Whoever said being a parent was easy?! Especially a widowed one!!!

Ok, so I want to start this blog by letting you know that I ADORE my boys. They are the reason I exist and everything I do is for them. Had it not been for me having my two boys over the past 3 years, I really don’t know where I would be now, they have been my reason for living, for carrying on, for getting out of bed on a morning.

BUT…….. 80% of the time, they annoy the hell out of me!!!!!!! πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

I’m an only child, although I do have a step brother I wasn’t brought up with him, so have had the luxury of pretty much having my own way, ALL the time!!!! And I like to get my own way!! Cue children coming along and this ruins EVERYTHING about getting your own way!!! I had to stop being selfish and put these little human beings feelings and needs in front of my own!!! It’s been hard work, I can tell you!!!!

I don’t believe there is any such thing as a ‘perfect’ mother. I used to be jealous of those mothers that can manage to not have to go to work. That spend all day with their children, that do ‘creative’ stuff and go to a million classes a week with their child.

But then I realised there is nothing to be jealous about, life is just about balance. We are all thrown into parenthood, none of us really have a clue what we are doing and the thousand books I read beforehand still didn’t help me. The minute I held that tiny pink things in my arms, my immediate thought was ‘shit, what am I supposed to do now!!!!’

Some women are lucky that they can afford to not go to work. Before having my boys I wanted to be one of those women, but now, if I’m honest, I look forward to work because it gives me a break from the boys haha!!!!

When Pez and I met, we fell in love, we moved in together, we got married and we had our first baby Rhys. We did what a couple was ‘supposed’ to do. I had an idyllic vision of life in my head, as every young person does I suppose.

But once Rhys was born we were thrown into a life of turmoil and uncertainty. Our gorgeous boy was disabled and this was not the idyllic life I had imagined for us. We loved him with every inch of our being, but we did not choose this difficult life that we now had to face.

Having said that, we adapted, we changed our way of thinking and we accepted that ok, life wasn’t going to be easy but it was our life and nothing we could do could change that. But what we could do is change ourselves and try to make this life the best life we possibly could, so this is exactly what we did!!

We then decided to try for baby number 2, as we didn’t want Rhys to be an only child. Cue more heartache and trauma, as I sadly had 3 miscarriages and we went through numerous fertility tests, before I finally fell pregnant with Richie.

The pregnancy went well and we had lots of tests on richie to check if he had any disabilities, as Rhys did. We were over joyed to find out that he was a ‘typical’ baby and wouldn’t face any of the problems Rhys had.

Life started being happy again, we finally accepted that we were going to have another baby and couldn’t wait to meet him and for Rhys to be a big brother.

BUT THEN IT HAPPENED, FRIDAY THE 13th, 2014…

My amazing husband and father to my children went to work and didn’t come home, he had an accident and fell through a roof.

Where had my idyllic life gone?? All my hopes and dreams and the future I had imagined suddenly disappeared the second that Pez died.

It was all just unbelievable, I had a 6 year old, disabled child and was 32 weeks pregnant and I was now alone, I had to do this all by myself and i just didn’t think I could.

This next bit is going to sound harsh and horrible, and I can promise you it wasn’t a feeling that lasted for long. But the very first day after Pez died, I remember laying in bed alone, crying and crying whilst feeling my baby move inside me. And for a split second I wished that I wasn’t pregnant, wished I wasn’t going to have another baby, because for the life of me, I had no idea how I was going to cope myself, let alone bring up two children.

I was so very very angry with Pez. Angry at him for going up on the roof, although there are still some mysteries surrounding him being on the roof, he was on it and he shouldn’t have been. He fell through the window because he was on the roof and this makes me really angry. He left me alone, with a disabled child and a baby on the way and I was furious.

In fact even now, almost 3 years after his death I still feel a bit mad at him. But I accepted a long time ago that there was no point being angry at him, as despite what happened I know he never wanted to die, it was just a tragic accident.

So, cue me, 32 weeks pregnant and with a 6 year old that was heartbroken at losing his daddy. I truly did not know what to do. All I can say if that I am eternally grateful for the help and support I received from my parents and close friends in those early days, without them I really don’t know what I would have done.

So, let’s fast forward to now!!! I could bore you with every little detail of how difficult life was in the early days, with a newborn and Rhys, but to be honest these days are a massive blur!! I just woke up and put one foot in front of the other and tried really hard to look after my boys the best I could!!! I managed to feed them, clothe them and keep them alive, so guessing I did pretty ok haha!!!

I won’t lie, for about two years I was scared to death of my two boys!! That may sound dramatic but I was!!!! I couldn’t bear to not have plans on a weekend, had to do something or go somewhere, with someone, as I was too scared to go anywhere by myself with them both!!! I hated being my myself with them, it was all just too difficult most of the time.

I didn’t think I was coping very well, I would regularly meltdown when I couldn’t manage by myself. Sleep was horrendous, neither of them were very good sleepers, waking constantly through the night and I was just exhausted, which made me massively emotional!!! Mix all of this with the fact that I was grieving and I missed Pez so very much, it was a very dark and scary time in my life.

I felt really jealous of people that had split up with their husbands, as at least those people knew they got every other weekend to themselves, they got a break and at least their children still had contact with their fathers. (I know this isn’t the case for all, so please don’t flame me!!)
I did get some time out, but had to arrange for my parents or friends to babysit for me.

But then, Richie got older and life started to settle down a little and become easier. I started to realise that I COULD do this and that I was doing Bloody AMAZINGLY!!!!

Then at the beginning of 2016 I made the decision that we needed to move house. I couldn’t stand staying in the house that I bought with Pez anymore, there were
Too many bad memories there and these outweighed the good memories that we had made. It was the best decision i have ever made and we are now in our happy home, a place where we can make new memories of our own.

I started to see the bond that my two boys were getting, the love that they have for each other and this utterly overwhelms me!! The minute they both wake up, they ask for the other and totally back each other up!!!

Although It’s not always like this!!! Approximately 50 times a day Rhys will hit richie or be mean to him, but Richie is learning how to deal with this!! Mostly it’s by him hitting Rhys back and them ending up in a massive row, but boys will be boys I suppose haha!!

Rhys started in a special school in September 2016, he has been in a mainstream since nursery, it was a lovely place for him while he was little and it was all play based. But the older he got, I could see how much the gap was widening with him and his peers, even though I had held him back a year. So I made the very difficult decision that he needed some more specialist care, tailor made to him and his needs.

Since moving he has come on in leaps and bounds!!! Despite the amazing efforts of his 1:1, Marie (who he still sees and adores) and the lovely staff there, they just didn’t have the provisions or the facilities to cater for Rhys. The classes were too busy for him and this resulted in him having massive meltdown because he couldn’t cope. We all made some lovely friends at his old school, that we will stay in touch with.

Single parenting is bloody hard, being the one that is solely responsible for decisions is very very tough. I also find it difficult once the boys are in bed, I have no one to wind down with, to talk about the day with, so I do get lonely.

Sometimes the sadness gets me, as it always will, the sadness of missing Pez so very very much. It was never meant to be like this, he wasn’t meant to die and leave us. We were supposed to grow old together, we used to joke that we couldn’t wait for the boys to grow up so they could move out and we could be alone again!! Sometimes life is so very very cruel and it’s hard to understand why.

But I watch the boys grow and develop and know how very very proud Pez would be of them both. It’s breaks my heart on a daily basis that Pez never got the chance to meet Richie, to hold him, to feed him and to love him. I look at the independent little boy he is becoming and I know how much Pez would have loved him.

The boys birthdays and Christmas always have a little bit of sadness there, just because we know Pez should be there celebrating with us. But I try not to let this sadness come out, I want the boys to have happy memories, not sad ones.

I’m a firm believer in that Pez is here with us, that he can see us and the boys, but it isn’t the same as actually having him here with us.

Both my boys have Pez’ cheeky personality and his smile. They sometimes pull a facial expression and it blows my mind, because they pull the same faces that Pez used to! I love that their daddy lives on in them though!!!

I lose my shit approximately a million times a day, all usually before I even get Rhys to school at 9am!!!! I shout, a lot!! Probably more than I should do, I try to stay calm, but after asking the boys to do something 15,000 times in a calm voice, sometimes the only way is to scream the house down to get their attention!!!

Rhys has a tendency to repeat everything i say and use this in conversation of his own!!! So as much as I try to keep the swear words to a minimum, other things I can’t!!! It made me chuckle when he was playing with Richie the other day and I heard him say to him ‘I swear to god Richie, I’m not going to tell you again’ and realised that this was something I say to him, quite regularly!!!!

Also, I’m currently toilet training two children!!! Rhys has been in nappies all this time, but we are now starting the slow process of getting him into his big boy pants!!! He is doing so well, but Richie has also decided that he doesn’t want to wear nappies anymore!!!! So I keep finding puddles all over my house, thank god most of the floor is wood haha!!!! Although I have to say that after 9 years of changing nappies, I cannot wait for the day that this house is nappy free!!!!

