birthday cake with candle and flower at the side

The First Birthday That You’re Not Here

As soon as uncle Dom’s funeral was over, I knew that I had to face Race for Life in memory of him, but I also knew that it wouldn’t end there because another date was coming up… it’s his birthday today.

Usually I would be getting ready to head up to his and auntie Linda’s house. But today I’m sat at home doing, well, nothing much to be honest. Uncle Dom always knew how to party and celebrating his birthday was one of the best type of parties he did ever throw, with the efforts from auntie Linda of course.

I always thought he would make the race and he would stay for his birthday but time just wasn’t on his side.

Who’s going to dance those cowboy moves? Who’s going to gather the family spirit? I’m sure the house, on today especially, is very quiet without you. But auntie Linda can that time to think about all of your birthdays that the two of you spent together and smile.

One minute it’s grandad’s birthday, 4 days later it’s granny’s then 10 days later, here we are, on your birthday. Maybe you’re all up there together having a joint birthday party? I hope you’re celebrating in uncle Dom style.

I’m sending you a big hug from me and Danny, just like we always gave you when leaving your house after a visit and again when you were in hospital. Your card is here. You know how organised I am – I bought it back in June not long before you passed away.  So maybe this blog post can be my birthday card to you? Perhaps, even a little chat, with you on the listening end. After all, you did wish me a happy birthday twice this year.

Regardless of any little debates you had, you would always make me feel special.

I’m no model but you always said I was. Whenever I had news about work or the house, you always encouraged me to go for whatever I wanted to. That’s something I’ll never forget about you.

I hope there is a way that we can communicate. Maybe the next time I look up for granny and grandad twinkling in the sky, I’ll see an extra star and think of you.

Cheers uncle Dom, *raising a pint* here’s to you.


Remember, grief affects us all in different ways. If you’re struggling to cope, take a look at the Macmillan Cancer Support page for guidance.

purple and pink starry sky

To My Big Sister Who I Never Got to Meet

9th December is my sister’s birthday and anniversary. A day which my mum and dad never forget no matter how many years go by. A couple of years ago I finally asked mum the questions that were always on my mind about losing her baby girl. This year marks 26 years. And mum never puts the Christmas tree up until after 9th December.

Each year I wonder what it would’ve been like to have a big sister. You hear many siblings saying how they clash with their sisters or they can be annoying. But surely there are so many positives. Here are the things that I think about…

The girly chat, following a path of guidance.

Friendships, periods, makeup, boys, general girl stuff, you know? And even coursework and exams. When it comes to guidance I’ve taken my own path and done things quite independently. As close as I am to my mum, I couldn’t always talk about all of the girly things. A lot of the time I kept a lot to myself unless I told a friend. I always felt behind when it came to boys, knowing how to apply makeup and being the girl you think you’re supposed to be. But then I hope that my sister would’ve told me to be the person I want to be and that is being myself.

Someone who’s there on stressful days when no one understands…

I often imagine coming home and being able to run to the girl who would’ve been my big sister to scream, cry, or just rant away. Instead I scream into my pillow just like Lilo does with her sister in Lilo and Stitch. So perhaps, that how it would’ve been on some days anyway if we got in each other’s way?

The go to person for fashion advice.

I know loads of girls complain when their sisters wear or borrow their clothes, some they never see themselves in ever again. But isn’t that part of being sisters? I also think that my big sister would’ve been amazing with advice on what to wear. I don’t know why but I just think she would’ve got me to be fashionable a lot sooner. It would’ve been funny to see the styles that we both went through influenced by our parents and then by our own decisions.

None of these thoughts can change anything but I remind myself…

I’ve got a best friend in my life who’s like a sister when it comes to someone who will sit in a car for at least an hour catching up and sharing everything that’s going on before you’ve even got out of the car to go into the shop for god knows what. Food, clothes, Disney stuff? We don’t always know but we do it anyway.

