Dandelion wishes

Come with me on a journey

A journey back in time

To a northern council estate the year is 1979.

Hi I’m Joolz Im fourteen and I live here on this estate

People say it’s a bad place but I love it.

My garden gate opens onto a woodland

It’s a magical place with Oak Ash and Rowen.

My favorite flower grows here

Can you guess what it is?

It’s a Dandilion.

I know! My mam calls them wee in beds.

But I really love them.

They are beautiful bright yellow just like sunshine.

Then after the flower you get a magical dandilion clock.

Each seed is a wish.

And each wish is a chance.

Everyone needs a chance.

So it’s a bright Sunday morning in May.

I’m creeping down the stairs

I can hear mam and Dad shouting and arguing..

About beer and money.

They are always arguing.

I open the door to the kitchen

There on the yellow Formica top table is Dad’s old Holborn tobacco tin

Lid half off

My dog Toby is under the table in his box furiously wagging his tail

It twacks against the table leg.

Shhh Toby I say patting his head Dad will hear.

I slowly turn the back door knob holding my breath

They are still shouting

I step out into the porch sun is shining brightly the smell of Sunday dinners and cut grass wafts over the Hawthorne hedge.

I can see my old blue grifter bike leaning on the back gate

I step into the sunlight

Frank next door is mowing his lawn

Up and down he walks

Strieght narrow lines

Like his strieght narrow life

He sees me and stops.

Folds his arms over his chest and asks

‘Are they at it again?’

I cringe and ignore him and he carries on mowing.

I’m half way down the path.

The old oak tree casts a huge shadow trying to hide me.

I get to my bike.

Hold onto the handles and jump onto the seat.

The back door opens.

Where the bloody hell do you think your going lady ?

Dad booms…

My heart beats faster.

I stutter.

Er I .

I won’t be long Dad I manage.

I start to peddle.

As fast as I can.

I know these paths like the back of my hand.

Faster and faster I go.

Over knobbly tree roots.

Bike bouncing this way and that .

Im heading for the bottom.field

Dappled sunlight through the canopy of trees

There ahead of me an arch way of light

As the bike busts out into the bright sunlight

I’m momentarily blinded

Then a sudden thwack!

I’m.thrown from my bike.

Ahhhhh.!

I cry as I hit the ground.

Half on the the grass half on the path

I look up squinting into the sun blood on my hands and grass stains on my jeans my mama going to kill me .

I look around expecting to see Dad and get another smack.

But there staring back at me if isn’t Dad.

It’s a boy around my age

He has the most beautiful brown eyes

He’s apologizing.

I’m sorry, so sorry he says

He is pointing at a leather football

The same ball that has knocked me off my bike.

That’s not a northern accent.

He sounds like my French teacher

He holds out his hand to me

I’m.sorry he says again.

I’m Jean Claude .

You?

Joolz I say holding out my hand and he pulls me up.

I’m running the gravel from my hands.

He picks up my bike hands it to me.

I have a bike he says.

Come and beckons me to follow.

And I do.

French boy where did you come from?

What are you doing here.

This is a northern council estate.

You can’t possibly be a sightseer.

French kid sent here to be educated

Scruffy council estate kid

Both square pegs both needing to fit.

That summer was the best ever.

We were friends.

We went bike riding.

Climbed trees

Skinny dipping.

Went for picnics with biscuits and pop.

He threw stones at my bedroom window

We would like on the grass watching stars

He made me Daisy chains from dandilions

And gave me butterflies for the first time.

Now fast forward to November.

It’s bonfire night

Can you believe French kids don’t do bonfire night .

I’ve arranged to meet him.at 6 o click on the church wall.

I’m so exited I run through the woods I can see my breath in the air.

It’s do cold the air is filled with smell of smoke and I see him sitting on st David’s church wall he’s smiling that big smile and waving

He jumps off the wall.and puts his arm around my shoulders.

We fall into step.

We walk towards the community centre

Chatting and laughing.

As we approach we see the bonfire standing tall like a fiery piramid.

