The goal that waited for me.

So what if I haven’t reached the goal of what I was going to be when I grew up.
Does that mean I haven’t grown up yet?

I do hope so.

The problem is you see the destination.

The goal it hasn’t really changed. It was always right right there.

It paused and waited patiently.

Waited whilst I grew my wings and bravery left home.

Waited whilst I became a mother and raised my children alone.

Waited when I went to college, tapped its pen to remind me that it was still there.

Then when I was busy again opening a barbers shop.

Then onto different jobs changes of career going here and there moving houses sometimes towns.

That goal it never really lost sight of me and I thought of it often.

I waved from afar.

Mature university student, another packed van heading over the border to that magical place of green valleys and purple toped mountains Wales.

There it was following the removal van.

still waiting ‘the goal’ never a thought of leaving me.

Flying with me like a colourful kite in my catching my eye.

following me like I followed my dreams.

Falling in love, cottages, canals, dogs, cats, geese and ducks.

Secure job that I love.

Soul midwife.

My children gifting me with precious grandchildren to love.

Opening our beautiful cancer retreat.

Life had moved on the wheel continually turns.

That defiant rebel girl still dreams and the goal she had was a simple one.

To write.

To be a part of the story tellers who shaped her life with books of magic and poetry.

The books she found on dusty library shelves.

Terry Pratchett. J.M Barry John Steinbeck. Daisy Aldan. The stories that filled her with hope. That carried me to far away places to disc world to castles and places I could only dream of

So now I see why it waited so patiently.

Here I sit with a lifetime of memories, dreams loves and experiences that bring life and meaning into my poems and stories.
So the goal and I sit together often and when I now step

Into into my sacred space of magic poems and stories. I’m so glad it never left, waited like a faithful old friend.
When I’m not there in that space I know that it still pauses, waiting again patiently like a half blown dandelion, waiting for the next breath of life to blow gently and set the rest of the seeds free.

Each tiny seed a story a poem or dream.

Paused waiting to float gently land and grow pushing its tendrils and roots of ink onto the page. Words meandering like winding inky rivers collecting meadows of wild flower colours.

Gentle breeze blows the words into valleys of green healing and purple toped grounding mountains where warrior ravens fly.

Canalside cottages. Toilets and Christmas decorations 🙈🎅

So as most of you know any jobs improvements on our home “Crow cottage” has been on hold since the flood of 2018 as we have been getting our cancer retreat which is in same street back up and running.
We have lived in our little cottage for 12 years .

I fell in love with it the minute we turned out car onto the canal tow path I hadn’t even viewed the cottage on the inside and I knew we would live there.

Ducks geese canal mountain view from the window .

I loved it.
Now when we decided to look for a house to buy we couldn’t afford to live in the city

However just ten miles out in a small Welsh valley houses were quarter of the price.
That’s how I found our canal.
After never being able to settle in a house for more than a year I found my paradise.

Canalside.
Now I had a friend who was a builder .

Joolz he advised DONT buy a cottage .

The walls a 4 foot thick and they ALWAYS need money throwing at them..Good advice .

So I bought a cottage and twelve years down the line I can say.
He was absolutely right 🙈But it’s been an adventure.

We don’t have fabulous paid jobs Or credit cards

Thankfully we don’t have a liking for all things new.

I love second hand furniture.
In fact I love 1930 furniture and it’s in keeping with the cottage.

So I don’t mind car boot sales

Second hand shops , e bay

My living room cost under £500 to furnish probably furnish whole house for under £1.500
I guess I’m telling you this so you get the picture that I’m not a I want a new sofa kind of girl.
I buy when we need.So when we moved in I thought eventually we will get a new bathroom.

For now it’s fine.So few months ago

I find a beautiful bath tub on Facebook market place FOR FREE! so off we go to collect it.
It’s in the garden of a lovely ladies house who asks if I’m going to use it as a pond ?No I laugh I really like it and It’s going in out cottage ours has seen better days paint is chipping.
She’s thrilled it will be reused proceeds to give me a lovely set of telephone taps and a bath panel and off we go!

