Friday, 13 January 2017

To you with love…

Day 45  (Saturday 14th January 2017)

45 minutes of moderate exercise can be as beneficial as just 60 seconds of strenuous
exertion - was the finding of a group of scientists at McAlister University, Ontarion,
who published their research in April 2016.

This series is entitled the Advent Blogs and you can tell that Jayne Harrison wrote her piece in the run-up to Christmas, however, I think the theme that sits behind the seasonal content holds it own, needs to be read now and is full of love - it is a reminder to each of us of what should be important in the year ahead. 

Jayne is the founder and Director of the management consultancy, Peak Potential. Both Jayne and her business are (appropriately, given the company's name) located at Chapel-en-le-Frith in the UK's beautiful Peak District. Jayne commenced her career in recruitment, before moving more into the talent and performance space. She exemplifies what Lynda Gratton states will be the typical careers of the future, with skills being gained from various employers, but that in addition individuals will take time out mid-career to do things that, in pervious generations, might have been saved for retirement - I am envious of the year-long sabbatical Jayne took to travel and notch up a number of wish-list activities (including sky-diving, learning Nepalese, under-water caving and white water rafting). Jayne is a popular coach with a human touch and the ability to help clients reconnect with their passions - she focuses on behavioural change. She is proud to proclaim that she is on a mission to normalise people's attitude towards the menopause and encourage kindness and humanity at work. She is a Faculty Member of the NHS East Midlands Leadership Academy

When not coaching or consulting, Jayne loves spending time with her husband and dogs, or enjoying knitting, reading and veganism. You can connect with her on Twitter, her handle is @JayneHarrison3.

The majority of the pictures illustrating the below post were provided by Jayne. Treasured keepsakes. Like her, I am a keen card giver - I used to write and send a card every day to my sons when they were away at school (the nearest I could get to giving a goodnight kiss) - they have kept many of them as mementos. So, Jayne's post resonated with me when she sent it, hence my saving it as a treat for near the end of the series. I hope it inspires you to tell someone you love how much they mean to it today, before it is too late.


To you with love…

We’ve always been enthusiastic greeting card buyers in our family.  It’s a tradition that’s been handed down to me by my mum and dad. They used to buy each other such elaborate cards, those that folded into four or were practically a book.  I was in my early teens before I realised that they chose those cards because they used to write secret love messages to each other, hidden away under the flap or back page where others might not find them. 

For me, Christmas has always been about family, friends and above all, a chance to show love to those that mean the world to me.  I choose to do this by writing what I feel in a card. It’s just something we’ve always done and it’s a habit I’m happy not to change.  Equally when I receive a card with a well-thought out message, it touches me deeply.  Thank you to all of you out there that have done so this year when I needed support and encouragement, and to celebrate a great milestone birthday.

This year it struck me that my Christmas card list is so much shorter than it used to be. Family members gone, a diminishing list of friends (although I like to think these are the ones who will be on the list until I die) and a gaping hole where my parents used to be.

Dad’s birthday was on Christmas Eve – gran used to say he was the best early Christmas present she’d ever had!  He died through Christmas too – I pronounced him dead at home on New Year’s eve after a short battle with cancer.  And boy, did he battle.  It was almost as if he was hanging on so that we could have that last Christmas together; so that Christmases future would not be tarnished with his loss.  He was wrong.

It will be eight years this year.  I’d like to say it gets easier – and maybe it does for the rest of the year. But his loss, the gap he leaves in our family at Christmas time is unfathomable.  Mum never recovered from his early death and she is almost gone now too, being taken by another type of illness entirely. 

It’s still incredibly painful, as if it was just yesterday.  But to feel this, there had to be heart to start with and for that I am eternally thankful.  I know that life may offer further hollows; that there will be black, heart-breaking, gut wrenching and unbearable experiences yet to come. But I also know that from it will come greater appreciation of the heights and hearts in my life.  To feel such agonising loss, means you have to have something to lose in the first place.

I had the job of clearing and selling mum and dad’s house earlier this year, because her illness means she can no longer live on her own safely.  In boxes, tucked away among the Christmas decorations, lights and other knickknacks one amasses over a lifetime, were all the cards we’d ever sent to her 

and those she and my dad had sent to one another. 

It was such a lovely thing to find and treasure – memories of Christmases, birthdays and other events gone by marked by a picture and loving words.

I’m definitely their daughter.  Christmas is a time when I will spend hours poring over artistic pictures, funny captions, or trying to find the right verse that captures the love and essence of how I feel about someone close to me.  Sometimes I can’t find the right one – so I will have to have a go myself (with varying degrees of success  as you can see J).  Luckily my English improved as I got older.

So this weekend I will be selecting cards once again for my husband, our family and friends. I will do this happily and be grateful that the sands of time gradually fill in the hollows, and remember with enduring love those no longer on my list.

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