Merry Christmas

I know, its been an age since I last blogged, let me explain and let’s talk about Christmas.

I decided to embark on the adventure of an Open University degree and so for the past few months I have been reengaging my brain, which has not always been easy. Now in my mid 50s I find that learning new things is not the issue, its retaining that knowledge which is where all the difficulties are kept. I spend a few hours a week, head at  my computer screen or in a book, learning about the world from a Psychological point of view and being encouraged to ask question and think about the everyday more deeply. Examining why we behave in a certain way is not always easy and often comes up with uncomfortable answers. In the next part of my module I will be looking at how animals were used in Psychological experiments as it was no longer seen as ethical to use humans (a back lash from the horrific practice of the Nazis to use Jews in their human experiments) I will admit that I am not looking forward to looking at this part, being a vegan means that I know I am going to find it uncomfortable reading and as doing an online degree is a very solitary past time,  means that I will have to share my uncomfortableness with my poor husband and children.

So here we are again, it’s Christmas and I pray that during this one you will all be able to spend it with families and friends. Things change so often now with Covid and the restrictions that we are all getting a bit blasé  about it. Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that we should be this way, I think that we are at the point now where we all know that this is life now for quite a while and we need to find a new normal.

I believe that Christmas, as wonderful as it is, is a very difficult time for many. Some lost beloved ones in the lockdown and this Christmas, being closer to Christmases BC, that is before covid, only serves to remind many that there will be an empty chair and a voice no longer heard. For many the Christmas season is more like an endurance race, something to be got through. Most people’s Christmas is not like the endless images we are served up daily on our television screens.  Visions of perfect families, magic and reconciliation, gatherings, endless food with no washing up and bells ringing full of joy. For some it will only serve to highlight loneliness, need and family tensions.

We all know the Christmas story, which in itself has been sanitised and prettied up for mass consumption. The truth of this story is that it was a couple away from home and family, isolated in an unfamiliar place. They had doors shut on them and then made the best of it in a stable in just the same way as most of us make the best of what we have, even when we feel far from our families. The truth of the Christmas story is that the biggest miracle of all happened in squalid surroundings, to a teenage mother, visited first by the misunderstood shepherds who lived on the fringes of society and then later on by some foreigners from far away.

So to all my friends out there who find aspects of this festive season  upsetting, to those of you missing someone, feeling the emptiness, looking for the festive cheer that cannot always be found, take heart., The first Christmas was messy and complicated and I expect there was a lot of stress and pain before joy finally came in the shape of the baby. This Christmas, like the previous 4, I will miss my mum and my son, thank God for them and wish them a happy heavenly Christmas, never gone, never forgotten.

What I wish for you all is peace this Christmas time, much blessing and a chance to stop and recharge your batteries. Life is a winding path and who knows what 2022 will hold, but I pray that most of all it is full of love.

As Tiny Tim  says “God bless us, everyone”




A letter to mum

I’ve been wondering what my mum would make of this strange time we live in, what would she make of all this madness and how I could explain it to her? So in my usual, unusual fashion, I thought I would write her a letter and share it with you.

Dearest mum,

Well mum, the world you left looks very different now, I wish I could say for the better mum, but instead it is a world of unfamiliar restrictions, fear and illness.

At the beginning of last year we heard of a new virus. The first cases seemed to arise in China but it is thought now that it was around before this but wasn’t detected. It spreed fast mum, quicker than anyone could have expected and seemed to hit older people and those with other illnesses worst, but not exclusively.

After a lot of back and forth, the government finally put us in a national lock down from the 23rd March last year. Can you imagine it mum? Everything shut other than supermarkets. The streets were so quiet and there were so few cars on the road. The birds seemed to sing louder than ever and we gradually got used to our own company.

I think at the beginning it was all a novelty. We all began to spend loads of time on zoom ( talking to people on the computer via the internet) but now, almost a year in and on lock down number 3, the novelty has definitely worn off, plus my hair really needs cutting.

