General ramblings

Off topic

Apologies for the radio silence, but I’ve been dealing, or attempting to deal with, a pretty big thing, which has nothing to do with Make Do and Mend, and I have ummmed and ahhhed about whether to post about it.
But here goes.

My mum died.
3 weeks ago, at the age of 63, from cancer.

We knew it was coming, but at the end it came much quicker than we thought it would.
I didn’t get the chance to have all those conversations I was planning to have.
To say “Thankyou” to her for being my mum.

But it was peaceful for her at the end, and she died holding my dad’s hands.
I guess, that at the end, none of us can ask for anymore than that.

So that’s why I haven’t been around.
Like I say, I wasn’t sure whether to say anything, but it’s a pretty big thing, and I think I would feel odd just picking up again where I left off without even mentioning it. As if it hadn’t happened. As if my life hadn’t changed forever.

Unsurprisingly I have been markedly lacking in any kind of enthusiasm for anything remotely Make Do and Mend, or crafty. It has been all I can do to put food on the table, and pretend that the house is vaguely clean.
But I am starting to feel a little spark of something when I have been browsing blogs and flicking through magazines, and Christmas is just around the corner, so I need to get my Making Mojo back.

I don’t know what else to say.
As I am discovering, life goes on. Cruelly, relentlessly, and seemingly uncaringly, life goes on.
Things start to return to normal, except that they will never be normal ever again.



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  • Reply The Year that Was | My Make Do and Mend Year December 31, 2013 at 3:21 pm

    […] a very personal note, I lost my mum to cancer in October, and once again was overwhelmed with the love and support and compassion of so […]

  • Reply beth November 6, 2013 at 8:22 pm

    I’ve been lurking for a while, don’t think I’d commented before but i had to send my love and my sympathy. Grief is a hard thing to work through and it’s exhausting; be gentle and kind to yourself. The book I found useful was ‘You’ll get over it – the rage of bereavement’ by Virginia Ironside. It made me realise I wasn’t going insane.

    • Reply Jen November 6, 2013 at 10:49 pm

      Thanks so much Beth, I will see if I can get hold of a copy.

  • Reply Chris November 4, 2013 at 7:49 pm

    I have only just started reading your blog its great, well done you of course you had to talk about your mum, you wrote your piece so well and beautifully.

    • Reply Jen November 4, 2013 at 8:01 pm

      That is so kind Chris, thankyou.

  • Reply lizlovingandlearning November 4, 2013 at 5:45 pm

    Hi Jen so sorry to read about your mum. My two boys were that sort of age when their nana died. We still talked about her a lot and they adjusted surprisingly quickly – much quicker than the adults. Not that they weren’t still sad but they accepted the situation. There are quite a few good children’s story books about bereavement, especially good if they have lots of questions. Take care of yourself and give yourself as much time as possible. Saying a wee prayer for you and the family. Liz

    • Reply Jen November 4, 2013 at 8:01 pm

      The boys have adjusted incredibly, almost callously quickly. BigSmall understands it, but doesn’t seem to process the emotions, SmallSmall doesn’t really understand, and I think keeps expecting to see her.
      Thankyou for your kind thoughts and words. xx

  • Reply SJ Stephenson November 4, 2013 at 10:14 am

    So sorry for your loss 🙁 xx

    • Reply Jen November 4, 2013 at 7:59 pm


  • Reply Vivienne Downes (@VivienneDownes) November 4, 2013 at 1:12 am

    Big hugs Jen its difficult to find the right words at times like this.
    My Mum died suddenly 8 weeks after losing my husband to cancer I got through it because my children needed me & now my grandchildren.
    Keep your Mum alive in your memory & share those happy times you remember with your “Smalls” . Heartfelt sympathy xx

    • Reply Jen November 4, 2013 at 7:59 pm

      Crikey Vivienne, how on earth did you cope? I am in awe of you. Thankyou for your kind words.

  • Reply Robyn November 3, 2013 at 10:19 pm

    Bastard of a disease. I’m glad to hear that the end was peaceful for her – that at least can be some comfort. Take what time you need and don’t waste time with “If only’s” – concentrate on the good memories. xx

    • Reply Jen November 4, 2013 at 7:58 pm

      Thanks Robyn. It’s very hard not to focus on the ‘if onlys’ but you are right saying that it achieves nothing. Wise words-thankyou. xx

  • Reply Vicki Wilson November 3, 2013 at 9:45 pm

    So sorry to hear about your loss. My thoughts are with you and your family. X

    • Reply Jen November 4, 2013 at 7:57 pm

      Thankyou Vicki

  • Reply pennypinchingpeach November 3, 2013 at 5:51 pm

    My mom passed away far too soon, in two short months from the time of her cancer diagnosis seven years ago. I have no real regrets about our relationship, just wish I’d gotten one last hug, one last I love you, that she’d lived longer and seen her grandchildren she so desperately wanted to live to see. The loss of a mother is never easy. The void left can never be filled. I know it sounds trite, but I’ve found it more and more true that the love and spirit of my mom lives on in the love I have for my children, my daughter’s freespirit, the bond we share. There is comfort in that, even as I wish she were still here.

