I have listened to one hour of Moby's free four hour ambient music sample.
He is offering it free to anyone that it might help.
I find that listening to the music while drawing is an excellent way to relax and unwind.
If you have trouble sleeping listening to music like this is very likely to help you to relax enough to drift gently off the sleep.
Try it for yourself: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XThua40bAss
I think you will notice the affects after about 20 minutes. I would be very interested to hear how you get on.
Thanks to Moby for offering this lovely piece to us all.
Tuesday, 21 February 2017
Wednesday, 15 February 2017
Hello everyone. I have written a story. I hope you enjoy it. It is a work of fiction. I thought it would make a change!
Chapter One~ Heidi is born.
My daughter Heidi was born one icy night in December 1996. There was frost on the ground as Bill hurriedly scraped ice off the windows of his Transit van. Bill told me felt a mixture of excitement and fear as he started the engine after making sure I had packed my bags into the van.
The van skidded slightly as it made its way slowly down the frozen road.
Bill switched on the windscreen wipers to stop the tiny flecks of snow from obscuring his view.
I can remember breathing heavily and every so often I let out a low moan.
Bill tried to reassure me as we made our way to the hospital. He told me that he could see the stars twinkling in the sky as he drove along on that clear, crisp night. I know he was trying to take my mind off the pain I was in at that moment.
I was usually seen as so capable, but that night I know I must have looked lost and out of my depth as we continued with our journey.
“ Don't worry Katie, we will be there soon.” Bill soothed me.
“ I really hope so!” I whimpered. Despite the cold weather, I was feeling hot, sweaty and uncomfortable.
When we arrived at the hospital, Bill parked the van as quickly as he could and ushered me into the waiting room. I was physically shaking with fear. I know many women have babies every day but this was my first child and I had no idea what to expect.
A nurse came over to greet us and to take down the necessary details. We were shown into a side room and I had a monitor strapped onto me to measure my contractions.
A while later, another nurse gave me an internal examination and told me that labour had not progressed very far and that I was in for quite a long wait. I found that hard to believe as I was in so much pain. It was hard to imagine that the pain was set to get worse. The nurse told us that we could go home if we wanted to and return when the contractions were stronger and closer together or we could stay at the hospital as it was so late and the snow looked like it might settle. Bill looked at the clock on the wall. It was 3.00am.
There didn't seem to be much point in returning home. We decided to stay.
Bill nodded off in a chair every now and then but I was wide awake.
Every ten minutes or so I felt strong pains in my abdomen and I panted and groaned my way through them. They would ease off for a while and my eyes would start to close but then the contractions would reappear, meaning sleep was impossible.
At around 6am, a nursing assistant came in with tea and toast for me.
Bill ate the toast as I felt sick and could only sip a little of my tea.
The nurse monitored my contractions again and said that they were still 10 minutes apart and that it would be quite a while until I experienced full labour.
A little later, when it was obvious that I wasn't going to deliver any time soon, Bill took the van and went and bought some groceries before the snow got too deep. He dropped them off home before returning to the hospital.
By this time I had been moved to a bigger ward.
This ward had ten beds and they were occupied by women who were also waiting to have their babies. They had all been admitted for observation.
I started to feel anxious. I was not sure why I had been moved to the ward. Was something wrong?
I was very relieved when Bill returned.
“ Don't worry love. You will be fine. You are in the best place.” he soothed.
At lunch, Bill went off to the canteen to get something to eat but I still wasn't hungry.
One of the nurses advised me to try to eat something. “ You will need your strength for when full labour kicks in.' she advised.
I tried eating a little mashed potato and I drank some water but I still felt sick.
After lunch they strapped a monitor onto me once more. At first the trace was normal but then, every so often, my baby seemed to go still and the reading became less regular. This made me feel panicky.
One of the nurses, who happened to be walking past, noticed that the reading was abnormal. She came over and observed for a while, before warning me, “ I am sure there is nothing to worry about but as the readings on the monitor are a little unusual. I am just going to call the doctor to have a little look at you.”
The next thing I knew was that a doctor had arrived and was asking the nurses to prepare me for theatre. I burst into tears. One of the nurses put her arms round me and told me not to worry. She explained that the baby was a little distressed and so the safest thing now would be for my baby to be delivered by caesarian section. She gave me something to drink that tasted of aniseed. She explained that this was to help with my digestion as I had just eaten. The anaesthetist appeared and explained that he would be giving me a spinal block so that I would be conscious while my baby was delivered.
I was amazed when a while later, they placed my beautiful baby into my arms.
The whole experience was surreal. Bill had arrived in time to get washed and prepared for theatre as the anaesthetist had given permission for him to be there. Bill had been allowed to hold our baby daughter as the surgeon finished the operation.
Once this had been done ,I was allowed to hold her. I felt so happy and proud to see my little daughter lying so close to me. She had wisps of blonde hair and when one eye opened a little, I noticed it was clear blue.
A short while later, our little family arrived in a post-natal ward and I was helped by the nurse to breast feed my daughter.
“ She is so beautiful, Bill.” I murmured as I looked down at my daughter.
Bill had to agree.
“ We are so lucky.” I said.
We decided to call our daughter, Heidi. Our friends and family visited and everyone told us how lovely Heidi was.
I didn't know it then but at that time clairvoyants and astrologers across the world were picking up that something amazing had happened. A child had been born that would be of huge significance in years to come. They looked into the future, to the year 2016 and shuddered. The World would be a troubled place at that time, they feared and they realised that it would be in urgent need of people who could lead others and give them some hope. They feared that this would be a time of suffering for a great many people and that they would need brave, strong yet loving people to help them. They predicted that one such person had just been born.
Chapter 2~ Things fall apart.
A few days later Heidi and I had been discharged and Bill took us proudly home in the van.
Things went well at first as Heidi settled quickly into a routine. She was easy to feed and slept quite soundly. The Health Visitor was happy with her progress and I became more confident in my ability as a parent.
Bill seemed a little quiet but I assumed that this was because it was taking him a little while to get used to being a dad.
Bill started going out with his friends in the evening and at first I didn't mind this as I liked staying in watching Heidi sleeping soundly in her Moses basket. Later, when Heidi started to become harder to settle and more restless at night, I started to hope that Bill might help out more. In reality, he stayed out longer and when he was home, he became grumpier and less helpful.
When Heidi was around three weeks old, she started to scream at around the same time every evening.
My sister Emma came to visit at around this time and was able to explain that she thought Heidi was suffering with Colic.
I contacted my health visitor who confirmed that this was likely to be the case.
Poor Heidi yelled and yelled. At times it felt to me as if she would never stop.
One evening when Heidi started shrieking, I asked Bill if he could hold her for a bit as I needed to go to the toilet.
Bill did hold his daughter but as soon as I returned, he handed her back. He put on his coat.
“Where are you going?” I asked.
“Out.” replied Bill, the front door slamming behind him.
Bill didn't come home until the early hours of the morning and when he got in he started banging around. The noise disturbed Heidi who started to cry. I could smell alcohol on his breath.
“ Bill, you have woken her up!” I grumbled. I had not slept at all well as I had been upset about Bill's attitude.
Bill shouted back, “ Well it's obvious I am not wanted around here!”
He turned around and left the house.
The next day, Bill returned, at around midday.
He explained that he needed some space and that he was moving out for a while.
I felt lost and confused.
How had things gone from perfect to dreadful, in a few short weeks?
I phoned my sister who invited us to spend a few days with her.
I hurriedly packed a few things and carried Heidi to the train station. I bought a ticket to Brighton, which was where Emma lived.
It was lovely spending time with Emma and her family. I get on well with Emma's husband Joe. My nephew, Jake ,is really funny too. He was going through the 'Terrible Two's' but Emma seemed to take all this in her stride.