Old doors leaning around it’s sides

It’s huge he says as we get closer I look up.as Sparks rise like fire flies.

The sky is clear and inky black .

Look look.st the moon she is full says John .

You see her. That is the same moon my mother will see outside my house over the sea.

It is so beautiful there

One day I will take you there

He pulls me closer to him.and I smile.

I believe him

One day I will.go with him.away from this place we have planned it

Then suddenly there is a smash and a crash and a dirty pint glass

A voice shouts hey nigger lover.

Time stops

I’m dragged kicking and screaming away from my brown eyes boy.

I scream bite and fight.

There is a sound of shots is it a fire work it sounds like dad’s shotgun

I can taste blood.

Smell beer it reminds me of dad.

Suddenly I’m free.

I crawl back towards the fire.

Calling whimpering his name.

He is there laying on his side I grab his arm

Those beautiful brown eyes full of terror

Joolz he whispers

Blood on his face.

Get up . Get up I beg.

Our crime beautiful brown eyed black boy.

Brown eyes white girl

Do we not bleed the same colour blood.

Our hearts best the same terrified beat.

As holding onto each other we stagger to our feet and stumble to a house across the street

French boy where did you come from.

What are you doing here

This is a northern council estate you can’t possibly be a sightseer.

Blue flashing lights and ambulance comes to take us away.

Hospital cleans up the blood stitches us up.

But can’t stop my brown eyed boy from going away.

Back to the Sayshelles his island and family in the sun.

And me northern council.estate kid I stay here on the street where our story began

Bunches of dandilions..

Simple wishes

But just one that matters

(blow……)

Let the world see there is no colour to LOVE.

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I still miss you…

Sitting in circle last week I had a reading ..

Beautiful lady looked into my eyes and said..

‘i want to say you have lost half…. Of yourself.’

Can you take that? She asked..

That is so accurate.

Yes I can take it I smiled.

My best poker face

I miss you I miss the half of you that was me.

You always said we were meant to be together.

Well this is a shit way for you to prove a point Donna.

I miss opening the door to you moaning about the state of the tow path.

You asking me for a cwtch the top of your head fitting under my chin

Breathing in the smell of your hair

Sitting together,

Lying on the grass watching clouds finding pictures.

Your random facts and infectious giggle

I hear you saying you know I’m right boi!

Emilia is looking more and more like you everyday

That’s such a comfort.

But I still miss us.

Me without you

How can that be?

I got into my van packed to do to camp and just sat for a min

‘ your supposed to be there on that seat beside me I say out loud ..

I feel your hand squeeze mine

I’m here you tell me .

The sun is shining.

I’m sure it was brighter when you were here.

Stormy night on the bay.

You left me on a stormy night in September 2018
9-11
loosing you will be as awfully memerable as the twin towers.
The windows looking out across Swansea bay.
A view that you loved.
The beach that you walked on many times painted toe nails and flip flops.
Drawing hearts in the sand with a stick.
Finding pictures in clouds
Paddling in the surf and throwing sticks for saffie then honey
Swansea pride in singleton park there across from the bay.
Singing to pink songs and drinking vodka cocktails.
I sit and wonder how many times we have walked there
How many sticks we have thrown.
How many coffees in take away cups
Sunsets we watched and dreams we shared
That bay holds so many memories.
The light house you loved I told you it was owned by housing association
You rang to ask if it was for rent.

It’s only right that this place you loved so much is part of today.
I have a silloette photo I took of you one summer evening standing looking at the sunset holding my granddaughter in your arms outside our favorite cafe remos.
Any excuse we would go there I’d buy us ice creams and you’d insist you didn’t like it
It’s the early hours of the morning and the stormy night intensifies.
Huge seagulls blow like paper towards the window the night is black and grey the rain comes down in sheets
A tiny glow from the light house blinks on the cliffs
Is the bay morning you leaving us too?
How many grains of sand on that beach . you often asked. As many as stars in the sky?
My random girl.
Every grain of sand and every star like every grain of me will miss you.

Twenty six hours earlier we had walked into that ward.

