Monday, 24 November 2008

Nearly 12,000

Yes, that is the total visits nearly to my blog. 12000 is such a huge number (and although it count's my visits, I don't read it that much!!)

I was thinking today of why I write my blog. I know I do it to keep a diary of everything so that when I am forgetful (which these days is most of the time) I can remember the order of things. I know I do it as it is cathartic to write down, almost privately, my feelings. I didn't realise though that it may help others. It wasn't my intention but it is something that makes me feel good, so thank you to everyone who has posted but special thanks to those brave enough to say my words have helped them. By saying that, you have helped me because at least I can feel that Stewart didn't die in vain. There was a reason and maybe, just maybe me writing this blog has helped someone through their pain or helped someone understand what someone is going through. Maybe this is the reason for everything, or does that sound big headed. I haven't saved anyone's life, I haven't find the cure for cancer, in fact I haven't actually done anything, yet with the words you kind people have left for me, I feel I have done something.

When I am calm and at some sort of peace and look at my life now, I realise that I have been extremely lucky. Firstly I am lucky to have known true and total love. Now don't get me wrong, Stewart and I didn't have the perfect relationship, didn't have the perfect marriage and certainly didn't have perfect kids. But I do know that I loved Stewart with every ounce of my being and I believe, and I hope, that he loved me that much too. We had many ups and downs in our marriage and far more downs than ups to be honest. We rowed, we had money problems, we had problems to face with the kids, but we did it together and when we rowed, we made up and forgave, when we had money problems we sorted them out together finding ways to make money and when we had problems with the kids we sorted them out together. So I was very very lucky to have met my soul mate, the person I would have gladly shared every day of my life with.

I know that I am lucky that i had enough time to say some of the things I wanted to say to Stewart before I lost him. I know i am lucky i didn't have to watch him suffer for too long. I know he said to the kids everything he could have said.

I know I am lucky that I have my family, my friends, my kids to keep me going every day. I know I am lucky to have the most wonderful work colleague who keeps my spirits up and brings me wonderful chocolate and biscuits to get me through my day. So however unlucky I am to have lost my best friend and soul mate, maybe just maybe there is a reason behind it. Because before all this started both Stewart and I felt we didn't have masses of friends and that we needed to make the effort to get out and be with people. Yet tonight I spent time with a new friend I made since losing Stewart. Someone who I knew of due to her having lost her beautiful daughter some 18 months or so ago, but not someone who I would speak to. However from one visit to see me when I lost Stewart I have someone who is the kindest, sweetest lady you could imagine who I can share my inner most thoughts with, those of frustration and loss, those of humour at peoples comments although well meaning which are just so not appropriate and I know that she understands. She puts things into perspective for me and i hope I can help her just a little bit too. I have never been invited out for coffee, lunch, or the family invited to tea to so many people before. I have never had the phone ring so many times or the emails pop up with messages of support and love. It is an amazing thing to realise that actually some people quite like you and obviously quite liked Stewart. It's just such a shame he can't see this and benefit for it, for however a big, strong man he was he had little self confidence and although I told him he was a wonderful man, actually I never appreciated how wonderful and that he touched so many lives. We as a family are benefitting from this and I hope that he can see it.

So there we go, 12000 visits to my little blog, so even if you have visited my blog 100 times each, that is 120 people who have read what I have said, who have been interested and cared enough about my story and my life. It really, really, really is amazing that such sadness and loss can bring so much to someone - and that someone is me. So from the bottom of my heart THANK YOU for your support, you really really really do help me through each day with your comments.

Now, I must go back to my mundane life and do some shopping. We have no fruit or veg in the house and I can't just send Stewart out to get it like I used to. Mind you, as someone said there are perks. We have no need for marmite in the house, we only have the food we need being bought and we don't have mountains of one item just because it was on sale. Oh, and I've moved the kettle and cups to where I want them (sorry, Stewart) so I suppose I have to grab everything I can as a positive. (Mind you, if he keeps making my lights flash in the kitchen I will start getting quite cross with him - I can still shout at him from here and benefit from him not shouting back at me LOL).

