star lit sky

13 Years Later and You Shine Brighter Than Ever

I was about to write a short caption on a draft photo upload to Instagram, then I realised that I had more to say.

You can’t fit into one blog post how having someone in your life makes such a significant impact. I spent 13 years with him and now it’s been 13 years without him. My grandad was my biggest hero. He taught me how to be strong, brave and kind. The most generous hearted person. He was the only one who would play shop and post office with me more than twice at a time. He encouraged me to go on my first huge rollercoaster ride when I was absolutely terrified. And since that day, I’ve learnt the importance of being brave and coming out of my comfort zone. The one person I could share everything with and made it all better. He always gave me the greatest hugs and tickled my arm when I needed to go to sleep.

Nothing beat the love he had for his grandchildren. He wanted to give us the world. The amount of happiness he brought into our lives will always give us something to look back on and smile about.

I never thought anything could break grandad. You know, it was as if he was unstoppable. There’s been two instances that shown me otherwise. The first – when granny passed away on 9th February 2002. Stood alone, I watched him crumble, crying so hard, putting his head into his hands. I was in the hallway at mum and dad’s house and I looked into the kitchen to see him, heartbroken. As much as it’s a memory I’d like to phase away, I don’t think it ever will.

You build such a strong bond, share adventures and they hold your hand throughout childhood. They watch you become a teenager and then…

The second – the day his heart stopped on 21st May 2007. My dad told school that he needed me and my brother to come home. A guidance counsellor who got to know me though being bullied at the time, found me straight away. I was so confused. I didn’t say much until we walked to the car waiting for my brother to come. “Is it mum?” “Is Gaz okay?” My dad didn’t know what to say even though he was trying to tell us. I asked, “N-no, no, Grandad?” and my dad’s face said all it needed to. The car journey home was probably the quietest moment I’ve shared with one of my brothers. It was happening all over again. That was us, home, ran to our bedrooms and cried uncontrollably.

I remember visiting grandad in hospital and him telling me, “You’re growing up so much”. Getting on a bus to visit him at the hospital on my own didn’t phase me one bit. Walking through the hospital, seeing Ward H2, seeing him lay in the hospital bed didn’t scare me. No longer being able to hold his hand scared me. I used to bring 2 of my high school friends to stay on many weekends at his house – his kindness spread to others like them. They seen, no matter how old I was, the relationship we had didn’t change. I only wish I could’ve seen him when he went home this time.

I could spend my life hating coronary heart disease but hate isn’t something that grandad would’ve wanted. Hopefully you’ll see, why I love doing all I can to support the British Heart Foundation. Also, I think it’s crazy how, ever since I was a little girl I’ve always wanted a golden Labrador/Retriever and that’s the breed of dog grandad sponsored and almost had one as a guide dog for his visual impairment.

Grandad, just as we used to do for granny, every time I look to the sky at night and I see a star, I’ll think of you. “Love you millions!”

I haven’t written this blog post to give myself a good cry, as much as I’ve had to fight it whilst putting it together. It’s more to remind myself how special life is. Time and love is everything. There’s no escaping loved ones, they are in each and every little thing we see or do. You find yourself thinking about or doing something they taught you. And I hope this teaches anyone who’s reading this post, to hold tight onto everything that makes you happy.

paper star decoration hanging

The Magic of Christmas Never Disappears

The festive season, a time for thankfulness and having fun with your family. For those of us who don’t have to work over Christmas, we get to make the most of lounging around, wearing several pairs of new pyjamas and eating lots of food and snacks around the house.

25th December 2019 was mine and Danny’s first Christmas in our first home and our seventh Christmas spent together as a couple. This year has been much more significant than other years and I think living together has played a huge part. Not only has the friendship side of us which sparked way back when grown but we’ve fell in love even more than I imagined we could.

Since we bought our first real Christmas tree and decorated it, I knew this year was going to be more magical than previous years. Call me emotional but I cried. I think it was the whole idea of looking how far we have come together and finally being in a place we have always dreamed of. Danny is the most warm-hearted person and he’s the one who will remind you there’s always so much love to give.

It showed when I couldn’t hold back the tears on Christmas Day morning. We opened presents from family and friends first and then what we got each other. The final present I opened from Danny got me. It’s no surprise to anyone that I’m quite the sentimental kind of person so this gift means so much to me. The thought that went into it made it so amazing. He bought me a map of how the stars looked on the night of our first date and it even has the time on it. Some say that men don’t remember things, I must’ve got lucky! The colour even matches our bedroom so once we’ve got a frame for it, I’ll share a photo.

Of all the lovely gifts we received this year, for me, the best of all was spending Christmas morning with each other, just the two of us. And of course seeing family for the rest of the day and night made it as enjoyable as it was.

I’m a reflective kind of person as it is but I find that Christmas and New Year brings us more time to think about the year and previous years in comparison to the present. Some years bring the loss of loved ones just like uncle Dom in June, and challenges arise but it’s important to remember that you can always feel the magic of Christmas if you look close enough. Smiling and laughing over Christmas season doesn’t mean you forget about the people you miss the most.

This December, I’ve thought about many things including what the future has to offer. If you don’t feel it right now, I hope that 2020 brings a new perspective. A year full of happiness surrounded by those that you love.

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.