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Wellness Matters 11.02.2022

Always in My Heart


Roland Anthony Smith, my adored dad, died from a heart attack 25 years ago on 7th June 1997. He is missed every day, and as I reach and will inevitably pass the age he died, I have begun to write a family history.


My aunt Angela, dad’s sister died suddenly last year, also from a heart attack, and had herself devoted a number of years to researching and compiling a brief family timeline, which I am using as my guide. There are many stories I was unaware of, and I hope to weave them together into an enjoyable read. I have set myself a deadline for June 7th, and once it has been shared with and, hopefully, approved by family, I might even publish it.


I remember when I was in the midst of raising my daughters who were very young, my maternal grandmother, Lulu, asked if I was interested in discovering more about family stories.

As I recall we were in her small retirement flat in Wallingford, Oxfordshire. Lulu had been an antiques dealer and her flat was strewn with an eclectic mix of objets d’art and objets d’junk! Trying to keep an eye on my eldest daughter who was 4 or 5 years while trying to placate the youngest who was less than 2 years, my head was too full to absorb what she was trying to impart. Sadly as each generation slips off this mortal coil, family tales have invariably been lost or mis-remembered. Both my grandmothers destroyed precious diaries, photographs and letters, leaving much to the imagination and collected memory of those of us who remain.


My family and I were closely supported by Maggie’s Centre when my adored sister was desperately ill, requiring palliative care, and, as a great believer in paying it forward, I hope my experience will guide and support others in my new role as Compassionate Neighbour Coordinator for North Berwick Coastal Connected Communities. I am looking forward to meeting the rest of the team as we work closely with Truacanta’s Compassionate Communities Network.


As I write this there is frost on the northside windows of my converted loft. While crunching the icy sand on my early walk, I was reflecting on how physically well I am, compared to my father whose burden in life was too big for his already broken heart.


Since my late twenties, I have been persistent and consistent with my physical health: practicing Pilates, having a dog, and for me, achieving 10,000 steps every day, eating a mostly plant and fish based diet while being mindful of alcohol consumption, have all contributed to being well and my well-being. Setting a long term intention, allowing for wobbles along the way - I am no saint, I love red wine and dark chocolate - is a healthier approach than looking for a quick fix. Steady and slow wins the race.


At the beginning of March I will attend and complete EMCC Practitioner Level Team Coaching Accreditation, which will be extremely useful in my work with NBCCC, my freelance opportunity with Columba 1400, and of course, my private clients. I am taking my own advice to minimise distraction, and have dedicated next week as a study week, which I am looking forward to.


Whether you or your family are on half term, or not, take a moment to notice the shoots peeping through winter leaves, the birds chittering in the branches, the longer lighter days, and let your heart be glad.


Have a very good week indeed.


Photo: Frost on my window.



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