Grief, loss and Mother’s Day

I’ve had a tough week. It’s spilled over into this week, with my feeling “under the weather”, and not “on top form”. It’s been quite a while since I felt like this. I’d put it down to the hours I’ve been putting into my business recently.

However, after a conversation with Dale Darley about journaling on Friday, I realised that actually, I was holding things in, and that’s what was aiding my ‘tiredness’. Then on Sunday, when I was with my family for a wonderful weekend away, I was grumpy and broke down in tears, to be comforted by my 16 year old son, who I told, “I miss my Mummy” by way of explanation.

Grief and loss

I attended a train the trainer session on Wednesday, (see how my week has had a flow to it?), to allow me to train others to support people suffering grief and loss. I had no idea that I would be hit so hard by this. I support other people as a business, and volunteer, friend and mentor. I should be strong and be able to let go of all my grief and loss shouldn’t I?

“I must be strong, so that I can help others”, is what my head says. And then another little voice says, “well that’s OK, but who’s supporting and helping you?” That’s when I turned inwards. Not to ignore the voice, but to reflect on it.

You see, I guess I’m still grieving for my Mum who died, age 65, in May 2009. She was an amazing woman, loved by so many, who really could wear the SuperWoman motif. Everyone said so. She touched the lives of so many. She was very special. Not just to me and my brother.

I’ve grieved over the years. I’ve let her go. I have wonderful memories, of happy times and so much love shared.

It was interesting that I shared about my Mother in Law not realising her son’s needed support as they’d lost their father too. What I didn’t say out loud at the time, was that I’ve never felt my Dad realised I’d lost my Mum.

I’ve lost my father too

Not because he’s died, but because he’s changed. He’s not the person I grew up with, and I miss the father I knew for 38 years. I don’t need you to know the details, just that I’ve not allowed myself to grieve this loss in the same way as I have my mother.

Over the past 9 years, I know I’ve tried to put a ‘brave face’ on things, and when with family and family friends who loved my Mum and Dad, who are also grieving their loss of two people, and not just one. It’s been hard. To start with I tried to explain his behaviour away with “I’m sure it’s just a phase”, but after almost 9 years, I know I have to let him go too.

That’s so hard 🙁 To let someone go who is still alive, who you love, and always enjoyed their company. We had so many happy times.

I know many people lose people in life to illness. I feel your pain. I think it would have been easier to accept if he’d had a diagnosed illness, rather than a personality change!

Losing close friends

who supports you when you need it most - grief, loss and mothers dayDuring the training last week, and then again in a workshop I hosted on Monday, led by the lovely Simona Frumen, for my Business Club members, I realised that I was also suffering loss of people I’d had a very close relationship with over the past few years. Whilst I’ve just “got on” with life, during the workshop I shared that the hardest part I’d found, was that they hadn’t wanted to have a conversation about the ending of our business relationship.

Friends, I know, sometimes come and go. We ebb and flow with some people, whilst others are constant in our lives, and the bonds are so strong you know you have a shoulder to cry on, or arms to hug you, whenever you need them.

But this relationship I lost last autumn had been very special to me. It was intense in it’s starting and growing. And it was a surprise quick ending for me. I guess the grief has finally caught up with me on this one.

Whilst I’ll never understand this ending, I can put it in perspective in my life through my own journaling, and letting myself.

There’s all sorts of areas of loss in our lives. The training last week had me thinking about a lot of different things – confidence, home, momentoes, jewellery, esteem, identity, friends. Have you lost anything that you haven’t grieved yet?

This last week has shown me I must take time to reflect, and be honest with myself. I’m very good at helping others to reflect and learn to help them move forward. It’s time I took my own advice!

And then came Mother’s Day

It was hard. Probably the hardest one after the first one 8 years ago.

I guess as my awareness had been raised over the previous week in the training and conversations, that I was more open and raw than usual. There’d been International Women’s Day, celebrating amazing women. I allowed my wonderful Mum to creep back into my head. I allowed myself to say, “I miss my Mum”.

