Prompt – I know / I believe

I know/I believe

I tell you what I do know and that is you have gone
You have gone from my physical life to my imaginary one, the one where I know you are here. The imaginary one where I know you can hold me, kiss me, love me, and make me laugh again. That imaginary one where I know everything is ok and always will be.
What I do know is that the imaginary life isn’t real,  it’s only in my dreams. I want to dream forever.

I believe you are stronger now and I believe you are reaching out to me. I believe this because our wedding song plays for all to hear when I need to you to know I am struggling. I believe one day, hopefully soon, I will be able to feel you nearby and feel you brush past me. I believe whenever I see your daughter smile, I can see your twinkle in her eyes.
I believe you are mine for always and we will be together again xx

Prompt – Grievances and Gratitude

Why when I finally know what it’s like to love, laugh, share and be happy like never before,  does it get taken away? Someone who did nothing but give to others does not deserve to have his life cut short when there was so much more he would have given willingly just as he always did. So many lives have been affected by him leaving and it isn’t right or fair.

Don’t tell me that everything will be OK  in time because it won’t be. My OK was waking up beside him every morning, falling asleep in his arms every night and sharing all our hopes and fears. Without him, how the hell will things be OK?  Answer me that!!
Don’t tell me that you know how I feel if you haven’t lost the love of your life and been plunged into darkness,  loneliness and despair because the one person who knows you better than you know yourself is never coming back. Don’t you dare!
Don’t tell me you will always be there for me and you will be there anytime I need you and then not be.
Do NOT dare tell me that my husband told you something when he wasn’t able to just to ease your own guilt. I have enough shit to plough through.
Don’t pretend to care when all you really want to do is make it about you.

On the flip side as ever because there is anger and pain it is always because the love and happiness is so intense. I am grateful for so many things my Dave brought to my life as he made me so damn happy and made me a better person.  I have a feeling this writing will elaborate on that in the future somehow.
My family as always are solid, amazing and helped keep me strong when I needed to be but gave me the support without question when  I needed to crumble.
I am grateful for the kindness, love, understanding and compassion that his family gave me during the most horrendous time of my life. To be able to count on some people and for them not to let you down means the world and I couldn’t have asked for more. The closeness we share doesn’t need blood ties to make them feel as much as my family as my own do.
I am grateful to the staff of the hospital where he was treated for two years for their dedication, time, honesty and support in all they did to give me and Dave more time to make amazing memories. Thank you.

I love Manchester

The last 24 hours has given me even more reason to mourn, as the rest of the country will. What the hell is going on?

Late last night I learned about the explosion in Manchester and crumbled…… sister in law and niece were attending the very concert where this atrocity happened. Thankfully they were found safe and well and were very lucky. But so so many weren’t.

I have never classed myself as a Mancunuan, more of a Lancashire lass but I have worked in Manchester city centre for 26 years so it is MY city. I can’t tell you how sad, sorry,  angry and broken hearted I am for everyone involved in this horrendous day and my heart goes out to them all.

To mourn is an awful process. To mourn can tear you apart. To mourn will change your life forever. WE ARE ALL MOURNING MANCHESTER.

But we ARE what makes Manchester and we will support everyone who needs it by being us . We are proud, brave,  strong, courageous and determined.



Prompt – Because you love me

Where do I start? There are so so many things that happened because you love me.

I knew immediately when I met you that we were special. We fell in love pretty quickly and everything just stemmed from there. You made me question whether I had actually ever really been in love before “us” and the answer is quite simply ….no.

Because you love me, I could tell the difference in what I thought was love and what love actually is. What being IN love really means.

Because you love me, you took the time to find out who I really am and in time because of that, I, myself, learned who I really am. I am someone who is so grateful every single second of every single day, that we were able to be together. I am someone who despite being heartbroken now you are gone, understands that this life is far too short and we must try to pack as much in. I am someone who doesn’t really feel strong enough to do that without you but I also know that the love, strength, confidence and courage you gave me by loving me, will get me through.

Because you love me, you looked past my faults and fears to find all the good things to build upon. Because you love me, you made me into a better person because I had you to guide me.

Because you love me, our family and friends could see the spark that you created in my eyes every time I looked at you.

Because you love me, is why the pain of losing you cuts like a knife.


This isn’t a “prompt” this is a note to my Dave

Its hit me babe. This is the worst day so far.

Today the torrential rain mirrored the tears that I have cried. It has hit me that you aren’t coming back. For the 45 days you have been gone, I haven’t been strong and I haven’t been brave, I have just put one foot in front of the other to get past each day. I have been totally numb and not really felt anything. But now I do, like a wrecking ball has smashed straight into me. I have spent the day reading all the beautiful sympathy cards people took the time to write and send which had just been put away in a bag. I have read the wonderful things people wrote about you in the memory book that went round at the funeral. Now I am not numb. Now I am feeling the full force of what life without you, my perfect man, means. Everything has changed. The house is so quiet and I feel so lonely even when it’s full of people.

