Missing British Girl: Madeleine McCann… Is This Her?

If alive today Madeleine McCann would be  approaching her nineteenth birthday this May. She is ( or was) depending on what you believe her status is today, a British girl who disappeared while on holiday with family and friends in  Praia da Luz, Portugal  on the  evening of the 3rd of May 2007. Her siblings were left peacefully sleeping, but she disappeared.

The story is that her parents went out for a meal with their friends and left the children unattended, asleep. Many will have opinions on this kind of parenting, even if they were what appeared to be  fifty-five meters (180 feet) away from the children and claimed to have ‘checked on them through the evening.’

A lot, and I mean a lot of speculation has surrounded her disappearance. Almost sixteen years have passed, there have been various ‘sightings’ of her, then out of nowhere ( to the public you and I at least) a lady from Poland  Julia Faustyna publicly announces  ‘I am Madeleine McCann.’ Has she been found? Is this believable? Here’s the plot twist, Julia Faustyna is deemed to be twenty-one, while Madeleine McCann would be/ or is almost nineteen.  After all these years  what do we know?


Kate and Gerry ( McCann) are both medical doctors.  Both were born in 1968, her mother is from Liverpool in the UK, and her father from Glasgow, Scotland. Her parents were painted  to be ‘prime suspects’ in the case, at one point I do recall there being a lot of social media speculation, media reports, and just ‘talk’ of how these two had been part of this. I do also recall reading somewhere years ago, that the parents also gave their children sleeping aids so they could go out! Whether this is true or not is something only they can answer, but it was put out there for the world to see.

 Isn’t this always the case though? The parents or those who are closely linked to a victim in these particular cases are looked at side-ways. Just last week, I wrote about Nicola Bulley, a missing British woman who was found dead also.  Back to the McCanns, they met in 1993 according to sources in Glasgow, and were married in 1998. They then went on to have Madeline in 2003, and a set of twins born in 2005.

So, What’s The Story:

From what has been reported over the years, during their holiday in Portugal, it is said that the McCann adults and their  adult friends dined at a restaurant regularly. Around 20:30 in the evening.  Regardless of what you think of their parenting style, leaving children unattended their pattern and behaviour  this can’t be overlooked. If the couple and their friends regularly did this, and they themselves have admitted it over the years this would be the ideal time for anyone who was in the shadows observing the group’s movements to understand exactly when, how, where, and even at what hour would be an ideal time to strike. Assuming we’re working on the assumption that Madeleine was kidnapped.

Suspect Seen?

One of the group who dined with the McCann’s reported a sighting of a man carrying a child away, directly where the children were left sleeping that night. Jane Tanner’s report was dubbed ‘Tanner Sighting’ reported that at around  forty-five minutes after Madeline had been reported missing, she had seen this man and child. So, how did she see this ‘suspect’? Apparently, she left the restaurant to go and check on her own child (left unattended) and asleep during the meal. Sheesh! I am really trying to remain objective and not comment on this style of parenting, as a parent of a young child myself it’s hard not to,  leaving a child unattended at night, in a foreign country…. Errrr? Different strokes for different folks or so they say? Meanwhile, this sighting from Jane Tanner in the early days of the investigation could be argued as a ‘blessing in disguise’ if she had not left to check on her own child, no one would have been able to confirm there was a person (man) with a child in the area.

Tanner confirmed this was around 21:21 in the evening, later this was discovered to be a local man who was collecting his own child from a  local creche… ahhh so you mean to tell me there was childcare available at this resort? That’s interesting, again… let’s not pass judgement… So, anyway the police concluded that this sighting was, ‘nothing to do with the abduction’ clearly it was another parent collecting his own child from the childcare location.

22:00… who saw what?

After the first sighting of a man with a child was disregarded, a local couple reported that they too had seen another man, with a child, around 22:00 . The Smiths saw him around 500 yards ( 460 meters) from the McCann’s residence.

‘He was carrying a girl aged 3–4 years. She had blonde hair and pale skin, was wearing light-coloured pyjamas, and had bare feet. The man was mid-30s, 5 ft 7 in–5 ft 9 in (1.75–1.80 m), slim-to-normal build, with short brown hair, wearing cream or beige trousers. He did not look like a tourist, according to the Smiths, and had seemed uncomfortable carrying the child.’

By 22:00 Madeline was reported officially missing.

