The last year has been mightily tough for everyone the world over.
We're no exception.
Starting the year with a busted hand, an unscheduled house move, 8 weeks with no running water or flushing toilets, I then spent so much time ferrying my parents to and from hospital and waiting by their bedsides in the early weeks of the year I feared the end of my hard fought for business.
Misfortune after misfortune seemed to befall us such that I swear people thought we were making it up!
As an only child and my parents themselves without siblings, greater responsibility has fallen on me to keep things running smoothly and take over the unofficial taxi service they provided for me as a youngster.
My dad, 10 years post kidney transplant, has been vulnerable for years. My mum and I have worried incessantly about keeping him safe, away from the bugs which might be only a sniffle to you and me, but could result in pneumonia and sepsis for my dad. He's survived the latter twice in the past couple of years somehow so I've been all doing all I could to make sure the dreaded Covid didnt get its claws in.
What I didn't expect was for 2020 to take my mum.
My mum- the barmy spinner with the purple hair renowned at Shetland Wool Week and Wool festivals.
My mum- the fiercely passionate primary school teacher who taught 3 generations of kids (including Jane Horrocks!)
My mum- who designed the Snuggleblanks logo for me 9 years back, taught me to sew and gifted me with her creative flair (and scattiness).
My mum- my best friend of 30+ years....
She'd not been right for the past year. In and out of hospital, spending weeks in there at a time...but no one could give us an answer.
Then Covid 19 arrived, scheduled tests were put off. Mum stayed at home, shielding for my dad's sake. Then she stopped eating. She started sleeping more. She of course poo-pooed my requests to ring the docs urgently.
Eventually at the beginning of October, our GP finally arranged an Endoscopy. The results weren't great. They'd found a tumour in a lower bowel.
She hadn't sent any of the standard issue bowel cancer tests back over the past decade...
Okay, so it's treatable. She was relieved to find out why she'd been 'off colour' and was ready to face treatment and a brighter 2021 with her 3 adored grandkids.
Hey, her daughter makes comfy continence wear for people in her situation so she's sorted!
But, within days the tumour was leaking and by the 11th October 2020, my bright, barmy, bubbly mum had gone.
She should have been 70 in December.
We're still in shock. There are still questions to be answered and grieving to be done.
The outpouring of love has been incredible and I'm overwhelmed.
It pains me to say, but in the past couple of weeks I've had more time to work. I hadnt realised just how often I was running after mum.
And in some of her final words she made me promise to persist at this business.
So I'm still here. Attacking this with a renewed vigour and a rekindled passion.
I'm building stock so I don't run behind again and I will find that elusive manufacturer soon.
Mum, I'm doing this for you.
To everyone else, PLEASE PLEASE send your poop tests back and make your loved ones do so.
Bowel Cancer is treatable. Let's increase those survival rates please.