It’s not unusual, and I know many women who’d love to have their Mum’s back in their lives.

For me though, this last week I’ve allowed myself to reflect on the last few months I’ve had. My husband has had labyrinthitis, and needed caring for for 6 weeks. The boys and I have worked together, and got through pretty well, in the main. It made me realise that we don’t have the support I’d like. My Mum, (and Dad), used to come and stay for a few days at a time and just “be there” and “do stuff”. It was wonderful. It was annoying sometimes as well, I’ll admit that. But having someone to make tea – even just think about it & buy the ingredients, or do the washing was a relief. Since Mum died I’ve had no-one else who’s helped us in this way. I miss it.

Am I a big softie who doesn’t want to take on my own family’s responsibilities? I don’t think so, but then I’m happy for you to disagree with me. I think we all need support – the right support for us. Throughout our lives this will vary.

During this reflection it’s shown me that I don’t have the support I need around me at the moment. We have some wonderful friends and family, and they all did what they could whilst hubby was laid up in bed. However, I now know that I need more. I need more time to look after myself. More time to write, and reflect, and exercise and eat well, and have girly chats, and walk.

In my Business Club this month, the focus is on reviewing personal resources. I’ve been asking business owners to check if they have the right support for themselves and their business. Little did I know when I wrote that, that I need to review my own support too!

What support do you have around you?

I know I’m not alone in hiding, or pretending that loss or grief isn’t there, or doesn’t affect me. I know I’m not ready to lead any training sessions to help others with grief or loss, but I am able to listen to others who need to get things off their chest.

When I train a listening course, which is done as a pair of trainers, we listen to each other as part of a live role play to show attendees how listening helps to clear your head. We, as trainers, always benefit from this short listening session. So, I simply need to add in “be listened to” regularly in my diary with a friend, and/or trained listener.

It’s been great in the Business Club this week, where members are supporting each other, and becoming accountability buddies. Hopefully those relationships will allow for “life” stuff to happen, and they’ll support each other in the way each of them needs it.

Thank you for listening. I feel better having shared with you. It is a good thing to share – with ourselves, and with others. Don’t hold it in. Don’t hide from it. Whatever you need to do to reflect, and remember, it’s worth it. You will feel better in the long run.

I promise.

If this has raised issues for you, please do what you need to get the right support to help you. I have two good listening ears, Dale is wonderful at helping you journal & Simona helps to mediate solutions. Ask for help from your friends, or network, and if the right support isn’t there, keep searching.

Containing excitement is bad for your health

We all get giddy with excitement sometimes don’t we, and it’s sometimes hard to contain that excitement. It’s especially hard containing excitement if we’re doing something in secret, or trying something out before telling anyone. Yes, are you with me on this?

Well, I seem to be surrounded by people at the moment who are containing their excitement about one thing or another:

  • I’ve got a client who has gone underground to work on some new ideas for her business which she’s so excited about she can’t even talk about it
  • My youngest son is going to do his first cyclocross event on Saturday, and said, “I don’t think I’ve ever been this excited about an event in my life”
  • Another client has launched their website today, KCJ Gifts, and they’ve been  finding it hard to contain their excitement all week
  • Some of my online friends are sharing their excitement about their upcoming activities and events

It’s all very exciting to be around 🙂

Should we ever contain excitement?

Use your excited energy to spread happinessWe sometimes try and stop our children getting over excited about Father Christmas coming, or their birthday party. But why do we do this? Being excited is a fabulous energy to have, and to share that with others, shares happy times more widely.

Whenever we hold something in, it takes energy too. You’ll hear people talk about ‘letting go’ of fear or anger, as by holding this negative energy in, you’re making things worse. So, if we hold our excited energy in ourselves, and don’t let it out as we feel we should be doing, we’re doing ourselves a disservice too. All that energy we should be sharing, and riding on for our life right now, we’re stopping ourselves moving forward.

