The HR Juggler

Day 32: Sunshine and Rain

Posted on: January 1, 2013

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Happy New Year to you! May your 2013 be filled with love, laughter, joy and friendship.

Today’s post is by Claire Bentley, back on Twitter after a long absence and its lovely to have her back in my timeline…you can find her at @cbentleylarose.


Last year I wrote a really quite silly HR advent blog set to the tune of ‘The 12 days of Christmas’.

This year, I’m moving from the silly and am choosing to expose a little of myself in order to understand challenges ahead of me.

Even when I was writing my fun little piece last year, the storm clouds were gathering and I had anticipated that the Olympic year would be a very challenging one. Firstly, one of my two best friends in the world was seriously ill and looking forward to Christmas at the very wonderful Thames Hospicecare. She had just taken the decision to refuse further cancer treatment and the two of us were making plans for the end.

Nothing prepares you for it, though.

Linda Hopkin, my dear and loving friend; my confidante, died in April of this year, leaving a gaping Linda-shaped hole in my life. I still miss her every day. I suspect that will last a long time.

Plan, plan and plan though the two of us did, I was still not prepared for the mix of emotions I experienced during that time. Grief, yes, but also (surprisingly) a great deal of anger and guilt that has taken me some time to control. I practised the Eulogy she had organised for me to read at her Memorial Service until I was hoarse. I still blubbed on the day in front of all those people.

So, what did this teach me? Well, I learnt to forgive myself the uncharitable emotions and learnt to accept help from new friends who suddenly, and wonderfully, sprung out of the woodwork during that time to blow me away with their kindness. I still have a message given to me pinned to my fridge from one such friend, which says ‘Sunshine Always Follows Rain’. This sentiment kept me going and kept me sane during my darkest days.

Anyone who knows me, knows I never do things by halves, so I also chose this year to end a painful and unhappy marriage. I am currently awaiting my Decree Absolut which is due to complete the first week of January. I have been living as a single mum to my two lovely children aged 5 and 6, for the best part of 18 months anyway, but the final months of the dying marriage have been painful.

In the same way, my business was not working well, and I have learnt to forgive myself that this was not surprisingly put on the back burner. I have, in the last 2 weeks started a part time job with a lovely firm, which means I earn some regular income, but still have a time to work on my business without the pressure of desperately needing money to pay the bills. A little respite goes a long way.

It was a year of loss for me – people I love, my marriage, my business.

Want to know something? I have gained in equal measure – new and wonderful caring friends, a new job, new challenges and amazingly, through it all, I’ve also found love.

The message for all my HR pals is that you become a better HR professional by facing difficult times; you become a little tougher, too. You learn things about yourself, and others. It brings out the best, and worst, in those around you. I’ve aged a little more than usual, but learnt a whole lot more, as well.

Life’s not perfect, by a long shot, but as a friend once assured me on a very dark day, the rain appears to be stopping now and I can see the sun peeking out from behind those clouds.

Happy Christmas, you wonderful people. Have some peace and rest over the holidays and come back to all those new beginnings in the New Year.

It’s going to be a Sunshine year! 🙂

4 Responses to "Day 32: Sunshine and Rain"

A brave and honest post and an excellent one with which to start 2013. Thank you! You are a great example to us all: to value the things that matter, sort out the things that are not right, to be practical when required and always to remember that there will be sunshine in the future, no matter how dismal it seems at the time. May 2013 prove a wonderful year for you and yours.

Thank you Clare. This really made me think and resolve to face the new year with renewed verve and vigour. I hope your journey continues along a gentler incline but leads you to even greater heights.

May this year for you Clare be full of Sunshine.You are emerging into the light after the darkness in which you have had much self discovery to be who you truly are.Wishing you Well as everything passes making way for new beginnings.

Beautiful post Claire. x

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