    There is no wrong way to grieve, unless you become destructive. Don’t let anyone make you feel guilty if you are happier or sadder, more depressed or less distressed or anything else they think you should be. Your feelings and bond and grieving process is uniquely your own, and it is how it should be.

    I’m so sorry for your loss.

    • Reply Jen November 4, 2013 at 7:57 pm

      Thankyou so much for sharing that with me. It really helps to hear other people’s experiences. Thankyou.

  • Reply Rachel November 3, 2013 at 9:35 am

    Hi Jen so very sorry for your loss. I don’t know you except from following your inspiring and compulsive blog. I lost my dad very unexpectedly four years ago and didn’t get to say all those things I thought I needed to but I realise now we both knew all we needed to know about each other and I am sure you and your mum are just the same. Hang in there, you are in my thoughts x

    • Reply Jen November 3, 2013 at 10:41 am

      Thanks so much Rachel.

  • Reply Fiona November 3, 2013 at 9:25 am

    Oh Jen, so sorry to hear that. Hey, I don’t know you and you don’t me but your writings have given me inspiration and enjoyment and so I hope you won’t mind me sending you a huge (internet) hug. Hope things get a little easier day by day. x

    • Reply Jen November 3, 2013 at 10:41 am

      I am sure they will Fiona, thankyou.

  • Reply Shauna November 3, 2013 at 4:50 am

    Hi Jen, so sad to hear about your Mum…completely understandable that you did not feel like posting.The loss of a parent ,no matter at what age is difficult.My mum passed from cancer 13 years ago and I remember it was like we’d lost a piece of the family jigsaw.I understood how come people used to have a period of mourning…its vital ..and everyone deals with it differently.Thoughts and prayers with you and your family Jen.Take care of yourself xx

    • Reply Jen November 3, 2013 at 10:41 am

      Losing a piece of the family jigsaw is a great way to describe it Shauna. And I agree with you about a period of mourning, it must have relieved the expectation that you should just soldier on.

  • Reply Jane November 3, 2013 at 3:08 am

    So sorry to hear this, love and hugs to you all xx

    • Reply Jen November 3, 2013 at 10:39 am

      Thanks Jane

  • Reply Pillows A-La-Mode November 3, 2013 at 1:29 am

    Oh, how sad . . . love, hugs, and prayers to you and all your family, Jen!

    • Reply Jen November 3, 2013 at 10:39 am


  • Reply Katy November 2, 2013 at 11:35 pm

    Dear Jen
    I’ve been reading your blogs for quite a while and enjoyed them so much, but never made a comment – no excuse or any real reason, just busy, that’s all! But I’m moved to write to you now after reading of your sad loss. I am so sorry and give my heartfelt condolences to you, as I lost my beloved Dad to cancer a few years ago. You are wonderfully brave and such an open person, to share your life in such a way and I can see that lots of your followers, including myself, really feel for you at this time. Be comforted to know that you have the love and sympathy of many people. I know life will never be the same now, but please continue what you do, as I’m sure your Mum is in heaven with the angels being very proud of you. xx

    • Reply Jen November 3, 2013 at 10:39 am

      Hi Katy
      Thankyou so much for taking the time to leave such a lovely comment :). So sorry to hear about your Dad too. xx

  • Reply Louisa November 2, 2013 at 11:31 pm

    Really sorry to hear your news, there’s nothing anyone can say that’ll make it better but we are all thinking of you and sending best wishes, xxx

    • Reply Jen November 3, 2013 at 10:38 am

      Thankyou Louisa.

  • Reply Vicky myers November 2, 2013 at 10:56 pm

    Big, big hugs Jen. xx

    • Reply Jen November 3, 2013 at 10:37 am

      Thanks Vicky

  • Reply Mel November 2, 2013 at 10:20 pm

    Dear Jen
    I have loved reading all your emails, which have kept me going through dealing with the daily chaos of working, looking after a 2 year old and all that goes with family life….
    You have given me such fab ideas and I feel privileged to have had a window on your ‘make do and mend mission’ and snippets from your world, that gave given me reassurance about so many things, especially parenthood and managing on a budget.
    Your message about your mum though has compelled me to write for the first time. I wanted to say just how sorry I am to read your news. Tough times. Take care of yourself & the family.
    Love Mel x
    Ps your mum would have been very proud of what you have achieved, she’ll be with you in your heart forever X