I explained to Emma what had happened with me and Bill.
Emma told me not to worry. She felt certain that Bill would be back before too long and she explained that Joe has found it hard to adjust to being a parent at first.
I found this hard to believe as he had always seemed so good with his son. Joe told me that he found Jake a lot easier now that he could walk and was starting to talk. He admitted that he had found Jake quite overwhelming when he was newly born.
I started to feel better about things. Heidi still had Colic and still spent a lot of time screaming but I was starting to feel less anxious about this. It was great having my sister around to help me. The only problem was that every time I tried to phone Bill, he failed to answer his phone.
I realised that I needed to go home and find Bill, to talk things over with him, so I decided to get back on the train and try to sort things out.
The journey home was rather difficult, as Heidi was restless. It was very hard to settle her but eventually we arrived home.
When I let myself in the flat, the first thing I noticed was a letter on the door mat.
I recognised Bill's handwriting.
I could feel my heart thumping in my chest as I ripped open the envelope and started to read the note that I found inside.
I am sorry but I don't love you any more. I should have been more honest with you before and I am sorry about that but the truth is, I have met someone else. I have been seeing herfor a few months now. I had thought that it might be a passing thing and that when Heidi was born I would be able to love you again but this hasn't happened.
I believe that we owe it to ourselves to be happy and that we only have one life and so we should not live a lie. I have moved in with Susan and so far things are going well.
I will be in touch in a few days to arrange contact with Heidi as I want to be a good dad to her.
I am sorry to hurt your feelings but I am sure that one day you will meet someone new and you will be able to put this behind you.
Take care of yourself and Heidi,
I could not believe it.
I felt a tight knot in the pit of my stomach and had to sit down. I cradled Heidi to me as she had woken up and started to whimper.
What was I going to do?
Well, what I did was cope, just about. Between awful periods of crying and feeling desperate, I carried on looking after my tiny daughter and did my best to keep things together.
A few days later Bill came to visit. I found it very hard but I tried to be reasonable and stay calm for Heidi's sake.
It was hard for me to keep back the tears as I watched Heidi sleeping in Bills arms. Bill sat in a chair in what had been our lounge.
I found myself asking, “ Tell me about Susan.”
I really didn't know why I said that but as soon as the words came out of my mouth Bill's eyes lit up and he started to tell me how lovely Susan was. I couldn't bear to hear this so I immediately tried to change the subject by asking,“How did you meet her?”
Bill explained that they had met one day when I had declined a night out to see local band, 'The Pastries.' Susan had been there, dancing at the front and they had got talking. One thing led to another and so on and so on.
I stopped listening. My mind travelled back to that day when I was about 6 months pregnant and I had been too tired to go to the gig.
I felt stupid really, how could I have had no idea that this was happening?
Bill was still in mid-flow telling me how wonderful Susan was. He seemed oblivious to the slow tears sliding down my face, smudging my mascara.
For Heidi's sake, I wiped my tears and asked about contact.
Bill and I arranged that he would call round and visit Heidi once a week. Initially he would either stay round at mine or take her to the park, something like that.
He said that when Heidi got a bit older he would like to take her out for longer.
I realised that it was important for Heidi to be able to see her dad but I was not happy at the thought that she may soon be introduced to Susan. I felt that I never wanted to meet her and hated the thought that Heidi may be influenced by her as she grew up. What kind of person would steal a pregnant woman's boyfriend and then rob a child of their dad?
I felt real anger whenever I thought about her.
The sad thing about all this was that Bill probably had genuinely intended to see Heidi regularly but as time wore on he started to see her less and less.
I felt disappointed for Heidi but there was nothing that I could do.
I went through a difficult period where I struggled to take care of my daughter. I found it hard to get enough sleep even after Heidi's Colic stated to ease, when she reached 3 months of age.
I felt lost, alone and scared.
Chapter 3~ Recovery.
One particularly bad night saw me pacing up and down trying to rock Heidi to sleep while struggling to hold back tears myself. As Heidi cried, I could hear myself whimpering too. I just wished that I could sleep for a little while because maybe then I would start to feel a little better. Eventually Heidi started to drop off to sleep so I gently eased her back into her Moses basket.
I sank into an armchair and closed my eyes at last. I fell into a deep sleep, full of dreams.
I dreamed that I was dosing in the armchair when I heard the door creek. I looked up and into the room walked a little girl. She had curly blonde hair and she was beautiful.
I opened my eyes and gasped as the little girl approached me.
“Who are you?” I asked.
“I am Heidi, your daughter.” the little girl replied.
“I am visiting you from the future in order to help you now. I know things are tough now that Daddy has left but you are strong, Mummy, and you are going to be OK. I love you Mummy.”
I looked at her in amazement. She was wearing a lovely simple white dress and around her neck she wore a little silver necklace.
As I stared at her she gently removed the necklace and pressed it into my hand.
I could feel the little necklace in my hand as Heidi leaned forward and gave me a small kiss before turning around and silently leaving the room.
A small draft entered the lounge as Heidi left and this made me shudder a little. I started to stir and my eyes opened. I realised that I was feeling oddly calm.
“Wow, what a vivid dream!” I exclaimed to myself but then I noticed that in my hand I was clutching a little necklace. I looked closely at it and I could see that the necklace had a silver charm on it. The charm was a conch shell. The necklace was very real.
I got up and checked my baby daughter was still asleep. Heidi was indeed slumbering peacefully.
“I must be going mad.” I murmured to herself. I fumbled with the clasp of the necklace and placed it around my neck.
I had no idea what I would say if anyone asked me where I got the necklace from. I couldn't explain any of it.
Despite this strange experience, I felt oddly comforted by the words of the little girl and I had to admit she did look a lot like my daughter would probably look when she was about ten.
I started coping better with everyday life and when it was obvious that Bill wasn't going to be on the scene very often, I started to get on with things myself.
I wore the beautiful necklace a lot and people admired it and sometimes asked me where I got it from. I said that it was a present from a friend and nobody questioned this apart from when I took Heidi to a Psychic Fayre.
It was being held at the local theatre. I was walking past with the pushchair when I noticed a poster advertising the event. I suppose I went in out of curiosity, really. Admission was free.
I wheeled my daughter into the hall and started to look at the stalls. One Psychic was doing readings and I decided to have one done.
I was quite open minded when it came to Spirituality.
I went into the little back room where the readings were taking place. Heidi was sleeping in her pram.
I sat down opposite the Fortune Teller. She was an attractive woman with dark hair, beautiful gold earrings and a purple headscarf. She greeted me warmly and smiled over at my daughter sleeping in her pram. She asked me to hold out my hand and she gently grasped it for a second before starting to read my palm.
She sat quietly staring deeply at my palm before speaking.
“ You will have a long life. Your role on earth is to nurture....”
She paused and looked up into my face. She started deeply into my eyes and then she gasped.
“ Can I see your necklace?” she asked.
I felt rather puzzled by this but I unclasped her shell necklace and pressed it into the woman's hand.
She closed her hand over the necklace and shut her eyes. She breathed deeply for a few moments before opening her eyes and asking, “ Where did you get this?”
I didn't know how to answer. I started to explain that a friend gave me the necklace but the woman stopped me and said, “ A little girl gave it to you didn't she?”
I didn't know how to answer this. I opened my mouth to speak but the woman held her fingers to her lips to quieten me. She told me “The girl who gave you this is very special. She will change the world one day.”
She carried on with my reading while my heart thumped excitedly in my chest.
She told me that I had experienced recent sadness but that soon I would find lasting happiness. I would find love again and the man that I would grow to love had a name that began with J.
I found this hard to believe but thanked the woman and got up to leave. As I did so the woman approached Heidi's pram and looked down at the sleeping baby. When she saw Heidi she nodded slightly and then smiled at the sleeping child.
