No Rain No Flowers – Finding Positivity In Hard Times

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So, it’s been a while since we last spoke.

A lot has happened in that time. Some good, some bad. Some happy, some very sad.

It’s fair to say that all in all it’s been a pretty turbulent few months, and that I’ve found it quite testing. I guess that, as always, I’m writing this blog post as a bit of catharsis. It always helps me to talk through how I’m feeling and to explain what’s been going on. And hopefully it can provide a bit of comfort to anyone who’s been having a bit of a tough time lately too.

On 17th April my Grandpa died, after a long couple of years of illness. He was taken into hospital, then transferred to a care home and sadly, he never came home. Grief really is a funny old thing. Even though you’d think that somebody being ill for a long time would prepare you for what’s coming, it almost makes it more of a shock. It’s as if you’re in disbelief that what you’ve all been dreading has actually happened. It’s been a hard few weeks coming to terms with it – planning for & attending the funeral, but the strength of my family and the love I’ve felt from my friends and my colleagues has helped me through.

Our Gan Gan was one of a kind, characterised by the fact that he let us call him Gan Gan in the first place… It was a nickname born out of the fact that my brother Joe (the first of us 6 Grandkids) couldn’t pronounce ‘Grandpa’ and it just kinda stuck as the rest of us came along. Joe struggled to say ‘Grandma’ too and instead referred to her as ‘Bugger’ for the first few weeks that he could talk – unsurprisingly,  that one didn’t stick quite so well…

Gan Gan was intelligent; a lover of literature, particularly poetry. He loved to laugh and never lost his sense of humour, telling jokes until the end. He was a simple man, so far from materialistic – as long as he had his radio, a hearty dinner and a big slice of bread and butter to mop up any leftovers with he was happy. He was a proud Welshman, particularly when it came to the rugby, and listening to all of his favourite Welsh songs brought him a great deal of comfort in his final days. He was a family man. He loved nothing more than a gathering where he could spend precious time with us all. There will be a huge hole at the next one and we will miss him so much, but we’re so happy that he’s no longer suffering and is finally at peace.

Gan Gan, we love you & we’ll raise a ‘slug of lemonade in a dirty glaaaaass’ to you next time we’re all together!

The day before his funeral we also really sadly lost a friend of the family to cancer. Clive was one of the most genuine and kindest people I have ever met. He got my family involved in the cricket club and if you know anything about me you’ll know that Sherwood is basically a second home for us now. He was one of those people who truly knew the gift of giving his time – when he asked you a question you knew that he genuinely wanted to know the answer and he’d store it away in his memory to bring up again the next time you spoke. Sounds simple, but it meant so much. He was the definition of a ‘true gent’ and one that will be so sorely missed, by my family & so many others.

“No rain no flowers” is a quote that I have kept going back to over the past couple of months. It can be difficult to see the sunshine when you feel like you’re living under a raincloud, but if I’ve learnt anything over the past couple of months it’s that you need the tough times in order to be able to really appreciate the good.

Speaking of the good, in May we brought home our puppy Stanley and he has already changed our lives for the better. He’s a complete nutcase, either bouncing off the walls or fast asleep – I thought I could sleep a lot, but I’ve definitely met my match in Stan. He has given us a much needed distraction and brought so much love to our household that I couldn’t imagine coming home without being greeted by him & his wagging tail now.

My cousin also gave birth to a beautiful baby boy last month, which is so exciting. He looks absolutely gorgeous and we can’t wait to meet him!

It’s a huge cliche, but it is so important it is to appreciate the little things; a giggle with your work colleagues, McDonalds chicken nuggets, an ice cold can of coke, a late night drive with music pumping, the smell after it rains…

I’ve definitely been taking time to stop and smell the flowers once the rain has gone & I urge you to do the same.

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