In: Uncategorized

1 Jul 2014

Been a while since I have written anything on here.  It’s been a tough few months.  The toughest of my life, but I am smiling.  Deep down I am very happy with my life.  I like myself.  Know I am a good person and that gives me peace.  I have two amazing young boys who bring joy to my life everyday.  I have some truly wonderful friends and I live in a place where I feel so safe, I can take my dog for a walk at 3:30am in the morning, by myself.  I can take moments to myself to prepare sandwiches, washing each individual, folded baby lettuce leaf and just seeing the beauty of the leaf itself.  Then the water cascading over it.  Leaves are so intricate.  So strong, and yet so delicate.  Leaves are good for us in so many ways, they protect us from all kinds of ailments, provide us with shelter from wind and rain.  They fill our world with colour.  So widely used, and so little acknowledgement.

Simply beautiful

Whilst walking, I have time to reflect.  Time to gather my thoughts, whilst absorbing in the sights, smells and sounds of nature.  No people.  Just nature.  Uninterrupted nature.  I feel energised.  I think back to happy events that have happened in my life and I am grateful.  So very grateful.  I think back to communications with friends, moments of laughter, hugs shared, food eaten together, spa sessions by myself, just for me, stolen moments.  I think of bedtime stories with my boys, hugging them until they fall asleep.  Listening to their ideas, opinions and the games they make up on the spur of the moment to take their land of make believe to a whole new level.  I love thinking back to them climbing trees in parks, exploring the woodland and the moors.  I love just taking a moment to be thankful, for everyone, everything and every experience.  I am who I am because of them all.  I have achieved everything I have due to all the love and support I have been blessed with. People truly are amazing if you create a space for them to just be themselves to grown into who they were born to be.   So many plans are changing.  My future looks vastly different now to what it did 2.5 months ago, but it is still a positive one.  One that is filled with memories still yet to be made and enjoyed.  Life is a beautiful thing, and I intend to create something very beautiful for myself and my family.  Some things knock us completely sideways, some knock us over all together, but it is how we respond to those moments that give us the chance to choose between being a victim, or simply growing from them.  I made a choice years ago never to be a victim.  That choice I still standby.  I may fall victim to my own thoughts sometimes and over analyse things, but never for too long.  Just visit, reflect, analyse, learn, move on.    I have set myself new objectives, listed all the things I need to deal with, and so far the list of short term goals are building strong foundations for the long term ones. I have been writing my first book of fiction, ‘The Wife’ using the recent events in my life to powerfully connect with the main character Besma.  It gets a bit erotic at times, but doesn’t life? It’s about a woman who finds herself … ironic really, and inspired by many amazing women in my life.   The follow up to my first book ‘Friday Bridge’, will be called ‘Wallaahi!?!’ For those who understand Arabic, have read my first book, and know my sense of humour, you  will now be chuckling to yourself.  For those who don’t know what ‘Wallahi!?!’ means, it means ‘seriously!?!’ The book is coming along nicely, but it is loaded at the moment, it needs time to grow, it needs to be on  a whole new level to the last book.  This book is coming from a whole new place. Life is good.  Life is what you make it.  If you want to be happy, you will choose to be happy.  Surround yourself you #positivianvibes as the legend #RobGee shares daily.

Even in dark times, choose to focus on the stars ready to embrace the day when the dawn comes, bringing with it a whole new day of possibilities.

Take a moment. Be at peace.  Be love.  Be united.

For those of you who follow this blog, you will have noticed that I have been exploring a few new ideas.  It is all part of my new career as a writer.  One that I am embracing along with setting up a training and mentoring business.

As part of this new direction, I will no longer be writing a weekly mission, but a monthly one.  I will also be adding an additional review section to my blog.  At the moment you have my book reviews, and shortly you will have reveiws of my experiences in restaurants, dealings with companies, organisations and places to visit.  Many years ago I used to review restaurants here in the Sheffield area for a regional magazine and website.  I built up a reputation for my honesty (no change there then!) and although one or two places didn’t like what I had to say about them, they did respect the honesty and make a few changes.  However this time, my reviews will be based on my experiences wherever I go, whether here in the UK or abroad.

mission questionsThese reviews are all part of my master plan to make sure that organisations and individuals start to be better, start becoming greater than they currently are, stop making excuses and start asking the right questions.

