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.

Why am I here?

Every once in a while I get really tearful and lose my motivation to do anything. I could easily sit on the sofa in my PJs staring into space for hours on end.

I comfort eat my feelings in the hope that I will derive some kind of dopamine response but even that still leaves me feeling flat. It’s difficult not to allow yourself to feel down at the moment. As the number of deaths from Covid continue to grow higher, the number of people around the world who are experiencing grief and loss is overwhelming. It’s impossible not to feel sad when you see all the heartbreaking posts and tweets that are flooding social media. Last year I tried to reply to as many people as I could, just to let them know they were not alone in their loss and that I was sending love and my condolences. But I couldn’t keep up, and the number of people grieving was becoming overwhelming. As much as it has been heartbreaking, it is also heartwarming to see many others sending prayers and condolences to those who are grieving. But today I feel like I’m stuck in a dream world and I want to wake up.

I was triggered today by an incident that made me have flashbacks to this time last year which was really difficult for me. I was caught off guard and I am not ashamed to admit it made me start crying. I’ve done a lot of soul searching and self development over the last year to try and get over what happened but my response today was a sign that I still have more healing to do. That’s when I had that thought that pops up every now and again

What is my purpose in life? Why am I even here?

I know this feeling is temporary and I shouldn’t give it too much of my energy, but it’s hard. My dreams / nightmares at the moment are very much connected to what is going on in my life and the world right now. It’s getting to the point where I dread going to sleep because I’m worried about what I may dream of.

I was reading today the definition of an existential crisis from the site Very Well Mind;

“An existential crisis refers to feelings of unease about meaning, choice, and freedom in life. Whether referred to as an existential crisis, or existential anxiety, the main concerns are the same: that the idea is that life is inherently pointless, that our existence has no meaning because there are limits or boundaries on it, and that we all must die someday.”

I know my life isn’t pointless, so why do I feel this way? I don’t have any answers right now and I don’t know if I will. I challenge myself on a regular basis, there are always ways I can improve – be kinder, more patient, give more, do more. Am I being too hard on myself? I also know that by the end of the week my mood may have lifted and I will probably feel ok again. This is a reminder that our mental health fluctuates and that’s to be expected given how challenging things are right now.

All I can do at the moment is to take each day as it comes. Whatever that may entail.

New Year, New Me… or can I just be ‘me’?

1st Jan 2021.

Happy New Year.

I usually feel awkward wishing people a happy new year, especially after what has globally been such a difficult and traumatic time for many. I usually start the year feeling anxious for numerous reasons and I put that feeling aside because I don’t want to overshadow an opportunity for people to feel hopeful, and to make and share their resolutions. I am always open to self development, however I would like to be able to do it without such a big fanfare and with pressure from external sources, and in particular not limit it to one time of the year.

The start of a new year traditionally signifies new beginnings, new opportunities ahead and what I hope this year will bring – a time for healing. But what of those who are trapped in the darkness of the previous year, what happens to all the worries, stresses and strains we have been carrying? Can we really just toss them aside and muster up the optimism and strength to move forward with a different mindset and to find our purpose?

I woke up feeling flat and empty today. I’ve been doing this for many mornings now and I have to fight my way through this because I know that I have much to be grateful for. Each day I wake up I know is a blessing, many have not been able to do this and my heart breaks at the global loss of many lives throughout 2020.

However we choose to see in the new year, please remember that we all work to our own timelines. This is certainly not a time to compare our achievements (or lack of) with other people. Don’t allow yourself to be pressured into making a list of resolutions because you see it plastered in magazines or because someone is saying we should always be hustling and striving to be even more rich and successful. If that’s your life goal, great! But it may not be for everyone. It should always be our choice and when we feel ready and able. Trying to follow someone’s else’s path because we think it’s also what we want is inauthentic and not allowing ourselves to embrace and accept who we are and find our own calling.

I don’t want to be a new me. I want to be a better me.

I accept that in some areas of my life it will take me longer to achieve than others and I’m okay with that. Even though we may have gone through some of the same life experiences, how we choose to walk through those times and process the emotions that comes with it will be different. We have no obligation to anyone but ourselves in how we deal with and navigate through the difficult times that come our way.

Whatever this year has in store for us, I hope that we can all find some sparks of joy in each day to help us get through this time.

So today I wish you a safe New Year. May you find peace, may you find comfort, and may you continue to heal.

With loving kindness

‘Tis The Season To Be Jolly…

What does this time of year mean for you?

Does it give you a warm, fuzzy feeling? Fill you with happy memories of Christmases with loved ones, handing out presents around the tree, being with family and eating lots of food, watching the Queen’s speech and having an afternoon nap then looking forward to an evening of turkey sandwiches and watching Die Hard?

Or are you more familiar with the other side. A time that is filled with grief, loss, trauma, depression, unhappy memories, dark thoughts, and for many, isolation, especially during the pandemic.

