After a week off over Christmas we are back.
At this time of year all the newspapers are full of reviews of the past year. You can test your knowledge of world events, scientific breakthroughs, entertainment and trivia. Many people are making New Year’s resolutions and looking forward to 2015. So, we thought it appropriate to look back on 2014 and think about where we go from here.
Last New Year’s Eve was not the happy time it usually is. I was somewhat reluctant to say goodbye to the last year in which Russell was alive; even though the year itself was one of the worst we have experienced, at least he was here for half of it. But time marches on and the only positive way forward was to make sure that 2014 was better.
After completely ignoring a landmark birthday in March, we decided what we would do for Russell’s birthday in May. It was around this time that I had read a review of the book 60 Postcards in the newspaper and decided that we could do our own postcard tribute for Russell. It wouldn’t be quite the same as in the book, we planned to give the postcards to friends and family to leave wherever they chose. It turned out to be really successful, everyone was keen to join in and we received some lovely replies from people who found the postcards. At last, we were doing something positive for Russell’s memory. The postcard tribute was followed by Russell Fest on the common in June – organised by Russell’s friends, and a Have a drink for Russell Day on the anniversary of his death. We had survived the first year!
We had also started the Facebook page to share memories and thoughts, and also in June, we started this blog; again, a positive way of remembering Russell. Please remember, anyone can contribute to this, if you have something you want to say or an amusing story about Russell, let us know.
In the autumn, with Christmas fast approaching, we had to decide on what to do. It wasn’t enough to leave a postcard or share a drink, how could we make our memories even more positive?
It was then, that we decided that as we weren’t able to buy a present for Russell, we could at least donate the money to someone less fortunate; so we started the Just Giving page in his memory. We have had over 60 donations and raised over £1300 – amazing! We are so proud of everyone who has helped us raise this for charity, and plan to continue fundraising in his name.
So, what will 2015 hold in store? In February, exactly 20 months after Russell’s death, the inquest will start. This promises to be yet another traumatic time for us, but with the help of family and friends, we will get through it. In the spring, we plan to plant another tree; the original one just didn’t survive the appalling weather of last winter and early spring. This time we hope to plant a tree that is local to this area and hopefully better adapted to our changeable climate. Everyone will be invited again. And then in May we will be remembering Russell on what would have been his 30th birthday – watch this space!
What have we learned from all this? We now believe that despite the utter crap that life can throw in your face, you have to grab your opportunities with both hands and make the most of what you have; there is always someone worse off than yourself. We remember the good times; we muddle our way through the difficult times. We really appreciate all the support from friends and family, and we consider ourselves privileged to have been able to spend 28 years with Russell.