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In my dreams I’ll always see you soar above the sky. In my heart there’ll always be a place for you for all my life.  I’ll keep a part of you with me and everywhere I am there you’ll be.  

Today marks 20 years since my beautiful girl earned her angel wings and left us all heartbroken.  She was 10 years and 26 days old when our lives crumbled.   I wrote on what should have been her 30th birthday this year about my promise to her to finally be happy.  I also spoke in that blog about how somehow something good always happens in May, as if from another realm, she is trying to make the month of her birthday and the day she left,  more bearable than it has a right to be.

Aimee at School1

This year has been no exception.  On her birthday I got strong signs that I needed to cast the shroud of grief off and start to live happily again.  At that time, I found a link to a travel writing scholarship on offer.  Not only did I find it on her birthday but the closing date was today, her anniversary.  As I’ve mentioned before, she was never what you could call subtle but maybe she needed to be straightforward for me to get the messages.  I knew I had to apply.

So typical of the way I have always worked, I procrastinated for the last 26 days, agonising over what to write.  I sat down at my computer daily and stared at a blank screen.  I chose one destination to write about but couldn’t make it work.  I must have written 50 versions.  Then I did a blind poll with my Facebook friends to ask them which destination I should work on, A or B.  They didn’t know which was which.  Of course, the poll was just about even, so while it was a great time waster, it didn’t answer any questions.

So, last night, at about 11pm, I sat again at my computer with a blank page in front of me.  I spoke to the creative being inside myself and explained that I was doing my bit.  I was here.  I was present. I was ready to write.  I needed my muse to do their part too.  I put on a frequency recording which is something I have become interested in. (that’s for another blog) I sat back, ready to meditate for 20 minutes, hoping to clear my mind.

Within 30 seconds (I’m not exaggerating) I had a memory blast it’s way to the front of my brain from out of nowhere.  I hadn’t thought of the way our day trip to Paris ended and suddenly I was back there, riding through the dark lanes of the city of love in the rear of a rickshaw bike.  Of course that was what I needed to write about.  I spent the next hour writing my submission.

As the clock ticked over to midnight on the most horrible date in the calendar, I had finished what I had been struggling with.  It wasn’t my imagination that I felt wings brush my cheek as I pulled my fingers away from the keyboard.  BUT… there was still more to do.

There were 3 parts to the application.  The first, write about a place or experience you’ve had.  I had just completed that part.  Next was to find two places in America you’d like to visit and write about on a 10 day road trip across the States.  I had a vague idea brewing, thanks to my beautiful daughter in law who suggested a movie theme, but it hadn’t completely formed yet, so I went onto part three.

In that part I had to say why I should be chosen for the trip and why I wanted to do it.  I already knew I wanted to focus on travel writing from the viewpoint of the middle aged, single woman.  So many women find themselves, for all sorts of reasons, suddenly single and living a life far outside their earlier expectations.  It’s not always easy to find a friend to travel with.  While I was writing about this, I thought again of Aimee and how it was the date I dread.  That brought thoughts into my head of the amazing people who supported me through the last twenty years.

I was and still am, so grateful for the people who have lifted me up when I couldn’t stand on my own two feet.  The family who grieved along with me and made me feel less alone in my grief.  Grieving alone is the loneliest alone you can ever imagine. To know Aimee was missed by a village of people made me feel like her life mattered to more than just the boys and me.  That was more important to me than anyone will ever know.

The strong men who proved to me that there are good, decent men in the world who I could respect.  They showed me that not every man was going to hurt me and they could be trusted. Then there was the  incredible professional individuals who made me feel more than a client or patient.  From the legal and medical professions, teachers and a myriad of other people, they treated me with compassion, respect and honesty.  They never made me feel less than them and they gave me back my dignity and sense of self worth.

Then there were the girls.  The friends who wrapped me up in a cocoon of love and friendship that was sometimes too overwhelming.  Women have a way of loving their friends that is beyond belief.  Oh we can be bitchy sometimes and argue or sulk but when the chips are down, a girlfriend in protective mode is stronger than Superman.  I don’t know where I’d be without the amazing women who have been deflecting my Kryptonite all these years.

It was while I was reflecting on these blessings that I got the second part of the application.  I remembered that my favourite movies all revolve around the type of friendships I had been surrounded by.  So I made a list of my top few and researched where they were filmed, where they were based and voila!  I had my theme.  I won’t pinpoint exactly which I decided on as I’d like it to be a bit of a surprise if I’m lucky enough to win one of the scholarships on offer but I’ve compiled a list of the best chick flicks of all time, in terms of friendships.

They are, (in no particular order) The Divine Secrets of the YaYa Sisterhood, Steel Magnolias, Beaches, Fried Green Tomatoes, Calendar Girls, First Wives Club, A League of their Own and Made in Dagenham.  I know some of you will have others that reflect your friendships but these are the ones that have always reminded me of how lucky I’ve been.

So, below in red,  is the link to the first part of the submission. I hope you enjoy it.  Fingers crossed that it’s chosen as one of the winners.  If not, it certainly reminded me again of how lucky I’ve been in my life.  And a huge thank you to all who have stayed for the bumpy ride.  I might not always tell you how much you mean to me, but I love you all.

Happy Riding through Paris with me.. Livvy xxx

Blame it on Jim Morrison – Paris by Bike