From Lanzarote I flew to Southampton to stay with my friend Sue and her business partner James, from Hampshire Hypnotherapy Centre. We had a few days of enjoyable outings, meals, meeting others and I confess to falling in love with tiny Bilko - Sue's dog! What an adorable little chap! I was almost beginning to feel shocked at my lack of tears. After the holiday and 'the letter' I feel so much more at peace. However, as Sue and I were stuck in traffic going into Southampton I spotted the car park sign for cruise parking - exactly where I had booked Clive and I to park the previous Saturday and when we'd be returning to the next week! My bottom lip quivered as I exclaimed to Sue the significance. In true caring, sympathetic mode she responded with 'Get a grip'!!!! It made me laugh! I now have a new anchor to think of if I feel the tears! Thanks Sue!
Next was back 'up North' to see my family and Dom who has begun Year 11 GCSE year.
I briefly called home to repack from 'hot' clothes to 'cool' as I was then flying up to the magical Aldourie estate, near Inverness. Wow! I had been invited to attend a Leadership retreat there run by Stratagemplus.com. I spent three days in the breathtaking castle and grounds with some incredible people. We learnt and shared much about leadership. The castle was exclusively for our group. You didn't need to lock your bedroom as you were literally house guests. Lavinia, the manager, lead her team brilliantly and every need was attended to impeccably. The food, prepared by her husband, was as superb as the whole environment.
|The drawing room!|
I began by saying that legacy is something we leave behind when we are gone. My message was that I believe we should aim for living legacies - why not enjoy the gifts with others whilst you are still alive? In the same way that I had just enjoyed a week with my parents in Lanzarote it was much better to go with them rather than be left a cheque when they are gone. Make memories now!
I borrowed the green, plastic first aid kit from the butler's pantry (where else?!) and passed it around the delegates, saying it was to be my living legacy to them! How? I continued to say how by creating our own mental health first aid kit we can reduce our stress, be more effective in all our roles and really learn to appreciate others and situations. I gave some examples of how we can create a sensory tool kit either by making a list or actually collecting the items to be used in our various environments, e.g. office, car.
With that I invited them outside into the darkness, with a drink in hand. With their backs to the castle I asked them to focus on what they could hear - the brook, the slight breeze through the trees, the crunch of the gravel. What could they feel - the breeze, their heart beating. What could they smell - the smoke from the log fires, the 'fresh' air, pine.
I then asked them to turn around but keep their eyes closed. On a count of three I asked them to take a sip of their drink and to then open their eyes to see ...
Yes, it was a wow!
After all the hurt, tears, devastation of the last seven months I felt myself begin to emerge. Although I still knew Clive and I would have still been on our cruise during these days, it felt as if he was telling me 'here is the start of your future - I will always love you but now it's your turn to shine'.
Standing in front of this magnificent building with some wonderful people with whom I'd been able to give them a moment and technique to remember, I grew in strength, optimism, hope and yes, excitement for the future. Thank you to all who made Aldourie such a special time and place.
On Saturday 17th September Clive and I would have returned home from our cruise. That's it now. No more dates in the diary that were 'ours'. Guess it's a new chapter now?
I spent the day with a friend and we dined at the wonderfully quirky Millfarm Tea Rooms.
The following day I met Dom in Leeds and we went to watch Leeds Rhinos in the play-offs win against Hull FC 42 -10. I was so thrilled at how much Dom now knows of the game and beamed with love and pride at sharing the experience together. A Clive Gott legacy!
Next was going down to London with my Mum for her birthday treat to see Shayne Ward in the new musical Rock of Ages. I hadn't had chance to learn much about the show prior to our trip but the board outside looked promising:-
That sounded fun! And it was! The buzz as soon as you entered the theatre was amazing and the pace and energy didn't stop from the second you sat down. We were only a few rows from the front.
All of the cast were great - so much talent and energy. Shayne was brilliant of course! Towards the end he appears in the aisle - and it just happened to be me that he grabbed by the wrist and stared me straight in the face!! I got 'lost' in the show - true escapism and I could not believe where the time had gone! Go see it! For the first time since Clive died I felt truly happy and so alive. I could chose to feel guilty - but what is the point? It doesn't mean I love him any less. I did sing my heart out and laugh my head off, just as the billboard proclaimed!
After the show we decided to say hello to Shayne. Mum and I have shared this thrill of meeting stars for many years now. It is part of our routine and makes for special memories together. We met other members of the cast and finally ....
Mum has always loved the success stories of those like Shayne, who started from humble beginnings, to go on to achieve their goals. It was also a message of Clive's to inspire and he too had built himself up to achieve and encourage others of which I still receive messages about.
At the end of our London trip Mum commented that it was the first time in seven months she had been out with me where there had been no tears, only smiles, sharing, fun and laughter.
Perhaps that is my new goal? And one that I have no doubt that my Clive would want me to have and be, with the help around me.
What is your goal and who have you got to support you?