Missing Mum

“A Mum’s hug lasts long after she lets go”

Anon

 

I lost my Mum quite suddenly six months ago today and suffice to say that we’re all struggling quite a lot. It’s hard to describe just how incredible my Mum was – a bundle of energy, confidence and love. She had so many friends because of her way of being able to talk to anyone and everyone. There are so many things that I wish I had asked her or learnt from her but I thought I had all the time in the world.

Grief is a funny thing. When I first returned to work after a couple of weeks off, when people asked how I was, I would reply “surviving but not coping”. I don’t feel I’ve moved on from that really. My sleep was starting to improve in December but then took a step back in January so I feel that I have been running on no sleep for six months. I can’t begin to count the number of nights that I have lain in bed sobbing silently so that I don’t worry anyone.

I’m constantly a ball of mixed emotions. I deliberately haven’t looked up the stages of grief – I didn’t think it would be helpful for me. I have had many moments of anger (quickly flaring) but overall, my main emotion is disbelief. Mum and Dad had been walking 8-10 miles every day right up until mid July. She seemed perfectly fit and healthy, so how could she possibly be taken from us just a month later?

I really don’t think it’s hit me yet. Nor do I want it ever to. How could I possibly cope? Logically, I know that I have lost her but I can’t possibly believe that in my heart. My Dad and sister have both started counselling – I’m not sure that I’m ready yet but it’s certainly something that I am considering. I want to be prepared for when I do have to accept facts.

I think the hardest thing is that absolutely noone knows exactly what I am going through. For my siblings it is different to how it is for me and we will all be feeling different things at times. My parents had been happily married for just shy of 40 years – Mum had been planning what the family would do to celebrate in just a few months time. My Dad is absolutely lost without her. They had both retired early, so for the last year had spent every single day together. I’m grateful for that at least. But it is hard to know how best to be there for him. He recently scattered some of Mum’s ashes but told us that he needed to do that on his own as he had promised Mum that he would. We are a close family so are all here for each other and hope that Dad will continue to be honest with us as to how he is faring. I am so pleased that Dad and I are going travelling soon.

When I try to picture Mum, the two memories that most commonly come to mind are my Mum throwing her head back and laughing or dancing around- she was always the first on the dancefloor at weddings etc. When you’re young, I think everyone just assumes that their Mum is the same as everyone else’s. It is only when you become an adult yourself that you see your Mum for who she really is – her strength, compassion, humour. During London 2012, I took Mum along to watch the volleyball with me and then we went for tea and cakes afterwards. I was a little offended afterwards when Dad told me that she had commented on what good company I was. Now I think that she was appreciating me as the women as I have grown up to become, rather than as her little girl. It has taken me longer to realise how much I admire and love my Mum for who she was rather than just as a mother.

Mum and I were always close. I am the oldest of three and we would all call Mum our best friend. We could tell her absolutely anything. My friends find it hilarious that I phoned Mum before I lost my virginity but that was just the relationship we had. I was chatting away on the phone to her whilst I was at Uni, filling her in on all the gossip, and when I hung up, my housemates couldn’t believe that I would be so open and honest with my Mum. I knew she would always be there for me, even if she didn’t approve of or understand everything that I wanted to do. I hope I made her proud.

For our 21st birthdays, Mum made us all a personalised photo album filled with photos of each of us throughout our lives until then. This is one of my most treasured possessions and has been since I first received it. Now it is so lovely to see the thought that went into it and read her handwriting. Of course there are tears everytime.

You many have noticed that I have not once used the ‘d’ word – I just can’t. For me it sounds too harsh and final.

Things that have helped me to cope are writing a notebook of letters to Mum. I have never gone back and read what I have written and don’t think I ever will. So far, I have written when I have had a bad day or there has been an occasion that Mum would have been at. Hopefully, I will soon be writing to share good times with her. I still have my moments of going about my daily business, seeing something and thinking ‘I must remember to tell Mum that’, then it hits me all over again.

I’m afraid I can’t offer any tips. I think it is about not being too hard on yourself and giving yourself however much time you need, There are times you can predict will be difficult, such as Christmas and birthdays but then things take you by surprise. I couldn’t wait for 2017 to be over but then really struggled with the start of the new year – whatever happens this year, I won’t be seeing Mum.