I’d squashed into the bed to

Hold you knowing we

Wouldn’t be leaving together

Twenty six hours later Im holding you knowing it’s the last time.
Whispering to you that its
okay to let go..
Telling you that I love you.

Your hair smelling of lush shampoo
Wet with my tears
We are surrounded by your family.
A sphere of love.

But as I feel your breathe rise and fall for the last time
I learn the meaning of heart break.
I have never felt so alone.
I promised I’d be strong.
Your faith in me was unshakable
I know your out there on the bay wind in your hair

But I don’t know how with out you

Belief what is it?

Trying to explain my own understanding of the spirit world to someone else. A hard task

My belief that it really does exist here where we are now. Just a different vibration. Like radio channels.

Communication with spirit is like fine tuning a radio to the channel you want.

Spirit do the hard work we open up and invite them

No it’s not faith it’s a definite. I know without doubt. I suppose so much so that I have never really contemplated not ‘knowing’.

Although I didn’t have the best childhood I had the best Grand mother.

I can trace my acceptance and knowing, seeing, spirit to her. If you’ve always known something it’s normal I guess.

Well normal to you anyway

Death was never something to be feared.

Although religion was part of it for my Nan and my Mam both active spiritualists I went because they went, not because I wanted to. Thursday clairvoyance and divine service and healing on a Sunday. Charles Street spiritualist church a tiny church compared to some the organ a gift from sir Thomas beacham covered one wall.

The church stood at the top of a street of terraced houses in St Helens. The house next door ajoined after service it was used for healing and gathering of anyone needing a chat over tea and Buscuits or shelter from the cold northern weather until the bus arrived. Visiting mediums no pomp or robes just the same as you or I, mam or Nan

Yes we sat in circles in church or some folk ran closed circles in houses

People died services would be a life celebration in the small packed out church. I carried my Mam’s coffin in there 1997 a warm.day in May.

My children beside me.

Although I missed her physical presence her car boot sale finds watching the soaps with her I knew she was okay and life went on.

Her empty seat beside her best friend Dot in church wAs the saddest part they were like sisters and I remember wondering why Dot was so upset now that Mam was on the spirit plane?

It was another vibration but here around us I knew she was still about .

I had three young children to keep me busy a single mom with a barbers shop to run.

I moved away my belief was never dependant on a church I still worked with healing, tarot followed the moon and found my own way.

If I ever went back to my hometown or to Southport I’d attend church it seemed to have shrunk but it’s seats remained full.

I lost more relatives and good friends they say as you get older you attend more funerals than weddings. How true that is.

I work as as soulmidwife and funeral Celebrant so that’s a given.

I can honestly say I accept and respect other religions whatever gets us through.

But as I started by saying I’ve never had to explain my unwavering belief.

Until now.

My daughter in law to be. Mother of my grand daughter has recently lost her mother.

My best friend and she is desperate for ‘evidence of spirit.

Now I’ve had conversations about what I believe before.

I’ve done readings.

Received messages during a healing but this is so different.

I’ve known her since she was 13 she wouldn’t mind me saying she was a bit of a wild child. I loved her from the day we met.

No interest in anything spiritual.

Her mother and her were so close .

I know too much to give a reading.

And oddly or not this is the first death I’ve struggled with.

I miss her too beyond words could describe. So now as I remember Mam’s best friend Dots tears as she sat beside Mam’s empty seat in church.

It’s a lesson I’m sure it is.

Everything I’ve always known still stands firmly .

My daughter in law is the age I was when I lost my mother.

Maybe things were different because although Mam and me were very different people we both held the same belief?

She died in tragic circumstances but I remember thinking she would rather be where she now is.

It’s a fragile thing life I think.the only answers I have are to be the best that we can in the time that we have.

She rang me my daughter in law last night to share memories of her mother.

She said ‘ I can’t imagine not seeing her again for so long ‘

So I think.its that concept of ‘time’

Hours, days, years…. A life time..

Spirit don’t have it.. ‘time’ that is.. only we do on this earthly plane..

They are free

They are here they never left.

Just as my grand mother promised.

I needed you Donna to remind me and show your daughter the way.