Sometimes we stop others from being over excited as we may have people within our close network who are having a difficult time, and we’re concerned that the excitement will exacerbate their hardship. Why? Surely, they’ll be excited for us too? Excitement and happiness is infectious, so we’re preventing someone else from moving forward too.

I love the way that some of the training sessions I’ve been on recently have told us to dance, or sing, to get into “high energy”, and therefore high excitement, before the session, or before the task we’re supposed to be doing. It’s fab! It is energising and it brings a smile to your face. It also brings out the best in you and your work. Try it, put on your favourite dance tune and dance to it before you do your next task. And don’t even try to stop yourself from smiling! 🙂

So, whilst it’s lovely that we are concerned for others feelings, they really do want the best for you. Don’t contain your excitement. Even if you can’t share the details with others about what you’re working on, please do share your excitement with others, and see the ripple effect it has on those around you.

What are you excited about at the moment? Let’s share your happiness and excitement too 🙂



Friends across the miles

Polish penpal and her daughterWe’ve just returned from a lovely quick trip to London, (takes about 4 hours driving if we’re lucky) to meet my childhood friend and penpal from Poland. We haven’t seen each other for about 10 years, even though we communicate every few months.

Justyna and I have been friends since I was about 13, when a lady from Church, who knew I was in Guides, asked if I knew someone in Guides who’d like to have a Polish Penpal who was a Scout. I jumped at the chance, and 30+ years later we’re still friends across the miles.

This fairly spontaneous trip has raised a few memories when my boys, and other friends, have asked about our friendship. Things I’ve taken as part our relationship, sound quite bizarre in 2017.

Behind the Iron Curtain

Justyna, when I first knew her, was in Scouts, but it was secret. It had to be in Communist Poland. She sent me a photograph once, (which she was frightened would be confiscated) of the scout group meeting by candlelight.

I wish I’d kept her letters, (I threw them out when I was decluttering), as she not only was learning to speak better English, but she shared a lot about her life in Poland. I’ve always been fascinated by how other people live, and their cultures.

She often talked about queuing for bread, and having a very basic diet. When I visited for the first time in 1990, her Mum still cooked very basic food on very simple cooking stove, in a very small apartment. They were so self sufficient, and were so happy with what they had, it made me feel uncomfortable with what I had available to me.

My most embarassing moment, ever, was when I bought some flowers as a thank you for letting me stay. I spent the equivalent of £5 at the time, which bought a massive bouquet of gorgeous flowers. I remember getting lots of looks on the bus as I travelled home that day, and Justyna’s Mum was virtually in tears when I gave them to her. The present was too much. I’d bought “enough flowers for a wedding”. What I thought was kindness, was showing how much wealth I had. I was mortified! By trying to give a gift, I’d offended them 🙁

Friends across the miles

It’s been a lovely friendship we’ve shared. Not all penpals get to meet, or get on as well as we do. Justyna came to my wedding, and we’ve met a few times in the UK and in Poland over the years.

Today we met her daughter for the first time. She’s 9, and bilingual – her father is English, and they speak English at home. Oh, I don’t think I said – Justyna achieved her goal of getting better at English, and teaches English in Poland to Polish, as well as foreign students. My boys were “well impressed” [their words]. Aisha likes football, judo and chess, as well as Sherlock Holmes, although her state school in Poland doesn’t allow for girls to play football. She was lovely, and I think we’ve made a new friend there too.

Despite it being 10 years since we physically met, we all picked up where we left off – laughing and joking, reminiscing and sharing. Learning from each other about what we all think about Brexit and effect it will have on their family and ours. We walked through a couple of London parks, kicked a football around, played “piggy in the middle” with a small rugby ball, had a drink, and took some photos of each other.

We spent just under 3 hours together. That time was priceless. Not only did we get a very quick trip to London under our belts, which we all love, we met a long term friend from across the miles, and rekindled the friendship we’ve shared since we were teenagers.

With today’s technology, it’s much easier to communicate, and you don’t have to wait weeks for letters to be written and go through the postal system. I will encourage my boys to create long distance friendships, and whilst they don’t always work out, there’s always so much we can learn from friends around the world – even those who have been near, and moved away.

