumatic because it means the boys, once again having finished saying the memorial prayer every day for 11 months, had to go back to the synagogue and say it, side by side again. We lit a special candle which I thought wouldn't be difficult but it was so hard to do and had so much meaning. But we survived it.

I do believe that it is easier to face the anniversarys that you have to face than the days where you wake up surrounded by a black mist because you are prepared for them.

We were then lucky enough to go to Tenerife for a week with our dear friends Debra, Malcolm, Paige and Joff. The trip and first few days were stressful and fraught with tension as we all had to adjust to it being just four of us. Jamie found it hard and we battled through the first days but I think, somewhere in those heated arguments, we found an understanding of each other that we hadn't had before. The holiday was just what was needed, even if a little hot - 111 degrees on one of the days, but at least it ensured that we sat by the pool and relaxed - it was too hot to do anything else.

We came home the day before the anniversary of losing Stew and we had decided we would wait to see how we felt before making plans. And I think we were right to do that as we spent the day quietly together, sometimes in our own thoughts, sometimes laughing but we didn't make to much of it.

On October 18th my wonderful boys led a sponsored walk, the Stewart Rudette Anniversary Walk, with 37 men and boys round our local reservoir. Some ran, some walked, some brought their kids, some brought their dogs but these wonderful men raised money for St Gemma's hospice and along with other friends who couldn't make it, who went out and raised money, it looks like we have raised over £5000 - we are waiting for the final total, but to say that I am proud is an understatement. We will have raised over £11,000 in Stewart's memory and I truly believe that we have turned the negative into a positive. Our fundraising isn't over, we will continue but it really has given us all things to focus on and given back to those who helped us.

So we have done it all, well not all as there will be all those special occasions that are bound to happen that Stew would have been proud to be there for, but we have got through that first year, still intact as a family although I have to admit there were times I wasn't sure we were going to get there. We're not over it, we're not through the tough times totally but we have survived so far and I am incredibly proud of not only myself but my amazing kids without whom I wouldn't have lasted a day.

Although I have found some inner peace now we are over the year, in that I can't say - this time last year daddy........................ which in some ways makes it easier to get on with life, the pain and the heartache are still with me but those that told me you learn to live with the pain are right, it isn't easy and there are tough times but you do have more good days than bad and the bad ones might not be as terrible as they were. I am not over losing Stew and possibly never will be. I have lost my best friend, my heart and my soulmate but I do know that he is sat right behind me as I type this and although I long to feel his arms round me properly one more time, to feel the safety I felt in his arms, to feel his lips kissing me again, I know that when the time comes for me to go, he will be there waiting for me. I have no fear of dying but I also know I am not ready for it and won't be for a long time.

I can sit here and look back at how far we have all come. I always knew I was a strong willed and bolshy lady, but I never knew how strong I could be. I am a survivor.

I have managed to go back to work, run the house, feed and clothe the kids, make all the invitations I have been asked to do and now, as things on the invitation front quieten for a while, it is time for me to have some Susy time and time with my family.

I know that I am ready to return to my scrapbooking, something that at the beginning gave me a focus but during the last few months was something, if I am honest to myself, was too painful to do. So many of our memories need to be put into the scrapbook, yet so many of the photos to scrap are since we lost Stew and it felt wrong to scrapbook memories that occured without him.

I have survived threats of repossesion of the house, I have survived working through one of the most difficult periods of working life and stayed strong and focused and not let others push me out, I have been able to love and adore my children for the two of us and most important of all I have managed to keep Stewart alive for us all, in memories and stories that we regularly share. He will never be far away, I only have to look at the kids to see him every day and knowing that gives me the strength to say so long, farewell, auf wiedersehn, goodbye to the hardest blog I could have written. This has truly been a life saver and as I now start the next chapter of my life, I hope to share the happy times with you all.

God bless to you all - may you have health, happiness, peace and love in you lives forever.

Sunday, 6 September 2009

Can I be cheeky

Ok, I wasn't going to blog until the next few weeks are over but I think this deserves a plug.

For those of you that have been kind enough to continue to follow my blog (although it must be the most depressing read of your life) I would like to ask a huge favour.

Along with myself, Jamie and Alex have helped organise the Stewart Rudette Anniversary Walk which is a men's walk in aid of St Gemma's hospice, the hospice that Stewart was in. This place is the most amazing place, with people who cared brilliantly, not just for Stewart but for all of us and all of our families and friends. They gave 24 care to us all and most of all gave us the opportunity to be with Stewart to the end, in pleasant surroundings, knowing that he was being looked after to the best of everyone's ability. And what did that cost us, nothing, not a penny. They are funded solely by donations and we would like to pay back what it cost them to look after Stew, £5000. So with help from St Gemma's we are holding a walk on October 18th (well you can run it if you want to) with two lengths of walk, 4 miles and 8 miles. We have so far got 30 people taking part but are looking to get 100 which seems to be a tall order but we will keep trying. The thing is what we need alongside the men for the walk is sponsorship and this is where you come in. Please, if at all possible, could I ask you to sponsor the boys, whether it be £1, £5, £10 or more if you can. Every penny counts and goes towards the care of patients. Their website is http://www.justgiving.com/JamieandAlexRudette and if you can donate, I would be even more eternally grateful for your support than I already am.