Present day:

Over the years, lots has been reported on this case, the Portuguese, and British police have not appeared to be able to see eye-to-eye on the case and suspects. At one point the Portuguese police found what appeared to them as DNA belonging to Madeline, and various other DNA samples in the room, the problem is that the area was not sealed off as a crime scene ‘properly’ and therefore it could not be concluded that these samples were DNA samples of suspects as so many people had entered the room, once the Portuguese police arrived. Damn, what a shame.

Recently there have been reports from a lady claiming to be Madeleine:

  • Twenty-one years old.
  • From Poland.
  • Can’t recall her childhood.
  • Not seen pictures of her mother pregnant with her.
  • Recalls being abused by a man who fits the suspect’s description.

She does resemble Madeleine somewhat ( picture on the right of Julia) and does appear to have the same characteristics of Madeleine’s iris on her eye. However, could this really be her? Her family claim in a nutshell she is ‘crazy and will not take her medication’.  How often are people deemed ‘crazy’ for their own genuine thoughts and feelings? Hasn’t someone said this to you before, because you thought or felt something? How did you feel when you were dismissed in such a way?

Should we do this to Julia? I would hope most people would feel against this. A DNA test would answer all the questions… but will the McCanns agree to it?  Well, the Polish police apparently are ‘dismissing her claim’ in an article posted eighteen hours ago from writing this . The McCanns themselves were said to have agreed to a DNA test, but as of late their spokes person for the family would not/ or could not confirm this. They are also said to, ‘not be giving interviews, issuing statements, or confirming anything unless told to do so by the police,’ in the Fox News reporting.

Why not give her a DNA Test?

I find it heart-breaking that the family and anyone else who is involved in this case would hesitate to agree to DNA tests. It is clearly what is needed to answer this almost sixteen year old question: what happened to Madeleine McCann?

It’s also concerning that officials, and even Julia’s family members would dismiss her feelings, thoughts, claims, and mental health in such a way. Whether Julia is suffering from ill mental health or not she should be taken seriously. Would it not be a sensible thing for the family of Julia to allow the DNA test to put Julia’s mind at ease, maybe even help with her mental ill health if we assume ( like the family is) that she is ‘crazy’. I really don’t like to describe Julia like this, and I really don’t like to think of her like this. Even if let’s just say she is suffering from mental ill health this label is a harsh one. Often, I write characters who suffer with ill mental health,  and as much as I hate the label ‘crazy’ I try to show with a person’s behaviour or thought process in the story rather than label them outright ‘crazy’.

But, back to the DNA testing, it’s strange to me that this would be dismissed as something to move forward with. I feel, and this is personally speaking this is often how mistakes are made in high profile cases, people assume, dismiss, and don’t check out everything and comb through what is being presented to them—no matter how unlikely it may seem, or even if on a subconscious level it does not want to be believed. This should be left to us fiction writers, and not be a reality of police investigations.

Given the amount of ‘mistakes’ that have been recorded in detail surrounding Madeleine’s investigation, this really is a chance to make things right, or place closure on the claims. I say, give Julia Faustyna a DNA test, and move forward with the investigation into Madeleine’s disappearance. What do you think of this case? Have you been following it? Do you think Julia resembles Madeleine? What about the age discrepancy?  

Notes on Turning 40: What I’ve Learned

You know what sparked the inspiration for this short piece of writing? My partner! I laugh as I write this as  (at the time of me writing this) last week, I turned the big 40. This week while speaking to him on WhatsApp I told him, ‘I’ve got a pain in my knee.’ His dry, sarcastic, and witty response ( as usual which always makes me laugh) was that ‘already the joys of the 40’s is starting for you LOL.’ He too turned 40 last October.

I contemplated what he  said to me, I never even linked my knee pain to my new turn of a decade. In fact, I linked it to an old injury I had as a young teen that to this day still causes my knee to act up, but not in the way it has been this week!

In other conversations in the lead up to my 40th birthday, we spoke about ageing,  I said to him that, ‘ it’s different for men a few grey whiskers in your beard and a few in your hair are sexy! Men get more handsome with age.’ He kind of laughed and didn’t validate what I said in anyway in his own personal beliefs. I can only assume that for him personally he still sees beauty in women as they age, here’s hoping anyway!  I reflected on this too, and started to think about what it is that I have learned about life at this milestone age?

My twenties were full of fun, travelling, working on what was then my chosen career and life path, and gaining stability. This was until around my mid-twenties, my late twenties flipped 360 degrees when I decided on a new path, I also had my first real lesson learning when it comes to relationships and love which set me up for later experiences, I also became a very proud mother just as I entered my thirties.

