THE BLOG

The Year That Didn't Go as Planned

07/12/2015 12:04 GMT | Updated 06/12/2016 10:12 GMT

So this year was a special Birthday year...and to celebrate we were supposed to do lots of exciting things, but that did not go to plan.

This year we have said goodbye to many special people.. family, friends and acquaintances.

We have had to face things we never thought would be part of our world, the main one being cancer.

On February 14th my Nan got diagnosed with terminal cancer, within a matter of weeks we were holding her hand as she started to slip away. Watching my grandfather literally be crippled with grief has been so incredibly hard, but it has taught me once again that you cannot rescue anyone from pain, all you can do is walk alongside them.

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photo copyright to Zacc photography

Then on the 19 August my Mum found a lump in her breast... again our world was spun off its axis as we awaited the results from the biopsy. Nothing prepared us for the news we got...it was breast cancer and it was an aggressive type. Thankfully early detection has meant she is now cancer free, and she only has two more radiotherapy sessions until her treatment is done... but the path that took us all to this point was hard, long and scary.

So at the start of the year the plan for this post was to list 40 amazing things we did... however we only did 2 things, so now this post will be much deeper and instead I will list 40 things, my 40th year on earth reinforced or taught me.

1, Family is everything. My husband (my soul mate), my children (my heartbeat) and all my family, they really are my foundation.

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photo copyright to Zacc photography

2, Friends are gifts from Heaven. A true friend helps you carry the load, makes your smile a lot and carries the tissues for you when you are crying.

3, You can never ever take too many photos or video footage. When people have left this world those precious images are an awesome blessing.

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photo courtesy of pixabay

4, Faith is my bedrock. For some they choose to live without faith, for me it really is part of my DNA and helps me face anything and everything.

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photo courtesy of pixabay

5, In the midst of even the darkest night if you can find something to laugh about it helps....a lot. When my Nan was dying the whole family shared stories and laughed...even from her nearly comatose state my Nan would smile and sing...what a gift laughter is.

6, Not everyone has the best intentions...this is a hard one to accept, but once you do it can make life surprisingly easier.

7, A lot of people want to get involved in things but are too afraid to ask, so reach out to those who appear to just sit on the side-lines and they may become a new friend or a much needed team member.

8, When you feel you have reached the end of your capacity or limit, you haven't, you are just breaking through the wall into a new territory.

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photo courtesy of pixabay

9, Worrying about worst case scenarios helps no one. It makes you lose hope, stay positive and it makes life a lot easier to deal with.

10, Whilst fear can be a bad thing, you can even turn this horrid emotion into something productive, let it drive you to move forward, if you can't banish it altogether.

11, Practise patience...when you have little (like me) it makes everything harder, especially medical issues. Try to learn this undervalued attribute and it will make life better.

12, Hope is key to everything. Hold onto hope with all your might and refuse to ever let go.

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picture courtesy of pixabay

13, Don't grind your teeth...it causes havoc with your jaw.

14, Look for those who celebrate you and encourage you...spend as much time as possible with those people.

15, Look to those who inspire you and learn from them.

16, If you can do something and it needs to be done, do it, don't wait.

17, Tell everyone you love, how much you love them...often!

18, When all seems lost, it often isn't.

19, By believing in people you can empower them to do great things.

20, Cancer, death and baby loss are all taboo subjects.

21, Next time you want to send a kind message or an encouraging word to someone and then think no I won't bother that person...send it, you may be the only person who has reached out to them, and that word may help them more than you can ever know.

22, Be interested in others and they will be interested in you.

23, Seize new opportunities with both hands, you have no idea if you can do something well until you give it a go.

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photo courtesy of pixabay

24, You can never have too many friends.

25, People in their 80's get calls weekly to tell them their friends and family have passed away. We should all be aware of this.

26, I love grateful people...and all my closest friends are filled with gratitude.

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photo courtesy of pixabay

27, The world is way smaller than you think.

28, Everyone just wants their story to be heard.

29, Whilst everyone is sitting around discussing whether the glass is half empty, or half full, someone else is drinking the water...be present and accept everyone is different.

30, Angry people are usually the most hurt.

31, You can't save anyone, they have to save themselves.

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photo courtesy of pixabay

32, Often words aren't needed, people just need a silent presence.

33, You are never too old to learn something new, in fact everyone should be learning new things weekly, if you're not, push new boundaries.

34, I assumed I hated some foods, this year I tried them and I like them! Try new things!

35, Treat everyone the same, whether it be the Queen or a homeless person...

36, I am allergic to Hedgehogs - who knew!

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photo courtesy of pixabay

37, Trust your gut, you have instincts for a reason.

38, Everyone can make time to help, if someone says they are too busy that is code for I don't want to.

39, Polite chit chat is boring, deep chat is the way forward.

40, Having a purpose is crucial to a fulfilling life.

So what will 2016 bring?

I pray blessings and joy, but one thing is for sure 2015 was a year I will never forget.

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photo courtesy of pixabay

Zoe Clark-Coates is one of the founders and CEO's of the Mariposa Trust. The Saying Goodbye division offers support and national remembrance services for anyone who has lost a baby at any stage of pregnancy, at birth or in early years.

Twitter @SayinggoodbyeUK

Instagram: ZoeAdelle

Facebook: /SayinggoodbyeUK

Pinterest: http://uk.pinterest.com/zoeclarkcoates/

Website: www.mariposatrust.org & sayinggoodbye.org