My new business is about developing people, communities and pushing for change within legislation.  It will deal with integration in all areas, not just race, ethnicity or religion.  I will be coaching both the individual and the organisations.  I will offer training in four key areas focusing on 3 different client types.   My style of training and coaching is not for the faint hearted.  I will confront you, challenge you and be honest with you.  You will not hear what you want to hear, but what I think you need to hear to make the changes needed to ensure you fulfil your goals, and your dreams.  Remember though, I can give you the coaching, but you have to make it all work.  You have to put the effort in.  Not me.  YOU!

So with all this in mind, and the fact that I am currently writing my second book and promoting my first, I need to practice what I preach and get my own schedule in order; I need to plan my new business effectively, build my own support network and achieve great results. No excuses.  Just smart working, openness to opportunities and a deep passion for my vision.

My mission for this month is to get my business plan completed, along with my marketing strategy and hold the official UK launch of my first book Friday Bridge.

What is your mission for the month? What steps are you taking to live a life you love? If you don’t know yet, then it is time to reflect.  It is time to think about your mission.  It is time for you to think about where you want your life to go, and the steps you need to take to get you there.  REMEMBER: NO EXCUSES!

If you want some coaching, then get in touch so you too can say “I have Dawn”.


“I bet you got a mouthful, didn’t you!?” was the remark that followed me sharing a dialogue between me and three girls in the local recreation ground, after they had dropped litter in the play area.  Although the girls did not give me any verbal, the reaction from those I shared with was quite telling of what is now expected of our youth.  Is this a fair expectation? Are we setting our youth up for failure and rudeness, by expecting failure and rudeness from them?

Is it right that we blame the youth for not having manners when the adults around them do not have any, or at least use them? How many times have you held opened a door for another adult and not received a ‘thank you’?  How many times have you walked through a door, behind another adult, for them to leave the door to close in your face?  How many times have you sat in a fast food restaurant, such as Pizza Express, and heard adults at a nearby table talking with their mouths full, or hearing them chew? Eeewww!! And if they are facing you, you see the food in their open mouth … eewww eeewww eeewww!!!  No thank you!

I have been struggling since I have been back in the UK to understand whether what I am seeing now, has always been there, and I’d never noticed it before; or whether the manners, respect and behaviours of adults has gotten worse.

Why has it become socially acceptable to be rude, vulgar and nasty to one another?  Why has it become socially acceptable to not have manners? I am 36 and I know that if I didn’t use my manners, my parents would still give me what for.  I was raised to be polite and considerate of others, and even if my mother is not with me, I still hear her voice ringing in my ears.  My grandparents, my parents, I and my boys have manners… we have all been raised to be respectful and polite.  My grandparents manners vary from those manners that I and my boys have, simply because we have mixed with others from different areas of the country, and the world.  We have taken on manners from different cultures because we mix with so many different individuals and because those manners make sense to us; for example taking our shoes off when entering a home.  It is not polite as it drags dirt in from outside into the home, akin to grabbing a handful of dirt and spreading it around the home.

I attended a spa session with a friend about a month ago, and although it was wonderful to see her and her mum, the evening was dampened by the amount of noise from the other spa guests; it was just too much.  Yes, they were there to enjoy themselves, but some of us were there to relax.  The spa have even gone to the trouble of putting signs up around the spa stating “quiet please”.  Can these people not read, or do they just not care about others? Was their enjoyment more important than being respectful? Seemingly so.

