Welsh blog award winner on writing about grief

Image caption,
Ruth and Emrys were married for only a few months before the tragedy

A candid account of a woman's struggle to come to terms with her grief over losing her husband has won two top prizes at the Wales Blog Awards.

Ruth Davies, from Court Henry, near Llandeilo, won best blog and best writing at the Wales Blog Awards for her work, The 7 Journey.

The blog chronicles the painful process of facing up to life after the death of her husband, Emrys Davies.

Ruth, who works in public health, had very little writing experience, aside from flirting with poetry at university, and knew nothing whatsoever about new media and the blogosphere. But six weeks after her husband died in a railway accident while working for Welsh Water in November last year, Ruth says she felt a need to start unburdening herself.

She said: "I had no idea who'd read it, or whether anyone at all would read it. I knew nothing about blogs; I just knew I had to get these feelings off my chest, for my own good."

Awards highlighted

"And I think that's something which these awards have highlighted. It's not about technology geeks any more, blogs are so accessible that, if you've got something to say to the world, anyone can get their message out nowadays."

Ruth's blog charts both the pain which she continues to feel, along with passages of lighter relief, as she remembers the many good times during her two-year relationship with Emrys.

Just four days into her account, she wrote of her amusement when a tactless Emrys described the first meal she ever cooked for him as being "a little bit tasteless", adding, "That's why you put out the salt and pepper, right?".

It is this contrast of light and dark which seems to have attracted more than six thousand hits this year, despite never having been officially promoted or marketed.

"It's blown me away how many people have read it, and seem to have enjoyed it; if that's the right word. As I say, I'm a bit of a technophobe, so it was only when I was nominated for the Welsh Blog Awards, that I realised that you could even get stats on how many people had read your work."

'More bizarre'

"Six thousand in 10 months is incredible, but even more bizarre is that I've had people from the USA, Netherlands, and even South Korea logging-on to get the latest updates."

She added: "The most comforting thing is that, out of this horrible loss, I've been able to help other people. One woman wrote to me to tell me that I'd made her realise how short our time together really is, and that she was going to make sure she appreciated her husband more now.

Image caption,
Ruth says blogging has become mainstream and is not for geeks

"Another said she'd been settling for second best all her life, because she didn't believe that a love like Ems' and mine existed, but now she's going to stop selling herself so short."

The 7 Journey is named in memory of the fact that 7 seemed to be a constantly recurring theme in Ruth's life with Emrys.

They met on the 17th, got engaged on the 7th, married on the 27th, and lived at number 77.

She won, not only the Best Welsh Blog award, but also the prize for best writing in a Welsh blog.

In winning the awards, she beat hundreds of long-listed hopefuls, in the competition organised by Media Wales and Warwick Emanuel PR.

Katie Chappelle, digital media manager at Warwick Emanuel PR, said, "We could not help but notice the increase in the number of people blogging in Wales. We recognise that this is an important part of the media mix and wanted a way to reward those who are doing this, often as a hobby in their spare time."

She added, "We hope that the long-list of blogs entered will act as a directory for bloggers in Wales and this will grow over time. We are also hoping to make the Wales Blog Awards an annual event."

'Better times'

Ruth, who says the phone has not stopped ringing since she took the award at a ceremony in Cardiff's Chapter Arts Centre, is hoping that this is only the start of better times ahead of her.

"Last night was, I think I can safely say, the first time that I've properly enjoyed myself since Ems died. The really eerie thing is that, just a few weeks before his accident, we were talking about what I'd really like to do with my life, and he was encouraging me to give my dream of writing a proper stab."

"I really hope that this award does lead to something bigger. I'd love to write a book based on The 7 Journey, but I think I probably need to wait until things are a little less raw.

"The great thing is, because of the chat me and Ems had, I can carry on with whatever I do, knowing that I have his blessing."

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