Two years ago, a friend introduced me to the work of the incredibly creative artist, author and blogger, Gretel Parker, when she gave my daughter one of her lavishly illustrated 3D Puddletown books for her birthday.
After seeing a video that I posted online of my daughter enjoying the book, Gretel contacted me to ask if she could use it on her website. I was more than happy for this and as delighted as my daughter when we received a Special Delivery from Puddletown by way of a thank you.
Today, I found out that Gretel's beloved partner of 21 years died tragically and unexpectedly.
As often happens when I hear of devastating news, I imagine what if that were me?
It is such a painful thing to even think about losing my husband. My world would undoubtedly fall apart - but I know that I would be reasonably secure financially and I would have the love and support of my family.
For Gretel, there is no family and an artist's earnings are not necessarily going to see her through the difficult times ahead - especially as her partner died intestate. On a positive note, she is well supported by real life and online friends and part of that support has been to set up The Gretel Parker Project - an online giving page. No amount of money can ever undo the tragedy but it would certainly alleviate any immediate financial difficulties and perhaps help this incredibly talented woman to get back on her feet and move forward with her life.
If you can help in any way, either by making a donation, however small, or spreading the word about the Project, it would be greatly appreciated.
Or why not take a look at the Puddletown Tales: Mrs Mouse's Cupcakes and Peggy's Lost Pennies - both beautiful additions to a child's bookshelf.
I feel so blessed and happy with my life but no one knows when tragedy might strike. It is so important to treasure every day, not to get bogged down with the little things that sometimes obscure the big beautiful picture, to be grateful for all that you have and to reach out to people in whatever way you can - a smile, a chat and of course support when it's needed.