This is my new blog to continue my journey with my Dales Ponies. It will also be the story of my building a new life for myself, alone now, except for my friends, horses and dogs, since my partner died in March 2009. We had lived and worked together, mostly twenty four hours a day, for nearly 28 years and I have never lived alone before. It is a tribute to my wonderful friends that I am still here, still sane(ish) and ready to re-invent myself. I love them all more than words can ever say and can never thank them enough for all they have done and are still doing. It is also a tribute to Alexandra Kurland and 'The Click That Teaches' that I know how to save myself now. To new beginnings.......

Friday, 5 June 2009

Memories to Treasure from the Last Few Weeks.

The title probably sounds mad but I do have some memories from the last few weeks that I will treasure for the rest of my life and I want to document them, to make sure that they never fade.

When David was very ill I felt I'd lost him for a while. Nobody knew for sure that he was going to die until he had a catastrophe in intensive care but he seemed to shut himself off from me at one stage. I knew he'd come back to me when he woke up early one morning. I'd been sleeping in a chair next to his bed and he said, his voice full of concern "You look awful!". I was so grateful and thankful that he was able to notice and care again that no compliment could ever have sounded as wonderful.

The night before he died he asked me to give him a hug for five minutes then get him off to sleep. I hugged him and, after about two minutes, he said "Right, your five minutes is up now, you can get me to sleep and go home to see to the dogs." I told him someone else was looking after the dogs and I wasn't going anywhere and, hooked up to machines left, right and centre as he was, he said "Oh good, it's just like being at home again." I was never more certain that he loved and needed me than in those last few days and, ill and confused as he was, he was a joy to be with.

Two of my friends, and one of their nephews, have spent long hours at weekends getting the farm under control and presentable, so that I can manage it as a non-tractor driver and make new plans for earning a living here. The place was a tip and I have never learned to drive (I am now!) and most of the work needed diggers, tractors and trailers. There were some things that required manual labour too and I worked alongside them as much as possible, loving every last moment of it. We laughed, teased and joked with each other and I felt like a teenager who'd been allowed to join their gang. I now understand that feeling totally worthless, hopeless and frightened comes with the territory of what I've been through, and I've done loads of all of those, but never when I was working with them. They were knights in shining armour, arriving on tractors instead of white stallions and wreathed in diesel fumes instead of mist, and my gratitude to them for those memories is beyond words.

Another friend is helping me with the paperwork, probate and the accounts. It's a thankless task, as I'd much rather be working outside, but she chivies me along tirelessly, even though it's her day job too. She, like the others, must have the patience of a saint, and although I will treasure no memories of the task, I will always treasure to fact that she is helping me through it, spends time with me and bolsters up my confidence at every possible opportunity.

Another is meeting two friends I have made through my old blog and the support and care they have given me. One has phoned and emailed me daily, showing care and concern every step of the way. It was after a telephone conversation with her that I remembered that David had said I was tough and could cope with things that most people struggle with, and I came up with my plan to save my own sanity and dignity. She has given me strength and believed in me. She too has my undying gratitude.

There is also the memory of some pride in myself. I have come to realise that, throughout the time at the hospital, I did everything anyone could possibly have done and handled it all in an exemplary fashion. I never once thought of myself until after David had died and he never saw me lose hope. Every time he looked at me I was always smiling. I may have tried too hard on his behalf at the end but I can hold my head up about everything I did and everything I said to everyone involved, and I know that David was really proud of me in there. I've held onto that in moments of despair and intend to try to make sure that I can always say the same about everything I do in future.

My gratitude to Alexandra Kurland herself. Without her books and DVDs I wouldn't be in the shape I am now, positive and hopeful. I emailed her to thank her and she sent me a wonderful reply just yesterday, which I will always treasure.

The patience, gentleness and softness that my horses have shown me in the last few weeks has kept me going too. They love their work and have had precious little of it lately but have shown joy and enthusiasm each and every time I've felt able to do anything with them, and waited patiently for me between times. My heart is still not totally in it but I am getting back to them slowly and surely.

The last memory I treasure is from yesterday. I had been trying to keep happy but was wavering slightly and some people had tested me to the limit. I kept my composure with some difficulty and, just as I closed the door behind them, not knowing whether to laugh, cry or hang myself, my main inspiration tentatively and apologetically text me a dirty joke. His timing was just immaculate and I have felt happy and serene ever since.

With the time, effort and care that everyone has invested in me how can I possibly fail?


  1. Helen, I am so very glad that you have made it through so far, and that you are sharing what's happening in a new blog.

    "I always concentrate on the positives with my horses and ignore everything else and I've been doing the exact opposite with myself"
    So true.
    Often we are our worst critics ourselves.
    And how easy it is to get lost in our lives; in particular when something turns your life upside down.
    From what you write I believe you have found the best strategy of all, to try and look at the positive side of things.
    Give Helen a mentally pat on the shoulder from Helen (and from me, and I am sure from all your friends!) when she has done something well.
    Use the clicker technique on yourself, Helen!

    "Those that are happy don't always need to have the best, they just try to make the best out of what they meet on the way"
    Best of luck, Helen.

  2. Helen, hi :)
    Just saw your post on MW and the link to your blog.
    Sorry I haven't read it yet, will have a read through this weekend.
    My e-mail address is I also have a Facebook account, if you are into that kind of stuff (there are 2 people with that name, mine is the one with a round, blue-and-red-patterned picture).
    Wishing you an easy weekend xxx

  3. Helen, I linked to your blog through Muriel's. My heart aches for you and at the same time rejoices to read of your determination and courage through your loss. There will still be times when you need to cry, don't try to stop the tears altogether. Each one washes a way a bit more of the pain.

    Let David become your smile. The love he gave you is never gone, nor is your love for him.

    I am pleased to see you are rebuilding your old life into a new one.

    I hope to keep visiting to hear of all the successes you are going to have with those young horses. They are such special creatures in our lives and far more perceptive than some people suspect. Let them guide you in their training and let them lead you to new beginnings.

  4. Horse of Course, thank you so much and thank you for the message on your blog. It really made my day!

    Jean, thank you too. I love your "let David become your smile". That's a really lovely thing to think of. I think it would be only too easy to feel guilty for not being in deep despair and I know that's not what he would have wanted. I view it as the sooner I can recover from this the bigger a compliment it will be to him, because he loved me and hated to see me miserable.

    I'm firmly convinced that my horses understand just what I'm feeling and are going out of their way to help and comfort me as best they can. Your paragraph about them is beautiful and I will remember it always.

    It means so much to be making new friends, and the fact that I now have friends in different parts of the world through blogging is just fantastic! Thank you both so much!

    Ani Levi - I know that you understand more than anyone. I am having a fantastic weekend, thank you so much. I have been with great friends and laughed a lot, and I intend to do more of the same tomorrow. I woke up to grey skies and rain this morning so I text my 'main inspiration' a positive 'life is good' text and I lived up to it.

    I hope your weekend is good too and I will contact you. Thank you so much for getting in touch.