A few weeks ago there was a report out that said the top three words associated with the youth of today are ‘crime’, ‘ASBO’s’ and ‘binge drinking’.  I felt saddened that people had that view.  I know quite a few incredible young people who are well mannered, responsible, kind and always willing to get involved in making their communities better.  I would never associate these three words with any of them.  They have self respect, respect for others and respect for the world in which we live in .  They do not binge drink, commit crime or behave in a way that would warrant an ASBO; and yet they are still tarred with the same brush. This report was discussed on the Victoria Derbyshire BBC Radio 5 Live show, and in the studio she had 4 young people stood their ground extremely well and put across their points of view in a very impressive way.  They are the great examples that many adults should follow.

There are many incidences in the past when I have found behaviour from adults of different cultures surprising, but having learnt about their culture, and language, I know that particular behaviour or way of talking is not rude or bad, it is just different.  The British love to queue for example, but it is not common in Australia, any country I have ever been to in the Middle East, and I have only ever seen it in Belgium, Germany and Luxembourg consistently.  France is hit and miss, and so is Spain.  Again, they have different set of manners, but they have manners, and they use them.  A large part of the UK population has decided that manners no longer matter, and that is so un-British.  The British are known around the world for being very polite, sometimes to the point of being cold and overly formal.  How sad to have lost that.

If we want the youth of today to be impressive, then we adults need to be impressive.  If we want the youth of today and tomorrow to have lovely manners, be respectful to all, stop binge drinking and not be abusive to others, then we adults need to lead by example and set an acceptable standard of manners by using them ourselves.  

*ASBO – Anti Social Behaviour Order

Today marked the first official day of the half term week for my boys and I.  Having headed back home to see my family in the Fens, and a dear friend I had not seen for 20 years, I just had to include a day out for my boys and I with my nieces and nephew, as well as a day out with my parents.

On Saturday we spent a lovely day with my school friend who I had not seen since we left high school.  It was a perfect day.  We clicked into place and enjoyed each others company probably more now we are older and have children, than we did when we were at school.  Our boys also clicked really well, which was a delight to see unfold in front of us.  A whole day of non stop talking and giggles.  A day sharing aspirations for the future, reflecting on our lives so far and shared challenges of being a multicultural family, something many of our school friends wouldn’t understand.  For me, it made that bond that little bit extra special, and I cannot wait to head down south to see her and her wonderful boys again.

The night was finished off by spending the night with my beautiful nieces and nephew, watching my boys play and connect with their cousins.  I gave one of my nieces (the best birthday present I have ever had) a manicure and we all watched Dynamo together, blowing their young minds with all his magic.  The gasps were a wonderful thing to hear.  Yesterday we went bowling and to an indoor play centre and had some great fun, before heading back home for my mum’s tasty roast chicken dinner.  Which brought us nicely to my mission for today.

Creative fun at Mable’s Paint Pot

Today’s mission was to head to Burnham Market and Holkham beach.  I wanted to see my friend Jane and visit her new Pottery Painting & Traditional Sweet Shop called Mable’s.  Situated in the heart of the beautiful village of Burnham Market, it is a wonderful addition to the selection of boutique style shops selling country fayre such as preserves, infused oils and deli items, as well as gourmet bakeries and ‘high street designer’ clothing.    Situated in a village that many pass through, but never actually stop in, as my parents had done for many years, this beautifully designed shop provided my boys and I a fun time painting ceramics and drinking milkshakes (the vanilla one is so tasty!) whilst my parents walked around the village exploring.  After spending just over an hour in the upstairs ceramics area, the boys and I went downstairs into sweetie heaven.  We don’t eat sweets very often, but the coconut ice, coconut mushrooms, bon bons, spinning tops and chocolate fudge provided sweet delights for each of our individual taste buds.

I love the decor Jane has created within her little haven for family fun, parties and reliving (and creating) childhood memories.  To see a friend create something special for others to enjoy and remember forever is a beautiful thing.  Really proud of you Jane xx

I am so glad my mission for today was successful, because all too often not all of the things I plan to do when I come back to my parents pan out for many reasons, but this one did; and I’m glad it did.

Now the rest of the week is about creating more special memories with my boys during their half term week.

