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Love, Loss & Grief

24 years ago my partner died.

I have never written about that time, even though I journal and blog. There was always a part of me that didn’t want to bring up those memories again, the time now feels ‘right’ as this month is the anniversary of his death.

Grief is a cruel, ongoing lesson that never stops. Over the years grief changes, but it’s always with us, it leaves permanent scars. There is nothing in life that prepares us for the loss of a loved one, even if we have lost someone before. The avalanche of emotions that it brings up are all consuming, they paralyse us, make it hard to breathe. We are trapped in a living hell, trying to survive, our brains are on auto loop replaying memories and events. We are numbed by pain. We yearn to have more time with them, we shed many tears over many years.

I met Chris when I was 23. I wasn’t in the headspace for a relationship as the previous year I had run away from an abusive relationship and gone into hiding. We met through a mutual friend and found out we had lots in common. I was very defensive, still carrying mental scars from my abusive relationship and I was wary of anyone new.

We didn’t have a lot of time together, death put an abrupt end to that. But in the time we did have, I began to heal and I will always be grateful for that important journey and to Chris for his patience and making me laugh, and most importantly, making me feel safe. I don’t want to go into too many details of our relationship or that time because tears are already flowing hard as I write this.

Chris died of a brain haemorrhage in his sleep. I found out when I was Christmas shopping for his presents. I had a strong feeling I had to call him on my way home and his neighbour answered the phone, he didn’t want to tell me what had happened on the phone. He wanted to tell me in person, I started crying and asked him to say what was going on. I will never forget those words “There’s been an incident. Chris has gone”. I was sobbing hard on the escalators going into the tube station. I was shrieking, I couldn’t breathe.

The moment I had called was five minutes after his family and neighbour had gained entry into his home as no one had heard from him for a week and he hadn’t returned our calls. I went over there straight away, the police and an ambulance was also there. It was the first time I had met his sister, she asked who I was, his neighbour hugged me and said he was so sorry. I could barely garble the words “I’m his girlfriend”, I felt sick and I was in shock. We all were.

I asked the police if I could say goodbye to him, they didn’t want to let me into his bedroom because they said it would be too upsetting. A part of me wishes I had listened to them, but at that moment I had to say goodbye, it felt like the right thing to do. Seeing Chris in that way has tormented me many times over the years. That image is deeply imprinted in my mind, I don’t want to remember him like that. Someone so full of life, vibrant, charismatic, funny, kind and protective to those in his circle – now lifeless.

Chris has sent me little reminders over the years. To let me know even though his physical body is no longer here, his spirit very much is. I find it comforting and heartbreaking at the same time.

Fast forward to now and there is happier news. I am engaged.

I didn’t think I would ever get to this point in a relationship because for so many years after Chris died I had a huge fear that if I allowed myself to love again, I would lose them. My counsellor was amazing, she helped me navigate so many difficult times. Of course we all have to die at some point, but losing a partner so suddenly and unexpectedly changes you in so many ways.

Because I was so young, I used to have people regularly telling me I would be ok as I had plenty of time ahead of me to find love again. Please don’t do that. Don’t ever tell someone who has lost their partner they will find love again. You may think you are helping and giving us hope, but infact your words are incredibly cruel and can be soul destroying. For those of us who have loved and lost, only we can decide when we are ready to start living again. We work to our own timelines, you don’t get to tell us what we should and shouldn’t do. You certainly don’t get to impose your expectations onto us at any stage.

I know I am very fortunate to have found a big love again. I am grateful for that every day and it’s something I will never take for granted.

This is part of my story. Thank you for reading.

In loving kindness.

If you want to speak to someone about grief please go to the Cruse website.

One of the best books I have read about grief is by Megan Devine ‘It’s ok that you’re not ok: meeting grief and loss in a culture that doesn’t understand’.

The Power of Love

One of my favourite songs is Frankie Goes to Hollywood ‘The Power of Love’. I experienced how powerful love really is on my wedding day very recently.

I spent the early morning in tears because I was missing my dad. I didn’t even get to know him as he passed away when I was 2, it’s a strange feeling to miss someone you don’t know, but you feel their presence in your life. One of the traditions as we all know is the father of the bride walks his daughter down the aisle. As I was meditating and talking to my dad I felt such a huge feeling of love, not just from my dad, it also came from other family members and dear friends who are no longer with me. It was incredible, and very emotional.

