And suddenly… we were strangers again.

And suddenly… we were strangers again.

“And in the end, letting go was a lot like finding love. I had to learn to say goodbye to the one who gave me the courage to say hello.”– R.M Drake

Believe me, I am not saying goodbye to my life, if that is what worries you. No, I’m certainly not doing that. Truth is, I am saying goodbye to someone who I saw as my life, once upon a time. This is me, saying goodbye, to you!

So, I guess this is it right?  After all this time we have spent not talking. After all the days we spent snuggled in each others arms. After bearing our souls, staying up until four in the morning, sharing our secrets and insecurities. After everything we have endured together… we only get to say goodbye to each other. There is no longer a ‘forever’ for the two of us, at least not together anyway.

But we tried, didn’t we? We tried so hard, so many of the same conversations happening time and time again… a never-ending cycle that we both eventually got tired of. I know you got tired. I’m sorry you didn’t have the strength to be strong for the both of us when I couldn’t find that strength in me. What a shitty thing we had to do… having to say goodbye to someone whom we pictured our entire futures with.

Because you know, I pictured mine with you. Even after we split up, I couldn’t imagine it with anyone else… for a while anyway. I strongly believed that after you, I really would just end up being a ‘crazy cat-lady’ until the end of time. At least that was what I had promised myself I should be. You got me a drinks coaster that had those words printed on it, remember? What a fun bag of goodies that was.

I thought I was one heartbreak away from having that life, and I truly thought that you were my ultimate heartbreaker. You hurt me more than you could have ever imagined.

I struggled for so long to say goodbye to you, because I still loved you, completely and unbearably. You know I am an annoyingly clingy person anyway, so I guess that is why I held on to you for so long. It was just so damn hard to say goodbye to the one person I thought knew me better than anyone else. And, if truth be told, I didn’t want to say goodbye to you. Because for so long, you were all I had ever wanted. All I had ever dreamed of. But, you eventually wake up from a dream though, don’t you?

The sh*tty thing was, you became the biggest stranger to me after a while. I can remember how you once told me that we could work anything out. I remember just how uncontrollably and silently I sobbed on holiday in the bathroom… you told me that you would never give up on me. On us! I looked in to your eyes that night and I honestly believed you.

And I don’t know how or why that ever changed. Because you would never give me any real solid answer. You just left, without a care in the world. Every word you had ever said, nothing but a distant memory. Nothing but a lie. What did you think you would achieve by telling me all the things you thought I wanted to hear? With or without those promises… I still loved you more than you could have ever imagined.

Why didn’t we ever have that conversation like you promised? My guess is that you just didn’t, at any point, love me enough to give me the opportunity to get the closure I needed. And I will never know if I was right about that or not!

So often I thought about picking up the phone and calling you to ask you to go for a drink… just so I could look in to your eyes one last time, and actually believe you when you said it was over. But there was no real point, was there? Because lets face it, you couldn’t have meant a single word you ever said, could you? If you had, you would never have so easily walked away when I needed you the most, right?

This is not about be bashing you, or making you out to be some kind of monster. You could never be that. You were kind. You were loving. You were loyal and devoted. You looked at me in a way that I did not recognise and you made me feel like there was nobody else in the world that could compare to me. You made me feel like I was made for loving you.

You held me tighter than anyone had ever held me before and you sat with me when I felt like my entire world was falling apart and you helped me to try to rebuild it. You made me realise that I didn’t need to be strong anymore, and that it was okay not to be okay. You made me feel safe again. You were all I thought I had ever wanted. And you made me believe that I had found my very own “happily ever after”.

But then you broke my heart. What happened?

I think you were right you know… fairy tales just don’t exist in real life, at least not like they do in the Disney films anyway. So I’ve decided to free myself from this, once and for all. Because it killed me when I finally realised it was over, you know. I cried myself to sleep for weeks, simply because I missed being able to talk to you, hold your hand and listen out for your stupid moans and groans. I missed your terrible jokes and how you would say “Good Morning” even at seven o’clock at night. I missed your cheesy little notes and the way you would tuck your finger into my underwear as we slept, just so you could check I was still next to you.

I was angry that I didn’t get to wake up next to you any longer. Angry that I was no longer able to cook for you, do your washing, or kiss when you would get home after a long day at work (and an even longer walk home.) I was angry that there would never be an ‘Eric’ or that we would never get to share our last names. I don’t get to cry in your arms after a bad dream nor do I get to hear your shocking singing in the shower. Because we don’t get to be just ‘the two of us’ any longer. There is just you and I, but there is no us anymore. I still don’t understand how I got to meet you, fall in love with you, plan my future with you and then have to let you go. And I never will understand why that happens to people!