“ Your child is very special, take good care of her.” the woman announced.
I nodded agreement. “ I will do my very best for her.” I agreed.
Following that day, things started to get a little easier.
Chapter 4~ Friendship.
Heidi started to settle down at night. The more relaxed I felt, the more relaxed my daughter became.
She passed all her developmental checks and seemed to be thriving. I had a lot of stress to cope with, applying for benefits to help support myself and my baby now that Bill had gone. I also knew that there would be a rocky road ahead with the Child Support Agency getting involved and trying to get Bill to pay maintenance.
I had tried phoning him to ask him to meet to discuss this but there had been no reply.
I couldn't believe that Bill had been so close to me a few short months ago and now I didn't even know where he was. I figured that he must be living at Susan's house but I didn't even know what town that was in.
Our friends felt awkward about the whole thing and changed the subject quickly whenever I mentioned Bill. I could understand that it must be difficult for them as they had been both our friends so their loyalty was probably divided.
Another problem was that we had been the first in our circle to have a baby so I no longer had much in common with them. They seemed to be out most nights, having a good time and I was in with my daughter.
I started to feel rather isolated so I decided that the time had come to socialise a bit more. I had very little money left over after paying bills and buying groceries but I noticed an advert on the Community Notice Board in my local Supermarket. It was for a family drop-in centre which was open every Monday, Wednesday and Friday and it was free to attend.
I decided that this was something I would definitely go to and so the following Wednesday I got Heidi dressed up, in her pram and I walked her to the centre.
I found the address and was a little daunted at first, especially as you had to walk down a rather creepy and dingy alleyway to get to the hall.
As I walked down the dirty alley, some pigeons took flight, making me jump!
I was glad that I plucked up courage to go in though as I was made to feel really welcome. There was a leader and around 10 parents with their young children. Some were men and some were women and the children seemed to range in age from newborn to around 4.
Most of the older children were having fun riding toy bikes around and others were sitting with their parents who were helping them to paint.
It had a cosy atmosphere and you could go into the tea bar and make yourself a drink. You placed money into a donations box.
One woman who was particularly friendly towards me was called Lisa.
Lisa had a little boy called Henry. He was 5 months old. Lisa asked if I had a partner and at this I became a little tearful. I hadn't really spoken to many people about Bill leaving and seeing the concern on Lisa's face made me feel rather emotional.
I was able to explain that we had recently separated. Lisa was very sympathetic.
She asked me if I would like to bring Heidi round and have some dinner that evening.
I happily accepted this offer and bought some cakes to bring round later that day.
I had enjoyed the company of the other parents and children at the drop-in and now I was going to enjoy some more time with my new friend. I hadn't realised how lonely and isolated I had been feeling until the isolation was broken in this way.
Chapter 5~ An eventful night.
Lisa had a nice little flat, about a 20 minute walk away from my place.
From the moment that I walked in, I was made to feel very welcome.
Lisa had made us pizza and salad. It was delicious. The pizza was a Margherita and the herbs on it made my mouth water. The salad had a light dressing on and was most refreshing.
It was wonderful to have someone cook me a meal. I felt happy looking down at my beautiful daughter who was sleeping soundly in her pram.
I was so pleased that I had plucked up courage to go to the drop-in centre. I started to make more friends and saw Lisa and Henry regularly. It was so good to feel accepted by everyone and to have people to talk to who knew what I was going through.
Lisa even offered to babysit one evening so that I could go to the cinema. I hadn't been for ages and I loved going.
I felt very odd leaving Heidi with someone else but I trusted Lisa and knew that I wasn't going to be away from my baby for too long. It felt even odder standing in the queue to buy the tickets as I didn't know anyone there. I had decided to go and see a horror film that was showing at the local cinema. I almost changed my mind after I had bought my ticket and I taken my seat in the dark. The film was bound to be scary, what if I screamed and made a fool of myself?
I made up my mind to stay but then to my amazement I looked over at the entrance and noticed Bill enter the room, accompanied by a woman. That woman had to be Susan!
I was horrified. I shot to my feet and bolted out of the room, swerving to avoid the couple as I left. As I raced past, Bill noticed me and started to call after me but I kept going. Bill didn't follow me
With my heart thumping in my chest ,I ran out of the building and it was only when I was out in the cool night air that I slowed my pace.
I didn't think I could face going back to Lisa's to explain what had happened just yet so I decided to go into the pub for a drink.
I rarely drank now that I was breast feeding Heidi but I decided that today was an emergency.
It was still quite early in the evening so the pub was rather quiet. I bought a glass of red wine and sat in a cosy looking corner. I started to sip my wine slowly and began to feel a little less shaky.
A few moments later a man approached me and asked if he could sit down at my table.
I shrugged. “ It's up to you.” I replied.
He sat down near me and asked me how I was.
“ I'm OK.” I lied.
“ You don't look all that OK.” he suggested.
There was a short silence which was broken by the man replying, “ I am a good listener.”
I looked up at him then and said, “ Well I have had a pretty bad evening. I went to the cinema only to find my ex-boyfriend there with his new girlfriend.”
The man nodded. “Yes that is a tough one.” he agreed. He introduced himself as James.
We ended up chatting away all evening. I found it really easy to talk to him and I told him all about what had happened with Bill and how I had been left looking after my new baby. When it got rather late I felt I ought to be getting back to Lisa and Heidi, James insisted on walking me back.
We chatted all the way there and when we arrived at Lisa's flat and knocked on the door, Lisa raised her eyebrow slightly to see James stood next to me but she invited him in anyway. James declined saying that he needed to be getting back but he gave me his number and told me I could ring him any time I wanted to talk.
“ It looks like you have had an eventful evening! “ remarked Lisa.
“You wait 'til you hear what happened to me.” I replied.
I filled Lisa in on all the details and afterwards she responded by saying, “ Well when one door closes another one opens.”
A couple of days later I decided that I would phone James. I had really enjoyed his company and he was right, he was a very good listener.
James sounded really happy to hear from me. We agreed to meet for a walk in the local park. I thought it would be nice for Heidi to visit the ducks. I brought some stale bread along with us and when we reached the pond James threw the scraps of bread into the pond while I held Heidi up so she could see the ducks all scrabbling to reach it.
James told me that Heidi was beautiful and that she looked just like her Mum. I blushed at this and could feel the heat in my face as I received this compliment but I had to admit it did make me happy.
We spent a couple of hours at the park and then I decided that it would be nice to invite James in for a cup of tea. I asked him if he would like to call in after the park and he agreed. We walked back to my place and Heidi was fast asleep in the pram. James helped me carry the pram up the steps and soon we were sitting together in my tiny lounge.
James was really good company and the lovely thing was he wasn't pushy. He let me talk when I was ready and was always willing to listen.
I was chatting away to him when I suddenly realised that I hadn't asked James very much about himself at all.
“ I am so sorry James. You have been such a good listener that I have forgotten to ask you about your life!” I remarked.
James smiled. He explained that it really didn't matter. He loved listening to people and hearing their hopes and fears. He explained that he was less of a talker. He worked in a bar and the customers loved him as he was always willing to listen to them.
“ I suppose that is just as well!” I laughed.
After an hour or two James explained that he had better be going. He gave me a small hug before he left.
After he had gone, I sat in my favourite armchair, sipping a strawberry tea. I loved the delicate fragrance and the rich pink colour of the tea. I found myself thinking about James and wondering about his life. I resolved to find out more the next time we met.
In fact I didn't hear from James for a few days and I started to think that maybe he wanted a bit of space and so I didn't call him. I did miss him though. He had become such a good person to talk to.
I eventually began to wonder if I should call him and in the end, I did.
I called but there was no answer. I left a message on the answer-phone saying that I hoped he was OK and inviting him round for dinner.
Chapter 7~ Missing Him.
