I am blogging about the day mum died.

We were in the Highlands of Scotland on holiday.

I had seen my Mum as usual the weekend before we left. She has insisted I go on the holiday. I told her I would come back to see her on 3rd September. She was adamant that I must not come back until the 4th.

As the car started up, I looked through at her bedroom. She held her hand up. I was keen to stare at it and to remember every line.

I went home and into town. I kept finding myself stopping. I could not focus. I could not function.

A spoke to my husband and asked him to visit my Mum. She had not seen him for months as she did not want the children to see her getting worse so I would visit her and he would stay at home with our children.

He went and stayed the night. He told her he had come to see her. She made us both smile with her response. “When I saw you, I thought there was something up”

We went to Scotland and as I left home I had the strangest feeling I would come back after Mum had died.

The holiday was odd. We had fun as a family but were attached to our mobiles for news from my Dad.

One night, we went into the garden of our holiday cottage and someone was playing an accordion at the neighbouring cottage. I suddenly found my husband in tears. I think I had said something like “Mum would love that”

I wanted to go to Cromarty. Mum had always listened to the shipping forecasts and I loved the names.

One morning, my husband said we could go to Cromarty that day. I barked at him. He did not understand why. By now I had decided in my own mind that Mum would die the day we went to Cromarty.

A couple of days later we made the visit to Cromarty. I remember sitting and watching dolphins in the sea that day. coming to terms.

I got a text from my brother late that night “Phone Dad – urgent”

In that moment, you think maybe if you don’t call, it won’t be true.

“You know what it will be” I told my husband.

I made the call. A Marie Curie nurse answered calling me Catherine. Things must be serious. She put my Dad on who said “Your Mum passed away at 10 to eleven and it was peaceful”

Ten to eleven – so many nights she would have left a variety of clubs at that time with Dad either with her or waiting at our front door anxiously.

Closing time!

I lit a candle because that is what you do when you are brought up a Catholic.

My oldest brother phoned to see if I was OK.

My two older children were in bed.

My youngest had fallen asleep on the sofa.

We were obviously distressed. At which point my son burst out laughing in his sleep, a real chuckle. A message from mum that life and laughter should go on.

I slept alone that night and sobbed most of the night. I got up early, cleaned the house and we made our way back to Yorkshire.

I arrived on exactly the day when my Mum had told me to return and my Mum was dead. Stage-managing things until the very end.

R.I.P. Mum – I forgot your anniversary this year until late at night. I am sure you would have had loads to say about that. Love you.

Diary of an imperfect mum

What are my reasons for cheerfulness this week?

Print

1. We went to see the BoxTrolls film in Leicester Square Odeon on Saturday. The whole family loved it so it comes highly recommended for 8 to 57 year olds! Very cute, funny and with a great message too. Living so much closer to London is fantastic on days like this. We were lying on a beach at Hayling Island on the South coast by teatime with the children enjoying a good paddling session.

2. I am thankful for online support when times get tense. I am not going to name names for fear of missing somebody out but I do like to feel I have that backing even if at such a distance.

3. My teenager headed back to school and after a little wobble the night before got quite comical about the whole thing. He seems happy to be back and excited about his options particularly business studies.

4. My other son starts back at school today. I was impressed how he got straight back into the morning routine and also how he said without any prompting that he wants to try harder with his Literacy work this year.

5. My daughter and I are embarking on a home education journey. This feels odd and scary at the minute. I have cleared a unit in the lounge so keep her books and work on. I have identified online networks. I have reassured my husband that we will not just be doing craft all day. He is nervous too and I need to understand that.

6. 5 people linked up their stories on Striking Mums during the week. More on that later.

7. Last night, I realised it was the 5th anniversary of my Mum’s death. I feel a little bad for not remembering sooner. However, I guess it does show that time eases things a bit although she still leaves a very big hole in this family as she was such a full-on character.

me and mum

I have set up an online support groups for mums to help us all make positive changes in our lives. It is time to seize the day, take baby steps if that is what we can manage and change our lives.

So what about me? What do I need to change?

1. We have had a bumpy ride over the last 16 months with my husband losing two jobs, a long period of unemployment and a big relocation from North to South. My son is missing his friends back home. My daughter did not settle in her new school. I think my husband’s ego has been very damaged by recent events too. As a family, we are feeling a bit battered and bruised I think. I know people have much bigger problems to confront but this is my space to say how I am feeling. I would really welcome a period where we don’t get hit by major hassles. I need to work on my marriage and my parenting but I also need to build myself back up again in order to do these things.

