Everyone has a story and today on March 14th, National Write Your Story Day challenges you to tell yours. You may think there’s nothing in your life to tell but it will surprise you once you put pen to paper, or fingers to the keyboard and the words start filling the pages.
Words have a way of triggering memories. They form a moment in time, and before you know it, there’s a story flowing from your fingertips.
The third child of 6 children, 4 girls and twin boys, I grew up with my Mam and Stepdad after my parents divorced when I was young. The usual family upbringing, Step-Dad worked 2 jobs, mum worked too, 2 cars, regular caravan holidays filled with fun and laughter and grandparents involved in our lives. Money was tight with a big family and we we’re never spoilt but had what we needed.
When I was 18, my Mam got diagnosed with cancer. After a full hysterectomy we thought that was it but 2 years later it returned. Chemo and radiotherapy prevailed which took its toll but resulted in remission… beat it twice! 2 years later it reared its ugly head for a third time and the treatment took over. Mam died on December 2nd, 2001 aged 48, leaving us children aged 26, 24, me 22, 14 and the twins 12.
Life changed for all of us. I took a gap year from work and travelled, my older siblings moved on with their lives and jobs, and the younger ones knuckled down in school. We're now married, we've bought homes, we have children, and over 20 years later we still miss not having our Mam around, knowing how much she would have adored the little ones, and they her.
2018 and my husband and I decided it was time for a change. We knew live was short, we’d read all the fridge magnets so opted to try and get our visa’s to move to Australia, the place we fell in love with 16 years before whilst backpacking. The paperwork side of it was a pain but not having parents to leave behind, my stepdad moved on not long after Mam's death, it made the decision so much easier to go and try something new. The children leaving their friends and me my siblings was heartbreaking and I still have a lump in my throat now, but we always had a plan to go back… that was until Covid hit.
We have been in Australia three and a half years now and we’ve seen the fires, the pandemic, the drought, the recent floods, which have been devastating. We’ve seen the earthquakes, the tsunami’s and now the war and all the other things that are happening all around the world that we maybe don’t hear about living on the golden east coast of this beautiful land.
None of us know how long we have so we must do what we can to live our best life. Yes, we will get home to Wales, hopefully in the next 12 months and maybe we’ll stay there for a year and spend time with our families, do a bit of European travelling and remind ourselves of all we left behind. But for now, I am concentrating on my family here and building Chasing Cards to help people connect with family and friends who are close and far. We must remind people we are there for them, we support them, and we love them. Showing love and sharing smiles is something we can all do, a simple gesture which will mean so much to them and make you feel good too!
I have always kept special cards such as exam results, driving test, big birthdays and when I cleaned out my Mam’s wardrobe after she died, I found so many cards that she had kept from me too. The main reason Chasing Cards was created was for my love of sending a receiving a card, something it turns out she loved too. Like mother like daughter.