Reflection of a year

How madhatterpress came to fruition.

There are good times and bad times in the life of everyone that you meet in the world. Whether that person is rich or poor is irrelevant, good and bad times still happen. Whether that person looks like they ‘have everything’ is irrelevant, good and bad times still happen. Is there a way to move through those bad times and come out the other side?

What happened to me?

August 31, 2019 my world fell apart. There is no other way to put it really, it’s that simple. My husband Mark had been battling 2 severe illnesses. Myasthenia Gravis. and Guillain Barre Syndrome. About 3 weeks before the end of his life, he ended up in hospital and his health deteriorated as he suffered from pneumonia, septicemia and a blood clot. He was in palliative care and passed away peacefully in his sleep.

What changed after?

Many of my writings on here talk about life as a widow so I won’t go into that. Suffice to say, it’s not fun. I was someone who wanted to and needed to talk about Mark, but I found that people were walking on eggshells. Some of it is that people are unsure how you will react so don’t mention him. Some of it is that people simply can’t handle grief of another person. Some friends I haven’t heard from since which is sad, but I am extremely grateful for my close network that surrounds me.

Moving forward.

I was no longer able to work as a nurse due to surrendering my license. I didn’t feel that I could go back to the role and in all honesty, I didn’t want to. I had to find something to do. I started applying for every job I could find. The trouble is, I found when you are pushing fifty, with only thirty years of nursing on a resume, not many people want to talk to you! So, what now?

When Mark was sick, I had started a writing course, so I continued with that after he`d gone. I secured some exceptional marks and came away with a Diploma in Professional Writing. I found that writing had been cathartic for me, so what did I do? I signed up for another course. This time it was a Certificate in Creative Writing. Cue some more good marks! Now I really had to decide what was happening next.

Decision to write.

I enjoyed writing through the course and if I am honest, I have enjoyed writing for years. I kept at it. I wrote blog posts and articles and submitted everything I wrote to magazines and websites. I have stacks of non replies and emails that say “thanks no thanks” but I persisted.

Did it work?

Yes, it did! It worked to the tune of 7 published articles and 1 published poem.


During late 2019 I started writing longer stories and poems. This culminated in a submission of poetry to a publisher. On October 30, that poetry submission will be for sale as “Ramblings of a Forty Something Widow”.

I also wrote a children’s story which was accepted by the publishers. “My Adventures with Bruce” is being worked on at this time.

Building a website.

I can remember the date, May 5th, 2020, when my Dad and I sat at the computer to start building a website. The idea being to showcase my work. If I am honest, I wasn’t entirely sure about a website right at the beginning. Do I want one? Am I saying yes for something to do? Will it help me? How hard will it be? There were so many questions, but I came to the conclusion that the only way to know is to do it. So, we did.

The name was the easiest in the world. Mark was known as “Madhatter” in the army and together we nicknamed ourselves “the madhatters” so madhatterpress it was. The next thing was to look at themes and menus. I decided to follow a menu that Dad (my partner in crime!) knew. All fitted nicely into place.

Menus were all me. I had to decide what I wanted and where I wanted it. What I had to realize for myself, is that the website is everchanging. As things are added over time, there are adjustments to be made so that it works visually for the user. Ever evolving

How have I found my year?

When I read back on this piece what do I see? I’ve written a lot, well two books of my own and a book that I have ghostwritten. I have also cleared out a four-bedroom house, garage and a couple of sheds to get the old house ready for rental. I have moved myself to my parents’ home to assist my Dad with my mum’s care during her illness.

My year has been busy. I find that I sometimes forget it’s only been a year since Mark has been gone.  Some days it feels like just a few days and other days it feels like he’s been gone forever.

One thing that he always said was “no point in worrying about things we can’t change. Just got to get on with it.” That’s how I am moving forward now.  I have to live my life and remember how damn proud he would be.