Fog of Grief

In my lonley and self imposed fortress of darkness.

Wrapped in a foggy cocoon, playing inner cine films of you.

In a large empty theatre for one.

Talking to you of how lost that I feel

Listening and knowing all your replies. making new deals as I stare up at the night sky.

Wishing for just one more day spent with you.

To just watch the clouds maybe share a drink or two.

Dancing to pink and taking you home

Then waking and knowing I’m still here

Alone.

Without the madness of my random best friend

Knowing I must go on get a grip and not spend.

Days fretting without you I have no choice but to be strong

Knowing your still.beside me

Knowing what you would say

You’d give me a row

For loosing my way

And so now I have

found the courage to lite a candle within myself.

Embracing the shadows asking for enlightenment.

In the darkness of grief I found my true self.

I was not completly lost.

Just waiting

For the flickering of the returning light.

Of hope

Who knew. Birthday & Christmas without you.

So today is the second birthday you’ve been gone.

I miss you Donna.

Everyday there is some thing new to miss.

Last night I drempt of you.

We were in your old house in bay street.

Decorating the Christmas tree.

Well you were it had to be perfect.

Symmetrical 😂🌲

You were dancing to Pink

Who knew.

Glass of vodka and lemonade in your hand laughing long black hair shining

Happy eyes.

We sat together on your huge sofa

Guess what I’ve bought you.

I sigh roll my eyes.

Shall I give you a clue?

Tell you what it begins with?

Nooooo I laugh I’ll wait.

You loved Christmas.

Everything about it.

I woke up I could still.smell your perfume.

The rain battered at the window.

I heard your voice “raining on my birthday!”

Happy birthday I whisper.

I miss you.

Im working but plan to go to the cemetery on way .

I’ve bought you a happy feet penguin it’s so heavy

Concrete it’s a garden ornament.

I know you’ll love it.

I ring your daughter tell her I’ll meet her by the cemetery gates at 11.30 after I pick up flowers

Drive over to supermarket to pick up sun flowers for you.

As I’m driving pink comes on the radio.

Who knew.

I smile your everywhere I know your by my side.

There are no sunflower left I stand there and something catches my eye.

A Christmas tree a potted one with roots.

I think of my dream

Pick up the tree and a pack of baubles

Ten mins later I meet Sarah and Chloe and after I decorate the tree as symmetrically I can whist sat in a car in the rain

I take it to you.

Happy birthday love I say as we all get out of the car .

Sarah puts the star on top

Chloe ties a balloon to the little fence we put up in summer .

The dancing penguin and tree are just you Donna.

The rain has stopped .

Hope you like the tree I say

She would love it Sarah says

I know you do.

If someone said three years from now
You’d be long gone
I’d stand up and punch them out
‘Cause they’re all wrong
I know better
‘Cause you said forever
And ever
Who knew

Happy birthday Donna ❤️

.

You really couldn’t make this up

I walked through the gate
there standing before me was a huge 1930s detached three story house.
I’d driven past here hundreds of times and never noticed it.
hiding behind tall fir trees.
it was drizzling rain a dull damp day.
angry clouds above this huge house
I stood beside my friend Chris he looked at me.
looks a bit run down I say choosing my words
old-fashioned rooshed net curtain that haven’t seen a washing machine in a long time adorn the huge windows
I hear my mother saying “they need steeping in some Sally white bleach ‘
your not wrong mam I think.
come on then I say to Chris as we walk past the huge cars on the drive shining and polished complete contrast to the grey and dismal house.
the Adams family comes to mind says Chris as we walk up the stone steps to the first floor front door.

Rocky horror I smile
I ring the bell and we wait.

nice view across the city I say as the door is opened by a well dressed man in a suit

he struggles to open the door pushing boxes to the side of the hallway and beckons us to come in.
I introduce Chris and we take a seat in the waiting room.

Dust in corners of ceiling cracked paint spiders webs and if the windows were cleaned there would be a fabulous view across the city.
the furniture is 1970s g plan in a faded green ancient Wilton carpets thread bare in places tell of better times and I wonder if families stuck within their grief fail to notice the neglect around them as they sit here being advised on their loved ones funeral.

Waiting to pick up ashes or to view a loved one before a funeral.

I’ve worked in many funeral.homes but this is, well run down. shabby and cold. It’s shocking
The man who runs things is lovely a little aloof but I didn’t see this coming.

He asks if there’s anything I need.
No I smile
Okay I’ll go and get her, I’ll put her in the chapel of rest then I’ll come to get you.
off he goes .
I look around.
is there a secret camera I say?
Chris laughs..
we are hear as part of my soul midwife work.
I’m doing the hair and make up of a lady I’ve worked with.
before her family come to view her.
Then next week I’ll do her funeral.
Chris has come to help
for the first time
probably the only time after this.
after few mins he comes back up stairs guides us down stairs to the chapel of rest.
I swear you couldn’t make this up.
It’s under the house next to a garage

Bang bang bang constant hammering of coffins being assembled.
he opens the door creak. musty damp smell
why didn’t I video this …
blare witch goes to funeral home
there before me is a huge room set out with old wooden folding chairs
very dusty chairs
I’m wishing I’d brought a feather duster and some polish it’s set out as a chapel
wow I say.

Chris nudges me
this “could” be fabulous obviously it’s not used now
no says funeral director.
not for years

He smiles shuts the door behind us it’s dark and dismal and I’m reminded of a Steven king film

Here is chapel of rest
a door to the side is opened into what can only described as a large cupboard with a gurney trolly in there body on it looking like it’s been dropped out of a plane and landed very akwardly.
head twisted mouth and eyes open not just cold but bordering frozen.

