Stop the clock, open the window cover the mirror

Today has been hard

The lady I have been nursing for almost a year as her soul midwife has possibly only a few days left.

She and I have over the last year become close friends and I know had we met under different circumstances we would have been good friends.

We have so much in common spiritual beliefs, sense of humour and we are both strong minded and stubborn.

Our grand daughters have been friends since baby school they are now 13

Tamika and Jayden both nannys girls.

It was through Jadens Mum I met Karen .

She had told her about my work as a soul midwife and our cancer retreat

I think you will get on she said and passed me her phone number.

She was right .

Karen was streight talking a good looking very proud women. Oh and did I mention stubborn in a very fabulous way.

She had lost her husband two years previously to cancer she had been his princess we sat and chatted about her journey.

At the mention of his name there was always a smile and a story.

He had been her Knight in shining armour

She was determined to stay as well as possible for as long as she could for her boys.

Before I knew it two hours had flown by.

So shall I come back next week? I asked .

Yes she smiled I’d like that and tell Lisa thanks for pointing you my direction.

Just before I got into my car she called me back.

The cancer she said.

Yes?

I told them I don’t want to know how long I have.

What would you do?

I don’t think I’d want to know either I said.

But it’s completely your choice

Someone giving you a time scale on life.

No one really knows.

I’d rather say I’ll die when its my time and I’m ready.

I like that she laughed.

See you next week.

So I’d call in we would chat about anything and everything.

I’d do some reflexology or massage.

We wrote funeral plans and lists.

We put everything in order.

That’s a massive part of my job

It gives back some control and reassures my patients that when the time comes

All their wishes will be honoured

I am a celebrant I trained so that I can confidently offer funeral and wedding services too.

So we plan everything nothing is left to chance

We write wills.

Then when all the serious stuff is sorted

We get on with living.

Quality of life.

Being comfortable.

Getting out and about

Shopping , for coffee.

I’ve even had one lady request we go on a roller coater

Twice! She loved it.

I didn’t

You get the picture.

I spent this evening making memory jewelry from karen’s finger print and her grand daughter jaydens.

It’s solid silver

So that Karen will always be with her.

Karen has been my friend even if only for a short time.

Her grand daughter has been amazing for a thirteen year old.

She has sat chatting with her in the hospice gone out with her on shopping trips.

It’s a joy to see Karen’s face light up when she sees jayden come in.

She told me she isn’t afraid of dying just afraid of not being around for Jayden.

Last Wednesday was her last good day we spent it together laughing drinking tea and watching T.V I put he in bed before I left and tucked her in.

As I kissed her head she caught hold of my hand.

You’ve been my nurse and my friend she said smiling at me I love you Joolz and I want to thank you.

No thanks needed I kissed he head again try to get some sleep and I’ll see you in the morning

Night mam she joked.

I walked out into cold October air and a tear ran down my cheek.

Let it be peaceful I asked the universe.

The next morning I walked into her room towel over my arm to wash her hair how did you sleep I asked.

She looked at me blankly.

Talking about painting the ceiling and how wiccans and dwarfs were playing rugby for Wales.

My heart sank.

Last stages of liver cancer often present a dementia like confusion

I sat by her holding her hand.

joolz it’s you! I’m sorry I can’t go shopping today.

I kissed her forehead.

That’s fine I reassured her the weather is awful let’s rest today we can go next week.

I called the doctor to her as I rang her family.

Things changed quickly.

36hrs later I received that call can you come back to the hospice Joolz it’s time.

My clothes are ready I’m dressed in minutes. Kiss my husband goodbye and step out into the cold night air.

As I’m walking to the car I’m ringing her son’s to tell the the news as I then drive to pick up her Jay grand daughter.

All of this has been planned.

Everyone knows it isn’t set in stone you have no idea how you will feel.

when ‘that’ phone call comes.

As I pull up outside the house jay comes out the image of her nan in younger years

As she gets in the car I ask ar you sure you want to come?

She’s stubborn just like her nan I know the answer

She nods and we head to the Hospice.

The roads are empty she looks at me and asks.

“Joolz what will it be like?”

How do you answer that

Shes 13 her nanny’s girl.

She’s sleeping I say, hoping I can find the right words.

She can still hear you. Talk to her tell her your there.

Hold her hand.

If at any point you need to leave the room that’s okay.

However you want to do this it’s okay.

She nods and we pull into the car park.

She is lying in bed much the same as when I left her last night

Breathing heavier I kiss her gently on her forehead

Ive brought your girl I tell her taking her hands from under the blanket

I sit her son’s beside her jay sits holding her hand gently like precious porcelain.

Im here nan she says.

I remember her as a cheeky four year old no teeth full of mischief slurping jelly at my granddaughters birthday party.

