Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Live and Go!

I feel like I have made a step or two forward in the last 48 hours. After the pleasure of Dom staying with me for a few days and sharing the trip to Wembley with him, I put him on the train back to Cheshire on Sunday afternoon. As the train pulled out of the station I felt my mood plummet. It felt like the end of summer - we have had some fun times since he has been off. Now we are back to the occasional meal and overnight stay again for the autumn. My heart was sinking.

In an attempt to save it I sat in the Costa coffee at the top of the station where Clive and I had often been. I treated myself to a drink and Millionaire's shortbread and just lost myself in a myriad of thoughts. I had been in here last with Mum - a happy thought. I put a comment on Facebook where I was and instantly I had suggestions - get a trash mag and indulge; don't be on your own; invitation for a cuppa. You are never on your own with Social Media! Thanks guys xx

With that I went to see Clive's sister Lynn and we had a lovely couple of hours - we had laughs, tears, hugs and most importantly made some happy plans. One thing we discussed was my fear of moving on. I have to acknowledge that Clive is dead. He isn't coming back. Yet I am scared to 'get rid' of anything. I want to hold onto as much of him and us as possible. One way we thought of was to change the picture on my phone. Every screensaver I have since he died has been Clive, me and Clive, Clive, Clive and me, Clive .....get the idea? So every time I look at my phone he is there. When he was alive I would often have him there but also changed it to 'picture of the moment' with Dom, Sophie or other important people in my life. In some ways doing this now felt like I was being disloyal. Lynn encouraged me to change it whilst I was there. It now is me in the yellow, sorry, Norfolk mustard, Lotus last week! I wanted to change the password from Clive to 'me' but it was too short! I have changed it to an inspiring word instead. There are still loads of pictures of Clive in my phone but not as a screensaver. now each time I use my phone I think of my future.

The sadness remains but also a drive to what will come..... whatever that is.

Lynn was my saviour that afternoon (again) and having hugs and spending time with her are truly special - as she is. Thank you sweetheart xx

So I have spent the last two days thinking ahead but also still relishing messages sent when Clive died and making contact with those who sent them. I set myself targets of so many emails to send out my flyer for workshops to share mine and Ann's expertise on postnatal depression, then matched them with those about Clive.

Both have been fruitful - some workshops booked and fantastic messages from other people. The messages about Clive I will eventually share properly but here are a few snippets:-

'Just wanted to share with you something that Laura said to one of our neighbours some years ago when he lost his wife and I know it will be resonant with your philosophy: “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened”.

'This is what shot out at me after I saw Clive in Jan;
CLIVE GOTT Firstly that I should start to really live my life and then just go for it.'

"The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen."   Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

I want to dedicate a song to Clive (I have added Clive) - 'Anyone Could Light a Candle' as he lit a candle within me to carry on believing in wanted to do with my life:-

Anyone could light a candle
but not the way that Clive did
just like a flower in the rain
he was unique, the same.

Each step you took,
Each dream you realized with Clive would open your heart, your life.

So if we looked close
pure magic we would be
pure magic we would see!

Its all around each one of us -
Its all around within -
The perfect union
Close inside your dreams, to watch in wonderment as each day begins...

If I should die and leave you here a while,
Be not like others, sore undone, who keep
Long vigils by the silent dust, and weep.
For my sake - turn again to life and smile,
Nerving thy heart and trembling hand to do
Something to comfort other hearts than thine.
Complete those unfinished tasks of mine
And I, perchance, may therein comfort you.

- Mary Lee Hall

So that is where my mind, thoughts and actions are right now. I also realise that I have choices - I can chose if to be sad or happy or angry or bitter. I cannot change that my soul mate has gone but I can choose to live my own life now and how I do that.

I have decided to take a break from blogging for a couple of weeks. This Saturday Clive and I had booked to go on another cruise - this time the Western Med. Of course I have cancelled it.

However, I am going to take the time to be with myself and with loved ones. I have been ordered to switch off my Blackberry and I will not be responding to anything but urgent messages! I am going to take myself out of the hamster wheel and slow down and 'just be'. So for those of you who worry now if I haven't blogged for a day or two, please don't! Once the cruise dates are passed there is nothing else in my diary that Clive and I had booked in. I see that as marking the start of 'me'. No more 'should have', 'would of'. I still have the danger of torturing myself with the past - for example last night I began to read the journal of our stunning cruise last year which we described as the perfect honeymoon - we just hadn't got married! After the account of the third day I could read no more for sobbing, so I stopped and closed the book. It hurts too much. Better to look at this and smile..

September 2011
I also have something to open ... when I was looking through the paperwork for the cruise, after he died, I found a letter. It is sealed with sellotape and signed 'Clive' on the back. On the front it reads

'To Elaine, to be opened when we are comfortable in our cabin on the ship on 3rd September 2011'.

It is still unopened - until Saturday. Perhaps it will simply say how he felt about me, like this song he said summed it all up ...

So for a little while I will leave you all in peace because it is time for me to take some proper rest and recovery from the shock and bewilderment of losing my darling Clive. 

I will be back here soon. In the meantime how will you chose to live your life? What will you go for?

With thanks to you all for your continued support, love and good wishes.

Elaine x

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Riding the rollercoaster of Rugby League!

Prior to my life with Clive Gott and apart from an interest in rugby (players!) at college I have never been a sports fan.

So to be at a rugby league final at Wembley and actually caring at the outcome is still quite novel for me.

Last year the road to Wembley with Leeds Rhinos was of course with Clive. He had so wanted to take me to experience a RL final. Our neighbour Mark had kindly driven us into Leeds where we'd got a direct National Express coach to Wembley. We'd got the back seat for more leg room and enjoyed the journey snuggled up. He was SO excited. At Leicester Forest services there was even a vendor selling regalia, flags, etc! It all added to the atmosphere.
Once at Wembley we'd had the expensive food and drink but it was all part of the experience!
Before the main game some school boys played - what an achievement for them. Clive felt proud for them, as he would!
When 'Abide with me' was traditionally sung I watched him getting emotional and fell in love with him all over again!
Even though the game saw Leeds slaughtered at 6 - 30 to Warrington it was still an incredible time. I had never appreciated the buzz from standing on a terrace singing, gasping and cheering until recent years.
On the quiet journey back Clive was listening to a personal development programme on his iPod in preparation for writing his next book (which he wrote during our cruise a few weeks later - 'It's not your time, it's the time you have'). In between we kept sending each other daft and teasing texts even though we were sitting next to each other! Mark picked us up from Leeds and we were back home by 10 pm with yet another memorable day behind us.

When Clive spoke to the young Rhino academy players (his babies, he called them), they usually discussed what goals they had. Playing at Wembley was something they aspired to. Hence when the team qualified this time I felt I should go. It just seemed right.

This time I wanted to share the experience with Dom. Had Clive been alive all 3 of us would have gone so I didn't feel he was the substitute - just someone else was missing.

I wore the same T-shirt as last year and also one of his jackets to feel he was with us. Once again we got the National Express coach. Same seats too! Although I missed Clive I was excited to be taking Dom in his Leeds Rhino T-shirt. Only snag was that it was so cold on the coach! No tears though.