Lots of new words came about. People were furloughed, in other words people continue to be paid even though they couldn’t work. The word “unprecedented” was said about every 3 seconds on TV and at one point we thought we might turn it into a drinking game. You know, where you have a drink every time you hear the word. We however decided against it as we think we might have been completely hammered by 10 am everyday, especially if we watched the news. We all “social distance” not getting closer than 2 metres to others. We all carry hand sanitiser and wear a mask in the shops. Masks have become the new fashion accessary, don’t think you would enjoy it much, and the words Covid and Corona virus will be etched into our memories forever.

If you were here mum you wouldn’t even be allowed out of the house, we would be so scared for you, but being over 80 you would be in line for the vaccines they have developed.

It’s hard to watch all the heartache on TV mum. Sometimes I have to turn it off as it just gets to much. With all this going on mum, its still not the worst year of my life by a long way, the year we lost you and Jake will always hold that crown, to be honest, this doesn’t even compare for me on a personal level. It’s driving us all slowly mad, but in comparison to that year, this is an inconvenience for me. It doesn’t mean that I don’t feel for all those people who have sick family or have lost someone, I really feel for them, for their pain, I understand.

So you can see things are a bit weird at the moment mum. There are vaccines starting to be given and I say bring it on. Some people are afraid or sceptical of them mum, people are scared of new things, but I know you would have rolled up your sleeve in readiness, especially if you thought it was protecting your family, and that is a good enough reason for me mum.

Well its nearly midday and the kids are still lounging about in bed so I had better go and get them on their feet. We all miss you but are glad that we had you and that you are safe. Give my love to everyone with you, nan and grandad and so on, and give Jake a big squeeze for me.

Love you always.

Where to next?

2020 is nearly over and there can not be many people that aren’t glad to see the back of it. For myself, its been an interesting and sometimes difficult first year in our new home, but I have been grateful for the roof over my head and the food in my fridge. We have not gone without and we are still together so I count this as a win. If I am totally honest, this is not the worst year of my life by a long way. Nothing will ever, I hope, compare to the twelve months in which we lost mum and Jake, that is a year that I would not wish on anyone.

In January I will be walking my age to raise money for age uk,(please see my facebook page to see how to donate). I had the privilege of living with my mum until the end of her life. We only lived in different houses for eighteen months and found that it worked best for us to all live together. This arrangement may not be for everyone, but my mum was on her own and I couldn’t bear the thought of her being lonely or alone. She loved spending her life with our children and they benefited so much from having her so close. She was and is a great mum and nan. It wasn’t always easy, especially towards the end of her life when she became so unwell,but even at this time she thought of her family, leaving us a letter to express her love for each of us,the gift of hearing her voice after she had moved on.

I am raising money in her memory. I hate the thought of people being lonely and the money that so many are raising will help age uk reach out to the older people in our community. This pandemic has been difficult but surely the elderly have felt the brunt of it, and especially those on their own.

I start my walking tomorrow on the 1st of the new year and intend to keep you all up to date on my progress by blogging here and by posting on facebook and Instagram, so keep an eye out for these. Personally, I am hoping that as well as raising money for a great cause, it will give me a purpose for January and a reason to brave the cold weather and get some needed exercise. Please give what you can, I know that times are so hard for so many, but even a few pence can make a difference.

To all my dearest friends and family, my prayer for you is that 2021 is a year of light and joy. That you can finally hug your loved ones, not fear to be next to someone in the super market and that arrangements can be made to spend precious time with the people you love. May we never again take our freedom for granted and may we always put love first.

I wish you all love, joy, peace and happiness in the new year. May we meet again soon, not through a computer screen but face to face with joy in our hearts, love in our eyes and possibly a drink in our hands.

Love to you all and happy new year. See you on day one of my walking challenge



One year on

“If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.”

1 Corinthians 13 v 1 -3

It is a whole year today since we moved to our home in Newbury, and what a strange year it has been. It being Armistice day means that it will stick in my mind, the day we packed up our belongings and memories and shut the door of our Uxbridge home forever.