Sunday, 23 November 2008

Handbags and Gladrags

Well actually, wardrobes and drawers but that didn't seem too catchy a title!!!

Well this week has definately been one of the more "interesting" ones.

We have had ups and downs this week, plenty of tears from us all but lots of people offering to help. I have been busy visiting the bank manager (she was lovely and only looked about 6) who off the record reckons on the income I gave her and the outgoings we have I am unofficially SKINT!!!! We will have to see what they suggest with the business loan but I am determined I will not lose sleep over it - well actually not lose any more sleep over it!!

The kids are having their good days and their bad ones. Jamie has been amazing as always although last night it all errupted and for an hour it was horrendous and we actually had tears, he is going to see someone on Thursday and I hope he feels he can talk to them. He has admitted he is trying not to cry and be down to keep the rest of us boyant which is so sweet but is very hard for me as it should be me doing that and it isn't. Alex had exams this week for his GCSE's and was very very nervous. Without his dad saying all the right things (well he doesn't listen to me) he was putting extra pressure on himself but he thinks he did ok and although he is still struggling coming to terms with things, he is such a wonderful little boy (ok 14 isn't little but he's my little boy). Gemma is great during the day, I met with her teacher this week who says she is doing fine at school and mixing well. It's the night time she finds difficult and we have to have lots of cuddles to get through the tears!! She is so stubborn, just like her dad, but we will get through it all.

As for me, well yesterday was 6 weeks and I got a bee in my bonnet that i needed to sort out our bedroom, so I spent yesterday afternoon emptying the wardrobe and drawers of Stewarts things. I have to say, I found so many brand new t shirts, jumpers and jeans that it made me giggle, he used to tell me off for buying clothes and stuff but at least I used/wore them. I sorted out some stuff I can't get rid of and some stuff the kids may want - they all wore his work tshirts (new ones) for bed last night - it looked like a uniform!!! It was so hard to do it but I know keeping them there won't bring him back and there is a bit of the triple wardrobe which has his stuff in for me to be able to touch/smell when I need to. It was hard work and I know that I have to do it, to clear away his clutter from the house to be able to move on but it is so hard. I know that if I leave it it will be harder to do later on and although it is very raw and hurts so much, it won't be easier to do later and may set me back on this very hard and long road I am walking.

I just wish he was here to cuddle me and guide me as to whether I am doing the right thing with the house, the kids, work, me .................................... I hope I am and I hope I am doing him proud.

I have arranged to go back to work tomorrow which is a little nerve racking but I suppose it's one step back to "normality" as such. I am hoping that once the initial days are over, I can just be me again where I don't think about the situation every second of every day.

As for our fundraising efforts - well hopefully we are set to have 12 months of the most amazing fundraising I could hope for. I have well over the 200 women set to do the Race for Life if the date is ok and will be looking for a sponsor for the tshirts for them. The local kids club are doing a huge fundraiser to raise funds to revamp their disco room which Stewart helped set up when they started years ago. They have asked if they can name the new room after him and use his name in the fundraising which obviously I said yes to. The leaflets came home from school, advertising the 24 hour disco and yes, they had his name on and yes, it was a surreal moment but Gemma was so proud that it was about her daddy that I was equally proud. We as a family, along with our extended family and all our friends will be there - it's a £10 entrance fee (but no sponsorship needed) and I hope that the boys will be able to do an hour or two's slot so that we all feel that we are helping.

As for the men's walk we are trying to sort - well I have someone for St Gemma's coming to see me this week to discuss setting up a race/walk specifically in his name for men. I am so excited that we could do something like this and I hope the boys will be able to help in arranging it as well as taking part - I know I have over 100 men to do it and would like to open it out to the general public too - the money raised will be for such a good cause.

And we have started putting together the final fundraiser which will be a dinner dance in October/November next year. Well the band is sorted (f.o.c. I think) so we need to find a date, a hall etc but I will do this once I get the walk sorted.

