Monday, October 22, 2012

Another birthday not passed

Last week it was Nigel's birthday, what should have been his 47th. I find birthdays really quite painful, especially as I get closer in age to the age Nigel was when he died. Signing cards to both of our girls from just me is never going to be an easy task, and I always find myself shedding a tear at writing just 'mummy' instead of both parents. Although I think my days of being mummy may soon be over, time instead to adjust to being just plain mum!

Sophie and I went back to her first choice secondary school today for a tour during the school day. We are probably not going to get a place in the first round, so will have to go to appeal, but I am resigned to this fact and so will be ready. I need to gather reports from a variety of agencies supporting Sophie's application. In theory it should go through, but it is always a worry. If only it was more straightforward, but there's nothing we can do, except move house closer to the school, which is not something I am either willing or able to do. This is our home, I can't see us leaving in the foreseeable future. So Sophie and I will be keeping everything crossed. We might drop lucky, but if not, the appeal is there for us to prove how important what this school offers is to Sophie.

In other news, we spent the weekend at Center Parcs with Sarah and Gem, the girls' cousins. What a great weekend we had, cycling, swimming, walking, and Alex and I did archery too. We always enjoy our weekends there, in fact we are going again in a fortnight with some friends. Usually we go with the Way Foundation, but this year it clashes with my weekend away scrapbooking. Sophie and I will go for the day on Monday to see everyone, while Alex heads to Hadrian's Wall with my parents.

Tomorrow, at the ripe old age of 37, I start speech therapy. I've been struggling with losing my voice for about 6 months now, and after ruling out anything too nasty, I discovered I have vocal cord nodules. My voice careers between normal and super husky, then back again. I have had to stop singing in my choir as I just can't. Speech therapy is the first step, and if that doesn't help, then surgery will be the next step. It was suggested that I tried to speak as little as possible, but as a teacher that isn't really going to happen is it!

On that note, time to rest my voice through sleep!

Thursday, October 04, 2012

Onwards, upwards, or plodding along?

I haven't posted so much again lately, probably because I have found myself involved with so many different things. Then my financial adviser, Andy Tams, rang me to tell me that I'd had a mention on a financial blog by Louise Colley, who is head of protection sales and marketing for Aviva. Quite what that means, I have no idea other than she works in life insurance, kind of, for one of the companies which I had to deal with after Nigel died. Andy had given us very astute advice when we moved our mortgage after the initial deal ran out. I met him originally as the parent of a child I taught, actually I taught both of his children. I wanted to get financial advice from someone I felt I could trust, and so Nigel and I listened carefully to what Andy had to say.

Where would I be now without that advice? Well, I probably wouldn't be living here. It is everyone's dream to be mortgage free, and I have often shocked people who discuss this by commenting on the lines of killing off my husband to become debt free. There have been sharp intakes of breath through teeth on several occasions until people realise how dark my sense of humour is around death, and then they cautiously laugh with me. But the reality is that having no mortgage is actually only the beginning of financial security after the loss of a husband, wife, partner and so on. As I am sure you aware, day to day expenses, living costs and so on are considerable now. Without the extra insurance, which Nigel and I had never heard of before, I would definitely have had to sell this house and move to somewhere cheaper and smaller. Not a real hardship, but this is our home. Nigel and I chose this when it was being built, we moved here when I was 11 weeks pregnant with Sophie, and we grew our little family here together. To move out would break my heart at this point in life, so I am very glad that we can stay thanks to Andy's advice.

I remember thinking years ago when we bought this house that life insurance was such an expense, would we really need it? Of course the mortgage lender insisted on it, so we got it. Thank goodness! It is so easy to think that it will never happen to you. I thought that, and look, it happened to me. There is not a day that goes by when I don't think about Nigel. My grief seems to have been quite raw again lately, I have shed many a tear. Partly because I miss him, and partly because I am going through choosing a secondary school for our eldest daughter, Sophie. Nigel and I chose her primary school together, and he was so excited about taking her for her first day. Sadly he never made it to her first day, he died less than a month before. Still chokes me to think that he never saw that, or when Alex started too. We have two more open evenings to go to, and then we decide in what order to rank the schools. The chances are we won't get our first choice, so I am already planning the appeal which will be submitted. I'd love to be able to send both girls to independent school, like my parents did for me when I was 11, but I just can't afford it. If anyone has a spare £150K that they'd like to give me to cover school fees until the end of secondary school, please let me know!

Anyway, enough for now. Sleep is in order, work tomorrow. I am loving where I am now, my class are great, I have fantastic colleagues, and life in that sense is good. The only negative is a sickness bug which is working its way through school, last count 57 out of 400 pupils had gone down with it, plus 5 members of staff. Yuck. Please let it pass me by!