I look around almost sureal slow motion
now first and foremost I’ve seen alot of corpses in my job
I’m not afraid or shocked I care for the body
when I go to funeral directors they are usually lying with dignity eyes mouth have been closed head straight .
You know what I mean.

Everything okay says funeral director?

There is a arched window behind him covered in dust and spiders webs
it’s winter but the flies are alive one lands on the face of the body

I flick it off
are you going to put a stitch in the mouth I ask?
(usual practice)
Oh no he says I don’t like that..

would you like a tea or coffee?

I’m tempted to ask for a gin I bloody need one

I shake my head
he leaves closing the door and I wonder what the fook is going on.
Chris is standing in the corner with a is this a sick joke look on his face .

I take out my kit and get to work.
talking chatting to my lady as I work.
well I’say to her
ou chose this place I’m betting you”ve never been here before!

Chris come help me hold her mouth closed.
I work gently hair make up fix her body into an acceptable position and close her eyes and mouth.
there is still rope around her feet from when she was brought from the hospital morge

a sticker across her chest her name and date birth.

I flick away flies

There I say as we finish
goodbye my friend

I pray her family don’t come to view in this room
it’s just beyond unbelievable and I’m glad Chris is with me or no one would believe this
we go back up stairs he is sat at an old desk.
where the sink I ask?

sink? He looks puzzled.
Yes I’ve just been handling a body id like to wash my hands.

Chris laughs nervously.
We wash our hands say a polite goodbye tell him I’ll see him to do the funeral.
we get in the car
sit for awhile
seriously that place is beyond I say.
I wonder what I can do
vow to get funeral over with then go back to speak to him
he needs to sort that place out he needs help says Chris.
help…
he needs a mop and bucket and a complete renovation I say.
The funeral went well cars staff everything was good
but behind the scenes there was a completely different story .
I wouldn’t tell the family
what could it achieve?
but I plan to go back and have a chat to see just what the score is there has to be a reason such a beautiful place has fell into such disrepair.

what do you think?

Going home

Earth, water, fire, we have walked through together.

I know we have only hours left as friends.

Air will be the last element to leave.

Like a cocoon of protection we are together on the final part of this path.

A journey I promised I would accompany you on

You told me you were scared.

What if there is nothing at the end of the road?

What if it’s simply a snuffing out of a candle, lights out.

Darkness then nothing?

How could I tell you what I knew to be true?

It is like the lighting of a candle the opening of a new door.

Walking out of the darkness.

I know because I’ve been here before.

The first time they said was a near death experience.

I had to disagree.

It was near life utter calmness floating watching quizzically at the panic below.

As they fought to bring me back maybe it wasn’t my time to go.

Many times I have had the privilege to vigil to hold hands as souls leave.

Chanting in whispers

Mirroring those last breathes

Catching sight of loved ones who come to greet you at your death.

Death of the body but not of your soul.

As you let go of my hand as your welcomed back home.

I stand in the calmness then trace my steps back alone.

Connections like rain drops

So today I went to a spoken word poetry event . One of my favourite venues chilled and friendly. Beautiful old church.

This is the story I told after I’d finished reading I was approached by a lovely lady who is possibly a relation of Matthew the man in the story.

As she spoke I was reminded of what I already know

Without doubt we are all connected. We are a circle within a circle with no beginning and never ending.

Read on tell me what you think?

Ancestor connection.

I worship the old gods of this land the isle of Albion.

I follow the wheel of the year. Tonight the wheel turns it is Samhain eve in a 13c churchyard.

Its 3am and almost a full moon. There is a avenue of yew trees and it’s without one of the most magical places I know.

It’s my favourite place for ritual. The place I come to give thanks, to show gratitude. To talk with spirit.

To think to read. To just to be.

I wonder from my usual path many of the tombstones are overgrown covered in ivy surrounded by knot weed.

Standing back from all the others is an old stone old coffin shaped base it is covered in ivy.

I’m always drawn to it but no details are visible.

I stand in the moonlight. I ask ‘who are you?’

Touching the base of the cold stone.
I start to pick at the ivy..

it has pushed its way into the grey stone clinging green fingers into the details of intricate carved words.

I chant and hum quietly to myself it becomes quite mediative

As I pull at the vines they come away in narly sharp lengths sometimes tiny pieces that cling with remarkable strength.

We are a circle within a circle with no begining and never ending. I sing to my yet unknown companion
Time slips by slowly and the winter sun begins to rise birds begin to sing.

The carved words become visible.
I read out loud. Matthew Goodridge. Age 43
Mellincreethin a shiver runs through me as I read the next line .

Died 31 Oct 1888 Samhain..

Further down I read the names of Matthews daughters .Sarah Anne 14. Tirzah 9.
I catch a glimpse of someone watching me from the avenue of yew trees a tall man he nods smiles politely lifts his cap as he walks slowly through the avenue of sacred yews.

Matthew I whisper.

The sun shines as Celtic new year is born.

I sit there beside Matthew his two young daughters .

I will remember you Matthew.

My samhain ancestor of this place I love.

We are a circle within a circle. With no beginning and never ending.

All of us connected. The stuff of stars.

That was four years ago Matthew.
Your stone stands straight and tall cleared cleaned and cared for.
I remember you often.
This poem is for you.

Your tombstone stands among the rest;
neglected and alone
The name and date are chiseled out
on centuries old welsh stone
It reaches out to all who care
It is too late to mourn
You did not know that I would exist
You died centuries before I was born.
Yet each of us are cells of you. stardust connected
in flesh, in blood, in bone.

Our blood contracts and beats a pulse
entirely not our own.

