07 December 2021

When Christmas is Hard (Facing the Season after Loss)

Christmas Eve 2020

Christmas was always my favourite time of the year – until I found myself facing Christmas as a sole parent in 2016.

Five years on, I can look back from a new perspective where the grief has healed and the loss no longer stings. We have settled in to our new normal, and can reminisce about our awesome Christmases as a “whole family” without an ache.

But I remember that first Christmas and my heart goes out to those of you who are facing your own first Christmas after a devastating loss.

22 October 2021

On Edge

Share the Light

I am on edge and I need to vent the best way I know how.

I need to somehow clarify and articulate what it is that has me pent up like a pipe about to burst. In my body I feel the tension, every nerve screams.

It's this lockdown. This endless, mind-numbing, soul-sapping lockdown.

04 September 2021

'The dog ate my homework' and other true stories

We have been dog owners for five years now, and we cannot imagine life without our doggy boy, Clyde.

Back in 2016, while in the middle of a messy marriage breakup, I decided to get us a puppy. It was counterintuitive, and many people questioned my sanity - surely I had enough on my plate? Why add the stress of a baby dog to my to-do list?

But it was one of the best decisions I ever made. I went with my gut, and we never looked back.

Animals have such a therapeutic effect on people who are struggling with overwhelm or anxiety  - there is nothing like doggy kisses and snuggles to lift a drooping spirit. Dogs are fantastic medicine for the soul.

So if one dog is good, surely two dogs are even better?

23 August 2021

It turns out - I'm not over...

Today has been a super-emotional day. 

Maybe it's partly the Level Four lockdown we find ourselves back in, all of a sudden. Maybe it's the weird limbo of waiting for my Covid test results to come back. Maybe it's being stuck at home with three teenagers and two dogs, unable to leave the house until we get those test results. Maybe it's years of walking with my kids as they face down their giants, and the way lockdown threatens to derail all the hard-won progress, wrought through literal blood, sweat and tears. 

Probably it's a mix of everything, but this morning, all of a sudden I just couldn't.

This post is not about that. But that's the background to this feeling I have right now, this incredible gratitude, a fragile tenderness where tears are just below the surface.

Gratitude because - it turns out -  I'm not over.

06 July 2021

R.I.P. Dear Dave


Today was full of heartbreak. The end of the road for our fluffy little tabby cat, Dave.

She came to us in March 2011, sitting on our back porch and wooing us all with her big green eyes until we had to take her in.

She has been with us through thick and thin, for almost as long as the kids can remember.

Always a constant presence. A warm furry body to snuggle away a sleepless child's anxiety. The jingle bell on her collar, warning birds to beware. The hum of her purr as she settled herself on the hip or belly of whoever sat still long enough in a sunny spot.

There's a legend that she was a street cat, a fighter. Sometimes she'd disappear for days, reappearing with sticky fur or nicks taken out of her ears.

But she always came home.