I make decisions without the reassurance from you that they are right, without the confidence I once had when you were here and everything is just for one. I just make one brew now, one cheeky cheese on toast for the evening snack, going up to bed alone and waking up alone. That’s the hardest part and that’s where the loneliness is at its worst. Invitations and plans for the future are just for one and rather than looking forward to things, I dread them.

I am not even married anymore. The label I am given is that I am widowed and it makes me feel like I should be older than I am. I am sometimes not even me when things come through the post, I am “the widow of the late Mr Hannaford”. It’s so impersonal that it makes me angry. Organisations that have been told about you still phone your mobile, still email you and still text you. At least 3 times a week I have to say those awful words “my husband has passed away” to some unfeeling tosser who has got your number on a marketing list. It’s these things that make it so much more difficult.

I know that after the deep and intense love we shared together, then it’s inevitable that now you are gone the pain is going to be just as deep and intense, that’s how it works. Ying and Yang and all that. I know I am not the only one grieving and feeling this pain, I know that your amazing family and friends feel it too and are constantly checking up on me despite that. I love them so much.

I’m sorry I can’t feel positive at the moment darlin, I know that you would hate that. I am sure I will get there…….eventually. I love you now and forever and know you tried so hard to stay because you love me too. I suppose that’s what will get me through but at the moment, my heart is broken and the gaping hole you have left will take time, if not a lifetime to be filled. xx

This is so poignant – I love you

Prompt – Memories

Memories – oh we made quite a few of those – good and bad!

Almost 2 years ago, I changed my cover photo on Facebook to a quote which says “I wish I could turn back the clock. I’d find you sooner and love you longer”. How very true that is. We only had just under 6 years together but we so made them count where we could. I truly wish we had met years ago because we should have had so many more amazing memories to make.

On paper, our relationship should never have worked. We had distance, kids, work, commuting, ex partners and troubled foster children to deal with and that was BEFORE “the lump”. However, in reality we were perfect for each other and we were determined to make it together no matter what and make the best memories ever despite the problems!

It wasn’t the easiest start. We had 3 years of only being together 3 nights a week whilst my children were at their dad’s and I commuted 130 miles a day to work and back.  For the last 2 of those 3 years we had utter turmoil with one of Dave’s fosterlings and it took both of us supporting each other to get through it. We had also discovered “the lump” during that time which was being investigated. During the last 3 months the fosterling was with us, the diagnosis came that the lump was cancer.

We had been told that we should enjoy the next 12 months and live life to the full. Dave was starting a trial treatment in January for 3 months but we didn’t know whether it would work or not so we should just “make memories”. We had several very large vodkas whilst we tried to digest what we had been told and then drew up a bucket list.  Bittersweet times.

We got married 3 weeks later, in our jeans, with our closest friends and family around and it was truly an amazing day.

10444708_10152384387505683_4502359449847385590_nWe still had our 3 night a week relationship for another 4 months (we just pretended I worked away for half the week) whilst Dave had his treatment. Treatment finished and Dave moved with his youngest fosterling to my home town so we could all be together – at last!! Now we could really get to that bucket list.

Being together as a proper family just strengthened our already solid relationship and we did EVERYTHING together. We went to Venice (Bucket list #2) and visited and prayed in 5 churches that Dave researched. It was the most wonderful place we had ever been and we used it as our delayed honeymoon. When we got back Dave was told the treatment was working and he was in remission!! Woooohooooo time to celebrate! Good memory.

Next were matching tattoos (Bucket list #3) – we both loved Lord of the Rings and so designed tattoos using a combo of our names and had them made in “Elvish” text. Ouch ouch and ouch – never again – we were both cringing whilst having them done – but it was funny watching each other flinching and trying not to let the other see.

In August, we had a family holiday to Majorca – the remaining fosterling had never been abroad and so it was exciting for all of us – Dave hated flying but as ever, he would do anything for anyone and so braved the flight – great times. (Still in remission!)

In December, we had our very first “proper” Christmas together and had my family round and it was fabulous – he always loved a house full and believe me it was full.

I have a mad Irish family and go over 2 or 3 times a year at least to see them. Dave had never been to Ireland and always wanted to so I booked a 3 night trip and off we went on an adventure. We visited 6 locations along the North West coast of Ireland which were used in Game of Thrones, one of Dave’s most favourite programs. It was magical, amazing and he was like a little kid – he thought Ireland was one of the most beautiful places on earth.  That was Bucket list #4.

Then “lumps”. The cancer was back. We had 10  months of remission and then it was back. He started another trial but this never really worked how it should have done and we just really “limped” along with lumps disappearing but then others appearing in different places and they never really cleared up. I had a map of his body where I recorded where they were coming and going. Those are awful memories where the despair and hope could come and go in waves as I found one would have shrunk but then discovered another new one somewhere else.

My brave Dave said it was time to make a new good memory so we went to London to watch a west end show – he took me to see Thriller as years ago I had tickets to see Michael Jackson but as we all know, he passed away before the concert – this was Dave’s way of giving me the “next best thing”.  That was our Bucket list #5.