Dear Matthew goodridge , the place you filled
hundreds of years ago
Spreads out among the ones you left

who would have loved you so.
I wonder of your life you lived of those l loved,
I wonder if you knew
That someday I would find this spot,
and stand here to honour you.

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

Climbing mountains

Some people your meant to meet.

Our first cancer break this year was in June. The cottage was back up and running and the break was gifted to an old friend of mine Viv.

A lass from my home town she had recently finished 20 plus weeks of radiotherapy at claterbridge hospital for two agresive tumours in her neck.

She is one of the most funny hard working and kind people i know

So I was beyond relieved when the news came she was in the clear.

So Viv and her partner Julie were coming back to.the canal.

The week before they were due to come I received a message from a mutual.friend Sharon

Asking how many bedrooms are in the retreat?

She asks if she can come down the same time as Viv and Julie her friend Bex has cancer she has two young children and is struggling she’s terminal

Yes of course she can come you and Bex can have a week to yourselves I tell her.

But Sharon goes on to tell me she has a broken foot can’t drive and so if they can all come together that would we better.

So after discussing it with Viv and Julie

They all meet up and agree to come together.

Now as I said they are from my hometown.

Salt of the earth so we go into overdrive to make sure everything is perfect for them this is our grand opening after the flood damage.

I was a little worried about the journey here they were coming in Sharon’s beetle

Julie driving as Sharon has a big boot on protecting her foot.

Thankfully they arrived safely but tired .

Bex fitted in from the start.

Bear in mind that I’d known the others for 20 plus years

Funny, bubbly with a wicked sense of humour.

She was so relieved to get away from ‘ cancer’ to just be Bex on holiday with the girls.

We sat around my fire pit on warm evenings drank red wine laughed lots shared stories hopes dreams

Went over to vivs favorite place the mumbles had lunch and sat by the sea.

Lost Sharon’s car keys spent a hour looking for them

Found them in a flower bed 🙈🤣

Bex said she wanted to walk up a mountain she was wearing a back brace due to weakness caused by cancer so Everest was out of the question.

But the tide was out and the light house stood on a small mountain.

Fancy that I asked nodding at the small mountain.

She laughed do you think I’ll make it up?

Yeah why not.

Go on then I prompted..

You not coming with me she asked..

If you want me to or do you want time on your own?

She smiled and off she went.

I sat on beach with my baby grand daughter and watched her become smaller and smaller as she climbed up towards the light house

Viv Julie and shaz where on the pier I walked up to them

Look I sad pointing at the tiny figure striding purposely up towards the light house.

The three of us watched as she got to the top.

Stood beside the light house sun shining wind in her hair

Arms outstretched to the sky .

This is what the retreat is about I thought

I felt so proud of her.

She stood up there for awhile then took her time walking back across the causeway.

She almost shone.

That was amazing she said.

I was just ME with the wind in my hair .

That’s the picture of her I shall keep in my head that day by the light house.

The rest of their time with us flew by.

Viv and Bex had healings and reflexology.

Although trying to get Viv to relax is a task in itself

And all too soon they were leaving with another holiday booked with us

Hugs and kisses exchanged and they drove off the canal top down on the car singing to the radio four beautiful lasses with so much to give.

Since then Bex got married went to Italy and sadly cancer became more aggressive.

She never lost that warrior spirit raising £670 having her hair cut last week for the retreat.

I bloody love that canal.she told me on video chat.

I’ll be back watch out for me.

I don’t doubt you will I laughed .

She died yesterday peacefully in her beloved Liverpool.

She knew it was time

I’m so glad I met her what a girl.

I see her smiling wind in her hair on top of a mountain.

You asked me when we were doing your healing what I believed.

I told you energy can’t die. It can only go on.

I like that you said.

You were a bundle of beautiful energy Bex.

See you on the canal soon my friend.

Stillborn still Loved

I didn’t get to wake every morning and kiss your precious tiny face;
or whisper mammy loves you to make you feel safe
I was never allowed to hold you tight
when you couldn’t sleep at night
I didn’t get to sing to you a sweet lullaby,
to calm you down when you cried
I didn’t get to fall asleep with you in my arms,
all swaddled in a crochet blanket to keep you snug warm
I didn’t get to hear you laugh and giggle
or see you little tiny baby toes wiggle
There are many things I didn’t get to do,
But my tiny still born but still loved babies mammy never stopped loving or remembering you

Final journey

I’m sitting here mid afternoon listening to you breath steady hum of the hospital bed mattress keeping you comfortable here in the living room where you have brought up your family.

Sringe driver increased dose today keeps you comfortable. You have declined this last week. Cancer…..

Your a hard man, a grafter but the pain has taken the glint from your eye.

I tell you what’s going on around us I’m taking your dog patch out, that Jeffery your son my husband will be here after work.

Always “Jeffrey” full title never Jeff.

The picture of you and Nancy hangs over the bed in younger years with your mop of dark curly hair you look greek both smiling and happy.

Memories of the past family parties birthdays, anniversaries when you and your twin brother would arrive dressed the same we would laugh knowing you hadn’t planned it. I can only imagine the trouble you two caused when you were young lads handsome and cheeky.

Before your women tamed you.

You and your Nancy.

Douglas and his Ethel

You had always been close.

Bringing your children up together. Holidaying together.

Ethel was the life and soul of the party few drinks and she would hold up her skirt dancing around with her infectious laugh. It’s a good few years since she left us cancer took her too.

I wondered how Doug would cope without her.

Now I can’t imagine how this family will carry on without you Malcolm.

Sixty plus years Nancy has loved you and your children and grandchildren idolise you.

Douglas your twin your other half. He’s never known life without you by his side.