In contrast to my twenties my thirties were filled with learning who I am, what I want, don’t want, I’d say my biggest growth in life and as a woman, human, mother, sister, daughter, cousin, aunty, friend, partner, and generally as a soul came in my thirties. That ‘growing pains’ stage that often is linked to the late teens– to mid- twenties for me came in my thirties, in particular my late thirties , that’s very bizarre. In my twenties I thought I had it all figured out! I knew who I was, what I wanted, what was important to me in life… I was dead-ass wrong! In some respects about that. I think the turning point came when I had my son  at thirty. Motherhood really gave me a different perspective of life, so did travel outside of the UK with a young child, learning about different cultures, and really being ‘open’ to all life has to offer. So, I guess at this milestone of forty  I’ve learned these things:

When It Comes to Life’s Direction:

You know, I think I can confidently say that it’s really okay if you have a ‘plan’ or even ‘plans’ and they don’t go to plan at all. By this I mean you think, feel, desire, and work towards something and it just blows up in your face. You may even feel like some kind of failure due to the outcome. That is until you really look deeply at why things happened. This can be said for relationships too. If things don’t pan out how you envision, try to understand why, what part you played, how you can ensure it doesn’t happen again and let that shit go, move on.

Another  thing about plans we may make is that sometimes there is a bigger plan for you, and your plan was just a tiny aspect of it to place you where you are meant to be. Keep that in mind too. In no way am I saying that you should just allow your plans to fail, but I am saying that if you truly know you had everyone’s best interest at heart, applied yourself, worked hard, really planned to make a success of whatever it is that did not pan out ( job, goal, relationship whatever) then you just have to walk away knowing that you did your best, and there is something better for you. A bigger ‘plan’ that you need to journey to.


Be Selective With Friends, Associates, and Your ‘Tribe’ of People!

 This is something that I ‘saw’ with others a lot in my twenties, and I did also experience myself.  However, as I look back now  at forty and reflect I only cottoned onto this life hack later, in my late twenties-early thirties.  In life you will come across people who claim to be friends, or even want to be friends with you and it is not always for a reason you would imagine. As in, it’s not about the innocence and beauty of friendship and connection itself, there is a hidden motive, agenda, or something they want, need, desire, or sadly are jealous of about you! Yes, jealous, some souls might be attracted to you and spark up a friendship with this mindset.

Over the years I’ve become more aligned with the belief that people have an ‘energy’ about them. Myself included.  The more I observe people, interact with people of different cultures, religions, backgrounds, belief systems, and generally go about my daily business I pick up on this about people. This ‘energy’ is what will introduce you to the world before you’ve even opened your mouth, if you’re authentic. In some cases, people will try to portray an energy that is not what it appears. Ever heard the saying. ‘All that glitters is not gold’, that’s what I mean when your mum or elderly relative told you that.

Without sounding like a pessimistic soul, or putting a real downer on people and making connections, I do want to say that I have learned that you need to be mindful of who you allow into your private life, space, energy, and claim as a friend. I have a natural ENFJA personality type based on the  sixteen personality types; it is very accurate for me! So naturally I am more extroverted, have no problem speaking with people, meeting new people, and being in social situations which is often why I find it very easy to make friends in person and via social media, but I am genuine and authentic with who and what I am… not everyone out there is.

Whether you are introverted or extroverted like me and have an ease with people, protect your energy. Get to know people well enough before you really trust them. It could also be that I am an Aquarius and I am true to my star sign’s trait of being a people person but a ‘popular loner’ meaning, people will get all of the real me, but I don’t need to be close and tight with everyone at first I do believe in the power of building connections. That is unless you meet someone and you jus know they are part of your ‘tribe’. This happens when you are able to pick up on the energy of people I spoke about, and spot the sense from the nonsense, or the smoke and mirrors that people can sometimes give you.

In my days at university, I met a wonderful girl who over ten years later, we are still in contact and we don’t even live in the same country any more. The day we met we clicked, and stuck together as students, job searching, having families, etc and it’s because she is very authentic and a genuine friend of mine. Every time we talk on the camera which may not be often we spend hours!! There’s a lot of love between us. My point here with this learning is that you must be selective, go into situations with others with your eyes wide open, not a barrier up on your personality or who you are, or your ‘realness’ just your eyes open! When you feel a genuine connection with another person’s soul, guard it, nurture it, keep it, honour it, be a good friend, and be there for each other even if you are in different time zones and locations.

