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 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 - 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.

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

A birthday to remember

Well, what a day today has been. I thought it was going to be one of those awful days but actually I woke (albeit very late having got up with the boys briefly and then gone back to bed) with a calm feeling over me. I worked this morning (where I got lovely gifts which were totally unexpected), came home and cooked and did the washing, took Gem and I off to the opticians and then came home to wait for the boys. We then did the card opening/present giving which was the most wonderful experience. I had so many cards from family, friends and fellow UKS'ers that I was overwhelmed - I received presents from some that I hardly know but it means so much to me.

Although we had agreed many moons ago that we wouldn't give siblings presents (just the kids) unless it was a big birthday, this year both my brother and sister gave me special presents. It has blown me away but not nearly as much as the kids. Arranged by Jamie they each had written their cards with words that meant so much but Jamie's card had been filled by him with words that mean so much and give me so much strength. He had included a poem that he had written, inspired by one he'd found, that was so moving and had me in tears. He then produced two beautiful pairs of earrings, one set matched the necklace stew gave me and the fact he had organised and sorted it out is wonderful. I cannot put in words how this has made me feel and I hope that Stewart is as proud of our kids as I am, we have certainly done a good job so far and I intend to carry on his good work.

We then went to my BF's for dinner, which was wonderful and her son had made me a card with supergirl on the front. The evening was lovely and she'd even brought me a cake :)

With this and all the text messages and facebook messages I have received I really know how lucky I am to be part of this wonderful local community and the UKS community. To know so many people are thinking of me is amazing.

I have had moments that have been hard today and I have missed the silly texts and phonecalls from Stewart that he would usually make on my birthday, but all in all it hasn't been as bad as i feared. I only hope that next Monday, Stewart's birthday, is as peaceful and calming as this one. In fact I am sure he sent me a present because this afternoon a lovely man called Michael (keep reading it isn't what it seems LOL) knocked on the door offering to take away (for a small cost) the furniture that was piled up outside. It had been upsetting me that it was there because Stew would have removed it and finding someone else to do it was exceptionally hard, the council wouldn't take it cos it had got wet!!!! We were talking and he has offered to be on call for all those little jobs Stew would do like mowing the lawn (cos I don't need a gardener for what we have), taking cars to garages etc. I know I will have to pay him but it is like a weight off my shoulders knowing there is a nice, safe man who can help out if we need him to.

Stewart I miss you so much but I know that you are there watching over me and the kids.

Monday, 2 March 2009

A month to remember

Well, what a month it's been and what a month we have coming up.

The past month has been so difficult. It is beginning to hit home that Stewart isn't coming home, that it is for ever and the kids and I are really beginning to have difficult moments. The problem is that we all have our difficulties but they are all so very different and often all at once.

Jamie has become angry and difficult. That's not to say he isn't still being amazing but he is going out as often as he can, going to the gym or to play tennis, going to Manchester or just keeping himself busy. He is angry with me if I ask him to do anything or tell him not to interfere. It is so difficult to know what to do, but we have talked and I think he may now accept some counselling help and we are beginning to talk properly again. He is trying so hard to be brave and tough for us all but it is all just that little bit too much for him.

Alex is being Alex. He is getting ideas in his head (usually ones that will cost me money) and won't let them go and natters and natters and natters. And if he want's to do something, like watch a programme or go on his dad's computer and something is stopping him he is getting very angry and is staying in a mood for much longer than he usually would.

And Gemma is actually better than she was, she is still struggling at night but although she is quieter some of the time, her personality is coming back again. We still have tears and if something annoys or upsets her it turns into tears for Daddy which can become hysterical, we are getting there with her. She has started some Art Therapy which I hope will help her express herself.