It felt weird not to be taking part in a Remembrance day service this year. Usually I would have been wearing my Girls Brigade uniform and would be standing with the girls as the flag was lowered and we stood for the two minutes silence, but it was not different for only me , it was different for all of us.

So here we are in lock down number 2. It’s not a surprise to me to be here again, but for many, this time seems more difficult. The evenings are long and dark and the weather is changing as we hurtle towards winter, and then there is Christmas, what will we be dong at Christmas?

As a Christian Christmas is more to me than lights, gifts and The wizard of Oz, it is to celebrate the birth of Christ. Christmas is the foundation of my faith; it is also the time when I look forwards to catching up with friends and family, many of whom I have hardly seen since February, so I am acutely aware that my Christmas, like everyone’s else, will probably look very different this year.

We would usually start our Christmas Day by going to church, something I have done since I was a teenager. This year I will be visiting church from my own front room, hearing my own voice as I sing a carol rather than being part of a singing congregation. We would usually go home and then shut the door on the world and enjoy a family day of food, drink and the occasional board game and silly TV programme. We are content to do this most years as we know that the days following Christmas are spent visiting loved ones.

Like everyone it is the uncertainty that is most difficult to deal with, not knowing what, if anything, we will be allowed to do. How many people will we be able to see, inside or outside? Can we hug and give them a Christmas kiss? Can we show our family and friends the affection we are all so longing to receive from others? Could we maybe, just for a short while, talk about something other than COVID and for those who have lost someone, could they at last be able to grieve with others rather than face each day alone with their thoughts?

I know that nothing is certain in this life, we may think we have it all worked out, all planned and yet here we are, waiting and praying for an effective vaccine so that we can feel more normal, whatever that means.

I don’t know what will happen over the coming months, who we will be able to see, where we will be allowed to go but I know that Christmas for me will have the same meaning as ever, a celebration of the birth of Christ, this is the most important thing, the reason for the season.

To see all those I love will be an amazing bonus, the second best gift of all.

My prayer is,that if anything good can come from this uncertain time it is a deeper appreciation of those we care for. That we never take for granted our freedom to be with those dearest to us and that we will see our time together as precious.

God teaches us that love is the most important thing in the world, without it we have nothing. My hope and prayer for you is that you get to see those you love this Christmas time. That you get to talk with them, hold them, laugh with them, play board games and maybe watch some silly programme on TV with them. Let’s appreciate every single moment that we get together and if we don’t get to see those we love, to make plans to see each other soon. At this time, to have something to look forward to will surely bring light to the soul.

God bless my friends, stay safe, think of others and remember to first and foremost love.


Janet. Xx

I miss you

“It seems to me we can never give up longing and wishing while we are thoroughly alive. There are certain things we feel to be beautiful and good, and we must hunger after them.”

George Eliot

We have been in Newbury for almost a year now, and what a strange year it has been. I had decided to give myself some time to settle, a few months to find my feet, so thats what I did. Christmas came and went, then the usual round of all our birthdays in the first three months of the year, including Jake’s, and at the end of all this,along came lock down.

It has not always been easy. I have missed my friends from our old area and find myself wondering if lock down would have been different for us back in London. Thank goodness we had already made some connections in Newbury, or I think we would have been very isolated, especially in the early days.

Like most people I had an over optimistic view of the situation. I disregarded by own common sense and understanding of how societies and governments work . I tried to convince myself that things would be back to normal after a few months. I subsequently have come to the conclusion that we are playing the long game and that this virus is something we are going to have to live with and manage in the best way we can for the foreseeable future.

The problem is the longing. I am not longing to be able to freely go into a pub at any time I want, or to shop without a mask. I am not longing for a foreign holiday, or to go to the cinema every night. What I am longing for is to see people, to hug them, to kiss them hello and goodbye. To remember that they are a whole person and not just a head in a box via a zoom call. I remember my daughters18th birthday where our house was filled with people and voices and laughter and I wander if that will ever happen again. I am so grateful that we were able to celebrate when so many of her friends were robbed of that joy.

