Welcome to my first blog in 4 years. When I first started my coaching business, I used to blog every week. I would take myself off to a coffee shop, and get lost in writing. I loved it. Here I am, 4 years later, blogging again, only this time, I have so much more insights and wisdom to share with you. I have grown a lot both personally and professionally the past 4 years.
I’m about to embark on a Solo journey to Bali for 3 weeks, and I feel such a call to share this journey with you. Not only the 3 week trip to Bali, but my journey of navigating grief.
My Mum passed away 4 weeks ago, and since then, I know and trust deeply that this is a path I must embark on. I know and trust that so much will come through over the coming weeks and months, and I want to take you on the journey with me. I know and trust that in me doing this, it will open up spaces and doors not only to me, but for others too. Truth, authenticity and empowered Vulnerability are just 3 of my core values, and my intention is to lean into this space more than I ever have before, in the hope that it gives others permission to do the same.
Let me start by giving you a bit of context behind what I’m doing and why? Let me start this journey by sharing something I have never fully spoken about or shared with others. This is also one of the biggest reasons for me doing what I’m doing.
4 weeks ago, I said ‘Goodbye’ to one of the biggest and influential people in my life; my Mum Fiona.
I sometimes think there’s part of me that said goodbye to her 19 months ago when she had a stroke that resulted in her never fully recovering, and being the person she was. 19 years of Cancer, numerous Oncology appointments, results days, treatment days, that were hard on her, yet most of the time she showed up to life with her arms open, and ready to fight to be here.
As a family, we were with her through every step of her 19 year journey. The daily struggle, the hospital visits, the uncertainty, the pain, the down right unfairness of Cancer, and everything that comes along with it.
Because of the radiotherapy she had on the tumours in her brain 6 years ago, she was left with brain damage and trauma which then went on to cause a stroke in May 2021. She was in hospital for 3 months, which meant that my Sister, myself and my Stepdad spent hours upon hours every day by her side trying to support her rehabilitation. At this point she couldn’t walk, talk, swallow, or communicate. Her worst nightmare had come true.
I’ll never forget the day we were taken in to a room in the hospital, joined by 7 consultants in a circle, wearing face masks, each taking their own time individually to tell us why they believed that my Mum could never come home. ‘She needs 24 hour care, and it’s our recommendation that she is moved to a Nursing Home Full time’. Sorry…. What did you just say? She’s 67 years old, a bloody nursing home? I was actually living her worst nightmare (and ours)
Deep down, I knew what they were saying was true, but the day she was moved in to the home, I woke up with guilt and sadness, and pretty much cried the second I opened my eyes. I remember calling my Sister, and none of us could speak, we sobbed instead. My heart felt heavy.
My Mum started to show signs of improvement over the months, including her ability to eat, and walk assisted. She began to recognise her Grandchildren again, but part of her brain was damaged and she was left with Dementia. The only good thing about that, is that she didn’t know she was in a Nursing Home. We visited every day, sometimes twice, and she was the most cared for and visited patient in the care home.
I remember so many times, feeling sad, as I would witness how she was no longer her strong, fit, and able self. How confused she would get, and how much help she needed just to do simple things that so many of us take for granted. ‘She deserves better than this life Paula’ I said this most days to my Sister, and it was true, she did.
My Mum was the most organised, loving, caring and cool Woman. With so much strength, character and integrity. Having fought cancer for 19 years, she always faced it with her head up, and with so much grace. She was know as The Bionic Woman, and survived many times when specialists had her gone years ago. The amount of conversations I’ve had with Dr’s and Specialists telling us that she may not make it through the night after she contracted pneumonia & sepsis. Or when her Cancer spread to her lungs 8 years ago, then to her bones. 3 years they estimated. Then 6 years ago when it went to her brain, 12 months they said. She said ‘No chance’ and continued to LIVE.
It was only at my 40th Birthday Party almost 3 years ago, that I started to notice changes in her behaviour, more confusion to begin with, then her struggle with pain, and mobility. Of course it couldn’t have happened at a worse time. 1 month later, we went in to a lockdown.
