It’s Been a Year

I wonder if I’ll ever come to terms with the fact that you aren’t here anymore. Will I ever be comfortable when September comes around and brings another year without you to a  close? Is it weird that I consider September the start of the new year?

Today is your 56th birthday and tomorrow marks two years without you. It’s been two years but you still play just as active part in my life as you did before you passed away. Your words still swirl around my head and in my dreams. Most noticeably, when you used to say “We have standards”. My goodness, that used to annoy me so much! “How can you be such a snob!?” is what I used  say to you. I recall a few arguments we had when you would say that overused line in response to me wearing a cheap pair of scuffed shoes because they weren’t real leather and looked tatty. How could you be so superficial (?), is what I used to think. But now I understand what you were trying to teach me.

The last year was somewhat lonely, but absolutely necessary. I’ve learnt a lot about dealing with my grief away from everyone and everything we knew in Devon. I’ve also been learning how to manage my grief during a pandemic (which is something I don’t think any of us expected for 2020).

I think the whole world is left a little dumbfounded by the events that 2020 has been witness to. For nearly half of the year we were locked down, but it meant that Evee and I were lucky enough to hide away in Southampton together. It also meant that I was put on furlough – something that I will forever be grateful for.

So much of our life experience is based on doing that we rarely get a chance to simple be.  But, for two months of the year I had the chance to completely wind down and reflect on my options for my next move. All I knew was that I was not happy in my job.

So, I sowed a few seeds and come the end of furlough I had three possible paths that life could take me (including a one way ticket abroad that cost me £10 … perhaps not the most intelligent move what with the current climate, but the price!?)…

Regardless of what option I chose to take I learnt that the ultimate act of self love is giving up on something that no longer serves you because, as you say, “we have standards”. I haven’t worked as hard as I have worked, or struggled as much as I have struggled in my life to spend the rest of it behind a computer screen for up to 12 hours a day. No thank you, because I have standards. You taught me to never settle with the company I keep, nor the life path I find myself on. So, I quit the job that I hated so much – the ultimate act of self love.

Do you remember that quiz I took late one night to find out the “perfect career” for me? We laughed because the thought of me being a police officer is just absurd and quite frankly, dangerous. Well, as I said, I did sew a few seeds during furlough and I’ve finally figured out what I am going to do with my life and, finally, it makes sense!

Within a day of leaving work, I was given the opportunity to start a whole new career path within the NHS! I’m really going to help people. I know you’d be so excited for me, Mum. You’d throw your head back and say “Why didn’t we think of that sooner!?” You’d be so knowledgable about it too. Goodness, the conversations we would have had.

Within a week of leaving work, Evee and I also launched our first grief cafe. I am so immensely proud of the steps we are taking. Every ticket was reserved and people came together to share the pain and talk about the grief that comes with losing their person, the way that we lost you. It was emotional, but it wasn’t sad. It was empowering.

Within two weeks of leaving work, I drove five hours to a city I’ve never been to, to move into a house I had never even seen, to start training and studying for my my new career.

And, within two years of losing you, I can finally look people in the eye and tell them that I am happy. And for the first time, in two years without you, I’m not lying. My heart is happy.

Before, I always felt so much pressure to try to rebuild the Katie I was when you were around. Today, I am so much more than that younger Katie. Do you remember when I met you in Cardiff and you walked straight passed me? You had to do a double take when I called after you. You didn’t recognise me because I had cut myself a fringe the night before. I pretended to be insulted but it was funny more than anything. Well,  I haven’t given myself a haircut this time, the change is completely internal, but I feel unrecognisable. 

I’ll never get over losing you, Mum. But I’ll take you with me always.

I’ve mentioned before how I have called the last year my “purification” phase. I stood alone, because that what I needed to do. But I am closing that chapter now, and I am starting a new one. And, the title of this new life chapter is “Happiness”. I’m really excited about it.

So Happy 21st Birthday again to you, Mum!  And Happy New year. Thank you for teaching me to never settle with the company I keep, nor the path I find myself on, because “we have standards” and mediocre just won’t do.

I’m on the verge of something really big, Mum. I just wish I could show you, but more often than not, I think it’s you who is still showing me.

