Sunday, December 31, 2006

A Year in Review - My Annus Horribilis

Well if the Queen can have an Annus Horribilis, I think 2006 has been mine.

It's New Year's Eve, and I am thinking back over the year.
I suppose the year got off to a bad start when Mark died in January. Another completely unexpected death of a lovely man of 48, fiance to my lovely friend Karen. I remember thinking at the time about how on earth do you cope with such a thing. What would I do if Nigel died? And here I am, a few short months later, in exactly the same position.

After the shock of Mark dying, there were weeks of hideous behaviour from Alex. Lying on the landing all night absolutely screaming her head off. In April we finally giot a diagnosis of glue ear, and were referred to the LGI. The waiting time was shocking, so I complained to my MP, Colin Challen. He soon had it sorted and we were seen at the beginning of June. Although we were seen then, Alex didn't actually have her grommets fitted until September. But the change was nothing short of miraculous. It really was as if I had left Alex at the hospital and come home with another child. She is still a little madam, but is generally so much calmer and obviously not in any pain now.

August, well that was a month I will never forget. I did first aid training years ago, but it was the first time I had had to use it properly. Nigel had told me that when you give someone heart compressions, you will break their ribs. He knew that from doing it for his own father in 1992. So when I did it for Nigel, that part didn't scare me. I did everything I could to keep him going until the paramedics arrived, but realistically, he was dead by the time they got there.

Adjusting to life without Nigel has been difficult. I have had so much support from so many people. From family, friends, colleagues, online friends. All over the world there are people who are looking out for me, and for that I really am grateful. Thank you so much for being there for me and the girls.

I feel very positive about 2007. I know there will be hard times, but I would like to think that there will be plenty of happy times too.

Do I feel angry that Nigel has gone? No, I don't. Feeling angry won't bring him back, and its not as if he chose to go. Do I feel bitter? No, and if I did, it would turn me into the sort of person I don't want to be.

Nigel's life was cut hideously short. But now it is time to look to the future. I will never, ever get over losing him. What I am trying to do is get on with life, make the most of what I have that is left behind. The girls and I have each other and our families, and we will make the most of whatever the world decides to throw at us.

So wherever you are, whatever your circumstances, remember this.

Life's a bitch. But if you let it get the better of you, you will be miserable and miss so many opportunities in life.

Monty Python has the best philosophy.

Always look on the bright side of life!

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Just checking in

We are up in Durham visiting my parents. They only have dial up, which is so slow and drives me mad!
Anyway, we are having a relaxing time. We went to the beach this morning at Seaham, and were blessed with sunshine. Obviously the wind was freezing, but it was nice to get out and blow the cobwebs away. This afternoon we went to see an old school friend which was also good.
Yesterday was another day of catching up, seeing Claire, who I last saw when I was 19, with her children, in the morning, and then Jo and Robin in the afternoon. Biggest dose of ex-High school girls I've had in a long time!
We are here until Monday so I will report back then. Can't see New Year's Eve being up to much, but tbh I'm not that bothered for a boozy do.

Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

A day at home

We spent the whole day at home today. Good job too as Alex is really poorly. This afternoon she just couldn't cope and took herself to bed for a sleep. She is snoring her head off in bed next to me now.
We washed the car this afternoon, along with Collette, Isobel and Emily. Sophie enjoyed blasting the car with the pressure washer. I need to wash the car a bit more often really, save myself a fiver at the hand carwash!

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Phew its over.

Although I must say Christmas has passed by very smoothly and easily.
Alex decided to get up at 5.50 on Christmas Day, not because she was excited, but because that's what she does regularly! Sophie surfaced at 6.40 and so the day go started. The girls were delighted with their presents, and the living room soon looked like a ransacked branch of Toysrus.
Nigel's mum, Jean, came for lunch after my mum and dad had left to go to my brother's in Sale. Lunch was a very relaxed affair, with not a turkey in sight. I had beef en croute, the girls had sausage, and Jean had a mushroom filo pastry vegetabletarian thing.I did roasties and parsnips to go with it, and carrots and sweetcorn too.
Enough of the trivialities. We enjoyed lunch, and then took Jean home before going across to Sale for Christmas Dinner with my brother and his family. We ate mountains, and had much fun. Sophie and Alex love seeing their cousin Sam.
There were times when I wanted to hide away from it all. Forget Christmas. But the girls would have hated that. So on we moved.
Anyway, it's done for this year.
Here's to the New Year.

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Season's Greetings Everyone!

