Some important numbers

1. Yesterday, at 5pm GMT, my nephew took his first steps! He is 11 months and eight days old.
2. In seven days I will be sending my manuscript to my editor. Am feeling a leeeetle bit stressed out.
3. Six years ago today the man I loved died from a heart attack; last year’s post said every I feel today. xo


There was a time, not so long ago, when it would have taken me all day to get to the supermarket and buy something for dinner. Much of the day would’ve been spent staring into space; parts were consumed by tears. Around 4pm the wine was opened, the rest of the evening a blur.

I wasn’t an alcoholic – I was grieving.

On Sunday I’m leaving for what is going to be a very full and stimulating two weeks – and I use the word stimulating because everything is going to be brand new – first time in Boston, first time driving to New Hampshire, first time teaching at Squam, first time meeting so many Unravellers and students, first time driving to New York, first time IN NEW YORK! First time meeting my agent and editor – so much going on! The last few days I’ve been stitching together a chapter to send to my editor while preparing the slideshow for my class at Squam – there just so much NEW happening my head is spinning, yet i manage to stay upright somehow. And it’s because i remember the grieving woman who drank wine by the gallon and spent hours trying to leave the house and then cried in the street. I remember how desperate those months were, when I couldn’t bear to speak to people and hid away in my flat for days at a time; when I didn’t know if i could carry on.

When I didn’t want to carry on.

I remember so clearly how wretched that time was, and yet here I am. I survived. And not only that, i am thriving. And today i am so grateful for all that is happening, for all the opportunities i have been given – and the ones i’ve worked hard for too. If he could see me now i know he would be so proud.

And the cherry on the cake? A little boy called Noah. Still being here – carrying on – means i get to be his auntie, and that is truly the best job in the world.

Okay, there are the tears. But they are good tears. Big love to you all xo

The F word

I just read a friend’s very sweet blog post written to her father and it made me smile a wistful smile. I do not know what it is like to have a father in my life because mine left when I was just eleven years old. I’ve seen him four or five times in the intervening 26 years, but that’s it. I do not know him. He emigrated to the other side of the world.

As I sit here trying to write this post I feel so many emotions bubbling in my chest and I have to wonder if i will ever feel okay with what happened. The 11-year-old was bewildered; the teenager was angry; the twenty-something was needy and clung to a relationship, the thirty-something was blindsided by bereavement, hurts from the past following in its wake. But here i am, three years from forty, and i still don’t feel i have healed this hurt; I am still angry about it, more on behalf of the 11-year-old me than me now – me now can look after herself. Me now is an independent woman who feels more fully herself with every day that passes. But there is a little girl inside of me who hurts and i don’t always know how to help her. She will never understand why she was left; she will never understand why he didn’t want to be in her life. As an adult I understand how flawed and fallible we all are, and how becoming a parent doesn’t make you an invincible being who does everything perfectly. I see how the screw-ups of past generations are passed down to each of us, and how we do the best we can with the tools we have; I see how not everybody is cut out for parenthood. But as I near the age he was when he left, i have to wonder how he was able to turn his back on his daughters so easily, choosing to leave the country with another woman.

I guess I will never know the full story, and really it doesn’t matter any more. I worked through a lot of questions with my therapist, but even though i moved through my grief i never fully healed the hurt from so long ago, and i wonder now if i ever will. I do not forgive him. I am still angry in so many ways, more so now when i think about how he missed out on getting to know my sister, and now my nephew. But it is his loss, and the person needing attention from me now is a little blonde girl who’s awkward and unsure of herself; who’s wary of men and yet as the years pass she’ll long for love, long to be ‘looked after’, to be protected. This will never truly manifest, and she’ll discover that the safety she looks for she will eventually create herself. To this day she will not trust the idea of ‘father’ and will not understand the bond a father can have with his daughter. There is a part of my heart that has hardened – I hadn’t realised until this very moment, typing these words.

I don’t wish for a relationship with my actual father, or have any desire to get to know him. I needed a father back then when i was trying to find my place in the world. Now I just wish to find peace in my heart.

Some day.

Old London town

So the plan is to move back to London at the end of July. It’s a plan that’s been percolating since the end of last year, when I realised that as much as I wanted to try a few months in San Francisco (this dream remains on the back burner) I needed to start closer to home, and for me that meant London. Dirty grimy noisy beautiful London.

This is the final part of the healing cycle, and hoo boy, do I know it. While I feel confident this is exactly the right move for me to make, there is some fear anticipation floating up from inside my heart. I’ve been having dreams about you know who that leave me upside down in the morning, proving that while i may be calm during the day, there is definitely some stuff happening behind the scenes.

I left London due to the worst reason possible – the loss of a loved one. I’ve chronicled my loss over and over on this blog, and now here i am, five years and three months later, finally ready to go back to the city I love. There was a point back in 2007 when i thought i was ready, but I wasn’t. Then in 2008 I came here to Bath, and kick-started a whirlwind of work and path-finding that i hadn’t expected and am so grateful for words just don’t do it justice. I found ME, and I picked up a thread that is now leading me into the future. The move to Bath was a massive leap of faith, but something inside me knew it was the right thing to do, even though I knew no one here and had never moved to a city on my own before. And I have the same feeling now about my move back to London.

It feels right.

I have no idea what will unfold once I get there (though the rest of this year is scheduled down to the last hour, work-wise) but my gut tells me it will be okay. And that is all i have, really – my intuition. And a big ole handful of faith.