Do you have any long distance friends? Did you meet your penpal? I’d love to hear your story.


What are you waiting for?

We spend a lot of time waiting for things. Waiting for the right time. Waiting for results. Waiting for someone else to do something. Waiting for something to happen. It’s struck me recently that this time waiting could be put to better use in doing something. What are you waiting for?

Waiting for others

what are you waiting for. WhyThis year I’ve spent a lot of time waiting for others. The main one which I’ve wanted to talk about for a while, is waiting for my Father in law to pass away. This was emotionally draining, as well as physically draining. He’d been poorly for a long time, and ever since last September we’ve been waiting for the call, or waiting the next step of the illness to take hold. I felt I was holding everything together for the family, (my two teenage sons and husband), whilst supporting Mother in law by visiting, taking her shopping and visiting.

I’ve also spent weeks waiting for clients “to be ready” for the next step, or for the moon cycle to be correct, or until “x is in place”. Whilst the customer is always right, I’ve been left waiting for them to be ready to carry out the next tasks they’ve asked me to help them with. Whilst not as physically draining as the first example, it’s still emotionally draining, when I’ve been ready to move forward on their behalf. I can see potential which I feel they’re holding back on, which frustrates me. (Maybe I shouldn’t get frustrated and do what the client asks, but maybe that’s something to explore another day).

I’ve done it myself in the past – waited. I remember I wanted to wait until I felt ready to launch a website. I’ve felt I’ve had my fingers burnt when I’ve rushed into something too soon, (employing someone who was sort of right, because I didn’t want to wait any longer, being one example).

Why wait?

Maybe the summer break has given me the kick I’ve needed to stop waiting for others to do my thing. Or maybe it’s my age, and knowing that life is often shorter than we’d like, so why waste any time? I won’t say I’m wiser as I don’t think that’s true, but I have more understanding now that waiting instead of doing is often redundant energy. You put energy into the waiting process, or being frustrated with others, or juggling all the balls you need to keep in the air at the same time.

Whilst I love my clients, I’m my own person too with my own needs and I don’t have to wait until their ready. I can still progress my work, and business, and interests.

Why wait when you can use your energy to do something other than wait? If you’re waiting for an appointment you can read a book, or catch up with your emails rather than getting frustrated that they are running late. Would that work for you? Turning that waiting energy into something more positive.

What are you waiting for?

As September dawns, and the schools are about to go back, and a new cycle and season is upon us, I’ve decided not to wait for others any more. I know how to handle emotional waiting better now (I should have taken my own advice and listened better!), and I’m no longer going to wait for others. I’m ready now! I have so much energy and so much I want to offer other people, waiting for others is a distraction.

If you want some help in working out if or why you’re waiting for others, I’d be happy to help you – book a discovery call. Don’t wait. You’re ready now too, aren’t you? Would love to hear your views on waiting – let me know below.


Thank you Grandad

GrandadWe’ve recently said goodbye to my Father in Law, Edward Hughes. A wonderful man in so many ways. He’s been poorly for a long time, and whilst 82 isn’t a grand age, it’s certainly one which has been filled with many wonderful things for him. He had no regrets, apart from not being able to see his grandsons grow up even more.

I helped the boys create this poem, which the youngest one read at the Thanksgiving service, which summed up their memories and what they wanted to say to Grandad. It’s wonderful it’s a Thank You isn’t it? I’m so proud of them, and felt this may help others create their own words when saying goodbye to loved ones.

We will always have our wonderful memories,

of your loving, encouraging ways.

We’ll never forget our time together

and the games we used to play.


We had so much fun in the caravan

sneaking treats when Grannie didn’t know.

Our time together was always special.

We may not have always told you so.


We loved learning from, and helping you

peeling vegetables and gardening.

But watching us grow up, we know,

has been one of your favourite things.


You’re always so kind and reassuring

to friends and family alike.

You were generous with your time and money.

We thank you for our new bikes.


