Nadine Robson-Mum’s Inspiration Lives

Nadine Robson

Nadine Robson’s mum’s inspiration lives and is the theme of her conversation today.

At heart Nadine’s mum was all about love and just being a mum. That was what she really wanted to be.  She went through her own experiences of mental illness. Unfortunately, through some of those experiences, she made some decisions that were really difficult, and she made some poor judgment calls. The side effect of that was that Nadine was taken into care when she was 11 years old and taken out of the family home.  This meant she didn’t grow up with her brothers from that age. That was really tough.  It was not easy to go through that experience. 

From a really young age Nadine witnessed the impact of mental illness.   This stoked her passion in mental health and mental wellness following the sudden death of her mother from an epileptic fit.   It was fortunate that the Robson family had each other during that traumatic time.

“It’s not a  matter what you’re going through right now. If you can find that glimmer of hope, if you can know that, as I say that the challenges and the things that I’ve been through in my life. Just knowing that was a moment in time and you will find a way through it.   There are people out there who love you, never forget that.  No matter how much in despair you might feel, always remember that there are people who love you and really care for you as well.” encourages Nadine. 

After her mum’s death Nadine found a note that her mum had written on a piece of paper in response to her youngest son’s enquiry ‘where is my mum’. Her mum’s response was, “never more than a thought away my son”.  That kind of saying is what they all say to each other now – remembering that their mum might not be with them physically, but she is never more than one thought away.  It is one of those things that warms their heart when they think about it. 

“Mum’s absolutely with us in spirit and with energy and in how we all are and how we carry her forward through us.   Just seeing her in our children as well is really magical, it’s really incredible.” 

Nadine Robson and Darren founded the MOE Foundation, an empowering coaching community that screams love and care.  

Paula: [00:00:00] Welcome to "TesseLeads" with your host Tesse Akpeki, and cohost Paula Okonneh. "TesseLeads" is a safe, sensitive, and supportive place and space to share hear and tell your stories and experiences. You will hear from top experts and thought leaders strategies, tips and techniques that they have found useful in navigating a diverse range of challenges, difficulties, dilemmas, as well as how you can create and shape opportunities. Our guest today is the Nadine Robson and our topic today is "Nadine Robson a very personal journey". Nadine Robson is the founder and self-titled chief wellness advocate at dragon fly wellness Dorset. A creative facilitator and coach who founded dragon fly WD to support others to have the confidence, clarity, support and practical tools to have energizing conversations about mental ill health. Nadine is also a founding trustee of the MOE Foundation. The MOE Foundation is a community of positive change makers. Welcome Nadine to "TesseLeads" I'll hand it over to you and Tesse.

Tesse: [00:01:34] Thank you Paula, and Nadine I am excited to have you on the show. For years I've followed your work, I admired you from a distance and now I see you close. Oh wow I'm excited. You know I hear your brother Darren mentioning your mom. And he mentioned you, he described you as his guide, and he's spoken about your mom in such a flavorsome way, we would love to hear about your mom. Tell us about your mom.

Nadine: [00:02:09] Thank you Tesse thank you both oh gosh. Our mom was, she's just incredible really. She, all she ever wanted was to be a mum that was her thing. She said there's four of us, I've got three brothers, and she loved being a mum. She absolutely embraced it and not just the mum to the four of us, but she was a mum for the community that we grew up in. She was a mum on the estate, there were always hoards of children around our house and yeah it was just, that was what she loved about life really. And I say was because our mom passed away gosh nearly 21 years ago now in the early 2000s. Very sudden she had epilepsy, she had an epileptic fit and she was gone, and that was that. We had no buildup we had no warning. So as you can imagine, it hit all of us really hard. I was 20 years at the time, my younger brother was only 16, and he was very young and we were all going through life and you just never see it coming really.

But she instilled so many fantastic qualities in all of us that I think we can only be grateful for the time that we had her in our lives, really. And that's what we really hold on to, and that's what we really have taken forward through these years. And as anyone who's been through grief knows it does change, the grief definitely changes. 21 years down the line, it's not the same as when she first passed, that's for sure. But for me the thing that I always hold on to, I never forget. We found this little note that was just a little scrap of paper. And my little brother one day had obviously been out at school and had come home and unusually mom wasn't there and he'd written in her book or on a piece of paper, "where's my mom" and she replied very little note back to him and said, "never more than a thought away my son". And that's our kind of saying that we all say to each other now to just keep us all going in those times. He's just remembering that she might not be with us physically, but she's never more than a thought away. And it just is one of those things that just warms your heart, really when you think about that. But yeah she was a wonderful lovely person, not without her faults. And we didn't have, it's not as if we had to, it was not all roses and sunshine growing up, there was definitely some real challenges that we faced as children. But at heart she was just all about love and just being a mom. That was what she really wanted.