As humans we need others, we need the physical touch of family and friends. A hug that says that you are important, you are acknowledged. Touch that recognises your pain, speaks into your grief, accepts your mental frailty. I long to have my friends together again. To play stupid games, to laugh and joke and just enjoy being us as we always have done.

I long for the days when university kids see the inside of a university building rather than the four walls of their room and a computer screen. When school children don’t have to worry about who is in their bubble and when those who have spent the past two years at college training for their chosen career have at least a chance of finding a job that uses their qualification.

I long to not have to think about it any more. I know this is foolish and selfish, I know that this is a cruel illness and that knowledge of it is key. I also know that I, like many others, are now finding it hard to live with the anxiety that the media coverage evokes. I long for clear information, clear guidance and a clear strategy to take us forward.

Am I naive? Probably, but I know that love and affection, spending time with your friends and family, and showing people that you care are all beautiful and good; things we should surely long for.

My prayer is that I can write about how things are changing for the better. That those shielding can once again spend time with their families. That the thousands of people in care homes can once again spend time with their loved ones rather that a fleeting visit, or a kiss blown through a window. I pray that you will soon be able to have all the people you most care for in the world all in one room, that we can embrace each other and hold each other a little longer without worry or fear.

Take care my friends, stay safe and always remember what is beautiful and good.




The ability to be grateful

“At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.
Albert Schweitzer

Have you ever Googled yourself? I know that its an odd thing to do but usually when you do it you find out that there is someone with your name that lives the other side of the world and seems to have a much more interesting life and profession than you do. Not so long ago I googled me and I, the real me, came up first in on the page. This genuinely shocked me, surely there was another Janet Pullin out there who had more to say, more fun to share, more ‘life hacks’ to impart to the world, but apparently not. So the number one search result for Janet Pullin is a 53 year old women from England who has been emotionally smacked about a bit by life over the past 4 years and if you read my blogs, especially the original ones I wrote after Jacob’s death, you might argue that I have little to be grateful for.

We all have trauma of some sort, whether it is the death of loved ones, financial insecurity, relationship struggles or mental health issues. No one on this earth is immune to the waves of life. It is easy to be consumed by this trauma, and some days it is all you can do to keep your head above the waves. Days where you think that your spark has gone out and can never be lit again. I have had those days, we all know people who have had those days or are having them right now, so how can we feel gratitude?

I recently listened to a piece on gratitude, on what we can be grateful for. It didn’t talk about possessions or jobs or holidays or money, it talked about people, the people that help relight your spark, who walk with you no matter what. Some will come into your life for a period of time, some will come into your life and you will walk the entirety of life’s path together.

So what am I grateful for?


My faith sparks my life. I will admit that after losing Jake my faith was rocked to its foundation, I was taken into the depths of myself and I was so lost and angry, for weeks all I could say is why? I hear you ask, how can I still believe? I believe because my faith is the one thing that really gives me hope. This world does not give me hope, things do not give me hope, many people do not give me hope, but when we lost our son, God sent a torrent of loved ones to us, people who waited patiently for us, who cried with us, held our hands. My faith… no, my God has shown me that this is not the end, that beyond this place is an eternal light where we will never be put out. My Christian belief gives me a reason for being and gives me people with shining souls to travel with.

Soulmate and little lights

To say that I am grateful for my husband and children would be an understatement. After the death of a child many marriages fall apart, broken heart become broken relationships and broken homes. We knew that it would be difficult, that some days would be hard to bear. We, as a couple, made a conscious decision to cling to each other rather that to push the other one away. It is not always easy, but marriage is not an eternal round of flowers and hearts and long moon lit walks on the beach. We know, as a family, that we are damaged people, but we are not the only ones and after the things we have had to endure we have every right to be damaged.

I am grateful for my children. For the 24 blessed years I had with Jake. For the continuing blessing of Joel and Evie. That we continue to be a family, the five of us and that Jake is still alive in all of us. I am grateful for my beloved mum and the wonderful relationship we all had with her and the years of laughter and joy she brought to me especially. She was an example of an independent women who herself was tossed about by the storms of life but survived. And of course her undying love and devotion for her family.