But there was no other option, was there? And whilst it hurt more than anything to let go of you, I realised that you are still a kid at heart and I am an old soul. We were so different and our views on what was important changed. I thought our differences would form a unique relationship and I was right. The sh*t part is, it didn’t last.

I was never afraid of goodbyes, you know that. I only ever saw goodbye as a temporary thing because I always did my best to meet again the people I cared so dearly for. But I don’t get to do that this time. Because this one; this goodbye, is one I will hate for the rest of my life. Because this goodbye is not temporary. This goodbye is forever.

Please don’t ever think that I regret you. I don’t. I never could. You were exactly who I needed, when I needed it most. And for that, I will forever be grateful. You touched my soul and you held it tight and for that, I loved you dearly. You made me realise that it was okay to love again.

And that is exactly what I have done. And for now, it feels pretty amazing. I just hope that one day you do too. Because no one deserves to be a third wheel at the wrestling for the rest of their life!

Belle x

© 2017 Belle’s Notepad (Laura Denton)

Goodness Grief

Goodness Grief

“No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear.” – C.S Lewis

Until you have lost someone so very dear to you, it is hard to understand the grief that one begets. But I for one know the sadness you are going through because I have unfortunately worn those very same shoes. Shoes I wish I could take back and get a refund for!

You look around you and you see a big hole; your home feels empty and your heart is no longer whole. But as the days go by, the tears slowly begin to fade and sadness turns into bittersweet, smiling memories.

It’s a funny old thing grief. You can think about the loss of a loved one and only begin to imagine just how heartbreaking it really feels… because when it actually happens to you, you realise that there is no other feeling like it in the world and nothing can prepare for just how long that feeling lasts. Because the heartbreaking reality is that you will grieve forever. You won’t ever “get over” the loss of a loved one, you simply just learn to somehow live with it. And whilst you will eventually heal and rebuild your life around the terrible loss you have suffered and one day feel whole again, you will never, ever, be the same. And why should you be?

When someone you love dies, you feel like your entire world has fallen to pieces, and yet everyone an everything around you just carries on with life. Nothing really seems to change, except the fact that one special person, just isn’t there any longer. The birds still sing, the days still roll in to night. The clocks continue to tick and people carry on with their lives. And yet, you feel as if you have become frozen in time, almost as if you are watching life as if it were a movie. But you some how learn to adapt. You see, when you are grieving for someone, it is almost like you are leading to two completely different lives. One part of you “pretends” that everything is okay. You somehow still get up in the morning and go about your life.  But the other part is where your heart screams silently in complete agony.

And that is the part that can leave you feeling utterly lost and completely alone. And that is the one of the hardest parts about grieving. Because everybody is different and everyone deals with grief in their own way, it often feel like grief is a walk alone. Sure others can be there. They can listen and share your pain. But inevitably, you will walk alone on your own path and at your own pace.

And the point will eventually come where you experience complete denial. And whilst it is a confusing and numb period of your life, it is completely normal to experience this and it is widely consider the first of the five stages of grief.

When my Mother died, my instant reaction was to be strong. She had made me promise her the morning she died, that I would remain strong and be there for the people that needed me. But to me, that was the moment denial set in. You see, we were completely inseparable and she really was my very best friend. I worked with her, saw her every single day and even when I got home from work at the end of the day, the first person I called was my Mum. We spent most of our free time together, so it was extremely difficult to believe that I would never see her smile at me again, or hear her voice at the end of the phone. And whilst I knew she was gone, I just expected her to walk back in as if nothing had happened… because that was my Mum. Four long and hard years she fought and fought and fought. And she always said she wouldn’t let the cancer beat her. I genuinely thought that she would live forever, because she was my Mum!

I planned her funeral. I wrote her a poem. I went and visited her at the chapel of rest as much as I could. Because in my mind, if she was still around and I could see her, then somehow I thought there was a chance that she would open her eyes and tell us it was just one of her practical jokes. Of course it wasn’t. She was gone and there was nothing I could do about it. I didn’t shed a tear at her funeral, because I thought if I fell apart, everyone else would and I needed to be strong for them!

I busied myself for months and put her to the back of my mind, because for me that was easier than accepting that she had gone. I didn’t visit my Dad for months on end… not because I didn’t want to, because I couldn’t. Because going back to the place where she had died and seeing it without her sat there, would mean that it was real and I didn’t want it to be. And this continued for some six months, until the day of my Brothers 25th Birthday.

He was such a Mummy’s boy and they were so alike both in looks and personality. So seeing him blow out his candles on his birthday without her there absolutely broke me. And it made me angry. Angrier than I had ever been in my life. And that was the moment stage two set in.

