Living with Cerebral Palsy 🍋🍋

Friday, 13 September 2019

Hello Goodbye

Happy Autumn! The "season of mists and mellow fruitfulness" is definitely my favourite time of year. I adore the beautiful leaves, the first coal fire, the roasted chestnuts, the shining conkers outside our door, the apples, the pumpkin picking, the fading sunlight, the chunky knits, the cosiness of it all. I love it. I think Autumn is also feels special to me because after years in the education system, my brain processes the year as September to September. So the start of this month almost feels like New Year when it rolls around. It feels like a time for fresh starts. Sometimes, it also feels like a time for goodbyes.
This month we have experienced one huge fresh start and one sad goodbye.
Yesterday we attended the funeral of Paul's Aunty Brenda. Depending on how long you have been reading this blog you may remember pictures and mentions of her. She was one of Paul's Mums sisters. The three Golden Girls. She was a second Mum to Paul as he grew up and left a lasting impression on him and in later years me, too. As Paul's mum had sadly passed away when I was pregnant, Brenda and younger sister Sylvia came to mean a lot to us as the matriarchs of the Woods/Drake family line. Brenda was unendingly kind, gentle, selfless and possessed that great vintage "scouse humour". Everyone who met her adored her. She in turn cared for everybody and in particular had a huge soft spot for children of any age and description. She loved Elin as she did all her great nieces and nephews and I believe Elin most certainly inherited her strength of character and resilient nature. At her funeral I was in awe of, though unsurprised by, the outpouring of love for her and the continuous tales of her good humour and huge heart. It was inspiring. As we were told in her Eulogy, perhaps when leaving that sad day behind us, the greatest debt we could pay to her memory was to try, where possible, to just be a little more 'Brenda'. It would certainly make the world a better, brighter, place.
May 2019 
Brenda (right) and Paul's other amazing Aunty, Sylvia (left)
As Brenda made the world a brighter place, so Elin continues to shine her light on those who surround her! I am SO PROUD of my sunshine girl this past fortnight. She has experienced a giant change, an enormous new start- that of beginning her new school. She has definitely been very 'Brenda' through this transition- serene, happy and taking absolutely everything in her stride without fuss. I'd like to say I'd been the same but instead I've been typically emotional about the whole thing. I just can't believe my baby is in Year 7!! Seeing Elin settle so happily at her new school thus far has provided the necessary antidote to my acute sentimentality though. Elin's New Year consists of meeting and creating a whole new school family and support network to enjoy over the next few years. She is so lucky. My New Year consists of quelling waves of grief and strange feelings of loss with the wonderful positives of the past fortnight and the knowledge that Elin is entering an amazing new chapter of her life which she is going to love.
As a final thought as we enter this open book of the 'next stage' in Elin's incredible life, it struck me last week just how many messages of support we had and wishes of good luck from friends before she started school. I have always known this love for Elin exists but big milestones in her life make it so much more apparent. She is one lucky girl. We are one lucky family. It brings it home to me that Elin is not the only one with an incredible support network surrounding her and I am eternally grateful for that. So going forward, my New Year's resolutions are that I am going to channel my inner bravery more often, take my lead from my girl, always focus on the positives and as much as I possibly can, just generally "be more Brenda".
Happy "New Year" folks


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