Well, I am sat here, knowing I should be in bed but with so many thoughts going through my head. Gemma goes into Year 6 tomorrow and I am so proud of her but know that if Stewart would have been here we would have spent this evening reminiscing about her, just like we did when the boys moved to their last year of primary. It makes me realise how much is missing from my life. On Wednesday, the headstone is being put up and we are going in the evening to see it - that in itself is daunting and with Sunday being the consecration of the headstone I just feel like getting in my car and going as far away as possible. It's funny but I am more anxious and upset about this than anything else we have faced. Maybe because it means we are coming to the end of the mourning period (well the official end), maybe it is hitting home how real this is, maybe it's because it is tied in with the anniversary's that are coming up, maybe it's just because. I don't know, all I know is that although on the outside I am getting on with it, inside my heart is aching, my stomach is in knots and I just want to hide away from the world. Not a good feeling when I am back at work tomorrow LOL

However, I do have to say that I am so proud of Jamie (yes, again!!). He has been looking for a job (not totally wholeheartedly if I am honest) and took his cv round some local clubs and shops. Well he got an interview, got a second interview and got the job. The only downside is the hours, its 9pm till early hours (well not that early actually - between 2.30am and 6am finishes depending on the day!!) and although I know this will give him independence and may free up some of my money LOL, I am concerned about his school work. I have told him if that suffers at all then the job stops but he is so enjoying it that I hope it won't be a problem. He has worked out the days to work round his school timetable so hopefully that means he won't be too tired when he is there and will keep up and pass his A Levels. We will have to watch this space for the outcome.

Right, I am heading to bed as this week is going to be a very long one. My boys would laugh at that and say it is the same length as every other week but you know what I mean. Work will be hectic trying to catch up on everything whilst I have been away because of course none of my work has been done, but at least it keeps me out of mischief.

Hope you are all well.

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

And August wasn't much better

Well after a hard July, August started off ok but then I got "swine flu" - well I got flu - who knows if it was the oinky kind but boy was I ill - which then got worse cos I got a chest infection. The only light on the horizon was Jamie getting his AS results - he got 2 B's and a C - which weren't far off A's (far too confusing LOL) so he will try and increase those when goes back to school to A's.

To top it off an acquaintance lost her husband aged 32 - how awful is life today - the dreaded cancer beat us again and to see her suffer like I did makes me feel so helpless. What is worse is that you would think I would know what to say to her, but I didn't - useless aren't I.

I am still getting better from my illness but have a tough 6 weeks ahead.

It starts on the 2nd when both the boys stop saying Kaddish which is the prayer they have said daily since their dad died. Ironically, it conicides with it being exactly a year to the day since Stew was diagnosed with cancer.

We then have the consecration of the headstone on September 13th, and I am really struggling with dealing with that. The thought of seeing a headstone on the grave is awful and I am dreading seeing it for the first time. We then have the Jewish New Year to get through which again I am dreading because Stew was here last year and he made is final brave visit to the Synagogue on the first day of the new year - this then is followed up by the Day of Atonement a week later and that was the day that we were inundated with visitors but I knew the time we had was limited. On September 29th we have the Jewish Anniversary of his death which obviously is going to be tough. We then go into October where we are going away for a week which is great but again has tinges of sadness that he isn't with us to do my head in with passports and packing and teasing me counting the bags. We are back in time for the 11th which is the anniversary of his death - and then the week after is the walk for the hospice.

I just know that I need to get through these next 6 weeks and then maybe just maybe we can start putting our lives back together but that in itself a daunting thought.

So this was a brief but miserable post wasn't it - maybe when I get back in 6 weeks I will be able to have a more positive outlook on life.

Friday, 31 July 2009

Its tough but you gotta get on with it

So what a month July has been. Work has been difficult as my work colleague lost her grandma who she was very close to and obviously is very upset. I am not much help to her and i know she must find it hard to talk to me about it which is difficult for me as i would love to help her. I have started having migraines again which are being brought on by stress, along with palpitations, dizziness and tiredness. The doctors think its just stress but i am undergoing tests just to be sure - the difficulty is that i can't really tell anyone other than my best friend because i don't want to worry my mum and dad or the kids. It's just another time that i realise how much i miss talking to Stewart. I realise that that offload time when we both came in from work and talked about our days, however mundane was a real stress reliever and without it i am really struggling. I have had a difficult week with the bank starting to hassle me over increasing my payments (that they set at a low rate) to them to pay back the unsecured business loan stew took out, but i was joint signatory. They are threatening to get a charge on the house and I don't know whether just to let them do it, or whether they are allowed to do it. Looks like i will be taking some advice on that but its another worry i just don't need.