Dave’s treatment was continuing but we weren’t confident that things were as they should be and over Christmas last year we were told it had spread to his brain and treatment changed again. More bad memories.

On 11 February this year, I arranged a VIP day out to Anfield for him to watch his beloved Liverpool, he met his hero John Aldridge and I got hold of a football shirt signed by the whole team. What an amazing day it was but I noticed during that day he was struggling with his eyes He never told me, I just saw him covering one eye now and then and straining to see. The following morning, I had him at the hospital as his vision had massively deteriorated. Over the next 6 weeks, his vision and his health deteriorated so quickly that they are memories I would rather not think about – at least not at the moment as they are very bad.

I try to focus on all the buckets list things we did over the last 2 years we had together as we did so much, laughed a lot and grew so so close making the best memories ever. I smile when I think how extra amazing they would have been without the dark shadow of those bad memories hanging over them. I do wish I could have found him sooner.





Prompt – Something changed

I decided that for my first writing prompt I was going to start at the beginning and how I fell in love and I mean that very real, very intense, like no other in love,  when I wasn’t even looking for it.

February 2011 my marriage was ending, not amicably and quite suddenly and more of a cop out by him that I care to remember. I wasn’t that bothered to be honest as I may as well have been single anyway. As well as my full time job, I was also foster caring a young woman who had fitted into the family really well and I wanted to stand by her to see her through to when she was ready to branch out on her own. With fostering came training courses, one of which was at the end of February.

I got there late as I had to travel over 50  miles to get there and the traffic was awful. Last place to sit was next to a very handsome man who smiled at me as I unceremoniously splatted down next to him. I tried to catch up with the 15 minutes that I had lost and he helped me out a couple of times. I had to dash off at the end to get back home in time for the kids coming out of school.

The handsome man crossed my mind a couple of times during the next few weeks as there was something about him. However, all I knew was he was called David and I would probably never see him again.

As my divorce was progressing, round about June it became apparent that I would have to go through a fostering re-assessment as a single carer – yet more hassle and probing and form filling. Yuk, like I had time for that! I asked my social worker if he had any idea of what was involved and he told me that another carer was going through the same process but was further along than me and maybe I should email him and ask for any information. His name was David….THE David. So I emailed him, asked him a couple of questions and he very helpfully replied with the answers. That was it. “Oh well” I thought, “what a nice bloke he was for helping me out”.  He did cross my mind quite often though over the next few months!

As time went on, with a divorce going on, 3 kids of my own, my fosterling, trying to run a household and a full time job, life became hectic but bobbed along nicely with me getting used to being a single mum. In October, I was directed to go on another course, which I really could have done without and tried to get out of – but it was a current topic and needed to be attended. So off I went, late again due to traffic and having to take the last available seat in the classroom. Then I saw him! THE David. He gave me the most amazing smile which lit up his whole face and I gave him just as an amazing one back (So he told me!). I will be honest and say that I don’t remember much about the content of the course as we both kept stealing little looks across at each other and smiling. I felt totally and wonderfully alive! When the course finished, we walked to our cars together, chatting for a couple of minutes about kids and schools and then parted company to go and do our various school runs. I couldn’t stop thinking about him all the way home, all that night and all the day after.

I decided to be bold and recruited my friend at work to help me pen a “subtle” email to him to test the waters. Over the next couple of days, the floodgates opened and we emailed 20 to 30 times a day until we decided I was going to drive over to meet him at his house on the Sunday evening – 65 miles away. It was a turning point and changed my life forever as the next 6 years were the happiest (mostly) I could have been. As I left his house that first night, I knew I had never really been in love before, because now I was and I had never ever felt this way with anyone. We had both agreed that before the October course, we were both probably not ready for a relationship and that fate had waited until we were. We lived 65 miles apart and would never ever have met had it not been for us both fostering.

We had 3 years of me commuting half the week to stay at Dave’s house whilst my children were at their dad’s, dealing with 6 kids between us, a divorce each and the most horrendous difficulties and issues I am not really allowed to talk about but which caused such heartache, trouble, distress and anger that I don’t believe many couples would have got through BUT we did it. We did it because we both changed each other’s lives for the better, were stronger together than apart and both our families said that we were made for each other. Apparently, people used to smile at us when they saw us together as we “ooooozed” happiness. What a lovely thing to be told, something that David was really proud of.

In October 2014, our lives changed for ever again but in sharp contrast to the happiness we had shared, this was much darker……………..perhaps with one of the next prompts I can tell THAT story.




So why now?

Simply because my life has changed in every aspect in the last few weeks and I need to find a way to get through every day. I have joined a club I don’t think ANYONE wants to be a member of and I am hoping this blog helps me learn how to be a new me, AKA a widow.

I have subscribed to an 8 week writing course where I get one prompt a week to help me try and write about different aspects of life, grief, love and loss and I am going to post it here (after my “teacher” has looked over it of course).

So………let’s see how it goes. Watch this space.Dave