I am sharing part of my wedding speech that I wrote on behalf of my dad. I am sharing this in the hope that anyone else who is grieving, or suffering from a broken heart will find comfort from my words.

“Love is one of the most powerful forces in the world. It can break hearts… most importantly, it can also heal them and gives us great strength and courage. Love can even be felt and seen beyond the physical realm. We have all lost those we care about, over the years they send us little signs to let us know they’re still with us – whether it’s in the form of white feathers, dragonflies, pennies, or my particular signs – butterflies and robins. Keep your eyes open as love is all around us. Don’t ever be afraid to open up your heart, even if it’s been broken multiple times. Give love a chance and show it whenever and wherever you can. Be kind to one another and we can heal the world.”

In the week leading up to my wedding, I’ve had a beautiful butterfly outside my window each day. I work from home and when I look up it was fluttering outside my window and would rest on the wall where I could see it.

On my wedding day, just before I made my entrance to the ceremony, my friends told me a big beautiful butterfly had flown into the barn and was flying around. I was too nervous to notice, everyone was looking at me and all I could do was look ahead as I was worried I would trip up as I was wearing heels and a dress instead of my usual Air Jordan 1s and combat trousers!

I could feel so much love in the venue it was incredible.

As the ceremony finished, and we had just finished signing our wedding certificate I looked up at everyone. The butterfly came towards us, and it flew past me back outside. My Baba and grandmas were with us.

We also had a rainbow later on that afternoon.

A few days later on our mini moon we have been visited by a little robin in the mornings. The robin sits in a bush and looks at us as we finish our breakfast.

Whatever you are going through I pray that the days ahead of you are kind, that you find peace, and you have the support of friends and family to help guide you. If this isn’t possible, please know that you are not alone. Don’t be afraid to speak up and ask for help. There are people who you don’t know who will offer support in times of darkness.

Love is here and love will heal us all.

A Father’s Love

I’ve never been a fan of Fathers Day. This is because my dad passed away when I was 2 and I have no memories of him which torments me even to this day. I feel like a part of me will always be missing and I will always be soul searching to find some connection to him.

I would love to know who he was, what he liked, what was he passionate about, what was his personality like, what were his favourite foods, songs, did he have any hobbies? These all remain a blank to me, my mum refuses to talk about him. The things people don’t say about someone can speak far more loudly than the things they will say. What happened during their time together to make someone so bitter and angry?

Over the years I’ve heard little snippets, but I would struggle to even write a top ten list of things I know about my dad. For those who have lost their dads and were blessed to have a number of years, experiences and memories of them, I often wonder if that is even more harder to live with.

How can you miss someone you have no memory of?

I miss my dad every day. If you have ever wondered if it’s possible to love someone you don’t even know, ask anyone who has lost a parent when they were very young. Yes it is.

There have been a few times over the years when my life has been in a danger and I have felt a huge protective force intervene and save my life. I know without a doubt it’s my dad, don’t ask me how, I just know. I sense his spirit which I find comforting, but it also leaves me yearning to be able to physically hug him and talk to him. I have so many questions I want to ask. What would my life have been and be like if he was alive? This is something I think about often. It also feels a bit strange to be grieving for someone you don’t remember, there are so many layers to grief when you lose a parent at a very young age.

So this year, like every year, I think about my dad and I say a prayer and send love to all the people who are also missing theirs. May you find some peace today, I hope you also feel the love of your dad even though they are not physically here with us.

Namaste. 🙏🏽💗🙏🏽

Growing into our power

It was my birthday this week.

I am blessed and grateful to see another day, another year, especially during a time of worldwide collective grief as the pandemic continues.

Despite the difficulties of the last eighteen months where I have been actively healing myself and learning from some very difficult lessons, I have finally been feeling more at peace recently, the fog that had consumed me for many months has lifted. I am aware that it may return again, and I will be as prepared as I can, life is always like the ebb and flow of water. Maybe this is why when I’m near the sea I love to wake up early and head down to the beach, I will sit on the rocks and look out. I think about loved ones I have lost, I give thanks for everyone in my life and I will say a prayer for those who are hurting. The sound of gentles waves provides a healing soundtrack for me, although I am also very aware of how powerful and destructive the sea can also be.

