Monday, 28 May 2018

My Sister.....

I never thought I’d be writing this.

I don’t want to be writing this. It feels wrong for so many reasons.  

People have been asking where I am, and (how lovely), they have been worried about me, so I knew I had to do a post, as not everyone follows Facebook.

Devestatingly, on the 29th May, my beautiful sister, Marianne, passed away. She was only 39, and leaves her husband, gorgeous little boy, and so many friends. 

Marianne was my fun loving younger sister, who loved to dance and party even more than me! She was my festival buddy, my partner in crime.  She travelled with me doing craft fairs, and supported me when I left my job to start on my crafty career. We had so many adventures. She even asked for me to be there when Charlie was born, which was such a honour. She was sensitive, caring and funny.

We all drank and danced and often took it to the edge - and beyond! But that’s the thing, isn’t it. Who’s to say when you cross the line from life and soul of the party to problem drinker? And even then, there’s still time to stop and reverse the problem by just not drinking so much! But some people get ill with alcohol. They have an allergy to it, and it kills them. They get addicted to it and can’t stop. I think that’s what happened to our Marianne. 

It killed her over many many years, slowly.

Alcoholism is patient. It takes its time. It comes and it goes as it pleases for years. It makes you believe it’s your best mate; it takes away the edge, it helps you relax, it relieves the anxiety. But every time, it grips you just a little bit tighter and pulls you into its trap just a little bit further. Until the day comes when alcohol is no longer your friend; but by then you can’t live with it - and you can’t live without it. 

It sounds crazy, but we didn’t realise Marianne had an addiction for such a long time. It’s so hard to accept. Drinking is such a social norm, and when you worry someone is drinking to much you don’t necessarily think they’re addicted to it. 

Sadly, a year ago it became very apparent she was poorly, and I know Marianne battled with it. I know she tried. That’s why I know it IS an illness. Alcoholism has nothing to do with a lack of will power! And there was absolutely nothing anybody could do to help her. God only knows we all tried! But it had her in its grip, and it didn’t let go. We are all going over the iffs and buts, what we should have, could have done....it’s so hard to accept my beautiful sister has gone.

I hate the fact I couldn’t save her.

I suppose the only comfort in this whole devastating tragedy is that she is no longer tormented by her addiction, and her wonderful little boy will grow up surrounded by people who had so much love for his mummy, and will keep her memory alive.

Many people have already been in touch with kind words, for which I sincerely thank you. I also thank a very close and dear friend who helped me pen this post....the words have been so hard to find.

I will, hopefully, be back at work next week, and then have workshops, and am exhibiting at Haslingden arts and crafts festival. It seems like a world away at the moment.

To sign off, all I can really say is I miss you Marianne xxxxx













36 comments:

Pennie Homewood said...

Oh Leonie I am so sorry, sad & desperate for the loss of your dear sister. You have sustained me through many heart wrenching days spent with my dear son-in-law helping him detox when he has finally decided to stop drinking again. We have been living with this for 10 years & the one thing I have learnt is that you cannot stop them self distruct but just be there to make their lives as comfortable as possible. It is a terrible illness & as you will know there is little to no help out there which does not involve huge amounts of money. Society does not allow people to not drink without making them feel bad about it so what chance does an alcoholic have if they will not stand up and be proud of the fact that they cannot drink. My crafting keeps me going & you more than anybody have helped me through my darkest hours. Sending my love and hugs. Pennie xx

rosiejt said...

This must have been such a difficult post, Leonie. I've only met you face to face once - and you're the super, friendly, easy to talk to, genuine crafter in real life as you appear on TV. I really feel for you x

Jackie said...

So sorry for your sad loss. Lost a very close friend a few years ago in very similar circumstances and no matter what you do, or how hard you try, ( and we all tried) in the end it just takes it’s toll and the loved one with it. Sending thoughts and hugs and prayers winging your way.

Linda49 said...

Oh Leonie,
What can you say but how sorry they are about your loss. Remember the good times.Take care and look forward to watching you soon.

Tracy Welham said...

It must have taken immense courage to write this post. You and your family must be completely devastated. There is no relationship like that of a sister, she can be your best friend and drive you crazy all at the same time but you would do anything to save her and she you. I hope your many happy memories of your sister can help to heal your heart. Comfort and blessings, Tracy x

cardmakerkb said...

Dearest Leonie. So so sorry for your loss. Sending thoughts and much love your way at this difficult time. Kath xx

Karen said...

You poor girl, know you have many friends that you don't really know who wish you and your family only happiness from here on in. I can't imagine the pain and despair you must feel sweet lady. Try to remember your much loved nephew and the love you feel for him will keep you going in the dark days still to come. Sending you love, hugs and heeling, xx

hollyberry said...