Here's to a day which goes smoothly, without too much sadness. I know there will be some, but I hope happy memories come to mind more easily.
Nigel's grave is now covered in beautiful flowers, holly, and a Christmas cactus left by someone, I don't know who. A friend of Nigel's mum also placed a wreath, which was nice. The girls liked going up there to see Nigel's headstone as they hadn't seen it before. Nigel's new neighbour, Brian, had lots of flowers on his grave. So all in all, a well decorated corner of the cemetery.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Christmas is coming

only 2 more sleeps! I feel ok about it all I suppose. We are taking flowers to Nigel's grave tomorrow rather than on Christmas Day itself. I want the girls to have positive memories of Christmas Day, and try not to shed too many tears for Nigel that day. I have ordered the flowers from the florist's in Gildersome, which makes life easy.
I was reading another blog and saw this.
Made me laugh anyway!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

A Morning with CBeebies!

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This morning we went to the Hallam FM Arena in Sheffield to see CBeebies Live! Fantasy Circus. We were entertained for an hour and a half by the most popular characters from the CBeebies channel. We met Mr Tumble, the Tweenies, Pingu, Postman Pat, Boo, Fireman Sam, the Bobinogs, Bill and Ben and Spencer and PC Plum from Balamory. It was fantastic, and the girls loved every minute. It wasn't cheap, but it was good fun.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

We love Boden

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Just got my Boden sale order today. The girls love their winter nighties, and you've got to admit that they look cute!
School's finished now for Christmas. I am so tired I feel revolting. Staff night out tonight, so I am going to have to find some energy from somewhere. Should be a good laugh if nothing else!

Monday, December 18, 2006

Day off today

Had a day off sick today as I vomitted last night. Felt rotten today, and was glad to have a peaceful day at home alone.
I have some new tablets from the doctor which should help me sleep better. I start them in the morning so will report back on Wednesday. I hope they do work as I am just so so tired. I know its partly down to having to do so much more now, and settling into a new routine, but there are so many thoughts in my head. So much responsibility to cope with. Decisions for the girls, for me, for others around me.
So the tablets have to be worth a try, don't they?

Sunday, December 17, 2006

And so the sickness bug arrives...

Was woken in the middle of the night last night by a soggy Alex. Soon realised the soggyness was actually sick. Went and stripped her bed and then stripped her nighty off her and she stayed in bed with me and Sophie. She was sick several times more, so my bed had to be stripped too. Argh.
So today has been washing and drying sheets, attempting to tidy up, and watching both girls sleep. Sophie is laid out on the sofa and Alex is in Sophie's bed. I'm in for a late night methinks!

The quilt... a picture at last

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Friday, December 15, 2006

The value of online friends

Today I learned just how important online friends are to me.
Since Nigel died they have been making me a beautiful quilt for me to snuggle into.
Each square was made by a different person, some embroidered, some knitted, crotched, drawn, painted. Tomorrow I will take a photograph of it as I need daylight to do it justice.
It really is amazing. Most of these people have never met me, and probably will.
But at the most difficult time of my life so far, they thought of me and wanted to make it all better for me.
Anyone who scoffs at the phenomena that is the internet forum has not experienced the joy that is the forums I visit. Mumsonline and mumsnet along with various other forums have supported me through the last four months. It has been hell but they are always there for me. Never to judge, always to care.

Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Headstone has arrived

Nigel's headstone has arrived and has been erected at Hilltop. I haven't seen it yet, so I am going tomorrow to see it. I am so glad it is here, I felt that the wooden cross didn't quite do him justice.

So this is final closure for everything I think. Seeing the headstone will really mean everything is done and dusted.

Sleep tight Nigel xxx

ETA a picture

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Sunday, December 10, 2006

Tell me on a Sunday

Or so the song goes...

Today has been another busy day, getting things sorted out. I went through all the presents for the girls today and bagged them up, one for Sophie and one for Alex. I will wrap them next week at some point. My bedroom actually looks like a bedroom now, which is fab. The bed is great, I am still struggling with sleeping but it is a bit better than it has been.

This week is Christmas production week at school. Tomorrow is year 5/6 and Hosannah Rock, then Tuesday is my class and the other members of Year 3/4 with On the Sofa with Sandy and Andy. Sounds odd but it is really funny, very cleverly written by my colleague Debs.

I think sleep will be easier once the performances are out of the way. My head is spinning with all the things to think about.

Alex has been poorly this weekend. She has a nasty cough and was sick during the night last night after a particularly bad coughing fit. She has been coughing on and off all day, and is now out cold on my bed. Here's hoping she isn't up all night after such a late sleep.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Busy busy busy

Well another busy day today. Took Sophie swimming first thing, she really is thriving in her new group. The other children are more closely matched to her than her last group, which had 4 complete beginners in it. It does mean we have to be at swimming for 9am on the other side of Leeds, but the lessons are of a very high quality. Dan, Sophie's teacher, is great with the kids and Sophie is making great progress.

