Contingency Plans

As you have probably guessed, if you have read other blog posts of mine, I write only when something inspires me – maybe a book, experience or something someone has said to me. Unfortunately, on this occasion, it wasn’t exactly the inspiration I wanted and would do anything to take it back. My Mum unexpectedly passed away six weeks ago – she had Multiple Sclerosis and a blood clot was the weapon of choice to take her away from this world.

Grief hits us all in different ways and it’s not until it actually happens that you really know how you will react. I am a big planner but on this occasion I couldn’t plan it – I had to just go with it.

I was on a ultimate high when it all happened – I was sitting by the pool in Cambodia on my honeymoon drinking a Pina Colada (I’m pretty sure I was signing the Pina Colada song!) when I received the call to say Mum was in hospital – she had had eight cardiac arrests and hadn’t had oxygen for one hour. The next 24 hours – well, I can’t describe the emotional ups and downs I went through.

When I woke up the next day, we had already booked our flights to return that evening, I had a sense of peace – I knew she had gone and I knew she was no longer in pain (from the MS but also the last 24 hours). That peace at no point meant I was content with what had happened – I was in shock, an emotionless state where tears suddenly would run down my face with which I couldn’t control.

The next two weeks, until the funeral, involved making decisions I never want to make again whether it was choosing my Mum’s coffin, the songs we would play at her funeral or what she should wear in her casket. I also made the hard decision to go and visit her at the chapel of rest.

We had organised the most perfect funeral for such an incredible wife, mother, daughter, sister, grandmother and friend – if you can have such a “perfect” funeral! I got back to Bedford, as my parents live in Cornwall, and I was exhausted. I experienced random outbursts of tears and my drive and motivation had disappeared. I wanted to stay in bed, not speak to anyone and just be allowed to cry when I needed.

So, why am I telling you this? I was lucky enough to be working for a company that allowed me that time to grieve. To allow me space to arrange what we needed to sort out and also give me time to grieve – thank you NatWest and my boss at the time Dale. But as an entrepreneur, if this happened to you tomorrow, do you think you would be able to take that time? Or if a staff member needed that time do you think you could give them what they need? What’s your contingency plan? I’m not saying this is going to happen, and I really hope it doesn’t, but you need to have a plan in place if it does. Who will cover you? Could the business survive without you for a few weeks?

I want to leave you with a poem my Mum wrote which we read at her funeral – she wasn’t a published author (a wasted talent in my opinion) – but I think there’s real meaning in the words she wrote especially as life is so fast and we are always wanting more and not cherishing what we already have.

Your Time by Wendy Hughes

Take a minute – just a minute,

Slow down and breathe the air.

Because today, in a brief minute,

Lives change beyond compare.

You need to grasp this minute,

Hold it close and breathe in deep.

A feeling to be cherished –

This special time, we’ll keep.

This minute is our minute,

Like a spiral, winding round.

Continuing completeness

In the happiness we’ve found.

If I may steal a second

From this minute, to say true,

I pledge everlasting friendship

And good times with all of you.

Ps. I chose a poppy as it was my Mum’s favourite flower x