At Wembley we walked to meet up with Pete, Mandy and the children. He was in trouble for sending us to the wrong tube station to meet up! A drink served as penance! They are actually Wigan fans - our rivals! But they are two of the good things about rugby league - it is friendly and very family orientated.

Some of the fans had dressed up as Smurfs, in tutus, Indonesian tribesmen with mascot 'Ronnie' on a spear and we spotted the 'band' dressed as Indians!

I posed for a photo under the same sign Clive and I had last year. What a difference a year makes? Who could have known that would be our first and last trip together there? Almost as soon as we'd got home he'd put the photo in a frame.

Once in the Arena we soaked up the atmosphere. Our seats were in the lowest tier near the 20m line.
We watched some of the school boys game. Dom commented that it must be amazing for them. I was disappointed there was no Guinness to drink!

Before the game began there was a band, dance troops, fireworks and other pitch activities leading to Rhydian singing 'Abide with me'. That did it!

I felt the comradeship amongst the Leeds fans; the love and appreciation of my son; pride at the Rhinos team ... and the incredulous pain and loss of Clive. 
I sang my broken heart out with the tears falling and my arms wrapped tightly round me, aching for Clive's touch and grief that he wasn't there to share in this with us.

But then I knew I had to ride the wave and get on with today's experience! As the crowd roared I was so pleased to be there with Dom for his first time in Wembley.

As the match began there was an air that the cup was already Wigan's and when the score became 16 - 0 to them, defeat hung around like stale fish. Then Leeds came back! The fans went wild! I physically felt sick several times!  

Back and forth the ball and players went, taking our emotions on a rollercoaster of ecstasy and agony. About 10 minutes from the end all we needed was one more converted try to draw so winning became within reach. Like many others I was on the edge of my seat watching through my fingers. Please, please win - for Clive, for Sue and Scott, for Dom, for yourselves ...
Then in the last minutes Wigan scored and that, as they say, was that.

All the photos are here

Needless to say we were disappointed but not crushed. I felt Leeds had certainly fought back - just not enough. The match was entertaining and exciting and I am so glad to have been.

As I wrote this on the coach back I was exhausted in a satisfied way. It was fun!

Better luck next time Rhinos!  

Today I have crashed down on the roller coaster again! I am letting small disappointments and tiredness knock me - time to get positive and do some 'feel goods'!

Elaine x

Friday, 26 August 2011

No one but you ....

I am continuing to reply to to the many, many emails sent to me when Clive died and asking permission to share some things with everyone in due course.

I am aware that my blog is cathartic for me but it appears that the support is two ways. I am so pleased by that. Knowing my thoughts are helping others after Clive's death is incredible.

Here are some tasters ...

The words from this poem by Joyce Grenfell (sent to me by Kate Atkin www.aspire-2.com ) are apt ..

If I should go before the rest of you
Break not a flower nor inscribe a stone
Nor when I’ve gone speak in a Sunday voice
But be the usual selves that I have known
Weep if you must, parting is hell
But life goes on, so sing as well

Consequently this is a song I wasn't familiar with but glad I am now. Freddy loved 'the stage' and so did our Clive.

Shelia Lemon wrote:-

He was truly inspirational and I have such respect for his ability to bounce back from anything that life threw at him. He delivered his presentations with humour and honesty, making it quite clear that any issues we may have came from within.

Is it any wonder  that I have a profound feeling of amputation since losing him? Although I have read many messages the last few days about Clive's inspiration on others it has left me in a cacophony of emotions - massive pride, gratitude, love and appreciation for him and what we all miss and wanted more of but the continuing feeling that the world has been robbed of a truly incredible person.

I drove into Leeds yesterday, initially feeling sad, listening to the 'Positive CD' that a friend has put together for me. I played this one on repeat ..

By the time I parked I had an incredible urge to dance! I posted an update on Facebook and within an hour had two invitations to do so - next time, ey? My advice to anyone when you are feeling down is MUSIC! It really can 'sooth the savage beast'.

Next I had meetings with some incredibly supportive people who have a tremendous belief in me and my future.  It is amazing - thank you guys.

I met Dom at Leeds station then. I had to gulp a few times because that is a place a would have amazing hugs of departure or reunion with Clive. He would always meet me with flowers too! I 'saw' him at the table in Starbucks. I 'saw' him coming through the barrier. I 'heard' him saying 'I aDore you'. I felt my heart breaking.

At the same time my heart was excited to be meeting Dom and so proud of how he now confidently makes his way across the Pennines independently. This time next year he'll be getting his GCSE results. Well done to Brendan, Oliver and Jordan by the way!

We walked back to where I had parked at The Light and I asked if he'd seen 'The Inbetweeners - the movie' yet. I had been waiting to see it but previously he'd declared it wasn't appropriate for him to go with me! Basically it is about teenage boys on their first foreign holiday together. We had once watched part of the series on television. One of the characters has divorced parents and has an attractive Mum. In one programme she had a boyfriend called Clive who turned up in a silver convertible! Seriously!

Dom said he'd seen it twice but would love to go again - so we did. The plan though was that I was not to look at him during the film!! I did offer to sit elsewhere but he tolerated me! I do not take it for granted that he is not ashamed to share humour with me and I with him. I had several belly laughs at the film! Great fun and so typical of many foreign holidays with groups of friends! I did my first one at the end of my first year at college - what an education!

After the film we met a chicken in the street - seriously!

She was handing out flyers for chicken wings in a sports bar .. so we simply had to oblige. I am looking forward to enjoying more adult things with Dom in the years to come!

Back home I did a few more emails and then joined Dom in my further education of teen humour with Lee Nelson's Well Good Show on BBC3. I am definitely more broad minded than I used to be!!

Today we have stayed in; eaten up chicken wings for lunch; taken it in turns on the computer and got ready for tomorrow ..... but that's another story ...

So what is your most uplifting piece of music? May I suggest you play it NOW and make sure you have it on your phone or somewhere accessible so you can give it a blast when your mood needs a lift?

And even better - if you can, sing and dance! That's what Clive would have done!

Elaine x


Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Fast cars and fabulous music!

Did you think I'd disappeared? I haven't gone away - just been busy, which is good.

On Monday I joined my fellow trustees of The Joanne (Joe) Bingley Memorial Foundation   for an Outlook training session done by Mandy Williams of Altum V. She did a brilliant job of teaching us even though we behaved like naughty children swapping scandal and gossip - okay - my weekend!!

I felt really inspired on my return home to 'set to' on a task which has been on my conscience for months. When Clive died I received hundreds of beautiful emails. I have always intended to reply to them but either time or emotion hasn't been right. So I have begun to make a dent in them asking permission for me to share the contents with others - it seems selfish to keep them to myself as they put a fantastic picture of Clive together. I hope one day I can put them on a website for all to see. If I haven't got to you yet - I will! Even if it takes until Christmas.

Yesterday I had another day at my desk. I rattled through my lists and did more emails. I had an event to attend that night so was motivated to get busy! I was pleased that Ann and I got another booking to hold one of our workshops on postnatal depression at a Children's Centre. 

