Well hello there, I am so very sorry I've been AWOL.
The last few months have been a lot more difficult than I ever anticipated.
Thankfully I've not had too much grief to deal with in my lifetime, but when it does come along I'm never quite sure how to go about things.
My dearest Aunt lost her battle with cancer on the 22nd April and took us all by surprise.
Merely a couple of weeks after her consultation where the words "there's nothing more we can do" were finally said, she slipped away quietly at home.
I dreaded those words.
They get ingrained in your mind, make your heart skip a beat and then you realise that life is never going to be the same again.
I'm thankful it was quick for her, but selfishly it's so difficult to deal with for those of us left behind, but it's been a long 4 years for her and I'm relieved it's finally all over.
On the outside it's business as usual: get up, go to work, come home, start again. No matter how bad things get, you have to smile and be pleasant and just keep going.
On the inside, however, it's a totally different story - I have depression, so this was never going to be easy. But what has surprised me the most is that my creative self has wandered off and left me, I've got orders backing up and just no motivation to get on and do them.
I tried knitting instead of crochet and managed a little dress for my friends' grandaughter but even then, I found it hard going. I've not wanted to post here either, I need to finish Samoa and other bits and bobs but just couldn't find the words.
My dining room is now full of my Aunt's crafty stash - fabric, threads, patterns, books, embroidery materials, gadgets and enough beads to open my own shop - yet still, motivation and inspiration have left me empty of ideas.
I know it will come back and I'll love the crafts I shared with her again but at the moment everything I'm doing is a chore. It's like I'm going through the motions and when the next day comes I do it again.
I was so lucky to have 2 work trips very close together which got me away from day to day life and offered interesting distractions and I'll be forever grateful to the Cyprus group for their support; they kept me going that first week and were such a lovely, genuine bunch. I don't think I've ever laughed so much in a lift in my whole life!
My Aunt was really looking forward to me going and just two days before she passed away we were talking about the trip and how great it would be to see places I'd not visited in over 15 years. I'm so sad I didn't get to share it with her.
What I did share was 40 years - my whole life is filled with precious memories which I will treasure forever.