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 ❤️

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http://www.ravensretreat.wales

Accidental dog.

Ive always had a dog.

Always

Until we lost Saffie last year i swore I couldn’t do it again.

She had been beside me for 15 years.

I had two cats Lucifer and Luna who had both been rescued from work.

You need to change your job Jeff had said or I’ll have to start work on a bloody Ark.

You had Honey and whilst you were having chemo I’d take Honey out.

She was like a small hysterical sheep a cockapoo.

WTF I’d joke she’s a mongrel.

What an ugly dog. You’d cover her ears and tell her to ignore me.

Anyway I’d gone almost a year with no dog.

Then one day around eight weeks ago I’d had a shit day in work gone back to the office to write up my notes and Emma my friend who sits beside me casually starts telling me about a dog that has been bought as a puppy kept in one room has never been outside and is now a year old

To top it off it’s a patient I’ve already rehomed two dogs for.

I look at Emma. It’s 4pm on a Friday.

Come on let’s go see her I say.

Are you sure.

Five mins later we are knocking on the door.

We go in I sit on the bed and ask what’s. Happening

The flat is full of dog mess and urine and she explains she needs.the dog rehoming.

She’s moving house and thought she may cope with a small dog but can’t cope.

Will you take her she asks?

Off course I will.

Where is she?

At that the smallest frightened dog appears from under the bed

Up onto my knee shaking ears back it’s half the size of my cat I think.

I’m not a fan of tiny toy dogs but it’s looking at me with soulful eyes and beffore I know it I’m offering to keep it myself.

Oh thank you she says and by 5.30 this tiny dog with bat like ears is sitting on my sofa.

Another random end to a day.

Jeff comes home from work looks at me and asks.

What’s that?

I tell him her story and he asks how the cats are.

They seem to like her ..maybe they think it’s a rat he laughs .

Let’s keep her.

Actuually I say I’d kind of promised her.

So being so very tiny I thought she should have a big name.

She looks a bit like a angry old lady.

Mavis Mavanwy Jones

I’m not carrying you I tell her.

Your a big dog!

A warrior.

That day was meant to happen Donna you would love her.

She didn’t know how to play. She had never stood on grass scared of the wind.

I’ve taken her everywhere

We walked up pen y fan

On the beach down the canal she’s a different dog now and I can’t believe how much I’ve missed walking with company

Lucifer loves her they chase each other around the house.

I take her to work she’s the office dog.

She’s always thrilled to see me.

So I guess Jeff had better get started on that Ark. ❤️

There are no strangers just friends we haven’t yet met.

So as most of you know I live in a little canalside cottage nothing posh just two up two down on a tow path in South Wales.

I also have another cottage on the terrace Ravens Retreat.

Where as a soul midwife I provide respite free Therapies and breaks for cancer patients or anyone with life limiting condition.

We are slowly rebuilding the retreat after we were hit by storm Callum in Sept 2018 most of the terrace was flooded by sewerage it was a challenging time to say the least.

My hubby Jeff has been beyond amazing he is a jack of all trades and has self leveled floors, tiled bathroom fitted a shower room.

He’s almost finished tiling kitchen and living room

Fitted a new kitchen aquired from Facebook marketplace.

We are doing all this on a shoe string

We have had a cabin built (our healing hive ) on the land behind the retreat and are also trying to get this up and running insulated electrics flooring fencing the list is endless

And as I’ve been off work for a year on half pay I have really been holding out my hands to the universe and trusting we can get things finished.

Offering free Therapies to cancer patients. Holding healing clinics Reiki, Omni, and Soul Connection healing workshops teaching reiki to community

I know this work Is so very important people need to be treated holistically.

This is my service to the community a way of me giving back. A thank you for leading me to this beautiful place.

This post is about just that giving back and paying forward.

I always believe that people are for the best part good

And what you put out there you get back.

That’s what storm Callum has taught me.

This tiny street in South Wales is a community

Very commune like.

We all pulled together. We baled water, carried furniture, cleaned each other’s houses supporting each other in any way possible.

I cooked for the street my son made flood gates my hubby helped anyone and everyone. Reporters came and went we we’re on T.V for the weekend then people forgot.

Or did they.

Friends and neighbors are now closer

People come and gift me time in return for Therapies or healing or perhaps lunch.

