Boy is this going to be a difficult post to write... I am not the most open of people, yes sometimes I can be open and honest, perhaps a little too much, but when it comes to the more personal, deep, difficult things, I'm a fairly closed book. I've not been very active on my blog or social media recently or have been quite inconsistent with uploads, which I'm sorry about. Today I thought I owed you an explanation for my absence, not as a form of seeking sympathy or attention or anything like that, simply because this blog is where I share my thoughts and experiences through my life and I also feel like I owe people an explanation so you know that I didn't just lose interest in my blog.

The past year or so has been filled with challenging moments and it's fair share of bad news but my family and I have battled through, keeping our spirits high and remaining strong both individually and as a unit. Last Spring my beautiful, courageous grandma went through two operations to remove cancer. Unfortunately cancer returned elsewhere and was incurable. In a relative short space of time, things deteriorated. She managed to enjoy her birthday with all of our family, but the evening didn't go so well and after a fall, she ended up in hospital. Thankfully, my uncle had stopped with her that night so was able to help her and call the ambulance- who knows what would have happened had she been alone. After a couple of weeks in hospital, she made it home a couple of days before results day, which she'd wanted to be there for. Results day was one moment in particular that I wish had gone differently on my part, as I was a bit disappointed with some of my grades and by the time I got to my grandma's flat, the tears had formed in my eyes and had been threatening to spill over for a substantial period of time. Once I walked in the flat, I just broke down and sobbed, not wanting to go in and tell my grandma. After comfort from my mum, I eventually went in to tell her, tears still streaming down my face, which I really wish hadn't been the case, as I hate to think that that was one of the last times she saw my face. Grandma was curious to know why I was upset with my grades and talked to me a bit about them. The last thing she properly said to me was how she was 'always, always proud of her [me]' which really sums my grandma up and is something that will stick with me for the rest of my life, I'm sure. She sadly passed away in the early hours of Sunday morning (21st) with a large portion of her family around her. After a few days really struggling, not really being herself, barely able to talk, all we really wanted was for her suffering to stop. Yes we wanted her with us but none of us wanted her to go on like that and in a weird way, we were glad it happened when it did so that her suffering and pain didn't drag on for days and weeks when she had to fight just to breathe. In that moment, it wasn't her fighting, it was her body and we just willed for the pain to stop and for her to be reunited with my grandad.

It makes me happy to know that the two of them are back together and I know they will go on in our hearts, lives and spirits, but it doesn't make it any easier, knowing you'll never get to visit her. She always welcomed people with open arms, filled their tummies and showered them with love. Going from seeing someone several times a week, at some points, pretty much daily, to never seeing them again, is a lot to take in and will take a lot of time to comprehend. The knowledge that she won't ever see me get my degree or get married or have children, if I do those things, is horrible but I know she'll always experience them with us, just not physically. There are so many moments when I think about popping to see her on my way somewhere or finding something in the shop that she'd been after and every time, it breaks my heart a little more knowing it's no longer relevant or possible.

Death and grief is a part of life that we all have to deal with at some point or another and I know she lived a long, happy life but it doesn't necessarily make things easier. It does consume you. Yes you can go on living your life, but that loss is still there and does effect the way you view things and experiences and only time will heal that.

As I mentioned, I like to keep stuff to myself a lot but my best friend in particular, has been great at offering her support but understanding that I don't really want to talk about things, so instead she's there if I need company and she's been there for me to get away and relax with her for a bit but has also given me space when needed.

So that is why I haven't been as active or consistent, because for a while circumstances have meant I haven't been home a great deal and then when I have been home, I haven't been in the best mindset to come up with original blog and YouTube ideas, to have normal conversations with people online, to sit and film a video or sit and write a blog post. Instead, that time (when not preparing for uni and the other things going on) has been spent with family and trying to do things that make me feel content. Whilst I enjoy writing, I haven't had the energy, motivation or mindset to create blog posts I'm proud of.

Things won't improve overnight, in fact, they'll probably take a while, but for now, I'm ready to get back on the blogging wagon and hopefully start producing regular content to be proud of both here and on my YouTube channel. If I do disappear at times, it's probably a similar reason to those listed above as difficult times can come in waves but for now, I hope you enjoy reading and watching my content. Thank you for bearing with me and for the support.

Love, Steph x

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