My Dad was my mentor and I knew if he was around he would encourage me in every way he possibly could but, he was gone, forever, never to return to this plain.
My husband has been my main aid through all of this. He has helped me to laugh and he has helped me to cry. He's been there for every second of my journey and having lost 3 stone himself, looks fantastic. We lost our first stone: we walked our first marathon; we ran our first 3k and we entered and ran our first 10k run, finishing faster than we ever thought we would. Our recipe file is now twice the size it originally was and we probably enjoy food more now than we ever did. I apologise for the quiet times but I thank you for understanding them! I'm sure there will be many more tears shed but as always we will cry them together. I love you with all my heart Ray and I never will be able to thank you enough for helping me through the last year. xxx
My Mum has had more to contend with than just her loss in her 'first year'. She lost her husband and ended up in hospital herself having major surgery that has left her with an incisional hernia. We are still waiting for it to be rectified and she is suffering with rheumatoid arthritis and the medication is playing havoc with her diabetes! Apart from all that she is doing very well! She is coping better than we thought she would but then we never sat down and discussed losing a husband/parent so how would we know?! I'm under no illusion that her heart breaks every day as ours does but she also knows that we love her and would walk the earth for her. We like to think that together with her grandchildren, Jacob, Niamh and Benjamin, we help her smile and make life a little easier. xxx
In January when I first set foot on the treadmill I could hardly walk at 2 miles an hour and walking for just one mile left me exhausted, tired, aching and crying! Today I set foot on the treadmill and jogged non stop for 4 miles finishing in 39:02 - I was not exhausted, I was not tired - but I was crying!
A very good friend of mine Andy McMenemey came to my aid back in January and helped me in more ways than he would ever know. This guy has run across desserts, run marathon after marathon (on the same day!) as well as helping many other people reach their goals and he took time out to help me get started. Between us we worked out heart rate zones and he gave me more advice and more help than I ever expected. I remember him laughing and saying I would be jogging before the end of the year and I laughed - he was right!! He also told me to run at my own pace and my body would know what it needed - he was right!! I look forward to one day running a marathon with Andy to show him just how much he has helped me on my road to fitness. xxx
Before Dad died, my brother and I saw each other about once a week, usually at Mum and Dad's but we very seldom saw each other socially - 3-4 times a year at the most. Since Dads death we talk at least every other day (if not every day) and I'm sure he knows how much I love him because I tell him every time I speak to him. We like to get together as a family at least once a month and I've learned that he has the same sense of humour as my Dad, he's got the same values as my Dad and he is as talented as my Dad. I see now why they were in business together and I can also see why they sometimes clashed! They were like peas in a pod!
In business he is as thorough as my Dad ever was and by gosh when he gets the bit between his teeth he will not give in until he is happy with it and it's 100% correct. He has helped us with our new business and I really hope he gets more work bouncing off it. He is a very talented guy and deserves to do well. Thank you John xxx
I also have two very close friends who have both lost their Dads this year - Tammy and Jeanette. I'm slightly ahead of you girls as my 'first' is nearly up but you know I'm with you both every step of the way. It's going to be a tough tough year for you but again we have and will laugh and cry through it. I really do believe that is what life is about being able to laugh and cry - you know I'm there for you both xxx
I have to mention another very close friend of mine that is making her own memories. Mags, I love you and you know just where I am xxx
This year has also seen my own son having a fantastic first school report from his parents evening and my stepson graduate. They have to go down as two of the proudest moments of my life.
I also need to thank my WLR friends. Many of them I have never met but we are all in the same boat, striving for the same goal. We help each other through the bad times and praise each other through the good. It really does help and I wish you all the very very best and look forward to meeting many of you next year.
On the down side I've had people who've challenged my motives for losing weight; for being obsessed with calories; for changing! All I can say is, I HAD to change. I was deteriorating physically because of my obesity but perhaps more importantly mentally. I hated myself and I hated what I was becoming and it was rubbing off on my family. I hope those people can now understand that I am a better person for it; that I have more life in me; I have my confidence and yes I do know about calories now - I've learnt about them (the hard way!) and I feel comfortable talking about my new lifestyle because I know it works.
Over the last couple of months our business activities have expanded and we are now in the business of hiring evening wear. We'd like to expand the outsize wear of the business. I know what it's like to not to be able to get a dress for a function; to walk into a shop and have people sneer at you because you're 'fat'! WE'RE NORMAL HUMAN BEINGS WHO HAVE FEELINGS AND NEED TO LOOK GOOD! I really hope our business takes off. We have a buzz about the house that feels good. If my Dad was still here he would be chomping at the bit to help us but instead his son has jumped in and is doing a fantastic job. Ray's got his business head back on and by God he's good! I see our future getting brighter!
It will be a year next week that my wonderful Dad died, on the operating table at Hull Royal Infirmary. Friday 20th November will be the first anniversary of my Dads death and the 4th birthday of his youngest grandson Benjamin Harold Birch. I am under no illusion that it will be a difficult day but hopefully seeing Benjamins face opening his presents will make our world a little easier to bear.
That he's not here to see what I have achieved in the last year.
That he's not here to not give his wife a hug when she cries herself to sleep on a night.
That he's not here to shake his sons hand and tell him he's doing a fantastic job!
That he wasn't here to see us cross the finish line of our first ever marathon.
That he wasn't here to see his daughter on stage with his grandchildren and daughter-in-law singing one of his favorite songs of all time.
That he's not here to see his grandsons first school photograph which is adorable.
That he's not here to have a drink with his son-in-law and wish him luck in his new venture.
That he's not here for his grandson 4th birthday party and that the 20th November this year and for always will be both a happy and sad day . . . . . . . . . .
BECAUSE HE'S NOT HERE!!
We have nearly had all our "firsts" without him but I'm sure there will be many many more occasions to come that we will have to bear on our own. Our only consolation is that he is up there somewhere watching over us and seeing everything from afar.
I love you Dad