As I wandered into the Victorian arcades I recalled Clive literally staggering through icy streets in November after his first knee operation to get some shirts. He pushed himself so much and would not listen to my pleas that it was too much too soon. I also smiled at the jewellers where he had got his special watch a couple of years ago. Memories, memories.
I called into Bravissimo in Leeds and got fitted again. It would appear that I still have ample bosoms!! A short while later I left with a new, uplifting set which I shall wear for my video and photo shoot in London next month - dress is on order. I am still so sad that Clive won't be at home to excitedly say 'Let me see! Let me see!'
I then met up with Andy McMenemy as I wanted to introduce him to Don Hales and Anne-Marie from the Customer Service Training Network, whom I had spoken for in Cardiff a few weeks ago.
They were in Leeds for another event and we had arranged a quick drink. It was wonderful to hear more positive feedback from that day - I had received the highest score of all on the day. They consider anything above 85% to be good - I averaged 95%! Today I received this from Lynne Copp which she has posted on LinkedIn.
"I heard Elaine speak at a recent event where I too was a speaker. She is incredible - genuine, honest, compelling and engaging. Elaine's story is straight from the heart. The audience was captivated as she moved through her journey of dealing with and finding support for women who suffer post natal depression. In recent times, Elaine has also experienced the loss of her fiance, and yet this amazingly resilient woman has taken the lessons that life has dealt, and turned them into positive, inspiring and uplifting opportunities for all of us.
I encourage employers to bring Elaine in to their businesses, and not only listen to her story, but engage with its underlying call to action. I always say that in the 10 years after a woman has a child, only 4% ever get promoted. This is a multi-faceted issue, but what if one of those reasons was post natal depression? What if those women had support? What if they could find the strength to be as good as they could be again? If you care about your female talent, and the diversity of your future leaders, then Elaine's message is worth hearing and acting on. Depression does not come with a rash, spots or a neon-light advertisement. Therefore employers should focus on truly noticing the wellbeing of their women who are parents, and when things turn wobbly for her, not just to get her back to work, but also to get them back feeling good, well and mentally strong. I encourage, no, I challenge you to invite Elaine into your company to speak. Her words will help you to turn the stigma of mental health issues into an opportunity for employee wellbeing.
I will certainly be recommending Elaine to my corporate clients!"
I also received more from other people who heard me in Huddersfield. I am delighted!
Andy brought me home and I actually relaxed by watching the documentary on the Walton sextuplets. What a wonderful family! I was soon asleep (without the need for pillows down my side). However, in the early hours something made me jump and I instinctively reached out to cuddle Clive. He wasn't there. Just an empty space.
I am doing my best to 'move on', 'move forward', 'create a new life', 'start a new journey', etc. but the feelings of missing Clive remain constant. Yet perhaps not quite as painful.
This morning was an early start, to look presentable and drive to Bradford. I smiled as I remembered the last time Clive and I were here I had received a 'fine' through the post for being in a bus lane - it came days after he had died! I found my way to the stunning Midland Hotel . At an event last year with Clive here I had realised that the manager Gary and I had been in sixth form together at Helsby High school in Cheshire (where Dom now attends). Small world. Andy Preston had invited me to a training session on selling. He is a great presenter and I wrote loads of ideas down which I intend to follow up! Especially in view of my testimonials. The other thing which shocked me was that two ladies I sat between - Tor and Wendy - are regular readers of my blog! Nice to know you are hooked!
Back home I began to work at my desk again until I got crushed by a wave of 'too much! I am overwhelmed'! I fought back the tears as I looked up at Clive's photo ...
This was taken in Naples on the last stop off of our 'honeymoon cruise without a wedding'. We had so many plans. So much to look forward to....
Beep! Text from his sister Lynn 'I have a pork chop, roasties and veg for your tea at 6 o'clock!'
So today I acknowledge that:
- getting out and being with people and learning is good
- that my new keynote has been exceptionally well-received
- I am definitely able to concentrate for longer, yet still not quite at my maximum
- that although my soul mate has physically gone, he is with me in everything
- I continue to be surrounded by a raft of people so willing to help and support me - I just have to ask
And now, boy, do I need some sleep!