2017Well, here we are again at the end of a year, and so soon too.  It doesn’t seem like two minutes ago that I was getting ready to see in 2017 this time last year, and I do realise that I haven’t been keeping this blog as up to date as I would have liked. I guess if I am honest time has run away from me this year, and I have let my work overtake my life a bit, something I am determined not to let happen next year.

I have reached the end of another year as an empty armed mother, and I can honestly say it does not get any easier, even if on the outside I look like I have my life in order. I miss Frankie so much and what could have been, and events like Christmas Day bring home the reality to me of being an empty armed mother. Frankie should be a strapping four-year-old, excited about what Santa would be bringing him and not being able to sleep on Christmas Eve in anticipation. He should have woken me and my husband up early and rushed down the stairs to open his presents and see what Santa had brought him. Instead, my Christmas tree has no presents underneath it for my son and my house is eerily quiet at times, even with my dog Poppy in it.

As years go and compared to previous ones, 2017 was not a bad year. It was however a year where I admitted some very serious faults in myself, and strived hard to rectify them. We are but works in progress always and one thing I’ve learnt is that either people like me for what I am – the heavy metal loving born campaigner who stands up for things that are important to her – or they don’t. I cannot change who I am, and I shouldn’t ever try to be someone I am not to “impress” anyone, no matter who they are. The “mask” I wrote about in this blog previously is gone for good.

2017 was also the year where after going off track with my work and career in 2013 in anticipation of Frankie’s arrival which didn’t happen I finally found a role that was “me” to a T. After all I have been through in the last few years I firmly believe that not only do you need to find “the one” in relationship terms, you also need to find “the one” in your work and career, that is, the job that fits you perfectly, that you are passionate about and that you are challenged in. I am thriving in my role at Corinium Global Intelligence as a Content Marketing & Editorial Manager and I know this is going to sound SO corny, but my role and everyone who I work with there has restored my faith in humanity and my professional confidence. I was betrayed dreadfully by so-called friends and colleagues after I lost Frankie and it affected me so badly I didn’t think I would ever recover or trust fully again. I still don’t trust fully, but life is too short to bear grudges and as I wrote in a previous entry, I forgive all those who betrayed me.

However, in October 2017 this happened to my Dad and my whole world fell apart.  My Dad has gone from an active happy go lucky guy into a shadow of his former self walking around with a stick to help him balance along with losing his independence by no longer being able to drive, and it broke my heart.  But I am so thankful and grateful because he is still with us and still able to get around, even if we have to drive him to wherever he needs to go. Nothing has been found with him yet to explain what happened to him last October, but he is seeing a neurologist next month so we are crossing everything that some answers can be found then and they will get to the bottom of it and be able to treat him.

Last September I finally started bereavement counselling with Mark O’Leary at South Worcestershire Bereavement Services. However, at the end of December Mark left to start his own counselling service – http://www.elpiscounselling.co.uk/ – but I will be continuing to see Mark from next month to work through all the trauma and loss I’ve been through. What has become very clear to me during the sessions I have had with Mark is that it isn’t only all the deaths, bereavements and losing Frankie I need to come to terms with – I also need to reclaim my sense of “self” and look after me and my own needs much more. I also need to ask for help whenever I need it, and not try to be “superwoman” by doing everything, being there for everyone and trying to fix everything.

Yes the bereavements happened, and yes I am an empty armed mother with no living children and no hope of having any more. But they do not define me, and I would be dishonouring every person I have lost if I wallowed in grief and didn’t live life to the full – life is way too short. I wrote this post a while ago, and 2018 is the year I will finally make good on that promise to my Frankie.

Just having that “space” for an hour a week to talk and make sense of everything that is happening to me and continues to happen to me has been invaluable, and it has helped me realise some things that have been happening to me for what they are and to do something about them. Through this my confidence in other areas, not just my work, has increased ten-fold. I look forward to continuing to work on myself in this way with Mark’s help and guidance.

I go into 2018 without making any new year resolutions. After all I have been through I don’t see the point in them, as you never know what tomorrow will bring. For me it goes without saying that I should look after myself, try to eat well, exercise as much as I can (I walk Poppy for up to around 2 hours a day in total), get as much sleep as possible and try to have a work-life balance, although I admit I failed on the work-life balance thing abysmally in 2017. In 2018 I will change that and make more time for me and the things I enjoy doing, especially writing for my blogs, so there should be more blogs and updates here next year all being well.

There are things I want to do in 2018 once and for all. I finally want to finish the book I am writing. I want to maintain the blogs I write, including this one, and make them the best they can be. I want to share my experiences with others and become a public speaker, inspiring others and helping them. I also want to be the very best I can be in my job and be a great asset to Corinium. Having spent years trying to find the perfect role for me, I don’t want to let it slip through my fingers now!

Finally, all I want for 2018 is for my Dad to be well and healthy again, and for there to be some answers from the neurologist as to what happened to him last October. I realise I may not get these answers or get this wish, but I can hope and be positive.

So here is to 2018, and all it brings. May you all have a very happy and prosperous new year.