2012 - well that was fun ...

2012 round up

Well I said I’d write a round-up of the year so here goes. I’ve been putting this off all week but as it’s now New Year’s Eve and everyone’s feeling reflective, I thought this was as good a time as any!

Exactly 12 months ago I was sat heartbroken, lonely and in agony after having major corrective surgery on my knee and finding out that the love of my life had not only been stringing me along but had upgraded to a new model in the process. Ouch.

After a few days of moping and with far too much time on my hands to overthink everything, I did something I didn’t normally do. I let my friends in and I talked. A good friend of mine, Linda was my rock at that time, letting me witter on about things and rant when I needed to. She even took over the usual morning text that I would have sent to the ex to change the habit and set me on a better mind set for the day and was always on hand in the early hours when I couldn’t sleep or had waterlogged pillows again.

Eventually I started to see signs of feeling better. “I haven’t thought about it until 10am!” I remember texting. This was a fantastic achievement at the time! We started putting plans together to get our recruitment business thriving and after speaking with the children we began to look at relocating back to Manchester where most of our friends were and where things would be easier to access for this non driver!

I decided that I wasn’t going to be dragged down by other people and by wallowing in feeling depressed about the past so began to think about what was making me feel the way I was feeling and doing something about it! I started to feel better straight away by taking some sort of control of the situation. As long as we were all together everything would be absolutely fine.

Part of working out what was making me feel so miserable was realising just how very lonely I was. I was never one to approach new friends or be the first to start a conversation and I didn’t really like being around a lot of people (except in a dark club where I didn’t have to speak to anyone) but having spent such a long time living and working in the same space and rarely seeing anyone, I realised just how much I need other people around me. Even if it’s just to people watch whilst sat drinking a hot chocolate in a café! I made yet another decision (I know, I was on fire!) to look at going back into an office environment and be amongst people again and thought the move to Manchester was the perfect opportunity to do it. Another wonderful friend, Emily arranged an interview for me at the company she worked for and although that wasn’t quite right for me, the feeling of being in my suit, amongst other people with a purpose made me feel better than I had in a long time.

In March I took the girls on our first family holiday to Disneyland Paris! Another achievement as I didn’t know my way around an airport or what I was supposed to be doing but I managed to get us all to the right place at the right time and we had 3 magical days laughing and playing and spending some wonderful time together.

When we got back I had a week of back to back interviews during the Easter holidays and we were all feeling very excited. I’d had the nod that I was to be offered the job I most wanted with a fantastic company, we had found a beautiful house exactly where we wanted to live and we had a weekend filled with seeing friends and relaxing coming up.

Then, it all changed and anything I had ever been upset about or hurt by disappeared in a second as I was faced with losing one of my children.

You all know what happened next and I’m sure you can forgive me for not wanting to write it all down again on New Year’s Eve as people are emotional enough. If you are new to this blog could I point you in the direction of the other entries please?

Our entire world was shattered beyond words. Every insecurity I had ever encountered vanished. Nothing in the whole wide world mattered more to me than keeping the three of us together and nothing ever will.

As you know, Charlotte recovered beyond anybody’s expectations and continues to do so although she still does struggle and need a lot of help. After she left hospital we decided that as a family, we needed some positivity and laughter in our house and so we welcomed a beautiful black Labrador puppy into our hearts and our home. Leonard, named after Megan and my favourite character on our favourite show, The Big Bang Theory has been the best addition to our family we could have wished for. He’s been a dream to train, is such a well behaved boy and has brought joy and love to us all. We really can’t remember a time when he wasn’t around making us laugh at the faces he pulls and watching him try to make sense of the lunatics he lives with. He spends all of his time with me and really is my companion and best friend, he’s my ‘therapy’ dog!

Along came summer and the camping season! I was very kindly invited to spend a few days camping in the lake district with my best friends as they had their annual catch up with old university friends, The Geordies. Now I’ve been hearing about these people for years and felt as if I knew them but was still feeling fairly anxious as I had never met any of them. I needn’t have felt anything but excitement as I was welcomed with open arms and well and truly initiated into the gang having been made to cry like a baby after a certain person sang me the most soul wrenching ‘lullaby’ I’ve ever heard. Love and luggles to you Joanne!

We decided then to go and stay with my Mum for a few months for a number of reasons really. Mainly so I could get back on my feet as I was feeling fairly drained by life at this point and so the girls could have a more suitable house to live in as ours had become dangerous since Charlotte became ill with open plan living and dodgy stairs etc. I’m sure we have driven Grandma mad but this was an absolute godsend to all of us and we thank you lots <3

Shortly after moving in with Mum I went out for lunch and a catch up with one of my oldest friends who I’ve shared the last 11 years of my life with. Not only was it great to see him but something clicked and we wondered why we weren’t together! So now we are and, you remember at the start of this post, that 'love of my life'? Well ... maybe he wasn't ... :o) I can honestly say I’ve never felt happier or more secure and safe so Greg, thank you and I love you xxxx

At the end of October we took the girls on a surprise ‘memory jogging’ trip to Disneyland Paris which was fantastic. We stayed in a beautiful hotel, saw the parades, met a few of the Disney villains, saw a rodeo show, did A LOT of shopping and even had Mickey Mouse wave at us from a float! Charlotte did remember some of our last trip which was amazing but possibly more importantly, she started to make some new memories and have some new experiences which are helping her to open up other areas of her mind as she remembers how to be Charlotte.

I now sit writing this end of year blog in our lovely new house, Greg and Megan are watching Transformers, Charlotte is making a collage, Leonard is lying at my feet and I’m wondering how I went from career woman and single Mum of two, trying to start a business to carer of a disable daughter, media spokesperson for paediatric strokes and stroke ambassador for The Stroke Association, writer with a fab’ man at my side in the blink of an eye and whether all of it really happened. It’s been a relentless year of heartache, pain, tears, laughter, hope, achievement and love. I’m the luckiest girl in the world to still have my two girls with me and am thankful for their presence every single day. This year has taught me that love, real, deep down, will tear the earth apart for it love will overcome anything. Always have faith in yourself and the truth and never give up. Ever. Love every single day because you never know when it will be the last time you get to express it. A little girl once made me a picture that said “Dear Mum, I will love you forever and hug you forever” … She never lets me down.

There are a few people I haven’t mentioned yet and there’s a reason for saving them for last. I wont get through telling you all about them without the need for a box of tissues!

Throughout this year we have had to fight hard for the things Charlotte needs, a lot of which I can’t write about yet. There’s absolutely no way we would have got through any of it without the help of Lottie’s Army. Lottie’s Army is a group of people growing in numbers who help us to fight for Charlotte, fight for me, fight for every child who needs fighting for because of discrimination, illness or ignorance and raise awareness of childhood strokes and acquired brain injury. They do this in many ways from organising big fundraising events to giving me a cuddle when I need one. They have our back at every turn and will be with me throughout 2013 as we carry on fighting the fight. I can not live without these angels and have no means of ever thanking them enough.

Lindsay A, Uncle Big Tent, Lindsay M, J(son), Miss Helen, Mr Helen, The Geordies, Grandma, Mrs Birt, Mr Birt, Neph’, Wonder Niece, Greg, Megan and the general herself, Charlotte –  You’re my family <3

Wishing everyone a happy and healthy 2013 and thank you all for your on-going support, it means more than you know and I hope to continue this in the coming year xxx


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