A few days later and I still hadn't heard anything. I was round at my friend Lisa's and she asked me how things were going with James.
I sighed and explained that I hadn't heard from him lately.
Lisa said that she had a feeling that I would be hearing from him again pretty soon.
I wasn't feeling too confident that she was right.
About a week later there was a knock on my door and when I opened it, James was stood there. I was very pleased to see him.
James came in and sat down in the lounge while I made him a cup of tea. Heidi was sleeping in her cot. She was too big for the Moses basket now and had started sleeping in a cot in my bedroom. This was going pretty well.
I sat down in an armchair and James explained that he had been away for a while as his mother was very sick in hospital. He apologised for not contacting me and explained that he had found his mothers illness so stressful that she was the only person he was able to focus on for a while.
I felt sorry for James but happy that he was back in my life.
" I have missed you." I explained.
" I have missed you too." he replied.
I insisted that James told me everything that was on his mind. " I am sorry I haven't been a very good listener." I explained.
I was so glad that I had James as a friend. It made everything so much easier.
Chapter 8~ Milestones
I hardly heard from Bill. Once in a while he would phone, ask how Heidi was and promise to call again with a firm date for a visit but the visit never came.
Heidi was growing up quickly! She passed her milestone checks with flying colours. It was so exciting when she was able to sit up, roll over and stand up on her own.
She started sleeping soundly and became a very smiley, happy baby. I was pretty convinced that a lot of this was due to me feeling more relaxed and happy as a parent. Now that I had people supporting me I felt much less alone and happier being a Mum. I think that we both enjoyed the drop-in centre.
The months passed so quickly and then one wonderful day when I was sat in her lounge having a cup of tea with James, Heidi pulled herself up on the armchair and took three steps independently. We were so happy that we had been there to witness this amazing milestone. Heidi was almost 12 months old.
It was time for me to start planning her birthday party.
I decided to hold it at the drop-in centre.
Out of the blue, I heard from Bill. He said that he would like to call in and see his daughter on her birthday.
I felt a little flustered at this as I had not seen him for such a long time but of course I wanted Heidi to see her dad on her birthday. I arranged from him to come round before her party at the drop-in centre.
He arrived at the time he said and had a neatly wrapped gift for his daughter.
Heidi did seem happy to see him and he looked equally happy to see her. I made him a cup of tea and sat down in an armchair while Bill sat cuddling Heidi on the sofa.
He told me that he had some news. He announced that he was getting married to Susan and he wanted Heidi to attend the wedding.
When I heard these words I felt shocked!
I didn't know what to say but Bill did not appear to notice. He was excited about the wedding and was telling me where the register office was and asking if I would mind attending too.
I really did not know what to say. Bill helped Heidi unwrap his gift which was a sweet little dress that was a bit on the small side but he had kept the receipt so he told me that I would be able to exchange it.
Bill added that his parents could look after Heidi on the day if I really didn't want to attend but that he felt it would be better for Heidi to have her Mum there.
I told Bill that I would think about it and then said that I needed to start getting Heidi ready for her party.
Bill took this as his cue to leave and before long I found myself alone with Heidi in the flat.
I got Heidi dressed into a pretty dress and wheeled her down to the drop-in centre in her pushchair. I was still trying to process Bill's news.
When we got to the drop-in everyone shared some cakes. I blew up balloons and took some lovely photographs. I think I looked happy enough but my friend Lisa noticed I seemed rather quiet so she asked me what the matter was. I told her about Bill and the wedding invitation.
“Wow, that must have been a shock” Lisa agreed.
I explained that I was happy for Heidi to attend her dad's wedding and I could see why it would be nice for Heidi to have her Mum there too but I was not sure if I could cope with being there surrounded by Bill, his family and the family of the bride to be.
Lisa advised leaving things for a while so that I could get used to the news and see how I felt about it later.
Chapter 9~ A wedding and a trip to a park.
Lisa was right. A few days later I felt better and decided that I would attend the wedding.
It turned out OK. Bill and his family were very welcoming and Bill's new wife was actually quite kind and friendly so somehow I got through the day.
Heidi was well behaved and everyone admired her. She looked lovely in a yellow dress that Bill had bought her especially for the wedding.
Once the wedding was over, I felt a lot happier and realised that it was time to move on with my own life and to start enjoying myself.
James and Lisa were there for me and life did become a lot more fun.
One day the drop-In centre arranged a trip to Greenwich market. We arrived near the park in a comfortable coach. We walked through the park and went to the market where I bought some delicious Ethiopian Street Food and some fairy cakes. The market was beautiful and vibrant. The food smelled delicious and the stalls were unique and varied.
James had come on the trip too and really enjoyed walking round the market.
Afterwards we walked through the park together. Heidi looked up at the impressive, huge trees in amazement. It was so lovely to see her little face taking it all in.
After a little while, Heidi became tired and fell asleep in her buggy. James and I sat together on a bench and after a little while James gently put his arm around me. I felt a little surprised at this at first but I have to admit I liked it. I put my head on his shoulder and we sat together like this for quite some time. Suddenly I smiled. James asked me what I was thinking about. I claimed that it was, 'nothing much' but in reality I had remembered the words of the fortune teller. She had claimed that a man whose name began with J would make me happy again and it appeared that she was right!
Chapter 10~ Finding Work
This marked the start of a new phase in our relationship. We became closer and closer and Heidi responded very well to James whenever they met up.
She was growing very fast. Before long she was walking and talking and I started to think of going back to work. It had been a real struggle financially as Bill rarely paid me any maintenance and I had to survive on Benefits.
I used to be a teaching assistant so now I started to look for similar roles. I also needed to find a child minder for Heidi and to my delight, Sally, one of the parents that attended the drop in centre explained that she was a registered child minder and she would be very willing to look after Heidi if I found a job.
This allowed me to start applying for jobs and eventually I was invited to attend an interview.
I felt excited and nervous at the interview.
I must have come across well to the school though as I was offered the job. I was delighted. I was going to be working with a young boy who needed one to one support in school.
Chapter 11~Moving On
Life was getting easier. I had friends and a job I enjoyed. James and I went out on dates and our feelings for each other grew.
While Heidi didn't see Bill as often as I would have liked, things seemed to be going well in that department too.
It was in the week of Heidi's 2nd birthday that I received the news that Bills new wife was expecting their first baby. Lisa had seen them in town and had noticed she was wearing maternity clothes. Lisa broke the news to me. I was a bit shocked at first but soon got used to the idea so when Bill called round to deliver Heidi's birthday present I was able to act surprised but happy when Bill shared the news with me.
In fact the news that Bill was having a new child helped me to move on. I accepted that there was no going back to that relationship and I also realised how happy James made me feel.
It was no real surprise to our friends when we announced that they were moving in together. We got closer and closer and decided that we wanted to be together. The decision was taken that Heidi and I would move to James's house.
I let Bill know and he was fine about it, in fact he wished us luck and happiness for the future.
Heidi really liked James and she was beaming and smiling when he came to collect us and bring us to our new home. Once we had finished unpacking the boxes of possessions we celebrated with a bottle of Champagne.
I was starting to feel really positive about the future. Things were looking hopeful.
As Heidi got older, she still saw her dad but she increasingly came to rely on James as she saw him every day and he was there for her.
When Heidi was two and a half she was ready to start playgroup, I felt really nervous
getting Heidi ready for her first day. Heidi was used to going to the drop-in centre. She was also happy to go to her childminders when I had work but she had never been left alone with people that she didn't know before. Heidi knew that she was going to playgroup and that Mummy would not be there but she was going to have a lovely time and meet new friends. She seemed happy as we walked into the hall. The leader was called Wendy. She was very smiley and friendly and Heidi was happy to take her hand and go over to investigate the slide. Her chin did wobble a little as I kissed her goodbye and left but she coped very well. In fact, Heidi showed herself to be a very resilient child. She got to know the other members of the playgroup quickly and soon enjoyed being part of it all.