Cut People Off (Energetically) Who Don’t Serve You And/Or Disrespect you.

Listen, I am as bold as brass when it comes to deciding that I need to cut ties with a situation, person, place, or thing that is negatively impacting my health, wealth, mental state, and energy. I want everyone to do this. I have learned that too often we ( as in you and I) can make excuses for people’s narcissistic ways, negative behaviour, abuse, and general disrespect when you yourself may have done none of these things.

No, it needs to stop now. Learning to be strong enough to say, ‘enough is enough’ is a game changer. You don’t have to be nasty, rude,  or disrespectful . Just energetically remove people from your space and life. This can look and feel different for everyone, but for me it’s a simple block, delete, and no contact. Sometimes there’s not even an explanation. In most cases where I have had to energetically distance myself from a person , situation, place, or thing who is disrespectful to me etc I have tried, tried, and tried, to  articulate ‘what’s up’ and they have not listened. Later in life I slowly learned that in order to protect my peace in life, it’s best to not ignore red-flags and cut off what does not serve who you are, are what you wish, especially if you have done nothing to deserve what you are experiencing. Let no person, situation, place, or thing be immune to this energy block from you. I mean no one! Family too! Take this life hack and apply it as needed! Just don’t allow anyone to mistreat you purposefully and expect that you’ll be okay with it.

Ideal Romantic Partners Are Based on Characteristics, First.

What I have learned is that often times you ( as in you and I)  can focus on the wrong things, always date a person’s character first focus on this a lot as well as the physical attributes and attraction. You may even find that the person you ‘click with’ is someone so unassuming, and maybe not who you would have imagined! And when this happens it can be such a wonderful experience, as you have been matched based on:

  • Character.
  • Values.
  • Energy.
  • Real connection that can develop into love.

A person’s character and energy should be the things you measure and get to know. Even if this person is of a different race, background, part of the world, etc to you if their character and energy matches yours , makes you feel love, protected, safe, provided for, they are stable mentally, emotionally, financially, and spiritually, and is a good father or mother figure etc this is who you should be dating and commit to. Not the man or woman who society says you should date, or the man or woman that only has physical attributes to offer you that will disappear as they age anyway, not the man or woman that you have any major doubts or red-flags with. Do not fall for the ‘okie doke’ people can give you and date their character, who a person shows you who they are believe them. If they lie, cheat, steal, abuse, but ‘ make you laugh and are attractive’ the whole person needs to be thrown away as they have shown you who they are, regardless of if they ‘make you laugh and are good looking.’ This is just an example but you get my point, what good is a person to date and commit to if their character and energy is off as a person? No good, none at all!

I’ve also learned to be very open when it comes to dating, have your ideal list of who you are attracted to yes, but  I’m talking directly to women here: don’t cut yourself off from men outside of your ‘box’  age, race, height, etc as you may find a man outside it that completely takes over it! … In a good and positive way!


Understand Your Love Language, Now!

I smile as I write this, one of the best books I have ever read in the non-fiction genre is Five Love Languages: Secret To Love That Lasts  by Gary Chapmen .  This book will help you understand not only how you wish to be loved and can select a partner who ‘speaks your love language,’ it will also help you understand how your partner or future partner wishes to be loved. If you understand your own love language you are more likely to avoid those who don’t understand it, and save heart ache and time wasting. If you understand another person’s love language you are more likely to be able to love them well. The result of understanding love languages and dating a person who speaks yours, and you speak theirs ( naturally without force or difficulty) can, will, and does lead to long lasting partnerships. The research the professor did for the book clearly highlights how and why understanding love languages is a key starting point, as well as dating a person’s character.

I wish I had learned about this book in my twenties! I didn’t read it until I was around maybe thirty-four, now at forty I can honestly say I recommend it to everyone!


Have A  Financial Plan, Always

One thing I have learned is when it comes to money, always think of tomorrow, and the day after, not just today. It’s as simple as that. Strive to have good financial planning, live within your means or budget, don’t try to impress others, and place your investment into things that ‘appreciate’ with value not ‘depreciate’ as much as you can.

When it comes to finances and relationships, always date someone who has a similar financial outlook on life as you! If not you’ll have a very hard time. One of the biggest causes of relationship strain and break up is: financial management, or lack of it.