Sitting at my desk surrounded by pictures of Clive is not easy. I glance up and he is here - looking at me. I often feel a wave of despair that life feels so different without him in it. So empty even though I am so busy. So overwhelming with having to be self-reliant for everything. Days when I am by myself it would be so easy to stay in bed; not eat; do nothing but wallow and watch television. No matter how much support I have, need and appreciate I know that in the end I HAVE to take responsibility for myself. Depression is an avenue I can understand why some people go down after bereavement. The black hole Clive has left is bad enough without allowing myself to spiral into the black hole of depression.

One extremely uplifting thing I did yesterday was to read Ann Girling's manuscript of her forthcoming book 'Journey to Chocolate' for which I am honoured she has asked me to write the foreword. I did both. Her book is wonderful - details to follow!

The day passed and at 7.30 pm I was picked up to be taken on a short drive down the A64 to The Buckles Inn for a meeting of the North Yorkshire Lotus Owners Club.  Last week, one of Clive's friends had met up with me and told me he goes here once a month. We decided that if I was free I'd go. I admit that my desire is for a red Audi convertible A3 but what do you think of this ....?

I was taken for a 'run' around the back lanes which I normally cycle on. Wow! Talk about going like muck off a shovel! I loved it! I was surprised how much did. As Dom will vouch I can be a wimp but I didn't flinch. I think since losing Clive I have become so much braver about so much. They were a very friendly group and there were 55 Lotus cars to mooch around before a meeting inside with plans for plenty of social events. 

I enjoyed the evening and smiled at how many new experiences I am now having! Thank you for a fun evening!

I was also introduced to the music of Diane Warren - she has written many of my favourite songs but didn't realise. I have been listening to this collection all day, including

1. I Don't Want to Miss a Thing - Aerosmith
2. Because You Loved Me - Celine Dion
3. Can't Fight the Moonlight - LeAnn Rimes
4. I Turn to You - Christina Aguilera
5. How Do I Live - Trisha Yearwood
6. Un-Break My Heart - Toni Braxton
7. From the Heart - Another Level
8. I Learned from the Best - Whitney Houston
9. Saving Forever for You - Shanice
10. There You'll Be - Faith Hill
However I have a new love - Il Divo! I have never really listened to them before but this made me melt! Couldn't drive to this though.

Today I have also been at my desk! More emails, more flyers sent for our workshops - and music as company.

Tonight it was a pleasure to have Sue, Scott and the girls to visit. Children give such lovely cuddles! This remains one of my favourite pictures of Clive.

Shame about the washing!

He would be getting so excited now about Leeds Rhinos rugby league playing at Wembley at the weekend. He'd be hardly able to sleep! Bless him!

I miss being driven by him late at night with loud music on, as we returned from another successful speaking event.

Oh dear - think I have caught a fast car bug!!! I have just noticed it matches the yellow dress - but it's called Norfolk mustard! Hot stuff, ey?

So does having a 'treat' lined up help you to focus on 'work'?  It does me.

And what have you learnt today? I learnt that the same woman has written many of my favourite songs and I LOVE fast cars!

Elaine x


Sunday, 21 August 2011

6 months since Clive Gott died.

Yes it is really 6 months since Clive died. In some ways it feels like a long time ago but in others still so fresh, new and as shocking.

After spending most of the week over in Cheshire with my family I decided to come back home. En route I called at IKEA to get a bookcase for my office. Did you see the programme earlier in the week called 'My Mum's a hoarder?' Well it prompted me to begin to sort the piles of 'stuff' that currently are in what was our joint office. I had felt that it was a huge task and one that was too much to handle. Seeing the amount of 'stuff' that the lady in the documentary had made me realise that I had made a mountain out of what really is a molehill! It was another task I was avoiding and in doing so has made many tasks twice as long because I was having to wade through bags and boxes just to find sellotape! A big bookcase would at least mean I could begin to make sense and organisation for some of it.

Initially In Leeds IKEA I felt sad. Last time Clive and I had been here together. I got a free drink (thanks Dad for the loan of your Family card for there) and sat where Clive and I had sat, remembering how charming he had been with a young mum and baby who had been next to us. The tears pricked but I chose to change them into focus on the new bookcase. Mum and Claire had given me birthday money and this seemed a good use of it. I wandered through the store with happy and sad feelings at the same time.

Then began the 'I am on my own' dilemmas! First was being unable to lift the bookcase on the trolley. Getting an assistant to do that was quite easy. I thought of how Clive's strong hands and arms would have done it an an instance! Check out was easy but then I wondered how I would get it in the car! The assitant told me there were trolley boys outside. I stood for ages and then spotted then having their lunch and was too polite to expect them to stop for me! The other option was to put the trolley in a locker whilst I got the car but I didn't have a pound coin! Other idea was to ask a kind person to keep an eye on it for me. But who do you trust? So I chose to go in the lift and take it to the car myself.

Once by my car I then wondered what on earth I should do! In this day and age there is the concern that someone will not help in case of injury! If I asked a man on his own would they take that as a 'come on'? If I asked a man with a wife/partner would that cause trouble? Finally I asked a guy with two women! The reason I gave was the trolley boys being at lunch. He helped no problem. I did resist the temptation to declare why I was on my own but didn't! Mission was accomplished.

Back home there was then the issue of getting it in and upstairs! There wasn't a neighbour in sight and I sent a few SOS texts but no responses! In the meantime I began to sort the mess! I moved the wardrobe from my new office to make room for my bookcase and sorted out a cupboard which would also be of use. Finally Simon next door came home and he helped me upstairs with it. Within an hour I had not only built and managed to put in place my new 'Billy' bookcase but it was also filled! What a sense of achievement.

From there I was back into Leeds to go to a BBQ and Ann Summers party. I wasn't sure if I wanted to go but decided I would. Initially I felt rather alone and it turned out to be a 'Man Summers' night as men were there too - although they didn't come into the sales bit! It was nice to find people there that I already knew and some who had known Clive. The Ann Summers part was a bit uncomfortable because it made me feel sad to think of what I have lost. I won a book called 'How to be a bad girl in bed'!!!

I took the invitation to stay overnight and so had a few drinks, a dance and generally a good evening! Another morning I have arrived home in the same clothes as the night before! Yesterday I was a sloth! I went back to bed for a while then watched York races on tv. I did at least clean my bedroom.

I settled down last night to watch the start of X-factor. That was another big step as we had watched it last year and Clive had built up a regular following of his comments on Facebook each programme. I wasn't sure if to avoid it or join in - I chose the latter. I posted a message on Facebook and got plenty back! Perhaps I should take over where he left off? I was sitting on my own with a glass of wine but certainly did not feel alone.

As 8.30 pm came I recalled how 6 months ago I had kissed and tucked up Clive in bed and told him how much I loved him. At 8.50 pm I went back up in response to what had been his final breath. My mind relived the horror of that night. At he same time a sweet Irish girl sang about 'Your song' on X factor and I focussed on the lyric about someone being in my life.