My Jeff was run over suffered massive brain damage as a child you told me you couldn’t go to work as a lorry driver without him screaming the house down. So you would take him with you up and down the country. From here in Wales up to Scotland. I’ve never been I told you.

Go you encouraged there is no where like it.

You gave jeff car engines told him to take them.apart then rebuild them you always believed in him

He is amazing just like you are your boys run their own garage they rebuild camper vans do mots any engine Jeff can fix it.

When you and I sat talking few weeks ago you told me you’d also taught Jeff to build ‘ go and look at the fireplace in front room you winked twinkle in your eye.

You had built it.

The garage overlooking the bay. Did you build that too I asked.

“no that was Jeffery you laughed he built me a garage then put two horses in it and used it as a bloody stable!”

You are so alike. Peas in a pod . Father and son, friends.

We laughed cars and horses that’s my Jeff

That’s our link our connection Malcolm we both adore the same man. How can I thank you enough?

I sit here while your Nancy sleeps for a little while she had seldom left your side

I whisper thanks and promise I will look after your lad.

That we will take care of Nancy

I bet Ethel will be there waiting and your best friend Jock. What a party that will be Malcolm.

As Dad’s go I don’t know a better one I wish I had known you longer

When you go I whisper come back sometimes and see us I think I feel you squeeze my hand.

I whisper again to my goddess to take you gently carry you on this last part of your journey. Keep you safe

My heart hurts but I remind myself I’m blessed to have had you in my life.

Fingerprint memory jewellery

I love crafting. Wood has always been my favorite to work with. Runes, wands, Pyrography. It however has taken a back seat this year I’ve been busy with other things plus I managed to spectacularly burn down my beloved shed in March I say spectacularly as it was full of a year’s worth of wood I’d collected stored to dry which was all ready to be used for various projects so when I went out to walk my dog and arrived home a hour later to a fire engine blocking the canal bank and a house full of firemen who by the grace of goodness had got there in time to save the back of the house and give me a well deserved row for forgetting to switch off the tumble dryer. I was slightly more than a woops moment.

So as I said no seasoned wood to hand I was looking for something else.

I attended spirit of awen camp in August and met a wonderful lady who works with P.m.c ( precious metal.clay) jade moon you can find her on Facebook her work is out standing she is a true artist.

I loved the way it looked and shall eventually own a piece of her work.

Anyway I was looking for something I could make to give to families for soul midwife patients I’d worked with something personal a keepsake .

Jade’s work came to mind so I rang her to ask if pmc would work with fingerprints?

She gave me some pointers on moulds ect and I have to say I’m hooked.

I’ve seen fingerprint jewellery before we’re it is an actual fingerprint put onto silver. You know the type the police use.

I wanted to mould the print.

Then the mould is reusable so I can keep it and make as many pieces as may be required for the family.

It’s took me a few weeks to crack it. And a few failed attempts. Precious metal clay isn’t cheap!

It’s 925 silver when it’s fired.

I managed to buy a old tiny kiln (goddess bless e bay)

This batch ready to fire I’ve used a leaf shape I’m so pleased.

Beautiful silver fingerprint on a leaf pendant.

They will go to the family as this year’s solstice gifts.

And yes I’ve remembered to unplug the kiln!

Belief what is it?

Trying to explain my own understanding of the spirit world to someone else. A hard task

My belief that it really does exist here where we are now. Just a different vibration. Like radio channels.

Communication with spirit is like fine tuning a radio to the channel you want.

Spirit do the hard work we open up and invite them

No it’s not faith it’s a definite. I know without doubt. I suppose so much so that I have never really contemplated not ‘knowing’.

Although I didn’t have the best childhood I had the best Grand mother.

I can trace my acceptance and knowing, seeing, spirit to her. If you’ve always known something it’s normal I guess.

Well normal to you anyway

Death was never something to be feared.

Although religion was part of it for my Nan and my Mam both active spiritualists I went because they went, not because I wanted to. Thursday clairvoyance and divine service and healing on a Sunday. Charles Street spiritualist church a tiny church compared to some the organ a gift from sir Thomas beacham covered one wall.

The church stood at the top of a street of terraced houses in St Helens. The house next door ajoined after service it was used for healing and gathering of anyone needing a chat over tea and Buscuits or shelter from the cold northern weather until the bus arrived. Visiting mediums no pomp or robes just the same as you or I, mam or Nan

Yes we sat in circles in church or some folk ran closed circles in houses

People died services would be a life celebration in the small packed out church. I carried my Mam’s coffin in there 1997 a warm.day in May.

My children beside me.

Although I missed her physical presence her car boot sale finds watching the soaps with her I knew she was okay and life went on.

Her empty seat beside her best friend Dot in church wAs the saddest part they were like sisters and I remember wondering why Dot was so upset now that Mam was on the spirit plane?

It was another vibration but here around us I knew she was still about .

I had three young children to keep me busy a single mom with a barbers shop to run.

I moved away my belief was never dependant on a church I still worked with healing, tarot followed the moon and found my own way.

If I ever went back to my hometown or to Southport I’d attend church it seemed to have shrunk but it’s seats remained full.

I lost more relatives and good friends they say as you get older you attend more funerals than weddings. How true that is.

I work as as soulmidwife and funeral Celebrant so that’s a given.

I can honestly say I accept and respect other religions whatever gets us through.

But as I started by saying I’ve never had to explain my unwavering belief.

Until now.

My daughter in law to be. Mother of my grand daughter has recently lost her mother.

My best friend and she is desperate for ‘evidence of spirit.

Now I’ve had conversations about what I believe before.

I’ve done readings.

Received messages during a healing but this is so different.

I’ve known her since she was 13 she wouldn’t mind me saying she was a bit of a wild child. I loved her from the day we met.