Once we got home, it was time to tackle the mammoth mess in my bedroom. My new furniture just didn't look right in the sea of mess! So slowly but surely I have sorted through everything. There have been several bags of rubbish to fill up the skip that came yesterday for the old bed and the forest of cardboard which seems to have accumulated. There is also a big bag of stuff for the British Heart Foundation shop in Morley as I went through my bookshelf too.
Now I am down to clutter left on the bed to sort through and find a new home in the new furniture. I am undecided as to what to do with various booklets of Nigel's. There is a copy of one section of the Licensing Act 2003, nd various other publications he used at work. Feel a bit odd about throuwing them out as they could be used by someone else.

Down the side of the bed there are all the presents for the girls. Loads have come from various kind mumsnetters, and also from the Secret Santa swap on mumsonline. Then there are presents from me, Jean and of course Santa himself. I need to wrap them and then put them in the loft out of the way of prying little eyes. As I need to get the Christmas tree down anyway, tonight could be a good time to get it done. I am still not in the mood for Christmas really, but life goes on for the girls in that sense. I am still feeling that the best way forward would be to go to sleep on December 22nd and wake up on January 2nd.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Manic Day

Tired but happy!

Furniture Village rang just as I was leaving to take Sophie to school, saying they were 5 minutes away! So Mike and Mary came and waited while I took the girls to school. When I got back the bed was nearly built, and the furniture ready to be installed. Now its done and it looks fantastic. The bed is beautiful and so comfortable.

My new mobile phone is also a delight! A Nokia 8800, not quite got the hang of all the features yet but I will soon.

Then my night out tonight was great, had a real laugh about lots of really simple things. It was a nice meal and great company.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Tomorrow is going to be a good day!

It will be manic and I will want to scream, but it will all be worth it.
Ok, first of all get the girls to school and playschool. Then collect my new phone from O2. Sneak in a visit to the Post Office on the way back. Get to playschool for 10.45 to get Alex dressed as the Angel Gabriel. Watch her little performance at 11.00. Then collect Sophie from school at 11.55 and take her to Jimmy's for follow up eye test. Then in the evening I'm off out on the razz with the reception mums.
In between all this I am taking delivery of my beautiful new bed and bedroom furniture! Plus a skip to put the old bed in. I am so looking forward to sleeping in a BED again, and not just a mattress on the floor.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

2007 - aiming for a good year?

I want 2007 to be as positive as I can make it. I have decided to do a scrapbook journal of the year, completing one double page each month to remind me of the year. I think it will be good to focus on lots of good things.
Not a lot of sleep again last night. Will go back to see my GP as now that I'm at work I can't go on like this.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Am I sliding?

I am going through another patch of not sleeping. Last night I went to bed early, but Alex had other ideas. Finally dropped off at 10.30, but then I woke up at 11.15, convinced I had been asleep for ages. Then it was no sleep til about 2. Woke up again after half an hour or so, and the pattern continued until I had to get up at 6.
My mood is not great. School is a bit stressful as we are all working hard for the Christmas performances. The kids are high as kites because of the lack of routine at various times of day. I feel desperately lonely. So lonely that I wonder how things can go on. Of course they will, and my mood will lift again. But for now things are low.

Monday, December 04, 2006

in bed at 7.30

I slept for less than 3 hours last night. So many things to think about.... So tonight I had to come to bed as I couldn't function. Alas Alex is still going strong. She must have slept this afternoon. Arrrrrrrrrrrrrrrggggggggggghhhhhhhhhhhhh!

Yesterday my advent pressie was some lovely letter stickers. Today some snaps. Well I think they are called snaps... eyelets without holes. Really good colours, I have some papers in my box to match very well.
Am loving this advent swap, it gives me something good to look forward to each day.

Sunday, December 03, 2006


I feel lonely.

It doesn't matter how many people I am with. A busy place, or just me and a friend or two, I still feel lonely. I could quite happily sit and wallow at the moment.

But I won't, I have the girls to think of and work to go to.

How can I feel lonely when there are so many people around me?

Saturday, December 02, 2006

On the second day of Christmas....

I was driven mad by this game!
I must get to the next level.... try it!
and I also got some lovely sparkly textured paper squares.

Friday, December 01, 2006

On the first day of Christmas

We went to see Santa at Chester Zoo!
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and also I opened a pack of lovely herma golden stars from Pam. Love em!