I hardly dare write my blog today in honour of the great Stephen Hawking an inspirational man not just in terms of his great scientific mind but his amazing personal journey and fight against motor neurone disease.
As a non-science girl I believe he made science accessible, interesting and inspiring to everyone. He attended the great St Albans School where for many years they have had their own Stephen Hawking’s Society through which his works have encouraged many an inquisitive young mind, and, will continue to do so.
My title for today’s blog is of course a contradiction in terms as we haven’t completely lost a great mind as he leaves such a fascinating legacy. Our generation have been fortunate to have had him as a brilliant mind challenging the way we thought about the universe and its secrets.
All forms of media will be recording his many thought provoking quotes today -following taken from an interview on Radio 4 with John Humphreys:-
‘If we discovered the complete set of laws, and understood why the universe existed, we would be in the position of God. We are making progress towards that goal, but we still have some way to go.’
Today I started celebrating International Women’s Day by having a ladies breakfast at the Waffle House with two of my favourite women. I am extremely fortunate in having known and worked with with some amazing women in my life many of whom have been great mentors.
I look on with pride at the younger generation of females who are so confident, sassy and non-judgemental and who have ambitions and the energy to follow their dreams. Spurred on by positive supportive mothers and great role models in other female family members and successful friends no challenge is insurmountable.
As a mother of a daughter for many reasons I realise the world can be both a cruel place and one of great opportunity and for those wanting to take the plunge and make something good of their lives…it will happen.
Last year I attended a great women’s conference where a speaker suggested that world leaders and heads of large corporates should adopt the many positive female traits of compassion, empathy, caring and sensitivity to work towards world peace and fairer and more honest business practices.
Here’s to being a women with the world at our feet.
It is no secret that one can learn empathy but nothing beats having walked in another’s shoes to really know how they feel. Even the most confident person has experienced times in their life when experiences have left them feeling isolated and possibly insecure. It takes great courage to fight the natural instinct of flight and stay and fight.
However, as one gets older and reflects back on those conflict situations we would rather not have encountered we realise that they were all indeed character building. I often say to those in need of positive input and support that no experience is a waste and it is true that it is not what happens in our lives but how we handle it.
I am mindful what works for one person will not work for another as we are all different but we all have to move forward and grow in our own way and try to be the best we can. As my great mentor used to say ‘worrying about things won’t change them’ and that is sound advice.
My years spent in marketing and sales it was a case of every complaint is an opportunity and when things are tough in life it can be just the opportunity we need to make that change in our lives we are struggling to avoid making.
Seize the day and live one day at a time…as in reality that is all any of us can do. Remain curious and take that adventure as it is offered.
Earlier this week during a visit with a bereaved lady we both agreed how we put on a brave face with those around who are also struggling in coming to terms with a loss of a loved one. Why is that? Over the past few years I have read many books on the beravement journey of others and have my own experiences to recollect too and what is blatently obvious is that to deny somebody’s right to grieve openly is of no use.
I am certain I would have said this before -my own mother said people crossed the road to avoid having to speak to her after my father died suddenly. It made me cross and upset then as a child and still does. However, shall we just be angry with the person that does that or should we feel sorry that they cannot find the words…any words? As I have written in various articles just a hand on the arm or shoulder and ‘i’m thinking of you’ will suffice nobody who is recently bereaved expects you to say something profound honestly!
What we need as a bereaved person is for people to acknowledge our pain and the existence of those we have loved and lost. We have such a long way to go still in this country in dealing with how we approach the subject of death and it is something all of us will have to encounter and deal with at some stage of our life.
In a world where people post so many private things about their life (which frankly I would rather not see) I find it hard to believe that talking about death leaves them dumb struck.
As always I am sending a little reminder that it is after the funeral people need you to to phone or visit and let them know their loved one is not forgotten. For anybody who is feeling alone in their grief then please talk to somebody, your loved one would not want you to suffer in silence and most of all celebrate their life.
The older I become the more, and I guess obviously so, my friends and extended family members are losing their parents. The loss of a Mother cuts deep and I described my own feelings at the time of just losing my sense of purpose – when I say that to the recently bereaved I always get a nod of acceptance. Bereavement brings a whole range of emotions and at times these feel so over-whelming. Some may argue it doesn’t get any easier and they are probably right but acceptance becomes stronger and we do start to remember their love and the gift they brought to us.
After being nagged by many of my friends and family I wrote my own thoughts and experiences of my own relationshipwith my mother down. It is true that writing is indeed therapeutic.
‘A Mother’s Love’ Gospels according to Dorothy is available from amazon kindle to download. https://www.amazon.co.uk/Annie-Manning/e/B005XXYJL0
**Cover illustration courtesy of Paul Manning
In keeping with Oesophageal Cancer Awareness month I have been reminded by a family member that The Michael Blake Foundation’s website is worth visiting. Like so many charities this foundation was set up following the loss of a family member.
Sadly it is not until we experience a specific illness personally that we realise just how little support and information is available and all credit to those that then turn their own dificult situation into doing something really productive and help others.
Having worked within the not-for-profit sector for many years I have seen how little charities are doing really useful work in their local communities. Their website is: http://www.michaelblakefoundation.org.uk should you wish to donate, volunteer or in need of advice.
Regular followers will know one of the cancers I like to raise awareness for is Oesophageal Cancer which is so readily mis-diagnosed or left undiagnosed. Too readily people reach for indigestion remedies which as we know often just mask symptoms rather than cure them.
If you are having repeatedly problems do not self-diagnose but go and see your GP and where necessary insist on being referred to a G.I. expert. There are so many treatments and procedures that specialists can offer before your problem perhaps turns into something more sinister.
Please visit the Oesophageal Patients Association’s website:- http://www.opa.org.uk