Ramblings Blog 2021

October 16th 2021
 
2 weeks today and my poetry book is a year old. If you have not yet popped onto Amazon to review it, nows the time!!!
 
This book was a beautiful dedication to my late husband through the medium of poetry. It has now been 777 days or 25 months and 2 weeks. In some ways it feels like it all happened yesterday but in other ways, it feels much longer.
 
As I turn 50 this year, there will be more poetry and it is up to me now how I share that. There is a second poetry book of about 10,000 words that is ticking over in a “work in progress” folder on my computer. There are general poems as well as some about Mum and Mark. Whether I post them, try for a second publication or venture into YouTube, who knows .

October 4th 2021

So, Ramblings has been out a year on the 30th of this month. Its been out a year, can you believe that? While that’s exciting , it also is sad as it reminds me of how long Mark has been gone. I am in my 3rd widow year. 

While I started my 3rd year as a widow in September, I also am in my 50th birthday year. My plan is …..using my birthday year to start putting life back together. Some would argue that I already have put my life into some semblance of order, but there is always more to do. 

Ramblings was my starting point. My first two years as a widow were my working through some issues and my 50th…..my new starting block. 

Im proud of Ramblings. It’s not a best seller, it never was going to be. But it’s mine. I wrote it and Im proud. 

September 25th 2021
 
This widow has just got back from a little jaunt to the Gold Coast. My first time there without Mark. It was strange to be there without him but new memories are the way forward now.While Dad and I stayed in Q1, the same hotel that Mark and I used, I could laugh at the memory of staying in a “not so nice” hotel. I smiled at the fact that the $5 brekky cafe had been demolished, and the waitress could never work out how 4 of us wanted 5 breakfasts.
This time, we took a drive out to Springbrook National Park. New memories. New times. New starts…..
(Old memories always in the background😉)
September 10th 2021
 
I smiled today when I thought of the words “forty something” widow. This 40 something, is 50 this year. Oh dear god, that snuck up on me. However, my theory……embrace it. Thats my plan.
 
BUT
its also a bittersweet birthday without Mark here and without Mum. Mark would have gone all out and gone crazy for it, despite my protestations. Mum and I would have gone out for our usual birthday lunch together (our birthdays 8 days apart).
 
SO
This 40 something will be a proud “50 year old woman” and not a  “50 year old widow”. Im swapping one w word for another. Ill always be a widow, that will never change but how I view myself can.
 
There is a VERY small celebration planned and it will be on Mums birthday. As sentimental as that sounds, it keeps her as part of it.
 
The other thing there will be ……cake!

September 5th 2021

Month eleven of sale. Month 11?  On October 30, I can say that ‘ramblings’ has been out a year. Seriously! How fast has that gone! I had my first royalties at the end of July. I’m not well known and poetry is an acquired taste, so I wasn’t expecting a lot. I didn’t get a lot but I got something. I also achieved something I never believed I could do, and that’s getting the book published.

Looking back to the writing of ramblings through to my poems on the website now, I can see improvement in my work. I asked someone else if they could see it too. They agreed and said even the way I write and structure emails has changed. My writing must be improving! 

I have sent a copy of my book to a local radio station on the Sunshine Coast and hope that they may give me a little promotion……

August 29th 2021
 
Tomorrow  It will be two years since I lost my beautiful soulmate. The world is a much  gloomier place without him.
 
I can’t rib him for the wish website purchases he made. I can’t pretend to be asleep for an extra 10 minutes when he is nudging me for a cup of tea. I can’t come home from the shops or a walk on the beach and tell him about it. They are the sad parts.
 
What I hold on to are the other bits. The memories of things we did. The laughing at silly stories and jokes he told. The fact he was lousy at remembering people’s names so could never introduce me!! The fact that when he said “it’s just a 5 minute DIY job” meant that I should prepare myself for a couple of hours of hard graft!
 
What I also hold onto is how hard he fought his illness against all the odds. How he beat the odds for 2 years (2017 and 2018) when the Drs didn’t think he’d make Christmas. How he got to our 25th wedding.
 
But the main thing…..
We had each other for almost 27 years. We were best mates, soulmates. We shared life, memories and many tears when he was ill. But we were together, we had a blast and he was mine. That beats everything.
 
Miss you
831

August 22nd 2021

Remembering today about all the dates that always come to mind when you lose someone. There is the proverbial “year of firsts”. Anniversary, birthday, Christmas and of course ‘the day.’

My husband was well known on his birthday, for starting it on Australian time and finishing it on UK time, so he had an extra few hours to celebrate. Lets just say that this was a habit he didn’t break, even at the end.

Due to the time I lost him, time differences, and of course the fact that friends and family live in the UK as well as Australia , my “the day” goes over 2 days. For the UK it is 30th August and for Australian friends and family it is the 31st. The day will always be 2 days for me. 

