Ups, Downs & Finding My Mojo

It’s been over four months since Bob died…four months …WOW! …How did that time go so quickly and yet feel like an endless forever at the same time?

I’ve been back at work properly for over a month now. It’s good being back at work. It gives me something to focus on. For a while I felt like I was going through the motions rather than really getting into it (odd moments of fleeting enthusiasm but that’s all) but, a few weeks ago I had a breakthrough week. It was a good week, work wise…and I felt like I was finding my “Mojo” again…I was beginning to wonder whether it would ever return!

It was a good week for a number of reasons…

On the Monday we had a great Board meeting for OxFSN. We have a way to go but it finally feels like we’ve started to turn a bit of a corner!

On Tuesday we found out that we’d received guaranteed funding for the next three years (a small pot, but the difference between surviving and not surviving for small charity like ours!) We started planning this year’s information fair (our 5th) and have already had lots of bookings and some welcomed sponsorship.  And, we’ve had an offer of pro-bono work from a brilliant Community Care Lawyer… to add to another amazing offer recently from a high profile, respected writer and academic in disability issues. We have plans in the pipeline (post Winterbourne View stuff) to support families who find themselves in the horrible situation of having their son or daughter sectioned under the Mental Health Act or sent to a treatment centre like the one’s my two lovely friends kids went to (, …all early days but an exciting development which we hope will make a difference to future families!

Then, on the Thursday I attended Dimensions AGM and “Inspiring People” awards. It was good to get out there and see colleagues again….and it was fantastic to hear about some of our amazing staff and the difference they are making to the lives of the people we support.

Truly inspiring!

It made me feel really proud to work for an organisation that whilst clearly recognise they’re not perfect remains determined to drive up quality and is so committed to families and the individuals they support. Working with people who share your passion…it doesn’t get better than that!

On the Friday, I spent the morning with a fab group of students training to be Special Educational Needs teachers. I was asked to deliver a lecture/seminar about working with families at Oxford Brookes University by a local, forward thinking and inspirational, Deputy Head Teacher of one of our Outstanding Special Schools based in Banbury ( The students there were in the second week of their course. Some of them had experience with working with children who have additional needs, as teaching assistants etc, others fresh from Uni. They were a friendly, enthusiastic and engaged group of young people (my favourite type of people) It was a good day! Doing what I love best!

Just as I was feeling I was getting back into work thing and feeling excited by it again I went on holiday (because I clearly haven’t had enough time off work recently!)

This however was the holiday Bob and I were meant to be going on at the end of May. It was going to be our first holiday on our own for 30 years and we were both really looking forward to it. A Friend of Bob offered us his apartment in Ibiza and not having had a holiday for three years we jumped at the chance to get away. This friend offered me the apartment again after Bob died and it seemed silly to pass it up so I asked my two lovely friends to come with me.

It was obviously going to be tough for this reason but I’d convinced myself I’d be fine (I do this a lot!) and for most of the time I was (I think!). However, as much as I dearly love the friends I went with, I couldn’t help thinking it should have been me and him! I looked at other couples on the complex and around the pool, older than us mostly, with a pang of jealousy and bitterness (I’m doing this a lot too). I tried not to bring the atmosphere down when talking to people we met but it inevitably got round to partners etc and I had to explain why I was there.

“I was coming here with my late husband”…But, he died…My Bobby died!

Right back to feeling distraught! Crying myself to sleep and trying to get a grip!

It was tougher than I ever imagined it would be but in spite of this I did have a lovely chilled and relaxing time, thanks to my amazingly supportive friends who knew that when I spent time on my own it wasn’t because I didn’t want to be with them… I just wanted to be on my own for a bit. I met some lovely new friends, had lots of laughs and made some new memories. I lay in the sun, I swam, I read books and I drank wine…it was a lovely week.

On my return I went into hospital to have an operation (scheduled prior to my holiday and nothing to do with holiday excesses!) …bad planning on my part and something I could have done without but I wanted to get it over with!

Another first without Bob!

Friends stepped in to support me (same gorgeous holiday friends) …but he should have been there with me…he was always there with me! He would have been winding up the nurses, bantering with the surgeon, taking my mind off my anxieties and thoroughly pissing me off probably, but he would have been there. I wouldn’t have had to arrange friends to take me, stay with me, bring me home and stay the night because he would have been here…but he isn’t and its shit!

One week on I’m back at work and feeling the work “Mojo” again…so much to do and catch up on. So many exciting developments and things to get my teeth in to… Thank God I have a job that evokes such a passion in me (can’t help thinking how I’d be coping with all this if I worked in a boring, mundane job!) …feeling upbeat and positive again!

Then in a moment something happens, I see an advert for Christmas, I hear some news from one of the kids and I want to tell him, I see something on TV he would have laughed at or a letter arrives for him. It hurts like hell and I feel like shit again!

Grief is a seemingly relentless rollercoaster of emotions all  experienced in waves across weeks, days, hours and minutes…up and down…feeling okay, feeling crap….feeling okay, feeling crap….overwhelming at times and always exhausting.  I’ve never liked rollercoasters and I want it to stop!

I’ve always been a “glass half full kinda gal”… hell, I used to be glass full to brim sort of person really. I like to find the positive in everything but it’s been a major struggle and my glass feels pretty empty much of the time right now.  I’m clinging to the fact I’m actually finding my “mojo” again, even if it is just for work…it feels like a positive development and well…. it’s a start isn’t it?

About Oxfordshire Family Support Network

Oxfordshire Family Support Network (OxFSN) is a not-for-profit organisation run by and for family carers of people with learning disabilities – both children and adults. Oxfordshire Family Support Network (OXFSN) was set up in 2007 by family carers who wanted to use their experience to help others in the same situation, based on our belief that family carers are experts by their lived experience.
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