We were in the paper this week, which was awesome but strange. It was amazing to be able to share my story and feels like another great milestone.
A lot has happened in the last year; and I'm not just talking about me. This Friday is my brother's graduation, and it made me realise how much I've missed of this big event, or cannot remember of it, which makes me feel guilty, but I know he understands. This is just one of a number of events to occur while I have been ill, or recovering. Speaking of my brother; it makes me think of what I've also missed of his daughters, my nieces; Chloe and Alice, growing up. In my head, I had their ages pinned down as two and four, but because a lot of time has passed, they are in fact four and five. (with Chloe turning six this month) This makes me a tad sad, as they were growing up so quickly anyway, as children do, so I wonder what other little gems have gone by. Luckily, Alice, my youngest niece, has the Wood gene of looking older than they actually are, so even though there is only a year between them, they actually look the same age now.
Also, a number of my closest friends have taken the big step of buying new houses, or moving cities completely, which means I have somewhere new to visit or become accustomed to, or a new situation to get my head around. I personally think this is all rather selfish of them (only joking). My friend Dave has moved to Tamworth, with his girlfriend Frida, and my friend Joe has moved to Birmingham, from Leicester, with his wife Ruth. The best metaphor I can think of to phrase it right, without trying to sound selfish or self centred, is although my world stopped turning, theirs didn't. Just because I have been preoccupied, it does not mean everything else stopped.
As well, my work colleague Nick got a new job and left Cheltenham, which is a shame, because I really enjoyed working with him and learned a lot from him, but the good news was I got to attend his leaving speech, and leaving do, so I got to share another pint with him. I'm sure it won't be for the last time.
Lastly, my relationship with Amy. I have mentioned before our incredibly romantic meeting in Dublin. Well now we live together! Which is awesome! I can't say whether this might have happened if it was not for my bleed, but it is definitely the best thing to come out of it. It has brought us closer together and given us a stronger bond and connection. You don't come through something as big as this, with your girlfriend, without getting to know each other better. For the majority of our relationship, before my bleed, we spent most of it driving between my home in Cheltenham, and her University house in Twickenham. Whereas now, we share a bathroom, not at the same time though!
I have had many conversations with Amy and my mum about how to try and process all these changes I have missed. At times I have been really angry this year has been stolen from me, it is a whole year I will never get back. One whole year, taken from me. Amy and my mum always remind me it is not lost, it was not a waste where I was stagnant. In fact, it was this last year I probably did the most growing up in my life. I'm trying to get to a point where I stop looking back at all the time lost and missed and turning to look forward to all the time I have now. I am so excited and grateful I am able to see my nieces grow up and cause havoc! I'm excited for my life with Amy. I am excited to tick off more of my goals. So I think the message is yes, grieve for the time lost, but live for the time you have left.