You’ve shown us how to love life

and how family is so important.

We’ll miss your wise words,

your smile, and your singing of the French national anthem.


You’ve shared your love of sport with us

and some of your talent too.

We’ve no idea where it’ll take us in life

We’ll try our best in everything we do.


We know it was time for you to leave us

as life became hard in so many ways.

You are still there cheering us on

And we can still talk to you everyday.


Whilst we will miss you here with us

you’ll be making the most of your new place

Making people laugh and creating mischief

Putting smiles on everyone’s face.


Thank you Grandad.

by Ben and Jack Hughes



Horrible things affect us all

photo outside MEN arena

Paramedics treated dozens of walking wounded, including some with shrapnel injuries . Photo Pete Byrne

On waking this morning to discover the horrible suicide bomb in Manchester, at the Ariane Grande concert, we’re reminded that horrible things affect us all.

It didn’t really hit me until my 15 year old son woke up and he said he had quite a few friends go to the concert last night. That’s when I started really noticing my feelings. Yes, my initial reaction was of horror, but to think my son may be affected by it personally, my stomach fell away from me.

As the morning has gone on, and I’ve seen updates from friends who were at events near by, it’s brought back my memories from the London bombings in 2005, when all I could hear were helicopters and sirens. It’s taken me years to not be affected by the sound of a helicopter overhead. My brother has just written on my facebook page:

I remember vivdly us not being able to get hold of you on 7/7. You were actually in a meeting really early and hadn’t heard anything and obviously let us know as soon as you did. But it was a horrible couple of hours. Big hug to Ben and all his friends and glad to hear ( we hope ) they are all safe. Glad the girls are not that are (yet). Xxx

This morning there are people all over the North West trying to contact friends who may have been, or were at the concert or nearby. Most people will feel relief at hearing their loved ones and colleagues are safe. However, there’s going to be a lot of people who are learning that friends of friends, have been killed or injured in this incident. We need to recognise that their trauma may go on for weeks, or years, and we must help others all we can to learn to trust again.

As I hugged my boys goodbye this morning, I told them that I didn’t want them to be sad at school today. I told them about a girl who was killed on her way to school when I was a few years older than her. I remember that day so vividly too. It was sunny, and the news started to filter through that there had been a terrible accident on the train. Whilst I didn’t know the girl personally, you don’t need to to be upset, or need support. The school were fantastic, and supported those who needed it. It’s amazing what memories we keep hidden isn’t it, until something like this happens.

Whilst terror attacks and wars and murders and accidents are awful, it does show that our communities can work together and support each other in difficult times. Isn’t it time we start working together more? Try to understand our neighbour and create links to help people to talk about their issues. The skill of listening is going to be used so much today and these next few weeks as those who attended the concert talk about what happened to them, so they can start to put things in place in their head so they can move on in their lives.

As we go about our daily lives after a horror like this, we need to remember that horror does affect us all. We may want to protect our children, and even stop them from doing things, but will that help them learn? Life is horrid at times, and stopping doing what we want is surely a win for the terrorists. When the IRA were attacking England in the 1970s and early 80s did we stop our daily lives? Or did we put contingencies in place when we went anywhere? My family always had a plan when we went to London in case of an incident or we were split up. It didn’t stop us from doing what we wanted. We need to prepare our children for horrid things, through love and education, and being part of a caring community who look out for each other.

We will never wipe out all terror and horror in our world (Dark v Light, or whatever analogy you want to use), but we can learn to deal with horror better, and help those who are affected with all the love we possess.

Today, and in the weeks to come, I believe we need to Listen more, Love more, Hug more, and build our communities once more so that we respond to each other positively every day, not just when horror strikes.

My love and prayers go to all those affected by this particular horror in Manchester, and horrors around the world.

Addition – I’ve been shown this helpful free hypnosis download for anyone struggling with fear of terrorism. I’ve not used it personally, but a good friend I trust has used other content for her daughter. Please do let me know if you use it for yourself or your family & how it helps you.