I recently bought a caravan, so that we can spend a lot of time there, with my mum and dad and make lots of happy new memories for us all.

So, we’re all in a good place at the moment, the fact that I’m happy rubs off on my boys and makes them happy. But more than anything I am immensely proud of my two boys, they have carried me through these hard times and I will continue to carry them for the rest of their lives, as much as I am able.

Maybe one day, I will be lucky enough to find a special person to bring into our lives, but until that day comes then we are more than happy with our little family of three!!!

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The ‘grief Monster’ and a thank you to my widow friends x

So, we call it the grief monster, because that’s exactly what grief is. It’s the monster that hides in the dark and frightens you. The monster that lurks and jumps out on you when you least expect it. The monster that nobody wants to have in their lives, but you just cannot escape it.

Now this is my grief story. One thing you will find with grief, is that it totally OWNS you. One persons grief is TOTALLY different to another persons. There are no rule books explaining grief and how it will work with you. All you will find are people’s descriptions of their grief and how they learnt to accept it.

Yes, the word is ACCEPT grief, not control it or get rid of it, accept it. One thing anyone will learn that has experienced grief is that you 100% CANNOT control grief, grief totally controls you. But don’t feel sad about this, because what you can do is learn how to ACCEPT grief in your life and then it becomes much easier to deal with and move forward.

So what is grief?? Grief isn’t just being sad, grief is such an immense and overwhelming feeling. Grief completely takes over the person you are and absolutely consumes you. I can now tell when I’m going to have a ‘grief episode’ as I like to call them!!! I’ll try my best to explain it, as it’s a bit difficult!! I feel my head start to fill up, as if it’s getting full of cotton wool. I start to feel anxious and angry. I feel exhausted, totally and utterly exhausted and I just feel sad, so very very sad.

Grief can consume you, even when you are actually feeling very happy! So at first it’s a bit confusing, because you think ‘well how can I feel so sad, when I’m actually really happy?!’ But this is how grief works. It can take you at anytime at all, mostly when you are least expecting it!

At first I tried to fight the grief, I tried to bottle it up, not cry, put a brave face on and not talk about how I was feeling. Because I figured that if I didn’t acknowledge grief, then eventually it would just get bored and go away!!!

But I was wrong!!! When I didn’t acknowledge it, it just got worse and worse and worse until I felt as if I could literally explode!!!! That would be when I have a meltdown. This could last for a day, or at the worst I have had an ‘episode’ last for weeks.

My meltdowns consist of, not wanting to get out of bed on a morning, just feeling like shite. No enthusiasm for anything, not even my poor children. Crying all the time and just being very depressed. I would go to bed every night thinking ‘tomorrow is a new day’ and just pray that when I woke up the grief will have gone.

And this is pretty much how it has worked for me from the day Pez died. In the very early days, grief is there permanently. There are no happy times, it is just constant sadness, which of course is to be expected when you have gone through a trauma so massive as losing your husband suddenly.

Then one day, the fog in my head started to lift. This is the best way to describe it, I actually feel my head getting lighter. I start to see positive things and start to feel a little happier, look forward to things that are going to happen and actually feel able to smile a little.

For me exercise was a MASSIVE part of me being able to feel in control of my life again. I threw myself back into my netball, running, total warrior and just made as many plans as I could, so that I knew I had something to look forward to.

Planning is also a massive thing for me, I have to have things in my diary, things to look forward to. I arrange for me and the boys to see people on a weekend, so that we don’t start isolating ourselves. As this could easily be done when I am struggling. Sometimes I would like nothing more than to keep the door locked and hide under the duvet, but I won’t allow myself to do this, for my own sanity and my boys too.

The picture below describes exactly how I felt at the start of the grief process!!!! But sadly there are no right or wrong ways to grieve, you just find your own way forward and hopefully have the support of people around you.

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Which brings me onto my next part, my widow friends, my bloody amazing widow friends!!!! These people helped me so much, in my very darkest, scariest days!!

Don’t get me wrong, from day 1, I had my parents and my amazing friends around me and I adore them. But none of them have actually been through what i have been through, so I know they struggled to understand sometimes. Plus i used to feel bad sometimes for feeling sad, felt like they would be bored or annoyed with me for being such an arse!!! (I know you will all be reading this and I know you never thought this at all!!)

The very first widow friend I chatted to was my amazingly lovely friend Kat. Now coincidentally, she knew Pez and some of my friends. Sadly, she lost her partner 4 days after Pez died, they were on holiday and he died suddenly. So my lovely friend was going through exactly the same thing that I was and my best friend Anna got us chatting.

Kat was such an amazing support to me in the early days. We would message each other, if I was down she would help me and vice Versa. She is also an AMAZING drinking buddy so we can go out and have a laugh together!!!!

Kat introduced me to an online support network called WAY (widowed and young) this is for anyone under the age of 50 that loses a partner. I joined and immediately I was surrounded my people that knew EXACTLY how I was feeling. Any time of day or night I could go online and speak to someone who could offer me advice, or just a virtual hug!!

We also have our own little online group, as an offshoot of way, which I am one of the admins of. We now have 500 members and it is such a lovely group, it melts my heart!!!

I have made so many friends, all in the same position as me, we have all lost our amazing partners, some on there are as young as 24, some lost their partners suddenly and unexpectedly like me, others had to endure months or even years of suffering and watch their loved ones die before their eyes, through various illnesses. But no matter how we lost our partners, one thing remains, is the we just GET each other. We have each other’s backs and it’s such a lovely feeling to be part of something so amazing.

We come from all over the UK, we try to get together as often as we can! We all get together at Xmas for a big Xmas do! We also get together in October, where we all go to centre parcs!!! I went on my first centre parcs trip last year! I was so nervous but had an absolutely amazing time and can’t wait to go this year!!! There were 600 widows that went!! We also have an annual Leeds meet up, we also went to a Butlins weekender last year!!

So in a nutshell, we have a good laugh!!! I think some people are frightened at the thought of a group of widows getting together!! People think we’re gonna all wear black and talk about our dead partners all night and cry a lot!!! But you couldn’t be more wrong!! We are crazy when we get together!!!! I think because we have all been through such trauma, we now all grab life by the balls and enjoy life!!!

Don’t get me wrong, sometimes there will be tears on these nights out, but you can guarantee we are all there to give cuddles to the person that is sad!!!

Some of my widow friends have even got together through the online groups! Some are now married, or due to be! Some are moving in together and this makes me feel so happy!!! It’s nice that after such sadness we can find happiness again!!!

So, this is to all my widow friends out there, way too many to name!! Those that have made me laugh, hugged me, messaged me when I’m down and just being there to support me through this shitstorm. I BLOODY LOVE EACH AND EVERY ONE OF YOU!!!! I honestly don’t know where I would be without you guys!!!

We always joke that we wished we had never met each other, as we had to go through what we did to meet. But I wouldn’t be able to live without them now!!!!!

So apparently, there are five stages of grief, denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.

I agree with the first one, although this didn’t last very long with me, probably a day I think. There is no denying a person is dead really, you just have to accept this fact when it happens, or at least I did.

Anger, oh yes 100%, especially in my situation. Pez fell through a skylight of a roof he was repairing. I was so angry at him for going on that roof and putting himself in unnecessary danger, when this wasn’t his job title at all. Angry at him for leaving me, angry at him for leaving Rhys and his unborn baby boy. Angry at him for everything. But then you learn that anger takes up so much energy and I had to learn to let go of this anger, knowing that he didn’t die intentionally!!!

Bargaining, to be honest, I haven’t got a clue what this is?! Haha!!! So can’t help with that one!!!

Depression, oh yes definitely! I would say that this is with you throughout the whole grief process. I suffered so badly with it I tried to get anti depressants from my doctor but they didn’t want me to have them and I’m glad I didn’t now. I threw myself into other things to beat the depression. My exercise for one and also reiki!

In fact I saw my amazing reiki lady, Julia this morning! At the start I used to see her once a week for reiki sessions, they helped me so much!!!! I feel instantly calm when I’m with Julia, she is such a calming and beautiful person! When she lays her hands on me I just feel all the positive energy flowing into me and all the negative energy flowing out! Although I appreciate the holistic way isn’t the way for everyone, but it 100% helped me through my darkest times. I would highly recommend anyone to give it a go, what have you got to lose?!!

And the final part in the grief process is acceptance. This is where I am now. When I moved house in June I had a bad few months again, but around October time it was just like a switch had flicked inside me. Suddenly I felt like the old Sam again, I felt happy in my little family unit, happy being a mummy to my boys and happy in our new home.

I felt strong again, I felt in control for the first time since Pez died. I felt like I could actually do this, whereas upto now I just felt like I was managing, not really living, so to speak.
Moving house was definitely the turning point, it was the fresh start the my boys and I needed. They are much more settled now And so am I!!! We have accepted that this is our lives, no amount of grieving will bring Pez back to us. He would never want to see us sad. He would want us to move forward with our lives and be happy.

