Going out on your own after a bereavement is no walk in the park. Check out #MeetpMondays as a great way to meet new friends over a cup of coffeeRead More
NLP training is great way to learn new life strategies. An added bonus for me is that I made some great friends at the same time.Read More
2 oak trees were planted for Steve in October 2017. The first one was planted at Oakfield Wood, Wrabness, where Steve is buried. The other tree I bought in Cambridge. I arranged for the tree to be delivered to Porthkerry Country Park where Steve and I grew up and where his parents still live.
2018 has been a year of extreme weather, the Beast from the East, a fierce cold snap hit the UK in February followed by one of the driest summers on record. After 60 days of zero rain, I received a call from my mother-in-law to say Steve’s oak tree was struggling. I was planning to visit Barry that weekend and prepared for the worst I found the tree was struggling, all the leaves were dry and the earth around the base of the tree had deep cracks.
The Country Park Wardens were looking after so many freshly planted trees that they just couldn’t keep up with the watering. Whilst I was visiting the tree, I recorded a video asking for help from my Barry friends.
The response was incredible, friends were taking large containers of water to the park. They even obtained special permission from the wardens to use the car park without paying fees. One friend, Peter Barker took manure, fertiliser and a gallon container of water in an effort to help. The video he recorded by the tree made me cry.
A couple I know were visiting Barry for the first time when they heard about requests for help with watering. They found Steve’s tree and even bumped into one of my Barry friends, Bev Jones who was also watering the tree at the same time.
In life, Steve brought people together and so he did in death
We don’t know yet if either tree will survive but I do know that love and care has been shown for Steve’s oak tree at Porthkerry Country Park.
Give it a Try
Some people plant trees, buy memorial benches or one friend made a wildflower garden with its own bug hotel in memory of his wife, Lynne Dyas Wolff, one of my dear school friends.
There are so many ways to commemorate someone’s life. What ideas have you heard?
Sometimes you just need to talk. And from the silence often comes the answers you needRead More
I’ve been a presenter on ICR Ipswich Community Radio for almost a year. Learning radio presenting skills and meeting so many new people has helped with my grieving journey.Read More
The 5 Invitations by Frank Ostaseki was so inspiring. I’ve decided I want to live my life fully and my trip to Machu Picchu is an example of “Don’t Wait”Read More
My kintsugi inspired heart shaped tattoo reminds me of love and transformation.Read More
I really enjoy writing in my journal, last night after a full Spill Festival weekend I wrote 14 pages. Find out how my journals have helped me. Read an extract from my 7 day Trans-Siberian train journeyRead More
I started journalling last year and I have filled 8 journals with my words. I find writing very therapeuticRead More
Find out how to create a memorialized Facebook accountRead More
I’ve been on 2 retreats to Sardinia. These retreats were the start of my healing journey and helped me both physically and mentally.Read More
I’m not saying waste your life watching TV but when you find you’re on your own after a lifetime of companionship there are lots of hours that need to be filled.
I have a Netflix account and earlier this year I watched all 4 Seasons of the Peaky Blinders, it’s not for the faint-hearted, the violence is intense. It’s loosely based around criminal gangs in the Black Country fighting for survival after the First World War. The soundtrack is dark, Red Right Hand by Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds which adds to the threatening atmosphere. The main character is Thomas Shelby, played by Cillian Murphy. If you don’t know this actor, he has the bluest eyes which were wonderfully framed during the filming of this series.
Life is all about loss, and when this 4 part series came to an end, I experienced a mini sadness.
How will I ever find anything as good?
You just find something different, I found HBO series called Rome, another violent series. I watched the first 10 episodes on Netflix but couldn’t find the second series. How frustrating but I wasn’t deterred and visited all the charity shops in Ipswich but eventually found the second series box-set at a video rental shop for just £6. I can use my surround sound TV when I watch movie DVDs. My walls were vibrating with the clashing of swords during the fight scenes, a fully immersive experience.
I’ve progressed onto the adventures of Marco Polo now but I can’t work out what to watch next.
Give it a Try
Find a 10 or more part series with multiple seasons and lose yourself for an hour or two each week. I know some people binge watch but I prefer having a weekly routine where the characters become part of my life, at least for a time, until the next loss. When you see that life is all about endings and in turn beginnings, you’ll recognise this is natural and a preparation for bigger losses to come.
I had “One Love” tattooed on my wrist when my husband died.Read More
Going for a walk on your own can feel scary but this kind of exercise is free, good for your mind and body tooRead More
A useful strategy if you hate spidersRead More
Steve loved train travel and in 2016 he went overland from Ipswich to Japan and back again. He didn’t like flying, he thought it was an unsustainable form of transport so he used trains and boats to make that long journey across Asia to visit our son in Japan.
We planned to do a similar journey in 2017 but Steve became ill and travel was impossible. As Steve lay dying, slipping out of consciousness, I made a commitment to him that I was going to travel in his footsteps overland through China and Russia. I planned to take the journal Steve wrote with me on that journey.
For 60 days I traveled solo covering 20,000 miles, visiting Azerbaijan, Dubai, Japan, China and finally catching the Trans-Siberian train to Moscow, a staggering 6 full days on the train! You can read all about my adventures here www.bit.ly/elenes60days.
When I look back on that trip, I was full up with grief but I was also determined, on a mission. I ran this script in my head, I need to travel by myself to show I can live in the world without my rock, my life, my soul mate. If I can manage that, I know I will be able to carry on living.
I survived, you could say I flourished. I found people to talk to, to connect with, to share tears with. My impression (OK somewhat limited, I know) was that people around the world were caring and empathetic. I had one of my best hugs from a Chinese market trader in Beijing. I guess my story of undying love is universal.
On the first day of my adventure, a feeling of apprehension swept over me as I waved goodbye to my sister in law at Heathrow. As I walked away from her towards the check-in desk I wondered, “What have I done?” I’d never bought a one-way airline ticket before! It was a fleeting concern because I the sparkly top I was wearing set off the security alarms and I was soon caught up in body scans and bag checks. My fear behind me, my journey truly had begun.
Looking back on my trip now, it’s hard to believe that every train journey, every connection, every transfer, every pick-up worked like magic.
Was someone looking out for me?
Give it a Try
Plan a solo trip. It doesn’t have to be too far. Maybe a day trip to London to visit an exhibition could be your first step. If you’d like to go somewhere further afield, get help from a travel adviser. I’ve used Travel with Jules.
People often think that it’s more expensive to use a travel company but agents can often find better deals. Also with an independent travel company, you have a person to contact when you’re travelling. My solo holiday this year to Sicily was one of the best experiences ever. I’ll be writing about that trip soon.
Have you ever had a solo holiday? I’d love to hear your experiences. Please write in the comments below.
I loved the island of Sicily, the food, the people and the climate. I can’t wait to returnRead More
Taking part in a charity challenge helps focus the mind and takes your mind off your own problemsRead More
Zumba is an amazing form of exercise and was the perfect antidote when my husband was diagnosed with a terminal illnessRead More
It’s hard to cook for one but making smoothies and cooking enough food to last a few meals helped meRead More