 

I celebrate you today and every day, always

Katie x

39 thoughts on “It’s Been a Year

  1. weedjee – Madrid, España , Spain – Persona con un monton de inquietudes amante de la musica, los libros y viajes y de las buenas conversaciones A man and lots of challengers , fan of goodie tunes, books and travels besides of braining gatherings ...!!! Mi CV Online
    weedjee says:

    Katie you’re a pristine human being… proudly… enjoy and your own sweet way

      1. weedjee – Madrid, España , Spain – Persona con un monton de inquietudes amante de la musica, los libros y viajes y de las buenas conversaciones A man and lots of challengers , fan of goodie tunes, books and travels besides of braining gatherings ...!!! Mi CV Online
        weedjee says:

  2. lyncrain – I am an author, avid reader, photographer, traveler, chef, gardener, a quilter, and crocheter. Yes, I do wear quite a few hats. My greatest poetic influences are Billy Collins, Sylvia Plath, Ron Rash, Kim Addonizio, Charles Bukowski, Ann Bradstreet, Anne Sexton, W.B. Yeats and T.S. Eliot. These poets are my heroes. My own poetry book "In My Shoes" is a series of poetry about relationships and domestic violence from my personal experiences. I am also an avid blogger on www.writing.com elusive4Lyn's Black and White Everyday.
    lyncrain says:

    Congratulations and good luck Katie on your new career path . May you always joyous moments in your future.

  3. ashok – I Love, I Travel, I Meditate Am a Learner and love to share my experiences😊 I love people and I love Nature ❤️❤️ Nature is God and I love God 😊❤️🙏 Though I love to travel, I love people more😊 and I can travel long long distances to be with people I love. And I love myself even more. I love to be with me and my thoughts 😊
    ashok says:

    Such heart touching words Katie. I can relate to it so much.

    And incidentally- September for me too is a tough one in a way — my dearest wife’s birthday and death anniversary both in the same month

    Love and blessings to you

    1. I am sorry to learn that September is a difficult month for you too. I hope you are getting through with kindness to yourself. Sending you strength. As always, thank you for your support <3

      1. ashok – I Love, I Travel, I Meditate Am a Learner and love to share my experiences😊 I love people and I love Nature ❤️❤️ Nature is God and I love God 😊❤️🙏 Though I love to travel, I love people more😊 and I can travel long long distances to be with people I love. And I love myself even more. I love to be with me and my thoughts 😊
        ashok says:

        Thank you so much

  4. gulfcoastpoet@gmail.com – Gulf Coast of Florida – A retired teacher, I live with my significant other on the Gulf Coast of Florida. I enjoy the beach, walking outdoors, movies, and reading. Hanging Out with Wild Animals is a book series of photos and poems about my encounters with Florida animals. Wonders is a book of poems inspired by the men I have known and loved. Life in Inspiring Places is a book of photos and poems about the places rich in history and natural beauty that I have called home. Excerpts from the books and additional poems can be found on my website. Cheryl Batavia
    gulfcoastpoet@gmail.com says:

    Beautiful tribute to your mother, Katie. Congratulations on your new job and new home! <3

    Best wishes for the future, Cheryl

  5. Vic Crain – NJ – "We're responsible for our own fun." I still conduct occasional research studies, but my focus is on buillding a business in life and health insurance. That includes Medicare and group health for small business. My other full time activities include taking care of my SO, reading, and writing. I'm working on a book on global concepts of privacy.
    Vic Crain says:

    Beautifully written

      1. Vic Crain – NJ – "We're responsible for our own fun." I still conduct occasional research studies, but my focus is on buillding a business in life and health insurance. That includes Medicare and group health for small business. My other full time activities include taking care of my SO, reading, and writing. I'm working on a book on global concepts of privacy.
        Vic Crain says:

        to you as well

  6. Msdedeng – At 41, I am still figuring out life: my place in society, my career path, a family of my own, any many others things. Heck, I am still trying to make friends in California; a place I moved to 3 years ago. I am currently in a Community College to make up for the many years I missed school while in Africa (Uganda). I intend to transfer to university next year and double major in History and English. I lead a very ordinary life; a normal day is spent doing school assignments, hiking, or reading. My favorite thing to do is walk! Short walks or long walks it does not matter. Walking allows me to think about things - anything! My love of walking comes from where I grew up, a small village in northeastern Uganda. It is still one of the most remotest areas I will ever know, and couldn't even start comparing what life is like there to say a place like California. Walking was all I did while growing up! I walked for miles to school, to church, to the shops, to the borehole to fetch water, and to the market. It was quite an adventure unlike any other - so you now understand my love for walking.
    Msdedeng says:

    Congratulations and keep on 🙂

  7. Such lovely world Katie
    I read and feel such happiness in your words.
    I miss mum so much but I have a happy place in my heart for her – forever.
    So proud of you all
    Happy Birthday Di
    Miss you like crazy

  8. Navin – Denmark – My name is Navin. I'm an engineer/CAD technician by profession with passion in 3-dimensional creations. Poem is me. Self-realization, experiences & expressions & some other dimensions, I share through my poetic creations. In November of 2019, I suffered from a life changing experience – a wake-up call I must say. From that point of time, I’m re-learning most of the things from a different perspective. As a result of what I went through, I sometimes experience feelings of depression, anxiety, fear and anger, but I also deal with difficulty in sleeping, darkness and feeling numb. If, when reading my poems, you can relate to what I’m writing, I would love to hear from you. I write poems because I love doing so. This blog is very therapeutic for me, and I aim to make my work available to as many people as possible. Poetry is my passion.
    Navin says:

    Dearest Katie….your beautiful writing touched my heart right away….Happiness has found you as in you’ve found happiness….you look so peaceful & happy….the inner glow is visible….congratulations to you….the new job….the new home….most importantly…..the “new” & happy you….much love

    1. Thank you, thank you, thank you Navin! It’s funny because I had struggled for a month or two to write anything and wasn’t sure whether to post this or not. I’m glad I did though! When we started this blog, my posts were nearly always sad, but this happiness is a part of grief too and deserves to be shared just as much. Thank you for your support <3

      1. Navin – Denmark – My name is Navin. I'm an engineer/CAD technician by profession with passion in 3-dimensional creations. Poem is me. Self-realization, experiences & expressions & some other dimensions, I share through my poetic creations. In November of 2019, I suffered from a life changing experience – a wake-up call I must say. From that point of time, I’m re-learning most of the things from a different perspective. As a result of what I went through, I sometimes experience feelings of depression, anxiety, fear and anger, but I also deal with difficulty in sleeping, darkness and feeling numb. If, when reading my poems, you can relate to what I’m writing, I would love to hear from you. I write poems because I love doing so. This blog is very therapeutic for me, and I aim to make my work available to as many people as possible. Poetry is my passion.
        Navin says:

        It’s a fantastic sharing, Katie….express whichever way your heart wants you to….the highs & lows are the ones, which make our heart to flow

  9. carlamilho – Portugal – O meu nome é Carla Milho, tenho 44 anos. Amo perdidamente, os meus dois filhos, o meu marido, a minha mãe e a minha neta! Sou uma Guerreira por natureza e adoro escrever. Sou muito empática e o meu sonho é através da minha escrita e das minhas experiências pessoais conseguir ajudar o próximo!
    carlamilho says:

    Congratulations for your amazing blog I would like to invite you to follow my blog to, thank you so much and I wish you much success

  10. Our current situation has taken so much from so many, yet given so much to so many in other ways. Strange times.
    I wish you well with your new path.
    A glorious tribute to your mum.

  11. bloggingbyrgottier – My blog is about being healthy for me & hoping in making suggestions to others who need to learn healthy too on my healthy blog. On the other one is to show you my life & my thoughts of day to day things like the president & activities here in the USA; personality traits to work on which increases in what parents can or haven't done since our days go by faster than we want them to.
    bloggingbyrgottier says:

    Hi Katie!
    Everything we do has a plan for us even in our parents deaths. I found that out as I had to watch my mom die & grieve that she was leaving! It made me stronger, but yet I had to learn how much I needed to not take anything for granted in any part of my life. I have been told am a great teacher, & learned so much from books. That’s how I was brought up so grieving now is nothing as I am happy with what God brings into my life each & everyday. Thanks for following my blog & giving me the chance to spill out what I have on my mind!

    1. I’ve certainly learnt a lot too, i don’t think we will ever stop learning. Thank you for commenting, if you ever want to write a submission for our As Told By You page, please do so 🙂 x

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