These last few months have been a difficult and very sad time for me and my family. I have never had anyone really close to me die. My mum, Jane, died on the 4th Jan.
Jane has always been very supportive of my art and craft, and has always valued it highly when I have given something to her as a gift. I have been making for decades and have always wanted to give her something different for each birthday and for festive occasions, and so this has been an influence on my exploring and discovering new crafts.
My family home is in rural Mid Wales; an isolated traditional Welsh cottage in a field, across a ford and up a rough track to a smallholding.
The funeral bypassed the institutions. We buried her in a simple but most wonderful way, surrounded by family and friends, on family land and overlooking the Cambrian mountains.
My brother Toby has set himself a challenge in our Mum's memory, an epic task that I can not even begin to think about doing. A fundraising event called '9 events in 9 months', which includes marathons and Iron Man events, and even a sports event competing against a horse. All money raised is going to the charity Cancer Research Wales.
If you feel like giving, even if it only a pound or dollar, please do so at:- http://www.justgiving.com/9events9months
Jane spent her last weeks in two different hospitals, and the staff of these institutions did their best for her. Our family has nothing but praise for all the professionals who looked after her. Her last weeks were spent in a small cottage hospital in Tregaron only 5 miles away from home. This meant that my dad, Glenn, could spend far more time with her than if she was in the large regional hospital, miles away in Aberystwyth. She was in that hospital initially, and I saw the physical, financial and emotional toll that it took on dad when he had to travel in daily.
I am a great supporter of the NHS. I am also very concerned that small hospitals are being closed and facilities are being moved into fewer, bigger hospitals. I am also very concerned that the NHS is being sold off very quickly to private business. This has huge bearing on peoples' lives, more so on the poor, and those who live in rural areas where facilities and public transport are lacking or non existent.
I am afraid that in my later life that I, and my family, will not have access to the NHS that I have contributed to all my life.