And this is what we are right now, happy!! Don’t get me wrong, there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t think about or miss Pez. So please don’t anyone think that moving forward means leaving Pez behind, because it doesn’t!!! Pez will be with us every step of the way on this new life we are making for ourselves. He will ALWAYS be a part of mine and my boys lives, how could he not be? A man as special as him will remain in my heart forever, there will always be a part of him with me, no matter where life takes me.

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Playing the dating game!!!

The weird and wonderful world of dating!!!

So I’ll do a light hearted blog now, one that will make you laugh instead of cry!!!

After Pez died, the thought of being with anyone else was something I could never imagine happening. Pez had been part of my life for 14 years, so I could never imagine being with someone new.

Pez was far from perfect, Neither am I. But he was my perfect! I adored him and he adored me!! He was a mad head, always up for a good night out and having a laugh! He was funny and he was a wind up merchant!! He loved a drink and so do I! He had amazing banter, as do I!! We always joked when we first met, that he was a male version of me and I was a female version of him, we just worked and that’s why we were so happy! We used to bicker, a lot!!! But very rarely argued!!

Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t love at first sight when I met him!! I remember the day well, it was in the Newmarket pub, Garforth when I first laid eyes on him!

I was in with my mum and dad, sat on a stool at the bar. Pez was sat in the corner with his mates, he later told me that my vest top was riding up and he could see the tattoo across my back! So he said to his mates ‘check her out, I’m gonna have her!’ So he stayed behind after all his mates left!

I was alone at this point chatting to the owner behind the bar, so Pez came and sat on the stool next to me, the barman introduced Pez to me, kind of rolled his eyes and told Pez to behave!!!

So we started chatting, he asked me what my favourite sandwich was!!! So I laughed and asked him if that was his best chat up line, and he said seriously, ‘I’m not joking, I really want to know what it is!!’ So I replied that it was ham & cheese!!! He told me his, which I can’t remember!! I later came to realise that Pez adored food, after me it was his next favourite thing, he may argue with this and say food was his first love haha!!!

Pez was quite drunk at this point, another thing I realised after just a couple of dates was that he was a pisshead hahaha!! But a very loveable one!!!

He went onto tell me that he was the best cuddler in whitkirk and that everyone loved his cuddles! (This was 100% true, that man could cuddle!!!) I asked him if he had a girlfriend, but he replied ‘no, I had to finish her because she wouldnt take it up the *%#€!! This made me laugh, this was his sense of humour all over, he was a filthy animal but a cute and cheeky one!!!!

So the night ended and we walked home, well I walked, Pez kind of staggered!!! He walked me to the end of my street, he asked me back to his but I refused!!!! We exchanged numbers and we had a cheeky snog!!!

We messaged after that and the rest is history! We fell in love fast, i remember a few weeks later, mum and I were at a Robbie Williams concert in knebworth. Pez called me after the concert, he had been out and was drunk and he told me he loved me!!! He hadn’t met my mum or dad yet, but he went upto my dad in the pub and introduced himself as my boyfriend and asked dad if it was ok for him to go out with me!!! Dad loved this and loved Pez, he was like the son he never had!

I moved in with Pez after just a few months, we knew it was right and didn’t want to waste any time together.

So, fast forward 14 years and I find myself contemplating a future without my husband and soul mate. After about a year I started thinking about dipping my toe into the dating scene, but had no idea where to start.

I knew life had to move forward, I would always love Pez, always miss him and he will always be a part of our lives. But I couldn’t be alone forever, I was only 39, I have a lot of years ahead of me and I couldn’t bear the thought of spending them alone with my boys.

But u couldn’t get away from the fact that I am now a widowed mother, with two young boys. I work 3 days a week, I have a very busy life. So it was always going to be difficult to find the time for anyone else, let alone meet anyone!!

I also felt really, really insecure about myself. Who was ever going to look at me, I had too many complications, who would ever love me like my Pez had?? Also throw in the matter of my amazing two boys, no one will EVER replace their daddy, but any man that I bring into their lives would have to be a pretty amazing one and this frightened me!!!

Being a single parent also makes it super hard to actually meet anyone to date in the first place!! Don’t get me wrong, I get nights out, but these are nights out with friends, not a night when I wanted to go out and meet a man, so I decided to enter the scary world of online dating!!!

You must have all head of the dating websites by now, tinder, POF and many more!!! The basis behind these is that you are basically judging someone on their photo, and a small description they may have given about themselves!! You then either swipe left if you’re not interested, or right if you like them!!! Then if you swipe right and they swipe right also you can then start chatting!!!

These sites are absolutely MENTAL!!!! Have you hear of the programme catfish?? Well there are plenty of those on these sites!! My motto is that if the photo looks too good to be true, then they probably are!! Yes, guys use fake pics to attract the girls! Usually all these guys want are to message you for a cheap thrill and try to sucker u in! I soon got wise to these idiots and played them at their own game!!

But my problem is that I always go for the fitties!! Tall, handsome, muscles, tattoos!!! I figured that if I’m having to do this dating stuff again then I won’t settle for anything less than what I’m looking for!!!

The dating sites make you develop a very thick skin!!! You have to be very sensible and not allow them to play mind games with you, as most of them try to!!

I can honestly say that in my 14 months of being on these sites I have only ever met two guys from them!!! This is how fussy I have become in my old age!!!

I scrutinise their pics, if they stand funny I swipe left, if I don’t like their shoes I swipe left and so on and so forth!!! So in a nutshell, someone as fussy as I am will not settle for anything less that what I want haha!!!

Plus, I’m pretty hard work! Well, I’m not hard work to the right man!! I speak my mind, very much!!! And I’m aware that a lot of people don’t like this!!! I banter a lot, any man for me must be able to banter, and make me laugh!!! I’m a very strong, independent woman and I know this puts some men off, I probably scare half of them to death!!

A few weeks into the site and I actually connected with a very nice guy, whose name I shall not disclose!!! We chatted very easily and I decided to meet him. We connected on the first meet and it went from there really. He was very into me and we probably got into it all a bit too fast. He was the first guy I had dated after Pez and I struggled a little to start with. But I was lucky that he knew all about my situation and was very understanding. He allowed me to talk freely about Pez, held me when I cried about him, so he was very sweet with my situation.

It was so very hard for me in the early days, I compared everything about him to Pez, although I didn’t tell him this! Constantly in my head I found myself thinking Pez wouldn’t have done that, etc. But then I realised that I couldn’t keep comparing! I wasn’t looking for a replacement for Pez, that would be impossible.

Some men find it hard to deal with a widow!! Believe it or not, some men get jealous of the dead husband, as if he is still alive!!! I once chatted to a guy who I quite liked, we chatted for a while and were going to meet, but then he started asking silly questions, like why I still talked about Pez if we he was dead. Why would I still have photos of him in the house?? Then the nail in the coffin was one day when he said ‘well baby Richie never knew his dad, so whichever man that comes into his life will be his dad!!!’ I tried to explain, no, Pez will always be his dad and when Richie is old enough to understand, he will always know this. So safe to say, I kicked this guy to the kerb and got rid of him!!!

I dated the first guy for about 6 months, he was a good man, but looking back now I don’t think I was ready for an ‘actual’ relationship. I thought it was what I wanted, but the way I acted made me realise differently. So In the end I told him I wasn’t happy and didn’t think we should be together, he agreed and we broke up amicably.

Looking back I see him as my ‘stepping stone’, he got me back into the world of dating, made me feel good about myself again and showed me that it is possible for a man to want to be with me, despite my circumstances, so I thank him for this! If you’re reading you know who you are!!! πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

Since splitting up with him, life then became so busy, with moving house etc, so I didn’t really have the time for dating. I’ve dated a couple more guys, but we just haven’t been right for each other, for one reason or another!!! Won’t go into much details as they may be reading this blog!! πŸ™ˆπŸ™ˆπŸ™ˆ

Then one day, a terrible thing happened. I actually got stood up on a date!!! Yes, terrible isn’t it, I GOT STOOD UP!!!

Chatted to the guy for a few days, spoke on the phone and he seemed really lovely!!! So we arranged to meet for a lunch date! I was really nervous, I bloody hate meeting people I don’t know And totally wind myself up about it!!! But I got ready and went to where we were meeting. We had messaged that morning and he still seemed keen!

I got there and text to say I was in the car, he replied to tell me he was stuck in traffic so would be a little late. So I waited in the car for a bit. Then I walked to where we were meeting. I waited about 10 mins and then when I looked at our whatsapp chat, I could tell that he had blocked me on it!!!!

Tried calling him, but he just kept cutting off my call!!! So I waited 20 mins but then left!!!

This sounds silly, but I was really upset by this, I went home and cried!!!! How could anyone be as cruel as to do that to someone? I would never do that, I would at least cancel if there was a reason for not meeting!!! But I soon got over it and put my big girls pants back on!!!

See I’m a pretty sensitive soul, I tend to wear my heart on my sleeve!! I’m a nice girl and will give my all in a relationship and I find it hard to understand why everyone else isn’t the same!!!