Remember Who You Are And Be Who You Are

It sounds so cliché but it’s true, I’ve not heard a truer word yet. In my experience of life so far at forty, I can honestly look back and say there were times I ‘thought’ I was myself, but it was more like what was expected of me, or I misunderstood what  and who it is I really am, until life experiences happened and shaped me into who and what I really am. Stand strong in your own authentic self, whoever you are, don’t hide it.

Find out who you are, find your purpose, spend time working on and with yourself, be selfish and do that work. I promise you if you can fully work out who you are, why you are here, what you want, and you live each day as who you really are ( in a positive way), you will attract better people, places, situations, things, and experiences your way as they are fully aligned with you! The bullshit will filter itself out.

Always in every and any given situation know who you are, be who you are, and don’t allow anyone or anything to change who you are if you are happy with who you are. Love yourself in such a way other people can tell you love yourself!

Be Kind, Be Considerate, Be Open Minded, Understand the World Around You

It’s one thing to understand the self, but if you have the ability to understand the world around you and those that grace it you’re onto something great. People will have different views and opinions to you, and this is perfectly fine. Listen to them, try to understand them, and always be able to agree to disagree. When President Trump was in power I learned this concept a lot! I also learned this concept when there were a significant number of black people who lost their lives in the USA shortly after George Floyd’s death. Not everyone around me felt how I felt, and I am a very vocal person. The learning I had is to understand my opposition even if I didn’t agree with it.

Outside of this context and political events, generally speaking understand what is happening around you, and don’t take everything at face value. Form your own viewpoint but understand it!

Being a kind, considerate, and open minded person sounds great! But it also makes a person rounded in their energy and personality. Not only that being kind allows you to be authentic too and read other people’s responses to your kindness and energy, and you can filter out who and what is not needed.

The world is a big place, don’t ever place yourself in a box, get out there, travel, experience, see, do, like, dislike, and experience all life has to offer for you. Even when times are hard and you encounter a negative experience, learn from it. Take new challenges and experiences that come your way that seem safe to do, sometimes a new experience or direction can open up something you never imagined to be possible. Don’t be fearful too much, a natural cautiousness is needed in life, but a fear that holds you back is a hindrance. Use fear as a motivator if you can, if there is something you wish to do or achieve and have a natural fear, take small steps towards it, and where possible minimise the fear and risks, move forward with confidence.

Connect With Nature

Just get out there! Open spaces, woods, forests, rivers, the sea, ocean, lakes, parks, beaches, anywhere that is not a concreate jungle go and spend time there. Just walk, think, observe, plan, express gratitude,  journal write, exercise, meditate whatever! Just go! And take your kids if you have them too.

 I was born in London so I’m a ‘big city girl’ naturally, and always will love the city, and the vibe of being from a place like London that can be found in many other cities around the world too. It was not until I had the experience of living outside of a city that I appreciated nature, I have moved back to the city now, but I do have lovely outside spaces to escape to often with lakes, woodland, parks etc.  Connect with nature, you will never regret it! Make it a life habit.

Did the Police Go Too Far: The Case of Missing Woman Nicola Bulley


As a crime fiction writer, when the news surfaced that a lady had disappeared in late January, from a quiet and close-knit town in the United Kingdom, after a last sighting by a river  not only did my heart go out to her family, I was intrigued. Things that I often imagine and write about do happen in real life, sadly.

I followed the case naturally out of concern, fear, interest, and as I was a bit confused as to why the police ruled out any foul play so soon. Their theory was almost straight away that she had entered the water, somehow.

Sure,  the facts are that her phone was found logged into a work call still after the conference with her co-workers ended,  her dog and its harness were left on the bench where she was last seen along with her phone, and then there was the crucial ten minutes between  sightings of her that could not be accounted for. Personally speaking, I found the dismissal and  assumption made with no body a bit much, too soon. How could they assume Nicola went into the water with no body or other evidence? This really bugged me, and I felt a little disappointment at the police’s view point. I supported her family in their public statements that they are ‘not giving up hope’ without any evidence to suggest that they should.

 Up until yesterday ( at the time of me writing this around the 20th of February 2023),  Nicola Bulley had been missing for twenty-four days. During this time the police released information that she was a ‘high risk’ case due to ‘ significant troubles with alcohol brought on by her menopause experience.’ From what I had understood, the police in her local town had had contact with Nicola regarding her struggles.  Now if your eyebrows shot up after reading the last sentence, you’re not alone. When I heard this on the local news, I immediately thought to myself, ‘they’ve gone way too far with that info.’ Why would the police release such personal information? Why would they do this given the fact that they have already assumed she entered the water, yet had no body to prove this?  I pondered this and my theory at the time was that:

  1. They wanted to highlight her ‘character’ and ‘troubles’ and make their theory that she entered the water more plausible.
  2. To sway public opinion on the case.
  3. To show that the possibility that she did enter the water ( of her own accord) more believable.