Whatever you are doing, always make time for friends and create happy memories together.  They’ll last a lifetime and bring a smile to your faces long after the memories were created… and make sure you visit Mable’s in Burnham Market 😉

Well it is that time of the week again, cup of tea beside me and the fingers are ready to roll.  I am sat here in a kind of daze right now, as the boys and I have just returned from the Birkdale Prep School play ‘Celestial Quests’.  It was a truly wonderful performance and we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.

I was going to write about something completely different, but the quality of the acting skills tonight has left me feeling very proud of all the boys that took part in the play.  The play lasted for 2 hours and provided the whole audience with some very amusing moments due to the characterisation, the delivery of the jokes and of course those all important facial expressions.  The boys were so impressive, they have now inspired my eldest son to join the drama club (something my husband and I have suggested to both our boys but with no joy thus far).  Both the boys were totally engaged and absorbed in the play, and applauded their friends with gusto at the end.  I was giggling so much during the play that I had tears in my eyes.

BIrkdale School logoTo see such young boys perform at the level Prep 3 & 4 did tonight, was very inspiring and heart warming.  The amount of lines they had to remember, the ability to hold themselves together whilst delivering some very funny lines and the passion with which they performed, showed the tremendous amount of hard work and dedication that went into making the play.  With a huge round of applause for each and every boy, the team of people working behind the scenes and the parents who supported their son(s) with rehearsals, we all felt extremely proud of the team work that was on show before us tonight.

I have always loved the theatre, whether it is a play, ballet or contemporary dance.  I have seen shows in the West End of London, on Broadway in New York and here in the heart of Sheffield at both The Crucible and The Lyceum, but it has been a very long time since I have been this impressed by a cast and crew.  It may have something to do with the fact that I know a few of the boys that performed tonight, but to take away the quality of acting from the boys just because I know them would be very unfair.  They were fabulous, and if a handful of them appear on a much larger stage in the years to come, I would not be in the slightest bit surprised.

So, to all the Prep 3 & 4 boys at Birkdale Prep School who took part in Celestial Quests tonight,


You should all be very proud of yourselves!!!

I’m very much looking forward to the end of year play now, and hopefully my own son will be joining them on stage too!


Hello and welcome to the new aspect of my blog!

Each Monday I will be posting about a mission that I hope to achieve within the week, and hopefully inspiring you to do the same.  As with everything in life, a little planning goes a long way and can help you see things clearly and avoid failure.

Failing can be a good thing.  It gives you an opportunity to reflect and consider the mistakes you made so you don’t make them again… well, we hope we don’t make them again!

This week I am planning on spending quality time with my hubby whilst he is back here in the UK, arranging a book signing with Costa Coffee, attending a business development event, planning some family outings in line with what my boys are learning at school, the ironing and writing the strategy for my new business venture.

post it note planningI won’t bore you with the details of my ironing, no one needs to know that (not even me!) However, here is a snippet about my new business!  It will include three elements: Writing, Training and Public Speaking.  All of them will be feeding into one another and focusing on helping to develop other people, their skills, their businesses and their understanding of integration and inclusion.  The people I work with will have a keen interest in improving our communities for future generations.  These companies will be ethical companies and dedicated to social inclusion and understanding.

Why do I plan so much, and why is planning so important?

Well, for a start it helps you to formulate you ideas, see obstacles in your way and help you identify a solution to overcome the obstacles.  It also helps to keep you focused and gives you a blue print to follow to a destination, or destinations that you have chosen for yourself and your life.  Plans are great for working out deadlines, identifying those you wish to surround yourself with, things you wish to avoid and can be applied to both your professional or personal life.