    • Reply Jen November 2, 2013 at 10:35 pm

      Thankyou so much Mel, and thankyou for your really lovely words. xx

  • Reply Kitty Piët November 2, 2013 at 10:19 pm

    So sorry for you. I know how it feels and how it hits you in the small things you did together, or how you pick up the phone to tell her something and then realize it is not possible anymore. Give yourself the time to be how you feel at the moment. Xx

    • Reply Jen November 2, 2013 at 10:36 pm

      Thanks Kitty. That is exactly how it is, I keep thinking I’ll have to ring her when we get back from doing whatever we are doing, and then it hits again.

  • Reply Nicola Baird November 2, 2013 at 8:54 pm

    This is such sad news. Give yourself a lot of time. I hope you feel able to talk to your kids about her. Nicola

    • Reply Jen November 2, 2013 at 10:38 pm

      Thanks Nicola. It’s hard talking to the boys, especially SmallSmall, who is still too small to really understand, and I want to talk to him about his Nana, but I worry that it just confuses him, and he then thinks he is going to see her. I do keep telling them how much she loved them, and how proud she was of them, and I always will.

      • Reply nicola baird November 3, 2013 at 2:10 pm

        I don’t think you should worry about confusing him, kids just take what they can understand anyway. Just talk and answer his questions. We are so lucky that people live mostly long lives nowadays and so none of us learn that we need to mourn, and we need to talk. I say this as a result of having lived in Solomon Islands where the average age of death was horribly low – but as a result people knew how to cope emotionally. It doesn’t stop the pain of parting, but it sure helps in the long run. Hugs to you. Nicola

        • Reply Jen November 3, 2013 at 2:20 pm

          Thanks Nicola. I read a great book, called In the Midst of Life, by the lady who wrote Call the Midwife, and it is really great. It talks about how death has become something of a taboo subject is Western society, and how we try to shield our kids from it, when in reality, it is a fact of life and something that in many societies in very much a part of life. I will make sure I talk to the kids a lot about their Nana, and how much she loved them. xx

  • Reply Rae Hodgetts November 2, 2013 at 7:44 pm

    Aw bless you! ((Virtual hugs)) for you and your family. You didn’t need to post it all but you put it beautifully. I imagine that your mum must have been so very proud of the impact your blog has had. xx

    • Reply Jen November 2, 2013 at 10:38 pm

      Thanks Rae.

  • Reply Kara November 2, 2013 at 7:38 pm

    So sorry to hear. I know how you feel. I lost my mom to cancer nearly twenty years ago. It leaves a big hole in your life, doesn’t it? You never quite get over it, though you do somehow come to terms with it. That “hit with a cricket bat” feeling does last quite a while though. Hugs…

    • Reply Jen November 2, 2013 at 10:38 pm

      That’s good to know, thanks Kara. xx

  • Reply Sue Andrews November 2, 2013 at 7:24 pm

    Really sorry for your sad news.

    • Reply Jen November 2, 2013 at 10:38 pm


  • Reply Francesca Golay November 2, 2013 at 6:34 pm

    So sorry to hear if your loss Jen. Losing a parent is awful & a huge shock to deal with. Hopefully you can look back at your memories with a smile in time. My Husband lost both of his parents in the space of 18 months so we understand what a shock sudden death can be. It sounds like you are coping admirably. Be kind to yourself. Sending you hugs & prayers Fran & Rich (Lily Golay’s parents from Cuckoos) xxxx

    • Reply Jen November 2, 2013 at 10:39 pm

      Thanks Fran. xx

  • Reply Rachel Montgomery November 2, 2013 at 5:46 pm

    I am so very sorry for your loss. I lost my dad nearly two years ago (Nov. 11), and it was devastating for me, as it is for anyone to lose a parent. I hesitate to offer advice, as in my experience, everyone has their own idea of how to grieve. But that is exactly my advice- everyone has their own way to grieve, so do it YOUR way, and don’t let anyone make you feel guilty or selfish or whatever just because they think they would do it differently. Take care and be gentle with yourself. <3

    • Reply Jen November 2, 2013 at 10:39 pm

      That is very wise advice, thankyou so much. I hope you remember your dad with love. xx

  • Reply Penny L November 2, 2013 at 5:33 pm

    So sorry to hear your news. Losing your Mum is so very difficult and it’s the one thing we dread all of our lives. From reading your blog I am sure that your Mum didn’t need to have all those thank you conversations as she knew that you loved her, and that you also felt love. After all love is all there is and it doesn’t stop just because someone is no longer with us.
    I will be thinking of you all, and sending you love. Penny L xx

    • Reply Jen November 2, 2013 at 10:41 pm

      Thanks Penny. Really really lovely words. Thankyou.