No interest in anything spiritual.

Her mother and her were so close .

I know too much to give a reading.

And oddly or not this is the first death I’ve struggled with.

I miss her too beyond words could describe. So now as I remember Mam’s best friend Dots tears as she sat beside Mam’s empty seat in church.

It’s a lesson I’m sure it is.

Everything I’ve always known still stands firmly .

My daughter in law is the age I was when I lost my mother.

Maybe things were different because although Mam and me were very different people we both held the same belief?

She died in tragic circumstances but I remember thinking she would rather be where she now is.

It’s a fragile thing life I think.the only answers I have are to be the best that we can in the time that we have.

She rang me my daughter in law last night to share memories of her mother.

She said ‘ I can’t imagine not seeing her again for so long ‘

So I think.its that concept of ‘time’

Hours, days, years…. A life time..

Spirit don’t have it.. ‘time’ that is.. only we do on this earthly plane..

They are free

They are here they never left.

Just as my grand mother promised.

I needed you Donna to remind me and show your daughter the way.

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 ♥️

The last goodbye

It was a Monday morning, I’m standing outside the village post office there is a middle-aged woman in front of me, in front of her, an old man smoking a roll up cig. The doors open and the queue slowly move’s inside.

The old man leans on the window ledge as he waits his turn. He is wearing old blue jeans, and jacket, and a denim hat. Not your typical pensioner outfit.

The lines and scares on his face tell a million stories. Stories of a hard man a fighter in his time

Stories of horror, sadness, hard times, joy and laughter.

I try to concentrate on the posters on the wall. Television licence. First class stamps. Car tax. Premium bonds.

I focus on very brightly coloured poster.

St Hayden school Jumble Sale this Saturday 1.PM.

But still my eyes are drawn to him.

Half of me would like him to see me.

Half of me would like to run.

He’s holding what’s left of a roll up fag he was smoking outside. Staring ahead of him, brown eyes the same as mine milky now with age.

Wisps of silver grey hair peep from under his denim cap. Tattoos on his knuckle’s scar on his face.

He’s standing at the counter now, next to me I can smell that familiar smell of old Holborn.

I hand the woman my family allowance book, she’s smiling and saying something about the weather. I wish she would shut up as I’m straining to hear his voice.

Deep and rasping, so familiar, yet he’s become a stranger to me.

His own doing, he doesn’t know me. He never really did.not the real me.

My chest tightens, I feel my eyes prick with tears, but I won’t let them come.

Something inside of me still desperately wants him to know me.

What I’ve achieved and who I am.

He doesn’t know what I like if I take milk in my tea, what makes me happy or sad.

What issues I feel passionately about.

That despite everything I’m a good Mam.

He used to tell me I’d amount to nothing.

Nothing more than a whore.

Those words are etched into my soul.

That is how I always felt insignificant, ugly, worthless, nothing.

You’ve probably guessed by now the old man in front of me is my Dad.

The same old man who still walks in my dreams.

The man who struck terror into the heart of a small child.

Oh Dad I so desperately wanted to please you.

I wanted you to like me.

Sadly I still do.

I find myself fighting to suppress the pity I find myself feeling for him.

My heart beating in my head reminding myself of the holocaust he made my life.

There is a tiny piece of him I loved and adored the sober piece I always will.

That big man that carried me on his shoulders. Held my hand and walked me to school. Held my bike seat and smiled from ear to ear cheering his little girl as I peddled off on my own.

He taught me to play cards, draughts, let me help him when he’d wallpaper.

Gave me my love for books and the outdoors, taught me to write my name then later shared with me his talent for writing poetry.

He taught me to love nature and the countryside.

As I watched in awe as he’d whispered to horses.

Rescued a blackbird from a hawthorn bush.

Talked of make-believe, fairies and magic castles.

Oh how I loved that tiny piece of him, I still do,

I always will.

I desperately wanted then and now for that piece of him to become his whole.

For god the universe or some miracle to take away the bad piece. I want him to turn my way look at me and tell me he’s sorry.

I want him to hold me tell me everything’s going to be okay.

I want a family.

I want my children to have him as their granddad.

I want them to be safe.

He’s walking out of the door now.

I walk out behind him all of these thoughts buzzing in my head.

I get in my car sit in silence and watch him walk out of the post office and away and then the tears start to fall.

For the life I can’t have, and the wishes I can’t make come true.

I know I can’t change him from who he is.

To whom I would desperately like him to be.

But I’ll never stop wanting and wishing.

That day in the post office was the very last time I saw him.

Goodbye Dad.

He died a few years later. I didn’t get a sorry.

I didn’t go to his funeral.

Now I’m allowed to break our silence.sadness, hard times, joy and laughter.

I try to concentrate on the posters on the wall. Television licence. First class stamps. Car tax. Premium bonds.

I focus on very brightly coloured poster.

St Hayden school Jumble Sale this Saturday 1.PM.

But still my eyes are drawn to him.

Half of me would like him to see me.

Half of me would like to run.

He’s holding what’s left of a roll up fag he was smoking outside. Staring ahead of him, brown eyes the same as mine milky now with age.

Wisps of silver grey hair peep from under his denim cap.

He’s standing at the counter now, next to me I can smell that familiar smell of old Holborn.

I hand the woman my family allowance book, she’s smiling and saying something about the weather.

But I’m straining to hear his voice.

Deep and rasping, so familiar, yet he’s become a stranger to me.

His own doing, he doesn’t know me. He never really did.

My chest tightens, I feel my eyes prick with tears, but I won’t let them come.

Something inside of me desperately wants him to know me.

What Iv’e achieved and who I am.