Today I am in Senegal, on my own. I didn’t think about the date when I booked, then contemplated cancelling when I realised. Perhaps it will be good to be on my own… To have time to think and remember good times. I’ll let you know.

Mum

Love always Mum

xxx

 

 

Roast rating : OXBO Bankside

“Nothing prosecco can’t fix”

Anon

 

oxbo roast

Last week, to celebrate a couple of family birthdays, we went to OXBO Bankside (http://www.oxbobankside.co.uk). Of course we went for the bottomless prosecco option – it would be rude not to when it’s only an additional £12 each… I’d definitely recommend booking as it was fairly busy when we went, with lots of big groups and is definitely a good location for a celebration.

With a bottomless booking, you have two hours to help yourself to unlimited starters and desserts and then a choice of mains. Your main is served to you. Last Sunday, we had a choice of roasted sirloin of beef, grilled corn fed chicken, roasted stone bass or thanet cauliflower, broccoli lentil dahl. Unsurprisingly, I opted for the beef and was rather pleased that this came with a Yorkshire pudding (the chicken didn’t). We had a choice of well done or rare but our larger group size meant that I could swap to one which was more to my tastes (medium rare). The vegetables were broccoli, cauliflower, carrots and green beams. Even though we only got one roast potato, it was large and delicious. High points also go to the meat with both the beef and chicken rating highly. The only downside was that we could have done with a little more gravy between us.

oxbo start

The bottomless roast is £42 per head with unlimited prosecco (£30 for just the food). This is an absolute bargain for the amount of food on offer. The highlight is of course the tables full of starters and desserts. To start, there was a variety of salads, seafood, meat etc. My favourites were the smoked duck breast, coated salmon and beef. I have to confess that we all went up for seconds and could easily have had thirds if we hadn’t been saving ourselves some rooms for the mains!

Dessert wise, there was everything ranging from sweets, cakes, trifles and meringues, with a cheese board as well. I had spotted the prosecco jelly early on so made sure to grab one of those and a couple of the mini fruit meringues. Sadly, there wasn’t much cheese left by the time we got there as we had gone for one of the last sittings. I’m not sure I could have fitted much more in anyway!

We had a great meal and definitely got our moneys worth on the prosecco front! The staff were friendly and attentive. There was live music, which was excellent but a little loud if you were sitting close by. But of course, the best thing was spending time with my lovely family.

oxbo flowers

Looking forward to 2018

“It’s pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves.

The book is called opportunity and its first chapter is New Year’s Day”

Edith Lovejoy Pierce

 

IMG_6900 (2)

 

The start of a new year is often taken to be a new beginning. In fact, the first month gets its name from Janus, a two-faced God who the Romans believed looked backwards into the old year whilst simultaneously looking ahead to the future.

 

Traditionally, new years resolutions were about improving ones self. In fact, common objectives set now have been proven to be more successful than resolutions made at other times of the year.

 

Personally, I am hoping that 2018 will be my year of travel. I’m hoping to get away every single month this year and am aiming to up my country count too – I am on a rather respectable 50 plus (which is about 22% of the world) but have nearly 50% of Europe yet to visit! So first off is a city break to Riga in Latvia next week. My first holiday and first new country of the year.

 

I’m also aiming to be a better tourist in my own country. The boy and I aim to get away together once a month, often booking last minute. But I also want to explore more of London – I can’t remember the last time I went to a museum here!

 

Along with the rest of the country, I am going to join a gym and aspire to a healthier me.

 

Oh and of course, I want to blog…

New Years Resolutions

As 2017 comes to an end, I’ve been looking forward to 2018 and wondering what I hoped to achieve. Having kept a blog when I was working abroad, I’ve missed having somewhere to record my thoughts, so one of my new years resolutions is to blog again.

For probably the first time ever, I actually managed to keep my new years resolution from 2017… It was simple – eat less meat. I decided that I would try to do ‘Meat free Mondays’ each week as a simple way to eat more sustainably and found this pretty easy, so as the year went on, I also made sure I stuck to fishy Fridays. Don’t get me wrong, a good steak and red wine is one of lifes greatest pleasures so I have no intention of giving up meat altogether!

Anyway, having managed to keep a resolution last year, I figured I might be on a roll so thought i’d start this whilst enthusiasm was high. And of course, as a procrastination tool when I have so much to do in the run up to the festive season…

So here I am, looking forwards!