And me, well I haven't really got time to grieve, my life is just hectic, but I have my time at night to talk to him and although i miss talking to him in person, I still tell him everything. There are days that are fairly good but usually they are followed by awful days. Work is hard and although my colleague has been amazing, she is now finding it hard to be sympathetic and even suggested that I stopped remembering the date he died and remembering it on a monthly basis - the 11th of each month is a hard day for me and it obviously is beginning to be hard for her. I am trying to change my hours at work (which in total would lose 2 1/2 hours) so that I can have an extra day off a week to give me some time for me and to do things, it isn't that easy - it has been 5 weeks since my request and I am still waiting for an answer!!!!

The next 2 weeks will be hard, it being my birthday on wednesday which I would gladly forget - I was always a birthday personn and used to love the fact that Stewart would spoil me by treating me all day to tea, cakes, dinner, singing happy birthday etc. It would never cost much but would make me feel a million dollars. So this year I would gladly just forget it but the kids won't let me. I am working in the morning but finishing at 12 noon and having an afternoon to myself.

Then a week today is Stew's birthday and I am absolutely dreading it. Having spoken to the kids we have decided to visit Stew on the Sunday so that they don't have to take time off school. We are each taking a balloon up with a note attached and we will release it at the graveside - this was something Gemma has desperately wanted to do since he died so we will fulfil this wish. On the Monday I will visit him again, but on my own and spend some time with him. I then am visiting the stonemason to discuss his headstone. I suppose it is fitting that I sort it out on his birthday. I suppose this will be the toughest first we have had to get through but we have managed to get through things up to now and will continue to do so.

I am just so tired at the moment. I am struggling with the feeling that I have something missing in me and don't feel myself. I hadn't realised how much Stewart was such a part of everything I did. Being with him for 20 years means that to a point I had come to take him for granted and take the fact he was here for granted. It is a lonely life now that just doesn't feel complete. Nothing I do feels right. Although i can smile and laugh there is a bit of me that doesn't join in. I feel totally disjointed. I am lucky enough to have amazing family and friends by my side who are there for me - the girls are taking me out to a turkish baths for my birthday which is great but nothing fills the gap Stew has left. I have started to have flashbacks of the last week of Stew's life which is really upsetting but I suppose it is my brain trying to work through the situation.

I am so looking forward to being able to feel more like myself, I don't like me the way I am, i am not the happy person I was, I am fatter (must be something to do with the chocolate and biscuits that are comforting me!!), I am tired all the time (must be having 4 hours sleep a night!!) and I want to stamp my feet and shout - "I want him back - I want to be complete". I haven't done it yet but I do feel like doing it LOL - that would get me taken away wouldn't it!!!

Sorry it's been a long post - I will try and blog once the next couple of weeks are over.

Saturday, 14 February 2009

A valentine's to remember

Well what a week or two it has been. I have had a very very tough time in the run up to the 4 month mark, very emotional and very down but I think that part of that was that we had Gemma's birthday, and a big one at that - she turned 10 which is a huge milestone and one we had to do without daddy. We kept her busy from the moment she woke up to the moment she went to bed the following night, which was the first time she'd had tears about daddy. I think she had a good time with her friends and those who slept over and I must say 6 girls on the floor in the lounge was lovely to see and they behaved impeccably.

The run from there to the 4 month mark was only 3 days and I found it really tough as did the kids but we got through it, but with the snow and everything I still haven't gone to the cemetery. I am going to try and get there whilst I am off work on Monday or Tuesday but as it's half term it might not be easy.