Clive Gott was in my life - he always will be in my heart and mind. I am so grateful for all we shared. He was an amazing, incredible man and he left the world better for him having been in it. That was what he wanted in life.

So on reflection 6 months after he died I can honestly say that this time has been the worst of my life (so far, as he'd say). I have never known the pain, loss, emptiness and shock like this before. I have felt bereft, robbed, angry, alone, sorrowful and anxious. On the other hand I have never felt so much support and love from so many people. Clive I did feel we were true soul mates. We had marriage and our lives to look forward to.

I still have my life to look forward to. I am on a new journey now but with all the support around me, self-determination and responsibility plus the deep gratitude and multiple memories of Clive in my life, it HAS to become easier and happier.

When Clive died I asked for thank you cards not sympathy ones. Six months on I need and wish to send those thanks and gratitude back out to all of you who have helped and continue to help me through this.

And I know Clive would be there too, giving us a big hug, saying 'it's happened and you ARE dealing with it'.

Ladies Day at York races
We miss you Clive but are so glad you were here.

I leave you with these thoughts ..

  • What task are you putting off? Just tackle it!
  • Do you appreciate who and what you have?

Elaine x


Thursday, 18 August 2011

Making connections and choices

One of my speaker colleagues told me that he had secured a booking (that had been Clive Gott's) because the organisers found him on the networking website LinkedIn, a business-related social networking site. I have also heard other people recommend it as a way to get a new job, find business and look for suppliers. So when my friend Andy Preston invited me to attend a training session he was giving on using LinkedIn I jumped at the opportunity.

I have had a profile on LinkedIn for a while now and it has been useful to put the testimonials for my more generic inspirational talks whilst I am considering how to move forward with my website and blog to reflect the 'latest me'.

Andy is very knowledgeable and has an excellent way of training. As delegates we had to work on your own profiles whilst we were there - mine is in development still but have a look at http://www.linkedin.com/in/elainehanzakgott

By the way LION indicates that I am a 'LinkedIn Open Networker' and am happy to consider connecting in that way.

Andy showed us some common mistakes made by people on this site, e.g. having a very professional business profile there shattered by feeds from Twitter describing a drunken, party-animal! He also gave us many tips to increase and improve our usage of the site.

Thank you Andy and I highly recommend his session!

Next was a meeting with my colleague and friend Ann Girling, to discuss the latest mail shot of our workshops on postnatal illness. We have received several enquiries which we are following up. Our flyer is available here - please share the link with anyone who is involved with young families.

Although our meeting was very positive for some unknown reason I could feel my mood slide. I came over all tearful, with no apparent cause. I think I am beginning to be acutely aware that this weekend will mark 6 months since Clive died. That Saturday is still etched on my mind as if it was yesterday yet in other ways it does seem ages away. The loss remains. The shock maybe a little less. The hurt and sadness still massive.

Ann was very understanding and the burst of tears did me good as almost immediately I could feel the wave pass. It really does help to be in the company of those that you can 'just be' with.

I then went to meet a friend of Clive's for dinner. He had only recently discovered what had happened - as Clive knew so many people this is still happening. He had felt not only the loss of a friend but also the loss of the opportunity to say goodbye. Even though I initially felt weary I was so pleased I went to see him. The hours flew by with us both chatting about Clive and ourselves. One thread of conversation was about how we carry on with our beliefs and dreams even when we keep getting knocked down!

I was intrigued that he called me an 'emotion guru'! That's a new one!

Today I was with my sister Claire and little Sophie again. I felt mixed emotions as we passed one of the restaurants that Clive, Dom and I had eaten in last year. I had been so happy at how well they got along together, talking about films, places, nationalities. So much to look forward to! I still have but not with Clive.

Sophie had her first taste of a 50p 'ride' on a Bob the Builder vehicle!

I caught up with one college friend and bumped into another couple who I hadn't seen for a couple of years! Both are still with husbands met whilst at college. Congratulations to those who have passed their A levels today and will be making choices for their next step - look where it can lead!!

Another thing that is playing on mind is the start of the autumn shows of X-factor and Strictly Dancing. The last two years Clive and I had enjoyed them and it was part of our routine to watch them - in 2009 I was recovering from surgery and then last year he was! Clive especially became an X-factor fan and part of the fun he had was with his Facebook friends as the programme aired! An unofficial group was formed and woe betide him by the members if we happened to be out when it was on! There were many comments about this 'ritual'on his Facebook site when he died.

I know they are just television programmes but they are also a reminder of what we have lost. I still am undecided what to do this weekend - do I watch with a bottle of wine and 'get over it' or do I go out and pretend it's not happening? Or do I start it again?

Then today on the news the awful report of the young man who has died due to a shark attack whilst on honeymoon in the Seychelles, has been broadcast. I wanted to cry when I heard his widow's voice. Clive's friend told me last night that one phrase he had heard used to describe the roller coaster of mood in grief was that 'your emotions are closer to the surface'. That makes sense. My heart goes out to that lady as I now fully appreciate the pain and hurt she will now be facing.

Life is so fragile....

That thought lead to me doing a Google search and I found this article

Life Is Fragile . . . Or Is It?
By Scott Osterhage

We view our lives as fragile, we billions of human beings, each like a knot in a fishing net: autonomous of the other knots, yet indissolubly interconnected with all the others. All moves as one, yet the integrity of the net depends on each individual knot. Woven together we form the net of Humanity.

Lately I've been contemplating how the destructive qualities of disease and death seem to come so easily to us. An automobile accident, a bout with cancer, or a thousand other everyday occurrences remind us of the delicate balance of life. Viewed as bodies moving on this earth we are constantly on the razor's edge: a single slip and we are severed from what we know in this world. The knot snaps.

That is what we think we know, who we think we are. However, we are not just this body, this personality. At life's core we are indestructible. The interpenetrating cloaks of our existence extend beyond the physical body we usually identify as our "selves." Our life-force and desires shape the body. Instinct, intellect, and intuition direct and guide us. That shining spark at our core compels and centers us. Connected with all the other sparks, it collects us into the One Life.

Fragile we may seem, easily broken, yet life's tragedies guide us to our permanent and lasting inner home, our very real source of life. Forms come and go, but our constant center remains. The challenges we meet come to us because we set their causes in motion. We reap the effects as we need them, to learn by experience how to live in harmony with the eternal flow of life. If we were separate entities nothing would affect us. Because we are integral parts of all that exists, we feel the ripples we create and through this process learn to live within equilibrium, restoring balance through learning and living — making a different choice the next time. Freshly we live each moment, the only time we can affect the future, for each moment is the only time we can act. The past is gone, and our future is yet to be fully formed.

Together we surround the world and sustain each other. We make a strong net. The more we support others, the easier the load is for everyone to carry. When a tear occurs, someone repairs it. All we are and all we can become is wrapped in each moment, and then the next and the next. Each choice we make changes the course of our humanity, and of the entire world. Let's make every choice count.


That final sentence reminded me of Clive's last posting on Facebook - 'Tomorrow will happen no matter what - make it count'.

The theme of this piece also reminds me of the importance of connections, communication and choices.