I hated her. I hated her so god damn much. She had promised me that she would always be there for us. She said she would always fight, and whilst she had fought for so long, she eventually gave up on us… she gave up on me! She had been so selfish to give up fighting and she had left us behind without her and every inch of my being despised her for it. I turned her picture over because every time I looked at her, I remembered that she had given up on me. It was only after speaking to my Dad about it, that he made me realise that she hadn’t given up on us, on me, at all. The truth of the matter is, she fought so hard, for so long… she didn’t have a choice. Because if she did, she would have still been here now. Her body had given up on her and that wasn’t her choice. She loved us all more than we could have ever imagined, she didn’t leave us out of choice.

And as the next few weeks passed, I began bargaining in my mind. I kept thinking that I would trade so many people, just to have her back for one day. One hour. Even just 30 more seconds, just so I could tell her I loved her. Just so I knew that she knew, just how much she really meant to me. And that was stage three; bargaining.

Stage four began just after our first Christmas without her. Mum had died 16 days after Christmas and the anniversary of her Death hit me like a tonne of bricks and depression set in. Getting out of bed knowing I would not see her when I got to work, killed me every morning. Not being able to hear her voice or see her everyday had began to take it’s toll and I was deeply unhappy. Nothing in my life seemed to matter any more. I had lost who I was because I still had not accepted her death. I wanted to die. I wanted to close my eyes and never open them again, because that was better than facing the reality of another year without her. But everyday I put on a front and pretended like everything was okay, because admitting I was suffering from depression, was in my mind, me letting her down. I thought that I had to be strong because she wasn’t here to do that for me!

It was only the impeding breakdown of my relationship that allowed me to see that I had a problem and it forced me to get the help that I needed. And as much as I hate him for being a coward and walking away at the toughest point of my life, I am also incredibly grateful that losing him, enabled me to find myself and get the help that I so desperately needed.

And that was where the long road of acceptance began; Stage five. The hardest stage of all! And for me, in a bizarre way, the most beautiful stage of all. Because during the 8 weeks of counselling that I received, together with the help of my incredible Dad, I accepted my Mum’s death and everything else that had happened and I finally appreciated just how incredible life could be again. I began to appreciate the bird’s song once again. And I was able to look at her photo once again, this time not feeling anger and despair, but absolute adoration and unbreakable love!

Finally, I could once again listen to her favourite song’s, without bursting in to tears. Now I was able to sing them at the top of my voice and smile, all the while imagining her tapping her feet and singing along with me. And whilst I knew I would never again see her face in a crowded room, I realised it was okay to still look for it.

Because I had now realised that it was all okay.

Okay to miss her. Okay to once again say her name out loud. It was okay to cry and to laugh. It was okay to function and okay to smile every time I think of her. It was okay to be angry and okay to be a mess some days. It is okay to remember her. It was okay to be thankful and okay to have hope for the future. It was okay for me to accept my Dad’s new partner and it was okay for me to like her and want to spend time with her. It’s okay to live after someone dies. And it is okay to always love them.

The hardest part of losing someone you love, is not having to say goodbye, but rather learning just how to live your life without them. And whilst grief never ends, it does change. It is a passage in your story, not a chapter to stay stuck in. Grief is never a sign of weakness, it is simply the price of love! Grief has no rules, no boundaries and no limit and in reality, it will last as long as love does… Forever!

And if missing my Mum everyday for the rest of  my life means that I loved her, then I am more than okay with that!

Belle x

© 2017 Belle’s Notepad (Laura Denton)

10 Secrets to a Successful Relationship… by someone who is unlucky in love!

10 Secrets to a Successful Relationship… by someone who is unlucky in love!

It appears that every one of my single friends I talk to, have the same feeling: Dating has become so damn hard!

No one seems to have the determination or staying power to make a relationship work and it seems to be a challenge every step of the way. Dating apps have made it so easy to meet far more people than has ever been possible before… meaning it is easier to find your next conquest should things in your current relationship be taking a turn for the worse.

Back when I was single, I often found myself looking at my friends I knew were in relationships and thinking to myself how, if it were me in that relationship, differently I would do things. How I would act differently, or treat them differently. I would ensure I avoided the mistakes they were making and that everything would be perfect… After all, when your pals are venting about their relationship issues, it can be easy from the outside to look in and see what you would do so differently.

But when it comes down to it, the reality of the situation is that when you are in a fully fledged, committed relationship with someone… Everything Changes!

And whilst early on it may appear to be easy enough, soon enough you will be more like those aforementioned couples than you would ever care to admit. You see, the truth is, there is a lot of things about relationships that no one ever really talks about and you end up not knowing until you’re right in the middle of one… So to make it easier, here are 10 things that this time around, I am going to try and remember and work on putting them in to practice.