Regardless of why they did it, it sparked outrage even with the government and from what I last heard they are investigating how the information was leaked, from within their own sources. But how is not the question, why is not even the question, for me it’s simply: did they go too  far?  This is not a critique of the police it’s just my own opinion. It made no sense to me why they would do that outside of the reasons I came up with above, and I also felt as a woman myself that this kind of information is not something that really needs to be broadcasted to the world. However, was this really needed?  Should they even have released this information on her?  I guess it will depend on who you are, or what gender you are with the answers.

Sadly, they did find Nicola Bulley in the river, and it was not from their own efforts. As often fictionalised in books ( my own too!) a passer-by found her body and alerted the police. The family’s full statement on how they feel about the release of personal information:


“And it saddens us to think that one day we will have to explain to them that the press and members of the public accused their dad of wrongdoing, misquoted and vilified friends and family. This is absolutely appalling, they have to be held accountable, this cannot happen to another family.”

The family singled out ITV and Sky News for making contact with them directly on Sunday night after police confirmed a body had been found, adding they had asked for privacy.

“They again have taken it upon themselves to run stories about us to sell papers and increase their own profits,” the statement said. “It is shameful they have acted in this way. Leave us alone now.

“Do the press and other media channels and so-called professionals not know when to stop? These are our lives and our children’s lives.”

It appears to me from hearing it live on the news last night, then reading it again online that they too feel that the media and police went a bit too far. I only hope that now that she has been found, the social media amateur sleuths, newspapers, and whoever else seemed to upset the family can allow them to have their peace, and Nicola to rest as they wish. In my view, yes, the police did go a bit  too far releasing personal information on a woman’s experience with her menopause.  They could have said she ‘had significant troubles with alcohol’ and left it at that if they really, really, had to release something… couldn’t they have?

Notes on Grief: What I’ve Learned

Since the start of 2022 I’ve not been able to write a thing really. In fact, this week is the first week I have properly, wholeheartedly, fully, and intentionally sat down and written something that is creative, over one year later. In 2020 the pandemic Covid-19 started this really changed life as I knew it, my son’s school closed, strict lock downs, curfews,  it was crazy. No doubt many of you in your part of the world experienced some of this too.

Then in 2021 my dear mum fell ill with cancer, and eventually passed away. I did write about it, during my experience of her dying I wrote a small memoir as I had a paranormal ‘afterlife’ experience following her death. However, the grief stopped me in my tracks, it impacted me in ways that I never imagined. Mainly my ability to really do my job and write. My mind was pulled in so many different directions about death and I had so many questions. I did learn a few things about managing grief, how to handle a love one who is dying, and trying to remain as ‘normal’ as you can once they have left you.

Get Prepared:

This may seem like such a strange thing to say but, ‘get ready’ literally in every way you can for your loved one’s departure. This will look and feel different for everyone. For me, as mentioned I had many questions about death that I had pondered before, such as the process and if there really is life after death.  When I learned Mum was ill these questions became a real focus for me, and I found that seeking the answers to them helped me to ‘get prepared’.

The best way for me personally to manage this stage of grief and prepare myself for my mother’s death was to read, read, read, and read more about the process of death. I didn’t focus on cancer and how this eats away at the body, for me part of my preparation was to understand what actually happens when someone dies, regardless of how they cross over. I found a wonderful book that put my mind, heart, soul, and nerves at so much ease. It’s ironic, the night I randomly came across the audio version of this book on YouTube, was the night Mum passed away. About no more than one hour after I started to listen. The Journey of Souls, by Dr. Michael Newton is a recommended read for anyone who has questions around the process of death.