Our walking buddies

To my last breath I will be grateful for those who have walked this life with me, to those who ran to us in our hour of need. Who stayed with us, fed us, loved us and prayed for us. I often wonder to myself how one woman can have such a wonderful family. Those who are related to me by blood and marriage and those who have become as dear to me as family.

It’s funny how you don’t realise how wonderful people are until you hit a brick wall. How the world is full of truly great, kind and compassionate individuals. We see so much that is wrong with our world, so much selfish and power grabbing ways, but there is also so much good. Little acts of generosity, angel voices whispering hope into your ear, long hugs that speak a thousand loving words. I have experienced and felt so much love for myself and my family that gratitude can be the only response.

To be grateful does not mean that you forget, that the things that have scarred you have magically disappeared. It just means that you are grateful for the people that held your hand during the hard times and grateful for those who continue to hold it still.

So I say thank you to all of you out there that helped rekindle my spark and continue to rekindle. To my faith, my family, my friends, your are a blessing to me; may we journey together always. I am and will ever be, eternally grateful.

The great indoors

It has been a long time since I last blogged, not sure what happened really. It’s like my creativity or my drive to write went into self isolation for a few weeks and I couldn’t find the words to write. I think that my upcoming operation (which of course was cancelled) Jacob’s birthday followed by sorting out Evie’s 18th over ran and overwhelmed me, but strangely enough, in amongst all this madness, I feel calmer, more me, more focused, my husband even remarked that it was good to have me back.

We live in strange times indeed. What to say about the Corona virus that hasn’t already been said a thousand times over already? As far as I can tell people fall into one of three camps. The first are those who are racked with fear and anxiety, who struggle to cope with the disruption to their lives, not because of any selfish motive, but through difficulty dealing with change and the threat of illness, not always their own but members of their family. The second are the majority of the population who rightly feel a degree of anxiety over this whole situation but who listen to the advice given and follow it, considering others health, not just their own. These people will do what they can to help others, even if this means staying away from them. Then we look at the third group, you know these people, the ones that consider any limitations to their freedoms or civil liberties totally unacceptable. Those who believe that the rules to protect others do not apply to them. I am not talking about those who continue to try to work to feed their families, not because they want to, but because they have little choice. Hopefully this will be sorted soon to give these people security, no, I am talking about the people who have little regard for others or believe this is all a bit “over the top”

What does a pandemic show us? Well it shows us that there are no real borders, that actually we are all the same under the sun. Disease and illness doesn’t care where you were born or what you do or did for a living. I think what makes the corona virus so difficult to bear is that it targets the elderly and the vulnerable, the people that we should be caring for the most anyway. I believe a society will be judged on how it treats the vulnerable, surely after this we will be judged on how we protected them, cared for them, loved them or gave them dignity as they moved on.

Secondly it shows us that regardless of all our technological break throughs, our wonder at our own achievements as a species, our pride at how we have evolved, we are not in control here, nature, especially when we ignore her, has a way of letting us know that we are not in charge. For all we are, for all we have done, a virus can bring the world to its knees.

Diseases have always come and gone, some stick around a bit longer than others, it has fallen to this generation, like many before it, to deal with a new one. The history books will record and document the virus of 2020 and I am sure that all of us living through these days will never forget it, but in the distant future all this will just be a history lesson or a chapter in a book.

For the majority of us in isolation this is just an inconvenience. We are not in a war zone where we cannot leave our house for fear of losing our lives, where parents sing to their children to mask the sound of the falling bombs. Some will sadly lose loved ones, some will lose jobs and businesses. Many will show the bravery of a beautiful heart and will work in key jobs to keep the rest of the nation going or volunteer to help the needy in our communities, the rest of us who watch on in gratitude praying that these amazing souls will get the recognition they deserve.