My Christmases have been a lot of the latter. It hasn’t always been doom & gloom but a significant chunk of them have been and it’s hard to lose the feeling of dread and melancholy that I have every year. I’m trying to change the way I feel about it, particularly in the last few years as my life now is very different and better in a lot of ways. I know that I have a lot to be grateful for, but as some things get better, other things also get worse. More losses of loved ones and people we know. This year has been particularly tough, the worldwide collective grief is overwhelming.

A couple of years ago I gave a presentation at work about how to survive Christmas and take care of our mental health. After the presentation I soon found out there are many people who struggle with Christmas for a myriad of reasons. Sharing my story and showing my vulnerability reopens my wounds for a while, sometimes I wonder why I do it, when I see that it enables others to also speak up, my moments of feeling uncomfortable are worth it. I didn’t feel so alone, did I feel comforted? Yes and no, I felt sad so many of us struggle at this time of year and we feel ashamed to talk about how we’re feeling because this time of year is supposed to be about cheer and goodwill to all mankind.

There is a large disconnect with the way Christmas is packaged up and marketed. We are bombarded with images of how it should be. The amount of pressure that is put on people to have the perfect Christmas is huge. Then there is the reality of what this can cost you, financially and emotionally.

One of my worst memories is the time I was in a relationship with a violent psychopath. I tried to break up with him, he coldly told me if I ever left him he would burn down my mum’s house whilst my family were all at home. I was petrified, I eventually did get away from him (after receiving another beating) and thankfully my family and friends weren’t harmed but I had recurring nightmares for years after that. I still sleep with a weapon by my side of the bed… just incase.

Another year my partner at the time passed away unexpectedly. Spending Christmas Day alone when you had attended your partner’s funeral three weeks before is not an experience I would want anyone to ever go through. And yet so many of us have gone through this. My heart goes out to everyone who has lost loved ones.

Other Christmases have involved nervous breakdowns, depression, more grief and loss, painful relationship breakups, family disputes & suicides. It’s such a heavy time of year for me, sometimes I feel like I am suffocating and I want to run away.

I try to spend this time of year alone when I can because it’s crucial for me to have that time where I can try and process what’s going on. I also want to hide for a while. I know it’s actually a luxury to be able to do this because many people do spend it alone and desperately don’t want to. Some people wonder why I can’t snap out of the melancholy that I feel at this time of year, I don’t feel the need to explain to everyone why I dislike Christmas, I also don’t expect people to impose their views and tell me to cheer up and snap out of it. I’m not in the mood for a “Ho Ho Ho” at all!

Whatever we end up doing this year, my wish for you is that you will continue to heal from life and what has been thrown at you. If you are alone, I hope you have friends or family you can call if you are unable to physically visit them, please don’t be afraid to let people know you feel lonely. If you don’t have any support there are services available such as:

⁃ Samaritans 116 123

⁃ Text SHOUT to 85258 and you will be connected to a crisis volunteer

⁃ Join a mental health support group on social media or look for a mental health support account who also have volunteers who will respond

For the last few years there has been a recurring message of ‘be kind’ to others. It’s also important to remember that this also includes being kind to ourselves. Some of us carry so much guilt and shame from the past that it weighs us down. It’s such a heavy burden to carry, especially if there are expectations from others on how they think we should be and how to behave. If there is one gift we can give it’s one of self forgiveness.

It’s time to set free the ghosts of Christmas past.

With loving kindness ❤️

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. Over the years the pain lessens, it’s easier to breathe when the anniversary comes around… but the wound is still there, held on by a lifelong plaster that will be replaced numerous times over our lifetime.

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’.

Lessons & Healing

One of the kindest things we can do for someone who has opened up to us and talked about how they are doing is to let them discuss and acknowledge their feelings. To hold space for someone without imparting our own experiences on to them and trying to tell them what they should do.

Your true nature is luminous

People who tell us we have to let go and move on have no idea how hurtful and damaging this can be to someone who is experiencing pain, anxiety and grief.

We are not ready yet to move on. The pain is very real, we are raw and vulnerable.

Other people don’t get to impose their timelines onto us. We will heal in our own time and it’s not a linear process.

I had this happen quite recently. I almost argued with a friend who told me I have to move on because in their words “the only person you are hurting is yourself”.

I know I have to move on, please let me live and learn from my lessons. I need to understand my journey, not be pressured by others to heal in a timeframe they think is suitable. Don’t force me to run when I have only just started walking again.

With loving kindness

Exercise, Wellbeing and Me

My fitness journey over the years

I used to be strong and fit.

I say used to because at one stage my social life was going to the gym twice a day, six days a week. Over the last couple of years I have barely done any exercise.

I used to exercise a lot because it was so important in helping manage my mental health. It’s no coincidence that over the last couple of years my mental health and overall wellbeing has been at its worst. This year in particular has been tough and that’s without adding Covid-19 into the equation.