The leader told me how kind and helpful Heidi was for a child of her age. She was happy to share toys and if she saw another child cry she would go over to them and put her arm around them.
I was very proud of my daughter.
Before I knew it the time had arrived for Heidi to start school. I shopped for her uniform and started to prepare her for this new experience.
On her first day, Heidi was excited! She looked really sweet in her uniform. She was attending the same school as two of her friends from Playgroup which made the first day so much easier for all of them.
They all sat together as their teacher read them a story.
Heidi loved having stories read to her. She listened carefully and joined in the actions that the teacher taught her. She soon made new friends too. Heidi showed that she was good at taking turns and was always trying to help her friends too.
I was so proud of her.
My relationship with James was going from strength to strength and so I viewed this part of my life as a particularly happy period.
Heidi enjoyed school and she also enjoyed being at home with her little family. She also loved seeing her dad when she got the opportunity.
As Heidi grew, so did her vocabulary. She was very good at talking to others as well as listening to them. Other children naturally wanted to be her friend. She became very popular and always made sure that she was fair to her friends. She liked to help the teachers too and they reported to me that she was a joy to have in class. In fact Heidi was fun to take anywhere. She was very cheerful and took pleasure in the simple things in life. She still loved feeding the ducks and showed a real love for animals.
When she was about ten she still loved going to the park. She liked to be independent and so on summer afternoon's after school I would let her go and play with her friends for an hour or so before she came in for her tea. We were lucky to have the park virtually on our doorstep. It was only across a quiet street.
Chapter 12~ The Accident.
I remember that one day her friend Millie invited her to her house for tea. They enjoyed pizza and chips and Heidi told me that she admired a necklace that Millie wore around her neck. It was a little silver seahorse.
She thought it was the prettiest thing she had ever seen.
It's funny how these memories stand out in the jumble of life. Heidi grew up much like any other little girl. She had her joys and sorrows, just like anyone else.
One day Heidi played in the park with her friends Millie and Susie. She must have decided to decided to go home for tea and as she walked across the road a motorist failed to spot her crossing between the parked cars and they hit her.
The first I knew about any of this was that a neighbour banged on my door and told me that my daughter had been involved in an accident. By the time I arrived at the park Heidi had been rushed away in an ambulance.
I felt sick with fear. On my way to the hospital I was sobbing and praying that Heidi would be OK. I felt so guilty that I hadn't been there to help my child.
I phoned James and Bill and they made their way to the hospital too.
Things were very tense at the hospital. Heidi was unconscious and the doctors were scanning her to see if she had any internal bleeding.
Following the scan ,she was taken to a single room that was constantly monitored by nurses while we awaited her results.
After a long wait, the doctor approached with the good news that Heidi was not brain damaged. It was hoped that she would regain consciousness soon.
We were gathered round her bed when she finally opened her eyes.
I felt such utter relief to see my daughter's beautiful face. She looked tired but alert.
I knew I was lucky to still have my daughter with me. I held her hand gently and told her how much I loved her. That is one experience that I will never forget as long as I live.
When she was feeling better Heidi was allowed visitors and the first was her good friend Millie. She presented her friend with a gift.
Heidi was excited to open the parcel and to her delight there was a little necklace with a tiny seashell on it.
Millie hugged her friend and happily showed me. I gasped. The necklace was identical to the one that I wore around my neck!
I showed Heidi who did not look that surprised.
Heidi smiled at her Mum and said calmly, “ I gave you that remember, when I went to visit you.”
I was puzzled.
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“I travelled back and gave you your necklace. She pointed to my neck.
I was wearing the little silver necklace with the shell.
I was stunned.
“What is she talking about?” Bill wanted to know.
“It doesn't matter Bill. I think she is just tired.” I replied but I sat quietly holding my daughters hand trying to make sense of what I had just discovered.
This whole experience was incredible. How could this be explained?
I wanted to know what had happened but more than that I was concerned that my daughter made a full recovery.
Luckily she healed well and it was a wonderful day when I was allowed to bring my daughter home. I made Heidi her favourite dinner which was bangers and mash.
Chapter 13~Following Dreams
Looking back on all the amazing things that happened, I realised that it was in the days that followed Heidi's return from hospital that things really started to change.
Heidi had always been a kind and sensitive girl but after her hospital admission she seemed so calm and positive. It was fun to be around her and spend time with her. She became even more popular at school. She did not like it when any child was lonely or upset and if anyone got left out of playground, Heidi always included them in her games.
One day after school, Heidi asked me if I had any dreams or wishes for the future.
I thought about this and stated that I would love to take Heidi camping in a camper van.
I could drive but had been unable to afford to run a car, let alone a camper van.
Heidi looked thoughtful but didn't say anything at the time
A couple of days later I was putting away some washing. I went into Heidi's room and found her making a collage out of pictures cut from magazines.
I looked at the images stuck down on paper and saw that there was a picture of a camper van along with some lovely seaside holiday destinations.
I asked her daughter what she was doing and Heidi explained that she was creating a Vision Board.
I asked what a Vision Board was and Heidi explained that she had read about them in one of the magazines. She told me that if you decide on some things that you would really like, you can find pictures of them and create a collage of all your desires. She explained that if you spend time imagining how lovely it would be to receive these things, you could find that your dreams come true.
I smiled. I liked seeing my daughter happy. I didn't think much more about her Vision Board though. I saw her looking intensely at it every so often but to be honest I had almost forgotten about it when one day there was a phone call. When I answered the phone I was amazed to discover that Heidi had persuaded James to enter a competition to win a camper van and that he had won it!
When Heidi heard this she was delighted. James and I were stunned!
We couldn't believe how lucky we were and we got started planning a wonderful holiday for the three of us.
Everyone who knew her said that there was something special about Heidi. She was so friendly and positive that everyone wanted to be her friend.
Whenever she heard of someone in school being treated unkindly she was always the first to try and help.
One day she heard about Children In Need and asked the school if they could hold a cake sale to raise money for this charity. The school gave permission and Heidi encouraged all her friends to make cakes to sell. She started to create posters to advertise the event.
This was typical of the type of thing that Heidi did as a young girl and as she grew into a teenager she continued to show compassion for others.
Chapter 14~ Helping Others
At 16 she became worried about her friend Gemma. Gemma's Mum had a drink problem and often took her frustration out on her daughter. One day Gemma ran away from home. Everyone was worried about her and people started searching for her. It was Heidi that she contacted for help.
Heidi went to meet her in the park. Gemma explained that she wasn't going home and told her why. Heidi was able to persuade her to come home with her to see me.
When I heard what had been going on I explained that I would need to contact Social Services to let them know what was happening.
A Social Worker visited and agreed that Gemma could stay with us while they visited Gemma's home to assess the situation.
Gemma ended up staying with us for a few days while her Mum received help for her drink problem.
I told Heidi how proud I was of her.
Heidi continued to make Vision Boards. As she got older she was less interested in receiving things for herself. She became more interested in manifesting something that would be good for other people as well as herself.
The boards were very successful and her friends enjoyed making their own and looking back on their successes.
Chapter 15~ Growing Up
Heidi did well in her GCSE's and enrolled at college where she decided to study Art.
Heidi was very creative and started making beautiful collages out of scraps of photographs. She had a real eye for detail and the end results was very effective.
She became very interested in nature and loved taking photographs of plants and animals to add to her collages.
These pictures cheered me up after time spent watching all the depressing events in The News. It seemed to me that the rich got richer and the poor got poorer and that some countries had so little while others had so much.
I regularly grumbled about politicians and how greedy they were.
Heidi sympathised with me. She said that some people did appear to be quite greedy but she said that she preferred reading about the good things that were happening in the world.
