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.

angel wings coming out of a love heart shape

Just Because I Smile Doesn’t Mean I Don’t Miss You

Today I smiled a whole lot more than I have done over the last few weeks. Losing someone can tear you to pieces or it can help you to become stronger. There’s nothing anyone can say that really makes it better but it does help to know that there are people around you that care. When you start to smile more, it doesn’t mean that you miss them any less.

The person you lost wants you to be happy

They want you to continue to cherish all of the amazing things there are to life; even though there’s evil. Looking over you, they want to see you making more memories; even though they’re no longer there to make them with.

Listen to sad songs from time to time but don’t dig yourself too far into a hole where all you have are sad lyrics and darkness. Be grateful for all of the good times you’ll forever hold close to your heart. Remember the upbeat person that they were and add their spirit to your life.

There are going to be times that aren’t as easy as others

Finding ways to smile more can help. Don’t neglect the possibility of laughter and warmth from your loved ones.

Uncle Dom, whenever I smile, remember it doesn’t mean I don’t miss you. The acceptance of losing you has hit me hard. Knowing you would want us all to be strong as difficult as it can be, is what I hope for.

I’ll smile when I think about your vocabulary of words; those rock ‘n’ roll dance moves, the classic Irish accent; the time you gave to listen; your strength when suffering; most of all, your love for us all. You’re not here in person for me to tell you all of this so I hope that by using some of your magic, the message will get to you.

Here’s to the next challenge

Race for Life is getting closer. I’m going to do my best to hold it together. At the end though, it’s likely I’ll cry wishing you were here. It’s time to accept that there’s nothing we can do about that. We have to do everything in our power to live your life on. A piece of you will always remain a part of us.

https://fundraise.cancerresearchuk.org/team/tasha-and-danny

rows of church candles

There’s No Set Time to Grieve for the Ones You Love

Many times I’ve spoken about losing loved ones but here I am again, sharing the feelings of losing another family member. Uncle Dom, another soul taken to heaven too soon.

I remember when I was younger and my grandad received one card in particular when my granny passed away.

Some of the words read, “…time will heal.” It’s true. But remember that ‘time’ is different for everyone. There’s no measurement of time that determines how long you should grieve for.

I underestimated the amount tears I’d cry. With experience of losing close family members before you think it won’t be as hard. But it is and that’s the honest truth. That’s because each individual person leaves a mark on your heart in their own special way. Uncle Dom left plenty with me – his voice of compliments on repeat; a pint to raise cheers with family and friends; and making memories with everyone.

There’s one thing I can’t promise and that’s not to cry.

It’s very hard when you’re remembered by so many people near and far. Even when I think I’m okay, it only takes something small to trigger emotions. Either that or I see flashbacks – a rush of childhood memories; to growing up; to now. This can’t be where the journey ends?

You’re braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.
– Winnie the Pooh

Uncle Dom was so brave. He never complained when he got ill, he might have had some mood swings here and there but nothing other than what you’d expect to be going through was he was.

Look for the magic in life

During his life he referred to things as being ‘magic’ and the fact he kept his spirits as high as possible for those around him during the hardest times was, in my eyes, magical.

It’s kinda hard not to dampen the mood. It was always granny and grandad or auntie Linda and uncle Dom. No doubt it’ll take me a while to get used to it. Even though I said I’m bound to cry at times, I’ll do my best to be as strong as I can. Auntie Linda needs you to shine bright in the sky to show her that you’re looking over her each day.

You don’t have to have it all together every single day.

Life can be so hard and it’s okay not be okay. Don’t forget to surround yourself with the ones that love you.

Life can change within a very short amount of time and every moment matters. That’s why I’m fundraising for Cancer Research UK because every little bit helps towards research saving a life. At first, I was inspired to take part after seeing uncle Dom’s strength to fight but now it’s in memory of him. Donations can be made by visiting theGiving Page.

Thank you for all the kind donations so far.

Irish flag

The Bravest Irishman I’ll Ever Know

Sitting here with my headphones on trying to figure out a way to put all of the words together. Facing the fact that as you get older, you lose more people in your life, can be difficult. Not just friends who drift away but family members who you were close to. I don’t believe that there’s ever a right time or that we can make ourselves ready, even if we know it’s coming.

When I take part in Race for Life next month it’s going to be a very emotional day.

This isn’t only because of the huge crowds supporting Cancer Research UK. The run in Manchester takes place on the same day as my auntie and uncle’s ruby wedding anniversary. I’ve got to do this. I’ve got to help others who aren’t aware of neuroendocrine tumours.

My uncle might have been stubborn at times but his heart was always in the right place. Throughout all of my life, he was always there and he always cared. He welcomed anyone and everyone into his life. And we all know when getting a taxi home from his and auntie Linda’s, uncle Dom would always go out to the taxi driver to make sure you got you home safe.

Growing up as a child, uncle Dom always made me tea and toast for breakfast.

And I mean, he would pile loads on a plate to make sure you were full. Whenever I was sent home with a bad migraine from work he was there to let me into his house to either give me a blanket to lie on the couch with or send me up to bed with a glass of water. When we were little and I stayed over with my friends, he used to come into the room at night with a torch on his face and pretend to be a ghost.

I remember sitting there with you in the living room watching Fifteen to One after school. Every time I see a cowboy or Christmas film I’ll think of you.

There’s no one quite like you.

Your love for Man United, Rex and Tyson, Poker on your laptop, Irish music, a can of beer, and love for your family was like no other.

Uncle Dom you’re no longer in pain. The world is going to be such a different place without the crazy ‘Irish Salfordian’ in town. Here’s to you and all of the good times you brought into our lives. Miss and love you always.


If Cancer Research UK is close to your heart please support me as I run in memory of uncle Dom and to help others facing cancer. Donations can be made via our Cancer Research UK Giving Page. 

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.