Last but never least, you have a man who has talked to you about things you didn’t even imagine anyone on earth would. Those weird random traits of yours. The public embarrassments when you’re fooling around.

Oh and don’t forget you’ve spoke to him about your periods, toilet habits, and trying to perfect a certain kind of hair style or outfit. What does he tell me every time? He tells me that, “It’s going to be okay.” This isn’t because he doesn’t care and just says it. It’s actually because he cares more than anyone in the world and he’s right when he says everything will be okay. It always will be because he’s always there for me.

He will completely understand after reading this post what I’m talking about.

The amount of times I’ve told him I’ve always wanted to be the daughter that my mum and dad deserve, I can’t even tell you.

Nicola, it seems that we couldn’t both be here together. Mum and dad will never forget you. And even though we never met, I’ll always think about you. Happy 26th birthday. You are their brightest star in the sky. I’ll always imagine what it would’ve been like to have you as my big sister. I think we would’ve been the best of friends.

balloons in cloudy sky

Wishing You Were Here on All of Your Birthdays And Every Day

Hey granny, I can’t believe it’s your 77th birthday today. Whilst I’m wishing you were here I thought I’d dedicate this post to you. February marked 16 years since you became an angel looking over us. It seems like yesterday when I was sat on your knee whilst you were singing songs to me. Me, you, grandad, Phil, and Gaz taking spontaneous trips together. Saying no when I wanted to play shop so I only had grandad as my customer. But I loved you then and I still do now.

You and grandad were the two people in my life who shown me that, no matter how many years go by, the people you love stay in your heart forever.

I always liked how yours and grandad’s birthday are close together – 22nd and 26th July. Two dates which never disappear from my mind. It’s the same with your anniversaries too. It’s like my body is on auto mode, with a reminder in the lead up to them days before.

There are videos and photographs of you feeding me in my bouncer when I was a baby. I might not have the vision of that but I do have a mountain of memories shared with you. Adding salt to a packet of chicken super noodles; using jam and butter without getting either into the other jar; leaving nails everywhere around the house (the ones you put on the walls to hang photos up with); taking me on your shopping trips with you; putting my hair in that little bun I always liked with a million hair grips; and a whole lot more.

We had a special little bond didn’t we? The seven years I got to spend with you were some of the most magical times in my life. I still imagine you being here. Looking over my shoulder like you always did. There’s a photo in a frame on my bedroom wall. It’s of me, you, and grandad. And you’re smiling and looking down at me with your hand on my shoulder. I can still feel your hand. And I remember my smile from that exact moment.

Being your flower girl is going to stay as the most amazing memory in my heart from all the weddings I’ve been to yet.

I held those rings on a cushion thinking that yours and grandad’s love would last forever. And the truth is, I believe it has. A love that always stays with one another is something I’ve always wanted. The world took one of you away. But I think a dream came true for the both of you before this happened.

When you were no longer here, grandad was my go-to person growing up. My best friend. I could confide in him about anything. The most frightening things I’d seen, he heard all about them. And of course, the happiest ones. Most of which were the times we spent evenings chatting about you. I think you knew he’d have a huge job looking after us all. But you didn’t doubt him. And that’s why he never let go.

I learnt that no amount of tears could bring you back.

I’ve said before that I wish you both would’ve seen me growing up together. I’m more than three times the age I was when you were here. But I can only hope that I’ve turned out to be the young woman you imagined me to be. I pictured you at the school gates for quite a few years. It took me a while to understand that you weren’t here. I spent time alone crying. And I even cried when I was with my friends. I burst into tears not being able to say my lines for a school play. And I even let the teacher shout at me for it, as they were unaware.

Grandad taught me how to be strong showing me the importance of being able to love someone no matter how near or far away from you they are. He shown me that the ones you love won’t ever think you’ve forgotten about them. And he was always referring to his love for you. I understood this more as I got older.

Happy birthday, granny. Wishing you were here today, on all of your birthdays, and each day we spend apart.