As I express gratitude for another year of life, it reminds me of the time I nearly drowned on a holiday in Costa Rica back in 2010, I got pulled out by a rip tide and couldn’t make my way back up to the surface. I struggled, kept getting pulled under, then after a few minutes a calmness overcame me, everything was black and I was sinking, I knew I wasn’t going to make it and I suddenly became frightened and said a prayer in my head for help, that I didn’t want to go so soon. Within an instant, there was a blinding white light all around me and a huge surge of energy under my feet that propelled me like a rocket back up to the surface. My best friend’s dad and uncle had swum out to look for me and they had a boogie board with them, they put me on the board and swam back. We got hit by big waves, rolled over numerous times, it was truly frightening. I will always be grateful to them for saving my life, whilst risking theirs, I think about this now and again, I will be eternally grateful to them. I also know I was saved by divine intervention when I was drowning and asked for help, I felt the love and protection of my dad who passed away when I was 2, this has happened a few times when I have been in extreme danger. I can’t explain it, these experiences have always made me aware there is so much more beyond the physical world. We should open our minds and hearts to so much more than what we can only see and touch.

Nearing the end of my fourth decade has made me realise how empowering and important self acceptance is. I wonder if we can actively choose to accept who we are in earlier years, to avoid many years of angst, doubt, putting up with bad relationships and friendships, allowing people to continually hurt us, take advantage of our kindness etc. Why does it take so long for us to feel comfortable about clearly articulating our boundaries, choosing not to let people who disturb our peace to stay in our lives. Is this something we can start cultivating from much earlier, or do we need to go through the many tough lessons over the years, until we learn them? I have a belief that if we keep finding ourselves in similar situations that are harmful to our wellbeing it’s because we didn’t learn the last time, so we have to repeat it. It takes a lot of strength and courage to admit we need to reset ourselves, to change our lives for the better, break old destructive patterns, rewire our neural pathways, cut out people who are not good for us, leave toxic jobs – we can live the life we choose, or do we live the life we have been given?

Knowing that we can create our own destiny is empowering. What kind of person do we want to be? What kind of relationships do we want to have? What do we want from life? What steps do we need to take to make our wants and wishes become reality? We can define this, and plot out the steps it takes to get there. Don’t be sad if you lose people along the way who don’t have your best interests at heart, they are not your tribe. Don’t be afraid to cut loose, don’t let people take up your energy who don’t deserve to be gifted it. Don’t be a people pleaser when the only way they will be pleased is at the detriment of your wellbeing, life path, dreams & goals.

Thank you for another day. For allowing me to continue my journey – I am ready to continue walking with, learning from and loving those who cross my path.

I am not a virus or a China Doll.

My heart is heavy at the continuing rise in hostility and violence towards South East Asians during the last twelve months of the Covid pandemic. The recent shooting in Atlanta has sent shockwaves through communities around the world.

I am born in the UK and of Hong Kong heritage. This makes me a BBC – British Born Chinese. I have never felt truly at home in the UK because of how I look, and the racism I have experienced over many years. I also don’t feel at home in Hong Kong, there I was labelled a Banana ‘Yellow on the outside, white on the inside’. I laugh it off now, but growing up I felt really hurt, what else can you do when your own people look down at you and treat you differently just because you were born in the West, and they were born in the South East.

I started getting bullied at primary school from the age of 5/6. There weren’t very many ethnic minorities at my school, I became an easy target. It started off with name calling, I was known by my Chinese name at my first primary school and I was ashamed and grew to hate it because the kids would always make fun of me.

The insults started with being called ‘Ching Chong’ or ‘Ping Pong’, the kids would say I was ugly and my face looked like a steamroller had run over it. I would be asked why my eyes were funny, the kids would pull at their eyes and make them slanted, they would squash their noses flat.

Then the physical bullying started from the boys. They would gang up on me and beat me up. The teachers turned a blind eye at first, then they got involved when I learnt to fight back and I started dropping the bullies with a swift kick to their bollocks. I became a scrapper, the bullying soon stopped. Thankfully my family moved to a new area after a couple of years and we went to another school. I now had an English name so I could try to fit in more. My life couldn’t have been more different, I made a lot of friends, I was on all the sports teams, I was even asked to play cricket and football with the boys. It felt so strange to be so accepted, after being bullied and ostracised previously. But then I would get some abuse from kids outside of school, we would play in various sports matches, some of the girls from the other school would be racist towards me. If you want to be abusive to someone, don’t do it when that person is holding a tennis racket or a rounders bat. My survival instinct kicked in again because I felt threatened. The scrapper would come out.