Today I am off with the two little ones to a friends and I hope to actually do some scrapping. It will be the first I have done (except for the crop) so fingers crossed my mojo comes back.

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Money, money, money

Actually, it should be no money!!!! Unfortunately due to Stewart having had cancer before we couldn't get life insurance, we were waiting for him to be all clear (6 months more) and then at worst till he was 50 when we would get one of those policies off the tv - it always made me giggle cos June Whitfield always advertised them and she is sooooo much older than us, and I used to tease Stewart that he really was going to be old!! Well we never got there so unfortunately money is slightly tight - I have lost over 75% of our income and still have the same bills etc to pay, actually more in some ways but today was the day for being proactive and I sat down with my wonderful amazing dad and went through some of the figures. It doesn't look good to be honest, but it did make me sort out the paperwork properly and I managed to contact some of the companies who, bless them, have written off the debts in cases like the business advertising, parking fines (don't ask, I found 5 unpaid ones!!!!) and hopefully dad will sort out the rest of the business debts - however as a joint signatory on the business loan it will fall to me to pay it off so I am off to see our new business manager to see what she can do (keep you fingers crossed that the sympathy vote will win here).

I am also going to look at changing the car we have. I have had to get rid of my car cos it essentially was a 2 seater, not much use with 3 kids (I know Jamie drives but even 2 kids can't fit in) so I am left with Stewart's car, a Vectra which is too powerful, too costly, too much to insure, too fuel guzzling and too bleeding big for me to park!! Hopefully we will be able to put our car in part exchange and get something better for me which will cost me less all round.

Well I took the kids up to see Stewart. They were absolutely amazing - not a tear from any of them - can't say that about myself though! We also took Gemma to my grandparent's grave which she had never seen. The ironic thing is that they are three rows behind stewart, to the right hand side, you can actually see their graves from Stewart, so yes that set me off again, it's like they are watching over him. I managed 10 minutes chat on our own before we came home again. I must say I am so proud of my kids in so many ways.

The only major hiccup I have come across is the fact that the sponsored walk I wanted the men to do for our local hospice is women only!!! They can do a sponsored row or it's a knock out but no, no walk is available. So, what have I decided to do - organise one myself - I MUST BE MAD, I hear you cry, but why not, it can't be that difficult can it? - What have I let myself in for?????? I just need to the ok from the hospice that we can use their logo, name etc and then I will get a group of fellas together to help me organise it - and my trusty work colleague and friend, Joanna to help me (she just wants a clipboard, pen round her neck and a megaphone!!). One of my other friends, Ruth will do all the spread sheets I will need - she loves them - organises everything by spreadsheet - even her daughter's birthday party, so she'll come in useful for this!!

Right off to another finance meeting - I am getting pretty sick of them now!

Sunday, 16 November 2008

It's surreal ...................... but it's wonderful

Well, I did go to visit Stewart at the cemetery, that is once I found him. Bless the sexton at the cemetery, he'd buried him on the front row where no one else was so that he would be easy to find for the next year or so (till the row gets filled up) but I hadn't noticed that on the day of the funeral so stood there looking like a fool trying to find him, I knew he had to be there but just couldn't see him. He always said I had no sense of direction. It's really funny because I have never understood the need to visit the cemetery when someone dies, they aren't there but now I have experienced it, I realise the need to talk to something tangible is a necessity. The weather was freezing and windy and raining when I arrived, but the sun shone whilst we chatted as though he was answering me. It went back in once I walked away!!!

Things at home have plodded on with a few minor hiccups with the kids being touchy all at the same time. It's great fun I can tell you. Alex's school have brought someone in for him to talk to and he will have that for half an hour each week, she's a lovely lady called Carol and I hope it will help him through these dark hours. Jamie is being stubborn and strong at the same time and I am having to let him do things I wouldn't normally have allowed, like driving to and from Manchester on the M62 which we had agreed he wouldn't do until he'd been driving longer, but I know he needs his independence - it is just giving me more grey hairs with worry tho. Gemma isn't too bad as long as she is busy - nights are still awful and always filled with tears but we will get through it.