Heidi loved reading. She became fascinated with personal development books and
enjoyed finding ways to help people live happier lives. Some of her friends found their teenage years very difficult.
Heidi's friend Jane was worried about her weight despite being beautifully slim. Heidi spent a lot of time being there for Jane and trying to convince her that she was fine as she was but Jane could not believe this. She started making herself sick in an attempt to get skinnier.
Heidi was a great listener. She didn't try to tell Jane what to do but constantly reminded her that she was there for her friend.
This gradually started to pay off as Jane was increasingly willing to talk to Heidi about how she was feeling and this slowly put her on the road to recovery.
I was amazed at the way Heidi was able to listen to people and support them without passing judgement on them. She did well in her studies gaining a B at A level for her art.
Although she loved drawing, painting and any other sort of creative activity she realised that helping people was what she found the most rewarding. She walked dogs for their elderly neighbours and regularly offered to go shopping for them. She bought things from the local supermarket to donate to the food bank. She smiled at people for no reason and they smiled back.
Chapter 16~ Heidi's First Job
I wasn't surprised when Heidi told me that she wanted to work with people when she left college. She started applying for jobs but it was tough finding a job with no experience. I spoke to the Head at the school where I was working and he agreed that Heidi could come in to help at the school on a voluntary basis. As Heidi was 18 she had to apply for a DBS check and the school agreed to pay for it.
Once the check came through Heidi was allowed to volunteer at the Nursery which was part of the school. She enjoyed working with the children but particularly enjoyed talking to the parents. Some were young and inexperienced and they valued Heidi's friendly and helpful nature.
Heidi was popular at school. The children, parents, carers and staff all liked her.
James had to spend time travelling back and forth visiting his mother. She was getting more and more frail. Her house had been sold and she had moved into a care home where she received a lot of help.
Heidi sometimes visited her too. She got on well with her as she was such a good listener. I sometimes went too but I never really knew what to say. I guess I was there to support James more than anything else.
Heidi continued to enjoy working at the nursery. She worked hard and in her spare time she read and created wonderful paintings and collages.
One day Heidi decided to go into town. She needed some more paint so that she could continue with some art that she was working on. She caught the bus as it was dull and rainy so the long walk into town did not seem particularly appealing.
She noticed a magazine on the seat next to her and decided to flick through it.
She was interested to discover that the magazine was about Personal Development. It had an article about EFT Tapping. Heidi had heard about Tapping before and had even tried it out on herself. It definitely helped her to release any anxiety or tension that she was experiencing.
She spotted another article. This one was about the benefits of life coaching.
Heidi hadn't heard of life coaching before. She read the article with increasing excitement. Life coaching was something that she would definitely look into more.
After her shopping trip she went home and a short internet search she found an accredited online life coaching course for almost £900. That was a lot of money for her but she decided that she would love to do the course and so she printed off details about the course and added them to her current Vision Board.
She had the board up in her bedroom and looked at it every day.
About a week later I was bringing some washing up to Heidi and she noticed her seated in front of her vision board. I noticed her eyes were closed. When she sensed that someone was in her room Heidi opened her eyes. She smiled when she saw her mother and thanked me for the clothes.
“What are you doing?” I asked.
Heidi explained that she was meditating and visualising what it would be like to take the life coaching course and then become a life coach.
I smiled. I sometimes thought my daughter was a bit bonkers but lovely with it!
I wished I had the money to pay for my daughter's course but I didn't. All the money James and I earned seemed to get swallowed up by everyday bills.
Heidi wasn't daunted. She told me, “ If the course is right for me I will find a way to pay for it.”
I was impressed at her daughter's optimism.
Heidi carried on volunteering at the school. She really enjoyed the work.
About 2 weeks later she came back from the nursery and found her me in the school staffroom.
The nursery manager had asked her to apply for a job!
One of the workers was leaving at the end of the month and they had received very few suitable applications for the job that had been advertised.
Heidi applied for the job and was invited to attend an interview.
The interview took place and Heidi was offered the job. She was delighted.
“Now I can afford to pay you rent!” she beamed at James and I.
James said, “ That is very kind of you but we would like you to take that life coaching course. “ We will pay for it and you can pay us back from your wages. Once you have paid off the course you can start paying some rent, OK?”
Heidi ran up to James and threw her arms around him.
“ You are the best!” she announced.
James was very happy to be able to help Heidi in this way as she so rarely asked for anything for herself.
Chapter 17~ Life Coaching
I knew that Heidi would do well in the Life Coach training and I remember how happy she was once she completed the course.
It took her a year to complete and then she started work on setting up her business.
She created her own website and ordered some business cards.
We told everyone we knew about her service and all her friends did the same.
I didn't realise how many people Heidi knew, until this moment. So many people shared her face book posts and news soon spread about the service Heidi was offering.
Heidi offered online and phone coaching and she started to look out for a place to hold face to face coaching.
She did all this while turning up for work every day.
It took time for people to start booking her but gradually Heidi started to receive clients. Most wanted phone coaching so Heidi would dash back from work and gets her notebook ready before phoning her clients at the times arranged.
She sat in her room for hours listening to people, helping them to decide on goals that they would like to achieve and the steps that they would need to take in order to achieve those goals. Clients usually booked her for around 8 sessions and then they would report that they had succeeded in the goals that they had set themselves. They were often delighted at the improvements that they were able to make in their lives and were more than happy to give Heidi positive reviews on her website.
Before too long Heidi was in such demand that she reduced her hours at work so that she could do some coaching during the day.
Chapter 18~ A Funeral
Around that time James received the sad news that his mother had died. He was upset but not surprised as she had been ill for some time.
We went to the funeral and Heidi came with us. I am glad she was there as she had a way of making sad situations easier to cope with.
It wasn't too long after this that we received the news that Ann, James' mother had left him money in her will. James was quite surprised how much she had saved. James was an only child so all the money his mother had was left to him. I was delighted for him as he had always struggled financially despite working very hard.
Chapter 19~ Inspired Ideas
Heidi kept looking out for a suitable venue for her coaching sessions. She had tried quiet cafés and even the library. She looked into booking rooms in small offices and then one day she burst into the room with a huge grin on her face.
“ I have had the most wonderful idea!” she beamed.
She proceeded to tell me of her plan.
She said that she wanted to take over an old pub and turn it into a creative centre.
I asked her what a creative centre was and she replied, “ I don't know exactly. I will figure that out as I go along. I would like it to offer healthy food. It could offer space for musicians and artists to work and areas for exhibitions and performances. They would be rooms for coaches too. There could be camping space at the back with a small sanctuary for animals.”
Her list of ideas was endless. I could see how excited she was and her excitement was infectious. My brain started to fill with ideas and plans too. That was the thing about Heidi.
She was simply the most positive and enthusiastic person I had ever met.
I told James about Heidi's plan. He listened carefully to what I told him and his face lit up.
That sounds brilliant! He agreed.
I didn't realise then how inspired James had been by that short conversation. I was to find out a few days later though.
I came home from work and found James looking intently at something on his laptop.
I asked him what he was doing and he told me that he had been inspired by Heidi's idea and that he had found a pub that they could buy.
I couldn't believe that he was willing to do this. I was as excited as Heidi was when James told us what he had planned!
James explained that Heidi had inspired him to follow a dream of his that he had a long time ago but had done nothing about.
He had been working in bars for years and he was good at his job. He had wanted to run a bar of his own one day and now he had the means to do this.
He asked us if we would be willing to give up our current jobs and help run the pub.
We both agreed that we would be more than happy to do that if a suitable place could be found.
James said that he would look for a venue that had land that could be used for camping and for Heidi's planned animal sanctuary. It would need to have kitchens so that we could offer food and outbuildings that could be turned into workshops.