However to avoid the love and roses of Valentines day I opted to go away. Not that we were ever romantic, last year Stew and I went shopping the night before and as a throw away comment I said "hope you've got my card" so as we arrived he steered me towards the fruit and veg and went to buy my card which he then put in the trolley!!!! As he said, he loved me every day and told me so so why should we make a big deal of it. However, the thought of being here with the papers and tv going on and on and on was unthinkable so I booked with my best friend Debra, an overnight stay at Champneys in Leicestershire. We went yesterday morning and have had two wonderful days. Admittedly we were late getting there as we passed a discount outlet centre on the way and the card just happened to drive in and park. It was a lovely couple of hours trying to find an outfit for Debra's special occasion coming up and although she had no luck we did manage to purchase me a lovely outfit, something I just haven't had the head for for the past 6 months or so. We arrived and had a wonderful massage, swam, had a wonderful dinner, a laugh and giggle, some chocolate and a dvd in bed - I only lasted 10 minutes before I was out for the count and snoring away!!! (she said I wasn't too loud much to my relief). Today consisted of a leisurly breakfast, thalasotherapy pool (a wonderful mineral pool with jets), a amazing pedicure and lunch - then we went shopping on the way home too!!!! Well all my spare cash is spent but it was worth it for a lovely couple of days.

On arriving home I was greeted with three roses, a pink one, a cerise one and a red one with a sign saying "please be our valentine" signed all three of the kids. So having got through the weekend with no tears, they came thick and fast, but they were happy tears, as I am so grateful to have my wonderful children with me through this whole thing. What more could a mum want.

So now Jamie has gone to Manchester and is off to Birmingham tomorrow, I hope the weather stays fine for his trip over with friends. As for me, well I am off to bed soon, and tomorrow the kids and I will have a lazy day - no work for me of any sort.

Monday, 2 February 2009

Race for Life 2009

Firstly I must apologise, my last post makes it look like I don't get out of the house, I do, honestly. I am just about managing to organise going to the monthly crops, although I won't make it in February but I am getting out, it just means lots and lots of organisation.

I am even going away overnight to Champneys with my best friend - Gemma is going to sleep out and the boys are having a night at home in peace without us girls. I am really looking forward to it.

But the big news is at last we have a date for the Race for Life. It is on July 5th which unfortunately is not a good date as some of my friends are away and it is a special weekend for my best friend, but I hope they sponsor me instead. So far we have about 15 ladies actually signed up - seeing as I only emailed them all last night I am quite pleased. However, if you would like to sponsor me my online sponsorship form is Race for Life - Susy Rudette's Fundraising Page - if you wish to Gift Aid your payment, you can't pay by PayPal - not sure why but it doesn't let you.

I have set myself £2500 as a goal and others are setting anywhere between £50 and £500 - If we can raise £5000 I will be pleased but I really really would like to raise £10,000 if possible.

The men's race for the hospice is being held on July 19th and the details of that should be out soon.

I so hope that Stewart is looking down from above and is proud of what we are doing in his name, we are so proud to have been his wife, his children, his parent's in law, brothers and sisters in law, friends and colleagues that I hope we are making him proud.

16 weeks

Well, it's hard to believe that it is 16 weeks since I lost my darling Stewart. And the past week has had some interesting turns.

Firstly, Jamie's ex played a cruel hoax on him regarding her health upsetting and worrying us both. How anyone can play that sort of a joke on someone is uncomprehensible but to play it on someone in our situation is nasty, selfish and abhorent. Although now he knows why he split from her and it has closed the book, it was a testing 24 hours for him. To think you may lose someone you were so close to when he has already lost his idol, is so dificult for me to understand.

Secondly, Alex seems to really be struggling with everything. One minute he is calm and collected and the second he is screaming and ranting and raving. I know he can't comprehend what has happened in his life, I know he is angry at the world but it is so hard for me to cope with on my own. Seeing him sobbing, packing his bags because I am the worst mum in the world breaks my heart. I know he doesn't mean the things he says but nontheless it still hurts.

We seem to be plodding along quite well, but on a very selfish note I am struggling with being tied to the house and the kids with very little support. Not that my mum and dad wouldn't do more for me but I don't like to keep asking them to babysit and the kids don't want them to be here all the time either. But when Stew was alive I had the freedom to go to crops, go to classes, go out with my friends all the time knowing the kids were looked after. Now the responsibility is solely mine and every time i go out I have to plan it like a military operation. Although the boys are more than capable of looking after Gem, either together or alone, she winds them up and it causes rows and I come home to tears and tantrums. Jamie has just about sorted out their relationship but Alex and her are at each other's throats all the time. Stew was always the calm voice of reason and if that failed, he shouted louder than the rest of us (LOL).

