Return from the abyss

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Hello, hello! I’m not entirely sure that anyone still reads my blog and if you have given up on me, you’d be completely forgiven because I have blatantly ignored and abandoned my website and blog for almost two years now. There’s a good reason for that, in fact many good reasons. Let me explain.

For anyone who isn’t aware of what has happened in my life the past couple of years, in a nutshell, my husband was diagnosed with advanced cancer in December 2016, he struggled for a year and a half and passed away on the 2nd May 2018. Following that, as if that wasn’t traumatic enough, I decided to return to the UK in July 2018 after living for 9 years, with my husband and the girls in Australia.

I did this solo.

Solo. I organised the packing, moving logistics, painted my Australian house and renovated the garden (with help from cherished friends) in preparation for selling. Put the house on the market and rode the ensuing rollercoaster that followed. I organised a trip to Sydney before we left Australia because in the 9 years that we had lived there, we had not been outside of Adelaide. How could we leave without seeing a tiny glimpse of at least one small other part of such a vast country?

I organised pet transport for our daft and hairy but loveable hound. Paperwork galore, sorting out Mark’s affairs and I was working on a fairly substantial client project all the while.

It didn’t stop there. When we finally moved to Scotland at the end of July 2018, the hunt was on for a house to live in and schools for the girls. I was on automatic pilot and couldn’t for a minute drop the ball, because it’s just me now, the responsibility, and I have to make sure that everything is as safe as can be, in place and as secure as it can be for my girls. Since we’ve been here in our new house, I’ve built furniture, bought a car, mowed the lawn, picked up the dog poo, made dinner every night, exercised when I could, set up my new work studio, done the washing, I’ve been the taxi driver, carved a pumpkin and done halloween, I’ve been Santa, the Tooth Fairy (on numerous occasions) and the Easter Bunny and cooked and hosted my first Christmas dinner. I’ve taken the girls away on holiday and we’re planning another for later this year. Solo.

It may have been an easier transition had it just been me but these two little people are in this equation too. Two humans that I love more than words can say and who look to me as their support. And sometimes I’m not great at it. I’ve never had to even think about guiding my two daughters through their life without their dad. Until now, and I’m sometimes a little bit clueless and so I have to take each day as it comes. The girls didn’t like the move one little bit. Completely understandable given that they spent the majority of their lives in Australia and so that transition, for them, has been difficult on top of losing their dad. All I can do is be there for them. And I knew that I could do that better here in Scotland, with family support than in Australia.

And somehow, listing all of these events doesn’t even scratch the surface of the sense of pressure and overwhelming load that I was dealing with everyday. I didn’t even recognise it fully when I was in it. It’s only now, months later, that I realise that what I managed to do in a few short months was nothing short of miraculous. I have beat myself up because I haven’t worked properly for such a long time and the financial burden of being a solo mother weighs heavy. And what made it worse was that I had completely lost my motivation to work and just create for the sake of it. Little did I know that it was because I was just worn out and not because I didn’t love creating anymore, it was just that everything that happened took the wind out of my sails, temporarily.

Now that we’ve been here for a while, I’m feeling a lot clearer and I can feel my motivation coming back. Slowly, slowly. Hoist those sails.

So, here’s to a fresh start. Here’s to friends and family who have helped us get through this rocky time. I’m truly grateful.