So hard to write this post. Not only to tell people about why you have not been around but also opening your heart and telling everyone about why you lost your sister. Such courage to talk about it all in this way. There are so many of us out here that you have never met that feel for you and your family. That send our thoughts to you and your family at this dreadful time. You have helped so many of us through dark and difficult times in our lives by being there,your sunny and cheerful self. Hope that all the love that is pouring in your direction can help you at this time,and allow you to think of all those wonderful happy memories of your lovely sister to keep you going .

whyducks said...

Oh bless you I am so sad for you and your families loss. Sending a hug and special thoughts xx

Claire said...

Thinking of you and your family. Sending you all lots of love xx

Linda Simpson said...

Oh Leonie, there are no words really to express how very sorry I am to read about your dear sister. You have lots of memories which you will no doubt share with Charlie of his beautiful mummy. I can only imagine the pain you and your family are going through at the moment and sending you all my heartfelt condolences.
Much love and hugs my friend
Linda xxx

djroeable said...

Thinking of you and the family today Leonie xx

janet said...

So very sad for you Leonie dear. Alcoholism is an evil illness -it creeps up and grabs a person before they are aware and then it is almost impossible to escape. I will be thinking of you and of your sister's husband and dear Charlie. He is surrounded by love, and I'm sure he will appreciate all you can tell him about his dear mother in the future. Maybe one day you'll be able to make a scrapbook for him with his happy memories.
Bless your dear friend for helping you to say what must have been impossible for you without help. Just remember there are so many loving vibes coming for you from people you have never met and those (like me!) you've only met once or twice, as well as those who know all about you ans love you anyway!!

Unknown said...

So sorry for all of you Leonie, we're all thinking of you and sending love.
Coral. xx

Lynn Braben said...

Oh Leonie, how incredibly sad. Alcoholism IS a disease, and there needs to be more research so more loved ones aren't ripped away from their families. When I was a nurse, I saw so many people whose lives had been destroyed, and the effect is far-reaching. But Leonie, for now, all that matters is that you've lost your sister, and that is a tragedy. My thoughts are with you and your family at this sad time. Don't rush back to work though; yes you are missed, but take the time to grieve

Littlelamb said...

Thinking of you and your family Leonie at this time. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

jayne said...

So sorry to hear why you have been away from work. Take care of yourself and your family. X

Jan Loughran said...

I have no words Leonie, only tears and hugs for you and your family 😢❤ Heartbroken for you all x

Janet Woodhead said...

Leoni, I do not actually know you but it feels like I do from your crafting on Hochanda, I feel your pain, but you must realise
that your crafting will be your saviour in the end as I believe that Creativity is ALL. You are a beautiful person, thank you for having the courage to write these words. Keep on keeping on. Love Janet XXXX








Kathryn said...

I lost my mum to alcoholism when she was 42, I was 20 my younger brothers 14 and 16..... I feel your pain. It will lessen given time and you have lots of wonderful memories to keep her alive in your heart xx stay strong for that little man he will need you xx ��

Ruth Kidd said...

So terribly sorry to hear this Leonie. I had been missing you on Hochanda, but had no idea why you were away. Thank you for finding the courage and grace to talk about the situation you have been coping with for such a long time.

So many of us are truly grateful to you for your talent (and your giggles!), which have helped us through our own sad times. It may not feel like it now, but over time this will become easier to bear. Be kind to yourself.

Ruth x

Robin said...

I am so very sorry for your loss. Blessings, grace, and peace to your sister's family and all who knew and loved her.

Anonymous said...

So very sad for you. Know that Im rooting for you and your family. I lost the only person I would have flown to the moon for to alcohol at the age of 34 and although it was over 30 years ago it still hurts. Please know that everyone who has ever watched your inspiring broadcasts is praying for you

Cyndi said...

I was so sorry to read your post; how hard that must have been for you. Just know that you are in our thoughts and cherish the memories. Cofion cynnes Cyndi x

Lou said...

Oh Leonie I feel for you so much. I lost my son on 24th May a year ago. You were so brave writing your post about your beautiful sister. It must of been so heartbreaking.

She Is Gone

You can remember her & only that she's gone.
Or you can cherish her memory & let it live on.
You can cry & close your mind, be empty & turn your back.
Or you can do what she would want: smile, open your eyes, love & go on.

David Harkins

This helped me a great deal.
You will be in my thoughts & prayers. Take care. Lou xxx

Deborah Messenger said...

Dearest Leonie....I wonder how many people you might have saved by finding those words. Holding you in my heart lovely lady xx

forgetmeknot said...