Another way to get prepared mentally and emotionally for the physical departure of your love one is to remind yourself that, during their last days, weeks, months, and hours your job is to make them as comfortable as possible. Meaning, helping them to prepare for their own transition from this world. There were times I doubted the doctors, or  thought, ‘there must be something they can do.’ I had a real struggle with moving my mindset from ‘let’s keep Mum alive’ to ‘ let’s get Mum ready to leave us and make her comfortable in her journey’. This is a really hard thing to do, almost impossible at times, but one thing I have learned about managing grief is that you must shift the mind and emotions from battling to keep them alive  and caring for them in a way that you expect them to recover, to caring for them in a way that allows them to feel peace, at ease, and that it is okay for them to let go and cross over when they feel too  weak to battle themselves. This will of course look different and feel different for us all. For me, this meant trying to keep the peace with my siblings and not allow Mum to hear anyone in disagreement, stress, upset, etc. The last thing a person who is dying needs is to know that those who are caring for them in their last days are at war with each other. Things like forcing ( in a nice way of encouragement not physically) a person to eat who is literally dying and their body is shutting down, is something I learned  about as part of preparation also. As a person is dying clearly, they may want or even need the food and drink that may be prepared for them. Try not to be too pissed off about this, and allow them to take what they need and leave the rest.

Basically, when it comes to getting yourself prepared in the grief stage mentally, emotionally, physically, and even spiritually one must prepare themselves to let go, and accept what is happening. I found that I did this a bit too late! And it hit me very hard the morning I learned that Mum had passed, as I left it to the last moment to accept what was happening, but comfort came from the book I referenced above as I listened to it the night Mum was leaving us behind.



It’s Okay to Do Nothing, Literally:

Like I said, at the time Mum passed I lost the will, desire, focus, need, and dare I say it even dedication to continue to do my job and write. Just before I learned she was ill I was in the throws of writing my last mystery novel published in 2021. I dead-ass could not find the creativeness that I had before everything happened. It was like I just lost it overnight. I was very hard on myself, so hard that I forced myself to write and ended up writing a load of rubbish in the process, and even abandoned a novel I was about 30,000 words deep into. I scrapped the whole thing. What I have learned is that grief will grip you in the areas that you are most strong in and tear you down. For me creativity clearly. Allow this to happen and if it means you do nothing, literally, then so be it.

This may sound strange, I can imagine people thinking, ‘ how can I allow myself to do nothing I have kids to feed, bills to pay, a job to do etc.’ yeah, I hear you. I had and still have all of that too.  However, you must be kind on yourself and allow yourself that time to do less than you normally would, without feeling guilt, regret, fear, or any negative emotion that may come along with this. How long this will last for will be different for each person.

 For me, that process and part of managing grief took about a year. I tried, failed, and then just let it be and didn’t write, market, or do anything with regard to my writing. Damn, I didn’t even post blogs, share other author’s work, or take part as a host in book tours for about a year. Today, was the first time I signed up to help out other author’s as a tour host and share their work.

The point I wish to get across here is that, you are going to possibly feel like you can’t go on, you can’t do anything, or that you don’t feel in the mood to focus on whatever you were focused on before your love one fell ill, and/or passed away. If this happens just know it is okay, part of the process, and you need to allow this stage of grief to happen. If not you will hit a state of burn out. Which, yes, you’re correct if you guessed this happened to me. I pushed through and really tried to continue to write to the point that I burnt out. Not only that, at the same time I was trying to home-school, manage my personal life, and managing all that happens when a parent dies and you need to manage their estate,  it was a mountain of stress! Don’t burn yourself out, it will prolong your period of grief, and prolong the feeling of ‘I don’t want to do anything.’ Just be… simply be… get out in nature a lot, reflect, go inward during this time of ‘I don’t want to do x’ and allow the healing to happen. You will emerge on the other side full of beans and ready to get back to whatever it was you were focused on, and even be more engaged, inspired, dedicated etc.

Make Note Of Your Anger:

Depending on the circumstances and how you learn about your loved one’s illness/and or death you may find you are angry. So angry that you could possibly do or say things you regret. You don’t want this. Anger is a normal human emotion, when a person is ill emotions run high ( for those who are caring for them), confusion, upset, there’s a lot of negative energy that can surface depending on situations. For me, as Mum had kept her illness from us of course I was naturally very angry and shocked. One thing I learned is that this emotion directed to an ill person, or anyone else for that matter is a hindrance  and does not help with managing grief.

 Anger can also be expressed between loved ones who are not ill, siblings etc. Make a note of why people are angry, yourself as well, try to understand why and then work through the anger to find resolutions. It’s not an emotion you can avoid totally but it is one that you can manage, so that it is not detrimental to family relationships, and the person who is currently ill, and your own emotional and mental health.

