Five years

Raindrops You took your last breath five years ago today. I'm finding it really hard to get my head around the timescale – five years! – but so much has happened in that time, it makes sense it's been that long, i guess. Your death set me off on a path i never imagined i would take; it took a few years to find my feet again, but once I did the healing began in earnest. There were many gifts in our relationship, but it's my relationship with you since you passed that has brought the most treasures; I never imagined that could be possible, either, but it is true.

Your death has taught me how to feel empathy for another's pain. I learned how to sit with my own pain and breathe my way through it. I learned how to uncover all the shit i had held so close to me, and to unpick it, and heal it, and let it go. I unravelled all the knots in my past, and i wove a new story, one that has the real me at the heart of, and not my neediness or my shame or my insecurity. I found myself, and i learned to love the less-than-perfect bits, of which there are many. I opened myself to my creativity again, and discovered that the words and images had been inside me all along, just waiting for their day in the sunshine. I followed my newly-mended heart and found a way to support myself doing work that excites me and helps others – that has been such a gift and i know you'd be proud of me, though i'm sure you'd think the concept of Unravelling was rather hippy and too touchy-feely for you :) And any day now I will become an auntie – can you believe it?

I don't think a relationship like ours – one of such intensity and passion – could have lasted and i have a feeling it would have burnt itself out by now. But who knows? I couldn't understand why you died – no one in that situation can, but it was so sudden, so shocking, i couldn't accept it; and yet here i am, with all that is around me and all that is ahead of me, and i can't help feeling it was supposed to be this way. And admitting that no longer feels like a betrayal of you and your life. I have integrated your death in my own life, and i have healed and moved forward, inch by inch, until i am now far enough away from the blast to be able to find gratitude for the journey i have been on. The journey that continues until we meet again.

I miss you. x

Edited to add: he was an old rocker and a big Kings of Leon fan, so i know he's gutted he's missed their new albums. If we all play this song, maybe it will be loud enough to reach him. Thank you.

We don’t forget

SD_beach1Every year is different because every year I am in a different place in my life, but there is no way I would ever forget. I'm in the waiting room right now, counting down the days till the anniversary of his death, while also counting down the days to the birth of my nephew. The plan is for me to be with my sister (and her fiance) when she's in labour, and i'm feeling the responsibility of that. I have a ton of work to do – all of it work i want to sink into and enjoy – but i am a mess of emotion. Birth and death, all packed into my small head. I haven't been sleeping well, unsurprisingly. My dreams are filled with babies in my arms, and his arms around me; it is impossible to hide from the memories when you're unconscious. He was kissing me last night and i woke in tears; i find it extraordinary that these memories still have this effect on me. I am in a really good place in my life – his memory is honoured and cherished, but i am looking forward to new possibilities this year, and am so so ready to embrace them. But still there is this sadness – sometimes i think it is merely the echoes of grief resounding around me; it gets twisted into a new shape, and you learn to live with the loss, to find new paths and joys, but the grief really does mark you forever, like a ring in a tree trunk, a raised scar on your heart. In years to come i will still have these memories, kept in a dusty shoebox in the back of my mind; i will pull them out occasionally and run my fingertips over the smiles and promises. For now i will try to string words together for work, thinking of birthing babies by day, and sleeping with the deceased at night. And the world keeps turning.

More Often

More Often |


Once in a while it will hit me like a blow to my stomach. Not often — just occasionally, when perhaps I haven’t thought about it for a few weeks. I always know how it is I came to be living here, how I came to be teaching what I am, how I found myself taking pictures again. i know how far along the path I’ve travelled, how healed I am, how much ‘better’ my life is now. I know all of this, and I am grateful to be here. But once in a while, like this evening, I will remember. I will sit down on my sofa, with all the wind taken out of my sails. I will sit there and find I have no words, as I say over and over to myself: he died. Sometimes I think I get upset simply because I remember the pain that came after; I remember that pain more keenly than I can remember his touch. After nearly five years I can now admit the screw-ups of our relationship, and how we may not have been together today, had he still been here. I can see the failings and flaws, the disappointments and regrets. The rose-tinted specs are off and the reality check is in place. And I know that I have let him go. I know I have. But once in a while I’ll stop what I’m doing with the enormity of remembering, and I’ll wish I had said I love you more often than I did.

~ An open mind ~


Oh London, how you tempt me with your beauty and decay, your ancient wiles and modern possibility. I hadn't expected to have such a great weekend. I mean, I knew my days with Sas would be full of laughter and connection, but i didn't expect to fall back in love with the city. And when i say back in love I mean rapturously, madly, insanely back in love with old London town. Maybe it was because Sas and I drove across the city on adventures like Thelma and Louise. Maybe it was the sunshine and high energy around the Notting Hill Carnival preparation. I got to see so many of the places I love – Battersea Power Station, the Natural History Museum, Portobello Road, the Barbican, Greenwich Market. I discovered that Chiswick is a place I can see myself living, with my little car (more on that soon) and my portable business. Doing the work i do I can live anywhere, and this weekend I felt my brain expand as i soaked in all the possibilities, stuff i hadn't considered for a very long time. I'm not saying i'm leaving Bath… but now i know i could, and that realisation is going to make the next 12 months a lot more interesting. You only live once, right?

UPDATE: My mum just emailed me, after reading this post, and shared this: 'Just to let you know that your grandad (my dad) assisted in the construction of one of the chimneys on Battersea Power Station – I know it is not called that now, but just a little snippet from the past.' – how freakin' cool is that?!