When did she bloom into this beautiful caring strong young.

My heart breaks for her.

I tell them all I’ll just be outside for ten mins to give them some time to say the things they need to.say.

Tell her anything you want I say. I’m right outside the door.

As I come back in I stand back and take in the picture before me.

Hands holding hands words softly spoken a room filled with love.

I sit beside Jay.

We silently watch her breathing slow her youngest son looks at me and asks is she going .

I nod

I love you mam he sobs .

It’s okay my friend You can go now, Leon is waiting.

At 5.45 she leaves us peacefully.

This passing was beautiful. A family holding vigil no pain as she quietly stepped from the earth plane to spirit plane .

I can’t help but feel my world will be a little less bright without her in it.

I kiss her gently and whisper safe journey home my beautiful friend.

As I picture her husbands joy at having her back in his arms.

His princess.

Goddess bless you Karen ❤️

Please share our website

http://www.ravensretreat.wales

Just giving for Ravens Retreat.

For those who don’t know me. I run Ravens Retreat a Canalside cottage in South Wales.

We provide breaks for anyone with a end of life or Cancer diagnosis.

Also free Therapies for cancer patients.

Counseling, C.B.T. hypnotherapy, Reiki Healing, Omni Healing,

Swedish massage, hot stone massage,

Reflexology and much more.

We teach reiki meditation and past life regression.

We have a list of wonderful Therapists who will visit our clients if they can’t get to us.

We also run death cafes tea cake and chat.

Poetry and writing workshops.

We gave just had a beautiful cabin built at the back of the retreat that will when finished be our dedicated healing space

But need to raise funds to make it into a warm comfortable cozy space where you can forget about the world outside.

As we are non profit c i.c company we rely on grants and donations to pay our Therapists and fund improvments to our service

So we now have a just giving page

Please share information about us to anyone who might benefit.

Here is our just giving link

Thanks and blessings.

https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/ravenscancerretreat?utm_term=rb4Ag8PeP

Stop the world

Sunday morning I rushed over to your house.

Let myself in hurry upstairs to your bedroom.

You lay there opened your eyes and smiled.

And I knew.

I came and lay beside you.

‘Come here let me hold you’

You struggled to turn onto your side to face me.

Strength you once had slowly ebbing away.

I held you gently stroking your hair.

‘ it’s okay I’ve got you.’

Breathing in the smell of your hair.

Closing my eyes capturing ‘this’

Knowing this was the last time we would ever lie together alone.

Any pain?

‘No I’m fine’ you whisper

I wish that were true.

Your window is open and the sound of the city drifts in to remind us that the world still turns.

I wish that it would stop.

Just give us a little more time.

To talk, laugh to just be us.

I’ve known for eighteen months

I’ve walked beside you on this journey.

Even though I know that it’s time

That your too tired to stay.

I wasn’t ready to let you go.

I know that you will always be around

That this isn’t the end.

This is the next part of your cosmic adventure

But as I held you as you left us

I felt the universe rip a hole in my heart

Donna


Mamma mia, here I go again
My my, how can I resist you?
Mamma mia, does it show again?
My my, just how much I’ve missed you
Yes, I’ve been brokenhearted
Blue since the day we parted
Why, why did I ever let you go?
Mamma mia, even if I say
Bye bye, leave me now or never
mamma mia, it’s a game we play
Bye bye doesn’t mean forever

Yesterday I lost my best friend and confidant Donna after a eighteen months battle with cancer. My heart is breaking. To say she was a warrior just doesn’t cut it.. although it’s killing me to write if anything is worth blogging about it’s her. So here is our story.

Donna I met you twelve years ago when I started a new job. You were sat feet up on a sofa doing some paperwork long black hair big btown eyes you glanced at me then back at the paperwork and I thought snotty cow!

That only lasted days before we were laughing and chatting together over coffee then over vodka and cokes on our many nights out.

You had two fab kids Sarah and Richard who were your life our families seemed to slot together. Our friends became joint friends we went on girlie holidays, turkey, Spain, Rhodes, Corfu,

We both loved pink and saw her twice causing chaos in Birmingham and Manchester. You bloody fainted right at the end of first concert so we had to go again.. good excuse

Do you remember the Christmas we stayed in the radion Blu in Cardiff? I’d nipped out to catch the shops for a last min prezzie for you whilst you got ready to go out..crossing the road by John Lewis in the snow I looked up to our third floor room to see you there blinds open wearing only black big knickers ffs how no one crashed I’ll never know..

We had weekends in Manchester you loved Aflex palace and the random shops.