Fab electrician had helped wire the cabin, my friend Han from work helped dig out old trees and clear garden. My son, daughter and daughter in love helped clean and grout tiles

Zoe and Ross helped clear up after cabin was erected

My grand daughter Tamika pushed wheel barrows full of garden rubbish.

Out neighbor Paul plastered the bathroom ceiling.

The twins next door brought food when Jeff was working.

My friend Sharon very kindly lent us a digger! How awesome I’ve been truly overwhelmed with kindness I’m truly blessed.

Last week I had a phone call from a lovely guy Chris who wanted to know more about what we we’re doing having heard about us from a mutual.friend

He visited and from minute I opened the door I knew we were destined to be friends.

Today he came over and painted fences helped Jeff out then had Sunday lunch with me and my family.

I guess what I’m telling you is there is a positive in every situation no matter how bad things are

Our little retreat was a lovely little cottage before the flood but we had made do and mended with what we had.

The flood pulled our little street together into a fabulous commune it pushed us to do work that we couldn’t really afford but somehow we’ve done it.

We now have that all important healing space I so desperately needed. A shower room that will make things much easier for wheel chair users or guests with dogs!

Most of all I have met some of the most amazing people who gave us the gift of time and true genuine friendship .

That to me is priceless.

So when life gets hard remember hold out your hands and trust the universe.

It may be hard but it is always beautiful.

So if your passing through neath valley south Wales

Come take a walk down Canalside drop in say hi.

A liminal magical place

My paradise.

My Tribe

My family ❤️

Stormy night on the bay.

You left me on a stormy night in September 2018
9-11
loosing you will be as awfully memerable as the twin towers.
The windows looking out across Swansea bay.
A view that you loved.
The beach that you walked on many times painted toe nails and flip flops.
Drawing hearts in the sand with a stick.
Finding pictures in clouds
Paddling in the surf and throwing sticks for saffie then honey
Swansea pride in singleton park there across from the bay.
Singing to pink songs and drinking vodka cocktails.
I sit and wonder how many times we have walked there
How many sticks we have thrown.
How many coffees in take away cups
Sunsets we watched and dreams we shared
That bay holds so many memories.
The light house you loved I told you it was owned by housing association
You rang to ask if it was for rent.

It’s only right that this place you loved so much is part of today.
I have a silloette photo I took of you one summer evening standing looking at the sunset holding my granddaughter in your arms outside our favorite cafe remos.
Any excuse we would go there I’d buy us ice creams and you’d insist you didn’t like it
It’s the early hours of the morning and the stormy night intensifies.
Huge seagulls blow like paper towards the window the night is black and grey the rain comes down in sheets
A tiny glow from the light house blinks on the cliffs
Is the bay morning you leaving us too?
How many grains of sand on that beach . you often asked. As many as stars in the sky?
My random girl.
Every grain of sand and every star like every grain of me will miss you.

Twenty six hours earlier we had walked into that ward.

I’d squashed into the bed to

Hold you knowing we

Wouldn’t be leaving together

Twenty six hours later Im holding you knowing it’s the last time.
Whispering to you that its
okay to let go..
Telling you that I love you.

Your hair smelling of lush shampoo
Wet with my tears
We are surrounded by your family.
A sphere of love.

But as I feel your breathe rise and fall for the last time
I learn the meaning of heart break.
I have never felt so alone.
I promised I’d be strong.
Your faith in me was unshakable
I know your out there on the bay wind in your hair

But I don’t know how with out you

My reason to breathe.

Standing at a bus stop with my eight week old baby daughter strapped to me in a baby harness.

I turned to see an old lady gazing at my baby.

She spoke quietly as if she might wake her

Precious beautiful baby, she is an empty vessel be careful what the world puts into her. She pushed fifty pence piece against her tiny hand.

Custom to gift a new baby a silver coin. I thanked her and smiled. It was 1983 I was just eighteen and that was the first bit of wise advise I was given as a new young mum.

I don’t think any of us realise just how fast our children will grow. I know I didn’t.

I lived alone in a tiny bedsit. It was far from ideal but I’d wanted my baby and I was doing the best I knew how. With very little help. I never left her. Ever.

Well not until she was three years old. Time for nursery Not even when my second child was born I had him at home because I couldn’t leave my daughter.

There isn’t a guide book is there. A what to do when you’ve fed, changed, winded and they are still crying, or a number for Mary Poppins when your bedsit is on the ground floor and toilet is upstairs and the baby is asleep. Or your I’ll or you and kids both have a bug and there is no one to help.

