Friday, 14 September 2012

I am off on my adventures...

It is now 11 weeks since Mick died, and I have been on many adventures. Mick's death has inspired a lot of our friends to grab life by the horns and ride it!

Have you ever heard of a "bucket list"? It is a list of things to do before you die. In the spirit of adventure and celebration a group of our freinds has created the "Fookateers" and we have a "fooket list": a list of things to do because we are ALIVE. We have done the skinny dipping (or chunky dunking in my case); days out at the sea side for bacon butties and a swim; a weekend as "marooned" pirates in the wilds of Derbyshire, far away from the sea; 140 mile bike rides; putting our handmade cards on sale; changing our career path; working hard to master a new skil or refine an old one..... in short we are taking the legacy of adventure, freedom and fun, and just getting out there and doing it.

As a personal journey I am doing ok. I have learned so much about freindship, about love, about my own capabilities and abilities. I am off on my adventures: still doing my reenacting, still camping, playing the ukulele and banjolele..... I am managing to live.

Life will never be the same again, but now this is the "new normal". I am back to work, planning for my future, and counting my blessings everyday. I had an amazing time, truely amazing with Mick, and I was blessed with just short of five and a half years of something many people never experience, even once in their entire life.

I have celebrated this love with a new tattoo, my 26th.

I already had the anchor, its latin inscription reads "Post tot naufragia portum": after so many ships a safe harbour. I had this done a few years ago as it reflected our close relationship and the calm waters of our love. Mick had the ship, so I had it added as he will always be with me, steering me to safe waters on my adventures. The colour is the standard he carried into battle, and which Jack and James have both proudly carried in honour of their father. The wedding rings are interlocked, and the 14 stars are the stars from our wedding rings. It brings to mind the line "All I need is a tall ship, and a star to sail her by". I will be fine, time for more adventures, with Mick's love steering me.

Sea Fever.

I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,
And the wheel's kick and the wind's song and the white sail's shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea's face, and a grey dawn breaking.

I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.

I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull's way and the whale's way, where the wind's like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick's over.

John Masefield 1913

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Four weeks on...

Four weeks ago my gorgeous husband died. Four weeks. So, how do I feel?

forward looking....

I feel that I am more able to think now, to plan, to begin.

I have been joined by a rather sweet little lady: Pepper's mum Solitaire. She is keeping us all busy, and is definitely the boss of Pepper! One day I will tell the story of how Pepper and then Solitaire came into my life...

Anyhow I thought I would share the top tips, from my personal experience, to support bereavement:

Take something: Tissues, toilet rolls, cake, teabags and milk are all brilliant things to take, as is a simple meal you have cooked or can cook there. If you take flowers either take a vase or flowers that don't need a vase! The best and first thing to take is a pen and notebook.

Do something: If you are close enough walk the dog, put a load of washing in, wash up, clean the bathroom...

Write something: It is so hard to send cards, what to write? Put your address, email address and phone number in, and write a little personal note. These really help. Don't worry about making the recipient cry, we are allowed and it is lovely to have happy memories resurface. It also helps later on when the cards are re-read.

Send cards/email/phone in the weeks to follow as well as at first.

A pack of writing paper, envelopes, biros and stamps are very useful too as there is so much paperwork to do. Assistance with that is useful too.

I think I have learned just how many true friends I have. I have learned even more that if someone offers to help it is because they want to help, because they have been touched by the loss too. They have lost a friend, a brother, a colleague, a chance to go and do, or go and be....

I am off on my adventures, I have no idea where I will go, or what I will do, or who I will become, but I do know that I have been very blessed over the last five and a half years, blessed by an amazing passionate love, and I feel so much better for having had it. I will carry Mick's sunshine with me.

Someone sent me the link to this wonderful picture today of Mick taking the final salute at an event just under three years ago. It seemed very fitting for today, so I thought I would share it with you.

Go and count your blessings xxxx

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Reminding ourselves we are alive

I have had the most amazing day. Together with my daughter and some good friends I have been swimming in the sea near Bridlington, East Yorkshire, this morning! When we got there is was a bit grey and misty, but that did not deter us, we parked our car and set off down to the beach.

As we got onto the beach we got some funny looks from a dog walker who took these snaps for us.

We were shrieking with laughter, buffeted by the waves, swimming up and down, and howling with joy as the huge waves lifted us off our feet. We sung "bring me sunshine" at the top of our lungs, and enjoyed the exhilarating feeling of being alive in the cleansing water.

As we got out we noticed a man with a long lens taking pictures, we smiled, and ass wee passed him he said, in a rather bemused manner "did you enjoy that, was it for any special occasion?" so I explained that  I had just lost my husband, that we were celebrating his spirit, and reminding ourselves that we were alive.

His face changed from bemused, to confused, then a big grin took its place as he grasped our choice of activity and the reasons behind it. 

I am now home to a silent house, my first homecoming after a night away without Mick here to greet me. The cards of sympathy are still around the house, and I have to yet begin the difficult and painful job of sorting his affairs, yet I feel enlightened, joyful and fresh, ready to face the task ahead.

There will be many more tears, more sleepless nights, yet I know that I will come through it all, just like today in the sea, with the huge waves crashing down on me, I will swim out to meet it.

Friday, 6 July 2012

So, how do you feel?

I don't know how I feel to be honest, such mixed emotions following a fantastic day of celebrations for Mick's life.