He doesn’t know what I like, what makes me happy or sad.

What issues I feel passionately about.

That. despite everything I’m a good Mam.

He used to tell me I’d amount to nothing.

Nothing. More than a whore.

Those words are etched into my soul.

That is how I always felt insignificant, ugly, worthless, nothing.

You’ve probably guessed by now the old man in front of me is my Dad.

The same old man who still walks in my dreams.

The man who struck blind terror into the heart of a small child.

Oh Dad I so desperately wanted to please you.

I wanted you to like me.

Sadly I still do.

I find myself fighting to suppress the pity I find myself feeling for him.

My heart beating in my head reminding myself of the holocaust he made my life.

There was a tiny piece of him I loved and adored the sober piece. I always will.

That big man that carried me on his shoulders. Held my hand and walked me to school. Held my bike seat and smiled from ear to ear cheering his little girl as I peddled off on my own.

He taught me to play cards, draughts, let me help him when he’d wallpaper.

Gave me my love for books and the outdoors, taught me to write my name then later shared with me his talent for writing poetry.

He taught me to love nature and the countryside.

As I watched in awe as he’d whispered to horses.

Rescued a blackbird from a hawthorn bush.

Talked of make-believe, fairies and magic castles.

Oh how I loved that tiny piece of him, I still do,

I always will.

I desperately wanted then and now for that piece of him to become his whole.

For god the universe or some miracle to take away the bad piece. I want him to turn my way look at me and tell me he’s sorry.

I want him to hold me tell me everything’s going to be okay.

I want a family.

I want my children to have him as their granddad.

I want them to be safe.

He’s walking out of the door now.

I walk out behind him all of these thoughts buzzing in my head.

I get in my car sit in silence and watch him walk away, and then the tears start to fall.

For the life I can’t have, and the wishes I can’t make come true.

I know I can’t change him from who he is.

To whom I would desperately like him to be.

But I’ll never stop wanting and wishing.

That day in the post office was the very last time I saw him.

Goodbye Dad.

He died a few years later. I didn’t get a sorry..

I didn’t go to his funeral.

Now I’m allowed to break our silence.Monday morning, I’m standing outside the village post office. There’s a middle-aged woman in front of me, in front of her, an old man smoking a rolly. The doors open and the queue move’s inside.

The old man leans on the window ledge as he waits in the Que., he is wearing old blue jeans, and jacket, and a jeans hat.

The lines and scares on his face tell a million stories. Stories of a hard man,, a fighter in his time. Stories of horror,, sadness, hard times, joy and laughter.

I try to concentrate on the posters on the wall. Television licence. First class stamps. Car tax. Premium bonds.

I focus on very brightly coloured poster.

St Hayden school Jumble Sale this Saturday 1.PM.

But still my eyes are drawn to him.

Half of me would like him to see me.

Half of me would like to run.

He’s holding what’s left of a roll up fag he was smoking outside. Staring ahead of him, brown eyes the same as mine milky now with age.

Wisps of silver grey hair peep from under his denim cap.

He’s standing at the counter now, next to me I can smell that familiar smell of old Holborn.

I hand the woman my family allowance book, she’s smiling and saying something about the weather.

But I’m straining to hear his voice.

Deep and rasping, so familiar, yet he’s become a stranger to me.

His own doing, he doesn’t know me. He never really did.

My chest tightens, I feel my eyes prick with tears, but I won’t let them come.

Something inside of me desperately wants him to know me.

What Iv’e achieved and who I am.

He doesn’t know what I like, what makes me happy or sad.

What issues I feel passionately about.

That. despite everything I’m a good Mam.

He used to tell me I’d amount to nothing.

Nothing. More than a whore.

Those words are etched into my soul.

That is how I always felt insignificant, ugly, worthless, nothing.

You’ve probably guessed by now the old man in front of me is my Dad.

The same old man who still walks in my dreams.

The man who struck blind terror into the heart of a small child.

Oh Dad I so desperately wanted to please you.

I wanted you to like me.

Sadly I still do.

I find myself fighting to suppress the pity I find myself feeling for him.

My heart beating in my head reminding myself of the holocaust he made my life.

There was a tiny piece of him I loved and adored the sober piece. I always will.

That big man that carried me on his shoulders. Held my hand and walked me to school. Held my bike seat and smiled from ear to ear cheering his little girl as I peddled off on my own.

He taught me to play cards, draughts, let me help him when he’d wallpaper.

Gave me my love for books and the outdoors, taught me to write my name then later shared with me his talent for writing poetry.

He taught me to love nature and the countryside.

As I watched in awe as he’d whispered to horses.

Rescued a blackbird from a hawthorn bush.

Talked of make-believe, fairies and magic castles.

Oh how I loved that tiny piece of him, I still do,

I always will.

I desperately wanted then and now for that piece of him to become his whole.

For god the universe or some miracle to take away the bad piece. I want him to turn my way look at me and tell me he’s sorry.

I want him to hold me tell me everything’s going to be okay.

I want a family.

I want my children to have him as their granddad.

I want them to be safe.

He’s walking out of the door now.

I walk out behind him all of these thoughts buzzing in my head.

I get in my car sit in silence and watch him walk away, and then the tears start to fall.

For the life I can’t have, and the wishes I can’t make come true.

I know I can’t change him from who he is.

To whom I would desperately like him to be.

But I’ll never stop wanting and wishing.

That day in the post office was the very last time I saw him.

Goodbye Dad.

He died a few years later. I didn’t get a sorry..

I didn’t go to his funeral.

Now I’m allowed to break our silence.Monday morning, I’m standing outside the village post office. There’s a middle-aged woman in front of me, in front of her, an old man smoking a rolly. The doors open and the queue move’s inside.