From the age of 12, I started to receive attention from older boys, and even men. It made me feel sick. I used to ride my bike to secondary school and there would be guys shouting at me from their cars and vans, even to this day I hate white vans. Calling me a ‘Chink’, ‘Gook’ and then the sexual comments started as I reached my early teens. This was the era of the Vietnam war films which were popular at the time. Men would shout “Sucky sucky five dollar” and “Me Love You Long Time”, I would get called ‘Ling Ling’ and ‘Susie Wong’. It was relentless, I started dressing in baggy clothes and always wore jeans or trousers to cover up in the hope that I wouldn’t get attention, but it didn’t matter. I was fourteen at the time and that’s when I started working weekends in the family takeaway shop. The abuse we received was relentless. People would ask us if we cooked cats and dogs, we would regularly get told to “fuck off back to your own country”. I was in my own country, I was born five minutes away from where we lived – where were they from?! Someone scrawled ‘China Out of Tibet’ on the wall, even though we were from Hong Kong and that was very obvious from the name of our takeaway, they didn’t care, according to them we were all the same, and looked the same. Fights would break out in the shop, especially when it was kicking out time from the pubs. I have always wondered why someone would be abusive towards people they wanted to buy food from, and yet they claim they love Chinese food, so it’s just the people who cook it that you don’t like? I started to refuse to serve people when they were abusive, but the insults would still continue. The police got called regularly. I developed a smart mouth pretty quickly, I would talk back to anyone who was rude. I still do.

I am going to skip a large chunk of my earlier years because I don’t want to give much energy to a very dark period of my life. I had a number of disastrous and toxic relationships and sometimes ended up with boyfriends who saw me as a status symbol, or who had ‘yellow fever’. This is when the fetishisation and sexualisation of Asian women became very apparent to me. Guys would ask if my vagina was slanted the other way like my eyes, really? How stupid and offensive can you be?! This is a common question we get asked. Men would expect me to be demure, submissive & obedient because they saw, heard and believed the stereotypes. That was how we were represented in films. I am anything but those things, I would send them packing pretty fast. Then there was also the belief that all SE Asian women loved older men. I would get guys at least 30 years older hitting on me when I was in my early 20s and it continued throughout adulthood. It got so ridiculous I would start winding them up and ask if they were rich and had a heart problem and if so then let’s go on a date, I wouldn’t of course.

Fast forward to now and the last twelve months of the pandemic. Due to a certain US ex president repeatedly referring to Covid as ‘Kung Flu’ and ‘China virus’ and being very vocal in the demonisation of China, along with others, he created and continued his hateful rhetoric, repeating it many times during his presidency which has seen a dramatic increase in hostile behaviour and violence to the SE Asian population. We have also had an increase in the UK, but not to the levels of the US. It doesn’t make me feel any safer though.

I’ve had people shout ‘China Virus’ at me, heard parents tell their kids not to walk near me because I probably have Covid. I get told to go back to China – how original. People have avoided me on public transport, this I’m fine with. I don’t want any racists or bigots near me, they’re doing me a favour. I’ve had so many dirty looks when I am out, I coughed once on the train and a woman sat opposite me pulled out a plastic zip locker bag and put it over her face. I was trying not to laugh as she soon realised she couldn’t breathe properly. The comments on social media are relentless.

I am sharing my story because I come from an ethnic group which are seen as a ‘model minority’. This means we don’t cause trouble, we work hard and we keep our heads down. You don’t hear many of our stories, because we are taught by our parents to ‘keep face’ and not to talk about our problems. This may be why some people see us as an easy target – they think we will stay quiet and not want to cause a fuss. But racism creates long term trauma, and for some, PTSD. Everyone has a breaking point and as a community, we are now broken, and heartbroken for those who have suffered, and particularly for those who lost their lives. There are many ethnic minorities who have carried years of scars and abuse, and continue to do so. We are exhausted, we are hurting… but we are also angry. We will not be silent any longer.

Please remember we are not a virus. We are also scared of Covid, have lost loved ones and are worried about our friends and family.

Just like you are.