The overriding emotion is pride: that such a wonderful man chose me; that his family are so loving and close and supportive; that so many people came to say goodbye, and those who couldn't come sent their love; of our children, that they played such a role in the funeral.

Also a deep, raw numbness and sorrow. I am just such a mess, how will I manage without him?

People say I am "brave" and "strong" but I am scared and alone. Just bobbing along, then the wave hits.... Luckily I am a strong swimmer, and actually maybe that description is right?

Mick taught me how to be happy in my skin, in my aloneness, because I was, and am, loved. We did lots together and lots apart. I am missing the bedtime tot of whisky and the chats and giggles! When I went into his hanky drawer to get a hanky for the funeral, the one I pulled out had a knot at each corner, as we had at some point sat in bed with them on our heads. This also accounts for the kazoos and bubbles! Five years, six months and twenty days of sunshine.

I have created a list. Not a "bucket list" as that is all the things to do before you die. This sounds somewhat like it: a "f*cket list" and it is all about doing things because you are ALIVE. It is about making the small changes which make a positive impact on your life, as well as finally making the big changes in line with my golden rules: 

  1. Grab every opportunity you can to be positive
  2. Have fun
  3. Walk in the sunshine (and dance in the rain)
  4. have lots of good sex
  5. if you are not happy do something about it

A lot of good friends are joining in with the spirit, and they are writing personal lists as well as joining in with the group events. We are swimming in the sea on Sunday, and being pirates in August.... Writing lists is cool, BUT you must act on them

I ticked off the first item on my "f*cket list" today: I had my tattoo done in memory of Mick and in celebration of his lust for life, his love of our family and friends, and to remember the good times. For that reason I now add number 6

  1. Grab every opportunity you can to be positive
  2. Have fun
  3. Walk in the sunshine (and dance in the rain)
  4. have lots of good sex
  5. if you are not happy do something about it
  6. Count your blessings

So it's  that time again: Count your blessings. If you are really, truly aware of what it is that makes you happy then you can keep doing it xxxx

Friday, 29 June 2012

Things to do before you die?

I have been astounded by the response to Mick's death. Stunned, humbled, and supported. I am in the very lucky position of having no regrets, no words unsaid, no deeds undone, and I feel truly blessed to have had such a fantastic five years, six months and twenty days with him. We had such a good time, always off on adventures together: some physical, trailing up and down the country doing our re-enactments; some mental when we sat and studied history and debated points of logic; some spiritual when we spoke of the what if's and when's.... 

The thing I take most comfort in is the outpouring of love from our family and friends. The support, understanding, time.. space.. love.

People have spoken of me being "brave" and "strong" but actually I feel I am, apart from numb, carrying on Mick's legacy.

He taught me to live every moment of every day, as I did him. We had an adventure every day. We enjoyed the company of each other, and our children and friends. 

The true reality is that my adventures are only just beginning. I have bought a new notebook (our house is littered with "adventure books", listing where we were going, what we were doing, and topics for further research. Re-reading them has made me smile!) and I have written a list of my new adventures:

  1. Sail on a pirate ship
  2. ride a horse
  3. learn to draw cows
  4. swim in the sea again

Many people write "bucket lists" but tonight I encourage you to write "fuck-it" lists: do it, dream it, live it. 

Join my group, and together we can fly!

Post your ideas on facebook: and  WE will see what we can achieve together

ps I went out for  a drink with a very handsome man this evening: Michael Wokes senior, and I really enjoyed it!

Saturday, 23 June 2012

The sun still shines...

I just thought I would write a quick note to you all to say that me and my gorgeous man had five years, six months and twenty days of bloody good fun. He taught me to walk in the sunshine and grab every opportunity to have fun. 

He died very very suddenly, the coroner said he died from a clot that blocked his pulmonary artery that supplies the blood to the heart, and that he had a deep vein thrombosis  but not sure where. The coroner said his heart was fine, for which I am eternally grateful, and that, to quote : "you had not worn him out" !!!!! (Not for lack of trying!)

The days have been up and down, lots of laughter and tears, and when he died I thought "solution focus yourself out of that one!" but, you know what, I have no regrets, we had a bloody good time. 

If you take anything away from this:

Grab every opportunity you can to be positive
Have fun
Walk in the sunshine
have lots of good sex
if you are not happy do something about it
and make a will!

The funeral arrangements are under way,  he will be escorted by a LOT of our re-enactment friends in kit, with musket pipe and drum. The service will be at the church over the road, where I walk Pepper (who is very quiet) every morning, where we said goodbye to his mum Margery, and next to the primary school he went to. Once we have his ashes back some will go with his mum and the rest will be shot out of a cannon on Marston Moor (the site of a battle). It would be lovely though if you could raise a glass, or a nice cup of Yorkshire tea to him!

Please feel that you can talk to me, text me, come and drink tea. I am absolutely staggered by the amount of messages we have had, Boots was very very much loved by a lot of people. Especially me, but you knew that.

Anyhow stop being miserable and cheer up! 

Google "Bring me sunshine"

and "Don't be ashamed of your age" by Jerry Lee Lewis and George Jones on You tube. 

Listen to the lyrics and live them, Mick did!

Have fun xxxxxx

Friday, 22 June 2012

Bring me sunshine

My gorgeous husband died very suddenly, only 52.

We are bereft.

Mick taught me to walk in the sunshine.