Circle of Women

Women are from Venus Men are from Mars.

I get that.

There really is nothing more powerful than a circle of women .

Strong, unbreakable, inspiring and much more

Women’s best friends are stronger often than blood.

Or at least that’s my experience.

Women’s friends often know them better than their partners .

They are the duct tape that hold each other’s lives together.

How do men manage without that?

I have a few close women friends and I know without doubt they have my back and I have theirs

Free thinkers, poets, dreamers, rebels, square pegs hippys women who walk barefoot and arnt afraid to be exactly who they are.

Make no excuses take no prisoners. Who dance in the rain.

Honest funny, loving. Passionate

My tribe.

Chosen sisters

I love you

I am truly blessed.

Stop the world

Sunday morning I rushed over to your house.

Let myself in hurry upstairs to your bedroom.

You lay there opened your eyes and smiled.

And I knew.

I came and lay beside you.

‘Come here let me hold you’

You struggled to turn onto your side to face me.

Strength you once had slowly ebbing away.

I held you gently stroking your hair.

‘ it’s okay I’ve got you.’

Breathing in the smell of your hair.

Closing my eyes capturing ‘this’

Knowing this was the last time we would ever lie together alone.

Any pain?

‘No I’m fine’ you whisper

I wish that were true.

Your window is open and the sound of the city drifts in to remind us that the world still turns.

I wish that it would stop.

Just give us a little more time.

To talk, laugh to just be us.

I’ve known for eighteen months

I’ve walked beside you on this journey.

Even though I know that it’s time

That your too tired to stay.

I wasn’t ready to let you go.

I know that you will always be around

That this isn’t the end.

This is the next part of your cosmic adventure

But as I held you as you left us

I felt the universe rip a hole in my heart

Donna


Mamma mia, here I go again
My my, how can I resist you?
Mamma mia, does it show again?
My my, just how much I’ve missed you
Yes, I’ve been brokenhearted
Blue since the day we parted
Why, why did I ever let you go?
Mamma mia, even if I say
Bye bye, leave me now or never
mamma mia, it’s a game we play
Bye bye doesn’t mean forever

Yesterday I lost my best friend and confidant Donna after a eighteen months battle with cancer. My heart is breaking. To say she was a warrior just doesn’t cut it.. although it’s killing me to write if anything is worth blogging about it’s her. So here is our story.

Donna I met you twelve years ago when I started a new job. You were sat feet up on a sofa doing some paperwork long black hair big btown eyes you glanced at me then back at the paperwork and I thought snotty cow!

That only lasted days before we were laughing and chatting together over coffee then over vodka and cokes on our many nights out.

You had two fab kids Sarah and Richard who were your life our families seemed to slot together. Our friends became joint friends we went on girlie holidays, turkey, Spain, Rhodes, Corfu,

We both loved pink and saw her twice causing chaos in Birmingham and Manchester. You bloody fainted right at the end of first concert so we had to go again.. good excuse

Do you remember the Christmas we stayed in the radion Blu in Cardiff? I’d nipped out to catch the shops for a last min prezzie for you whilst you got ready to go out..crossing the road by John Lewis in the snow I looked up to our third floor room to see you there blinds open wearing only black big knickers ffs how no one crashed I’ll never know..

We had weekends in Manchester you loved Aflex palace and the random shops.

You just loved randomness! I loved the crazy texts and questions you’d send often about penguins bees or some crazy fact. Funny girls in Blackpool oakwood with the kids. Folly farm because you loved the penguins

When we were going out you would take forever strieghtening your hair doing make up . I’d ring and ask are you nearly ready or are you sat on the bed in your towel looking at the wall. ?

You’d call me a knob.. but I was right..

You loved cocktails particularly nutty Russians a dreadful combination of vodka, Tia Maria, amaretto and coke served in the cross keys two for seven pounds. Okay if you needed paint stripper but you loved them after a few you’d sing and dance there was no sitting you down.

We would go to the exchange the D.j knew you so well you would walk in and the next song to play would be Beyonce and shekira beautiful lier and you would grab my hand and we would dance.

