Guest post: Forever 12

This guest post was written by my friend Sarah, whose son was in the same school and year as Abi. As her son turned 13 this weekend, Sarah reflects in this moving and inspiring post on what it is to be forever 12.When my eldest reached the milestone of his teenage years last week, it was a chance for me to reflect – on his life so far and on his life still to come – his journey through GCSEs, A Levels and girlfriends to adulthood. But it was also a chance for me to reflect on my friend Kelly, who blogs at Chasing Dragonflies, and her daughter Abi.

Because Abi will be forever 12.

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Guest post: The ways my heart is broken

I met (on Twitter) a remarkable woman who tragically lost her darling son Hugo in March this year. He was born at just 24 weeks and lived 35 days. I gave birth to my son on 24th February, just four days after Leigh had Hugo, and her story really struck me and again reminded me how fragile life is. Leigh is a woman after my own heart, she wants to break the taboo surrounding baby loss and ‘start a conversation’ about it. Our babies, no matter what age, are all very special and deserve to be remembered.

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It’s my grief and I’ll cry if I want to…

I have a thing about crying. I find it hard to do. Always have.

Before Abi died, I wasn’t really one for crying at sad films or soppy love stories, although having children certainly made me more likely to have a little cry if it was about them (school plays, dance shows etc). But in general, I usually only cry when my anxiety has built to a point where I can no longer contain my emotions, particularly surrounding my grief. I have waves, huge tsunami-type waves, of grief emotion inside yet I can’t let it surface.

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Guest post: Saying goodbye had to be perfect (for you)

This personal and deeply moving guest post was kindly written for our blog by The Tangerine Owl Project. It recounts a grieving mother’s determination to plan a beautiful memorial for her baby daughter who lived for just 27 days. 
As I recall the days in the NICU and the loss of Delilah, I often wonder how I made it through in once piece.Usually I attribute this to my children and my husband. My husband was my partner who was also grieving and wasn’t afraid to talk about her or to let me feel however I was feeling without question or instruction. Our children were 3 and 4 at the time, and had come to see Delilah a few times at the hospital during hand-off between our parents and us. When we found that she was too sick to make it, we called everyone to the hospital and told them there that her condition was deteriorating and we were going to turn off the machines that afternoon.

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Summer term and the grieving mum

Another summer term is in full swing. Our second without Abi. So, how is it for a bereaved mum at this time of year?

Last year was a fog. We were fumbling through, trying to stay above water, keeping things ‘normal’ for our other children in the sense of their school routines, dragging ourselves along to plays and sports day, everything merged into one long ordeal. Abi had been dead just four months.

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Introducing the Comfort Zone

I always wanted my blog to be as much about reaching out to others in their bereavement as well as a writing therapy for me. So, I have created the ‘Comfort Zone’.

Comfort Zone

This area is a place to share stories, to offer advice and direct readers to further help. I have linked up some pages initially but will build on this over time, so please keep coming back.

The areas it will cover include:

Arranging a funeral – what’s involved, things to consider, tips and advice for before, during and after the funeral

Remembering your child – tips on ways to mark special occasions and what to do with your child’s possessions, memory boxes and keepsakes

Organ donation – how the process works, sharing stories of experiences, how you can help

Fundraising – how fundraising can help you as well as others

Reading resources – books that might be of use to you, and recommended books for children about death and losing loved ones

Dealing with the media and social networks – how to manage media interest in your child’s death, using social networks to remember your child, blogging as therapy

Help and support – links to professional bodies that offer helplines or ongoing therapy for you and your family

Guest blogs and links – blogs written especially for our site and links to relevant blog posts that might be of comfort

If you feel you can contribute advice or a story in any of these areas, I’d be delighted to hear from you. If you’re not up to writing we can perhaps chat and I’ll be happy to write something up. The crucial thing is that by sharing we are breaking the taboos surrounding death and helping support other parents going through the worst time of their lives.

I look forward to hearing from you and welcome any suggestions for things you’d like to see covered in here. Click on the Comfort Zone icon to be taken to my contact page.

 

 

Things to do when your child dies

If you have just suffered the loss of your baby or child, or know someone who has, you will likely be given a wad of leaflets by the nursing team to help you begin to make funeral arrangements. It will feel so unreal that you are doing this but it’s important that you don’t feel hurried and go at the pace you can cope with. Asking a close friend or relative to help you make phone calls will make things easier for you to bear in the early days. Continue reading

Our joy and sorrow this Father’s Day

My heart can’t help but ache for my darling hubby as yet another Father’s Day arrives, his second without Abi.

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When we met, in 1996, I was dating his rather unsavory friend. It wasn’t serious and a bit of an experiment for me, which naturally didn’t work out. But what did work is that through him, I met the man with whom I would share my life.

I’d been single a short while when we met again by chance and, as we chatted, for the first time I noticed his kind, sparkling blue eyes. They say that the eyes are the window to the soul and I realized that for a long time I’d been looking for ‘love’ in the wrong places.

I saw him and something clicked in me. It was as though I knew the man before I’d even got to know him. It wasn’t the usual feeling of being swept away with supposed desire, or being tempted by swagger or materialism. It wasn’t even love at first sight. It was simply that I saw him and knew.

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A brief encounter… of the heavenly kind?

Last year, I had an encounter at the cemetery that has never left me.

There have been a number of occasions when I’ve visited Abi’s memorial where I have felt a presence near me; a bit like you might feel when you think someone is behind you, but when you turn around you realise you’re alone. It either makes you shiver a bit or you shrug it off as imagined. But to me, it always feels pleasant, warming. I never thought I’d say that about being alone in a cemetery!

This particular day, I’d visited Abi alone as usual during the morning. I didn’t feel chatty, I felt depressed as though I’d woken with a large grey cloud above me. I was on the verge of tears and confused.

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