So I shall continue to 
  • Connect with others (work on my LinkedIn profile and connections!)
  • Communicate by sending our workshop flyer to more people in order to help others
  • Chose the kindest option for myself to mark this weekend's 6 month milestone
What will you do to make the day and every choice count?

Elaine x


Tuesday, 16 August 2011

What did you learn today?

One of Clive Gott's values was 'Lifelong Learning'. He did so on a daily basis - literally the day he died he learnt he had pushed his body too far. Since he died I have felt that I too am on a massive learning curve.

One of my friends posted a message on Facebook about what had happened to her in a supermarket -

Day dreaming whilst doing my food shop the man who was stood next to me asked " which one is best to clean the kitchen ?" 
As I looked at him he continued, " my wife died and she sorted this sort of stuff .. I don`t know which one she used. " 
I told him which I bought and he thanked me as he put it into his basket .. Bless him :):)

When you have shared a home with someone and they are no longer there, you do realise who was the one who made sure the shower tray didn't go mouldy, who emptied the bins, etc. I have learnt many things about running a household since being on my own for the first time. I do have a growing sense of pride and achievement about it plus sadness.

After our birthdays and the BBQ at the weekend I had also suspected that my strength, optimism and efficiency would suffer on Sunday through tiredness and relief. I have learnt that is what happens now and I try to build in a safety net, e.g. have company and keep busy. Sunday I was fine but whack! It hit on Monday instead. I wonder if other bereaved people feel like they too wake up with a drink induced hangover, except you haven't drunk? That's how yesterday morning felt. My body seemed heavy. My head and eyes too. I had planned on being super-efficient at my desk but every email was like a 3,000 word essay, even if two lines.

I applied various 'self-motivating' ways. I was cross at myself for being unable to focus. I kept repeating Clive's saying 'When you don't feel like doing anything just do something'.

I also put on the radio in an attempt for 'feel good' music. Then this track played:

That prompted me to open one of his wardrobes, surround myself in his sleeves and cry, wail and sob buckets. Clive had a fur-lined hoody - I wrapped that around myself and had a smoochy dance with it, just aching to feel his arms around me. Why does it still hurt so much?

The rest of the afternoon I continued to cry at ANYTHING! I miss him so much. Life feels so hard and overwhelming in comparison to what we had planned. The cruise we had planned for September (and I have cancelled) is coming closer along with my huge disappointment and memories of our idyllic one last year. I have plans to spend that time now elsewhere. I know that other people have much tougher lives and times to deal with and I have much to be grateful about.

My best tonic was to smarten myself up - just taking time to dry my hair properly and put some perfume on helped. So did talking to a few friends. The day passed.

Today was beautiful! I was looking after my niece Sophie and asked Chris if he and Emily would like to join us. The four of us met at a shopping precinct and the hours drifted away with drinks, mooching, toddling, eating and just being!

Who's your friend?
I love my Daddy!
I like it here!
We're not a bit tired!
Today I haven't felt tearful once! I find it quite amazing how my mood can change so much. Perhaps being with these adorable little girls today and feeling so relaxed in Chris's company had much to do with it? Having a true friend is priceless. We both were quiet today but it was therapeutic to be with such wonderful babies. Thank you to their parents for giving me their permission to include them here.

The innocence of youth! All they are concerned about is if they are loved, warm, fed and comfortable. I am that tonight.

I also found a note written by Clive in my Filofax. I remember we'd had a challenge sometime last year and later that day when I opened my diary this note was there:-

YK = Your Knight
We are all on a learning journey. The speed and skills that Emily and Sophie are learning is incredible - it's amazing how clearly they can say 'Yes' to the question - 'would you like an ice cream?'

I am learning that although I am getting stronger I still have to allow myself 'off days and moments' to grieve.

Spending time with my young relatives and friends is a pleasure I shall continue to indulge in. I did my sister a favour today but really it was the other way around!

When can I have her again?!

What did you learn today?

Elaine x

Monday, 15 August 2011

Would you like to hear Elaine Hanzak-Gott speak?

I am often asked where/when I am next speaking. Well one of the next events that is open to the public is to be held as a fund-raising event in Huddersfield at 8 pm on the 22nd September.

It is a joint event being organised by the Huddersfield Pendragon Ladies Circle. The funds raised will be split between The Joanne (Joe) Bingley Memorial Foundation of which I am a trustee and the Alzheimer's Society.
My Grandma suffered from Alzheimer's disease so I can offer first-hand experience on the family about that.

My aim is to share my stories and experiences around such challenges in life as postnatal illness plus wider mental health issues including bereavement and Alzheimer's. Methinks Clive Gott might get a mention! However, the key messages of the evening will be about how we all can look after ourselves better and in doing so can actively help those around us.

There may be a few tears shed on the evening but there will also be some smiles, laughs, positive reflection and encouraging, uplifting outcomes! And that doesn't just mean being inspired to get a new bra!

My purpose in life is sharing practical, simple and effective ways to make life easier and happier for others.
If you are interested in hearing how I do this, please come along and invite others!

It is strictly ticket only as there are limited seats - first come, first served so get yours now!

Full details are here

Hope to see you there!

Elaine x


Sunday, 14 August 2011

Clive Gott's Birthday BBQ (and mine!)

On Friday Dom and I had quiet a relaxed start to the day. I did some admin and by mid afternoon we went into Leeds. Dom was looking for some specific 'bits' for his photography and had noticed 'proper' camera shops there when we popped in the day before. As his required items were 'specialist' we were directed up to Dale Photographic, which was somewhat off the beaten track.

I entered a world of gobble-de-gook as Dom and a couple of extremely knowledgeable staff discussed the items  he wanted. How did my 15 year old learn so much? When as parents do you realise your child has knowledge about something that far exceeds your own? I think technology-wise he left me behind years ago! I was impressed by both the shop and my son! We will be back!

Many of you have been impressed by his photography taken on our recent holiday at Flamborough and Clive's golf day last week.

However, my favourite one was taken a few hours later. We went along to Headingley to watch Leeds Rhinos play against Castleford Tigers - the team they just beat last Sunday to got to Wembley! Ooch! The Rhinos shop was packed with fans getting regalia for Wembley in 2 weeks time. As the season is coming to its end some of the clothing was reduced. I stopped in my tracks as I spotted a certain pale blue polo shirt on the reduced rail. It was the last one. My eyes filled with tears as my thought of this one holds mixed memories. It was Clive's favourite that I had dressed him in his coffin. In a flash I could see him lying there. I could feel the coldness of his face, hands and lips. I half smiled as I remembered my mascara tears had stained it as I held his body for the last time. Dom came over and I explained the significance. He offered to get it for me. I thought for a moment and decided against it. It would just hurt too much. Better to focus on happy things.

In an instance I did, as Dom had chosen a T-shirt for Wembley. His first ever team clothing. I was so pleased and I know Clive would have been too.

We had our usual corporate table and shared it with Pete Evans of Altum V and some of his guests. What a chore - me at a table with 8 men! One was my son so I had to behave!