However i have had two lovely things happen to me over the last 7 days.

The first is i visited my friend who happens to also be a medium. I went for a hearing and boy did Stewart come through. He couldn't stop chatting and she hit on so many things that she couldn't possible have known. Things about both stew and I that are impossible to know that it is frightening. She even told me that i had a friend who was heavily linked to barry manilow - that will be Fi who is a regular there and one of Stews favourite people - and the last person to be with him and me before he died. How strange was that. There were funny moments, touching moments, and heartwarming moments and I think I have gained a little comfort from knowing he is around even if I can't get to talk and touch him. What I wouldn't give for a cuddle off him right now, and a kiss on the top of my head that he always gave me when he walked by. I realise how much I miss him, it isn't getting easier but I know that i will learn to walk alongside the pain, there isn't any way other than that even though there have been times in the last few weeks that I could have curled up into a ball and given up. My kids are my life savers. However bad i feel, I look at them and know i can't give up for their sakes. They are so like their dad. Each of them has a little bit (in some cases a lot) of him in them. Jamie speaks like him and has his sense of humour and knows exactly where he was coming from. Alex is inquisitive and loves cooking just like him and gemma, well poor kid, she is the image of him and every time i look at her Stewart looks back. How can I give up on them?

The other amazing thing to happen is that the charity walk we are arranging in memory of stew to raise money for the hospice he was in has gone live. It is official. The Stewart Rudette Anniversary Walk for men will be held on October 18th 2009, 1 year and 1 day after he died. The link for the walk is http://www.st-gemma.co.uk/forthcoming/stewartr09.htm - the wording is beautiful and i have even been allowed to add a message from us to those taking place. I would love 100 men to take part, more would be better and i would love to raise £5000, the cost of the care given to Stewart whilst he was in. It was a bittersweet moment but I know that by keeping his memory alive and raising money for a wonderful cause will give us the strength to carry on.

The next few months are going to test us all. We have the consecration of the headstone in September along with the Jewish New Year. It will be hard to be there on the first day as that was the last time Stew went out in public. Last year he was so determined to be in the synagogue for even a short while that I picked him up from the hospice and took him in a wheelchair. We only lasted an hour but I am so pleased to have had the memory of him, Jamie, Alex and my dad sat together one last time. We then face the jewish anniversary of his death (we have a seperate calendar as we go on the lunar calendar as opposed to the english calendar which is by the sun) followed by the anniversary of his death. To help us through that, we have booked a holiday between those two dates in the hope that although we have to get through those days, some sunshine and relaxation in between will bring a little light relief. We are going with my best friend, her husband and kids and although her youngest and gemma don't know we are actually going together yet (they will drive us mad if they did) we are looking forward to it.

I hope that this year will be over and things will start to brighten for us. I know the pain won't go but I also know that once the year is up we have to start living again. Stewart wouldn't want us to be down forever and we must start to look to the future. We will remember him every day, we will miss him every minute of every day but we must make sure we don't waste the lives we have - he wouldn't want that - he believed in living life to the full and in his memory I am going to ensure that the kids live their lives and their dreams and carry on the dream he had for them - to be happy, to be healthy and to have fun - life is too short to waste.

Monday, 6 July 2009

what a weekend


Well what a few weeks it has been but this weekend has been especially amazing.

My best friend's daughter had her bat mitzvah - the equivalent of a boys bar mitzvah - coming of age and to be part of their special occasion has caused more than a few tears from me - for all the right reasons. I have been heavily involved in the preparations, making the invitations, table plan etc and helping Debra choose her outfits which has meant that I have felt like one of the family, I even ended up washing up after afternoon tea/dinner on the saturday night. Paige was magnificent, looked spectacular all weekend and did her mum and dad proud. Her Dvar Torah (talk) on saturday in the synagogue in front of near on 300 people was amazing, clear and brilliantly delivered and I felt so proud to see that little girl so grown up. The afternoon tea today was amazing too and listening to her give her speech was wonderful, even though I was exceptionally nervous as I had written it with her LOL.

But to add to the amazing weekend was the fact that I took part in the Race for Life at Temple Newsam in Leeds. Not long after Stewart died, Gemma suggested that we should once again take part in this amazing event. Well not to do things by half, I thought what if I got a few friends to join in. Well, those few friends turned into 68 wonderful ladies and young girls - gemma's friends, who met with us sporting tshirts with Stewart's name on the back. Everyone bought their own tshirt and thanks goes to the wonderful printers, screenmachine, who charged very little for the tshirt and printing. he even did special ones for Gemma and I. I had expected about 40 people to join me, but no, 68 of them came with another 5 in the afternoon event. I was overwhelmed by the wonderful support of everyone but to see Gemma's friends join with us and do this fantastic walk/run was amazing. The walk was hard, with some exceptionally difficult hills but we took it steady and I am so proud of gemma for doing the whole 5K without moaning (well only a couple of times).

