Saturday, 31 March 2012

unravelling edges revisited - an Easter Blessing

Time goes by and once more we are approaching Easter. A time of sorrow on Good Friday, yet a time of great rejoicing at the resurrection.

Last year I had the priviledge of writing something for the church notice sheet as we were still between vicars, what I wrote was a resurrection story with a twist.

It was a big step for me at the time to complete a piece of writing that was not about losing a husband and being a widow. 

It's worth re-posting as an example of how God can make something new from something discarded if we let him...

An Unusual Easter Blessing

It was an unassuming, very ordinary mobile phone with no fancy features.  Left on the shelf for months, discarded twice in its life for a newer model.

Originally it was my phone, an upgrade from the “brick” that wouldn’t fit in my pocket.

Eventually the lack of a colour screen or ability to take photos made it less desirable.  However with a new cover it made a perfect first phone for our oldest son.

Inevitably he soon also wanted something more sophisticated and cool.

But our old phone has found new life in a most unexpected way.

A young man, I once had the privilege of teaching in Sunday School, put out a plea on Facebook for an old mobile phone he could use for work.  His job is as a youth leader.  

I caught up with him the other day and he explained my old phone’s new purpose.

It has become a phone for his youth group to text their prayer requests to.

My old phone number has been resurrected as a PRAYER HOTLINE!

This Easter praise God that he can make everything new and take all that we give him to use for his glory.

And remember when Jesus died on the cross and rose again he gave us all a direct prayer hotline to our Father in Heaven.

Hallelujah and Happy Easter!

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Time for another walk in the garden - a look back at last year

About this time last year I wrote about walking in the garden with Andrew. I wrote about how everything was coming to life.

The garden remains a place of solitude and comfort to me. I still delight in strolling round, picking daffodils in spring, collecting firewood in autumn.

But now when I look there are different things I see.

  • Smartly laid gravel, I try not to look at the weeds already peeping through and hope the weedkiller is working its magic.
  • Freshly dug borders with the most beautiful pale pink pansies planted.
  • A little corner of broken pottery, sea glass and pots of polyanthus. A place where I have gathered the discarded together to form my favourite spot.
pink pansies

pots, plants gravel and weeds!

OK so maybe I can only take full credit for the last one. I have had lots of help in maintaining the garden. Actually I don't think the garden has ever looked better and I have instigated the transformation if not done all the work.

Maybe the garden today shows just what I can achieve and I should grab Andrew's hand and say "Come on; let's go for a walk in the garden."

You can read about last year's walk by clicking on the link below.

unravelling edges: "Let’s go for a walk in the garden.”: Andrew would hold out his hand. “Come on; let’s go for a walk in the garden.”   I’d abandon whatever I was doing and have to follow...

Thursday, 8 March 2012

unravelling revisited: The weightlessness of "moving on"...

Here's a blog I posted about a year ago, I have just re-read it and wanted to share it once again. 

How did I manage to write so coherently when the pain was so fresh and raw?


Maybe because it can all seem like a terrible dream and my life often has an unreal quality about it, as if it is happening to someone else. It can feel like I am writing a story that isn't about me but my alter-ego created by my own bizarre imagination.


Re-reading brought things sharply into focus, reminding my of my loss and I must confess I shed a couple of tears as I read.

Now I am in a place of looking back over my first year as a widow as well as looking forward to a new future, moving on or maybe Marching on... as I have written in re-ravelling today.


Sometimes tiny steps are all you can manage but with sunny skies you can clearly see the progress... 


The weightlessness of "moving on"... 

(posted 9th March 2011)

Over the weekend I was watching some people  paragliding over the cliffs near where we live.  There were four gliders altogether, soaring and spiralling on the air currents.  I’ve always watched with fascination.  I would love to have a go, to drift weightless and watch the world go by.

I’ve been in a glider before.  We got the chance to have a go once with some of Andrew’s colleagues.  They started a social club at work called the “Over the Top” club and even got money from the company to pursue their daredevil ambitions!

They went white water rafting, paintballing, karting and gliding.

I have a photo of Andrew sitting in the glider; he was so happy that day and overjoyed at the thrill of piloting a real flying machine, instead of sitting playing flight simulator on the computer!

When it came to my turn I was happy to sit back and watch the view. I didn’t want to touch any controls I was content to trust the pilot.  It was peaceful up there and I loved floating in silence!

When you are up in the sky all the problems down below get smaller and smaller until they almost disappear.

Time sometimes works in much the same way.  The further away you get from an event the more it can diminish.

There was a time when I could tell you exactly how long ago Andrew died.  Now all I know is it was about 15 weeks ago.  It may have been exactly 15 weeks last Saturday but I’m no longer counting them religiously.  Even if “15 weeks” seems a very specific number, I’ve just always been good with numbers!

I used to know if he would have been home or away on his rota.  Now the rota for 2011 has been thrown away.  It doesn’t matter because now he is not here all the time.  My life is no longer shaped by his shift patterns.