Im still on the dating sites, but they are a real joke sometimes! You get guys that like you on there but then never bother to message! Or guys that message you and then just turn really weird on you! So I tend to just delete more messages than I reply to these days!!!!

Plus now, I’m happy!! I’m Sam again and I am content with the way me and my boys lives are at the moment!! So on one hand, it would have to be a bloody amazing guy that I bring into our lives!!!! But I’m also not ‘desperate’ for it now!! Don’t get me wrong, I get lonely, like anyone would and I miss grown up conversation, someone to go for a meal or the cinema with would be lovely. But I won’t be settling for just anyone!!

So the hunt is on for my Mr Right!! So if anyone out there is over 5ft8, likes children, is handsome, I like tattoos, but these aren’t essential!! A sense of humour is a must, I love to laugh!! Keeps himself fit and looks after himself, dresses well, but more importantly can treat me like the princess that I am, then you know where I am!!!

I am actually joking about some of the above points!! I’m not actually that precious! Ultimately my ‘Mr right’ just has to be right for me, I’m sure he is out there somewhere looking for me, and when the time is right Pez will lead him to me, somewhere when I’m least expecting it!!!!!

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Life after losing Pez, how to survive when your heart is broken.

The days that followed Friday the 13th, 2014 are a bit of a blur. I simply could not comprehend that my husband, soul mate and father of my children had died. It was just the most horrendous feeling, like half of me had died with him.

From the minute Pez died my house was filled with people. I lost count of the numbers of cards I received, very beautiful cards with beautiful words in. I was getting so many flower deliveries that my house was like a florists and smelt beautiful!!

It’s very hard to describe the way I was feeling, I suppose MANIC would best describe it!!!! One minute I was sobbing hysterically, the next I felt totally fine and calm, the next I felt guilty for feeling fine and calm and the next I just didn’t have a clue how I was feeling?!! Confused, scared, worried, every feeling possible really.

Rhys stayed out on the night his daddy died, I just needed some space, so he stayed with my dad and step mum. I didn’t tell him anything before he left as I didn’t want to at that time.

He came home the next day and I just didn’t know what I was going to say to him?? How does anyone tell a 6 year old that their daddy has died???

Pez and Rhys had the most amazing and close relationship, they were best pals, Pez took him everywhere with him, so their bond was unbreakable, until now.

Plus, throw Rhys’ lack of understanding into the mix and I just had no idea how he would take the news?

My boy came home, bursting through the door with excitement as he always does, ran upto me for a hug and the first question he asked was ‘where’s daddy?’

My heart sank and I dropped to my knees in front of him. I pulled him close and said ‘Rhys I have something to tell you, Daddy isn’t coming home’ he looked at me all confused, and said ‘but he will be home soon?’

The thing with Rhys is that you have to be very literal with him, its black and white in his world, there is no in between.

So I told him daddy had died and was never coming home. But that I loved him and we all loved him and we would be ok. Inside I was wondering if we would ever be ok, but I couldn’t tell him this. Mummy had to put a brave face on, he looked to me for comfort and I couldn’t show him how broken I really was.

We had a cry together and a cuddle, then Rhys stopped crying and ran off to play. What goes through his head, to this day I don’t really know. He has started talking about his daddy, telling me how much he misses him. Plus we drive past his grave every day, so he always says good morning and night night to daddy as we pass.

After Pez died I was inundated with messages from people, texts, Facebook messages and visits, which was lovely. We had the funeral and laid Pez to rest.

The days after the funeral were horrendous, reality sunk in, for the last 2 weeks I had kept myself so busy I don’t think I had even allowed myself time to sit down and realise the actual enormity of what had happened.

Everyone else went back to their lives, their normal lives with their husbands and wives. But I was sat here, with my boy, scared and thinking about how we could ever have a future without the love of my life in it??

It’s a weird feeling, I felt so so alone, yet I had so many people around me, but I didn’t have the one person that I needed, my Pez.

I didn’t think it was possible to cry any more tears than I had cried, I remember at one point that I cried every single day for 38 days, how does that work??

I woke up every morning, it was like Groundhog Day, I got dressed, put my make up on and Painted on my smile. I got Rhys sorted and just literally put one foot in front of the other, day in day out. I went to bed on a night, wore Pez’ jacket and cried myself to sleep. I repeated this process every day, until Richie was born, then life changed.

Suddenly it all became even harder!! Not only did I have Rhys to look after, I now had a new born baby to look after too, I was utterly overwhelmed. I was heartbroken that Pez hadn’t been there to see his beautiful baby boy being born, life just wasn’t fair.

Thank god for my mum, dad and friends in the early days, my amazing mother lived with me for 8 months after Pez died. She shared the night feeds with me, we would take it in turns to deal with Richie through the night, so I could at least get a bit of unbroken sleep. She was also there to help me with Rhys.

My mum totally gave me everything, lived apart from my Dad for a whole 8 months. Even now she stays at my house on a Tuesday and a Thursday night, as this means I can still play netball on a tuesday night and get two full nights sleep a week. She was and still is totally selfless and for this I adore her, she is the best Mummy and grandma a girl could ask for!!!

My GP referred me to a bereavement counsellor, but like everything in this world, the waiting time was massive, so I paid for a private counsellor as I just needed to offload.

I remember my first appointment with her, I went in and asked ‘so, I just need to know how long this feeling is going to last and when I will feel better?!’ She was amused at this question and answered that grief will last forever and she can’t give me any dates to put in my diary of when I will feel better!

See I’m a very practical person, I like to be organised and I’m a massive control freak! But grief I could not control and it took me a long time to realise this. I tried so hard to keep my feelings locked in, put a brave face on it but I came to the realisation that I had to let the grief come out. I visited the counsellor for a few months and really benefited from having a person to speak to in confidence about how I was really feeling.

I think it got to about 5 months after Pez died and I felt so very very sad and depressed, I decided that I would go see my GP and try and get some anti depressants. This wasn’t a road I really wanted to go down, but I just wanted something, anything to take away the horrendous pain that I was feeling.

My GP is lovely and sat and listened to me sob my heart out to her. I was desperate, so desperate to stop feeling so sad all the time. She told me I wasn’t depressed, I was grieving and she didn’t want to give me anti depressants, as she said, sadly I need to allow myself to grieve as this is all part of the process. She did say she would give me them if if really wanted them, but she knew I was a strong enough person to deal with everything. I was glad about this as I didn’t really want them anyway!!

Then in the few days that followed, something changed inside me. I knew I had to help myself, nobody could help me, there was only me that could pull myself out of the dark, horrible hole I was in.

So I decided to turn back to exercise, I started keep fit again, started playing netball again and the exercise made me feel so much better.

Plus I discovered reiki! I have always had a passion for alternative therapies but never tried it before. I was introduced to a lovely lady, who I still see to this day. Her very presence makes me feel calm!!! Reiki is absolutely amazing, it gets all the negative energy out of your body and replaces it with positive energy! I started having this weekly to start with and really could feel the difference!!

I started to feel a little of the ‘old Sam’ emerging. Since Pez died I was trying to just find myself again, the hard part was that we had been ‘Pez & Sam’ for so long, but now I had to just be ‘Sam’ again and this was the part I was finding difficult.

I was lucky that my parents and friends would have the boys for me so that I could go out and socialise with my friends, something that I find important. I love my boys with all my heart, but we all need time out from being a Mummy.

The first year of losing someone is full of milestones. The ‘firsts’ of everything. The first birthday without Pez, the first wedding anniversary without Pez, my boys first birthdays without daddy, the list goes on. So the first year is extremely tough, just as you start to feel a little brighter a milestone hits you and then you’re right back to square one.

Then the first anniversary of the death comes along to bite you on the arse!!! For me the build up to the ‘saddiversary’ (as us widows like to call it!!) is always far worse than the actual day itself! I wasn’t quite sure how to ‘celebrate’ it, if celebrate is the right word! You can’t let the day pass without doing something, yet I wasn’t sure what to do!!

So I decided that I like to get together with friends close to the saddiversary and do what we like to do, get drunk! Pez would want us to have a drink for him! So I try to turn it around and have fun, to try and keep the sadness away.

So the first year passed, life was getting a tiny little bit easier, then I was thrown into the second year of losing Pez and to be honest I found this harder than the first!!!!

The second year you are kind of in limbo!!! As much as the milestones in the first year are difficult, they are something to look forward to, which sounds crazy I know!!! But the second year you don’t have the ‘firsts’ anymore, it’s just another year of missing the person you loved with all your heart. Plus I knew I would have to face the inquest into Pez’s death this year (I will be doing a separate blog about this)

As the year progressed I was starting to feel a little stronger, I wasn’t crying all the time anymore, I had my ‘grief episodes’ but I had learnt when I was going to have them and how to deal with them. After 8 months I felt strong enough to ask my Mum to move back home, I missed her like crazy but I knew that I would never move forward if I couldn’t deal with the boys on my own.

