Help.

I need help. There I said it!

I run a cottage retreat offer free breaks for cancer / end of life patients.

Im a soul midwife end of life companion and advocate for anyone who needs me.

No charge free.

Therapies visits support all free.

Im also a wedding and funeral celebrant this service is also free for patients

I also have to work full time to finance this bills have to be paid.

Car needs fuel.

Mortgage electricity oil ect.

What I need is someone to advise me and or help with funding or grants that I may be eligible for in the U.K.

My dream is to be able to devote all my time working as soul midwife but at the moment that’s not possible.

It’s so important that my services remain free.

I never want someone to think they can’t afford a soul midwife.

Donations are fine I’m good with that

There is a donate now button on my website.

http://www.ravensretreat.wales

But to enable me to let my paid job go I need some sort of funding

So do you or anyone you know have any experience of how to go about this?

I know there is the national lottery grants act but I’m hopeless at all this entails

We are a community interest company.

Completely non profit.

So I know we are eligible.

If you can help.in anyway or you’d like to fund raise for us.

I’d be eternally grateful.

Please share our website and this post.

Hopefully someone can point me in the right direction.

http://www.ravensretreat.wales

Old photographs. Damp walls, singing kettles and coal fires

I came across this old photograph.
that’s my Nan and grand father the year is 1966.
that’s me sitting on my grand father’s knee, my niece Angela is the baby in the shawl.
I don’t remember my grandfather.
he died when I was three.
my Nan was amazing a huge influence on who I am today.

Strong northern woman.

You can see from the photo they didn’t have much.

She always worked he like all the men in our family drank never a few always too much.

This was taken in their home a very old run down terraced house facing a park in a collery town in the north of England.

I remember the smell of damp. frayed seat covers on the old two seater sofa I’d pick at the sponge foam through the thread bare covers as I fell asleep listening to the sound of my Nans old Jones treadle sewing machine
it was a magical rythem of my life.
The playground across the road was known as Nanny goat park.
it stood in the shadow of glass factories.

I remember cold fingers gripping the handle of the roundabout as nanny’s old staffie dog Bruce barked until I’d get off.

Cold morning air white spiders webs in privit hedges
Ice on the inside of the bedroom windows. Cold breath in the air.

Chopping stick in the mornings to lite the fire.

The smell of fire lighters and inky fingers from screwing up yesterday’s news paper to insure a flame.

Grand dad died when I was three and nanny moved to a council house with a garden
no park across the road but also no smell of damp.
the windows had lead that reflected onto the bare plaster walls from the light of the street lamp.
while I’d snuggle under sheets blankets and coats to keep us warm
complaining that they made me itch
She would shush me and given a stone hot water bottle wrapped in a tea towel.
sitting on the back doorstep waiting for the kettles whistle hot milky tea.
sterilised milk and a chipped China cup.

Perfect boiled eggs and thick buttered toast.
hearing her singing Vera Lynn White cliffs of Dover and shouting at my cousin’s to stop kicking the bloody football on the side of the house.

Jesus Mary and bloody Joseph she would shout followed by your make the bloody saints in heaven swear as my drunken dad would fall into the back door the smell of beer tobacco and vomit.

John players fags from the shop and jug of stout from the outdoor.
Rapping her door shouting through the letter box.

Naaaaaaaanny

laughing when she would tell me to bugger off home.

Stop bloody mitherin me!
Corned beef hot pot.
massive egg custard tarts.
bacon ribs and pea soup.

Lying with my head on her lap the smell of Sunday roast on her pinny.
her orange lip stick from the Avon woman with the blue bag.
boxes of old black and white photographs telling stories of her life. rhubarb onions, and spuds from her garden
pop soxs and polka dots.
string shopping bags and the football pools. silver hair
Always protecting me I loved being around this tiny woman .
I think this is the only photo that I have of her.
That’s all I need.
the rest I carry with me Nan.

http://www.ravensretreat.wales

Counseling. Balls of string and windowless cupboards and musty fish fingers

Yesterday was my last counseling session! I’m so proud of myself.

