This is a hard, but extremely important one.
I had the most wonderful weekend away with my then boyfriend (now husband), watching David Tennent play Hamlet. Everything was wonderful, we just bought a flat together, I had a lovely job that I loved (at that time), my parents had just visited our new home a few weeks back and it was their wedding anniversary that day. The day before.
The night before I started a painting, I set out to paint this bright light spring coloured painting full of joy of this boy looking out of the window in pointillism style. I decided I will finish it in the morning.
I woke up with a phone call.
'It is your mum you need to come home.'
That changed everything.
My rock was taken away from me and my world fell apart. The person whom I called when I felt sick, sad, happy, just wanted a chat, needed advise or support, wanted to share a funny story with, gone, just like that. This was 11, coming up to 12 years ago and I still struggle to talk about it.
However it shaped me to become a stronger person, not over night, it took many years to realise that she gave me the best foundation and to this day I sometimes ask myself what she would have said. One day she told me that she wanted to be a Chemistry teacher but she was given the wrong careers advice, was told she couldn't do it. She ended up as a nurse and a wonderful caring person, yet she wanted me to always follow my dreams and she let me explore, stop, restart and just do what felt right to me. She taught me the importance of independence and self-believe, how to deal with bullies and how to believe in yourself.
She probably would have told me many years ago to start this business. I probably would have but I had to learn to deal with that hole in my heart and find my strength and self-believe again.
I was lucky to have a strong dad, family and husband to help me get through it and I was able to talk to them and many many hours of counseling (everyone should do counseling and be open about it, talk about it, it doesn't make you strange, it helps your mental health and anyone that judges you for it, probably needs it) helped me to learn to live with it.
Nostalgia is huge for me, I get very nostalgic about her, every day, and probably will be every day for the rest of my life. Writing about it isn't easy, but it is a big part of my journey.
I finished the painting 3 months after the call, it is still up in our house, yet rather than the joyful spring scene it features a dull brown autumnal setting.