In November 2015 we had the 10 day inquest, as mentioned I will do another blog about this at some point, so won’t go into too much detail, other than to say it was horrendous! I crashed after the inquest but managed I pull myself out.

It was at the end of this year that I decided I needed to move house. I hated the house we lived in, yes there had been good memories there, but the bad memories just over rode them. Every time I walked in the house I saw the police knocking on my door, I saw the sofa that Pez used to sit on and it was all too hard for me to deal with.

So I started house hunting, found the house of my dreams and I moved at the end of May 2016. I absolutely love this house, I had it decorated all over, I got a new sofa, a new bed, pretty much everything new.

It is our happy house, our fresh start and it was the start of me finally feeling happy and content, and able to move forward with life. Moving in here made me feel more confident in myself and with my boys, life started to seem a little easier.

I’m now happy to say that I feel like ‘sam’ again. I’ve found myself and I’ve found our place in this new life we have been thrown into. I’m no longer scared of my own company, I’m ok being by myself! Yes, life gets lonely sometimes, but when I feel sad I look around my beautiful house and feel so happy inside!!! I am so proud of how far me and my boys have come. Some people say to me ‘I don’t know how you have done it, I couldn’t have coped!’ Well I suppose everyone is different in the way they deal with things, but I did it because I really had no choice, I don’t quit, I fight!!!

I’m even dipping my toe back into the crazy world of dating!!!! I’ll mention this in another blog haha!!!

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Rhys, my little superhero. Living with a disabled child.

This blog is all about my eldest boy, Rhys. He was born on the 4/5/08 and will be 9 in May!!! What some people may not know about Rhys is that he is disabled.

He is currently undiagnosed, we are waiting for the geneticists to come back to us about a suspected ‘condition’ they may have for him, after finding the defective gene he has, which is called TUBB2B.

My pregnancy with Rhys was brilliant, no problems at all (unless you class me gaining 4 stone as a problem!!) the birth was long and painful, but no complications or anything like that!!!

At 820pm I pushed my gorgeous 7lb12oz baby into this world with his daddy by my side!!! Rhys was beautiful! We had no idea then of the problems he would face.

We went home the next day, the adoring parents! We were totally and utterly in love with this tiny pink thing that now depended on us!!! I remember us getting home and sitting in the living room with this little baby and saying to each other ‘what do we do now?!’ We were nervous at first, but we soon found our feet like any new parent does!!!

I tried to breastfeed Rhys, I really wanted to, he seemed to be latching on and feeding, but he was never satisfied and my milk didn’t seem to come in properly. So after 3 days of this, us hardly sleeping and me being at my wits end, the midwife told us to go onto formula. I felt like a failure, but we put him on formula and he guzzled the bottle down, so I knew it was the right thing to do!!!

The days passed by, we had the sleepless nights at the start, but Rhys actually started sleeping right through the night from about 9 weeks, when we put him in his own room!! We had been sent an angel from heaven, so we thought!!!!

At around the 4 month mark though, alarm bells started to ring with me. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it, but I just had a feeling something wasn’t right with him.

He wouldn’t hold a cup or object, didn’t reach for things and was a very still, calm baby. Didn’t try to stand on his legs and just seemed quite ‘floppy”, if that makes sense?! I hadn’t had any other children at this point, so I wasn’t sure if this was just a ‘normal’ thing for some babies as had nothing to compare him to, but after seeing how Richie has developed and comparing the two, it was so clearly evident that Rhys had issues.

I decided to take Rhys to the GP at about 6 months, he was showing no signs at all of wanting or trying to sit up, would just lay there, not trying to pull himself up or anything. He constantly slouched down in his pushchair, as if he couldn’t pull himself up.

So the doctor examined him, measured his head, which was very small for his age. But said that at this age there isn’t much they can do, as all babies develop differently. So don’t worry and let’s just monitor him and see how he goes.

This continued upto Rhys being 18 months old. Rhys didn’t sit up until he was about 1 and at 18 months was showing no signs at all of standing or crawling, he would roll around the floor, so he did get where he wanted to go!! He also wouldn’t bear any weight at all on his legs and was not pulling himself up on anything. So the doctor FINALLY referred us to a paediatrician.

So 6 months later (YES 6 MONTHS!!) we finally got the appointment with the paediatrician. She did a thorough check, eyes, hearing etc etc. She said that Rhys would need to see orthotics, as they could provide special boots and other assistance to strengthen Rhys’ legs and he would also need to see a Physio. I asked what the issues were but she didn’t know, but wanted to refer him for an MRI scan to check his brain.

She then went onto tell me that the waiting time for a Physio could be upto 2 years!!!!! I went crazy, we had already been waiting 18 months to get to this point, so to then be told that we could potentially have to wait another 2 years for him to get help was just mind blowing.

So I took the bull by the horns and I found a private Physio and paid for her to see Rhys, whilst we were waiting. She came the very next day and was a lovely lady!!

The minute she examined Rhys she knew what was wrong with his legs, she showed me how much movement he had in all his joints and told me he has has hypermobility.

Basically this is what some people call being ‘double jointed’. The ligaments around the joints are super stretchy, so don’t provide support for the joints as well as they should. She explained that as Rhys grows stronger this shouldn’t affect him so much, but in the meantime he needs help to support the joints to enable him to stand up and strengthen his legs, as the longer he is off his feet, the slower he will develop. This is where orthotics comes into the equation. She also gave us some exercises that we could do with Rhys to help strengthen him.

A good way that she described it was, imagine standing up and your ankles just wobbling all over. So this was the reason that Rhys couldn’t stand, as he was scared to and didn’t have the strength.

The orthotics appointment came through pretty quickly and we went to see him, not really knowing what to expect. He examined Rhys again and said that he wanted him to wear some special ‘Piedro’ boots. He gave us a catalogue and we chose some boots for him, from the 2 choices available!!!

As soon as we left there I burst into tears. I didn’t want Rhys wearing ‘special’ boots, I didn’t want him to be different from all the other boys. But the boots arrived and they didn’t look too bad, but more importantly they supported Rhys’ ankles well, so I lived in hope that he would soon start bearing weight on his legs.

We continued to see Physio regularly, they gave us a standing frame to strap Rhys into, a horrible contraption! Basically we strapped Rhys legs into it and strapped him into the frame that made him stand up, we had to do it for as long as he would allow, before he kicked off, and amuse him, like blow bubbles and get him to reach for them with his hands. All this was to strengthen his legs to try encourage him to stand up.

I would just like to say here, that Rhys still remained a cheerful, happy baby, despite the problems he was facing. The boy always smiled!!!!

The day of Rhys’ MRI scan arrived, we were dreading it as he had to be put to sleep. We arrived at the LGI and went to outpatients. We didn’t have to wait too long until we were taken down to the MRI room. They let me go in with Rhys to be put to sleep, luckily he had actually just fallen asleep, so they just had to put the gas mask over his mouth to fully put him under. They took my baby from me and laid him On the hospital bed, he looked so tiny and helpless and I didn’t want to leave him. I ran out of the room and ran to Pez where he held me as we both had a little cry.

They told us it would be about 30 mins, it got to 32 mins and I started worrying, but they brought him up soon after. We went to his bed and allowed him to come round, he was crying when he woke up and all disorientated, so we cuddled him tight until he was ok, we were able to leave straightaway.

We waited a couple of weeks and received a call to go in and see the doctor to discuss the results. In we went, not thinking anything of it, only to be told that various abnormalities had been spotted in Rhys’ brain, but none of them pointed to a ‘specific’ condition.

We were told that Rhys had a ‘neuronal migration defect’, which basically means that some neurons in Rhys’ brain hadn’t developed properly when I was pregnant.

These abnormalities in his brain were what had caused his hypermobility, development delays and learning disabilities. She told us that she didn’t expect these to get any worse and that Rhys will always continue to develop, but at his own rate, telling us the gap will widen the older he gets.

I asked her how we would find out his condition, I was obsessed with having a ‘label’ for him, there had to be a condition for all the problems he was having. I had looked into autism and was convinced that this was what Rhys has (I still am to be honest, as he shows so many traits) Rhys’ brain scan had already been sent to the head neurologist in Cardiff but they had no idea what his condition could be. So Rhys had to be referred to the Genetecist.

I left the appointment that day and my world fell apart. I had held it together with the doctor, but once outside I couldn’t. Upto now I think we had just thought Rhys would ‘grow out’ of the problems he was having and to be told he wouldn’t and that he is ‘disabled for life’ was utterly heartbreaking.

I did not know how we would cope? We didn’t want our boy to struggle for the rest of his life, we just didn’t want to accept the fact that he was disabled.

Pez and I went through a very bad phase after this, he simply would not accept the fact that Rhys was disabled, saying the doctors must have got it wrong. Whereas I just became proactive and wanted to find ways that we could help him. We argued a lot and I’ll admit we got to breaking point, but thankfully, Pez seemed to finally accept everything and get on board with me.

Our lives became one constant appointment, we seemed to be at the doctors or hospital constantly, for tests, reports, more tests. Poor Rhys was like a pin cushion by the end of it, but our gorgeous boy kept smiling.

