Although October Is a lovely month full of autumnal colour, It Is not such a lovely month on a personal level. On the 18th October my family and myself have to go through the motions of the day that we lost a beautiful wife, mummy, grandma and great grandma. The last three years on her anniversary I have taken my dad to lake where she Is buried and try and get through our day.

The day we lost her was beyond anything I could have ever imagined, and still struggle so much In my life without her. I was still attached to her apron string at the age of 51. Her and my dad were a massive part of my life and bringing up my six children. She was the light of our whole life. I felt as If my own life had been sliced In half and It went flying off with her. I had no Idea how I was going to carry on. I still to this day don’t understand the concept of death. You spend most of your life with your mother then she Is gone, but her clothes, her things are still there, that I went and bought with her.

Three years on we still can’t bear to part with them. We went shopping all the time, went to craft fairs, did craft things for so many years. I still find It hard to go to places we went, which was mostly everywhere. ‘Where are you? I used to say, ‘Mum where have you gone’? ‘I don’t understand’, I’m sure I was going mad. Counselling did nothing to help my terrible grief, too early perhaps. I was living In my own little bubble, no shopping for dinner, lunch boxes, no washing, no anything. The girls became like ‘Matilda’, from Roald Dahl’s book, making their own. I was neglecting my own family. They were very much trying to look after me, the blank empty soul that I felt. Christmas came and went, how dreadful for them looking back, there was no celebration, I cancelled It, ignored It, as she wasn’t there to share It with us. I can never give that back to them. Every day was bleak, and I had no Idea what day of the week It was. From the time the consultant told us there was nothing more they could do until she left us five weeks later we were on autopilot. Myself, my sister, daughters and nieces became the live-In nurses until she was left at peace.

I struggled through the whole of the next year not knowing what to do with myself, and couldn’t see what I was going to do for the rest of my life. In January 2016 I went to Anaheim to the CHA trade show for crafts and had a holiday at Venice beach by myself. I didn’t want to come back, I wanted to be in another life. There was no chance of that as I had a family at home. They needed me at whatever capacity, after all I was their mother. Being away and visiting the trade show inspired me to carry on with my crafts. When I got home, my Inks and stamps came out again, and I spent most of the day designing things and making cards, and the rest of all my other days not doing anything else. I don’t think to this day I have done a weekly shop, just daily, because I could only think about what was going on that day. My mind couldn’t do anything else. I could lose myself all day In making things and It has got me through the last few of years.

In June 2016 I went to ‘Creative exchanges’ and ‘The one big show’ AFCI-UK (Association for creative Industries) and met Craig De Souza the executive director, who has helped me come on to a level I could have only dreamed about, and helped me perhaps see a little pin prick light at the end of my tunnel. I met some ladies who have become firm friends and extremely supportive to me, Selina Dudley and Karen Claire.