A great benefit of planning is showing your plan to others.  Those that are honest with you, will tell you the negatives and the positives.  Treat all of their feedback with graciousness and acceptance, especially the negative feedback.  The negative feedback with constructive criticism is the one that will help you spot flaws in your planning and help you to develop it further.  It will also help you to highlight some of the people who are just there to give negative feedback – these are the ones you do not need to listen to! Remember many people who are negative about other peoples plans and dreams are the ones who are too gutless or afraid to follow their own dreams.  These are sometimes the leeches of society… ready to blame others for their own failings.  Sometimes they can be the ones who just have not been given the positive coaching they need to see how to achieve their own dreams… and that is where I will come in… if all goes to my plan! 😉

So folks! It is time for me to get on with my planning, and it is time for you to get out a notebook, your laptop, your construction paper – whatever method works for you and start making plans for your bright future.  Remove the dark clouds and see things clearly! 😉

For more information on How to Plan Effectively, inbox me and we’ll discuss further.  Please remember time is precious.  You only get one life, so make it count! Don’t waste it, improve it!  See you on Thursday for my Thursday Thought… and on Friday for another new addition to my blog!

Runners are everywhere at the moment in Sheffield.  Come rain or shine, but always with an icy wind chill, they are there.  Pounding the streets, the parks, the woodland paths and the treadmills.  They are pacing themselves, sprinting, pushing themselves up the steep hills of the Sheffield landscape and stretching.  Some are grimacing, other are smiling and others are in deep thought and focused.  Many, if not most, are training and preparing for the Sheffield Half Marathon in April.

Whilst in Egypt, I longed to run.  I still had the running bug after I completed the half marathon in 2010.  I could not wait to get back to the UK to pound the streets of Sheffield.  But since being back and seeing all these runners, I have realised something.  I’m not a runner, I’m more of a jogger.  Some of my friends on the other hand are runners, REAL runners.  Two of them, Lee and Ant, are complete nutters.  They have done some serious running and I’m inspired by both of them on a very deep level.  I want to run, don’t get me wrong.  I want to feel the burn in my thighs that only running gives me.  I just want to pound the woodland paths and release all my stress into the ground, listen to my tunes and sometimes sing out loud.  Doesn’t help with my pace but I love singing and dancing and sometimes it just gets in the way of my running.

NO excuses, push through the pain

My friend Ant has joined forces with two of his friends and this year they have pledged to run 2014 miles for MNDA.  I have been very keen to see money and awareness raised for MND since losing my next door neighbour a few years ago to the dreadful illness.  2014 in 2014 held their official launch last week, and although I missed it due to family commitments, I have heard it was a fantastic event.  When you read the speech given by John Collins, you’ll be forgiven if you have a lump in your throat and tears in your eyes before the end.  It is extremely moving to say the least.

I am immensely proud of my friend Ant, and my other friends who will push themselves beyond their own comfort zones to help others.  It takes a certain amount of understanding, empathy and dedication to their chosen cause to keep pushing forward.  I wanted to stop and have a rest during the half marathon in 2010, but turning onto Bramall Lane as one of the last runners, I saw my friend Debbie.  She kept me going those extra miles onto Ecclesall Road.  I then heard my name being shouted by another friend which spurred me on, but what happened next blew me away further down the road.  Those in the crowd who had heard my name called, and could read it on my t-shirt, all started calling my name.  I was so overwhelmed I had tears in my eyes.  As I got further around the course, I came across the High Dependency Unit ambulance.  Seeing this ambulance was all the motivation I needed to complete the course.   I had a stint in the HDU at Jessops Maternity Hospital in 2007 following my near death experience during the pregnancy of my second child.  I pushed through that pain barrier as if I was giving birth all over again.  I started to reflect on why I was doing it, and realised I was not doing it for me, I was doing for Cathy, my neighbour, and everyone else with MND.  We all do these challenges for someone, or a cause larger than ourselves.  We need the community to support us in our efforts, whatever the cause.

Kinga Njilis is another very inspiring friend.  Based in Canada she is raising awareness and money for ALS, a strand of MND.  I have followed this young lady since she introduced herself to me when I set myself a target of raising £10,000 in 5 years for MND.  I put on a fashion show and did the Sheffield Half Marathon.  We raised £13,000 and lots of awareness for MND and the SiTRAN Institute, based in Sheffield thanks to the Sheffield business and fashion community, Birkdale Prep School, Ashdell Girls School and the cosmetics arm of Dior.  Without their support, I would not have got through it all and I would not have been able to hit and smash my targets.   Kinga is about to take the plunge and has shared her story.  It is well worth a read, and again, I guarantee your will shed a tear or two, and have a lump in your throat by the end of it. She is an amazing young lady who lost her mum to ALS.