She was admitted to hospital a number of times, with seizures, suspected strokes, broken legs, and infections. Luckily my Sister and I inherited my Mum’s determination and managed to get in to see her every day. Don’t ask me how we swung that one, but we would have camped outside the hospital all night if we had to. The word ‘No’ wasn’t part of our lives at that time.
Fast forward to July this year, and things were definitely heading more south with my darling Mum. She wouldn’t eat. If truth be told, she ate very little for 18 months, and her weight was an all time low. Trying to convince her to eat was such a challenge. It is more of a challenge when the person doesn’t realise anything is wrong with them. It’s like me telling you that a circle is in fact a square. FUUUUUUUUCKKKKKK!!! I would come out of the care home a mix of emotions, and call my Sister and/or Stepdad who understood how I felt. They felt it 10 fold, and struggled daily with the sadness. Witnessing someone you love so much deteriorate, in pain, a shadow of themselves. There were times on a bad day that I even tuned in to my Grandparents who had long since passed, to invite them to get involved. To some reading this, you may be shocked, but on those dark days, I knew that she would not want to be here, living this way. In my opinion no-one should ever need to be in that struggle, in the suffering. It was a shit life for her, and it was shit for us too. She wouldn’t remember, but we always did. It’s the scars that you are left with, the memories of the struggle, the pain, the sorrow. I began working deeply around my own Vulnerability and non attachment 2 years ago, and although this helped me hugely, I still had days where I felt floored and heavy.
My Mum always said she was scared to die, and that she never wanted to die alone. We always assured her that, if possible we would be there.
At the end of August, I was flying out to Turkey for a holiday with family and friends. My Sister was already there, and we were to join her for her 2nd week. The week before I left, I couldn’t shake this feeling. It was one that I had never felt before. Even though there were many times we all faced her death when so many Dr’s had put time limits on her life, there was something different about this time. I remember saying to a few friends that I couldn’t shake this feeling off. It was like a knowing that something BIG was about to happen. I was wakening up at 2am and not getting back to sleep, I just knew that something was on its way, yet I felt supported at the same time. When I talk about support, I am referring to Angels & Spirit Guides. As a highly intuitive coach, I tap in to this support and wisdom regularly. I also lean in to my own inner GPS. I have studied and trained in this work for almost 5 years.
That week was heavy, and I noticed a decline in my Mum, she could barely stay awake, and by now, she couldn’t eat a thing. It felt like things were happening fast, yet she always smiled when she saw me. I’ll never forget trying to feed her, and her telling me that she was trying her best. Oh Mum, my heart felt such sorrow. She always tried her best, even when it was time for her to leave her human body, she wouldn’t let go. Her default setting was set to fight. If only she knew that the so called life she was fighting for was a shit one, and she deserved way better that the one she was enduring.
I spoke with Dr’s and Nurses within the care home, as I wasn’t going to take our family trip to Turkey, but I was reassured that things weren’t imminent. Bobby was still here, and would be in every day, and we could FaceTime. He wanted me to go, and assured me that if anything were to change, he’d call immediately. I knew what everyone was saying, and given my Mum’s history of always bouncing back I still felt deeply that I should stay. Even the morning of our flight, I almost didn’t get on the plane. I felt overwhelmed, and fearful. Typically I don’t experience this. I’m pretty pragmatic, and go with my gut on most things. This time, I did not, and I got on the plane.
We arrived in Turkey, and I got to spend the most wonderful few days with my family, including my Sister. It had been the first time as a family we had had a holiday abroad together in 3 years, and it felt good. I felt relaxed, and we Face-timed my Mum twice a day. Things were looking better, and she had picked up once more.
On the 3rd day of our trip, we were out for dinner enjoying a lovely meal. I had asked my childhood friend if she could pop in to visit my Mum. Whenever we were away, we organised friends to visit my Mum. I text her to check in, and was met with a cagey reply. I knew something was up, and at the same time my sister, who was sitting 2 down from me at the dinner table received a phone call from another friend who had also been visiting. This was the call that you never want to hear. Within the 90 minutes of my friend and her husband visiting my Mum, things had gone really downhill. She was in a bad way. My Stepdad had been called in, and we were asked to come home as quickly as we could.