16 weeks is a long long time, I miss Stew so much and the snow is stopping me going and visiting him which isn't helping. This week has been so hard and with Saturday being Gemma's birthday we are all gearing up for that. I hope we can make it a good day for her, presents, friends for tea and some of them staying over night (god help me!!) I hope we can alleviate the tension that is building. It is a first family ocassion he is missing for and no doubt will be in our minds constantly.

On a very sad note, an old friend miscarried this week which has been hard but I hope that my cuddles and words (which are returns of her words and cuddles for me) will help her, her husband and her kids through this tragic time - we are thinking of you all xxxx

Thursday, 29 January 2009

Highs and Lows

Ok, so what has been happening in my life over the last couple of weeks. Well lots and nothing all at once.

We've used the money from the sale of the van to buy a new suite which we love and we have said goodbye to Stewart's car and replaced it with an automatic Renault Scenic which I love even though it reminds me of what is missing in my life.

On a daily basis we are plodding on, there are still tears and tantrums but not quite as many as before. however, we had an upsetting weekend when my eldest's ex girlfriend rang to say she had a blood clot on the brain, was having surgery the next day and it was 50/50 chance of survival. Poor Jamie had a sleepless night at his friends where he was, an awful journey home to me and then a nerve wracking wait for a phone call - when it came she claimed to have had the op and was discharged (some 2 hours after the operation!!!) Alarm bells rang and it was obvious something was amiss. After many calls round we found it was a hoax and a very cruel one at that - so although I am angry about it, I am also relieved that he is out of the situation and I think he is too as he can get on with his life.

Things seem to have evened out on a daily basis. I am not sure how much of this is that Jamie has signed up to a gym and is playing tennis and going into the gym a lot which gives him space to take out his anger away from home, but it has meant that things are calmer. I think the fact I have been to my first counselling session has helped too - not sure what benefit it is but actually being allowed to chatter (something I am good at) about me and my life and my anger etc without feeling I am putting on people is wonderful. Back again next week so will see how it goes.

The next big hurdle is I have Macmillian Benefits team coming next week to try and sort out whether it will be financially better for me to stop working. I need to make a decision once and for all and sort myself out. The big problem for me is obviously it feels wrong that in the current climate where jobs are few and far between but if i do what's right for me now, will it be the same in 2 years when Jamie leaves home and benefits drop and if that happens will I be able to get a job suitable for the kids. With Alex on DLA it means i need to be around for him for the forseeable future. There are so many questions to ask with no answers.

As for me, well as long as I am busy (and I am with making invitations) then I cope but when I go upstairs to bed it all hits me like a hammer in the heart. Every night is so hard, I have a chat to him but it just upsets me so much, I suppose I block everything out during the day but when I chat with Stewart it opens up so many open wounds. The funny thing is that I know he is listening to me (I got a message from my friend the day I had my counselling saying he had asked her to contact me and tell me he loved me because I was having a hard day - yet no-one knew I was going!!) and probably getting totally fed up of my incessant chattering at him and crying, he hated both of those things. I sometimes feel as though he is in the room with me and its a lovely feeling, see just as I typed that I felt him here!!!!

Right, I've gabbled on long enough tonight - I know my posts are fewer but sometimes it feels wrong to pour out my heart on here continuously - I am sure anyone reading this doesnt want that every day - but I will update here weekly if I can and hope that soon I can add in some scrapbooking stuff too. Once the next set of invites are finished my mission is to scrap for britain - it's been a long time since I did scrapping at home and I think I need to get back to it, even though most pictures are of stewart at the moment and it is therapeutic.

Good night all and catch you all again soon.