Tesse: [00:04:27] All about love, just wanting to be a mom, that sounds so soothing. When you described the suddenness and what happened, what in relation to one minute your mum was there and the next minute nothing prepares you. What got you through that time of this sudden loss? What helped you to get through as a family? What helped?

Nadine: [00:04:47] I think we were just so fortunate that we had each other, because what made it even tougher was actually. My middle brother was in Australia, so he'd been traveling for a number of months at the time so he hadn't seen her. It wasn't like it is now remember back 21 years ago, we didn't have phones where we could stay in contact constantly. And I was traveling I was in Europe at the time. I had spoken to her on the Sunday morning and she passed on the Sunday afternoon and my brothers were desperately trying to get hold of me because they couldn't contact me. And so I think it was the Tuesday where they finally managed to reach me. So that was really difficult for them desperately trying to get hold of me at that time as well and going through all of that. But we really just we're so grateful to have each other and to have our family and our friends around us at that time as well. And like I say again, for anyone that's been through grief you know that it is an individual journey. You just have to go through it and, we all had our own difficult times at various stages. And sometimes we'd be laughing other times we'd be really angry, then just laughing. And I remember like driving along and I would just burst into tears and that happened for a good number of years afterwards. And then just the raw emotion, I think is the thing that I really remember that kind of almost animalistic expression of grief that we all went through at different times as well. And as I say for me, that's definitely ease, it's nothing like that now for me when I think about her not being part of my life. Being a mum now, myself, there's times where I do just well up and I catch myself because I think, oh my gosh, you would just, oh, I'm welling up now. But she would just love to be a grandma, she never got that opportunity. She wasn't alive to see any of us with our children. My middle brother has got one on the way currently and it's just. My eldest, brother's got three, three children of his own, and then we've got extended family as well with kiddies and mum would have just loved it, she would have loved it. And so that's the heartbreaking stuff for me when I think she's not here physically with us to be part of that, but she's absolutely with us in spirit and with energy and in how we all are and how we carry her forward through us really and just seeing her in our children as well it's really magical it's really incredible.

Tesse: [00:07:09] Oh wow Paula your thoughts.

Paula: [00:07:12] What a touching story, I feel your pain. You rightfully said that after a number of years the pain goes away, but they're never forgotten. Just hearing you talk about your mom, she just sounded like an incredibly warm person. I love that story about when your brother wrote a note, "where are you mom"? And she wrote back, "never more than a thought away". I love that, I love that. And my question is has that helped in craft in your career as the chief wellness advocate at dragon fly wellness set?

Nadine: [00:07:48] Yeah absolutely has. One of the things that we do on training courses that I deliver is we look at something called our frame of reference our window on the world. All of us have that don't we all have our own frame of reference and what shaped us. And I know that for me, as I sort of briefly said our lives weren't perfect. Mum went through her own experiences of mental illness. And unfortunately through some of those experiences, she made some decisions that were really difficult and she made some poor judgment calls. And unfortunately as a kind of side effect of that. I was actually taken into care when I was 11 years old. So I was taken out of the family home when I was 11. So I didn't grow up with my brothers from that age. And now that's really tough, that was not easy to go through that and experience it. And so I saw from a really young age the impact that mental illness could have if someone didn't have the right support, if it wasn't noticed, if yeah just really that support that people need as they may be going through experiences. And as I say, mum made some choices that weren't great and unfortunately that's part of what we don't get to work through. As I say I was 20 when she went, so we didn't have the chance to work through some of that stuff about our relationship that would have been really useful. To have that chance really, to work through and just explore together now from my perspective as a mom and as an adult. Seeing what she was going through at the time, but it absolutely has shaped me and why I do what I do today. Because like I say I know through lived experience the ripple effect of what impacts mental health can have and not just on the individual, but the people around them as well. And to me it's simple some of it not saying the experience is simple. But actually if we were just kinder as a society to ourselves and to each other, that would be a big step towards some of these things not having such an impact as well. Being open to explore and to understand and to be alongside each other. This is the sort of stuff that really I think can make a difference. And we've all got that in our gifts, this isn't something that we need to pay somebody else for or so. Yeah to go on this, I don't know epic course or journey or anything. Things that we can all just do is a sort of, day-to-day just noticing for ourselves what's going on for me? How am I doing? And being kind to ourselves, not being judgmental to ourselves as well. These are some of the things I think we can all put in place really.

Tesse: [00:10:16] I really like that. It's when you say be kind, it doesn't take a lot for people to be kind and be caring and be compassionate. And I see that lived out in you, Nadine I didn't know about the story around mental health and your mom. But it actually lives through you in the way that you are so non-judgemental about people who have mental ill health and have to walk that journey. Another thing that kind of strikes me about you as your brother talks about you and as you talk about your brothers, what I would call brotherly love. That kind of the Osmonds, when they call by the brotherly love. I love music you can tell, but when you talk about your brothers with such warmth, and Darren in particular talks about you as his guide. I would love to hear what your brothers mean to you. You're even smiling now that happened at the zoom call and Nadine she just lit up. Brotherly love tell us about that.