On the walk I found myself meeting some lovely people too but the greatest surprise was when an arm when round me and I looked to find one of Stewart's consultants. She had seen the tshirts and was very moved by the number she had seen, and she was only seeing a small percent of them. She had spotted me and came for a chat which was lovely, and without realising it she helped me answer some of the questions I had had. I now realise that what Stewart had was exceptionally rare and he was exceptionally unlucky and NO ONE could have changed the outcome. In some ways this has given me more peace than anything else.

To come round the last corner to find friends and family who had already completed the race or were there to support us was amazing as were those at the finishing line cheering us on. Gemma and I went through the finish holding hands and I have to say to see her beaming face as we finished, was the last straw and i broke down. The emotions of the day getting the better of me.

What surprised me most was the response of our friends supporting us and those taking part with us - they all said how incredible it had been to do it (some of them having done it for many years) and that it had had so much meaning but that also they thought so much of me for organising out group - no mean feat to get 60+ women organised, I can tell you. Yet, I don't think I am incredible, for me it is them that are incredible. You see I lost Stewart and I want to desperately find the cure for cancer - which I personally can't so all I can do is raise as much money as possible to help Cancer Research. It is those women and the kids that turned up having been sponsored to support me that are amazing and incredible. It is them that took time out of their busy lives to be by gemma and my side. It is them that walked the 5K with me. It is them you see at the top of the page (well most of them, my organisation isn't that good LOL). They are the incredible ones, more so because I decided to set a silly target of £5000 between us. And do you know what - they did it - and more. We are waiting for a final figure but I am so proud to have these people as my friends and colleagues. They truly are an amazing group.

I must also mention the fact that although they all ran for Stewart, each and everyone there ran for family and friends lost through this awful disease, and one special young lady was remembered more than any other amongst us. Kitty Doerfler, who died aged 18 months after fighting Leukemia from birth. I was honoured to walk alongside her Mum, Sarah, today - someone who came into my life since I lost Stewart but who has become a best friend. She is an amazing lady, strong, brave, courageous, funny, loving and warm - Sarah I admire you for everything you do and Kitty would have been proud of you today, I know how hard it was to walk with us all when we had our daughters there but I promise you, Kitty was by your side today as she is every day, smiling down on you.

After all this, my feet hurt, I am absolutely drained emotionally and physically but I am also exceptionally proud, not just of everyone round us and of Gemma but of myself because I did this, I made it happen and I have managed to succeed at turning the negative into a positive which was my goal. Now it's time to start organising, alongside St Gemma's Hospice, the mens walk - the Stewart Rudette Anniversary Walk which will be held on October 18th. And I will be challenging the men to beat the ladies fundraising :)

Good night to everyone and god bless you all, so many of my UKS friends have taken the time to support me through this and sponsor me - I couldn't have done it without you.

Miss you Stewart every second of every day but I hope today Gemma and I did you proud xxxxx

Saturday, 20 June 2009

Happy Father's Day

Happy Father's Day Stew. We never really made a big deal of it but it does seem odd to have it going on without you. I know the kids are very aware of it and I am not mentioning it unless they do. Gemma has asked to go up to see you and I hope that Jamie is home from his weekend away in time to take her. I have done ok but then I popped out to get milk and bread tonight from the Co-Op and there was a display of father's day presents. It wasn't that that got to me, but the huge bar of toblerone sat on the display. You see, every year for father's day I'd buy him a big bar of toblerone and every year it would sit in the cupboard till I ate it and then Stew would ask where it had gone. For some reason seeing this bar tonight just really hit home and I stood there with tears pouring down my face. The cashier wasn't sure what to do so I paid rather quickly and came home.

In some ways getting over tomorrow will be good because we can have a break until september with no obvious "dates" coming up and although September and October are going to be awful, we will get through it.

I am more worried about afterwards when life, as they say, returns to normal with no first to get through. Who is going to be there for me when things are tough, who is going to change the light bulb that's too high up for me, who is going to hold my hand when we have sats, gcse's and alevels going on in the house at the same time, who is going to cuddle me again and make me feel like I am in the safest place in the world. I suppose I will get used to being on my own, which, even with three very noisy, very boisterous and very wonderful children I am. Even with all the wonderful family and friends I have, i am on my own. And that is what I am scared of. But I know he had faith that I could do it and it is only that that will get me through. I know he is close by just not close enough to touch. Sometimes from nowhere I can smell his aftershave or feel a kiss on my head and it's then that I know that however alone I am, I am not. He will always be with me, by my side and I have to gain strength from that.