Friday, 16 January 2009

An end of an era and a sad farewell

Well, there have been lots of things happening over the past week in my life but tonight culminated in one of the saddest. Tonight we sold Stewart's van, and although I know it couldn't stand outside forever and that sometimes, when I pulled into the street my first reaction was "oh good, Stewart's home" before that sinking feeling, it was so hard watching it drive away for the last time. He loved that van, it was his second home and he bought that with such joy and had it sign written and was so proud of it, yet today I waved it goodbye and it felt like I was saying goodbye to him all over again.

The boys have been quite good about it but Gemma has been heartbroken, it's all she has ever known and this has sort of made her realise that daddy isn't coming home.

So what else is happening in my life. Well Jamie has taken his AS level exams this week, Alex has baked an apple pie, I have looked at a new(ish) car, I have looked at a very funky settee, I have worked really hard, I have sorted out temper tantrums and mood swings from the kids, I have made invitations, I have spent far too much on stash considering my financial situation, I have laughed a little and cried a lot. It has had many ups and downs and there are days when getting out of bed is so hard and others that I just get up. I am still recovering from the flu which hasn't helped me at all but even with that I haven't managed to stay in bed for any length of time - the kids still need getting up and therefore it meant me getting up too.

One of the nicer things to have happened is that Alex has decided that he will take over from Stewart and bring me a cup of tea every morning, ok granted it's at 6.30am when I am not really awake but it is such a sweet thing to do.

Jamie has found a new song by Lonestar which says exactly what I am feeling at the moment

The Lyrics are:

Last Night I had a crazy dream
Wish was granted just for me,
It could be for anything
I didn't ask for money, or a mansion in Malibu
I simply wished for one more day with you

One more day, One more time
One more sunset maybe I'd be satisfied
But then again; I know what it would do
Leave me wishing still, for one more day with you

[Oh one more day]

First thing I'd do is pray for time to crawl
I'd unplug the telephone, and keep the TV off
I'd hold you every second, say a million I Love You's
Thats what I'd do, with one more day with you

One more day, One more time
One more sunset maybe I'd be satisfied
But then again; I know what it would do
Leave me wishing still, for one more day with you

One more day, One more time
One more sunset maybe I'd be satisfied
But then again; I know what it would do
Leave me wishing still, for one more day....
Leave me wishing still, for one more day....
Leave me wishing still, for one more day....
With you

[Oh... One more day]

It was obviously written by someone who knows exactly what I feel and puts into words exactly what I feel.

I still haven't managed to get up to see Stewart, so many things have stopped me getting there and I feel really guilty - I would like to go on Sunday after work but as Gemma has a friend staying and I can't leave them too long with Alex it looks like I won't get there unless I go up when Jamie gets home.

I have still to make decisions regarding work as I would really like to continue but I need to sit with my figures and work out if I can afford the mortgage etc without help. It's just another decision to make on my own. In some ways if Stew had lived longer and I had needed to look after him it would have made the decision so much easier but ifs don't help and he isn't here to guide me. I love my job and the fact I am my own person when I am there, even though there are still lots of tilting heads from visitors, it is my saviour at the moment because for 75% of the time I dont think about Stewart because I don't have the time. Is that bad? I do feel guilty but know I can't spend the rest of my life thinking solely of him.

So thats this week's update. Without my friends, your comments, your support I wouldn't get through a moment so for that I will be eternally grateful.

Saturday, 10 January 2009

Another First

Before I start this post I want to say a huge thank you to Skye for that beautiful poem, it was a lovely thought to write something for me and it meant a lot.