So what will I do? Well like most I will try to keep myself busy. I will go to the shop when necessary, take my one allotted outside walk a day keeping two metres from others doing the same and as hard as it is I will not see my beloved friends and family. It’s funny how when you cannot see someone you long to see them even more. I have loved being in constant contact with everyone, I appreciate them more understanding that the freedom we normally enjoy is a gift not to be squandered. I do know that when all this is over, in hopefully the not too distant future, that I will be hugging all those I love and have not been able to see, and probably won’t let go of them for a while.

My prayer for you is that you stay safe and well, follow the guidelines and then hopefully, very soon, the streets will be full of people getting closer and being grateful for each other. That the feeling of thankfulness will last a long time, that we as a generation will not forget and will never take what we have for granted.

God bless


New year, new you?

It’s 2020, a new year, a new decade but just another day. I gave up on making proper New Years resolutions many years ago. I may have a vague idea in my head of things I would like to achieve, things I would like to change, but so many resolutions end in us feeling guilty for our lack of progress or our lack of ability to see our resolutions through, another unnecessary pressure on us when so many have enough trouble just dealing with the day in front of them.

So, we have got through another Christmas and New year relatively unscathed. I wish I could say that I love this time of year but those days are gone, I cope, I survive, that is good enough for me now. But the question that is on my lips is, what now?

We are in our new home, that hurdle has been crossed, now we need to discover where we go from here. The house feels more like home. I am beginning to feel comfortable in finding my way around and we are starting to make connections in the area. My prayer is that the kids can begin to make a life for themselves, consider their own futures, have a bit more self belief, but what about me, what lies ahead for me, what do I want to do, what is my purpose on this planet.

When you have had the stuffing knocked out of you as we have, its difficult to really know what you want anymore. I had no particular career, I had always worked but had generally fallen into my jobs our of necessity and financial needs like most people do, but what now. I am not getting any younger, my face is sometimes unfamiliar to me but Janet still lurks inside, beaten by grief, but she is still there and she needs to decide what her God given purpose is now.

My poor sight now excludes me from so many jobs that most people would just take for granted, I cannot use normal computers, use machinery or work a till.I have always been blessed to find employment even with my disability, but it has been 15 years since I last started a new job and things have defiantly changed for me since then. To be honest I am not sure if I have the patients or the endurance for anything too mundane now So, what next?

I wish I could say this is a midlife crisis but think I am possibly too old for one of those now. If it is a midlife crisis then apparently I should go out and by a fast car, no good for me seeing as I am unable to drive, or have an affair, defiantly not my style, or go somewhere to find myself, and seeing as I know exactly where and who I am, that wouldn’t work either.

So, what next? I need to feel useful, to have purpose, to help others in some way. I need to be able to use what I have been through, what I have experienced, even learnt. I would still give my last breath to be able to turn back the clock 3 years, but if I cannot do that then I need to us it somehow just to make some sort of sense of it all. My writing has dried up over the past few weeks as I have felt uninspired and a little overwhelmed by the changes that have happened recently. Considering your options, looking at your abilities and skills is daunting in your 50’s so I am just going to move a little at a time and see where the path takes me.

The future is unknown and probably a good job too, if we could see our futures, many of us would not get out of bed, but the future is coming.

My purpose is unknown, I am sure that I must have one, we all do, but I am at a loss to know what mine is. It would be much easier if my purpose would come in letter form through my letter box, or come out of the sky, gently lowered by a flock of white doves, but its not going to do that, so I guess I will just have to try and work it out for myself. I know God has a plan, he just hasn’t read me in yet.

So, what’s next? I have a few ideas, things that rattle round in my head, its just the logistics of them, the working out of the kinks and seeing how I, with all my limitations, can actually move forward in them. I think the best we can all do it at least try, at least look beyond our four walls, at least look into the hearts and eyes of others around us and at least live and love. We owe it to those we have lost, those who wait for us and watch to see how we are doing.

I wish I knew what was next, what is around the corner, but I don’t. I do know is that its up to me how I approach it, how I deal with it. My purpose is as yet unseen, but its my job to search for it, to track it down and then to make the most of it.

My wish for you is that you have a blessed 2020 and that your purpose is filled with joy and peace.