In the early days I would wear Andrew’s clothes.  Sometimes I would even sleep in his jumper.  Now his clothes are folded away and some have even been given away.  Today I’ve bagged up even more and I’m  ready to give them away too.

The other day I decided for the first time to wear my own watch and not Andrew’s.   I didn’t want to wear a black watch but my white one.  Now I am free to choose whichever to match my outfit.

I’m slowly letting go and “moving on”.

Andrew always used the expression “moving on” when I wanted to talk about something and he didn’t want to discuss it.  

“Andrew - you need a haircut.”
“Moving on!”

It was said in good humour, never with any malice.  If friends talked about buying flowers or gift s for their wives…

“Andrew you could buy my flowers,” I’d simper sweetly, 
deliberately provoking a response.
“Moving on!” He’d conclude with a cheeky grin.

I’m beginning to let go.  My fingers are no longer clenched so tightly to the past.  My grip is loosening.

I was telling a fellow widow that I had booked our holiday this year.

“That’s good.  You are no longer living a minute at a time.”

I hadn’t realised until her comment how far I’d come.  I’m planning for a future.  My future and the boys’ future.  I have new dreams and ideas for us as a family of three and plans for me on my own!

Obviously it is still early days, as people keep reminding me, and there are some things I’m not ready to give up yet. 

I still wear Andrew’s wedding ring on a chain round my neck but one day I will choose to wear a different necklace.

Andrew’s profile still survives on Facebook.  I’m not ready to delete it and change my status from "married" to “widow”.  Although on the census form that’s exactly what I will have to put.  Then the other day I had a form to fill in from school from my eldest son and I had to put “I” will be attending parents evening and cross out the usual “we”.

I’d like to change the message on the answer phone but my youngest son doesn’t want to lose his dad’s voice at the touch of a button and I have to respect that for now too.  This grief is not just mine.

But with each bag of “stuff” I give away I take another step forward.  With each decision I make on my own I create our new life.

It’s like the paragliders I saw the other day.  They wouldn’t be able to leave the ground if they were carrying too much weight or were tied down.  Letting go means you lift higher.  However scary that process may be.

We listened to a song at Andrew’s funeral called “Everlasting God” by a Christian band called Y Friday.  The words of the song are taken from Isaiah chapter 40.

“Do you not know?  Have you not heard?
The Lord is the everlasting God, the creator of the ends of the earth.  He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no-one can fathom.  He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.
Even youths grow tired and weary and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.  They will soar on the wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not grow faint.”

I want to soar like an eagle.

I want to dream of a future that’s filled with hope and laughter. 

I want to feel whole again and not torn in two.

The other day I wrote in my diary that I want to be able to turn over several pages at once and be several months from here where the pain has subsided. 

In reality I know I have to go through this to grow strong.

But just like being up in a glider I want to be able to look back down and see where I have come from and remember the happy times from the past.  They have made me what I am today.

My diary and my blog are evidence of my journey.  My journey of “moving on”.

Sunday, 4 March 2012

One Hundred Not Out

I have been very aware recently that I am coming up to my one hundredth post on unravelling-edges. For a while I have been pondering what words of wisdom I shall write. Such a momentous number requires something illuminating and profound!

Well this is IT and I am all out of inspiration.

I have reached another dip in the road, yet another stopping point where I wonder if life will ever be the same again.

Of course it NEVER will and I am forever fighting the fact there will always be clouds on the horizon that can with short notice drop another bucketful of tears.

I want the sunny skies and happy days back, not that married life was ever plain sailing but it just seems a whole lot easier than this.

Everything seems so immovable and heavy. Change appears impossible.

I’ve failed in my lent challenge to get up early every morning and set aside the time to turn this blog into a manuscript for a book. I am always in such a hurry get my story “out there”, afraid someone else will take my idea and produce something far more marketable and appealing. I am frightened I will miss the boat with the publishing world, that my little story will be overlooked.

“grief is sooooo last year, now we are looking for happy endings.”

But here I am one hundred posts in (and 85 posts on re-ravelling), still writing in my little corner trying to change the world. And there you are reading this, your comments and encouragement invaluable droplets of hope.

Maybe just to have written so far is my achievement and something I should be proud of?

My parents both left school at 15 to start working and they had no aspirations for me to stay on at school beyond 16. However I never even considered leaving school so early. I knew from quite early on that I would continue in education all the way to getting my degree, even though I had no idea what that entailed. I was the girl who rebelled by staying at school not giving up at the earliest opportunity!

Thoughts about my writing are the same, I will continue. There is still a mountain to climb so why would I give up now when I have come so far?  

Often I think I give up too easily, maybe I just pick my battles after all?
So it’s time to lace up those boots, wrap up against that howling wind and carry on.

Continuing to follow me is optional and many thanks to those of you who have made it this far…