The old man leans on the window ledge as he waits in the Que., he is wearing old blue jeans, and jacket, and a jeans hat.

The lines and scares on his face tell a million stories. Stories of a hard man,, a fighter in his time. Stories of horror,, sadness, hard times, joy and laughter.

I try to concentrate on the posters on the wall. Television licence. First class stamps. Car tax. Premium bonds.

I focus on very brightly coloured poster.

St Hayden school Jumble Sale this Saturday 1.PM.

But still my eyes are drawn to him.

Half of me would like him to see me.

Half of me would like to run.

He’s holding what’s left of a roll up fag he was smoking outside. Staring ahead of him, brown eyes the same as mine milky now with age.

Wisps of silver grey hair peep from under his denim cap.

He’s standing at the counter now, next to me I can smell that familiar smell of old Holborn.

I hand the woman my family allowance book, she’s smiling and saying something about the weather.

But I’m straining to hear his voice.

Deep and rasping, so familiar, yet he’s become a stranger to me.

His own doing, he doesn’t know me. He never really did.

My chest tightens, I feel my eyes prick with tears, but I won’t let them come.

Something inside of me desperately wants him to know me.

What Iv’e achieved and who I am.

He doesn’t know what I like, what makes me happy or sad.

What issues I feel passionately about.

That. despite everything I’m a good Mam.

He used to tell me I’d amount to nothing.

Nothing. More than a whore.

Those words are etched into my soul.

That is how I always felt insignificant, ugly, worthless, nothing.

You’ve probably guessed by now the old man in front of me is my Dad.

The same old man who still walks in my dreams.

The man who struck blind terror into the heart of a small child.

Oh Dad I so desperately wanted to please you.

I wanted you to like me.

Sadly I still do.

I find myself fighting to suppress the pity I find myself feeling for him.

My heart beating in my head reminding myself of the holocaust he made my life.

There was a tiny piece of him I loved and adored the sober piece. I always will.

That big man that carried me on his shoulders. Held my hand and walked me to school. Held my bike seat and smiled from ear to ear cheering his little girl as I peddled off on my own.

He taught me to play cards, draughts, let me help him when he’d wallpaper.

Gave me my love for books and the outdoors, taught me to write my name then later shared with me his talent for writing poetry.

He taught me to love nature and the countryside.

As I watched in awe as he’d whispered to horses.

Rescued a blackbird from a hawthorn bush.

Talked of make-believe, fairies and magic castles.

Oh how I loved that tiny piece of him, I still do,

I always will.

I desperately wanted then and now for that piece of him to become his whole.

For god the universe or some miracle to take away the bad piece. I want him to turn my way look at me and tell me he’s sorry.

I want him to hold me tell me everything’s going to be okay.

I want a family.

I want my children to have him as their granddad.

I want them to be safe.

He’s walking out of the door now.

I walk out behind him all of these thoughts buzzing in my head.

I get in my car sit in silence and watch him walk away, and then the tears start to fall.

For the life I can’t have, and the wishes I can’t make come true.

I know I can’t change him from who he is.

To whom I would desperately like him to be.

But I’ll never stop wanting and wishing.

That day in the post office was the very last time I saw him.

Goodbye Dad.

He died a few years after this diary entry was written.

Faith

In my darkness I found the courage to lite a candle within myself.

Embracing the shadows that lead the way to inner enlightenment.

In the darkness I found my true self.

I was not lost.

Just waiting

For the flickering of the light.

Just an hour late

Twenty two years since my mam died. I was 31 I had three young children youngest one Mike was five

I had arranged to go down to see Mam after school to see if she felt up to going to spiritualist church there was a medium she had hoped to see but I’d been busy digging up hedges in our front garden all day. So I thought I’d go back finish cleaning the mess I’d made up then go down to Mam with the kids washed clean ready for church.

The last bush was really stubborn, so I tied a rope onto the back of my car and tried to yank it out but as I’m doing it I can hear my mam tutting at me.

‘You should have been a bloody lad’ she says.

I laugh stop the car dragging the hedge behind.

Odd? She’s not there.

I get out to untie the rope I’m covered in soil and leaves as I get up Mams best friend Francis is pulling up in her car.

I know instantly. ‘Mam she’s gone’. Francis is sitting in the passenger seat her husband is driving tears roll down her cheeks she doesn’t answer she doesn’t have to.

‘Without me there’ I shout voice shaking.

I tell the kids to go inside no one speaks.

I ask a neighbour to babysit. It’s a weird feeling, Shock, sort of like being underwater and everything seems to slow down.

Suddenly it’s like your whole world is in a bubble,surreal.

I get into Francis car she holds my hand.

‘It was your dad’ she’s saying. I flush hot, my head feels like its going to explode.

I don’t cry.

Francis talks on the drive over to Mams, only the other side of the village but I’m impatient to get there.

‘Get your mams trolley’ Francis insists she keeps saying it.

‘She told me to tell you if anything happens get the trolley’.

I still don’t speak.

I walk through the corridors in the sheltered housing into the flat.

There is blood on her carpet. ‘Bicarb’ I hear mam say tutting again. ‘Bicarb will get it out’.

Dad is sitting smoking a roll up in the kitchen.

I stand and look at him.

I don’t know for how long.

Francis pulls at my arm. ‘Get the trolley.’

‘For fucks sake’ I hear myself say. ‘Okay. Okay I’ll get it.’

I look around pictures of my children hang on the walls, Mams cardigan where she had left it on her favourite chair.

Without looking I know there will be a blue inhaler in the pocket and a packet of tissues and a lipstick of bloody awful tangerine she insisted ordering monthly from Avon.