2. I don’t get out enough during the week which results in me being very isolated. This is going to change because once my son goes back to school, I am going to be out and about with my little girl. I could do with somebody to tweet me every day to ask if I have gone out of the door yet. It always makes me feel so much better.

3. I have a poor self-image. Weight has a lot to do with this as over the years I have come to terms with mad hair and vaguely weird looks. I have given up booze and I am cutting out red meat. I am going to eat more healthily and take more exercise. Again, I think having the company of my daughter will help with this.

4. I am going to spend less time watching the television. I think it can suck your energy away and is too easy to use as stimulation when you are stuck in the house.

Having said all this, I have made huge strides in recent years and I think have just got a bit off track after losing my Dad, the redundancies and the house move. I am angry at myself for that but maybe I need to ease up on myself and allow me to be human too.

So yes, dear reader, I need Striking Mums too and look forward to reporting back as to how I get on.

As I look back on this post, I am heartened to see that although the changes are major, there are very few of them to sort out. The future is bright!

Are you a card-making fan?

I have a fun giveaway for you from Stamping Up consisting of a card-making kit.

One lucky reader will win a Hip Hip Hooray card making kit.

cardmaking

Instead of buying a card for a special occasion, make your own as they do say it is the thought that counts. Make a beautiful card in just a few minutes. The Hip Hip Hooray Card Kit contains everything you need to create 20 special cards for a variety of occasions.

Are you ready to start card-making?

The Hip Hip Hooray Card Kit includes:

* Cardstock and envelopes for 20 cards
* Twine, clips, and adhesive die-cut embellishments
* Three-piece Hip Hip Hooray Stamp Set & clear stamp block
* Stampin Dimensionals
* Basic Gray Stampin’ Spot (mini ink pads)
* Full-colour instructional brochure

You could win this lovely kit by entering via the Rafflecopter below. The competition is open to UK residents aged 18 and over only.

My daughter is very creative and loves making cards. I tend to think of myself as not being artistic but I do enjoy it when I join in with her and get those imagination juices flowing.

I think my Mum would have liked to have the time to spend time doing fun things like crafting. She enjoyed drawing. Despite my encouragement, she lacked confidence in her efforts and would not take up my suggestion to do an art class at the local college.

I have done one thing that she always did. The bottom drawer of her Welsh dresser was always reserved for greetings cards for just about every occasion. She was always prepared and looked like she had remembered special occasions even if she found out at the last minute. Mum was a magpie loving pretty things so people always loved the cards she selected for them not knowing they came from her bumper collection.

I love those card collections they sell now so that you always have a card when your child gets invited to a party or whatever. You can often find them in charity shops too brand new and for no money at all.

I hope you enter the giveaway and good luck.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Win competitions at ThePrizeFinder.com

giftbag

INGREDIENTS

Stamps – Cool Kid Stamp set

Tools – Raspberry Ripple, Basic Black, Summer Starfruit, Gumball Green Stampin’ Write Markers

Inks and Cardstock – Birthday Basics Designer Series Paper, Whisper White cardstock

Punches – Decorative Label Punch

Adhesives –Sticky Strip

Accessories – Mini Metallic Clothespins, Island Indigo Bakers Twine

Step by Step

1. Take a piece of 12x6in designer paper and score along the long edge at 3.5in, 4.5in, 5.5in, 9in, 10in and 11in. Turn 90 degrees and score at 1.25in.

gfitbag1

2. Make a paper cut at the 3.5, 5.5, 9 and 11in score lines, just as far as the horizontal score line. Fold each score as shown in the picture.

giftbag2

3. Add Sticky Strip to both long edges of the 1in end panel, across the 2 pairs of 1in panels and then on the reverse of the middle 3.5in section, as shown in the picture.

giftbag3

4. Fold the bag into shape and tape the two long sides together. Then fold in the two small panels on the bottom in and the large panel with no tape down onto them. Finish with the taped large panel to seal the bag. Pinch the top closed, ready for your stamped tag.

5. Score an 11.5 x 6.5in piece of Whisper White card across the middle and fold in half. Take the Cool Kid stamp and colour in the stamp carefully using your chosen colours, then stamp onto the cardstock, near the fold. (Tip: If your ink dries before you are ready to stamp simply huff on the stamp to reactivate the ink.) Punch the Decorative Label out, taking care not to punch through the fold.

6. Tie a bow in a piece of Bakers Twine and use a Mini Metallic Clothespin to attach it to you bag, along with your tag.