Last night I had a wonderful but surreal experience. A friend and her daughters came to visit and have a takeaway which was great. My friend is a spiritualist who has passed on to me a couple of messages but last night she was here just as a friend. However, when all of a sudden she started to laugh and said that Stewart was sat in the chair and determined to give me some messages!!! He always interrupted my conversations with friends so this was no different to normal. She passed on various messages with only a couple that I couldn't get but he mentioned the fact he always had "hairbrained schemes" and that I was the one that kept his feet on the ground - that was the exact term he used during one of our many conversations when we knew he was ill and something that no-one else had known. She told me many things even describing places we had been away together, again something she wouldn't know as she only really knows me through Gemma and only met Stewart twice!!! She also told me to get rid of the joggy bottoms he wore, he couldnt understand why I was keeping them - well we had emptied one set of drawers in our room for Gemma to use in her bedroom and one of the few things I couldn't get rid of were the joggy bottoms he wore in hospital - again something NO ONE knew!! Its a very surreal experience to know he is here for me, but it's wonderful too.

Today we are off to the cemetery. Gemma has been asking to visit her dad so I thought today was a good day for all of us to go up. I hope this will give us all some peace and will enable us to move forwards.

It is a long road ahead I know and I am not sure how I will do it all without Stewart, without him by my side physically. I miss everything about him, even our arguments. I miss him kissing me, cuddling me, laughing at me, laughing with me, I miss him rolling his eyes, him telling me I can't cook, actually I just miss it all. I am not sure how I can live for however long I have without him and how I live with the constant physical pain in my chest and the stomach turning that I have, but I know I have no choice. What I would give just to hold him, cuddle him, talk to him, kiss him for 5 minutes, to tell him I love him once more and hear him say he loves me too. And the hardest bit is I know there is nothing I can do to change what happened and I won't ever have these things again.

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

Is it only a month?

Well it's the 11th November. A month since I lost Stewart. But it feels like forever since I saw him, touched him, talked to him, held him. The pain hasn't lessened but I have had moments where I've smiled. The kids are struggling too, Jamie is just finding he wants to be here supporting me and although he has just got back from visiting Natalie in Scotland he said he needed to be here instead, Alex is struggling to cope at school and his mood swings at home are worse than ever and Gemma is just one very sad little girl every night when she kisses her daddy's photo.

As for me, well I hate my life and although I need to carry on for the kids, I don't want to be here anymore. Without my soul mate, my best friend, my rock I feel there isnt a reason to get up in the morning. But I do and I go through the day's motions, speak to everyone, even laugh occasionally, but at the end of the day I know it will be just me going to bed and just me getting up and to be honest I hate my life.

I know that it will get better cos everyone says it does, I know that I will carry on living a life cos everyone says I will, I know that I will laugh again and smile again because I see that other's manage it, but at the moment it just feels like an uphill struggle.

I miss Stewart more than I ever could have imagined. I never realised that someone could be so part of your life that when it's taken away you feel that putting one foot in front of another is so difficult. I never realised that a month could go that slowly yet go that quickly at the same time. Where has the month gone, it is only yesterday I kissed him goodbye yet I feel as though he has been gone forever and sometimes I struggle to remember his kisses and hugs.

We have all managed firsts over the last 31 days, the kids are back to school, Jamie has been away, Jamie passed his driving test and we were happy for a moment, I went back yesterday to St Gemma's to hand a donation the synagogue had for them and to take a present. Now that was probably one of the hardest things I have done since I buried him and left him alone on a cold windy hill. Everyone remembered me and all commented what a lovely man Stewart was but it brought back so many memories and was so hard to be there without him.