Rhys saw the geneticist who again didn’t have a disagnosis. All our samples were sent to an independent study, called DDD, they discovered an abnormal gene is Rhys brain called TUBB2B and advised this is what has caused his issues. We are yet to hear what condition this relates to, but the world of genetics is a very slow moving one!!!

Rhys had started to bear a little weight on his legs, but the Orthotist wanted to have splints fitted to his legs with the boots, as he said he needed more help. So my boy laid there and had plaster casts fitted to his legs, so they could make the splints.

The splints arrived, they were plastic and moulded to his legs, with a part that came under his feet. There were Velcro straps at the fronts so the splints enclosed the whole of his leg right upto his knee, he wore these with the Piedro boots. Again, as much as they were helping him, it was heartbreaking to see my boy having to wear them.

Rhys started to get much better on his feet and would take a step or two with someone holding onto both his hands, but he still struggled.

At the age of 2.5, the Physio said that she wanted to try him with a Kaye walker, a walking frame on wheels, designed for children. I cried my heart out, but accepted that it would help him.

We went to go collect the walker, we were on a long corridor and the Physio took Rhys to one end with the walker and made me stand at the other end. The Physio stood Rhys in the walker and put him in it, showing him where to put his hands. She then walked with him for a few steps. To my amazement Rhys started taking steps and wheeling the walker by himself!!!!! His little face lit up when he realised what he could do, again I cried, but this time they were happy tears!!!!

Rhys used to shoot about on this frame, banging into everything that stood in his way!!!

Then the day that we never thought would happen, happened when Rhys was 2years 9 months!!! I remember exactly where we were, shopping in next! Rhys could now walk along holding one hand, so I let him walk round the shop with me. Suddenly he said ‘let go Mummy, I want to walk myself’. So I said ‘no baby, remember you can’t manage by yourself’. So he made me let go and go my amazement started walking totally unaided!!!! My heart felt as if it would burst!!! From that day, once Rhys had discovered his confidence, he came on in leaps and bounds!!!!

Rhys slept through the night up until he turned 9 months and since then his sleep has been horrendous and I mean horrendous. If anyone has ever been unlucky enough to experience sleep deprivation, then you will know how very bad it is. Our whole lives were consumed with Rhys and sheer exhaustion. Pez and I used to take it in turns to tend to Rhys, whoever got the night off slept in the spare bed so they could sleep undisturbed. These were dark times. Rhys would wake every hour, at least, he wouldn’t be able to settle himself back to sleep, so we had to go into him and stay until he went back to sleep. We used to lay on his floor for hours on end trying to get him to sleep.

We spent money on every possible thing you could think of to help and I mean EVERYTHING!! We had black bags stuck to his windows so no light came on, you name it, we tried it. We had to go to bed by 9pm (I still do most nights!!) and would be up for the day anytime from 3am, as once Rhys woke up he wouldn’t go back to sleep. We were sheerly exhausted and did not have much of a life. We were lucky to have amazing parents who would have him for a night and let us get a break.

We didn’t get much help from the specialists, despite me being close to nervous breakdown and admitting this to them. They gave Rhys melatonin to try, but this didn’t help. They then gave us a medicine that actually helped a little bit, but this only worked for a month and then stopped working!! We were referred to Sheffield sleep centre, where we had to stay the night, while Rhys was wired to a machine to monitor his sleep, to check his brain activity, but even this didn’t come up with anything.

So, in a nutshell, we just had to live with it!!! We had to manage the best we could and accept it!!! Rhys is now 8 and his sleep is still very unsettled! We don’t know from one day to the next how he is going to be!!!

Having a disabled child is not something that anyone expects to happen and it wasn’t something that we wanted. Having a disabled child is hard, really really hard, especially when nobody knew what to do with him, we were all just winging it!!

I hear some parents of disabled children say ‘I wouldn’t change them for the world’. Well do you know what? I would change Rhys, if I could take away his disability and allow him to live a ‘typical’ life, then why wouldn’t I? It’s a no brainer for me.

Rhys is now 8, he can’t read or write. Upto September he was still incontinent and had to wear nappies. I’m so very proud to say that now he is in normal pants through the day (but he still wears nappies at night), though we have to take him to the toilet regularly and there are still accidents, but it’s progress and that’s what matters.

Rhys gets very frustrated and can lash out a lot, he also bites his wrist as a way to try calm himself down. He can ‘meltdown’ at any time, usually when we are trying to get him to do something he doesn’t want to, like get dressed or brush his teeth! So every morning is pretty much a fight, trying to get him ready for school!!

Rhys also likes to use the F word! He is really good at it and says it in context, much to my dismay!! It can be a tad embarrassing when he shouts it out when walking round Tesco!!! πŸ™ˆπŸ™ˆπŸ™ˆ

In the early days I spent so much time wondering what the future would hold for Rhys, I would end up in tears worrying, what if he could never live independently, will he ever get married, will he go to the pub with his mates??? In the end I realised that I cannot keep thinking about the future, as what will be will be. I have no control over this, all I can do is help Rhys as much as possible now, in the hope that he will be able to live his life to the best of his ability.

Having read back what I’ve written, it all seems so negative, but I just wanted to explain the issues that Rhys deals with on a day to day basis.

Now for the positive parts of the ‘superhero’ that I call Rhys!!

I am immensely proud of him, every single thing that he does is an achievement. He finds everything so much harder than a typical child does, so for him to achieve something he has to try much harder.

Rhys is the most handsome boy you will ever meet (well in my eyes anyway!!) he has a smile that will light up a room and anyone that knows him loves him, I mean totally loves him!!!

He has an amazing sense of humour! He pulls faces especially to makes us laugh, he loves making people laugh, just like his daddy used to!!!!

The older he gets, the more and more I see his daddy in him and that makes me smile, knowing that I will always have two piece of Pez by my side!!!

Who knows what the future holds? But you know what I do know?? I will continue to do everything in my power for this boy, I will love him and be there for him as long as I possibly can be.

I want to finish this blog with a poem by Emily perl Kingsley called welcome to holland, it’s a poem that I could have written myself.
“Welcome to Holland”

By Emily Perl Kingsley, 1987. All rights reserved.

I am often asked to describe the experience of raising a child with a disability – to try to help people who have not shared that unique experience to understand it, to imagine how it would feel. It’s like this……

When you’re going to have a baby, it’s like planning a fabulous vacation trip – to Italy. You buy a bunch of guide books and make your wonderful plans. The Coliseum. The Michelangelo David. The gondolas in Venice. You may learn some handy phrases in Italian. It’s all very exciting.

After months of eager anticipation, the day finally arrives. You pack your bags and off you go. Several hours later, the plane lands. The stewardess comes in and says, “Welcome to Holland.”

“Holland?!?” you say. “What do you mean Holland?? I signed up for Italy! I’m supposed to be in Italy. All my life I’ve dreamed of going to Italy.”

But there’s been a change in the flight plan. They’ve landed in Holland and there you must stay.

The important thing is that they haven’t taken you to a horrible, disgusting, filthy place, full of pestilence, famine and disease. It’s just a different place.

So you must go out and buy new guide books. And you must learn a whole new language. And you will meet a whole new group of people you would never have met.

It’s just a different place. It’s slower-paced than Italy, less flashy than Italy. But after you’ve been there for a while and you catch your breath, you look around…. and you begin to notice that Holland has windmills….and Holland has tulips. Holland even has Rembrandts.

But everyone you know is busy coming and going from Italy… and they’re all bragging about what a wonderful time they had there. And for the rest of your life, you will say “Yes, that’s where I was supposed to go. That’s what I had planned.”

And the pain of that will never, ever, ever, ever go away…because the loss of that dream is a very very significant loss. But…if you spend your life mourning the fact that you didn’t get to Italy, you may never be free to enjoy the very special, the very lovely things … about Holland.

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Meeting baby Richie!!

I just want to start by telling you that when Pez was alive we had decided on the name Alfie George Perry for our baby. But when Pez died, I knew that I would be naming him after his daddy Richard Thomas Perry, Richie for short.

Rhys has always called him baby Richie from the minute he was born, so it stuck with us all really, so we all call him baby Richie!!! Even when you ask him what his name is he says baby Richie, not just Richie!!

Richie was a much awaited little miracle. When we decided to start trying for baby number 2, I suffered 3 miscarriages in a row. These were very dark and difficult times, miscarriage is horrendous, no matter how far pregnant you are, you are losing a baby and this is horrendous.

But we got through this and as we had 3 miscarriages we were sent for fertility testing. Much to Pez’s dismay, he had to provide a sample of sperm for them and I remember how mortified he was to have to do this!!! πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

All our results came back negative, so there was no reason why we couldn’t conceive naturally. So we decided to stop drinking altogether and eat healthily and within a month I was pregnant again!!