  1. Opening up can be difficult.Everyone has a past. We all have our own demons and issues from past relationships that may still play on our minds. So, even if you go into a new relationship planning to be open and honest about your thoughts and feelings, you may find that there are some things that you may not have talked about with anyone and you may not feel too enthused about sharing them with your significant other. That being said, it is always worth opening up, but it rarely is easy. Take your time and stop judging them on the actions from the people from your past relationships… We are all different!
  2. Your partner is not a mind reader. And neither are you. And whilst I realise this may seem like a pretty obvious point, you will be hugely surprised at how many times you think your partner has understood you (or vice-versa) but actually hasn’t. It really does not even matter if they know you better than anyone else, they won’t always know your intentions or reasoning behind your actions. So, even when you know there is no issue, you have to be clear and concise in how you communicate.
  3. You have to be a little sensitive to how they feel and bear their insecurities in mind. Because even the most confident and strong-willed people have their insecurities. They may not be so obvious at first, but it will come up at some point in your relationship. You should be sensitive to what ever it is that upsets them… even if you don’t feel the same way. Changing the way someone thinks about something is a hard task, so be mindful that these issues won’t change overnight. Or ever for that matter.
  4. It’s easy to get stuck in a rut. And it can cause a lot of issues in your relationship, sometimes even being a main contributor to your relationship breaking down. Make sure that you still make time to do things separately because whilst it’s absolutely fine to spend a lot of time staying in together, you’ll be a lot happier if you take an active interest in the outside world both together and apart. Similarly, you should actively make time for each other and get your priorities in order. If you’re telling your other half that they are your number one… show them! Because actions speak louder than words and putting them second all the time will only lead to them feeling let down, inadequate and insecure!
  5. You may struggle to find time for each other. And whilst it is important to make time for your significant other… sometimes it just isn’t that easy. Fitting in seeing your other half around work, family and other social events, can be a difficult task in itself. Things can become even harder when you want to spend a little time in your week to yourself as well. And despite the fact that you are in a fun, positive and loving relationship… sometimes you will have to work it around your schedule. Just remember that your relationship is not a job, so making some time for your partner shouldn’t be one either!
  6. Arguments are absolutely necessary. And whilst none of us really like arguing, some people try to shy away from them as much as possible. In reality, this just isn’t healthy, because bottling up these feelings can make you bitter and feeling like you can’t talk to your significant other. However frustrating the argument may be, sometimes these feelings need to be aired for you both to improve as a couple and as individuals. If you have something that it bugging you, air your opinions and talk them through with your partner.
  7. Your moods won’t always match exactly. And if you’ve had a bad day at work, it can be amazing to have someone at home to cheer you up. But, you should not depend on your other half always being in a good mood when you need them to… life just doesn’t work that way. They have their own lives and that can affect their mentality just like yours does you. Take time for each other and pick each other up when possible. Just remember, it is not a competition as to who’s had a worse day than the other!
  8. Manage your thoughts and emotions. Because no one has more power over your mental state of mind than your partner. This means that even the most innocuous statement can sometimes lead you to have unfounded thoughts of jealousy or frustration. Therefore, clearing your mind and reading the situation properly will require open-mindedness and patience and if you fail to be able to do this, the situation can end up worsening and you tend to say things you may end up regretting! Think before you speak, because words can hurt!
  9. Forgiveness is absolutely crucial. And I don’t mean when it comes to things like infidelity… But not matter how good you may think you are at being perfect in a relationship… you’re going to make a few mistakes at some point along the way. Mistakes can often hurt your partners feelings, but there is absolutely no use in holding a grudge, bringing it up every ten minuets or trying to forget or ignore something that has happened. Don’t just forgive them in words… you have to forgive them in your head too. Because if you don’t, you’ll still be thinking about it further on down the line and that is ridiculously unhealthy.
  10. Unfortunately, you can’t always be right! And I don’t mean this in the obvious way that everyone is wrong at some point. What I mean is, even if you are certain that you are right, sometimes it is worth letting go of ‘winning’ an argument, in favour of something that is just much more important: Being happy! Of course, it massively depends on the situation and if you feel passionately about something, fight to get your point across , however if there is no real consequence to giving up on the competition of who is right… then it may just be worth moving on, rather than fighting for the sake of protecting your ego! After all, it may not even be worth the amount of effort required to fight your point!

And whilst I am absolutely not an expert on relationships and this list is by no means all-encompassing… hopefully it at least reminded you of something you’ve neglected in your relationship, or something you can make use of next time the opportunity comes around!

Belle x

© 2017 Belle’s Notepad (Laura Denton)