Heidi created a vision board and sketched out the spaces as she imagined them. She felt it was important that there was a license for live music so musicians could put on gigs.
Chapter 20~ Creative Centre
We all threw ourselves in to finding a suitable building and eventually we found one! It was a pub in Kent. It had buildings at the back and permission for camping. We were so excited.
The day James got the keys was a proud day for us all. We went in the front door and walked around picturing where we would put everything and the changes we would make.
The outbuildings excited me the most. Some were the right size to become artists workshops and some would make excellent rehearsal space providing we insulated the walls.
There was even stables at the back that could easily be converted into enclosures for the animals that we wished to offer a home to.
In the pub itself there was a reasonable sized kitchen and enough room for a small café.
There was a wooden floor wit a small stage that could become the performance area. A side room could be used for workshops and there was a couple of smaller rooks that would be ideal for meetings.
James and Heidi left their jobs as soon as we received the keys to the pub. I kept working at the school for a while so that we at least had some money coming in while the pub was being converted.
Heidi had so many friends that wanted to help her make a success of the centre.
She knew electricians, plasterers, you name it!
A lot of people did work very cheaply and in very little time the building was ready for use.
James was the main barman and his friend Tom was the chef. Tom had worked with James for years and was very reliable. He was also vegetarian and was determined to make our pub known for excellent vegetarian food that everyone would like to eat.
Heidi was responsible for organising the entertainment and running workshops and I agreed to help her with bookings and do some waitressing as I used to be a waitress years ago.
Chapter 21~ The Launch and our early days
Heidi was mainly responsible for planning the launch as she knew so many people but James and I invited some people too.
I will never forget the launch. The local newspaper attended and wrote a very encouraging article on what we were trying to archive by opening the centre.
Heidi had so much energy that it was infectious. We all worked really hard to get things up and running.
Local bands were more than happy to come and perform and their fans enjoyed using our facilities.
Tom was an excellent chef and his food soon gained a good reputation in the area. Many meat eaters chose the vegetarian option when they came for dinner as it was so delicious. This pleased Tom as he was determined to encourage people to eat less meat.
Heidi asked her artistic friends if any of them needed a workshop and soon the art workshops were being used regularly.
Heidi created a wonderful space to hold meetings and run workshops and was able to do her coaching from the centre.
Life was very good.
Heidi's dad visited us and told us how impressed he was with the facilities too.
Looking back on those early days I smile and realise how much we had to learn. We knew very little about running a business and made lots of mistakes. It took a long time to get permission to create the sanctuary on the land too.
I spent a lot of time talking to members of the council to make sure we put in the right applications in the right way. Fortunately we had no close neighbours so met little resistance from anyone once we assured enquirers that the number of animals would be limited.
Heidi was always so positive and upbeat and her optimistic nature rubbed off on James and myself.
We learnt quickly from any mistakes that we made and my wage from school helped us stay afloat financially until we started making a bit of a profit.
The band side of things went really well as did the art space. Artists loved holding exhibitions at our place and they sold quite a bit of their work.
Heidi's coaching was very popular too and she offered some very successful workshops.
The food went from strength to strength.
All in all we were very lucky that things worked out as well as they did.
After a year or so we were making some money and I decided that it was time for me to give up my job.
I was very grateful to the school for employing me and I had many happy times there but now it was time for me to join my little family and support them in helping the creative centre to develop.
It was wonderful when we were ready to start taking in animals. We connected with a rescue charity who had rescue dogs that needed a home and we took in three to start with.
They were such lovely dogs and they immediately settled in to their new home with us.
We loved having the dogs . I loved taking them out for long walks.
I have always found walking clears the mind and makes me feel happy.
Sometimes Heidi would come with me on the walks and every now and then, James came too.
I was fascinated by the work that Heidi was doing. Sometimes she had just one client and at other times she had a small group. She spoke to some clients using Skype and for others she would speak to them on the phone.
Chapter 22~ Meditation
Heidi always seemed to have plenty of energy and I wanted to know how she managed to keep it up.
She told me that meditation really helped her to maintain her high energy levels.
She asked me if I wanted to join her meditation group.
I decided to give it a try as I had nothing to lose.
She had worked with the musicians on recording some suitable relaxing music. She started by welcoming the group and making sure we were all seated comfortably. She taught us how to breath deeply and asked us all to close our eyes.
Once our eyes were closed she put on the music and guided us carefully and slowly through our meditation.
I found it so relaxing. It was hard to believe that there were nine of us in that room while the meditation took place. We were all so still and silent.
Heidi helped us to visualise a peaceful place, a sanctuary, where we could go whenever we wanted to feel calm and less stressed. My sanctuary was a log cabin in a beautiful wood. I was able to imagine it in vivid detail and after the meditation was over I felt amazingly relaxed.
The rest of the group felt equally relaxed after the session.
Chapter 23~ Animals
I think that homing the animals was the most rewarding aspect of our project.
I really liked walking the dogs. They had such friendly personalities. They were quick to trust us. I loved spending time with them.
After a while we started to receive calls from people who couldn't look after their animals any longer. We were able to take in some and re-home others. Heidi even came up with the idea of forming a group of volunteers who were willing to walk the dogs belonging to the frail and the elderly. This was a brilliant idea as that meant people cold continue to live with their beloved pets safe in the knowledge that a trusted and friendly person would walk their pet for them regularly.
Heidi taught us so much. I really enjoyed working as a family and despite the long hours I can honestly say that opening the centre was the best thing we ever did.
Chapter 23~ Nightmare
All was going incredibly well until one Wednesday in February when Heidi went to London to run an workshop. It was about two years after we opened the centre.
She set off early on the train and I helped run the centre in her absence. James was in the kitchen when the phone rang.
It was someone phoning from London to ask where Heidi was.
I was really puzzled. She had set off in plenty of time and so far as I knew ,the trains were running normally.
I apologised to the woman on the phone and took her number. I said that I would contact Heidi and get back to her.
I tried phoning Heidi immediately but her phone went straight to answer-phone.
I went to the kitchen to tell James and he said that hadn't heard anything.
I phoned the woman and told her that something unexpected must have happened. I apologised to her again and said that I would arrange a refund for her.
By this time I was starting to feel worried. Heidi had never done anything like this before.
I asked James if we should call the police.
James felt it was probably too early to phone the police but agreed that if we hadn't heard from her in few hours that maybe we should get in touch with them.
In the meantime I went onto Facebook and started sending messages to her friends to see if they knew where she was. Nobody did.
James and I waited and waited and still nothing, so we called the police.
They were sympathetic but said that she was likely to be fine as she hadn't been missing long and she hadn't been involved in any arguments.
We agreed to call in to the local police station the next morning to give them a photo of Heidi and further details.
The morning arrived, I hadn't slept. We had lots of Fcebook messages offering us support but no leads as to where Heidi might be. We went to the police station and the took a statement from us and started to make enquiries.
James went to London to look around the area where Heidi was supposed to have been. He took a photo with him and asked around but nobody had seen her.
I stayed at the centre trying to keep things going there.
Lots of Heidi's friends called in and offered to help look for her.
Things became rather a whirl after that. At one point the police called round to us and started looking through Heidi's things.
Days went by. The police stepped up their enquiries when we received no news as to Heidi's whereabouts. They were very supportive actually.
I didn't sleep for days. I couldn't. I would lie in the dark for a while and fear would grip onto me forcing me to sit up straight, gasping for air.
James wanted me to go to the doctor to get some sleeping pills but I refused. I have never been keen on taking medication unless absolutely necessary.
I lay awake for hours and hours and then at last I must have nodded off for a little while at least as I found myself transported in a dream to a dark wood.
I started to walk in the wood and I remember calling out my daughter's name. I was walking and it was getting dark. I wasn't wearing a coat so I was shivering with cold.
