I’ve never enjoyed clothes shopping.
When my Mum was alive, she used to come with me when I had to buy clothes and we used to have fun shopping together.
In 2008 Mum died and that year I was traveling to London with my work to meet Prince Charles. This necessitated buying a new outfit. I went over town to go shopping, but ended up in floods of tears and came home empty handed.
Leah was ten years old at the time. She made me this lovely card when she heard what had happened – I found it tonight while looking for something else. My Mum was known as Kal.
This card left me in tears when Leah gave it to me in 2008, but that is NOTHING compared to the effect it’s had on me tonight since I found it again.
Leah then offered to come shopping with me to help me pick an outfit. That following Saturday we went to Coleraine and got the complete outfit that I needed. From then on, Leah became my “personal shopper”.
In 2013, Leah and I ended up being in Bristol way longer than I had packed for, so I had to buy some new tops while I was over there. I used my phone to photograph the clothes in the shops, then I showed Leah the pictures and she advised me what to buy.
The last item of clothing that Leah ever picked for me is so precious. It was from M&S in Bristol.
Since Leah died, I struggle more with shopping than with anything else. Even today I sat in Tesco’s car park for 20 minutes before I could face into the store. I shop only out of necessity.
Facing people isn’t the issue – I enjoy meeting people.
It’s facing the shelves that’s the issue.
It’s never knowing when a strategically placed product will trigger a memory of a shopping trip with/for Leah and leave me completely undone.
When Leah had the haemorrhagic cystitis in Bristol, she had to have a high fluid intake of non fizzy drinks, so I scoured the shops for different drinks that she would like. I was so pleased with the variety that I had managed to buy for her on one particular trip, that when I got back to her hospital room, I lined them all up and took a photograph!
I know that I could avoid the shops completely now by shopping online, but then I don’t like running away from difficult situations either. It’s no way to live.
Leah’s words to me in this card just blow me away………..they are the words of a little girl who had surrendered her life to Jesus, who read her Bible every day and who prayed and sought to love God with her whole heart.
She had wisdom beyond her years at times.