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Tina's Story

My story begins the day I lost my lovely Dad.  On Saturday 2nd September 2017 my family and our daughter’s friend had had a lovely day in Weston Super Mare. I remember buying my Dad a box of fudge and a present for my Mum.  It was around 11am the following morning when the phone rang. I didn’t recognise the number so I didn’t answer it.  Not long after the phone went again, so I thought I had better answer it.  It was my parent’s neighbour.  She said “Your Dad has had a fall, and the paramedics are working on him now”


I don’t remember what I said other than I will be straight over. We only lived 5 minutes away. I picked up the box of fudge and Mum’s present from Weston. I remember thinking then that he will just go to the hospital, be in for a few days and then come out, which is why I took the box of fudge over for him.  When we got there I was shocked to see 2 ambulances outside. The front door was open and the neighbour was in the doorway.  She said “Your Dad is out the back and I wouldn’t go out there if I was you”.  I pushed straight past her as I just wanted to get to Dad, and be there for my Mum, who was in a state, as you can imagine.  Mum explained that she got up that morning, and couldn’t find my Dad, she kept calling him, but he was nowhere to be seen. Then when she walked through the kitchen, she looked out of the patio doors and saw Dad lying outside on the ground.  Even in that chaotic moment she still had the thought to press her Linkline Alarm which she had on her wrist.  I still to this day don’t know how she thought to do that in those circumstances, bless her!

I was trying to comfort Mum as best I could and my Husband and Daughter were with us too, for support.  We rang my Brother to tell him to come over, which of course he came straight away. We were all watching the paramedics working on Dad but there didn’t seem to be any life there. I don’t remember how long it was but then one of the paramedics then came in and said something like, we have been working on him for a while now and we cannot try for much longer, what do you want us to do?  I couldn’t make that decision so I asked Mum. I think she said just try a bit longer, then stop when you can’t do anymore.  Which is what they done.  Personally I think he was already gone when we got there. We didn’t get to say Goodbye to him.  Dad did have an aneurysm in his chest and Dementia.  Someone asked if we wanted a post mortem, we all agreed we didn’t.  It wouldn’t make any difference and we wanted him left as he was.  I think the aneurysm burst and that was why it was so quick (a blessing you might say!) We all stayed with Mum till late that night. I had only 3 weeks off work, but I remember I kept thinking I must get back to work. I don’t know why I kept thinking that. Maybe I thought if I don’t go back soon I would never go back!


In November 2016 my Husband and I lost a good friend of ours that we had been friends with for around 30 years. Two months later his wife died too, so another funeral.  


I wish to also point out that 6 months before Dad died his Brother died as well, in February 2017. He had been ill for a while, but he was such a character. Eccentric some might call him, and he was so great and he would make up having an imaginary butler called Tarquin or another imaginary person called Henrietta Hookfoot!!. There definitely will  only ever be one like him.  He was also a great artist, I guess a bit likened to Picasso.  He did very abstract art, and he was excellent at Calligraphy too.


More funerals were to come. An Uncle passed away in January 2018, my Mum’s Brother.  Mum had 3 Brothers and this was her only Brother which was left and now he was gone. I think it hit her really hard. Dad’s Cousin died in April 2018. 


The next one was my beautiful Mother on 10th February 2020. She had COPD, had been in hospital for a few days. Came out on the Thursday, back in on the Friday.  At about 4.50am on Monday 10th February I had a call from the hospital to say we had better go straight up. My Brother and I went straight up.  We went in to see Mum first and had a quick conversation with her, then a Nurse came and asked us to go into this room.  She had said that basically if Mum lived she would not have the quality of life as her condition was not too good. She asked my Brother and I what we wanted to do.  She had asked if Mum enjoyed life, and we explained that although she enjoyed life, it was never the same for her after our Dad had died. I would feel so sorry for my Mum, and would visit most days, but I hated leaving her on her own.  She had COPD, had had 2 replacement hip operations, in and out of hospital fairly frequently, but she never complained about her life.  She was always a very positive person and very down to earth. 


So my Brother and I decided together that the best thing was to let her go.  


I had dreaded this day for so long, but actually from somewhere managed to find the strength to deal with this current situation. We went back to Mum, and from that moment she never spoke again.  I rang my Husband to come up with our Daughter, and also rang my Cousin, who I am very close to, to come up too.  He came with his girlfriend. All the while I am holding Mum’s hand. We had previously had a conversation where Mum had said to me, when it comes time, I just want someone to hold my hand, to go into the next world.  I am so grateful that we were able to be with her.  I personally also think and am so grateful for the fact that Mum hung on until my Brother and I got there that morning as that meant that she knew we were there. 


My Cousin and his girlfriend left around about 7ish. Then my Husband and Daughter left around 8. The hospital had arranged for my Brother and I to have a room at the hospital that night.  So here we were, my Brother and I holding Mum’s hands.  She died very peacefully at 10.30pm that night.  I was so grateful we were able to be with her. You had your wish Mum, to have us hold your hand till you went.  


I rang my Husband to tell him the news, then my Cousin.  My brother and I stayed until around 11.45pm.  We wouldn’t be needing the room now. We gathered up Mum’s things and made our way back home.


I had 6 weeks off work this time and was in no rush to go back to my job as a Customer Service Advisor at a Housing Association.


However the first day back at work, was the first day of the National Lockdown, which meant working from home. I was very isolated from people when I needed them. 

In between all this I lost another great friend in December 2020 which also knocked me for six. In January 2021 another very good friend died. When will this ever end?

At Christmas 2020 my cousin came over and the conversation got around to Mum. My Cousin said that his (now) wife had received a message from my Mum. I had previously said to Mum a few months before she died that when she gets to the other side to give me a sign, so I know that she is okay.  This might sound strange to some people but I totally believe in life after life as my one friend that died used to say. We went to my Cousins on Christmas Eve and I spoke to his wife to ask her about it.  Now she had never had anything like this happen to her before, and she is always finding white feathers around too, so is a believer.  She told me that Mum had told her that she is okay and that she is happy.  Well that was the best Christmas present ever, to know that Mum was okay and happy and that she had chosen my cousin’s wife to deliver the message.  


I carried on working until about 1 week before the completion of the sale of my parent’s property was due, I was taking a call at home as we were still working from home, and I had a breakdown. I rang the Doctor and I had the next 4 months off work.  This was from March 2021 to June 2021.

Then in April 2021 one of my work colleagues died aged 29.


How much more can I take?


In about June 2021 I did an online workshop, and it was then that an idea of opening a Bookshop popped into my head.  I hadn’t wanted to carry on with the job I was doing but couldn’t get another job either.  I entertained this idea and liked it.  So six weeks after I had that idea a shop became available in Coleford, about a mile from where I live. And so, that is how my story with the shop began. I knew absolutely nothing about running a shop or a business but sometimes in life you have to do things that make you uncomfortable, for your own personal growth.  


I am not telling this story to have sympathy or anything like that but more to encourage people to go and do the things you want to in life, as life is too short not to do those things.  If this story gives people the courage to do what they want and achieve their dreams then that is wonderful.

Yours in love, courage and willing to learn 


Tina xx

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