Making A Difference
The main reason behind making my signs is to try to make a difference to people lives. I would like to share a little background into this, it's rather quite personal but I am also finding it quite therapeutic to share and let this out of my system. Talking is always the answer, but when you are a quiet person, writing it all down is just as good!
I had been making signs since 2011 successfully. It was a full-time job but also allowed me to be there for my children, so I had the best of both worlds. I worked hard and long hours, but it worked for me as a natural introvert, I like nothing more than to be in my own home. A social life was not something I had!
Over the years I had quite a roller coaster of a time with my husband (my eldest 2 children's dad), which sadly ended in divorce. I kept on going, using my business as my distraction, and my income. I was quite blinkered and really quite unaware of anything else going on around me. I, and my family were safe in the little bubble I had created. I went on to meet my current partner (by chance - a whole other story!), we eventually discussed bringing new life into the world, and I finally felt I had found my happiness. My bubble became larger!
During my pregnancy, my ex-husband had reached out to me. He dropped the children off after they had stayed with him for the weekend, and complained of headaches he had been having, I advised him to visit the doctors if he was truly worried. The following day he had a minor accident, driving into the back of someone’s car. An ambulance took him to hospital as he complained of pain in his head and that he couldn't push the brake to stop his car! He had tests and scans. He rang me to express his worry. It had been a couple of weeks with no news, so I kept on telling him, it can't be serious otherwise he would have been informed by now. What did I know! Turns out he had 2, Grade 4 Glioblastomas, and was given 6 months to live!
The next few months I tried to be there for him as much as I could, which proved quite difficult being in the last stages of pregnancy. It was such a difficult situation as he just hadn't been that nice to me or my family over the years, but I just felt I needed to be there for him. It was also difficult on my partner who supported me but was also worried about the effects this would have on our baby.
He was in and out of hospital, he was sectioned after trying to leave the hospital due to his brain telling him they were out to hurt him! He would ring me (and other friends) in the middle of the night to ask for help as people were trying to kill him. It really was a horrendous time for him and all those supporting him. His personality changed, so much so, that our children (then aged 10 and 8) found it really upsetting to see him.
I then gave birth at the end of August. On October 30th, 2018, I was informed that my ex-husband may not make it through the night. I knew I had to be there. I held his hand as he took his last breath...
I then had to break the news to our children. That hurt the most.
I know this is an extremely personal story, but this was the big catalyst as to why I changed my business. I spent the next year not wanting to do this anymore. I just wanted to focus on my family. I felt really low and was struggling to pick myself up. I felt numb! To the outside world though, I was coping ok. I just felt I couldn't possibly be a burden to anyone, I didn't want to make new friends, I didn't want to get in touch with old friends. I struggled to make sense of my feelings, so how could I try to explain to anyone else. I just clung on to the hope time would make things easier.
I slowly started to look back at old makes and quotes and one really struck a chord with me, "change your thoughts and you change your world". I realised that in order to get on with my life, I had to change how I was thinking and to let go of the past. I had to focus on others, helping others. Just by helping someone else, even something really simple, gave me a little bit of a lift.
This led me onto creating my mini wooden signs, with a simple word or two. I felt that if I had been gifted one of these it would really have helped in the moment. I knew I wanted to make them out of reclaimed wood, not only because the rustic look is my preferred choice, but because I was becoming more aware of our planet and wanted to become more eco-conscious. I was also much more anxiety fuelled than usual and just felt that cancers are man-made. I wanted to stop my use of chemical type products throughout my business, so I sourced eco-friendly paints and sealants. I also wanted to give back to those that I felt had helped me on my journey:
SMiRA - Selective Mutism Information and Research Association - My daughter suffered with anxiety throughout her Primary school years and was unable to speak in a school setting. The information gained from SMiRA was invaluable.
Brain Tumour Research - Their vision is to find a cure and I am on board with that! We obviously know first-hand the devastating effects a brain tumour can have on people and those around them. I was shocked to find out that Brain Tumours kill more children and adults under the age of 40 than any other cancer, yet historically just 1% of the national spend on cancer research has been allocated to this devasting disease. I am
Mind - for better mental health - Raising awareness of mental health conditions is important to me, even more so through the Covid pandemic. I have struggled throughout this period too and, if I am open and honest, still struggling but working my way through!