Mother’s Day

Today is a weird one for me.

I have always struggled to say ‘Happy Mother’s Day’ because I don’t have a good relationship with my mum. It was awful when I was younger, when I was kicked out at 17 I didn’t speak to my family for five years.

I have tried many times to have a good relationship with my mum. But there have been too many arguments and fights over the years, often ending with me running out of her house in tears and vowing never to speak to her again… until the next time, another argument, being told I am useless, why would anyone want me, people just use me. I can’t keep doing this.

I last spoke to my mum at Christmas. I had cooked for my family, we were trying to have a nice time and keep the peace. But it was an awkward atmosphere, it usually is. Then mum flipped out whilst opening her presents and the screaming and shouting started. I left the house in tears.

My mum rang me on Boxing Day. She said some absolutely vile things, insulted me as usual. I won’t share what she said because it still hurts, her words are venomous.

My mum was diagnosed with suspected dementia last year in addition to her long term mental health issues. We try our best to help her and support her, the days where she is calm, we are grateful, but we all tread on eggshells because we know she can also explode and fly into a rage. I used to visit three times a week, but that wasn’t enough for her. Now, my mum has refused to speak to me since Boxing Day and I am not allowed in her house. It’s confused me, she has gone from calling me ten times a day and wanting me to go over every day… to nothing.

I don’t know what I have done wrong, actually, I do know what I have done wrong. I refuse to let her bully me, to try and control my life, she is angry that I am engaged. I am the last of my siblings to get married, and she is furious about it. In her eyes, that means all of her children have been stolen from her.

So today, I shall wish my mum Happy Mother’s Day from afar. I send love to all those in a similar situation.

I’m sorry I cannot be the daughter you want me to be. The life you try to force upon me is a replica of your life which I don’t want. When you are ready to speak to me, I shall put my hurt aside so we can try and have some sort of relationship again, even though it causes so much pain.

Doing The Best I Can

There have been a lot of tears lately. For myself and others. Sometimes they fall without me even knowing why, or they fall because I have heard bad news about people I love. I sometimes cry when I am reading and hearing about grief and loss that so many people are going through.

Over the last six months of the lockdown I have been developing traits of agoraphobia. I used to love going out before the pandemic. Now the thought of even going to the supermarket once a week makes me anxious and nervous. I have never been keen on people standing too close to me (the tube at rush hour is horrendous), and now even when someone is a couple of metres away, I can feel my stomach knotting up and my chest starts tightening. I also start to get irritated. My mind is telling my body that I could be in danger and I have to move away. I end up walking in zig zags around people because I would prefer to be at least 3 – 4 metres away from them. I know this behaviour is not sustainable and I need to address it and try not to let it continue.

For now, the only place I do feel safe is at home. I don’t even like to see my neighbours when we need to go out and have to use the communal door to the block of flats I live in. I don’t like to touch door handles with my bare hands, although that has always been a big issue of mine even before the pandemic.

This is just a small part of the various things that are going through my mind and it’s manifesting into physical symptoms. It’s no coincidence that I am having to take my anxiety medication again to minimise the anxiety attacks I am having.

To counteract the feelings of hopelessness and worry that I regularly have, I try to balance it where I can. I know I have much to be grateful for and I remind myself of this every day. I try to find little sparks of joy in my life to keep me as balanced as I can. Music is a great help in lifting my mood. I have started exercising again. I am also going to have a check in with my therapist. I know I am lucky to have these choices.

As with all things, I have to remind myself this too shall pass. Until then, we are all doing the best we can to navigate these strange times we are living in.

Inner Child Healing

A moment of happiness. I remember this day clearly.

I have been in a reflective mood recently. I had hit a brick wall and I was in a funk, recent events have jolted me out of this and I realise how much more healing work I have ahead of me. I’m now ready to continue my journey.

We all have an inner child. For some, it may remind you of carefree days, fun, laughter and lots of happy memories. For others, our childhood was full of trauma, tears, arguments and many unhappy memories. What happens to all of that as we become adults?

I am one of the lucky ones. I have been able to afford private therapy sessions over the years to help me deal with my childhood, and also cope with some adult life events that have knocked me for six.

