15th December

15th December

Just a quick post to let you know that my beloved grandma passed away at 10:15am today.  After the rollercoaster of the past few days, the end was very peaceful and we were all by her side.   There is, of course, tremendous emptiness and sadness, but I am so grateful that both of my grandparents died, peaceful and warm, at home, surrounded by their family.  They deserved that.   Thank you so much for all of your kind words and thoughts over the past week or so.  They have helped a lot.

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Transcending the body

Transcending the body

When the vicar, Sarah, arrived yesterday to see my grandmother and to say a prayer for her, she walked into the room and said “Oh, it doesn’t look like Dora.”   Far from being an insensitive comment, it was tinged with tenderness and some surprise.  Of course, she would have always seen my grandma at church dressed smartly in a skirt and navy blue blazer with court shoes, beautiful white hair perfectly curled–always immaculate.  But her observation ran deeper than that, for me. There is something that, when it begins to fade, makes the person look less and less like

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A personal update: nearing the end

A personal update: nearing the end

My grandma is in the very last stages of her life.  It is hard to say, of course, but I can’t see that she will continue for more than a day or two.  It could be hours.  She is sedated now and unresponsive to touch.  This is a blessing in some ways, because her breathing is accompanied by a rattle, and she sometimes appears to be trying to cough and struggling.  It is disturbing to watch, but her facial muscles show no signs of agitation.  The nurses have reassured us that she is relaxed and that the experience is worse

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29th November

29th November

Happy 184th birthday to Louisa May Alcott–a wonderful writer who remains an inspiration to women across the world.

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A quick catch-up

A quick catch-up

Happy Saturday, friends!  And to those of you in the States, I hope you’re enjoying a wonderful Thanksgiving. I’ve been a bit quiet the past couple of days because there has been so much going on at work.  We had parents’ evening on Thursday from 2:30pm until 8pm so, as you can imagine, I fell into bed pretty much as soon as I arrived home!  The school term never really slows down–what with Christmas productions, assessments and all sorts of festive parties and afternoon fayres, there is always something to keep us teachers busy.  I do enjoy this season though,

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Why should it take an earthquake?

Why should it take an earthquake?

I’ve been thinking, this morning, about how quickly one’s perspective can change, often through illness or a sudden event that causes us to focus on what’s important. I have often listened to people who have faced trauma or long-term, serious illness and been inspired by their views.  Then, inevitably, I have thought ‘What if it didn’t take something so huge and catastrophic to force us to re-evaluate our lives and our values?’ I had an awful dose of tonsillitis just before the summer.  I was at home, off work, for almost a week, in a lot of pain, shivering, sweating

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When forgetting is a blessing

When forgetting is a blessing

Last night was quite difficult, emotionally. As you know, my beloved grandma has Alzheimer’s and my mum is living with her as a full-time carer.  Over the past few weeks, she has deteriorated rapidly, the ravages of the disease taking its toll on her body as well as her mind.   In contrast to a couple of months ago when we were able to take her out to the seafront and she would walk for a few minutes, holding onto her wheelchair, enjoying the fresh air and, usually, an ice cream, she is now bedbound, barely able to lift her

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Sweet dreams

Sweet dreams

When you’re so tired, and the weather is so bad, that all you can do is lay your head on the pillow and listen to Michael Morpurgo read extracts from his books! It doesn’t matter if you’re three, thirteen or thirty, a good story is a good story–and a good storyteller makes it all come alive. What do you read or listen to, when you need just a bit of comfort?

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What to do when you’re dumbfounded

What to do when you’re dumbfounded

Sometimes in life, somebody says or does something that is so ridiculous and factually untrue that it is hard not to dissolve into hysterical laughter, stretch your arms out in a manner that says nothing but a slow and pronounced “WTF?” or become so frenzied and angry that you want to swipe them upside the head and pelt them with your heaviest belongings. Whilst one or two of those options may occasionally be appropriate, none of them seems like a real answer to me.  It is really hard to keep cool and collected enough to deal with the issue when

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Friday and the threat of rain

Friday and the threat of rain

A brief, bedtime post, which I hope I will finish before I fall asleep and drop the phone on my face! It has been a busy week, and it was a long day yesterday at the theatre with my Shakespeare kids, so I’m pretty tired.  I can also feel my throat swelling and getting sore, so I hope I’m not coming down with something.  Today was good, though.  The children were bleary-eyed but full of pride and excitement about their production.  As they should be! My Year 3 students told me that it’s going to rain heavily on Saturday and

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