I remember on first appointment I almost didn’t attend.

Panic in the car and a list of very good reasons of why not to go.

I’m so glad I did.

What is it with mental health staff and counsellors not accepting help?

We have apaling self care.

Anyway it came at just the right time I was hanging on by my finger nails.

I also have to say that it helps if you get a counselor that you are comfortable with. You know someone that gets you.

I was extremely lucky.

So for a hour every few weeks I would turn up to one of two hospitals.

The first one has a very modern unit lovely seating area water tower and a large T.V

The second one has a cupboard no windows heating on warp 100° and a distinct smell of musty fish fingers.

My first appointment was in the windowless fish ginger room.

I had resolved to be totally honest about everything whilst sitting in the waiting room.

He would either recommended I need sectioning or be able to help me unravel the tight ball of elastic that was sitting in the pit of my stomach.

And so it began

I told him everything.

Everything that mattered.

Everything that hurt.

I told him about the flash backs

Everything all the things that Donna knew about me that no one else did.

I could feel her beside me willing me to talk.

I did.

And it was okay.

I knew I had a connection.

I’m sure Donna chose a person that would understand.

The second session then a third I no longer doubted I could fix this

It was like sitting with someone and letting them help untangle a huge knotted ball of string.

When you arrive you have no idea where the end is .

But gradually after putting it down

Resting then untangling a bit more you see easier ways of doing it.

Then yesterday as I sat in the fish finger room for the last time I reflected on how different I felt from the first time.

Im still working on a few things but I can see again. And I know I can do this

Im so very grateful for the man who sits and listens in the very hot window less room

I believe he was the right person to help at the exact right time.

And for that I thank the universe. 🙂

Please share our website

http://www.ravensretreat.wales

Flashback letter..

I know what the books and therapists say about flashbacks

I don’t disagree.

Every theory is valid in its own way.

But spiritually I look for lessons in everything.

So I try to make some sort of sense of everything.

The flash backs started Donna when you left.

Trauma they say .

I know that and I can hear you singing beautiful Trauma by Pink to me.

Typical.

So I decided to ask for help.

Nhs Oçcy health was my starting point.

It couldn’t hurt could it?

Making an appointment to see a counselor?

I could always change my mind.

I almost did first appointment as I drove up to Singleton hospital I was tempted to drive past keep going to the mumbles to sit on that rock you liked by the sea.

I could people watch maybe?

I was too early sat in the car.

What are you doing I asked myself get a grip I need coffee.

I walked up stairs thinking about the last time I was here in that corridor was with you

Going for a scan 7.30pm

You laughed as you sat in hospital gown it was on back to front bloody exhibitionist 🤣

Should be in the cross keys not sat here it’s 2 for 1 cocktails

Nutty Russian I could just drink one now if my liver wasn’t fucked you laughed just as they shouted your name.

I squeezed your hand three times .

Me to you said.

I smile at the woman now typing I’m here to.see Adrian I say

Take a seat I pour myself a water wishing it was a large gin and t and look at the door.

A smiley man steps out of the office and before I know it I’m sat in a tiny room that really could be a large cupboard

It smells like burnt fish fingers it’s really hot and I’m menopausal. The fan is crap

I’m babbling and apologizing.

He asks be the standard how do you feel questions on scale of 1-5. There isn’t a question that asks where are you at moment if there were I’d tell him im completely lost.

He’s a nice guy. Genuine I hear you beside me.

Tell him . It’s okay.

And so I do.

I tell him everything I think if I say it all at once it’s out there.

Floating about the universe.

Real.

He can start to help me pick up the pieces

Or section me 🤣

Mental health workers are shit at talking about their own shit. Or is that just me.?

He listens and we agree on a plan

You’d like him Donna

I’ve seen him three times now.