Last season I had been at a game with Clive and as we were waiting for our meal I flicked through the programme. I read that one of my favourite players, Keith Senior, had been the first to score a try the last time they had played the team that night. Clive often placed a small bet at the matches ('I'll have a dabble', he'd say), and I rarely did. I surprised him that night by saying 'put my £5 on Keith for first try scorer'. Guess what? Keith scored! I was chuffed to bits! The outcome was a new dress. So every match after that I'd follow Keith closely. I kept telling Clive to introduce me but he told me to be patient. All I wanted was a photo with him.

Not long into this season Keith wrecked his knee and hasn't played since. I was gutted. Often injured players come into the corporate dining suite and will add their comments about the game. Due to Keith's amazing injury-free career this has never happened - until Friday night! He was there! poor Dom - he must shake his head in dismay at me sometimes. I was like an excited toddler! Clive often admired my determination to get something I wanted ...

Keith Senior and me!
Keith was charming as I asked if I may have my photo with him, which Dom took.  I thanked him for my dress and explained who I was. I felt quite choked but also very proud when he said he was very sorry to hear about Clive - he'd done a lot for the club.

I floated to our seats after that. The atmosphere was fantastic - rugby league at its best. There was such a buzz and several 'Wem-ber-ley' chants - surely not to wind up the Cas fans?!

I sat in the seats Clive and I always had for home games. The whole match I didn't feel tearful - instead a HUGE feeling of love and gratitude for Clive. Why? For sharing his love of Leeds Rhinos with me and enabling me to then share it with my son. I feel so appreciative that Clive opened my eyes to many new experiences that previously I would have dismissed as 'not my scene'. What are you saying 'no' to that you might actually enjoy, if you just open your mind to it? It is another part of his legacy. Clive always wanted a son. It was one of the only things he actually envied others for. For me now to share this pleasure with my son is brilliant and I know how delighted he would be. Thank you to those at Headingley too for letting me keep Clive's place. This seat in the North Stand at Leeds Headingley will always have Clive's spirit there.

Dom was as enthralled as I was as bit by bit Leeds stormed their way to a 56-0 victory.  The Rhino fans were in fine voice. The players on great form. Makes me think of this song ..

After cheese and biscuits back upstairs we wandered to the car park with Pete and one of his guests. Dom chatted to him and discovered that he had been a Major. 'Wow!' said Dom, 'I have huge respect for guys like that'.

I drove away with a smile on my face but with sadness that the season is drawing to a close! Me! Blimey, this is a strange emotion for me! Now I understand how Clive felt.

Clive and me last year

The next day we were having a BBQ at home - intended as one to celebrate our joint birthdays, like we did last year.  I had debated if still to go ahead but on our plans for the year printed out and on the wall 'Have a brilliant birthday barbeque' was there.

Mainly I thought it would be just a good idea to have family together for a happy reason. So far this year such gatherings have been to mourn. So the plan went ahead.

At midnight Dom and I were in a 24 hour Tesco in Leeds - with Dom wearing his new Rhinos t-shirt! Now Clive would have been pleased!

Saturday passed in a blur of 'getting BBQ ready', 'Enjoying company and BBQ' then 'Clearing up after BBQ'!

Twice I could have cried - when 'Truly, Madly, Deeply' by Savage Garden played. I paused for a moment looking at our back garden full of people smiling, chatting, drinking, children playing. I had put a photo of Clive at the top of the garden to watch over us - but I felt he was there in spirit. I thought  how he would have been in his element now. He had adored our BBQ last year and loved the way we hosted it together. Dom did a sterling job helping me throughout this year, with a maturity not usually associated with a 15 year old. Everyone helped with food, cooking, etc and the day just flowed. I smiled and enjoyed the day feeling surrounded by people who love us both.

Mind you, I did throw into conversation that in my previous blog I had requested people to send me 10 words which they feel best describe me (to help with my re-branding and marketing). I have received some gorgeous ones - thank you! However, in my back garden yesterday there were ones thrown around like 'bossy', buxom', 'unstable'!!!! Cheers guys - and these coming from those who claim to like me??!

Later on as a few of us sat around the warmth of the chimenea, just as we had last year, as people left the circle of chairs grew smaller. As banter went on around 'Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus' - comparing the gender differences, I felt the massive hole at my side. There was one empty chair next to me. I had put one of Clive's big coats on so I felt he was hugging me. As people chatted I actually had my hand out over the arm of the chair imagining his leg there. He would have been so very excited to be part of this - some of our closet friends, my parents and my son. I managed to curb the tears and chose to smile and feel proud that I had not only put on a wonderful evening to celebrate our birthdays but that everyone had enjoyed it.

I know other people had their own 'moments' (or hours) of missing Clive here last night. It didn't need me to give a speech to acknowledge the loss we all feel in our own ways. We all have to grieve in our own ways - there is no right or wrong one.

Clive has left behind a very supportive and loving family and my gratitude for that being passed onto me is more than words can say. I know Clive and I were only together for a few short years but to have been embraced by his closest family in this way means an incredible amount to me. Having some of my family there too was also special - just so sad that we weren't together to celebrate Clive and I getting married, which would have been happening.

My parents, Dom and I cleared up later on and I finally slid into bed feeling as content as I can. I was pleased and proud of everyone for enabling me to be able to tick off the line on the list on the kitchen wall -
'have a brilliant birthday barbeque'.

I was touched when Clive's brother said it was good to see me smiling - and to keep on doing so.
My heart continues to be broken. The pain of Clive dying remains. I am able to smile more in spite of this, as I begin to recognise and value the people I have around me. This song sums it up ..

So my ideas for you today:-

  • What are you saying 'no' to that perhaps means you ultimately are denying yourself pleasure?
  • Smile!

Elaine x


Friday, 12 August 2011

How I celebrated Clive Gott's birthday

August 11th will always be a poignant day for me as it was Clive's birthday. The first summer we were together he celebrated his 50th birthday (by the way, has anyone got photos of that night as I can't find any trace?). He had booked a venue in Tadcaster and invited friends, family, colleagues for a party. Food was fish and chips from a van outside! It was a fun night. He was on excellent form!

My man, Clive Gott
This year I had a choice - stay in bed and mope or choose to celebrate in some way? Clive Gott lived for inspiring others. He would not want me to wither away.

I awoke however with some worries on my mind - and not just because Clive would have been 53 today.
I was up just after 6 a.m at my desk! Several years ago I was given the advice that if something is worrying you then you have two choices - if it is beyond your control or a 'what if' situation, why worry? Alternatively if there is something you can do - get on with it!

So rather than laying in bed stewing, I got active! By 7 a.m. I had sent off several emails in my attempt to 'get on with it' and then focussed on getting more opportunities to live my purpose - making early parenthood easier and happier for others. Along with my team of trustees at The Joanne (Joe) Bingley Memorial Foundation, we aim to  help women and their families by raising awareness and providing information about postnatal depression. Joe tragically took her own life 10 weeks after becoming a mother to Emily. I came close to suicide myself as a new Mum and I completely understand how your mind can unravel to that extent. We also acknowledge that the effects go beyond Mum and baby but to the Dad, other family members, close friends and ultimately the workplace. Ann Girling and I have been delivering workshops together for a few years now and we continue to be driven by them. Feedback we receive shows how they help the professionals involved on both a personal and professional level. We both stress 'the importance of you' because unless you look after your own needs first, you are not best positioned to help others. 