I have realised that there is no point in me hankering after the person I used to be, I’m not in that position anymore and the scales certainly tell a different story. Instead my focus is on who I am now and what changes I can make to fit my life in this moment so I can get through each day.

So for the last month I have started exercising again and I’m finally putting to use some of the fitness equipment I ordered back in April – I’ve had a rude awakening of how unfit I am. I was embarrassed at how easily I gas out so I had to give myself a pep talk and be mindful of some important lessons:

⁃ Start small. I’ve started with tabata skipping so I have active and rest time that I do in 4 minute blocks. As I get fitter my active time increases, along with the number of blocks

⁃ Be consistent. I’m starting off with a minimum of twice a week training sessions, 3 or 4 sessions is ideal

⁃ Train outdoors where possible. It feels good to be outside in the sunshine (will grab it when I can!)

⁃ Include resistance and strength training in addition to my cardio

⁃ Increase my daily steps. I’m happy to be able to get back to the 10,000 mark the last few weeks, during lockdown this had dropped to about 1,500 a day and quite a few of those mainly consisted of trips from the lounge to the kitchen looking for snacks!

⁃ Intuitive eating. I am usually a big comfort eater and will eat my feelings. I’m being a lot more mindful of only eating when I’m hungry and being more aware of what I am eating (my crumpets & kettle chips consumption has been greatly reduced)

⁃ My training plan also includes mind training so I have started journaling and meditating again and I check in with my therapist as and when I need to

⁃ Reducing my time on social media and muting or blocking key words and accounts. This has been so important the last few months, there are so many angry and bigoted voices in the social media space, it was really starting to get to me

⁃ Daily gratitude. There are so many things to be thankful for

⁃ Find joy in each day. I have been taking a lot of pictures so I have reminders. They’re mainly of my cat at the moment

⁃ Be kind. I often berate myself when I’m not doing well at something. I don’t need to beat myself up about any of my goals and what it takes to get there. If I fail at something it becomes a lesson and it means I pushed myself out of my comfort zone and wasn’t afraid to try something new

I am learning to accept myself for who I am and what I am capable of in this moment. I also thank my past self for helping me get to this point in my life.

A reminder to always be grateful I am here #semicolonproject

Lessons to my Twenty Something Self

Aged 21

Hindsight can be a wonderful thing.

I was recently involved in a conversation about what advice would you give to your younger self, in particular to people in their 20s. This question has lingered with me for some reason so I thought I would expand on some of the lessons I wish had known at that time. Twenty years on I am still working on some of these!

1. Don’t place your worth on external validation from others. If you always need to be told you are great, amazing, kind etc. There will come a point where you feel empty and worthless. Knowing your self worth comes from within, harness and develop it yourself – that is true strength and courage

2. If something or someone feels off, always trust your instincts. The few times I have ignored my inner alarm bells it has got me into some really difficult and traumatic situations

3. You cannot change the past so don’t let it take up too much space in your head. This is often easier said than done, we create a lot of self suffering from replaying situations we cannot change. Learn the lesson and try to move on ASAP

4. What thoughts, experiences & emotions can you challenge, accept or let go?

5. If you feel uncomfortable, you are entitled to walk away. You can set & reset your boundaries at any time, don’t be afraid to let people know what they are

6. Not everyone will get you or even like you. That’s totally fine, you don’t need to beg people for friendship

7. Live for the moment. Look to the past for lessons but don’t dwell there. We can plan for the future to some extent but allow yourself to be flexible and work to your own timelines, not ones that other people think you should meet

8. Don’t hold a grudge or be vengeful. Be big enough to acknowledge the part you have played and what lessons have presented themselves to you. Have the humility and grace to understand that your side of the actions are not always the right way

9. Don’t allow your judgement to be clouded by the opinions of others. Trust your own mind, and develop your own morals & values. Remember that people may not always tell the truth about you either

10. When someone shows you their true colours, believe them and take appropriate steps to protect yourself

11. Try to find small sparks of joy in each day

12. Let people know you care. Our time on earth is limited and precious

13. Grieving for loved ones will always be with you. We never get over grief, however over the years we learn to live with it and the pain does lessen over time

14. You can’t do everything and please everyone. You will find this exhausting

15. Pay as much attention to your mental health as you do your physical health

16. Don’t be afraid to ask for help, when you do, be aware that some people may be uncomfortable with what you say. Don’t let this deter you, it takes time to find your tribe and you will find them

17. Be kind to yourself and others at all times. Don’t let other people’s actions harden your heart

18. Help people without the expectation of them returning the favour, although be careful people don’t start to abuse your kindness

19. Never lose hope and always have faith in yourself and what you are capable of

20. Don’t be afraid to fail. There are many lessons to be learnt and it’s where some of our biggest growth happens. When we fail at something it allows us to start understanding who we are

If you have any lessons you would like to share I would love to hear them. Namaste.