Say hello and wave goodbye

We are here. We are in our new home and what a few weeks it has been. In the end we exchanging on the Thursday and moving the following Monday, not ideal and defiantly not our idea, but there it is, we are here in our new home.

We lived in Uxbridge in our old house for 20 years and to be honest I had forgotten how stressful moving is, that or I just coped better last time. Walford rd had been our home in some good times but also many really awful, traumatic times. When we lost Jacob, I knew straight always that we would need to move, but initially the house was so full of him and mum that it was too difficult to contemplate going. Two and a half years later and the truth is that without mum and Jake there, it was becoming less of a home and just a box full of memories, but memories go with you, they are not confined to 4 brick walls, they live in you and me, so it was time for a change.

In a strange way I use the past two and a half years as the bench mark for what is truly stressful, and I know in my heart that nothing in my life can ever compare to the loss of our child, that is true stress, true anxiety, but moving house was defiantly a difficult experience and I am not sure how some people move around so much.

There have been some parts that were laughable to, the guys packing literally everything in the house. They came two days before we moved and there packing included as well as all my clothes, all my underwear. Being asked by my husband if I had any clean knickers for myself as my had been packed in a sealed box, then Joel realising that they had packed every pair of shoes that he owned. If I was to give advice to someone else it would be to have your house professionally packed but to keep an emergency bag that included everything you needed until you get in your new home.

The moving day came, and the usual back and forth waiting for money transfers and so on whilst you watch all your possessions disappear into a large van or in our case two medium sized vans. The actual loading process took five and a half hours, then the hours drive to our new home then another five hours of unpacking and reassembling of beds etc. Was it a difficult day? Yes it really was, for all of us. I walked around my empty house in Uxbridge, said goodbye to the echoing four walls that no longer held my precious photos or the bits and pieces that we had all accumulated over the twenty years. It was a shell, a place of old images and memories, but no longer our home. It was time for us all to leave, it was time to say goodbye. I kissed the bedroom walls were my mum and three children had slept, walked down the stairs and them we closed our front door for the final time.

So we have moved.

The first three days we lived in amongst a sea of boxes, how do we as human beings accumulate so much stuff. The boxes had to go, I could not live or function with them baring down on me, so within around 4 days all the boxes in the house were emptied (of course we won’t talk about the garage at this point as I am trying to put forward an illusion of perfect organisation). In this respect I am a lot like my mum, once she started sorting things she would not stop until the job was complete. My mum was an organiser, she had to be I suppose, bringing up two children on her own in a time when a single parent family was still quite unusual.

It has been difficult, working out a new home, a new area, new transport links, new faces and places. I haven’t slept terribly well. You have all heard of a drunk purchase, well I had a lack of sleep purchase were at 4am one morning I bought a cat tower for by poor confined fur babies. Goodness knows what I was thinking, it is a pretty big beast which only one of my cats sits on, or uses to gain access to the window ledge to look at the birds that he is planning to terrorise when he is finally allowed out.

Moving house was difficult, it was stressful, it was traumatic but I think it was more so because of what we had gone through in the house, because of the memories, because of the past we held there. We are emotional creature, you do not put your emotions to the side and become a robot just because you are moving house. We made a choice to move, in contrast to all the events that were not of our choosing over the past two and a a half years. Will we find it difficult to properly settle, yes, we are and we will. Twenty years is a long time in one place but it was just a house. We will always keep our old friends whist maybe making new ones.

Any change is tough, me and my family understand that more than most, change will come, it will happen.

So, we have moved. Life can be hard, it tend to knock you about a bit. No one goes through this life without difficulties or problems. There is no league table of traumatic events, if there was I expect we would be near the top somewhere, but no one skips through this life. People often say to me “of course I haven’t been through any thing like you’ve been through.” No, maybe you haven’t, but that doesn’t mean that you haven’t been through truly awful things, that your pain isn’t valid or real, of course it is, of course you have your cross to bare as we all do. Pain and grief is pain and grief regardless of the form it takes.