I am considering taking part in the 2015 Sheffield Half Marathon.  I have a year to get fit, to make sure I am ready for it.   I did my first 10 minute run on the treadmill this week, and loved it.  Next week I am planning on my 15 minute run, or rather jog.  Building it up in 5 minute increments each time I run, adding an additional running, oops! jogging session until I get to three sessions a week, each run 30 minutes long.  I will be back running the streets, parks and woodlands, but for now, I am taking it one step at a time.  I will let you know if I decide to do it, but for now Ant and Kinga deserve your support.

A month ago I head Jeremy Vines BBC Radio show which was dedicated to the elderly who go for weeks without seeing anyone, and the only voices they hear are the ones through the radio.  I was really moved by the show, because with so many people living on their own, with no one to care for them, how do we know when they are no longer breathing? Only when the postman can no longer post letters through the letterbox?  Or when bills go for months unpaid and the debt collector calls on them to find no answer? Or in extreme cases, when the stench of their rotting body escapes their home and causes neighbours to call the council to deal with it.

Many older people are left alone to care for themselves, placed in retirement homes with few or no visitors. Some pay for private care out of their small pensions.   Why is this? Where are their families? Where are their friends? Why are these people alone? Have they chosen it? Are they are unpleasant people to deal with, that they have driven everyone away from them? The scenarios are endless, and many of the scenarios have a solution.

elderly ladyMany years ago whilst my mum was working in an old peoples home, I used to go and read to an elderly lady who had no visitors.  I would always ask my mum if anyone had been to see her during the week because I could not believe that no one would visit their own mother.  Surely they didn’t just put her in a home and get on with their own lives? Well they did, and I just found it cruel, I still do.  This lady had no visitors in the entire time she was in the home.  She was left there to be taken care of by non relatives and left to die.  When she died, family started appearing out of the woodwork to sort out ‘her estate’.  The only happy thing for me in this situation was the lady, who turned out to be quite wealthy, decided to leave 50% of her estate to the home which had taken care of her, and the other 50% was left to a cat charity.  Her family got nothing; and quite rightly so in my opinion.

Over the last 7 years I have been reconnecting with my natural father, someone who had not been part of my life since the age of 4 on a daily basis, and only in my life every 3rd Saturday of the month until the age of maybe 12.  Before I left the UK for Egypt, I read an article that haunted me.  It was about an old lady who had died alone in her London flat.  She had been dead 3 months before her body was discovered.  It started me thinking.  Was I going to get on with my life, whilst my father lived alone and possibly died alone? Could I do that to him, just because my mother chose to divorce him? The answer was no.  So  3 years ago, I asked my husband if he would be willing to have my father come and live with us.  We spoke with the boys and we all decided it was the right thing to do.  He was going to come and live with us in Egypt, but having lived within a 20 miles radius all his life, it was a very big move, one that even I was finding difficult.  So it was decided when we returned to the UK, my father would come and live with us.

So the time has come whereby I find myself living with my dad.  Our journey over the last few weeks has been interesting.  It has also been one of patience on both sides.  Adapting to each others way of life, and creating a new way of life.  We are committed to making it work, not just for him, but also my boys.  They will get to learn many things from him, and he will also get to be a granddad, and a dad.  No longer will he be lonely.  He is part of a family again.  I am learning where I get certain personality traits from, such as my creativity… and my stubbornness! My dad is no longer alone and he will not die alone.

Why am I sharing this with you? Well, because I don’t want people to be alone.  Loneliness is horrible and unnecessary when you consider how many people there are in the world.  So please ask yourself if there is someone you can reach out to.  Is there someone you can visit maybe once a week for an hour? Is there someone you know who would benefit greatly by joining you for dinner once a week? What can you do to help reduce the loneliness of others in your community?  The best gifts to give are humanity and companionship, and they cost nothing.. other than a little time and selflessness.  Be kind.  Be thoughtful.  Be human.