I am also very grateful for my support circle. My family, not by blood, but of that by choice and shared experiences. This didn’t really happen until my 30s when I became less anxious and fearful of the past, learnt the hard way that friends can also be enemies in disguise, people will smile in your face and stab you in the back. I had to close numerous doors so that I could move forward, and this is something I struggled with for a long time as I was still loyal to those who didn’t give me the same courtesy. It was a very tough lesson and a rude awakening. I had to learn to trust again.

There are two facets to my inner child. I want to maintain a sense of joy and wonder at the world around me. I didn’t experience much of this when I was young and so as an adult this has turned into my love of travelling, experiencing different cultures and trying new things. The pandemic has put a stop to the travels for the time being, but I look forward to it resuming one day.

Then there is the other side, the broken and hurt child. The one that will still retreat, hide and want to run away when life becomes too much. This has been me for the last year or so. It is that child that I need to nurture and show my care, love and attention, I want to heal myself. I need to let some things go and say goodbye to the past.

Today I feel a glimmer of hope.

I am hopeful not just for myself but for others too. Everyone is struggling in some way, my faith in humanity is being restored by seeing words of support and actions being offered to those in need. Thank you to everyone who has sent me kind messages recently. You have helped keep me afloat. This is one of the things that gives me hope. When life gets us down, we shouldn’t be afraid to ask for help, we are all vulnerable.

We will ride through this storm together. Hold on tight!

I Miss You

🐾🐾

It’s only been a few days and there is a Missy shaped hole in my heart. It has been a blessing to have such a small kitteh become one of my biggest loves and take up so much of my life, heart and soul.

I miss not seeing you waiting outside the bedroom for me in the mornings. It feels strange not having you insisting on accompanying me into the bathroom each day. It was weird at first but over the years it became a standard part of our routine. Cats often accompany their slaves to the loo don’t they?!

You always wanted a fuss and head bumps when we brushed our teeth. As soon as you heard the electric toothbrush you would be by our feet.

I miss your miaows wanting to be fed. Or wanting to sit on my lap as I work so I can fuss over you.

I miss seeing you curled up on your armchair fast asleep or asleep on our bed.

I miss our early mornings together on the sofa.

I miss you rushing into the kitchen every time I was getting a can of tuna out of the cupboard. You always knew and appeared out of nowhere like magic. Apart from that one time you came running in and it was a tin of sweetcorn, you gave me such a huge stink eye that I ended up giving you some tuna anyway.

The famous ‘stink eye’

I miss cuddling you, sometimes you even let me hold you for 30 secs before you tried to scratch my face off – a record!

I miss you stomping on me, getting all up in my face and staring at me with your big eyes because you wanted to be fussed over. Of course I was always happy to oblige.

I miss you interrupting our video calls. Blocking one of our faces with your bum. Showing our callers your bum.

I miss you running to the door when we came home, to greet us and see if you can get a snack in the process. You always insisted on sniffing our hands first before we could stroke you.

I miss you sitting and sleeping on my lap, giving me dead legs. I wouldn’t move even when I was bursting for a pee because I didn’t want to disturb you.

I miss you sitting like a loaf in front of the door of my home office. I was never sure if you were blocking me in or trying to trip me up. Maybe both?

I miss these things and so much more about you every day.

Until we meet again Missy. I will be looking out for you so I can finally hug you again and tell you how much I love you. You will always be my feisty little Ninja Kitteh.

Rest in peace my beautiful girl. 💓🐾💓

30/08/2002 – 13/02/2021

Goodbye Missy

My beautiful girl ❤️

Saturday 13th Feb 2021 will forever be one of the saddest days in my life.

I knew this time was coming. I could sense it but didn’t want it to be today, or any day let’s be honest. I wanted more time with her. I finally had to say goodbye to my little girl, she has gone to rainbow bridge.

I first met Missy over 18 years ago, she was so small, the runt of the litter and the moment we set eyes on each other – BAM! It was instant love. She was in a shed with her siblings who all ran away when I went to see them, except Missy stayed sitting in front of me. A tiny ball of black fluff with huge blue eyes, when I picked her up she could not stop looking at me and she clambered on my shoulder and snuggled into my neck. There was no way I was leaving without her, our bond had been established.