While I can imagine him cracking up, that he managed to keep that habit going, it has made the day harder. Everyone has a thought about the day. Everyone has an opinion. Everyone thinks they should say something. If I am honest, I don’t know what I want. It’s the day that my world changed forever. 

August 17th 2021

I`ve been thinking a lot about loss, since I am approaching the 2 years. My poetry book was my way of putting into words how I felt afterwards. From the little things like not being able to ask a question to him. Things such as walking through a shop and picking up a T-shirt to buy for him, then of course, remembering he’s not there to wear it. Not being able to sit and watch a movie together. I talked in the personal blog about a great book I had read. Megan Devine – you are a star.

I finished reading the Megan Devine book and can I say this. If you have been through grief, going through loss, are a widow/widower (however long ago it happened) read this book. It should be compulsory reading for friends too.

When you lose someone, everyone wants to fix you. Everyone wants to make it better. Everyone has advice and a solution.  Trouble is, loss and grief is not a fixable problem. It’s something you carry forever. It’s like a rucksack. On good days, you get to put it down for a while. But, it’s always there.

I got sick of hearing (brutal honesty here!), ‘he’s in a better place’; ‘he wouldn’t want you to be sad’; ‘you need to move on’; ‘he wouldn’t want this for you’ and so on. The truth is, as a widow, it’s not just my life that has changed, the whole world has. My world will never, ever,  be the same again. Megan’s book reiterated that for me. It made me realise. that however I felt , it was my normal. Some days would be good, some not good. But each day was mine, and I could do with it what I wanted. The big take home message from the book was that you should never fear judgement from others. It doesn’t matter what people think. You know what you’re living through. 

I`ve done a full review of Megan’s book- check out the link here.

https://madhatterpress.cloud/its-ok-not-to-be-ok

August 12th 2021

I have been thinking about further promotion for this book too. The natural progression seems to be into a YouTube channel. Given the success of the audio visual poetry that has already been done on here , there is a massive potential to turn any of “Ramblings” poems into audio visuals too.  As I think about it, I have the iPad beside me and am consciously wondering what ones I could do?

Poem 2: 25th wedding would work as it is Mark and my history, holidays, moving to Australia etc.

Poem 5: Memories from Childhood. My brother and the ‘Chicken Licken’ book. 

Poem 6: About Mum & me. 

Poems 7, 8, 12, 14, 18 (The Wizard!!), 19, 21, 22, 23, 29 and 31. 

There are actually more there than I realised! Maybe I need to get over my self conscious, hate the sounds of my own voice, can’t stand seeing myself on video, complex that I have!!

There is potential here. Maybe I try and gather some images to go with one or two of them. That might be my starting point….

August 2nd 2021
 
Month ten of sales is upon us.
As I reflect on this book, it gently reminds me that at the end of the month it’s 2 years since the loss of Mark. It was a standing joke when he was here, that he started every birthday on Australia time, and finished it on UK time so that he got ten extra hours. He did that until the end. Due to the time differences, “the day” is 30th august for the UK and 31st August for Australia. He even got his extra hours in for that. I always smile thinking of that.
I am very proud of the book, it’s raw and honest. That honesty has over the last year helped a couple of new friends that I have made, widows theirselves. The book has also been accepted into the library of Camp Widow in America.
I often wonder whether there is a book or article or even a series of articles in me, about the grief journey, my journey. It’s a journey that is different for everyone with grief. I was thinking last night about all the words and phrases that were thrown at me after Mark. The “you’re strong”; “he wouldn’t want you to be sad” and so on. Do those phrases help? If not, why not? How do they feel from a widows point of view? Maybe that book is in me. Maybe it’s something that can help friends of widows and widowers in examining their behaviours and words. Sometimes, the words that we think are helping, can be the worst thing to say. Who knows. I might have to give it a go. If I do it and it helps one person, it’s well worth it.

July 27th 2021

As I look back to the poems in the book, it makes me think of all the emotions that were,  and still do run through me. Some things have changed in the last 2 years. Some haven’t. Some never will.

What hasn’t changed?

I’m still a widow. No longer part of the Hattersley double act. No longer “The Madhatters”. That’s not going to change.

What has changed?

One thing I notice is that the emotions are settling. Someone wise once told me that it would happen one day. Things would just feel different and she was right. (I wonder if that person in WA is reading this and smiling).

Sadly along the way, some friendships change and that made me sad. Everyone handles grief differently but I am incredibly grateful for those who stuck with me and supported me.

What will never change?

I’ll never forget every memory I had with my husband, but I have to make new memories and bring new traditions to my life. It will all take time and that I know. I will never ever forget the best thing that happened to me but I also know that my life must take those steps into a new domain.