As you will have all read last week, my father in law died leaving many people devastated.  He was loved by so many around the world and his loss has been felt on a deep level with so many.  This last week I have spent time remembering him, reflecting on many conversations we had regarding books we had swapped, his travels around the world, politics, faith, hopes and dreams for his only grandchildren and his memories of his childhood.

I have been plunged into a deep sadness because he wasn’t just my husband’s father, he was the only father figure I have had.  The only one who gave me fatherly advice and supported me in my own dreams.  I have known him for half of my life and I feel truly blessed to have had his insights and wisdom bestowed upon me.  I am a much better person because of him, and his eldest son, my husband.

I have remembered cooking lessons he gave me, very early mornings making ataif for 3id, before sahor and the early 3id prayers.  I have remembered his gentle laughter and the way his face would light up when we shared stories of my boys, and the way he would laugh at goings on in the world.  I have remembered the way he used to just lay his arm across his belly, with his other arm crossed behind his head whilst cat napping.  I have remembered how he would remind me how lucky I was to be able to smell the awful smells eminating from farms, certain parts of Cairo and of course my boys bottoms, simply because he, himself could not smell anything.

But one of the things that I have spent time thinking about is my final resting place, when the time comes.  For you see, his family lives in multiple countries around the world, and many family members have married someone from another country.  He himself, a Palestinian, married an Egyptian.  My husband, an Egyptian Palestinian married me, an English woman.  Cousins have married Americans, French and Danes and other nationalities too.  So the choices facing all of us is simply this.  When our time comes, where do we lie down to rest? Where our childhood family members want us to live, the country our children want to bury us in, or in the country of our choice? Surely the resting place has to be in the place we choose for ourselves.  But for me, where would that be? I have yet to make that choice, but for him, he chose Oman.  He had lived there for around 30 years and it was his home.  His choice, honoured by my husband, has upset many in the family, and understandably so.  They want to visit his grave, pay their respects to him, as we all do to the ones we love.  But do we need an actual physical grave? Why can we not just pay our respects to those we love during moments of prayer, reflection or simply by remembering them?  Behaving in ways, and fulfilling promises, that honour their memory.  During these dark days we need to support each other through the grieving process and ask ourselves “what would they have wanted” because it is not about us that are left, it is about the one that has departed this world for a better place.

I’ve asked my dad where he would like to be buried and he has told me that so long as he is buried it doesn’t really matter where, quite simply because he is unable to get up and have a walk around and have a look.  Not much you can you say to that is there? (Gave us both a chuckle anyway!)

I quite like the thought of being buried in the Peak District, or in woodlands somewhere… but then I love the sea, so that is appealing… but then Dexter and the Bay Harbour butcher comes to mind, not to mention sharks and I go off the idea.  Being buried with a few books is another idea, not forgetting freshly ground coffee… or even in a coffee plantation! (Not sure I would be good for the soil though).  I would like my organs and bone marrow to be used to enable another, or others, to live a fuller life once I am gone… because like it says in the Qur’aan “to save the life of one is as if you have saved the whole of mankind”

One thing I have learnt throughout all of this week of reflection is this: we need to communicate to loved ones where we wish to be buried, if we have a particular choice in mind, to avoid any unpleasantness once we are gone.  We need to let them know our choices about organ donation, or inform them about different religious practices that they may be unfamiliar with. Our loved ones have a hard enough time dealing with our departure and their loss, along with having to face the daunting task of going through our possessions and papers.   Make your departure plans now, if you haven’t already, and make it easier on those you loved most in the world.  Make your choices known, give them the information they need now and nominate someone to ensure your wishes are honoured, then they can grieve in peace too.