We have created a new flyer to promote these workshops. If you have any contacts with people who have young families, either personally or professionally please pass on the link! Such information has already saved one life and improved it for countless others. Although Ann and I are based in the north of England we like to travel!

Many of you have offered me help in any way. The best way is to enable me to help others. Clive's death still seems to be a waste and a huge loss. One of the few ways I can make sense of it is to make my light in the world shine brighter to help others.

I was shown this relevant quote yesterday (thanks to Steve http://www.jigsawconsulting.org/SteveStore.htm)

‎"A candle loses none of its light when it lights another candle" (unknown)

Last year Clive had worked on his birthday and we'd celebrated a different day. So I knew he would approve of me doing this today! I started to send the flyer out and concentrated on being a Mum!

Many people sent me lovely messages to say they were thinking of me. So much appreciated - thank you.

Dom and I went into Leeds for an appointment at Ice Innovation who are working with me on my new logo, rebrand, etc. Wow! I now have an extremely impressive plan! We have identified my key values as passion, quality and authenticity. Another useful thing would be if you could send me 10 key words that best describe me! What comes to mind when you think of me? This isn't me seeking approval - it is a classic marketing tool!

Then it was time to think of how we would have spent tonight with Clive and we did it - tea at Nandos followed by the cinema. I went to The Light in Leeds because we had been there so many times. We saw Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Thoroughly enjoyed it!

Once back at home I raised a glass of wine to Clive. We ended the day watching the very amazing Town called Panic. Clive would have loved it!

Spending Clive's birthday with my son and spending time enabling my purpose to grow would have been approved of by him. Don't you agree?

So I ask you three things

1. Pass on my flyer
2. Describe me in 10 words - email
3. Raise a glass (or cup of coffee) to Clive

And finally may I ask you to share with someone a story/comment/affect that knowing Clive had on you? If you want to email them to me for inclusion here I'd be happy to share them with your permission.

Let's keep on sharing and spreading his light.

Thank you,

Elaine x

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Clive Gott's Memorial Golf Day

Yesterday Dom and I drove up to Kirbymoorside Golf Course, just on the edge of the North York Moors. It was Clive's favourite course in the UK. His golfing friends had wanted to honour his memory by holding a golf tournament with proceeds going to the charity that I am setting up.

On the day Clive died we had met a young golfer who he had sponsored for some lessons. He had also donated money to a local football team for their kit.

On our final car journey together he commented that he had never got round to getting their wet weather kit - hence my idea to fund raise in his name to do this in due course.

One of his friends, Dave Sear, took the lead to organise the day at Kirbymoorside and we had 10 teams that played a 'Texas Scramble'. He did a sterling job in getting prizes donated for both the trophies, half way refreshments and raffle.

It was pouring with rain on the journey there. I was cursing Clive as I had asked him to sort for sunshine! By the time the first time teed off it was down to a drizzle and stopped for most of the day then, so it was okay.

I was pleased at how strong I felt and not tearful. Everyone was so friendly and I got so many hugs! Some players I knew well, others I had heard Clive mention and others were new to me. After coffee and bacon sandwiches the teams set off. It is a stunning course and I could see how Clive would have loved it.

Dave had set up a table with all the prizes on - most impressive!

As the final team began Dave and I made our way to the 'half way club house' by the 9th hole where we served pies, biscuits and drinks donated by some of the players. It was an ideal opportunity to chat to everyone and find out their connection with Clive. I felt so proud of him! What struck me was that many did not realise what he really did. Even those who had played with him for several years were in the dark about his speaking career and the impact he had on many. To them he was 'Clive from golf'.

Isn't that typical of him? He didn't blow his own trumpet in other circles, e.g. at golf, down at the local pubs. He didn't 'use' people to get him gigs. He simply enjoyed the company, exercise, challenge and chatter whilst playing golf.

Dom used the refreshment break as an opportunity to take team photos. He is building his portfolio for event photography. Photos are here

Once the last team had been refreshed we went back to the main clubhouse and bit by bit the teams returned. There was a wonderful buzz about the place as people ordered some food and compared scores. At one point I felt a well of tears about to burst through as I thought how Clive would have loved it all! I could almost see him sitting amongst the players. I had taken framed photos of him to put on tables.

Finally all the teams returned and Dave called everyone to order. He asked if I wanted to say a few words. If??!!! I could have spoken all day but I didn't. Just long enough I hope to have given Clive the mention he deserved and to say a little about him. The prizes and raffle went well. It was fantastic that virtually everyone stayed until the end. I felt that showed how much they were enjoying it.

We had three prizes to auction - a rug, hamper from Nestle and a signed rugby ball and shirt from Leeds Rhinos. They got us £150. Many thanks to those who bid.

As Dom and I left I felt a huge feeling of pride and appreciation for everyone involved.
  • For Clive for continuing to be an inspiration
  • For Dave who put so much passion and effort into making the day such a success
  • For Dom taking photos so professionally and being so sociable with people
  • For all those who had donated prizes
  • For those who had turned up on a damp, grey August day to remember Clive and play golf!
  • The staff at Kirbymoorside were excellent all day in meeting our every need. 
  • For those who could not attend but sent me messages of support all day.
  • Sponsors including 
  • Mr Richard Walker Clifton carpets, American Golf , Forest Park Golf Club, Mark Winterburn (Professional Forest Park Golf Club), Mr Paul Blackett Kraft Foods, Mr Michael Ross Nestle'
The day has raised around £600! Fantastic!

As people left the comment was generally the same - 'See you same time next year'.

One of the players was telling me how he had recently met Heather Small at an event. She gave her time freely for a charity and was only too happy to sign autographs, etc. Apparently a lovely person who appreciates the breaks she has been given in life!

So it feels fitting to share this in the light of Clive Gott's Memorial Golf Day.

And what a great way to celebrate his birthday! Today he would have been 53.

Elaine x


Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Mixed feelings about Clive Gott!

On Sunday evening I got myself in a tizz over who I could go to Wembley with and watch the Rhinos take on Wigan. No matter who goes IT JUST ISN'T CLIVE. Is it just me that has been bereaved that almost feels bad asking others when they know they aren't your first choice?  It really isn't a good feeling. Yet I know from other things I have been to since Clive died that I have made new memories with those I have shared events with. The hole remains though.

When I was sorting out all the photo files at the weekend I came across the ones we had done back in summer 2008 - the year Clive was 50. They were taken by http://www.janetjonesphotography.co.uk/

I now have this one as my screen saver. It probably doesn't do me much good but I can't help but stare into those eyes.

We had this as our first one together for our joint presentation:-

Happy memories.

I had another difficult night - these birthday weeks are proving difficult. I guess it doesn't help that so many people are on holiday. Being busy is better.