As I walked I realised that I was getting deeper into the wood and it was getting cooler and darker. I followed a path which eventually petered out at the foot of a steep hill. I started to climb the hill taking care not to slip as the grass was long and wet. As I climbed I could see a mound ahead of me. As I approached, I gasped as I realised that the small mound was in fact a body lying on the ground.
I rushed up to the body and as I approached, a terrible sinking feeling came over me. I realised that the body was in fact my daughter.
I stumbled up to her and sank down onto the ground beside her. I rolled her onto her back and realised that she was breathing! I remember fumbling for my mobile phone in my pocket but realised I didn't have it with me.
I started panicking, shouting at Heidi trying to get her to wake up.
I shouted 'w
Wake Up!' and as I did so I found myself waking up. I was covered in sweat.
I was disappointed to realise that this experience had only been a dream but the images were so vivid that I decided to wake James and tell him about what had happened. James is so lovely. He listened to my story although it must have sounded mad. He held me tightly and told me everything was going to be OK.
I asked him if we should tell the police. As soon as I said that I realised how ridiculous it sounded. What could I tell them, that I had dreamt I had found Heidi in a wood and that she was still alive?
One of the things I love about James is that he never makes me feel silly, no matter what ridiculous thing I may say to him. He felt that the police would be unlikely to take my dream seriously but he started looking on Google maps and actually managed to find a wooded area near the centre where Heidi was going to do the workshop. He spent a long time looking at maps and then he shut his laptop.
Chapter 24~ The Search
“Right, let's go!” he said.
Before I knew it we were driving to area where the wood was located.
When we got there I must admit I felt really strange. I felt as if I had been there before. James held my hand as we started walking in the wood. It was very quiet and dark there once you moved away from the road. I was shaking as we walked along the path as it was so very familiar. Once the path started to fade I knew that this was the wood that I had visited in my dream.
We started to scramble up the steep hill. I used trees to pull myself up with and James followed close behind me. We scrambled into thicker wood as we made our way up the hill and then I saw her lying in a heap on the ground. She was virtually surrounded by long grass but I knew it was her straight away.
I started to scream. James managed to say calm and rushed up to her body. He turned her over and started to shake her.
I managed to pull myself together and started to feel for her pulse. To my delight I could feel it although it was very weak. James was calling the ambulance while I was holding on to my beautiful girl.
I could hear the ambulance siren approaching but it took a while for the paramedics to arrive as the ambulance had to be left on the road. James was waiting on the road for them leaving me cradling my girl. The team arrived with a stretcher. Things moved quickly after that. They assessed her and pumped her full of medication.
Next we arrived at the hospital where they managed to revive her.
I have never been so relieved In my life!
She had broken her ankle and had become severely dehydrated.
It was a while before Heidi was able to speak to us and longer still before she was able to tell us what had happened.
Heidi had arrived at the venue early and so she had decided to go for a walk. She had found the wood and was walking up the slope. The ground was fairly wet as it had been raining earlier that day. She wasn't wearing the right footwear for walking and when she slipped she knocked herself out as she hit her head on some rock. She remembered coming round and trying to get up but her ankle was badly damaged so she could not get up. She had crawled quite a long way and she had shouted but nobody had found her. Eventually she ran out of strength and passed out again through dehydration. Doctors told us that she was very lucky that her kidneys were responding well to treatment.
I felt incredibly lucky to have my beautiful daughter back with us.
Chapter 25~ The News
Our story became News. A reporter came to visit Heidi at the hospital. Heidi agreed to talk about The Centre and said that she hoped that this publicity would help them raise funds for animals.
She had become increasingly devoted to animals and wanted to donate to local larger sanctuaries so that she could support more animals to help them find loving homes.
She was quite embarrassed at all the publicity but she felt it was worth it as it was raising the profile of worthy causes.
Chapter 26~ Rising above it all.
The single most amazing thing about my daughter was that she never complained. At around this time there were some shock election results throughout the world and many people worried that the powers that be were putting profit before people and that the rich were getting richer and the poor were getting poorer.
While Heidi was sympathetic whenever any of us complained her outlook was so positive.
She said to me that she believed that the only person that you can change is yourself. If you learn to live in the present and express gratitude for all the wonderful things in your life you will have a much bigger impact on people than when you moan and complain and try and force other people to change.
She said that forgiveness is the way forward as it brings peace and happiness.
More and more people came to see Heidi at the centre and her ideas were spreading far and wide.
Heidi read a lot and was always willing to share what she had learnt with others. She formed a book club where people met to discuss books that had helped them.
She started getting air time on TV. People wanted to know more about her philosophy on life. Many people were ready to work together to improve life for everyone.
Unbelievably not everyone seemed to like Heidi's message. She was empowering down-trodden people to speak up for themselves. People were lobbying MP's to encourage them to improve life for their constituents and she backed people campaigning for better working and housing conditions.
Sometimes people who were being abused by their partners plucked up courage to speak out and leave them.
She was always ready to speak up for people and helped them to speak up for themselves.
As a result of this some people were critical of her. Sometimes a magazine article would be published referring to Heidi as a do-gooder who should keep out of other people's business.
Heidi didn't seem too worried about this type of response but it did upset me. She said that it is none of our business what other people think of us. She said that she was committed to making life better for people and she would not be intimidated by her opponents.
During any debates I never saw Heidi get cross or lose her temper. She was always confident and put her point across clearly but was at the same time respectful of other people's views.
I know that sometimes she would receive abusive comments on her Twitter feed but she never let that kind of thing bother her.
I wish that I had her confidence.
Chapter 27 ~ Prediction
Things were never dull at this time. Visitors flooded to the centre and Heidi's reputation spread abroad. Heidi never ran out of energy an was always willing to listen to and help anyone who needed her.
The centre thrived. We had exciting exhibitions and gigs put on and the food was absolutely delicious.
One day, a fortune teller made contact with Heidi. It was the one who had given me the prediction about Heidi being special. She came to The Centre and I recognised her right away despite her being older than when I had last seen her.
She beamed when she saw Heidi at the bar. She walked up to her and told her that she had been waiting a long time to meet her. She asked her if they could meet privately and they both went into one of the small workshop spaces.
When they re-emerged about half an hour later, the woman hugged Heidi, nodded to me and left.
After she had gone Heidi sat quietly with a drink. She did not look sad but very thoughtful so I left her to herself for a while. After about an hour I approached her and asked her if she was OK.
She nodded. “I'm OK mum, I just heard some rather surprising news.” She didn't elaborate further but gave me an extra long hug when I told her I was going to bed as it was getting late.
Chapter 28~ The Next Day
The next day I got up and discovered Heidi had gone.
She left me a letter. It read:
Dear Mum and James,
I have had to go away for a while. Some people are after me and it is not safe for any of us if I remain here. I can't tell you where I am going right now as this may put you at risk. Trust that I love you and that I will be OK. I will contact you whenever I can.
All my love Heidi. xxxx
I have no idea exactly where Heidi is now.
All I know is that Heidi's movement of positivity and love is spreading.
Heidi continues to arrange events and has trained people to coach her clients. She moves about so that nobody who wishes her harm can catch up with her and I continue to run her centre just as she would like it to be run.
Every so often Heidi is able to make contact with me via a friend and we are able to meet for a few hours. I live for those times!
I wouldn't have it any other way though. Heidi will not stop working to help other people live happy lives and for some reason her enemies wish to stop her. I am so glad that I have James beside me helping me every step of the way.
It was difficult for Bill to understand exactly what was happening with his daughter but he too is so proud of her and would never stand in her way.
Centres have started springing up in various parts of the world. They offer people and animals hope and a fresh start.
That fortune teller was right.
My daughter is someone special. I am privileged to be able to call her my daughter and thanks to her devotion and love, The World is becoming a better place.