Once you can (try) to understand the root causes of anger, try to see what would reduce, ease, or even remove feelings of anger. In some cases nothing can be done, and if so the best advice in my experience is to acknowledge anger don’t dismiss anyone’s feelings of anger especially your own! Write down why your angry and explore the reasons privately if it is your own personal anger you are managing.

Then it sounds cliché but you really need to let that shit go! Burn some sage and clear the air! I’m not joking. Let it go. No one wants to pass away knowing people are angry at them or over them, especially if you love them. It’s also not a great environment to have anger resonating between those who are not ill, but are experiencing the same emotional upset over a loved one’s passing or ill health. Let it go, once the reason for the anger  has been established… I seriously mean it… let that shit go!

Allow Yourself to Think of The Future:

It can feel very strange to even consider ‘what next’ or the future once a loved one has departed. It’s almost as if you are frozen in the very state of mind, situation, place, location, etc you were when they passed. It is hard to see the future or even plan for it. I get that and this was my experience. Looking back, one thing I learned was when I thought of Mum and what she would want following her physical death, I know for a fact it would not be for me to remain frozen in time! In fact, one thing she made me promise was to ‘keep going’  literally she told me, ‘ if J.K Rowling can do it, so can you!’ meaning she wanted me to keep writing and follow in the footsteps of the famous British author’s success J.K Rowling. As I write this and look over at Mum’s picture to the left of me, I actually am smiling so much. I remember this conversation well, it was one of the last ones that we had before she lost her ability to speak. My point here is that it’s likely that your loved one also would want you to go out and be your best self, work on your goals, dreams, hopes, and passions just as you were (or with increased motivation) before you learned they were ill and/or about to pass away. You should do this. Clearly, allow yourself the time to be idle as mentioned above, then you must, must, must, return to your goals and dreams and create the future you want for yourself.

One thing death will teach you is that life really is short, I’m telling  you it is! Not a moment should be wasted. Mum was fit, healthy, and did not look any of the seventy years she was when she passed away. She could have passed for late fifties early sixties, apart from the odd ache here or there Mum’s health was good. Her time ran out, and it can happen to any one of us. Therefore, you must use the time you have here to create what you envision. Slowly, get back on your horse and look to the future. That new job, house, car, hobby you have had your eye on, allow yourself time and then go for it. I found it helpful to have something that you wish to complete, work on, or return to ( in your own time) as you go through your grief. In the moments when you feel ‘okay’ and not focused on the sadness that you’re experiencing, turn to this happy thought, goal, task, whatever it is even if it’s just in thought. Meaning you don’t have to take action yet, just think about it, contemplate it, write down what it is you wish to or need to do. Let me make it clear again, there is no need for action at all … I took no action hardly on my writing goals, instead I made notes, collected ideas, read a lot, and thought about ‘what’s next’ so I had something to return to. I hope you can find something that you wish to return to also, or even if the mood takes you during your down time or period of doing little to nothing while you process your loss.


Keep Their Memory Alive!

 I touched on this a little in my memoir  My Mum and Me, Messages From Beyond The Grave keeping a loved one’s memory alive, who has passed is a very personal thing. By this I mean how you go about it. Some religions, faiths, practices dedicate steps to this, for myself this is true my African-Caribbean heritage does not allow for those who have died to be forgotten. In my case, I have an area dedicated to Mum’s memory which is just to my left as I write this now in my new home! Before this it was in the room Mum slept in when she stayed in our old house. If this is something that appeals to you do keep your loved one near, pictures, personal belongings etc. Don’t hide them away, proudly display your loved ones who are now ancestors in your home, or even carry their pictures with you.

I have found this a great source of comfort and often talk to Mum’s picture as if she were in the room with me! Birthdays, Christmas, and special occasions may be hard for you emotionally. The year Mum passed just a few months later it was Christmas without her, and before that it was her birthday, my own birthday was just a few weeks before she passed also. It was hard, and it does not get easier I will not say that, but it gets more manageable if you keep their memory alive and not forget them.

I have had two Christmas celebrations without Mum, the first one I didn’t even put up a tree. This was so unusual for me and for my son to experience. At his young age he has never not known a Christmas without this. Last year, I went all out, I did not forget Mum, I remembered her around the celebrations, but I tried to continue as she would have ( and no doubt your loved one) would have wanted during the second Christmas without her.

I managed to do this by having her memory around our home already, keeping her alive so it felt as she is with us. Like I said, grief does not get easier, it gets more manageable. Looking back these steps mentioned have helped me on my journey to managing life without Mum, and processing her sudden and untimely death. I really hope they help someone else too.