Well, it's nearly midnight which means we have hit the 3 month mark since I lost my beloved Stewart. I can't believe it, 3 whole months without him. To be honest, it still doesn't seem real at all, we have never been apart longer than a week in 20 years and the past 3 months feels like an age. I cannot get it into to my head that I will never ever see him again. To be honest I don't want to, I won't and I can't accept he is never going to come back in through the front door. I know that in time I will have to accept it but at the moment I just WON'T. The kids are having a really tough time, Jamie has admitted that although he knows it is hard for me, that I won't have to go through this again but he will and he doesn't know when. That is such a frightening thought for a child. I cannot imagine it at all, I am still lucky enough to have both my parents so what he is going through is something I cannot comprehend but something I find totally heartbreaking. He is a wonderful young man who shouldnt have to go through this. He was wonderful before this and didn't deserve this pain. He feels he did something wrong and is being punished and although I have explained it to him that it isn't his fault, I can totally understand because I feel the same. I have looked at my life in depth and I admit I have made mistakes, could this be my punishment?

Tonight I went to a good friends birthday/anniversary party. I didn't want to go and nearly bottled out at the last minute but I knew how much it would mean to them if I went, so I slapped on some make up for the first time and put on some heels and went. It was so hard. I walked in and just wanted to turn round and run, but Anne and Rafi who picked me up held my hand and gave me the strength to go through with it. Everyone was lovely - only a couple of tilted heads, a lot of questions of "how are you doing" and "how are the kids coping" but I managed to sit through the whole meal and when i went out to check on the kids people came out to check I was alright. The funny thing was I knew Stewart was with me, I could feel him and he would have so loved to have been there. The food was his cup of tea, and he actually would have known most people there. I have to say the support I got from everyone there was overwhelming and very heart warming but once the dessert came out I knew I couldn't keep it up and needed to go home. Bless Jamie, he came straight away to pick me up and I have felt better being home.

I am working tomorrow and won't get up to see Stewart, as I have Gemma on my own, which is very hard, but I know he will still be there on monday (he doesn't get out much these days!) when I have the chance to go on my own. I am not sure how I will get through tomorrow. Half of me hopes it is really busy so I won't think about it, and the other just wants me to get home to the kids as quick as I can. I am so blessed to have the kids, my family and friends around me and supporting me but I now realise that it is only me that can get me through this. Nothing I do will change anything in the past but I hope that wherever Stewart is, he is watching me and smiling down. I hope I am doing things the way he would want me to, that I am bringing up the kids the way he would want me to and that we are thinking about him and talking about him as much as he would want us to. I also know he would be kicking me up the rear end if he was here and telling me to get on with things, but it is so hard every day to continue living a life I just don't want to live. This wasn't what I dreamt of, my dreams have all been shattered and I am not sure I have the strength to build new ones. Only time will tell.

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Ups and Downs and denials

Well, we are into the first week of a new year and so far it hasn't been too bad, well maybe not too bad is an exageration but you know what I mean.

There are still many issues to sort out - Jamie being 17 is being a mix of a typical 17 years old teenager and a young man trying very hard to step into his daddy's shoes. However, the problem we have is that we are not ready for this and it sometimes makes things difficult. However, tonight we have had a brief chat, well more me telling him and him listening and I hope he understands but who knows, I just got the obligatory grunt - however he is still being amazing but he just needs to find his feet.

Alex is really suffering from middle child syndrome - he isn't the man of the house and he isn't the baby and he feels that we don't listen to him. To be honest, we don't most of the time cos he tends to talk total and utter crap (always has so this isn't new) but I do believe that we need to take the time to listen to him at least even if we don't follow up on things. He has been amazing this week and bless him, is helping me out so much.

