So, rewind to September 2014 when my mother passed away after a short illness to the Big C. My first time on the front line of being the carer and I learnt a lot as I cared over the 4 months.
Then, my sister suggested I visit Maggie’s as she had a friend who was involved and I found that the support this charity offered was amazing and it gave me the encouragement to get back in the driving seat. So, in the April 2015, I decided to look for a voluntary role and started with Coming Home, managed by a now dear friend, Henny Cochrane.
Working through the issues I was experiencing from grief to emptiness, this helped me, as when you are working with injured Veterans it puts life into perspective and I am grateful to Henny for believing in me.
Going on in the background was a nightmare probate but I am not dwelling on the past now and that went on for four years, which gave additional stress to both my sister and I. I salute my executors as they kept us sane, well they did keep me sane, as there were times when I was ready to throw the towel in and walk away.
Then in December 2015, I was hit with, you have stage 4, breast cancer. Thanks to the NHS and the amazing team at the Royal Marsden Chelsea, I am cancer free and my extensive treatment went to plan and all I do is take a pill daily. Not that you are ever free after a life changing experience and my lifestyle has changed and I think hand on heart that I am a better person.
I have continued to volunteer at the Royal Marsden Chelsea, something I have shared a number of times and met some amazing people and I hope that I have helped patients on their journey. I have worked on a number of contracts in the military charity sector and have loved the distraction of been a team player.
In 2018, I was approached by Maggie’s to act as the Chairman for the BADA Gala Dinner having been chosen as the charity of the year and pull off the event, which is on the 21st March. Once again it was a ‘team’ with Richard, Sandra, Caroline and from Maggie’s it was Rebecca, Angela and Lydia.
During the last few years, I have been sorting in my head the loss of my mother and it never gets easier. I cannot count the times I have cried in the loo or shouted in the car, bloody hell why me and what about supporting me, I do not have either parent. But I had my friends and my rock aka Hubert Phipps, who came into my life in September 2015 even though he had been in the background all my life.
When my Mum died and her estate was sorted, I got the flat on the end of the family home and initially it worked well as my sister and I could support each other, as she herself was going through a tough time with a divorce with two young kids. However, over the years our relationship strained as I stayed in a time warp and didn’t really want to move on, the family home was my safe heaven, it was where our parents had made us feel safe. With time though, I have realised that its ok now, I can move on and start afresh. I know that my Mum wouldn’t want me to dwell on the past and be held back, that much I do know and I am reminded by friends such as Anoushka Faischa.
So, last year my sister started to remind me September 2019 was de-day to move on, start afresh and in an ideal world she was looking to ask us to move on earlier, in April / May.
She had moved on and was trying to make a new business and needed the flat for her five-year plan. To me September 2019 was a long way away but it wasn’t but I was ready. I hosted Christmas day in the flat this year, which was very special to me, well I had to use the hot trolley and it was our extended family. It was as this time that we had seen a house and the seed was sowed, I was ready as it was on my terms.
Thank goodness this house didn’t materialise but it gave me the kick up the arse. Now I can happily say we (Hubert and I) have found our new dream home and just waiting for the bump in the road which I am assured is normal with house purchases, as we start afresh, building new memories together.
It’s time to say goodbye to the family home but nobody can take away the memories I have, they never go and the new place is not far away. The strange think is that both Hubert and I grew up locally and finding our new home was the cherry on the top, though no River and no railway line its now wildlife noises. We have been referenced by the estate agent to the vendor, as a middle-aged couple from London – cheek but they did add no children so look forward to meeting the neighbours and putting their minds at ease.
Once the offer had been accepted, we kept it to ourselves and the other weekend we went through the flat and container and I realised that I didn’t really have much from my childhood other than memories as the stuff was just stuff. And what I love about Hubert who also didn’t have a huge amount of stuff having sold his home, is that it is just that, stuff and it was now about new beginnings. Though I will add that the hot trolley, very 70’s is moving with me even if it has to be in the garage.
The moral of the story is, you will know when you are ready to move on from a safe haven and take the plunge into a new adventure. Don’t get me wrong, my flat in London is a safe haven and again I have friend Anoushka to thank for that. I am so pleased that my mum got to see it and visit and she knew it was my home.
But now, I am ready to take stock of my life and get on with new beginnings as I feel liberated, a bit like I did when I was bald after chemo, not sure if you will understand that comparison.
As I post this, we are waiting to exchange after a small delay on our new home and it’s all about looking forward and not living in the past so, Mr Phipps you better be worried, new chapters ahead.
So, please listen to your body and your gut and do things on your terms on your time scales, don’t be pressured. Telling my sister last weekend was a huge relief and now I hope we can re-kindle the bond of sisters.