Fight or flight… going to A&E

Picking up from my post on CPR (CPR – do you know how?), where I described the distress of Abi’s collapse, I thought I’d try to describe the panic I experienced during Abi’s transition to A&E, and how that changed to a numb acceptance that helped me deal with the hours of waiting that followed. While this is incredibly hard to recount, it is also interesting for me to examine how I felt at various stages.

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Just a bunch of grapes

I’ve realised I’ve started buying grapes again, and not just buying them… eating them too!

Abi loved grapes. She’d come in from school and devour a bunch easily while watching TV.

Ever since she died, I’ve not been able to even look at grapes. I bought some once about a year ago, just to see if I could have them again. But I felt like gagging when I tried to eat one. The image of her happily munching away on them was all too recent. So I’ve avoided buying grapes… until the last few weeks.

It wasn’t a conscious decision, which is interesting. I just seem to be okay with it now.

It’s just fruit! Grief is funny like that.

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Followed by a fairy

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The day before we left to go on our holiday, we were sat discussing what we wanted to do and I suddenly felt something tickle my arm. I jumped thinking it was a fly, but it turned out to be a thistledown, or a ‘fairy’ as my mum used to call them when I was little, that had floated into the house. We all laughed. It was the first one I’d seen this year.

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The reality of performing CPR on my own child

When Abi died, it was very peaceful and controlled. But when she collapsed at home, in our bedroom, we went from calm to extreme panic in a matter of minutes. I was reading to my other daughter, my son was lying in his bed drifting off. My husband was looking after Abi in our bedroom, as she’d been sick.

All of a sudden he appeared at my daughter’s bedroom door with a look of fear in his eyes, and told me she needed me, really needed me. I felt concerned but still at that point believed it was just a bug and a mummy cuddle would make it all better… but suddenly the peace of our home turned into screams and panic. My screams. My panic.

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Did puberty trigger my daughter’s death?

My middle daughter came home from school yesterday with a pretty box stuffed full of sanitary towels and tampons. They’d had the end-of-year talk about sex and periods.

My daughter wasn’t fussed. She’s quite happy to wait to grow up and, while she knows periods will happen at some point, she’s in no hurry and would rather be dreaming of ponies. However, as I took the box out of her book bag, my grief hit me again. I was taken back to July 2012 when Abi had had the same class talk. Continue reading

Dust to dust – interring Abi’s ashes

Following on from My Great Loves guest post about turning back into dust, I wanted to share our experience of interring Abi’s ashes.

Choosing a burial or cremation is a decision I really wasn’t prepared for when Abi died. I knew she’d died and that we’d have to have a funeral, but I just didn’t consider the speed at which we needed to decide which method of burial we wanted. If we chose cremation then her body could be brought home from the hospital much faster than if we wanted her buried (paperwork!).

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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: 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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