Gemma is really throwing the gauntlet into the ring with some of her behaviour. After taking advice that when she has a strop and shouts things at us we should ignore it and it will stop, it slowed down but when it happened it was horrendous. So last week I broke all the rules in the book and gave her a piece of my mind, telling her if she continued like this she would make me unhappy and I would have to go into hospital and then she would have to go to grandma's. She wasn't happy about this option at all (grandma is loving but exceptionally strict) and having had a real talking to, with the offer of telling me she is angry instead of shouting at me and the second option of going into the bathroom and shouting it at the wall, without me telling her off for her language or anger, she has definately improved. I felt awful, taking away her security blanket of me being here for ever but I just couldn't cope with it any longer, it was making my life even worse which I never thought possible. She is also back to her old tricks of coming downstairs after going to bed and not getting enough sleep. So after a long chat with a friend (thanks Charlotte) we have set up a new routine that she goes to bed at 9pm and is allowed, for an hour to either watch telly, listen to music, read, paint whatever she wants but it is lights out at 10pm and from 9pm she isn't allowed downstairs. The times change for non school nights to 10pm and 11pm (bless her she is a night owl so won't sleep earlier). I have promised in return that if she does this every night, I will reward her at the weekend with a special hour together doing something together, such as painting her nails, pedicure, baking, painting, doing her jigsaw or doing a LO together. Lets see if it works but so far so good tonight!!!

As for me, well I have the flu with a chest infection and swollen glands and not only do I look divine but I feel really really bad. I know if I could go to bed for a couple of days I would sort myself out but obviously without Stew to help me, that's impossible so I will have to get on with things.

I have also decided that instead of thinking of Stewart not being here and never coming back, the easiest way to get through the day is to think of him either at work or upstairs and so far I am better for it. I know I will have to deal with the forever at some point but with everything else going on, this will have to be the way I get through it.

I so miss him all the time and just want one hug, one kiss (ok a big kiss but one kiss) and to hear him talk to me and tell me he loves me one more time. I know Jamie is right in saying that if I got that I would want more, but at the moment I would settle for that!!!!

I have been off work sick but need to go in tomorrow - not sure how I will cope - I might be home again quicker than you can say "jack robinson" so we will see. Its a busy time of the year (actually it is always a busy time but its a busier time) so I really need to sort things out.

I have had some lovely emails over the last few days and one very special one from a fellow UKS'er who unfortunately lost her husband a few years ago offering to meet up with me. She is a member of a group for young bereaved partners (think you have to be under 50 to join) called WAY which I have joined but not actually attended anything yet. I thought meeting her might be nice on two levels, obviously she sounds lovely and has been very supportive and she has been exceptionally understanding and supportive but also because we have something other than bereavement in common - we have scrapping. Sounds like this could be good for me and I have promised myself I WILL make the effort to meet up with her soon.

As for my scrapping - well I am only really doing it at the crops at the moment. That's because between times I am sorting out my life (no tall order that one!!), sorting out the kids, making ordered cards but most importantly making ordered invitations. I have got my 4th ever order which means I have 3 on the go at the moment which certainly keeps the mind busy!!!

I moved my dining room round on Saturday morning - don't ask, I just got up with bags of energy and a mad idea of how I could make things better and actually have a comfy chair in here (the room where we eat, I craft and is the kitchen too) so that I can chill out with the telly if the kids are in the lounge. Well after doing it "arse over tit" as Jamie put it, I got there with some help from the kids and I must say I think I am pleased with it. It is definately roomier in here and I think more organised but then again I can't find anything as I am too organised (LOL). So I am sat here at my craft desk, the patio is open so Boo can go out if needed (we are STILL trying to housetrain him) and my legs are freezing (it must be minus 4 at least) with a cup of tea typing this. However, one of the jobs I have to do over the next few days is sort some kits out with photos as I am cropping on Saturday (6 hours of MEEEEE time - so excited) but hopefully now I am organised this shouldn't be too bad.

I did treat myself today to the new cricut blade which is supposed to cut out chipboard - haven't had the time to try it but I will (how odd, I am actually talking about crafting of my craft blog and not just about my sad life - I must be moving forward a little!!). I did some lovely (though I say so myself) LO's at the last crop - 2 doubles and a single which I must photograph so I can upload for you.

Right I have waffled and waffled on here, not sure it makes sense but as usual I do feel a benefit of getting my feelings onto "paper" if you know what I mean, and I hope you have managed to follow it!!! Off to bed now to warm up with a water bottle and another cuppa!!