I  was privileged in my life to find that one person that made me whole. I was lucky to find that one person that changed my world, my soulmate. Not everyone in life is that lucky.

I  was.

July 21st 2021
Going through the loss of a spouse is traumatic. Its heartbreaking and it leaves a hole in you that will never be filled. Something is always missing. Using words to express feelings is something that I find cathartic. Those of you that have read my work will have noticed that.
 
 
Writing Ramblings gifted me a few things. I realised that my writing had not left me. It had been something I had done years ago but the creativity was still in there somewhere!! It also enabled me to get my first published article. It gave me some new friends, those in my situation that really got it. They really knew how I felt. It also gave me pride.Yes, these grief poems gave me pride. Pride in my writing and pride in myself.
This book has sold in UK, Australia and USA. Who knows how many? I am by no means a best selling author and neither did I expect to be. Here I am and I am rapidly approaching the end of July and my first royalties . Am I nervous? Yes, who wouldn`t be!!
What happens, happens! But I can say…..I did this!

July 15th 2021

When I think of this book, I am always drawn to remembering Mark. After all, he was the reason I wrote it, my inspiration! The photo that I have shared today was taken on one of his many hospital visits. This one in particular was taken on a discharge day. He was coming home and I think the smile says it all! 

Despite all the hospital visits, ICU stays and everything else that was thrown our way…we still made every time a good time. 

Ramblings is in month 9 of sale and at the end of this month, the first royalties will be in. Eek! How did it sell? Did it sell? 

The article I was discussing last week, entitled “2” is up online and ready for viewing –

 “2” – what I have learned.

I hope that those of you who read through it, can understand just a little of how a widow feels. Everyone has their own grief. Ive heard it likened to a backpack that you cannot remove. Sometimes it is right as a feather and other times heavy as rock, but you cannot ever remove it. 

Writing was the thing that got me through. There are continual good and bad days. Memories creep in when you are least expecting them but you know what? Thats ok. In the words of  podcaster and novelist Nora McInerny….Its ok to laugh and cry too. 

July 9th 2021

I am currently working on a new article. Part of the process of this article was revisiting my poetry book. I hadn’t read it for some time.

The  one thing that went through my mind was ‘did I have a favourite poem?’  It’s a question I was asked recently but one I never had an answer to. Well, after reading my book, here’s the answer.  How do I choose? There were so many in there that were all favourites for different reasons. I couldn’t pick out a single poem to highlight. So, here are a few. 

Number 2 was a particular favourite as it commented for silver wedding, the last we would share together.  Number 3 was. favourite. It talked of my favourite Christmas. Mum, Dad, Mark and I . Everyone enjoying a good time. I have some special memories from Christmas 2018.  Number 5 is extra special. Its about my brother and I.  

Poem 7 is a favourite as it celebrates the life of my parents and memories we all have. 12, 12, 16 and 18 are special too. You can see where this headed can’t you. How can you highlights a favourite?

For some reason the final poem, entitled 102 days resonates with me more than the other ‘grief’ poems. I think this was a time when I realised that it was approaching Christmas and he wasn’t here. He really wasn’t coming back. He wasn’t in hospital or away anywhere. He had gone. It started to sink in!

The article that prompted me to re-read the book is called “2”. A simple title for a simple reason. Next month is 2 years since I lost my husband. Over those two years, lots of things have happened…good and bad, happy and sad. The article will re-examine how life is now and what I have learnt along the last 2 years. That article should be ready to upload by next weekend!

July 3rd 2021

July. Month 7 of the year….already!!! 

Ramblings is in its 9th month of sale and this month, the first royalties trickle in. 

Next month is two years since I became the forty something widow when I lost my handsome husband. In that two years so much has changed!

In the last two years I have spoken to many widows.
In the last two years I have written a couple of articles on the subject.
In the last two years, Ive made some beautiful friends, other widows who know how I feel without me having to explain or justify a feeling.
My book is now in the reading library of “Camp Widow” – Im incredibly proud of this. Many more women have access to reading it and knowing how they feel is normal. To feel low or sad is normal. To want to scream at the world is normal. To want to shut yourself off from the world is normal .
If my book has helped  one person….I have achieved something good.

June 20th 2021

Here we are nudging slowly towards the end of June. Half way though the year. Halfway towards the forty something widow becoming fifty!!! 

Sales ranks are a weird thing. If anyone knows what they mean, contact me please! Ramblings sales ranks jumped a massive 3,000,000 places in the last few days. What does that mean? Ive sold some? Ive sold more than everyone else on poetry or have I sold nothing? Well, when the royalties come in, I’ll know! 

Ramblings is my grief. Ive said this before. It’s raw. It’s brave. It’s unfiltered. There are no boundaries. Im a writer, not a talker. My grief path was, and will always be, through my words. 