Or there is too much week at the end of your money.

I remember sometimes thinking it will be easier when they are older.

It’s never easier as a parent you just worry about different things

If your getting it right.

I think everyone wings it occasionally. I know I did.

I look back now they are all grown up and I’m so proud of them all.

Every new grand child brings joy more love and reminders of my babies and the old lady at the bus stop.

She was so right precious and beautiful and so important what we allow the world to put into them.

Even more so now. Social media and mobile phones technology.

Milestones flashing by, rolling over, sitting up, swimming under water, sleeping all night.

I remember that joy of more than a few hours sleep.

It was hard work being a single mum.

But the best thing I ever chose to do.

My only complaint is it went far too fast.

I still worry about them now they are grown with children of their own.

But I’d do it all again in a heart beat.

Circle of Women

Women are from Venus Men are from Mars.

I get that.

There really is nothing more powerful than a circle of women .

Strong, unbreakable, inspiring and much more

Women’s best friends are stronger often than blood.

Or at least that’s my experience.

Women’s friends often know them better than their partners .

They are the duct tape that hold each other’s lives together.

How do men manage without that?

I have a few close women friends and I know without doubt they have my back and I have theirs

Free thinkers, poets, dreamers, rebels, square pegs hippys women who walk barefoot and arnt afraid to be exactly who they are.

Make no excuses take no prisoners. Who dance in the rain.

Honest funny, loving. Passionate

My tribe.

Chosen sisters

I love you

I am truly blessed.

The wrong side of town.

I was ten years old when Dad said we were moving house.

Tea time were sitting at the kitchen table eating bacon and potatoes when it was first mentioned. ‘What do you think then would you like to move house?’

‘We’d be living near your nanny, and there is a school right across the road from the house!’

‘My school is across from this house’ I reply.

I carried on pushing my bacon round my plate, without speaking, there’s a family that I know they want a house swap with us but if you don’t want to go we won’t go’

Yeah right i thought. ‘But my school is across the road here Dad’ I say again.

I like my school, and our Pam and the kids live here’

‘Well it’s only a bus ride away.

They can sleep over.’

What he forgot to mention is it was across the road from the labor club he drank in.

I put my fork down and stood up. ‘Come here and give your Dad a love.’

He held his arms out and pulled me onto his knee ‘Come on smile for your Dad’. I smiled weakly and so it was we were moving away from everything I knew.

On the day of the move Mam was still packing boxes old tea chests with sharp metal edges I sat in the back garden with my dog lady listening to Dad and his brother Frank laughing in the kitchen. I don’t remember a van there but must have been one.

I remember uncle Frank’s Mk 1 pale blue scruffy escort stuffed with bags the bird’s cage on the back seat with all the old cushions of the sofa. The yellow topped Formica kitchen table tied upside down on top of the roof rack. I remember staring at the paint stained legs of the table as the rain started to fall.

We must have looked a sight! Nesbits bloody flitting my Dad said laughing his booming laugh as he stood at the front door drinking his last pint in our lovely old house.
Then after our dinner of spam and piccalilli butties Mam hurried my dog lady and me into the back of the car with the last of our belongings. uncle Frank was always running out of petrol and prayed he would run out today but sods law he wouldn’t. I held onto Lady she shook and shivered she hated being in a car I talked softly to her promising her we would be alright but from the moment I stepped out of the car I knew I was wrong.
Everywhere looked dull and grey.
Our old house was across from the woods, ponds with tadpole’s.

Fields with horses and the pig farm and apple orchards everywhere there was green.

I couldn’t believe the difference.

We were just behind the main road on what I was soon to find out was the rough side of town. Industrial, grey and bleak.
The house was at the very end of the terraced street on the edge of a huge council estate.
Greyhound track on the gable end of the house, school field in front leading to canal at the side of a massive ugly gas meter. From the back door was the busy main road I stood in the rain and cried.
‘Dad I want to go home’.

’Don’t be so bloody daft we are home’ he said taking my dog from me.

She pulled on the lead and looked back at me she wanted to go home too I knew it.
Then with a slam of the door he locked her in the outside brick shed!

I screamed I was near hysterical ‘Please Dad please don’t lock lady in there she’ll be scared.’ I pulled at his jacket but he pushed me off and snapped the lock shut on the bolt! I could heat lady scratching to get out and she start to whine. I hung onto his coat.’I’ll look after her Dad’ I continued to plead ‘She doesn’t know were she is!’ He grabbed my arm.