I knew it, I knew I shouldn't have got on the plane, I knew this time was different, yet I ignored my intuition. Why did I do that? Why didn’t I trust my gut?
There was no time to think about that right now, the focus had to be on getting home. The nurses warned us that she may not make it through the night, and we begged our friends who were with her, to tell her to hold on, that her girls were on their way, and to wait for us. They promised they would, and that they would keep telling her we would be home soon, and to wait for us.
The first flight we could get was to Manchester, we booked it, then made our way home, landing the following morning. We jumped on the first train back to Edinburgh then headed straight to the Nursing Home. Our friends along with our stepdad Bobby stayed with her all night, and were there when we arrived.
As soon as we walked in, she picked up, she smiled. And although she couldn’t communicate, she was so happy to see us. She was on a heavy morphine driver, along with other medication at this point.
Everyone was shocked at how she picked up after seeing her girls, we were not, as we knew that she would wait for us.
We stayed with her, and she gave us 3 more beautiful and precious days together, finally passing away on Saturday 3rd Oct at 5:20am.
I made peace with the fact I got on that plane, as pretty quickly I realised that it was supposed to be that way. Yes, my gut was right, and she was transitioning, however I truly believe that I was always supposed to get on that plane, to recharge, and bring my Sister back. My Sister said herself, that she would have struggled had she received that phone call, and had to make the journey back alone. I trust fully that this was meant to be.
Since her passing, I have never felt more loved and supported in my life. I have let numerous pieces of work go, not knowing why, only that I needed to. You see, coaching for me is like medicine, it lights me up. Yet, for the past few weeks, I’ve let it go and allowed myself to fully be, and fully receive with an open and expansive heart. I have had downloads like I’ve never had before. My willingness to let everything go, to lose everything and understand that I have everything. To know that I can do this, do life, with non attachment. This is growth, and a byproduct of the years of work I’ve done previously.
I have created space, and trust with absolute certainty that something bigger is about to unfold.
I booked flights for my 3 week solo trip to Bali this week, and I head off on Thursday. I’ve booked my first 4 days accommodation, and then I’ll go with the flow. I am open to everything and attached to nothing. I trust fully, and don’t need to know the answers. I am in full surrender, and ready for this what is likely to be a life changing journey.
There will be people who will judge me, who will judge me for leaving my 2 boys for 3 weeks with their Dad. There will be others who judge me for letting go of business opportunities, of income. And that’s OK. It really is, because these people have never walked a single day in my shoes, so how can they possibly understand?
What I’m doing doesn’t need to make logical sense, in fact, I don’t want it too. If it did, then I would be living from my ego, and not my heart & soul. I’d be doing it wrong.
Of course I can go away for 3 weeks on my own. It’s the lies we tell ourselves that keep us from believing we can’t. I’m 42 years old, and I can do and be anything I want. And what I want is to explore a different part of the world. To spend time in silence, to spend time in nature, to feel, to heal, to inspire not only others who will follow my journey, but show my children that they can do and be anything they want be, regardless of age, marital status, parental status and much more.
Your life is a gift, and should be treated as one. My biggest fear is getting to end of life, and wishing I’d done it differently. Yet, the only person stopping me is me. Not my partner, not my friends, not my kids…. ME! The battle was never with them, it was with my head. It was me versus me. Me versus my programmes, me versus my story, me versus my perception of what a good wife/mum/friend should look like.
There is no fight to be had, when you’re in the fight, it’s the fight you’re having with yourself. When you work on that, your life, and the lives around you change.
So here I am, Mum of 2, 42 years old, and heading off on an adventure. An adventure that I can’t wait to share with you.
My intention is to share openly, honestly, and vulnerably with you over the coming months. In turn, I ask that you show me your love, support and encouragement. I’ll be blogging regularly, and vlogging on my YouTube channel. Please subscribe to the links below.
The time is now… Let’s gooooooo!
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