I was petrified, I won’t lie. Every twinge I thought the worse, that I was going to miscarry again. Then when I had a bleed, my world crumbled around me. I had never had a bleed before with a positive outcome. We
Went to the ‘room of doom’ as Pez and I called it, the early pregnancy unit at the hospital where we had sat so many times and always had terrible news!

We went in for the scan, dreading the outcome and was shown a healthy little 7 week baby on the screen, with a strong heartbeat. We were sent away and told they would scan me weekly to keep a check on me. I still had a nagging feeling, but week after week we went back and watched our baby grow until we got to 12 weeks, the big milestone!!!! We were then discharged to the main hospital and still given monthly check ups.

We had so many different tests to make sure all was ok with the baby, including an MRI scan to check his brain and everything was normal! We were so excited to meet our baby boy!!!

In all honesty the minute I found out i was pregnant I always wanted a girl!! A little girl that I could dress in pretty dresses, take shopping and have girly gossips with!! Much to my dismay at a private scan I found out I was having a boy!!!! Pez was a little disappointed too as he also wanted a girl!!! But the baby was fine and healthy so we didn’t stay disappointed for long!!! Plus looking at how my life has turned out, I’m glad that I had a boy, so my boys have each other.

My pregnancy continued well and I didn’t gain anywhere near as much weight as first time round!!

Fast forward to 32 weeks, the day my darling husband died in the fatal accident at work. My whole world collapsed around me, it was unreal.

I would lay there at night, with my hands on my tummy, our baby boy moving around inside and I just could not believe what was happening. I couldn’t believe that life would be so cruel after everything we had already been through. I won’t lie, in the first couple of days I wished I wasn’t pregnant, I had no idea how I was going to cope by myself with two children, no idea at all.

But every morning I got out of bed, I got dressed, did my hair and make up and painted on a smile. Not once did I allow myself to wallow, everyone deals with grief differently but I preferred to keep as busy as possible, even when 32 weeks pregnant.

I spoke to my midwife the day Pez died, as I was worried about the baby coming early? I had no idea what impact the grief I was suffering would have on my baby, I was scared that he would arrive before we had chance to have Pez’s funeral. I was scared that me crying so much would somehow hurt him, I was assured this wouldn’t.

She arranged for me to have a scan the following week, just to check everything was ok. I arrived at the maternity suite and was amazed at how quickly I was ushered into the scanning room, I now know this was because the midwife had told them my circumstances and they didn’t want me to have to sit there with the happy mums and dads!

I laid on the bed and had the gel squirted on my tummy, my mum was with me. The midwife started scanning me and I saw our beautiful healthy baby boy on the screen, moving and oblivious to what was going on in the world outside and I just broke down in hysterical tears. I just could not believe that Pez would not be here to see his son come into the world, this was something you see in films, not something that happens to real life people.

I came away from the hospital feeling so emotional and sad, it was awful as this should have been an exciting time, looking forward to the birth of our baby but it just filled me with dread. I remember going to mothercare for the bits for the nursery and I just walked around in a daze, throwing things into a basket, people must have been looking at me and thinking I was a right miserable cow!!!

The next few weeks passed by in a blur to be honest, I started to look forward to our baby arriving and just kept myself as busy as possible so I didn’t have to stop and think for too long.

I was lucky that my amazing mum had moved in with me since Pez died, so I had help with Rhys and was able to get a bit of sleep, as Rhys has always been a horrendous sleeper.

The 40week date came and went and not a twinge! Then I woke up at about 5am, when I was 40wks 2 days, I knew the labour was starting.

Rather than me breaking down like I thought I would, I suddenly went into ‘the zone’, this may sound funny to some but I actually felt Pez with me, I felt strong and I knew that he would be by my side all the way.

Mum was always going to be at the birth, but we also asked my best friend Anna to be there too. I called Anna and woke her up to tell her labour had started. I remember her asking me why I had woken her up so early when it had only just started! So I laughed and said,’ I’m ok you don’t have to come now, was just letting you know!’

I went into Mum and told her it had started and she attached the tens machine to my back that I had bought. Then 10 mins later Anna came knocking at the door telling me she was too excited to go back to sleep!!

I was determined to stay active for this birth, first time round I was scared to death and just laid there most of the time, resulting in a long and painful birth, ending up with me taking pethidine, which I hated!

So I was up and about, doing jobs, mum and anna stayed with me all day, we watched some telly. I could feel my contractions getting stronger but just kept turning up my tens machine. Then we went for a walk to the shops to get an ice lolly, well I say walk, I pretty much waddled there!!!

Then on the way back I realised that the tens machine was up full and the contractions were closer! Got back to the house and Anna went to make us a cuppa, suddenly they started really hard and fast, so I told her that I think we need to go to his hospital right now!!!!!

I rang the hospital to tell them we were on our way, the midwife asked me if I was certain I was in labour as they will only send me home if not! I assured her that I knew what I was doing and it was definitely labour!!!!

They got me in the car and Anna started speeding as fast as she could to the hospital!! I remember my contractions were
every few mins and I was in agony, panting in the car next to her!! Anna kept begging me not to give birth in her car!!!!
I’ll never forget Anna driving down York road like a mad woman, beeping at every car that didn’t get out of her way!!!!!

We got to the hospital, Anna let me and mum out and went to park the car, with strict instructions to not give birth until she got back!!!

The contractions were coming fast and painful now, I managed to get in the lift and to the maternity suite. As I got to the desk I hand my hands on the counter screaming through a contraction and the midwife who answered my call said ‘you weren’t joking when you said you were in labour were you?!’

I told them that I really wanted a water birth, so they rushed to start filling up the bath!! They showed me into a room, so I went to change and then my waters broke and that was It, game over!! I was in agony, I hadn’t had any pain relief at all!!!

Anna got back and told the midwife she thinks that the baby is coming, so they took me up to the delivery room. The water birth room was lovely, a big bath and candles lit around it!!

The midwife asked to examine me, she discovered I was already 8cm dilated! She got me some gas to take the edge off the pain.

I was getting agitated and forgot my tens machine was still on so asked mum to pull it off as it was annoying me! So she did but we
Forgot to turn it off so she got an electric shock!!!! I remember her saying something about how much it hurt and me telling her that she should be in my place right now to know what pain really is!!!

The bath was only half full, but I suddenly got the urge to push, badly. The midwife said, come on get in the bath but just make sure you keep your bum under the water!!

The minute I got in the water I needed to push, Anna held one hand and Mum held the other and I screamed with my first push. I’d had no pain relief and it was excruciating!! The contraction passed and I panted a bit. Then the next one came pretty much straightaway, so I pushed with all my soul, the babies head was born!!!!

I was a bit in shock, I was by myself in a bath and doing this all by myself!!! I remember seeing Anna notice the head and and scream to mum ‘omg the head is just there, look look!!!

Then one final push at around 130pm and my beautiful baby was born, it was weird, he was in the water and I was just looking down at him!!! The midwife said ‘do you want to pick him up?!’ So I reached down and picked up this wrinkly, slippery, beautiful little 6lb3oz baby!

I remember the midwife then introducing herself, as we didn’t have chance before and telling me how she wished everyone was like me when giving birth!!!!

The first thing I saw was that he had the amniotic sac still on his head, or the caul. So the midwife removed this. If you believe in such things, Richie was born special, a caulbearer and this is a sign of good luck!! Old wives tales say that a baby born with the caul or ‘behind the veil’ will be highly spiritual and very perceptive of things and apparently he will never be able to drown (we keep meaning to throw him in a pool to test this theory but haven’t got round to it yet!!!). A caul birth is very rare, less than 1 in 80,000 in fact!! After reading up on it I should have kept it and dried it out to carry with me at all times!!!

Richie took his first breath and had a little cry, but then stopped. He was calm and good and alert, he was so bloody alert! He had big eyes and just kept looking at everyone and looking around, he just seemed like he had been here before!!! He didn’t go to sleep, he just laid there wide awake!!!!

I had some cuddles in the water and then he started getting cold so we got out and laid on the bed and I gave him his first bottle. I then passed him to grandma for her first cuddle and then Auntie Anna got her turn!

The midwife was amazed at me because I was up and about, getting washed and dressed and packing my bag to take to the ward. I think everyone was waiting for me to breakdown, but I didn’t, not one tear, I was still in ‘the zone!’

I almost had a meltdown when I realised all Richie’s clothes were too big for him, so Anna went to next for me and picked up loads of tiny baby clothes!!

They put me in a wheelchair, passed me richie and took me to the ward. Thankfully I had my own private room, as I requested, as the last thing I wanted was to be on a ward and seeing the happy dads come to visit!

Mum and Anna stayed for a while, my friend Gaynor visited then uncle rich and auntie Susan came for cuddles too.

Then it was time for everyone to go, it was the first night that I would have been left alone since Pez died, but I still felt strangely calm. I had richie, I couldn’t stop staring at him, his little tiny fingers and tiny toes, he was still so alert and had hardly slept, or cried at all!!!

We slept on and off, in between feeding. The midwife kept coming in to check that I was
Ok, so that was nice!! I barely slept, even when richie did, because I just couldn’t stop staring at him!’

