Category Archives: bereavement

Life, loss and other stuff.

It’s been a while again!

There has been this pandemic thingy going on and there was little to write about really, lots of crafting and time with the sproglets watching films and eating sweets. Then suddenly life has changed all over again, most of my time is spent studying and writing now. I had this bright idea to study for my master’s degree so that my life now, reading journal articles and books and writing and researching. I hate it and love it in equal measure. The pressure is immense but it’s fulfilling, I will see if I still feel that way when my dissertation writing comes around.

My children are growing into young adults faster than I can keep up with, Elliot is 15 in his last year of high school and he is a lovely young man. Working hard at school and helping around the house (albeit begrudgingly), he will be a man before I know it and while I’m proud I have managed to raise a tiny baby into an almost fully functioning adult it’s terrifying to think he will be out in the wider world soon. I know the world has a lot to offer but I’m an anxious person at heart and I want the world to be kind to him, I know he will be amazing whatever he chooses to do. He had some hard times to deal with recently and it showed me just how mature and lovely he is, taking care of his siblings and being thoughtful. Chloe is her usual crazy, funny self, she will never be what the world would want her to be, and I wouldn’t have her any other way. She is still at Merit, the best decision we ever made was sending her there she has flourished into her own weird, wonderful self being there. She has inspired me to study adolescent mental health and I hope I can one day help children like her. As for Lewis, well what can I say about him, his smile is infectious, he is the most loving child I have ever met. He is considerate and kind and he makes friends everywhere he goes. I never expected to have a third child, but I can’t imagine my life without him, he has taught me a lot about resilience and beating the odds.

I know I am biased, but I think they are amazing children and I hope one day they will look back and see how proud of them I am. I never expected to have children who faced such challenges, but I never stop being impressed by the grace and humour they display every day.  The older they get the more I focus on where they are going instead of where they have been. Over the years I have come to realise that it’s not about giving them everything they want or need but helping them become well-rounded people. I have spent a lot of time in self-judgement of my parenting, but it is time wasted, if you are trying your best to raise kind little humans then you’re doing fine. I have this overwhelming feeling of gratitude for the people who have helped me to raise them, however big or small the contribution they are who they are because of the influences they have had.

Recently we lost one of the most wonderful people I have ever known, Nan taught me so much about parenting. She told me off when I was too hard on them at times, showed me how to love them unconditionally because that’s how she loved everyone. I am so aware of her absence every day as the kids are, we are all so much better people for having known and loved her. I still wake up every day believing she is still here just for a little while and in some ways, I hope I always will. She has left a hole so big nothing will ever fill it for too many people to count, I believe that someone who was loved by so many people can’t just be gone because that love must go somewhere. I am aware that sounds incredibly cheesy, but I don’t care. Through the very worst time in my life, she was who I talked to, she shared her pain and was honest about I would never be the same again and she was right. Nan’s honesty is probably the thing I will remember about her most it could be brutal at times but always fair and always for a good reason. I have never laughed as hard or cried as much as I have in her house sometimes laughing so hard, I have cried. When I first met her when I was 15 and I had no idea I would love her and need her as much as I did.  I wish I could have told her what she meant to me and her great-grandchildren, they have so many happy memories of her.  I will miss putting the world to rights, getting advice and that feeling of sitting in the living room and feeling I could talk about anything with her.

I hope wherever she is she can see Elliot. Chloe and Lewis and knows that they wouldn’t be the amazing tiny humans they are today without having had her in their lives.

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September The Only Month I Truly Hate.

This month is always hard for me so I have been employing some distraction techniques to keep me busy especially when the kids aren’t here. September is my least favourite month, well that’s putting it mildly actually I hate it. September is ‘the’ anniversary month, the anniversary of a day absolutely no one ever wants to celebrate. And I mean no one and I mean never. So September for me is a lot about distraction and a lot about being sad and wondering what should have been. In 14 years I have yet to find a better way to deal with September so I continue to distract myself. The problem is that each day has this habit of turning into the next day and then we get closer to D day and it takes superhuman strength to be distracted on those days. The last two days I have spent hours cleaning and baking to make sure I don’t have time alone to think. But then as always at night there is no more distracting you can do and you can’t help but think of all the things you have been avoiding thinking about.

So here it comes, tomorrow I have no choice but face the day regardless of how much I want to hide. Tomorrow I should have a 14 year old teenage son to spoil, a 14 year old to marvel at how much he has grown and how it feels like only yesterday he was a tiny baby. To think of all the memories we have made and all the other cliches we all know and love about our children growing up. I should be moaning about picking up his dirty socks and complaining about how he eats me out of house and home. Tomorrow like the last 14 years I will have none of those things, not one bit of it. All I have is a memory of you kicking me from the inside and the brief time I got to hold you and stroke your baby soft skin. It wasnt enough, nowhere near enough and even after 14 years it still eats me up that your not here. I can’t begin to describe how much I wish I could change things for you, the things I wish I could have done with you. I can’t pretend i wouldn’t be changing them for selfish reasons aswell.

There is no time limit it appears on grief, I’m still angry and I’m still broken from your death. I was pregnant for 8 months and I had a baby but I didn’t feel like a mother. I felt for a very long time that I failed you, like somehow I should have protected you but I didn’t. I know now that’s not true, I did my very best and I did protect you, I loved you and I made plans for you like a mother does. It sometimes feels like as a parent you spend a lot of time feeling guilty for the things you get wrong and feeling worried about what will happen to your children. That’s how I know that I did become a mother even though you weren’t here. I worried about what was going to happen to you and I worried if I made the right choices, I was a mother because I felt like every other mother feels when they have a child.

So tomorrow we will light some candles for your birthday and your siblings will blow them out and we will talk about you, I will answer their questions about you that always come and it will hurt but I will be so glad as always that they think about their biggest brother. I will bring you some flowers and talk to you, I will no doubt cry at some point and that’s fine, I will cry because I wish you were here to celebrate your birthday and because I’m your mum and mum’s do embarrassing things like cry on their son’s birthday.

And although I will always feel broken that you’re not here I’m glad it still hurts in some ways because it’s when it hurts the most that I feel closest to you and I wouldn’t want to ever stop feeling that. I’ll try to see it from different perspectives, I know that without having and losing you I may have been a very different person. I know that your death made me appreciate many little things that I may not have when I had your siblings, it makes me more empathetic to others who experience loss and above all having you made me a mother and I wouldn’t take that away.