Today would normally be my Thursday Thought, but just over an hour ago my world was turned upside down.  I had a phone call I wish I had never had.  I want to turn back time and erase it from my mind.  Pretend it never happened.  But I can’t.  And the pain I feel right now is like no other I have felt before.

reality of lossThe kindest and greatest man I have ever met, the man who has been my father for the last 17 years,  was killed in a car crash today, in the rain, in Oman.   The father of my husband, the grandfather of my two boys, the head of the Ayche family for only 16 days, following the death of his older brother 3mu 3hbed on the 5th November.

Today, and the days that come, will bring deep sadness to many people, not just the Ayche family.  Dr Merhi Ayche, Baaba and Gidu, has saved many lives over the last 40 plus years in his role as a cardiologist and Senior consultant for the Soha Hopsital in Oman.  He was also a Caridology lecturer at the Soha University, Oman.  He has worked all over the world in his chosen profession, one he studied for under ever changing street lights in Lebanon, due to the continuous power cuts in existence, due to the ongoing conflict with the Israeli’s.  How many people would do that? Study under a street light, and then move to the next one when the current one went out?

I feel angry that a man who has saved so many lives could be taken in such a way.  Why could he not have passed peacefully in his sleep? Why could he not have lived to see his grandsons grow up, graduate, marry and have children? Why will my boys never get to be with the man that has inspired so many?  He was man that made it possible for their mother to fulfill her dream of becoming an author.  The man that had so many hopes and dreams for them, and now they will grow up without him.  The best grandparent they had, taken away from them whilst they are still so young.  The kindest gentlest man who raised my beloved husband to be the great man he is.

I was going to send Baabaa a video of our youngest son tonight after dinner, showing him how his youngest grandson managed to ride his bike all by himself today.  Friday is the day we spoke with him, his ‘day off’, and now that will never come.  Now I wished I had called him more, sent him more photos and videos of the boys and seen him more.  I wish when we made the choice to leave Egypt, that we had chosen to go to Oman to be with him, instead of coming back to the UK.  I wish my husband and I had chosen Oman when we had the chance 4 years ago,  so the boys could be with gidu every day, instead of going to Egypt.

Nothing makes sense to me at the moment, and I have not been able to stop crying since the phone call.  I know that in all faiths it says ‘From Him do we come and to Him do we return’ in some way or another, and that everything happens the way it is supposed to for a reason, but I cannot process this. I don’t know how to process this, alone, whilst my husband is in Egypt with his mother and brother (as he should be).  My friends are in other cities and countries around the world and I just want a hug.  To be held.  I am angry at God right now for taking him in this way.  He was not far from retiring and had so many wonderful moments to share with his grandsons.  It all seems so wrong.  So unjust.  He was the kindest, most generous, most forgiving and patient man I know.  The world is a worse place for him not being in it, but may his legacy live on, and all those who he has taught to save lives will continue to save lives in his honour.

Baabaa, I never got to tell you just how much you mean to me.  I never dedicated my book to you because of reasons we both know.  I promise you I will pursue this career as an author to make you proud and do all I can to make sure this book is a success.  I promise to do my best to make sure the Ayche Foundation will become a reality, educating and healing those who have been directly affected by occupation and war.

I know I must focus on the positives, get on with things the way you did, forgive and be patient.  I promise to be the best mother I can possibly be to your two grandchildren and ask for your forgiveness.  I promise to honour your first born son, and be by his side forever more.

I love you so much Baabaa and cannot thank you enough for always being there for me and 3omar.  I don’t know what we are going to do without you.  May God give us all strength to overcome this and to move forward in a way that would make you proud.  May Allah grant you the highest position in heaven for all that you have so selflessly done for others and for all the lives you have saved, helped to save and by the grace of your teaching, will continue to save through others efforts.

You really are the greatest man I have ever known.  I am really going to miss you, we all are xx

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Hello and welcome to my world. There will be a variety of stuff posted on here for all kinds of people with all kinds of tastes (less the perverted ones amongst us). Enjoy it, subscribe to it and share it with others. If you wish me to write a piece for your blog, your publication or your business, then please tell me using the contact form. Please also remember to enjoy your life, it's the only one you've got. Live it, love it or change it! :) (Either that or shut up moaning!)


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