Finally, morning came and the doctor said we could go home, I was happy as couldn’t wait for Rhys to meet richie. So I got him all dressed in his going home outfit and got him in his car seat.

Mum came to collect us and went to go get the car, so she could pull up outside and save us walking to the car park, so I agreed this would be the best. God I was wrong.

I walked out of the hospital, I remember all the midwifes saying goodbye to me with a really sad look in their eyes! Which I don’t blame them for really, mine was a sad story!

Then the emotions started building in me, I was walking down a corridor carrying my baby, all by myself. A couple were leaving at the same time, all in love and happy and holding hands and that was it.

I rushed as quickly as I could to the car, as I just knew I was going to breakdown. Mum got us in and asked if I was ok, to which i just started crying my heart out. How could life ever be ok again? This poor little baby had been born into a world of such sadness and I just couldn’t be any other way and that made
me feel bad.

As I mentioned earlier I was so grateful to have my mum living with me, she was a god send. The house was full of visitors and all I could do was cry for a lot of the time, mix baby blues with grief and it’s not a good combination! Plus having richie at home where pez should have been just didn’t seem right.

Mum also shared the nights with me and we would take it in turns to have Rhys one night and richie the other so I wasnt always the one that was up through the night.

After a few days the sadness subsided though and I was left with my beautiful little boy and his gorgeous big brother, a family of three. And lots and lots of friends around to help me!!!

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Our last goodbye.

WARNING – what you are about to read is graphic and not very pleasant. So if you are easily disturbed or weirded out by death and dead bodies, then you may not want to read!!! Friends and family, you may find it upsetting, so I completely understand if you don’t want to read it xxx

Pez died on the Friday and from the minute I knew he was dead, I just needed to see him. My heart broke thinking of him laying in a cold place all alone.

I knew Pez had hit his head in the fall, which was the cause of death. The coroner called me to say that they had Pez and would call me on Monday once he had been to see to him, so he could honestly tell me if it would be too disturbing to visit him.

The call came on Monday, the coroner warned me what to expect and the damage that had been done to his face, but said that he thinks I’d be ok to go see him.

This may sound crazy, but I suddenly felt excited, I had butterflies in my tummy, like when I started dating Pez, I was excited to see him again!

Mum, dad and my best friend Anna came
With me, to the mortuary in Bradford.
At this point I just felt sick and a bit shaky, the coroner then handed me Pez’s belongings in a clear plastic bag, his work boots, his uniform, wallet and phone. That was when I had my first breakdown.

I had developed panic attacks since Pez died, the feeling of total overwhelming breathlessness, panting, unable to catch my breath and having to try breathe really deeply to calm down, understandable I suppose, looking back.

The coroner asked us if we were ready, erm yes, as ready as I’m ever gonna be to see my husband dead! I thought in my head, but to him I just nodded!!!

He walked us to a room and opened the door, Anna was on one side of me, Mum on the other, linking my arms and walking me in, dad was in front.

Dad walked in first and I heard him gasp and start crying, then he went upto him. It was only then that I saw him. I SAW HIM, PEZ, the love of my life, my best friend and soul mate, father to my children and friend to so many, laid dead on a bed. My head couldn’t take it and I screamed and my legs gave way beneath me.

Anna and mum grabbed me and carried me to a chair. I remember having my head between my legs, my eyes covered and anna kneeling in front of me sobbing.

I just kept rocking backwards and forwards and saying no, no, no, no I can’t do this, this can’t be happening, that can’t be Pez, like some crazy mantra. Anna was sobbing too, but she just stroked my face and held me and said I didn’t have to see him, we can go, it’s ok. But I had to see him, I just had to or I wouldn’t have been able to live with myself.

My sobbing stopped and my breathing slowed down, so I decided to lift my head up. I kept my hands right over my eyes and slowly opened my fingers to peep through them. And then I really saw him, my baby.

I walked upto him, anna holding onto my arm in case I fell. I looked at the top of his head first and remember looking at his hair and thinking how messy it was, there was no gel on it and it wasn’t styled the way he liked it, he would have hated it!! So I brushed it through the best I could with my fingers.

Then my eyes moved down to his beautiful face, he was still beautiful, although had a deep cut from the top of his head, all the way across his nose, that was now broken. The cut had massive stitches in it, holding it together. It was awful to look at. So much so that I had to cover that side of his face up with my hand and just look at the side that hadn’t been affected.

Then I saw him, he looked perfect, he was my Pez. The man I married and said ’till death do us part to’. The man I adored with every inch of my soul, the man who adored me back, my best friend, the man who I told everything to. The father of my children, the man who I intended to grow old with and then the realisation sunk in, I no longer had any of the above, and I sobbed once more.

Looking at him, laying there dead, a million flashbacks came into my head. The first time I met him, the cheeky smile he had, the infectious laugh that would light up a room. His amazing sense of humour, the holidays we went on, the ‘pezzy’ cuddle that he was so famous for, he was the best cuddler in whitkirk, so he told me when we first met and it was true, his cuddles were well known with all his friends!!!

I finally plucked up the courage to touch him, he was freezing cold and hard and that was a weird feeling. I stroked his big strong hands, his handsome jaw line and the weird thing is that he actually had a smile on his face, like he was smiling especially for us!!

To be honest, this pissed me off and I got angry with him, asking him what he had to smile about, why had he gone on that dangerous roof and put himself in unnecessary danger, why had he left us like he had and I cried some more.

I was then suddenly exhausted and had to leave, my tears had subsided and my best friend walked me out of the door. I want to say a personal thanks to Anna, my Mum and Dad, because I know none of them really wanted to see him, but I know they wouldn’t let me do it alone, I love you all and you know that.

I looked back and said ‘goodbye baby, don’t ever forget I love you’ as we left. My legs were heavy and my heart even heavier, it was all just so mental and surreal.

I’ll finish this off with the funeral, as that was my very last goodbye. It was the send off to top all send offs!

I got the most beautiful flowers for the coffin, the Welsh 3 feathers, Pez & Daddy in white flowers and then red roses for the top from me, red roses were my wedding bouquet and Pez would always buy me red roses as they were my favourite.

I remember sitting in my house, with a 33 week pregnant belly, I wore a beautiful dress, had my nails painted red and had my hair done, I was determined to look beautiful, although inside I was still dying.
Then the hearse arrived and as soon as I saw Pez in flowers I broke down again.

We pulled up at whitkirk church and Pez’s best friends were waiting outside for us. I’d asked them to carry his coffin inside, I know they were all broken hearted but wanted to do it. One of his mates said ‘I carried him enough times when he was pissed, so it’s only right that I’m the one to carry him at the end’

As soon as I saw them lifting Pez my heart broke again, this just wasn’t fair, he was full of life, so much to live for, why would he be taken away from us all? His poor friends carrying him, trying so hard to be brave but crying silent tears. I followed the coffin into church, Anna holding one arm and Mum holding the other. I sobbed my heart out all the way in, hysterical sobbing, I couldn’t stop. Everyone was a blur I couldn’t see
Anyone, just my husband, in a coffin in front of me.

Whitkirk church was completely full, there wasn’t a spare seat and there were people standing at the back. So many people turned up, I think over 400 friends and family, it was such an emotional day.

The Vicar did his bit and I asked
Pez’s best friend rich to do a reading and he bravely stood there and read out a lovely piece about Pez, all without crying and I was so proud of him.

I asked for 3 songs to be played that meant a lot to Pez and I:

Shiver by Coldplay. When we first met he used to always sing this to me!!!!

Thinking of you, by sister sledge, this was
The first dance at our wedding.

Then to walk out, I wanted the greatest dancer, by sister sledge. Anyone that knew Pez knew how much he loved to dance, especially to this song. We once went to a wedding and this song came on, Pez was dancing so much that we all created a circle around him and just clapped him, while he danced through the whole song!!!!

Then it was really time to say goodbye, they lifted him in the hearse, to take him to the crematorium. I placed my roses back on the coffin and put my hands on it, kissing the coffin. I remember saying ‘bye bye darling, I love u so much’ then I just remember the hysteria building inside me, I remember starting to scream and then I passed out. Luckily my dads were there to catch me, as at 33 weeks pregnant I wasn’t light!!!

I had an arranged a party after, to celebrate his life, I didn’t want a sad day. I organised a DJ, I wrote out a playlist of over 80 songs that Pez loved, for him to play. I asked everyone to bring a photo of Pez to put on the wall, so we could remember him and this was lovely, but equally heartbreaking.

We gave him a good send off, he would have been dancing with us! I lasted until about 10pm I think, not bad considering I wasn’t able to drink and all my drunken friends were getting drunker by the minute!!! But it was the party that he would have wanted, just a shame he wasn’t there to enjoy it!!!

I want to thank you if you managed to read all this, I know it’s a difficult read. It was very very hard for me to write this and I had to stop to cry many times. But I feel so much better for getting it out.

I promise I am going to move forward and share some happier things soon, I just need to get these darkest times out first.

Thank you xxxx

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