I am going away at the weekend without the kids which will be nice and I just hope I can put my grief and feelings away for 3 days and have a real good laugh. I should be able to based on the fact I am going away with a load of loonies (in the nicest possible way) - the LPD's and if it is half as good as last year we are in for a weekend of giggling. I can't wait to see Lynn who I haven't seen since last year and the thought of scrapping, eating, drinking, staying our PJ's is a wonderful combination so as long as I can get myself organised in time I'll be fine. I've packed my scrapping stuff but now need to sort the kids out to have food in, do all the washing etc, tidy the house, pack Gemma to go to her grandparents, pack Jamie for his holiday which he leaves for the day after I get back (2 weeks with his mates - OMG be warned tenerife LOL), and work at my day job and sort out all the invites I've promised to do as well. It will be a hectic week but at least the weekend will come faster - lets just hope I don't sleep through it all LOL

Many thanks once again for following me and I hope I haven't caused too many tears (sorry especially to Eileen and Karen xxxxx)

Sunday, 7 June 2009

Where does the time go?

Well what can I say except HAPPY BIRTHDAY JAMIE. Yes, today is my darling eldest son's 18th birthday and I have to say he is an amazing young man. Without him the past months would have been unbearable. He has been amazingly strong for me and kept me going through my darkest hours, so I was determined to make today as special as it could be.

Last night at about 11pm he had a bit of a wobble, he looked awful and it was obvious that he was upset. He headed out for a drive and I knew he had gone to the local airport, where his dad and he would go when he was little and by the time he was back he was looking better. At the stroke of midnight we shared a few minutes together just contemplating our life and he told me he had also been to our local Sainsbury's car park. Last year at midnight I took him out for his first ever drive and we drove, very slowly, round and round the carpark. So last night he drove it in reverse. When I asked him why, he said that things had started to go wrong just after his birthday and he thought by going in reverse he mght reverse our bad luck. There isn't much you can say to that is there?

I also decided to give him an album I had made for him.

In January 2008 I decided that having seen all the Leeds Paper Dolls make amazing layouts etc, that maybe it wasn't such a bad thing to do and if nothing else, I would scrapbook an album for Jamie's 18th. I had 18 months to do it and reckoned on 1 layout a month at the crop. However, I didn't realise I would get so hooked on it. Stewart and I chose the photo's together and the sentiments that went with them and every page was shown to Stewart when it was finished. I am so grateful that I had completed the album before he died, with the exception of the letter to go in the back, and that I could honestly say to Jamie that this was a present from his dad and I. There were a tears, but I am pleased because Jamie keeps everything inside and I hoped that having some release last night he could enjoy today. And I think he did. We had an afternoon tea for the family and close friends and about 50 people came, less than planned, but they filled the house. It was a lovely atmosphere and Jamie loved being the centre of attention. However, more importantly, it showed him that even without his dad he can smile and enjoy himself and that all these people genuinly loved him for what he is.

I have to thank Sarah and Fiona (and Mark) for coming in and helping me prepare and calm me down in my panic that I haven't enough food, it won't be ready in time etc and another set of thanks to Debra and Malcolm for helping me clear up. A special thanks goes to Debra for helping for shop for an outfit at 5pm on friday LOL - I am incredibly lucky to have so many amazing wonderful and dear friends without whom my life would be even harder.

Tonight was topped off by Jamie taking me and his eldest cousin to the pub for a drink (well a legal drink) and how disappointed was he that they didn't ask him for his ID!!!! Typical eh!!

I am incredibly proud of myself too as I didn't shed many tears today and held it together, but tonight I know that when I go to bed and have my nightly chat with Stew,they will come but that's ok - that's what bedtime is for.

Stew would have been (or should I say is) so incredibly proud of the young man our son has become. Like many parents you muddle through and hope you are doing things right. Well I am so pleased to say that we did get it right and we have a caring, loving, thoughtful and fun young man in our family who I can only wish the best for for the rest of his life because if anyone deserves it - he does.

I will sign off now because my feet are throbbing (high heeled boots from 9am to 7pm is not good), my back aches (moving furniture, food preparation and those darned high heeled boots again LOL) and I am shattered so I will make a hot water bottle for my back and head for hopefully a peaceful nights sleep, knowing that another huge tick has been put in another box and we have faced and survived a huge hurdle that I know both Jamie and I have been dreading.

Once again thanks to everyone who comments and continues to give me support and words of wisdom - you are all stars xxxxxx

Wednesday, 13 May 2009

Happy Anniversary

Happy Anniversary Stewart. Today was our 19th wedding anniversary.

It was definately a day to remember for all the wrong reasons. I know the last 7 months have been hard but I think, except for the initial few days, today has certainly been the hardest. Even his birthday was easier. Maybe because today was OUR day it was hard but now at 11.30pm it's over and I can tick another box.

