Embarking on a journey from grief to happiness
25th July 2019
When Wendy Jennings’ parents died within a matter of months of one another the author felt bereft but writing her story of loss and finding love has helped her heal as she explains . . .
Have you ever had one of those days where one phone call changes the pattern of the rest of your life?
That happened to me on December 19 2011 when I received a call from my dad explaining that mum was in severe pain. A few weeks later she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Then to add to that my dad was diagnosed with terminal oesophageal cancer the following May.
By September 2012 I had lost them both. For a while afterwards I thought I had no purpose; I was no longer a daughter, I’m not a parent and I don’t have siblings. At that time I wasn’t in a relationship either, so who was Wendy? I had no idea and moreover, I didn’t have a clue how to work it out either.
It wasn’t until spring 2014 that a plan flicked into my head – literally a light bulb moment in the early hours of the morning when I thought: “WENDY, GO TO AUSTRALIA!”
I have family there so it wasn’t such a ludicrous idea and gradually that idea became reality. During that time I started a blog to keep friends and family updated about my plans; I never dreamed I would write a book but I got persuaded by my readers to pull on big girls’ pants and do just that.
“From Cancer To Coddiwomple: A story of Love, Loss and Daring To Dream” chronicles my parents’ journeys with their illnesses with laughter and tears, and how I rebuilt my life after losing them both. The reader then travels with me to Bali and Australia during the year of 2015-2016.
And if you’re wondering what on earth coddiwomple means well it’s English slang that means to travel in a purposeful manner towards a vague destination.
Compiling this book has shown me that a metaphorical phoenix really can rise out of the ashes when all feels lost. My overarching mission now is to inspire others that it is in fact possible to enjoy life after loss and to bring a ray of hope to people who might be going through something similar. I also want the reader who maybe feeling stuck to have somewhere to turn. Therefore I invited people who are experienced in their fields of expertise that can assist and support people in various stages of loss, grief, ill-health or need to place their business details in a ’Help Directory’ in the back of the book. They are all very dedicated and passionate about what they do and are known to me personally.
My inspiration is to help support St Barnabas House in Worthing, who looked after us. I am delighted to say that I recently sent off my first donation to them raised from my book sales and I look forward to being able to send more in the future! The book’s second purpose is to raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of ovarian cancer, which can be easily missed.
Plus it means my parents will live on through my words.
I now happily live in the heart of the Kent countryside, near Tunbridge Wells with Tim; my soulmate, best friend and ‘Coddiwomple Companion’. I grew up in Tunbridge Wells and lived in Sussex from 2009-2015 so I feel like I’m home again.
Please remember that however dire our situations may seem, it is always okay to dream!
If you would like to know more about the book and Wendy visit thecoddiwomplelady.com From Cancer To Coddiwomple is available from Wendy’s website priced £12.99. You can also find her on Facebook: The Coddiwomple Lady and Twitter: @WJCoddiwomple