It’s Been a Year

I wonder if I’ll ever come to terms with the fact that you aren’t here anymore. Will I ever be comfortable when September comes around and brings another year without you to a  close? Is it weird that I consider September the start of the new year?

Today is your 56th birthday and tomorrow marks two years without you. It’s been two years but you still play just as active part in my life as you did before you passed away.

Your words still swirl around my head and in my dreams. Most noticeably, when you used to say “We have standards”. My goodness, that used to annoy me so much! “How can you be such a snob!?” is what I used  say to you. I recall a few arguments we had when you would say that overused line in response to me wearing a cheap pair of scuffed shoes because they weren’t real leather and looked tatty. How could you be so superficial (?), is what I used to think. But now I understand what you were trying to teach me.

The last year was somewhat lonely, but absolutely necessary. I’ve learnt a lot about dealing with my grief away from everyone and everything we knew in Devon. I’ve also been learning how to manage my grief during a pandemic (which is something I don’t think any of us expected for 2020).

I think the whole world is left a little dumbfounded by the events that 2020 has been witness to. For nearly half of the year we were locked down, but it meant that Evee and I were lucky enough to hide away in Southampton together. It also meant that I was put on furlough – something that I will forever be grateful for.

So much of our life experience is based on doing that we rarely get a chance to simple be.  But, for two months of the year I had the chance to completely wind down and reflect on my options for my next move. All I knew was that I was not happy in my job.

So, I sowed a few seeds and come the end of furlough I had three possible paths that life could take me (including a one way ticket abroad that cost me £10 … perhaps not the most intelligent move what with the current climate, but the price!?)…

Regardless of what option I chose to take I learnt that the ultimate act of self love is giving up on something that no longer serves you because, as you say, “we have standards”. I haven’t worked as hard as I have worked, or struggled as much as I have struggled in my life to spend the rest of it behind a computer screen for up to 12 hours a day. No thank you, because I have standards. You taught me to never settle with the company I keep, nor the life path I find myself on. So, I quit the job that I hated so much – the ultimate act of self love.

Do you remember that quiz I took late one night to find out the “perfect career” for me? We laughed because the thought of me being a police officer is just absurd and quite frankly, dangerous. Well, as I said, I did sew a few seeds during furlough and I’ve finally figured out what I am going to do with my life and, finally, it makes sense!

Within a day of leaving work, I was given the opportunity to start a whole new career path within the NHS! I’m really going to help people. I know you’d be so excited for me, Mum. You’d throw your head back and say “Why didn’t we think of that sooner!?” You’d be so knowledgable about it too. Goodness, the conversations we would have had.

Within a week of leaving work, Evee and I also launched our first grief cafe. I am so immensely proud of the steps we are taking. Every ticket was reserved and people came together to share the pain and talk about the grief that comes with losing their person, the way that we lost you. It was emotional, but it wasn’t sad. It was empowering.

Within two weeks of leaving work, I drove five hours to a city I’ve never been to, to move into a house I had never even seen, to start training and studying for my my new career.

And, within two years of losing you, I can finally look people in the eye and tell them that I am happy. And for the first time, in two years without you, I’m not lying. My heart is happy.

Before, I always felt so much pressure to try to rebuild the Katie I was when you were around. Today, I am so much more than that younger Katie. Do you remember when I met you in Cardiff and you walked straight passed me? You had to do a double take when I called after you. You didn’t recognise me because I had cut myself a fringe the night before. I pretended to be insulted but it was funny more than anything. Well,  I haven’t given myself a haircut this time, the change is completely internal, but I feel unrecognisable. 

I’ll never get over losing you, Mum. But I’ll take you with me always.

I’ve mentioned before how I have called the last year my “purification” phase. I stood alone, because it’s what I needed to do. But I am closing that chapter now, and I am starting a new one. And, the title of this new life chapter is “Happiness”. I’m really excited about it.

So Happy 21st Birthday again to you, Mum!  And Happy New year. Thank you for teaching me to never settle with the company I keep, nor the path I find myself on, because “we have standards” and mediocre just won’t do.

I’m on the verge of something really big, Mum. I just wish I could show you, but more often than not, I think it’s you who is still showing me.


I celebrate you today and every day, always

Katie x

40 thoughts on “It’s Been a Year

  1. Such heart touching words Katie. I can relate to it so much.

    And incidentally- September for me too is a tough one in a way — my dearest wife’s birthday and death anniversary both in the same month 💕

    Love and blessings to you 💐🤗

    1. I am sorry to learn that September is a difficult month for you too. I hope you are getting through with kindness to yourself. Sending you strength. As always, thank you for your support <3

  2. Such lovely world Katie
    I read and feel such happiness in your words.
    I miss mum so much but I have a happy place in my heart for her – forever.
    So proud of you all 💕💕💕
    Happy Birthday Di
    Miss you like crazy 🎂🥂

  3. Dearest Katie….your beautiful writing touched my heart right away….Happiness has found you as in you’ve found happiness….you look so peaceful & happy….the inner glow is visible….congratulations to you….the new job….the new home….most importantly…..the “new” & happy you….much love ❤️

    1. Thank you, thank you, thank you Navin! It’s funny because I had struggled for a month or two to write anything and wasn’t sure whether to post this or not. I’m glad I did though! When we started this blog, my posts were nearly always sad, but this happiness is a part of grief too and deserves to be shared just as much. Thank you for your support <3

      1. It’s a fantastic sharing, Katie….express whichever way your heart wants you to….the highs & lows are the ones, which make our heart to flow ❤️

  4. Our current situation has taken so much from so many, yet given so much to so many in other ways. Strange times.
    I wish you well with your new path.
    A glorious tribute to your mum.

  5. Hi Katie!
    Everything we do has a plan for us even in our parents deaths. I found that out as I had to watch my mom die & grieve that she was leaving! It made me stronger, but yet I had to learn how much I needed to not take anything for granted in any part of my life. I have been told am a great teacher, & learned so much from books. That’s how I was brought up so grieving now is nothing as I am happy with what God brings into my life each & everyday. Thanks for following my blog & giving me the chance to spill out what I have on my mind!

    1. I’ve certainly learnt a lot too, i don’t think we will ever stop learning. Thank you for commenting, if you ever want to write a submission for our As Told By You page, please do so 🙂 x

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