Two days later it’s a bit of a squeeze as it’s slightly bigger and has to come in through the window there’s lots of swearing and mentions of Vaseline and he’s going to buy me a bloody tape measure for Christmas as my long suffering husband fits this lovely deep bath.

I’m thrilled but I’m now on a mission to find a sink and toilet.
I don’t have to wait long

As a week later we are picking up some slate chippings to finish cancer retreat garden from builders merchants I spot a brand new toilet for £30.00 in the sale.
Jeff’s off looking at wood on his return I try to look casual as I push our trolly to the cashier.

“Er what’s that? ”

I ignore him

We aren’t buying a bloody toilet I proceed to tell him just how much we are saving it’s £60 off

He’s doing that look!

One raised eyebrow as I push the trolley into the car park and attempt to change subject.
So that was five weeks ago.

The toilet in its box is still standing in my bloody living room under the window with a view of the canal.

Apparently Jeff is too busy to fit it!

Now here is the Christmas link.
He’s sat eating breakfast this morning. 1st December

The Christmas tree and decorations convosation starts .

I don’t mind I say reluctantly.
Yes it will be nice for our grandchildren and I’m sure our cats Luna and Lucifer and tiny dog Mavis will have a wonderful time climbing up said tree 🙈

Now the tree goes in the living room window.Stands Infront of it were the new boxed toilet is currently living.
This is it .

It’s weekend he will have to fit it today or no Christmas tree!

I’m feeling smug as I say

Okay we can do it later after you’ve sorted toilet because you’ll have to fit it out of the way to put the tree up.

Cup of tea love before you start?

I wonder into the kitchen and click the kettle on
Well he says looking at the toilet.
I thought if we put a Xmas table cloth over it.
We could use it to put the tree on and I’ll fit it in the new year?

He’s really serious!

Can you guess what my answer was😈
The decorations and tree arent up yet.
Watch this space.
I’ve hidden the Christmas table cloth.

Meltdown in a layby

I hate you grief.

Your cruel and uncaring.

It’s almost a year.

Eight more days.

You’ve poked at me this week.

Reminded me constantly.

I know how long it is since I lost her.

Since I lay beside her.

I have had our grand daughter today.

I brush her hair and sing nursery rhymes

Telling her of her two nanny’s adventures.

She goes home with her dad and I get in my car and head out in the rain.

I’m meeting friends in the next village.

Your there waiting as I pass the old colliery

Hunched craftily waiting in the shadow of the derilict pit head.

Like one of those police sting traps thown infront of my car covered in nails

You make me stop my car and pull over.

I can’t breathe.

There is a screaming a howl from the depths of my soul.

A year

Almost 365 days

It’s raining .

Pouring the mist covers the mountain tops like grey cotton wool.

Like the storm on the bay the day you left my arms.

I miss you.

I sob into the air of this dimension knowing you hear me on the astral.

No one

Not one of my family has ever asked how I am.

Don’t they know that

I’m lonely without you

That I miss you every minute of every day.

For fucks sake I shout

Everyone always thought that I was the strong one

They were wrong

My strength was you Donna.

The rain runs down my windscreen cars wizz past the layby.

Get a grip I tell myself

Grief flows like the rain

As it turns to drizzle

I catch my breath.

Please stop for just awhile .

I dry my eyes as I breathe in i catch my breath as I smell your perfume

Beside me you are always thee at my side.

I take a deep breath and keep going.

It’s the only option I have.

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.