I also went back to work for the day yesterday and am going in to do a job today there but I want to do another first and probably the hardest one. I want to go to the cemetery and see Stewart. I know he's not there, I know it's only the shell of him we buried but I just need to go and see him. It's the nearest I will get to touching him again and although I will be talking to a mound of soil, it's what I know I need to do at 12.30pm today, exactly one month since I lost him. I am so apprehensive and not sure I will actually do it but it is my goal for the day. That and survive till bedtime without too many tears and tantrums (from me and the kids!!)

So after this depressing post I better go and get ready for work, get the boys off on time, sort myself out, give myself a talking to to enable me to put my smiley face on for the world and I will catch up with you later.

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

A very proud Mum

Well, things have been quite up and down over the past few days.

I started sorting out the loft on Monday which I thought would be awful, but actually other than the fact Stewart has collected the biggest load of rubbish, it was quite comforting. In fact I found things I didn't know we had, 4 DVD players, a tent, more cases than I can fill, an ice bucket from the 60's and so much more!!! But I did find my wedding dress, head dress and veil, the typed original of Stewart's wedding speech and a diary he wrote during the time we met which was lovely. I have managed to clear a space so that I can sort the rest of it out in the near future.

Tuesday was a down day and the kids were down too, not sure if they picked up the vibes from me but it generally was a tough day.

And today, well what a day. Jamie had his first driving test which had been booked just before Stewart got ill. He stayed at home today and the nerves kicked in for us both. However, the best thing was that HE PASSED and I am so incredibly proud of him. Not only did he pass but he did it in style with only 3 minors. I had a few tears that his dad isn't here to see his achievement, especially one where he would have been so incredibly proud but I know he is looking down with a smile on his face. He is on a high tonight, having picked his brother up from the bus, driven to get me milk and see his grandma and then onto a friends we were at for dinner. He is still up and still has a smile on his face. The picture below shows how happy he is (sorry for the hair and beard but as he can't shave or have his hair cut during the first month of bereavement there isn't much we can do!!).

Saturday, 1 November 2008

3 weeks

Well, it is nearly exactly to the minute 3 weeks since I lost my beloved husband. It has been a roller coaster of a ride since then with emotions being high on the agenda. The kids are still amazing even though we have had some difficult days. It is so hard dealing with them without the support of Stewart behind them. When they are being argumentative or rude there is no one else to back me up, no one else to support me through it and no one else who can hold me and tell me they will be ok. I have cried most days but the mornings and evenings are the worst along with weekends, especially saturdays.

I couldn't face going to the synagogue today. It's so hard to be there when I know it is so many weeks exactly since Stew died. Every saturday is a milestone which makes it a hard day to get through. I feel as though every day I get through is another day nearer to me being with him again. How depressing is that thought - that all I want is to get through the rest of my life so that I can die and be in his arms again. I know that I have to learn to live my life again but I cannot imagine how I will do that with the pain that I feel. My heart physically hurts and my stomach is constantly in knots. It's that sinking feeling when I realise that Stewart is not out working or upstairs on the computer but that he never ever ever coming back.

I have started to ring his mobile just to hear his voice on the answerphone but actually it isn't a comfort just upsetting but I still do it. It's the last thing I have of him and I know that I have the kids but I want him here by my side.

There have been good moments over the past few weeks and I am lucky that the support of my family and friends is continuing. I am still having constant visitors which keeps me busy and makes the days easier but going into our bedroom at night just breaks my heart. I just miss him so much that words can't express it.

The support for the Race for Life 2009 walk/run that I want to do next year in his memory is gaining momentum and have so many women and girls offering to run it with me that it is incredible. I am hoping to also walk the Midnight Hospice Walk on May 16th with the kids and with the men folk who want to support me to raise money for St Gemma's. I hope I can make 100 men for that and 200 women for the Race for Life. That should give a huge boost to both Cancer Research and St Gemmas and will be a legacy in stewarts name. I also hope to get tshirts sponsored so that every member of "Team Stewart" will wear his photo and name and make me a very proud lady.

I have really rambled on today, sorry, but my thoughts aren't really straight, this time 3 weeks ago he was still just breathing and still with me, i cannot imagine how I will get over this devastation.