Good times.

I have had a very interesting week.

I spent monday re-establishing links at my new job.  Several people seemed to be angry and acting in a territorial nature when I went back to work.  Any job I touched seemed to be stepping on someone elses toes.  This week however things seem to have calmed down and I have enjoyed working with old colleagues again.

Tuesday I spent at the hospital.  I had found a lump months ago and took ages to go and see my doctor.  I finally went to my own doctor in November and mentioned this lump and it took two months for me to get a hospital appointment.  Tuesday was the day when I had to go and get it checked out.  I was terrified.  As the sole provider for three kids I was worried that I would be seriously ill and would not be able to look after them.  I had worried myself sick before going to the hospital.  I had wanted to tell someone where I was going but felt unable to share this.

I went to the hospital on my own.  The stress was manifesting itself in a sore jaw and headache because I clench my teeth when I am stressed.  I sat for an hour waiting to see the consultant.  He asked several questions then examined me.  It felt really odd sitting naked from the waist up but the doctor made me feel like he was professional and relaxed.  I vaguely remember staring into the corner of the room so I did no have to think about the exam.

I was then sent to have a mammogram and an ultrasound.  The young woman doing the mammograms seemed aloof and detached but when she helped me lean into the machine in the various positions, the care and attention she used to carry out her job made me feel like I was important.  The cold precision of the machine was counterbalanced by the gentle manoeuvering of the staff member.

I then had an ultrasound but the radiographer told me the mammograms were clear before performing the ultrasound exam.  I had to go back to see the consultant who looked happy to tell me that everything was clear.  This day took several hours but I felt like I was treated as a person and was made to  feel at ease.  The day managed to replace the stress with a feeling of calm.  I had went through the process myself but came out feeling a little less alone in the world.

Wednesday I went to the Red Book Awards and helped shepherd the teenage performers between the stage and the seats.  The authors were very interesting and if it was not for the splitting headache I got half way through the day it would have been a great day.  I spent the half hour home on the bus trying not to throw up.

Thursday I worked till eight then indulged in a little me time catching up on missed tv programmes and reading.

Friday I walked my dog for a couple of hours , chatted to my good friend about life and stuff.  I then went to dinner at my sisters.  We had not been in touch much lately but we instantly got on like we always have.  She has always had a house full of interesting material to read, fantastic food that is a feast for the senses and a general ambiance of inspiring conversation, tasty food and good wine.

The end of the week seemed to be a brilliant antidote to the stressful beginning of my week.

I love weeks that are defined by the balance of things.  I spent a lot of time on my own feeling lonely but this was evened out by a night spent with new company surrounded also by the people I love.  I enjoy nights where I manage to spend time indulging in the repair of my soul.

Thanks sister because I needed the night in more ways than you could possibly know.

W x



In Loving Memory

My mum died 8 years ago today and I felt that she deserved a post devoted to her.

When I was young I never felt that my mum had much time for me.  I felt invisible and insignificant for a lot of my youth because I was number nine out of thirteen.  My brothers and sisters were more vocal than me because I was the quiet reader.  When I was a teenager I divided my time between being a recluse and hiding in my room with a good book and being obnoxious, giving my mum dirty looks and letting her know that she was not important to me.

When I got pregnant with my first baby all of that changed.

This strange woman who  I had nothing in common with turned out to be a great support to me and I would even have called her my friend.  When I went back to high school at the age of 23 she helped look after my second daughter whilst I took my eldest to school with me.    When I got into university she walked my daughters to school and picked them up.  As a single parent I depended on the help from my mum and dad to be able to get to university.  Every christmas we would spend at my mums so they could get a better sense of family and so my mum could see the joy on their wee faces when they opened their presents.

I could never have left my kids with anyone better.  I knew she loved them almost as much as I did.

When my mum got ill I took it hard and for a couple of months, it was physically painful to go and visit her and see her having to cope with so much hurt.  Once I got over my fear however I spent many a day visiting her, talking to her, making her laugh and just being in her company.  My sister did all the hard graft and because I was heavily pregnant I could only give her moral support.  I would make her laugh, urge her to dye her hair purple ( a homage to Jenny Joseph’s poem Warning), we would discuss movies, life and just enjoy being in each others company.

I remember watching Road to Perdition with her a week before she died and having a huge discussion about the perfect ending in the movie.  Watching her sit on her chair borrowed from the hospice with a quilt up to her neck and her right hand poking out of the side with a fag between her fingers was hilarious.  Even up to the end she was strong and dignified and a true gentlewoman.

The Peggy died 16 days before the birth of my fourth baby (my third daughter) and I never felt so alone in my life without her sage advice and the sandwiches she used to bring into the hospital every time I had a baby.  I loved my baby girl with all my heart but the event lost a little of its sparkle when I couldn’t share it with mam.  She absolutely loved brown eyes and my baby girl had the most beautiful brown eyes.

My mum and me had a turbulent start to our relationship as I reached adulthood but in the years between having kids and her death we managed to put all of those stresses behind us.  We never spoke about the past but we just came to an understanding and a mutual respect for each other.   It was only as a mother myself that I could empathise with her situation.  How do you split your time between 13 kids and give them all the personal attention they need?  How can you give some time to one without hurting someone else?

My mum went to university later in life, she carved out an education when everyone had her pegged as just a mother and nothing else.  My mum managed to feed 13 kids for years with very little.  My mum loved me unconditionally but I just didn’t notice until it was too late.

What I have learned from my mum’s  life and death is:

Being a mother is only one facet of who I am.

Loving my kids and spending time with them is vital to keep me happy.

I should tell my kids that I love them when possible.  I should back this up with hugs when they are within reaching distance.

I need to work hard to succeed in life.

I am the offspring of a beautiful, strong and intelligent woman and am myself a beautiful, strong, intelligent woman.

Life is too short to spend it doing things that are harmful to my health or working myself to the bone without any me time.

I miss the Peggy and the pain is as strong as the day she died.  When I think about her now I feel heartbroken all over again.  All it takes is a song or the look on my daughters face to bring a tear to my eye.  I still manage to keep on studying, working and looking after my kids because my mum showed me how to cope.  I will spend the day thinking about mum, listening to songs that made her smile and looking over her old letters.  I want to spend the day reminding my kids how special she was and show the two who never met her photos of the vibrant woman she was.

And then tomorrow I will start life in the way I mean to go on; carrying some of my mum’s spirit with me.

Miss you Peggy. xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx







I have not written anything for a while.  I got tied up with Christmas and work changes and have not had time to write as much as I had wanted. 

I reread all my earlier posts and am now sitting here with a tear in my eye.  I am crying for a couple of reasons. 

1.  I have just reminded myself that I have a lot to be proud of.

2.  I have reminded myself of the plans I had for the new year but they fell by the wayside for a little while.

3.  I have reminded myself that my family means a lot to me and sometimes I forget how lucky I am.

4.  I am crying because I had started letting the depression of being skint in January get to me and it was stopping me from following the plans to take control of my own destiny.

5.  I cried a selfish little tear because I am on my own and lonely. 


Rereading my posts has gave me a little jolt back to reality.  I can do everything I have planned to do and more.  I just need to keep writing and keep on top of everything else.  I am going to spend a week or two reminding myself who I am and tending to my own needs.  Learning to look after myself is hard after looking after everyone else for so long.  I feel really guilty if I spend too long focussing on me.  I feel guilty if my kids get upset.  I feel guilty for just breathing some days. 

Tomorrow I will try to have a guilt free day.