I went up to the cemetery and stayed the longest I have ever stayed, I think the sexton thought I'd taken up residence. I took him a single red rose so that he knows I haven't forgotten him and stayed and talked to him for about an hour. I don't think I've cried as much as I did today since he died.

I then spent this afternoon watching our wedding video, which was bittersweet. It was lovely to watch and as with all these types of video's, there are so many people who have passed away it is hard to watch, but obviously this time it was exceptionally hard to see stewart and stephen together. How sad to watch the wedding car with the groom, best man, usher and two dads pull up. That's 5 people who got out and three of them are no longer with us. Two of whom died far too early. It really made me think that everyday has to be something special.

I know that I have to pick myself up again and get myself back to where I was, beginning to feel that I had a little bit of my normal life back. It will be hard but we have my sister's silver wedding to look forward to this weekend and although it will be hard to celebrate that after this week, it is important that we do because without celebrations then life has no meaning.

I am starting to get a little more organised for Jamie's 18th, I am off to sort out the list properly for the afternoon tea (I think over 100 people in my house is a bit excessive) and the invites for his dinner have gone out. I need to sort out with the restaurant what we are having but at least his presents are sorted. I have his album I have made, I have paid for his holiday this summer and of course, there is is his dad's wedding ring which I need to have cleaned up for him. I hope it won't be too painful for him to have it.

Right off to bed as I want today over and done with so that tomorrow I hope I can wake up a little more positive.

So I will end by saying to Stewart - thank you for our wonderful marriage, our wonderful children and the wonderful memories you have left me. I miss you but I will have you in my heart every day of my life. Love you Stew xxxxx

Monday, 11 May 2009

why why why why why?

Well I knew this week wasn't going to be the best weeks but by god I didn't expect it to be so crap so quickly.

I knew Wednesday, our anniversary, was going to be a difficult day and had taken the day off to mope around, I knew the run up wouldn't be good, I knew today would be hard as it is 7 months since I lost Stewart, but I didn't know that on arriving at work today, our first call would be a tragic funeral. More than that I didn't know it would be a tragic funeral of one of Stewart's friends.

Stephen was one of those people you either love or hate, and to be honest I think for a while after meeting him it was the latter, but to be honest he grew on me and I knew that he and Stewart had a good friendship. He was an usher at our wedding, and some four years later stewart was an usher for him too (for his first wedding). We kept in touch for a few years after that but over the years we lost touch - we used to bump into him at events and always chatted but then he remarried and seemed to move away from the community. This morning I learned that he is thought to have committed suicide yesterday. The emotions that brought were so strong. although I was at work, I couldnt help cry my way through the day. the community are all shocked, his family especially his mum, brother, sister, new wife and baby are devasted but I just felt totally helpless. It brought back so much of the pain of losing Stewart and I had the awful task of ringing the other friend from the trio, David, who has kept up his promise of looking after me by visiting me and chatting to me when he is up in Leeds and being there for me, to tell him of this tragedy. He was totally speechless and I don't honestly know how he must feel to lose two friends so quickly.

The funeral was very dignified and sad but I was lucky to be supported by some wonderful people. To be told by Stephen's mum that I was brave to be there and how much that meant, meant I had made the right decision to go, but I have to be honest, it has been an incredibly hard day for me.

I will sign off now as I am totally exhausted and I hope to post again on Wednesday.

Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Time to take a small step forward

Ok, I think it's time I actually took a tentative step back to normality and actually put some scrapping on to my blog. It's been a long time coming and will be interspersed with my feelings about my life.

Today was the culmination of months of participating in a CJ. My good friend, Kirsty, set up a newbie CJ on UKS and talked me into being the first member so that I could experience a CJ. I joined along with 9 others and today we all received our own CJ's back - and here it is:

My page
Genevieve's page

Emma's page
Debbie's page

Catherine's page
Maxine's page
Toni's page
Elizabeth's page
Debby's page
Amy's page
Didn't they do an amazing job?

I have to say that along the way there have been some very personally turbulant times for us all with broken bones, loss of loved ones and various other situations but we have stuck together and finished off (albeit a little late) the CJ. I for one am delighted with mine and am very grateful to all the girls and Kirsty for being so wonderful and supportive of me during the hard months since stewart was ill etc. Without that I would have jacked it in and walked away - so thank you girls.

As for me, well today is a start of the future and I actually am beginning to feel a little bit more like myself. I know that I still have hard parts of the day, actually usually night time and first thing in the morning but I know that as long as I keep busy with either work, invitations, the kids or friends then I am doing ok. I can't say I can see the light at the end of the tunnel but there are glimpses along the way that eventually I can start to live a "normal" life again.

I got the wording confirmed for the headstone today which was hard to see in black and white but again I know that it is the beginning of the end of the first year which will mean that we can start to move forward.