Good things have come from this book. It is now in the reading library of @campwidow – an organisation that holds weekend retreats for widows to share stories and get support. It gifted me a friend, through my Dads photography site, who is a widow. We’ve been communicating for some time. The book and my articles went to a widowed friend of hers. 

The fact that this book has helped a few people work on their grief is amazing. The fact that this book gifted me friends is something I never anticipated. The fact that this book, while raw and unfiltered, served to show friends and my family my feelings. It allowed friends in particular behind the doors of Mark and my marriage to see the closeness we had.  The fact that is with @campwidow is amazing. The fact that it’s sold some (I don’t care if it just 1!) in Australia, UK and USA tells me that I did something right. 

June 1st 2021

So, to follow on from last month…am I still neurotically checking sales ranks? Yep, sure am!  I actually don’t know why I am because I have no damn idea how the things work. Like Ive said before, if it was as easy as you sell a book, rank goes up…..but I know its not. 

Anyway, I will have a little more of a clue by the end of next month as my first royalties will be coming in. Thats a scary thought…royalties. What if there aren’t any? I am realistic enough to know that I am not a worldwide best seller and nor did I ever expect that  but …if I make a few dollars Ill be a happy woman. At the end of the day, if I have sold a few, then I am a published author. A friend of mine once said “you sold some in Australia, uk and in the states so surely that makes you a world renowned author”. With friends and support like that, what more do I need?

Ramblings remains out for sale and please do leave your reviews. Good , bad or indifferent. As an author I learn by a review so I am happy to hear bad reviews too. 

So, as my next publication is about to hit the online stores, thank you for your support of this one!

May 2021

We find ourselves stumbling heading into the 5th month of the year. This month “Ramblings” heads into its 7th month of sale. Trust me when I say, every author can tell you exactly how many months/years their book has been in the world!!! 

The Ramblings Facebook page continues and is updated fortnightly. It is a work in progress and I am currently working on a few ideas for it. I posted last week that I will answer any questions that you have on ramblings, so please get in touch and send them to me!

I find myself becoming neurotic in the respect of checking amazon sales ranks daily. sales ranks are not as simple as ‘if you sell, your book goes up’ and so on, there seems to be more to it. Suffice to say, my UK sales ranks are moving in the right direction so I am going to hope that this is a good thing!!! 

If you were lucky enough to be gifted a signed copy or if you bought your copy of the book, please head to amazon and leave a review. Id love to see what you all think, positive or negative. There was a negative review from the States where the reviewer stated the free sample did not allow him to see what he expected to see. He wanted free poetry I think!!! 

Thank you all for your continued support and sharing my news. You have no idea how much I appreciate it. 

April 2021

It seems to be flying by. Time that is! ‘Ramblings’ has been out in the world for 6 months now. I know I have sold in the US, the UK and Australia. I know my friends says that makes me a world renowned author!!!

Since my last blog, I have designed and built a Facebook page dedicated to the book. Please check it out in the link. It’s in its infancy right now but will be a work in progress.

Ramblings Facebook page

March 2021

March sees Ramblings enter its 5th month of sale. In some ways, it feels that it has been out in the world for years but in others,it feels like days! Doesn’t help that I am not a patient woman I suppose!!!

Ramblings was written raw on grief and high on memories. There’s the perfect description of it right there, my friends.  When you lose someone, especially a spouse, the grief is unprecedented. Since this grief, I have been thrown into the grief of losing a parent (3 weeks ago).

I look at this collection of poems and am immensely proud. I have to be patient to see how its selling but I guess anyone who has a book will tell you that they compulsively check amazon sales rankings!! I do too!

I am also incredibly proud of how my work is developing,both as a poet and as a storyteller. I look at Ramblings and look at work now and can see developments in style as well as differing content.

February 2021

Welcome to the second month of the year already.  It seems to me that Ramblings has been on sale for so long, I have to remind myself that February is only month four of sales. Early days in a books lifetime. 

I remain incredibly proud of this book. Written in a time of sadness and grief but punctuated with happy memories to lighten the load, so to speak. The poems in the book all flowed naturally.

I have had many questions about the book and continue to receive excellent reviews. Its all about being patient now and letting sales and reviews work their magic.

 

January 2021

We head slowly into 2021 and month three of “Ramblings” being for sale. For me, as an author, it feels like it has been out there for ever! I often have to remind myself of how little time it has had to be seen.  My Amazon Author page is up and running. I have a bio in place and have managed to secure the bio in 5 languages including English.  I have uploaded some photos now from the book and the book reviews are all there to see too. 

Its  all about patience and promotion. Press releases have been sent to varying magazines. Due to covid, libraries and schools are not doing readings so social media has been my weapon of choice. Each month I am doing something different. January was my press releases and getting myself out on GoodReads. February will be a Q and A. 

Thats the plan so far! Onwards and upwards!