I can’t believe that I’ll never dance like that with you again.

So many amazing memories we made you loved boats ‘with sticks’ we would spend our holidays sunbathing on decks of sail boats breeze in our hair, your head on my shoulder I remember black and gold playing on the radio and you looking so very happy your eyes always told the story.

Your favorite book was my family and other animals written in Corfu. From that you loved the Durrels T.V show

Favorite film was Shirley Valentine there was a theme here after a stressful day in work you’d say you were running away to Greece to sit on the beach and talk to a rock!

We had known each other two years when you found your first lump in your breast. You had it removed on my birthday i ever left you after the operation you insisted we go for a Chinese meal we got a take away and sat in Singleton park over the years two more lumps were removed all benign. You never worried about it despite your mother having breast cancer

Then eighteen months ago after prolonged back pain you were admitted with high temperature and infection.

You looked at me scared and asked what if it’s cancer? We reassured you but your gut feeling was right.

I promised you I’d walk beside you and from the day you left hospital you resolved it wasn’t going to beat you.

Any meltdowns you had were few and when no one else was there.

You really were brave amazing and inspiring.

We arranged to meet up with my son and your daughter hoping now grown up they would get along we had always thought they would make a stunning couple.

We we’re right and to our joint delight a year ago they announced they we’re expecting a baby.

Your eyes shone with happiness I was flying out to America that night so we video chatted about baby clothes and prams we we’re going to be nannies together!

First scan confirmed it was a girl and you had a new reason to fight.

Sarah went into labor in June and of course we we’re by their sides and when baby emillia was born we both promised her the world me you Donna and your sister Erica her third Nanny life was good. Emilla was sent for a reason you adore her and are so proud of what an amazing mam and dad Sarah and Mike are. Seeing them as a family made you so happy.

We had booked a holiday you were now on oral chemo going well and off we flew to Corfu.

It was bliss we swam had a few cocktails saw the sights and of course lay on a boat listening to black and gold.

We danced sat up at night and talked lots.

You had been told your scan results were good and maybe we could go to six months

But you had a slight pain in your side and I hated my gut feeling that the liver cancer was spreading.

It was. And so my friend the last few weeks have been hard you continued to fight but I’m sitting here writing your celebration service as I helped you write your end of life plan. You left nothing to chance.

You rang me to tell me that you’d bought us tickets for Mama Mia here I go again I groaned but laughed and I knew it would cheer you up a bit of Abba worked wonders.

But (spoiler alert) the main character Donna wasn’t in it!

First ten mins of film sat in the Vue you asked..

Where’s Donna? They can’t have a Abba film without her? Has she died? Then the story fell into place and eventually at the end of the film Donna appears smiling happy and dancing in spirit. She’s there watching her daughter, her partner and her grand child .

Your eyes shone and you squeezed my hand. Energy never dies I managed to say.

I know you answered . Tell Sarah and Richard to watch this again .. I will I promised. So there was the theme for your celebration of life..

It’s going to be amazing a reflection of you Donna. Funny, happy, positive and different.

I promised you I’d be your celebrant it was down to you I did the course but you said it would go with my soul midwife training and therapies.

You believed in me encouraged me. Knew me better than I know myself.

Donna you bought me a necklace with my favorite quote from my favorite childhood book Peter pan.

Do you know that place between sleep and awake the place where you can remember dreaming. That’s where I’ll always love you. That’s where I will be waiting.

How I miss you already I will look after your children and will love our grand daughter enough for the both of us. I will talk about you and tell her of all our adventures

I promise

In return come see me Donna in that place between sleep and dreaming bring a sail boat and dance with me again.

You were right how can I have a life without Donna in it.
Mamma mia, here I go again
My my, how can I resist you?
Mamma mia, does it show again?
My my, just how much I’ve missed you
Yes, I’ve been brokenhearted
Blue since the day we parted
Why, why did I ever let you go?
Mamma mia, even if I say
Bye bye, leave me now or never
mamma mia, it’s a game we play
Bye bye doesn’t mean forever

Love you always Joolz ♥️