Its helping I feel safe

He asked me today what would I say to my father’s voice

I didn’t really know.

But it’s given me something to think.about

I’d tell him that nothing he has ever said will break me.

That everything that Donna held for me hadn’t died with her I have trusted someone else.

I don’t have secrets.

I’d tell him im sometimes sad that he didn’t get to know me.

That I accept all the things I wanted he wasn’t capable of giving me.

He didn’t know how

I’d tell him that’s okay.

I’d ask him to stop shouting

Stop being angry

That I hope next time around he has a better life.

That I send him healing.

That I remember good things like him holding the back of the old blue bike saddle teaching me to ride a bike .

I remember crying because a black bird was stuck in a bramble bush and begging him to save it.

Watching him push his arm in holding the frightened bird then letting it go

Scratches and blood

As we walked home he told me that the bird had gone to tell.all it’s friends it had been saved because of me.

I’d tell him that no matter how hard life is it is always beautiful.

That I wouldn’t change a day.

That I’m so blessed in my little cottage by the water in Wales kids geese ducks dog cat and a man I love.

This is my paradise.

I’d ask him if he remembered me saying I’d live in Wales one day when I was a kid.

He would call me Gunner…

Because I was always Gunner do this or that.

Power of positive thought.

The universe listens

Expect amazing and get amazing.

Dad that’s what I’d tell you

So I can’t listen to your negativity.

It no longer serves me.

I’ve been so very tiered

Lost

But I’m.getting there

Yes Donna as bloody usual.you were right I needed someone in my corner someone with the right words

I’ll get there . I’m too bloody stubborn not too.

I’d sign my letter wishing you love healing and light.

Because you taught me Donna that’s all there is.

There is nothing else

Only love ❤️

Bare brick walls & cheese plants (child mental health)

This is a clip from a book I’m writing about a dysfunctional abusive family in the 1970s and child mental health services at that time.

Thankfully now it’s much better.

He sat at a huge oak desk
The wall behind him was bare brick
A modern clinic for 1975..
A cheese less cheese plant as wide as it was tall stood like a gangly guard in the corner
Leaves reaching out like huge ten fingered alien hands
A photograph of the man at the desk with a woman and two children my age smiling at the camera
But in the photograph he wasn’t wearing a suit like he wears when I see him sitting at the desk. He looks different in the photo. Perhaps it’s his twin brother?
I’m holding onto the sides of the blue plastic chair
Swinging my legs.
They don’t touch the ground.
The only sound is the papers he is holding as he reads silently reminding himself of my last appointment.
I count.
The leaves on the cheese plant guard.
Leaning to my left to check around the back.
Fourty two I whisper.
He looks at me over his gold glasses smiles.
“Forty two? It’s nice to hear you speak.” He says
I feel my face flush.
Nod my head
“Leaves I say on your plant”
Do you like counting?
I nod
‘Inside my head’
I count I sing sometimes I shout but I don’t tell him that.
So he says
“How’s things been at home this week.?”
I’m listening to the breathing behind me and the faint waft of cigarette smoke
I can’t see him but I know he’s there.
His presence is palpable.
He always sits in that chair by the door
Answer the doctor he says in his gruff voice ..
I look at the photograph. On the desk.
His eyes look kind
I look back at him holding his pen and I begin to count the bricks on the wall
Shit I think as I count
Things at home are shit always .
21, 22, 23.
Talk to the Dr the voice behind me says from the chair
Tell the truth .”
I swing my legs..
41,42,43..
She’s shy says the voice again.
Not ten mins before outside in the rain the voice had reminded me to keep my mouth shut.
Mimed turning a key and throwing it away.
“If you tell them ANYTHING the will put me in jail. You will go in a children’s home and you won’t see your mammy again. ”
I looked at the doctor smiled and carried on counting
77,78,79.
Until eventually it was time to go home to my Mam.