Jamie is starting to spring surprises work wise at school with expected A's (as long as he doesn't muck up his exams) which is amazing and his tennis is improving too which is a good way for him to get rid of his anger. Alex is just an amazing young man, he even cooked me dinner tonight totally by himself (ok, I gave instructions when he was stuck and it wasn't gourmet food but it was dinner) and he is beginning to open up to me about what is going on in his head. And Gemma, well tonight she has been so loving and warm that it is a major breakthrough. Although she still talks about missing her dad at every opportunity she is beginning to do so without constant tears and I hope that this is a start of better things for all the kids.

I will hopefully upload some of the LO's I have done over the past few months, some of which were painful to do and others a sheer joy but all of them have been theraputic.

Monday, 13 April 2009

6 long months

Yep, we've hit the 6 month mark. In some ways it feels like forever since I held Stewart, since I talked to him, since I kissed him and in otherways it feels like only yesterday since I lost him.

To be honest, life is crap but i am getting used to living with the physical pain of losing stewart. It's just I know I am not dealing with it and that's scary. But there is so much going on with the kids, the house, finances, work etc that I don't have the time to give in to the overwhelming feelings that are bubbling away below the surface.

The kids are all having a particularly hard time at the moment. Jamie is just permanently bolshy and argumentative and a know all but I am not sure if that's his age or the grief and the age put together. He is a good kid at heart but he doesn't know how to deal with what has gone on anymore than I do. Alex is ok most of the time but every so often it all boils up to be too much for him and he goes into a melt down and gemma, who is actually having some bereavement counselling, is doing the best of us all, bless her. She's still a madam but then again she was a madam before all this so that won't change.

We overcome so many hurdles over the last week, the passover started and we got through that and obviously the 6 month anniversary was awful. I hid myself away at a crop - suppose I was running away from it and by being there I wasn't allowed to cry and could keep myself busy. To be honest I am not that impressed with the LO's I did but I think in the circumstances it was the best I could do.

I am not sure where we go from here, May is our anniversary which I am totally dreading, June is the boys birthday and I know I am going to have to be incredibly brave to get through them but especially Jamie's 18th. July and August are fairly free of hurdles and then we get to September when we have the stonesetting. Into October for the anniversary and then we start all over again. writing it down makes me realise how quickly the time goes and how little I am enjoying my life at the moment. Yes there are moments and even days which are fairly good and I can laugh again but I never truly feel the highs of happiness that you can get with life being good. My emotions seem very muted and I am learning to be a bloody good actress, you know the sort, smile on the face and get on with it. I am not sure what else to do.

Today it has really hit me how much I miss seeing the love in his eyes and how guilty I feel for not realising what we had whilst we could enjoy it. I struggle with these feelings, and so want to turn the clock back. we wasted so much time when he was alive with petty arguments and worries and all I want to do now is have one day to tell him all the things I've realised since he's gone.

I'd better not sit here too long otherwise my resolve will break down and I can't let that happen. I allow myself some "grieving" time when I go to bed but that doesn't make for a good nights sleep TBH but at the moment it's the best I can do.

Reading this back I sound so miserable yet I am getting on with the life I have been given. I do love being around people because I can feed off their positiveness and happiness, it is only when I am sat alone like now that I realise my true feelings.

On a brighter note I booked another retreat for next year and am looking forward to it and it looks that I might get a night away with my best friend in the next few weeks so we can shop for an outfit for her.

So it's time for me to take a deep breath, put that smile on my face and head back to life, I have made the decision to continue this blog until our year is up and then I will set up a new one full of the good things in life, like scrapbooking etc. Thank you once again for following my story.

Monday, 6 April 2009

It's been a while

Sorry, I know it's been a while since I blogged, partly because I have been so incredibly busy and part because we are and have approached and dealt with so many firsts.

5 days after my birthday was stewarts and although the kids wanted the day off school, I felt it would be better to keep them busy and therefore at school. So the day before we visited stew taking with us balloons with notes from us all and some flowers. It isn't really the custom to take flowers but the kids really wanted to take something for his birthday and Gemma has had it in her head since Stew died that she wanted to do a balloon release so we tied these ideas together. Mind you, I am sure stew was laughing to himself watching me try and get helium balloons untangled and tied to the relevent wrist so they didn't blow away in a very strong wind. It was a surreal feeling walking down to the grave with 8 brightly coloured balloons but we managed it. However, because of the wind, the release was sort of different with the balloons floating off straight towards the motorway and with us shouting at them to go up. For a split second I thought we were going to cause a pile up on the M62.

However, it has helped us all I think, just a little bit.

stew's birthday was spent quietly - I had taken the day off so I went back to the grave by myself for some "me" time and then to visit the stonemason to sort out his headstone. Not what I thought I would be doing on a birthday, that's for certain. However, I have chosen the headstone and done the wording which was difficult to say the least. Without going into too much detail, the situation between his mum and I and the kids hasn't really changed from the 20 years I spent with stew but I know I want to do the right thing and have her and his brothers mentioned on the headstone. I think I have found the right compromise but to be honest, bollocks to her if she doesn't like it.