Four little words

I can’t remember that last time I cried for myself, I’ve cried for other people but never for me, apart from when my granddaughter Tamika was born. Happiness of course. But before that I’m sure it was back in the dark ages before I came to Wales.
You see I’m always positive its just the way I am. Facebook status life in general I really do believe that there is always something positive in every situation. You just have to look.
I’ve been off work now since March after a sudden and completely unexpected collapse midnight on my birthday. I’d been walking my dog and cat, who by the way thinks he’s a dog down the canal for their walk.
I can’t really discribe what happened I just knew there was something very wrong.
Rang my hubby to come and get saffie as she couldn’t walk too fast.
Then hurried eight doors up to out cottage on the canal bank.
I made it too the bathroom where I got the worsed pain ever like being suddenly hit in centre of my he’d with a pick axe.
I thought this is it I’m going to die.
Sounds dramatic but I’m really not.
I really was that scared.
I lost my speech and couldn’t feel my left side.
Jeff came in picked me up, carried me into the car and within thirty mins I was in emergency room at Morriston hospital.
Pretty scary stuff as I never went to my G.P never took tablets, even had my children at home
So after being admitted I had lumber puncture, c.a.t scans, MRI, neurologists blood tests and transfared to three different wards and subjected to worsed hospital food a vegan could imagine
I was eventually discharged with a letter for my G.P a months sick note and a promise of a neurologist appointment within the month.
I was so relieved to leave still couldn’t walk so dragged my still numb left leg down the corridor ignoring Jeff’s plea’s to get in a wheel chair. (I may have swore at him)
I was and still am determined to sort myself out.
I admit thinking about it this was the universe kicking me up the arse to slow down
I had with hind sight missed a few warning signs vertigo, extremely painful joints, brain fog, pins and needles in my fingers and a weird sensation sort of crawling or dripping water under my skin on my back.
But as a lot of us do I blamed it on work..
Wrestling with wheelchair, or menopause, because let’s face it I’m 53 most things are down to the bloody menopause! Oh and the bed! I’ve had three new mattresses.
But now six months later still off work I’m not so sure.
I’m still waiting for my appointment.
I’ve agreed to take gabapentin and they do help slightly but there are mornings when I really struggle to get up and get downstairs.
The pain is horrendous.
My fingers are stiff, shoulders, hips and most other joints are beyond painful.the numbness is something else.
I use cannabis oil at night as otherwise I find lying on either side on my shoulders unbarable.
I accept it is something neurological I’m still having energy healing, relfexology and I’m thinking of taking up yoga anything to keep my muscles moving.
I will get better.
My worry is my job, I’m down to half pay, and if I’m honest I know I can’t go back and do the job I did. The occupational health doctor confirmed this last week. It’s one thing knowing it but having someone else tell you is different.
I have now gone into panic mode.
Shall I open a vegan cafe? I could do dog walking, pop up restaurant?
I have never NOT worked. I’ve always supported my family.
This is my weak link. I am still positive about things. I really am.
But I’m scared. What is it your trying to tell me universe I really am listening!
This morning lying in bed beside my hubby jeff sun streaming through the window his big arms around my I lay there head on his chest listening to his heart.
He talked about building a healing & therapies room we had planned for me to work from just behind the cottage.
‘I don’t want you doing it all yourself I said. Digging foundations when the weather goes cold.’ .
He tightens his arms around me and tells me to stop worrying. ‘This isn’t like you.’ He’s right it isn’t
‘we lead a very simple life I don’t want posh holidays never had credit cards I wear charity shop clothes happily. But keeping the car on the road paying bills and food in the cupbords are important. So yes the first time me not being independent paying my way is scary.

Shhhh he says.. ‘I’ll look after you.’
And that was it. Catalyst.
Four words that broke the dam. I cried I don’t think anyone has ever said that to me before.
‘Ill look after you’
I’ve looked after myself from being a kid anyway and everyway. .

So I know I’ll get better.
Maybe I won’t be able to stay in my current job but I’ll find a way to do something else I love.
Maybe that will be working from home in my new Healing room who knows what the universe has in store but I’m listening.
But I do know those four little words were said at just the right time, right place by just the right person. I love him my beautiful shy Welshman.
I’ll look after him too

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.