Monday morning I woke feeling very rough. I ached. I had a headache and I contemplated staying in bed, ringing a few people and cancelling the day! Instead I knew that it was ME who had to move. If I felt like this when Clive was alive he'd suggest getting up, have a shower, a bit of breakfast, maybe some painkillers and take it from there. So I did the lot and two hours later I had done all the things on my list I'd written the night before - result! Clive was so right some times ... clever bugger!

I drove to Huddersfield feeling pleased with myself and went to join my fellow trustees for a meeting for The Joanne (Joe) Bingley Memorial Foundation.  The passion, energy and enthusiasm for the charity continues to grow, as does our profile and influence. We are putting a new flier together for the workshops Ann and I deliver -watch this space! We are also delighted to have Mandy Williams on board with us now, to assist us with our use of software to make us even better!

I then met Dom with his Dad at Birch services on the M62 and we headed back towards Leeds. We called to see our friend Jamie Jones Buchanan from Leeds Rhinos who has got us a signed shirt and rugby ball to use to raise funds for Clive's foundation, which will help youngsters in sport. Anyone like to make us an offer? There was much talk of Wembley and Dom is going with me! Hooray! I can share with him a fantastic experience!

It was good to bring Dom home with me and he eagerly he ate up the Chinese take-away saved from his last trip here (in the freezer!). Seeing him settled in the spare room, pleased to be going to Wembley just made my heart ache even more when I went to bed. Clive would have been so pleased about all of this. I am too, of course, but it is all tinged with a sadness that I cannot yet shake.

This morning I awoke full of energy to be busy! I spent a few hours at my desk and as Dom was happy sorting out his camera for the golf day, I then set to in the garden. It has been sadly neglected! I did all three lawns, weeded borders and even sorted out some pots! It took me hours. I was less emotional than other times but it still hurts when I see it looking good - Clive had begun to love the garden. I do too but just weeding around a geranium can bring the grief pouring out! I cannot still help but feel robbed of what we had to look forward to.

My friend Ann sent me this quote:-

People will forget what you said, they’ll even forget what you did, but they’ll never forget how you made them feel. (Maya Angelou) 

Clive Gott made me feel amazing in every way! He made me feel adored, special, beautiful, fun, sexy, mischievousness, enthusiastic, incredible, clever, wanted, child like but also mature, excited, content, ambitious, capable, weak at the knees, strong, safe and happy. Is it any wonder that I miss him? I loved the me I was with him. I have to learn to love again.

I wonder if I will ever look at anyone else like this? Even cold at rugby I was warm through and through!

So today I have made some plans for both work and pleasure. It has been brilliant to have Dom here with me and we are both looking forward to a day at the golf course!

I feel very touched by all his golfing friends and others who are supporting the event. Some are travelling miles to be there. I know I want to sob buckets but also want to completely enjoy it too.

Clive did have another infatuation in his life, other than me! Golf!  I just hope he sorts out for the sun to shine on us!

P.S. After I wrote this last night I went to bed and decided to look through my memory box of mine and Clive's 'things'. As I read the many cards, letters, little notes, etc. we had written to each other I felt so loved up and went to sleep smiling, knowing how lucky we were to have experienced that level of emotion - even if it only lasted a few years until he died.

I think that is the first time I have done that without tears! Progress! xx

Elaine x


Monday, 8 August 2011

Clive Gott's Golf Day and Leeds Rhinos go to Wembley!

I slept very well on Saturday night - it's now 24 weeks since Clive Gott left us. In some ways that seems like a long time, yet in others, no time at all.

I was still in an 'organising' frame of mind so decided to do the two minute job of installing the Blackberry software on my PC so I could sort the photos from there too! Two hours later it was done. Why do the supposed simple tasks take so long? 

I was being collected at 1 p.m to go to Doncaster stadium to watch Leeds Rhinos play Castleford Tigers in the Carnegie Challenge cup semi-final, by our friends Pete, Mandy and her children Emma and Sam. We sit together at the corporate hospitality at Leeds, and they have become friends as well as business support
As I put on my Rhinos shirt I felt a tug at the heart strings as I remembered our trip to Wembley last year.

I had never been before and Clive was so excited to share it with me. On Sunday as I put on the same T-shirt I sighed. I also found a waterproof jacket which he used to wear. I felt he was wrapped around me. As Pete drove us to Doncaster I felt excited. We had a pie and pint - my Mum will roll her eyes at me!

The game wasn't all that thrilling. Castleford were doing a great job of defence. Even by half time there were only 2 points on the board. The second half Castleford scored and the chance of us going to Wembley was fading ..

Then minutes before full time we equalised and had to go into extra time. First to get a point won. I posted on Facebook that we needed Clive to give them a hand. Within seconds we had a penalty kick ... Kevin lined up the shot ..

And with one kick we are off to Wembley! The last 10 minutes of the game I was amazed at how excited I was and tense! Mandy was amused at me! I remember seeing Clive in that state. The Leeds fans went wild. The Castleford ones were gutted. Their team had played very well.

My initial joy crashed when the fans sang 'We are Leeds Rhinos' - I burst into tears at how happy Clive would have been. He'd have the tickets sorted by now, the coach, everything. He would be counting the 'sleeps'. I soon dried my eyes as I didn't want the children upset so the smiles came back. 

We came home and I made some tea for us all. It was a perfect end to a very enjoyable afternoon. However, as the evening wore on I began to feel deflated. There is no Clive to go to Wembley with. Dom may go with me but isn't sure. Otherwise I am stuck. The people who would like to probably can't for various reasons. I am not sure what to do except I feel I should go for both of us. So many times he would talk to the younger players at the club and inspire them to achieve one of their goals to play at Wembley. If I don't go I feel I am letting them down too. I never appreciated the pleasure of spectating at sport before I met Clive. I don't want my fun to die with him. Anyone free on Saturday 27th August?

I cried washing up when Pete, Mandy and the children left. I am sure that the tears will dry up one day. Tonight I feel they were for Clive missing out. Or did he indeed, 'give them a hand'?

I am looking forward to Wednesday this week as his golf friends have organised a tournament in his memory and to raise funds for his Foundation which will help youngsters in sport. 

Clive Gott Foundation Golf Day
Wed Aug 10 2011 at 10:00 am 
Venue : Kirbymoorside Golf Club (between Thirsk and Scarborough in the North Yorkshire Moors).
Created By : Dave Sear
This is to be an annual event to remember and celebrate the life of "Our Clive" and to raise money for The Clive Gott Foundation.
Teams of 4 - Texas Scramble Style
£100 per team to include bacon sandwich and coffee on arrival.
Prizes for individuals and teams

For those who wish to attend but don't play - come along anyway as we can have a chat, get together and remember Clive.
Please email me at elaine@hanzak.com  if you need more details.

One of my friends has this on her kitchen wall:-

There were many rugby fans today who held their breath! 

But one thing is for sure - Clive and I had many, many moments together where our reaction to each other or with each other, did make us breathless. I know I was so lucky to find that magic that not everyone does. For that I remain grateful, but just have to find my way on this new journey.

Good luck Rhinos on your journey to Wembley! Clive would be so proud and pleased for you all.

Elaine x