We then spent the evening with his aunt and uncle who made us dinner. It was a lovely evening where we laughed and cried together. They have been an amazing support to us over the last 7 months and I can't imagine life without them.

We also had mother's day, which to be honest we have never made a big deal out of so I worked that morning and then when the kids were all home Jamie gave me one card from them all. At first I was quite miffed he hadn't got a card each for them all but then realised that if I had had 3 cards, the one that was missing (stew's) would have been more obvious. So bless my son, for thinking like that.

Mum and dad returned from 3 weeks away and hopefully it has broken my wonderful mum's habit of ringing 4 times a day. well, actually it has broken it and now she forgets to ring me at all ....................... well sometimes LOL. I needed the break from them to try and show myself and them that I can manage on my own and that although i want them by my side, i need to stand on my own too feet.

Work has been manic with some difficulties and problems with the "bosses" but I think I have finally sorted it out, just not something I needed on top of everything. It has become difficult because although they have been amazing with their support with time off etc, it is now becoming standard to prefix any difficult work request with "we have been good to you so..........." which is more than irritating me. They have told me that I am being inconsistent in how I am in the office and that as I am front of house I must be cheerful and welcoming and always helpful no matter what. HELLO ................ do you think I may have a reason to be inconsistent, and with respect some people that come in just come in to annoy me and upset me so poo to them. It doesn't help when I get emails that are sent to try me and therefore wind me up - there is no need for it and I told them that this week and actually got an apology.

This weekend has been another wonderful but trying weekend. we had Stewart's cousins bar mitzvah (coming of age) and as it was the first "do" it was hard. I plastered a smile on my face for Saturday's event (something I am becoming very good at I must say) and got through that and then again through the party last night. My amazing sister, brother and their partners were amazing and got me through the night along with the kids and I even was persuaded to get up and dance. It wasnt the same without stew but we did it, another box ticked.

However, it has left Jamie and I on a real downer today. It has really hit us how much he would have loved to have been there so much part of a family occasion and that we missed his grumblings at dancing, the food and everything else. To top it all today, although I worked and was in a fairly bouyant mood to start with one of our elderly members came in to pay his bill and told me of his sorrow of losing his wife, the story of how they met and how much he misses her. I managed to hold it together whilst he was in the office but I blubbed when he left. Bless him, I don't think he realises that I have lost my husband too and that although he is only a year ahead of me, he had 60 years of memories. Half of me wanted to tell him how lucky he'd been and the other just wanted to run away and cry.

Now we have other boxes to tick. This week is Pesach, the passover, which is a huge family occasion and with lots of work to get the house ready for it. It means swapping all our pots, pans, crockery and cutlery over for 8 days and although the kids are great it really isn't their thing and it has been left to me to do the preparation. Even the shopping was incredibly hard as I kept picking up stuff that I have bought every year for 20 years and realising that I only ever bought it for Stew. I have 10 over for the first night meal and again I realise how much stew would get involved. He would help me cook, lay the table, move stuff around, carve the chickens, cut up the fruit for the platter and this year I will find it so hard to do without him. Tonight was the first night it has brought me to tears over it but I will have to dig deep and find a way to smile through the next 4 days.

To top it off Saturday will mark 6 months. I can't believe how quickly this half of the year has gone and how long I've been without him. The pain hasn't diminished at all, it's still there just under the surface waiting to come up and hit me at the most obscure moment. I miss him so much, yet sometimes I can't remember him and that hurts even more. I desperatly need to hear his voice, to talk to him, to hug him, to kiss him. I want to laugh with him and to shout at him but I can't do any of those things. I try and be positive and practical but at the moment I am having to shut off that side of my feelings otherwise I feel I will go into meltdown. Maybe once the year is up, the consecration of the headstone is completed and I can find a little time just for me to take this all in, I will be able to really grieve for him but at the moment I need to carry on being strong for the kids and ensure that their lives can go on.

On the positive side of things, I have booked to go on the Sarah's cards retreat next march. It took a lot of courage to press the "buy" button for the retreat, not because of the money as I can save for that, but to leave the kids and go away with total strangers (well ok, not total strangers because we all chat on UKS) is a huge thing. It's not too far away if I need to come back and although I have been offered a lift, I think, on this occasion I might drive myself just to be safe in the knowledge that if I need to come home I can. I am really excited about this and the LPD retreat in June but also very very nervous. It is going to be so hard not ringing Stew like I did last time I went away but I suppose I am going to have to get used to things like this now.

Right, I'd better skiddaddle and get back to the cleaning and sorting of the kitchen for the passover.