Dear Leonie. I am so sorry to learn of this sad news you have shared with us. You have my prayers for you and the family at this devastating time. It is one of things as you said you should have never needed to write. Its so sad, especially when it can be prevented and even reversed if the person wanted it to happen. I hear of this illness many times, I also have friends going thru the same thing. As parents we can often introduce our children to alcohol way to early maybe not realising that just maybe later in life they do in fact become to live with it, and not without it. I so hope you find peace in the knowledge that she will rest in peace. The saddest part is knowing it will eventually take a young life away far too soon. You have my deepest sympathy. I hope you are able to continue on your own path in life and know that you did everything you could to help her. Sadly it wasn't to be. Stay strong my friend. x

David Kirk said...

To our wonderful friend,
Brig and I have both wept with you at this desperate time. You have touched us for so many years with your wit, honesty and passion for, not only crafting but, seemingly, life itself. You never fail to brighten our day when you're on Hochanda and when we get to see you at craft events, simply, because you make time for everyone that comes to see you, showing a genuine interest in what they're doing and a joyful passion for sharing what you do, which is why we've been so heart broken at the pain you must be feeling.
Your decision to open your heart must have been very painful but, at the same time, very brave and selfless. It may make others look inside themselves and ask themselves, honestly, 'can I live without this drink?'. A few years ago we lost a good friend who, in the end, was turned into a monster by her addiction before it finally took her life.
Crafting may seem a million miles away at the moment but maybe, when you feel that passion once again, you will begin to heal.
Love and hugs.
Brig and Dave xxxxxxx

Unknown said...

So desperately sorry for your loss and the terrible pain you have been going through. A sister can never be replaced, and just now even your vitality and humour are not going to be enough. I've missed you on Hochanda, but hoped there was a positive reason you were away. I'm very sad that it isn't the case. All your friends you know and don't know will wish you well as you struggle to get through this. Much love to you and your bereaved family.

E Helen Brown said...

My heart goes out to you and your family, dear Leonie. We have not met, but I feel like I know you from seeing you so many times on craft TV. Just wanted you to know that I am holding you in love and prayer.
Love, Helen.x

Di said...

Oh, Leonie.... Nothing we can say will help at this moment but I hope it helps just to know we are all still thinking of you. You have to stop with the ifs and buts and listen to all the people who I'm sure are telling you there was nothing more you could do. Easier said than done, I know. I'm guessing that the family issues which kept you so busy over the past months were connected with Marianne and that is what you did... that is how you helped... just being there for her, for her family - and yours. Now it's time to stop wondering and to be strong in the knowledge that Charlie and his daddy and his grandparents - and his Aunty Leonie - will be fine. Because it's evident to everyone that you are strong together.

So much credit to you for handling the circumstances with such grace - your letter is heartbreaking but beautiful in its way. And perhaps, just perhaps, it might make another person stop and think before falling into the trap. Lots of love x x x

Anne Ruffles said...

I’m so very sorry for your loss. Luv and hugs to you and all your family xx

Nicki Rochelle said...

Leonie, I am so very sorry to hear your terribly sad news. I couldn't imagine loosing my sister. I am sending all my thoughts and prayers your way. Lean on the people who love you and never be afraid to ask for help. I agree alcoholism is a disease and that once it has you in it's grasp it is so hard to escape. My thoughts are with you and your family. Xxx

Anonymous said...

Dear Leonie,
You have been through so much,but you keep smiling! I have watched you grow from the young girl standing in for Dawn to blossoming into the woman you are now. You have had heartache in the past and now it is hitting you again. I watched my niece die of breast cancer 8 years ago after fighting for 3years. The worst thing is not being able to change things! We will never know why. My son is struggling at the moment with so many unanswered questions after losing his Dad two months ago (me too!). I wish you peace in the years ahead and pleasure in watching your little nephew grow. Yesterday my niece had a baby and suddenly life seems a little brighter! Take care of yourself! I will be thinking of you.

Anonymous said...

Sorry about your loss, Leonie. Remember that your sister, Marianne, lived life to the full and alcohol was one of her few pleasures. My mother, Marian, said the same about cigarettes and she suffered from cancer. My mother really tried to quit. I wish she had. I might have had a few more years with her. It's sad that your sister kept her addiction a secret from you. It's hard for you that she was younger than you. Remember the happy times and the things that made you both laugh so hard, your sides nearly split. Kind regards. ��

Anonymous said...

Oh Leonie so sorry to hear this. You write of your experience with great insight. It's a hard, life changing experience and the ripple effect is extensive. It's particularly hard afterwards and the constant thought intrusions of the iffs and buts is relentless. We wonder why we couldn't say the exact perfect sentence that would flick the switch of change. We expect soooo much of ourselves, this wouldn't necessarily be so with other conditions and yet we expect to save someone close from a very complicated, all consuming disease. I wish you peace, acceptance and all the love from your lovely family and friends.