We moved because we need to look to the future, we had a choice, to make, move or never move, to stay in our house of memories. They say life goes on and I suppose it does, but it is not as simplistic as that. I still to this day do not recognise so much of my life. That is not just the moving house, we are a changed family, changed forever, irreversible. We acknowledge what we have all been through, our families and friends acknowledge it but it is us who deal with it on a daily basis, who see the effect of it ripple though all our lives in the full knowledge that it will never leave us, that there is no rest from it. So we hold it all close and walk with it everyday. We move forward, we try, we breath and we live.

A new chapter begins, but the old one does not close, nothing and no one is ever forgotten. We hold all that has been close and those we love closer. For the many who have helped us walk this narrow, winding path, I thank you, you will always be welcome in our new home, which is now full of all my precious phots pictures and things, but more importantly is full of my happiest memories which I have taken with me and full of love for my beautiful family.

God bless



New beginnings, the misunderstood necessity for change.

New places, new things, new people are always a little intimidating, a little scary and a little unsettling. Yet change always comes, whether we want it or not. Even when it is a wanted change, it can feel like a heavy weight of uncertainty that sits on you shoulders.

I sit in a cafe in Debenhams in Newbury town, a place I have never been before. It is a pleasant enough cafe with its inoffensive decor and framed landscape picture of nowhere in particular, the obligatory child screaming and crying in the corner. It has been a long morning and I am consoling my aching feet with a a sweet treat and a fizzy drink. Our day started early and so it is now time for a well earned break.

My daughter is at her induction day and we have travelled for 2 hours to get her here as we are hoping to move into this area in a few weeks and I being the dutiful mother wanted to come with her to support her. So i find myself in this blank canvas of a cafe wondering how she is getting on and considering the many changes that are to come in our lives.

We have had so much change, my children have had to endure so much of it. They lost their nan and then their brother, they have had change rammed down their throats for 3 years. In amongst this they left school, college, uni, we even lost the dog. Change can be so cruel, can come into your life unannounced and barge its way into your whole being.

I know I ask a lot of my children to endure more change, but moving is something we all want.

So why more change now? It’s time. Time to look at new streets, mew buildings, new things. Time for our memories to live in our hearts and head rather than on every street, in every door way. My hope and prayer is that maybe we could then settle, find consistency and stability. Find a new home and build new memories whilst carry our old ones with us where ever we go.

When tragedy strikes you life you only have two real choices, to carry on and try to live as best you can, or to lay down and never really get up again. So this is our way of trying to carry on, to start to rebuild a little, to try at least.

Nothing is ever set in stone, you can plan, but I and you know that things can change, you need to look down a different path. We try to take each days as it comes, what do they say, to live in the moment. I am not sure if I live in the moment, but what I do know if that the change that is coming can never be as bad as the change that has been. We have lived and survived the worst change that could ever happen to anyone.

I am proud of my kids, proud that they can still stand upright, proud that even though they are sometimes full of anxiety and doubt, they continue to get up every time they fall down.

We are not always successful, things don’t always work out the way we would hope, but we keep on trying, keep on fighting. There are occasions when I don’t like this world much. It is full of people who cannot see beyond their own noses, but we have such amazing support, people who have stood along side us as we have navigated all the changes in our lives.

Change will come, there is no stopping it, no halting it in its tracks. It will walk with you, occasionally nudging you of course or pushing you to the ground, want it or not, eventually it will come.

So I sit in my seat, drinking my fizzy drink and watch the people as they pass me. I can see by their questioning looks that they are wondering what I am typing, but for now it is a secret.

So much change makes me uneasy but it is a familiar emotion, one that has been a close friend for many months now, but it will not consume me, not today anyway. Today I will ‘go with the flow’ and pray that one day uneasiness will pass and routine will return. Pray that my beloved husband and children will walk a path of their choosing rather that one they are dragged down. If we have each other, if we continue to love those here and those who wait for us, then we have much indeed. Change is coming, change is already here. As my yoga teacher reminds me ‘ just remember to breath’

So we will take one breath at a time, one step, one day and everything else, including the future, will just have to wait for us to catch up.