I pick it up and hold it to my face and breath in I can smell her perfume.

I put it over the bloody trolley.

‘Where is she?’ I ask. My voice sounds different. Like its external.

‘I told her she’d go out of here in a bloody box’ Dad says. I want to kill him.

I close my eyes. Slowly breathe in.

‘At the hospital’ says Francis.

‘Come on Joolz you need to identify her.’

We leave the flat and head for the hospital. I’m numb.

How do my legs still know how to walk?

Why are clocks still ticking?

Why is the world still turning? MY MAM IS DEAD.

We get to Whiston Hospital sit in waiting room Francis is smoothing creases that aren’t there from her skirt. I read the information on the wall bereavement support. Victim support. We wait for the police.

A tall young police officer and a smaller female officer walk in I can hear Mam again. telling me ‘Police men are getting bloody younger and look at the state of you she saying you need a good bloody wash. Full of soil!’

‘Are you ready’ the lady police officer asksshe’s got a stain on her jacket and I wonder what it is?

I nod. My mouth has gone dry. I can’t speak.

I’m not ready I will never be ready that big black lump is in my throat. I’m so afraid. It can’t be her not my little Mam and I’m praying this is all a bad dream.

They take me in.

She’s on a metal trolley

She will be cold on there I think.

Her hair is stuck with blood. Drying blood.

I want to fix it.

Her hands are covered she’s not wearing her glasses I put my hands on her face. ‘Oh Mam’ I say

The policewoman puts his hand on my shoulder.

I shrug her off.

I pull the sheet back lift up her left hand. Middle nail cracked it always grown like that.

I hear mam beside me telling me the story of how her sister Eliza trapped it in the front door in Brown street. Where she lived as a childI’ve heard this story a million times but I smile and listen again

‘I know mam’ I hear myself say.

She looks so small. ‘I’m so sorry I was late Mam I was pulling up the hedge in the front you hated those hedges didn’t you. Couldn’t get the last one up. I was coming to fetch you with the kids I’ve made your favourite for tea and Michaels got a new reading book.’

‘That medium is on later at church the one you wanted to see.’ Im almost begging.

My little mam. Doesn’t answer. It really is her. How can I possibly leave her here on her own?

I cover her up. The police woman holds me up. ‘Come on’ she says ‘they will look after her.’

I don’t remember walking back to the car or the drive home.

We sit outside Francis tells me there was a massive row dad was drunk again. She sighs ‘He was always drunk’ I sob.

Mam had said he couldn’t make any more home brew in the flat he was repeating everything she said. Mimicking her

Shooting at her with a toy gun that made a noise.

She was on her nebuliser.

Struggling to breathe

She stood up told him to get out was going to ring me. She didn’t get to the phone.

She has massive heart attack hit her head on coffee table

He might as well have had a real gun.

‘Take me to the flat’ I finally said.

‘You’ve got the trolley Francis said don’t go back ‘she sounded scared.

I ring our Michaels dad Mike.

‘Come and get me I’m at the hospital’

Ten mins later Mams trolley in the boot of Mikes car andI’m going back to the sheltered housing.

‘What the fuck happened?’ Mike asks. I tell him. He doesn’t speak.

‘What are you going to do?’

‘I don’t know.’ I answer. ‘But I’m not scared of him anymore I’m furious.’

We walk down the corridor I count our footsteps. I hear my mam.

‘Go home Julie to the kids’ she says.

‘I will in a minute I say out loud,’ Fab I think I’m talking to my bloody self.

I walk into the flat we’ve been gone two hours tops.

Dad is in the bedroom Mams single bed tipped up on its end drawers tipped everywhere clothes strewn everywhere. I stand looking at him.

There’s a banging noise in my head. It’s my heart.

He’s opening boxes looking in pockets of coats.

There is a new toaster and a kettle still in boxes she was planning to leave him.

It’s as though I’m not here I think.‘Can he see me’?

Mikes got hold of my arm.

Dad looks up.

‘Where is it?’ he shouts at me.

I don’t answer or move I stand in the bedroom doorway.

‘Sovereign rings, money, rings jewellery bank books.?’

‘I don’t know I say?’ And I really don’t.

‘She’s dead Mams dead.’ I shout.

He walks over to me.

‘WHERE IS IT ALL?’ he booms.

I feel the spit and beer breath hit my face.

I don’t move or step back he’s furious.

‘TELL ME NOW.’

He lifts his hand as he’s done so many times.

I still don’t move.

Everything slows down.

Mike jumps between us.

Grabs dads big arm and says

‘You’re never going to put your hand on her again.’

I’m stunned!

I look at dad he suddenly doesn’t look as big or scary.

‘Don’t ever, come near me again’ I hear myself say.

I’m picking up mams best jumper.

I pick up a bag put her clothes and shoes in.

Dad looks confused.

I start to take my children’s photos off the wall.

‘What are you doing?’ he shouts.

‘I’m taking back what’s mine.’

‘You don’t get to look at my kids again.’

‘Do not come to the funeral she didn’t want you there.’

Are you happy now you killed her?

I wish she’d have just left you years ago we’d have all been better off you murdering drunken bastard.’

I hear mam laugh.

He sits down hard on the floor.

‘I’m going to a solicitor ‘he shouts ‘I want what’s mine.’

I look at him lean forward and say quietly almost a whisper.

‘I want my mam my kids want their Nan.’

Mike puts his hand on my arm ‘Come on Joolz he’s not worth it.’

He takes mams clothes I carry the photos and we leave.

Francis is getting out of the car it’s a warm evening and Mam should be getting in my car with me now.

She hugs me.

Don’t forget her trolley.

I won’t.

Raven.