You just loved randomness! I loved the crazy texts and questions you’d send often about penguins bees or some crazy fact. Funny girls in Blackpool oakwood with the kids. Folly farm because you loved the penguins

When we were going out you would take forever strieghtening your hair doing make up . I’d ring and ask are you nearly ready or are you sat on the bed in your towel looking at the wall. ?

You’d call me a knob.. but I was right..

You loved cocktails particularly nutty Russians a dreadful combination of vodka, Tia Maria, amaretto and coke served in the cross keys two for seven pounds. Okay if you needed paint stripper but you loved them after a few you’d sing and dance there was no sitting you down.

We would go to the exchange the D.j knew you so well you would walk in and the next song to play would be Beyonce and shekira beautiful lier and you would grab my hand and we would dance.

I can’t believe that I’ll never dance like that with you again.

So many amazing memories we made you loved boats ‘with sticks’ we would spend our holidays sunbathing on decks of sail boats breeze in our hair, your head on my shoulder I remember black and gold playing on the radio and you looking so very happy your eyes always told the story.

Your favorite book was my family and other animals written in Corfu. From that you loved the Durrels T.V show

Favorite film was Shirley Valentine there was a theme here after a stressful day in work you’d say you were running away to Greece to sit on the beach and talk to a rock!

We had known each other two years when you found your first lump in your breast. You had it removed on my birthday i ever left you after the operation you insisted we go for a Chinese meal we got a take away and sat in Singleton park over the years two more lumps were removed all benign. You never worried about it despite your mother having breast cancer

Then eighteen months ago after prolonged back pain you were admitted with high temperature and infection.

You looked at me scared and asked what if it’s cancer? We reassured you but your gut feeling was right.

I promised you I’d walk beside you and from the day you left hospital you resolved it wasn’t going to beat you.

Any meltdowns you had were few and when no one else was there.

You really were brave amazing and inspiring.

We arranged to meet up with my son and your daughter hoping now grown up they would get along we had always thought they would make a stunning couple.

We we’re right and to our joint delight a year ago they announced they we’re expecting a baby.

Your eyes shone with happiness I was flying out to America that night so we video chatted about baby clothes and prams we we’re going to be nannies together!

First scan confirmed it was a girl and you had a new reason to fight.

Sarah went into labor in June and of course we we’re by their sides and when baby emillia was born we both promised her the world me you Donna and your sister Erica her third Nanny life was good. Emilla was sent for a reason you adore her and are so proud of what an amazing mam and dad Sarah and Mike are. Seeing them as a family made you so happy.

We had booked a holiday you were now on oral chemo going well and off we flew to Corfu.

It was bliss we swam had a few cocktails saw the sights and of course lay on a boat listening to black and gold.

We danced sat up at night and talked lots.

You had been told your scan results were good and maybe we could go to six months

But you had a slight pain in your side and I hated my gut feeling that the liver cancer was spreading.

It was. And so my friend the last few weeks have been hard you continued to fight but I’m sitting here writing your celebration service as I helped you write your end of life plan. You left nothing to chance.

You rang me to tell me that you’d bought us tickets for Mama Mia here I go again I groaned but laughed and I knew it would cheer you up a bit of Abba worked wonders.

But (spoiler alert) the main character Donna wasn’t in it!

First ten mins of film sat in the Vue you asked..

Where’s Donna? They can’t have a Abba film without her? Has she died? Then the story fell into place and eventually at the end of the film Donna appears smiling happy and dancing in spirit. She’s there watching her daughter, her partner and her grand child .

Your eyes shone and you squeezed my hand. Energy never dies I managed to say.

I know you answered . Tell Sarah and Richard to watch this again .. I will I promised. So there was the theme for your celebration of life..

It’s going to be amazing a reflection of you Donna. Funny, happy, positive and different.

I promised you I’d be your celebrant it was down to you I did the course but you said it would go with my soul midwife training and therapies.

You believed in me encouraged me. Knew me better than I know myself.

Donna you bought me a necklace with my favorite quote from my favorite childhood book Peter pan.

Do you know that place between sleep and awake the place where you can remember dreaming. That’s where I’ll always love you. That’s where I will be waiting.

How I miss you already I will look after your children and will love our grand daughter enough for the both of us. I will talk about you and tell her of all our adventures

I promise

In return come see me Donna in that place between sleep and dreaming bring a sail boat and dance with me again.

You were right how can I have a life without Donna in it.
Mamma mia, here I go again
My my, how can I resist you?
Mamma mia, does it show again?
My my, just how much I’ve missed you
Yes, I’ve been brokenhearted
Blue since the day we parted
Why, why did I ever let you go?
Mamma mia, even if I say
Bye bye, leave me now or never
mamma mia, it’s a game we play
Bye bye doesn’t mean forever

Love you always Joolz ♥️