‘STOP IT NOW! he road back handing me with a slap knocking me onto the wet soggy grass.

‘She’s bloody staying in there until I get back all the doors are open in the house and your Mam is sorting out she’ll get out and run off.

‘Now go help your mammy unpack and I’ll let her out when I get back from the club. I’m going for a pint with our Frank.’

That’s when I realized why we’d moved. The labor club were Mam and Dad drank was across the main road. I could see it from the back door. I sat against the shed door sobbing in the rain watched him walk away over the club to get drunk again.

Lady cried inside and I cried outside. Mam opened the back door ‘Get in here and help me unpack.’

‘No!’ I screamed I’m staying out here! Until Dad comes back.’

‘Well bloody stay there’ she muttered.
I lay against the door pushing my fingers underneath to feel lady’s wet nose.
It was freezing lying on the flags but I couldn’t leave her there she was scared. Itwent dark and Dad still wasn’t back. Still I didn’t move.
I hated him now.
Mam was shouting at me to come inside, ‘Get in now or I’ll bloody belt you look at the bloody state of you,’
‘No! I’m not leaving lady!’
‘The next thing I know Mam’s dragging me kicking and screaming through the back door. ‘Get up the stairs now and into bed!’
‘I hate you I hate you both I shout.
I hated her, hated Dad!

But most of all I hated this house. I stood at the window looking over at the club all lit up by spot lights around the car park.

I stand staring at the big blue door. People go in different people come out.
Accept Dad!
I lie on the bed determined not to sleep.
But eventually I do.

Daylight comes through the window and I jump up still wearing damp clothes from the day before looked out of my window to the back garden, the shed door swinging to and fro in the wind. I run downstairs Mam stands stiring tea in the tiny kitchen.

’Where’s lady?’

’Ask your bloody Dad!’

I run into the living room were he is lying on the sofa propped up from the night before. ‘Well tell her then!’ says Mam from the kitchen.

I feel suddenly sick.

And I want to cry.
‘Dads were is she?’
’She’ll be back’ he said with a false smile and a tear spilled from my eye. ‘Where?’

I asked again

‘He let her out last night pissed bastard, and she ran off.’

I’m sobbing now. ‘Lets go find her now!

She might get run over on that big road,’

‘Dad please, please get up she doesn’t know were she is!’

‘I’ve looked’ he is saying. But he’s lying he is still drunk.

I pulled on my shoes and run out of the house. I’m crying so hard I can’t see.

For hours I call her name, walked up and down the big main road, over to Nanny goat park then up and down the back streets every corner I turned I expected to see her. She isn’t just my dog shes my best friend

The lady from the flying horse pub comes out and asks if I’m okay?

‘Have you seen my dog her name is Lady she’s a whippet, we just moved here she doesn’t know her way home, my Dad let her out last night and I cant find her’ I looked up at her still sobbing.

‘No my darling were do you live?’

And I realized I dont even know my address.
‘Does your mammy know your out, where’s your coat?’

I cant answer her.

‘Poor doll’ I hear her say as I walked away. Eventually it goes dark and I walk back to see if she has found her way to the house. She hasn’t.

Every day for a week I refuse to eat or go to look at my new school I want lady back and I wanted to go home.

Everyone else carry’s on as normal.
Then one afternoon Dad comes in with a letter he sits me on the stairs and gives it to me to read he tells me it is from the vet.
I can’t see to read it through my tears he said lady had been knocked down on the main road, they had operated on her leg but she had died. I cried so much my whole body hurt. I hate you I managed to sob as I slammed the bedroom door behind me.
I wished it wad been him instead of lady it was his fault. I loved her more than anything, she’d been with me since I was born she slept by my bed.
All the times I had been hurt, or woke in the night when the monster came it was her that calmed me.
Sneaking into my bedroom to lick away my tears.
Who would look after me now?

Years later in one of their many arguments Mam shouted out that Dad had some girl from the labor club type that vets letter out to stop me from looking for her.

The night of the move Dad had come back drunk he’d opened the door of the shed lady had run from him and in front of a car on the main road. She hadn’t been killed

with no money for a vet he had taken her to his brothers then the next day whilst I was out looking for her he had shot her and buried her at the dam by our old house in the fields id loved to play in.
He’d let me walk the streets calling her for a week Always hoping someone had found her and was looking after her.
Not only was he a drunk he was a liar as well. Oh how I hated him.