Missy was such a funny little cat. Her nickname was Ninja Kitteh (and it eventually became mine too) because we would play fight with each other when she was little. She would hide behind doors and pounce on your legs yowling like she was taking part in a 10 person kumite. A few of my friends commented that Missy reminded them of Toothless from How To Train Your Dragon because of her big eyes. She liked Drum and Bass and Hip Hop (she was named after one of my favourite rappers Missy Elliott). We spent many a Saturday night at home with me listening to music and dancing around my front room. Missy would be jumping around too. Missy was brilliant at pistachio nut football, I would kick them around and she would always catch them and expertly dribble them everywhere. For months I would find pistachio nuts everywhere at home and if anyone ever ate them in her company she would start miaowing loudly at them demanding a game of football. I once heckled John Terry at a Chelsea Champions league semi final and shouted that my cat could dribble better than him.

Over the years as Missy got older she began to calm down but still maintained her diva like ways. Like all cats she had an excellent stink eye. She was a lap cat, not so keen on being picked up but she would sit on my lap for hours and fall asleep. Often there were times I had fallen asleep on the sofa and I would wake up and think I was paralysed because I couldn’t feel my legs – Missy would be stretched out on them fast asleep. She always liked to make an appearance on video calls, usually you would see her big eyes first and then like a typical cat she would show her disdain and show everyone her bum.

The last two years Missy’s health began to go downhill. She was diagnosed with kidney disease, high blood pressure and arthritis. She went blind twice last year and managed to astound the vet’s by recovering her eyesight each time when they didn’t think it was possible. But there comes a point in an animal’s life when their health becomes so bad you have to let them go even though it will break your heart. I had time with her at home and played music for her, told her how much I love her. One of the final songs that I played for her was Frankie Goes to Hollywood’s ‘The Power of Love’. It’s one of my favourite songs and I was in tears as she was on my lap. I already knew what the vet’s diagnosis would be and what the options were. I had been expecting this day and knew we were on borrowed time. Missy was becoming so fragile and yet was still so loving… and demanding! I am so grateful they allowed me to be with her until the very end even with Covid guidelines. As heartbreaking as it is for us, it’s the kindest act of love we can give our fur babies. No animal should suffer and live in pain. She was my little fighter, my ninja kitteh to the very end.

I always say there is nothing in life that prepares you for grief, even if you have loved and lost before. Pets have such a huge and important part in our lives, they are a much loved member of our family. The love we have for our furry companions is all encompassing and so pure. So today my heart has been broken as I had to finally say goodbye to my little Moo Moo, little panther, smushface, my Bubsy. Occasionally known as little gobshite when she used to be naughty but she knew she was much loved.

Missy – you were a wonderful companion for so many years. I was blessed to have you for all that time and be your slave / staff.

I will love you always. ❤️🐾❤️


If you are also going through the loss of your beloved fur baby I came across a site Pet Bereavement which I hope provides you with some support at this difficult time.

Let me rest my weary soul

I’m tired. Tired of the world. Tired of myself.

Normally I’m an optimistic, sunny side up type of person but it’s been hard to keep this up when it feels like the world is falling apart and so many people are also struggling. There is so much death, injustice, corruption, greed, pain and loss going on. I can’t ignore it. I see, feel and hear it – it’s hard to stay afloat. I can’t seem to turn it off, no matter how hard I try.

I know others feel the same way and normally we can console each other in person, hug each other. Hugs have so much healing power, to me they are intrinsic to our wellbeing. The best we can do at the moment are text messages and video calls. It’s no match for actual face to face contact but we will need to wait until it’s safe to do so. I long for those days.

I have a plethora of coping strategies I can use when my mental health isn’t great. Journaling, blogging, meditation, mindfulness, exercise, reading, colouring… the list is endless but I am struggling to find time, enjoyment or peace from much right now.

“Don’t be so sensitive”

“You think too much”

“Just let it go. Stop worrying about things you can’t control”

“You can’t help everyone”

“Why are you even concerned about people you don’t know?”

These are all things that have been said to me recently and over the years. I’ve tried to care less, but it feels so wrong. Caring about others is a big part of who I am, but can we care so much for others it becomes detrimental to our own well-being? How do we find a happy balance where caring doesn’t become torment?

I haven’t been sleeping well lately and I know what a huge impact lack of sleep has on my mental health. How I am feeling is not necessarily a reflection of what is actually going on around me. But I can’t ignore my recent anxiety attack and the general feeling of dread that I have right now.

I know this too shall pass. I shall ride the waves of life and try not to drown in the process.