  • Reply Eco Thrifty Living November 2, 2013 at 4:49 pm

    Really sorry to hear such sad news.

    • Reply Jen November 2, 2013 at 10:41 pm

      Thanks Zoe.

  • Reply Hilary November 2, 2013 at 4:48 pm

    What a very sad time for you all. It is never easy to loose ones parents.Remember all the good times, get out the photos and talk to your boys about their grandma. She will live on in your hearts and heads. Much love.

    • Reply Jen November 2, 2013 at 10:41 pm

      Thanks Hilary. Yes, we will get the photo albums out soon, and I hope we will smile and laugh as we remember.

  • Reply joelleharris November 2, 2013 at 4:44 pm

    So sorry to hear that. Good to share though, sending love. Be gentle on yourself :0)

    • Reply Jen November 2, 2013 at 10:40 pm

      Thankyou Joelle.

  • Reply Jenny November 2, 2013 at 3:49 pm

    So very sorry to read about this, you may not have had those conversations but have them anyway out loud. She will hear you 🙂 I lost my best friend to cancer aged 24 (4 years ago) in 6 short weeks so never got to have those talks either but I talk out loud to her a lot which strangely helps. Keep going xx

    • Reply Jen November 2, 2013 at 4:31 pm

      Thanks Jenny. I hope you are right. xx

  • Reply helen marshall November 2, 2013 at 3:45 pm

    oh im so very sorry-huge hug and lots of love to you.xxxx

    • Reply Jen November 2, 2013 at 4:31 pm

      Thankyou Helen

  • Reply Sue November 2, 2013 at 3:37 pm

    So very sorry Jen. My dad died 23 years ago from cancer and 11 years later my sister and I lost mum to it too! I still miss them dreadfully even after all this time, and would love just 10 minutes again to tell them all that I never said when they were alive! As you say life goes on and it does, they may not be with us any more, but they are in our thoughts every day. Love to you and your family. Sue xx

    • Reply Jen November 2, 2013 at 4:32 pm

      Crikey Sue, you poor thing. Thankyou for your kind words.

  • Reply Jo aka Kiwijo November 2, 2013 at 3:35 pm

    Oh sweetheart, I cant tell you how sorry I am for you. I lost both my parents before I was 35 and its such a huge thing you never really get over it. My Dad died of cancer also. I wish I had the magic words to make all the hurt go away, but all I can do is tell you if you need to talk to someone who isnt directly involved I will p/mail you my number on Twitter. With time things will get easier, but for now lean on your husband as much as you need to, and hug all your boys (husband included) whenever you feel the need.
    I was only thinking about you this week, wondering what you were up to. My thoughts are with you honey. x

    • Reply Jen November 2, 2013 at 4:33 pm

      Thanks Jo. I guess you just always expect your parents to be there don’t you? And take them for granted.

  • Reply Sam Burch November 2, 2013 at 3:34 pm

    So sorry to hear your news. Sending you lots of love. x

    • Reply Jen November 2, 2013 at 4:33 pm

      Thankyou x

  • Reply Antonia November 2, 2013 at 3:31 pm

    Sending love. Xxx

    • Reply Jen November 2, 2013 at 4:33 pm

      Thanks Antonia, and thanks for the e-mail xx

  • Reply Chris November 2, 2013 at 3:25 pm

    I am so sorry, I will be praying for you.

    • Reply Jen November 2, 2013 at 4:34 pm

      Thankyou Chris

  • Reply mehubbyandthekids November 2, 2013 at 3:22 pm

    Jen I am so sorry to hear this. You are very brave to post about it but like you say its a big part of your life and it may have been strange for you if you hadn’t mentioned it.

    I’m glad she was peaceful and that she had your dad there too. If we could chose a way to go I’m sure it’s what most of us would want. I have no words to say that will make it better (who does?) but I am glad that you feel your making mojo is on its way back.

    If there is anything I can do let me know xx

    • Reply Jen November 2, 2013 at 4:30 pm

      Thankyou so much.

  • Reply Anna Pitt November 2, 2013 at 3:15 pm

    Jen, I’m so sorry to hear that. It is a very sad and difficult time for you and I know just how you feel when you say you didn’t get time for all those conversations you wanted to have. I felt like that too when my mum died. That was twenty years ago nearly and I can still remember some of those things I wanted to say, but could never find the right time to say them. Things will never be quite the same again, but things will be good. Sometimes you will look back with a tear in your eye, but other times it will be a smile.

    • Reply Jen November 2, 2013 at 4:34 pm

      Thanks Anna, that really helps.xx

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