Nadine: [00:11:16] Yeah, I just it's something that I'm just so incredibly grateful for the fact that I've got three brothers and they're all so different, we're all so different. And like I say, it's not that we live in each other's pockets or that we, everything is always been roses between us. It's not it's difficult at times, we have difficult conversations and we move away from each other at different times. But there's always been this connection between all of us, where we come back together and just all knowing that we are so much stronger together. And it doesn't matter if something's happened, if we've had times where we've had arguments, where everything's exploded and we've yeah kind of moved away from each other, and then we'll come back together again. And that's it for me, it's really, that's what family is. And I feel so fortunate that I've got that in my life, because I know that's not true for everybody. Not everybody has got that with their siblings, even if they have got siblings that's just not the norm maybe for a lot of people. And I can't even really, I couldn't tell you what it is that has been the thing that's created this for us. It's just as I say, I didn't grow up with my brothers for a number of years of my life. And maybe that's why it is, because I wasn't with them when they were going through their horrible teenage years, then with me when I was going through my horrible teenage years. I don't, yeah I couldn't quite tell you what it is, but it's just this feeling that we have between us already, that we know how much stronger we are together and that when we come together there's this energy that's between all of us really. And then so that's why I smile whenever I think of my brothers, because I know that they're always there no matter what I've always got my brothers, so I'm incredibly grateful for that.

Tesse: [00:13:01] Brotherly love stronger together love it, Paula?

Paula: [00:13:05] Yeah such a touching story. And it's even more impactful hearing that you didn't grow up with your brothers, but you're so close to them. That tells me a lot, it tells me that there was a foundation that was set early on for you to reconnect with them and be so you guys would be so much you know, still that love still runs through.Your bones, your blood. That says a lot because with some families once they've been split up like that's it. They get back together, they've had different life experiences and they're, well you are my biological brother or sister but we have nothing in common. So I love to hear that story. Thank you so much for sharing it with us. Because we about to wrap up, I was wondering is there any question that you really would have loved us to have asked you that we haven't?

Nadine: [00:13:57] Oh gosh, any question I would have loved for you to have asked me? Yeah there's nothing that comes to mind at the moment. I think just even having this opportunity to even talk about my family and my mum and my brother has just been incredible because it's, yeah. It's not something that I do on a very often. So just being able to have this platform to do that is really lovely. Because as you say, it makes me smile so it just warms me all the way through. So thank you so much for that I really appreciate it.

Paula: [00:14:27] Absolutely thank you thank you thank you. Tesse is there anything else?

Tesse: [00:14:31] Yeah, I just wanted to ask Nadine if there's any last thoughts for people listening in anything at all, top of mind. What's flowing through you right now? Because this is a natural moment. There's just so much love in this place. And Paula and I, I'm looking at Paula and I'm speaking for Paula so forgive me. But just feeling that the strength of hope and love and connection and knowing that it's okay not to be okay. It's okay to have arguments and work through them. It's okay to listen to each other and to learn from our mistakes when we get it wrong. And so any last thoughts for people listening in?

Nadine: [00:15:12] I think that's, you've just said there really. I think there are some of the real key things for me is that, that sense of hope it's no matter what you're going through right now. If you can find that glimmer of hope, if you can know that, as I say that the challenges and the things that I've been through in my life. Just knowing that was a moment in time and you will find a way through it. There is a way through it, there is that light, there's that glimmer if you can look for it and hold onto it. But also as I was saying about with my brothers as well. It's yeah not being too fixed in any kind of mindset with things being really open to know that sometimes we just say stuff or we just say it in the moment and that's really the beauty of what my conversations with my brothers bring as well is that we might say stuff in the moment and we know that's not, we were just saying it just needed to get out and hear what that sounded like. And to know that it's not a deal breaker, it's not what if I say something it's going to cause offence and that's it, it's over. But knowing that you've always got that kind of central love come back to you really. So yeah for me, it really is about holding onto that hope. And just knowing that there are people out there who love you, never forget that, never forget that. It's no matter how much in despair you might feel always remember that there are people who love you and really care for you as well.

Tesse: [00:16:34] Beautiful, Paula.

Paula: [00:16:36] What a powerful message to end this with. No matter how tough things are, know that there are people out there who care for you and who love you. And you're a testimony of that because obviously to be separated from your siblings at such an early age must have had its own. I don't want to say negative effects cause I'm not you, but just listening to that, that must have been traumatic on its own. But in your comeback saying, no matter what happens there are people out there that care and your life matters. That means a lot, and that's the theme of "TesseLeads".

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