Where I live

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I skipped a few days of the blogging challenge again. Too knackered with all the packing, travelling, unpacking and settling back in. But today’s challenge from Outmumbered is “Where I live.”

According to Wikipedia, ” Greenisland is a village in County Antrim, Northern Ireland. It lies 7 miles north-east of Belfast and 3 miles south-west of Carrickfergus. The village is on the coast of Belfast Lough and is named after a tiny islet to the west, the Green Island.

It is a semi-rural community located at the foot of Carn Hill , upon which stands the Knockagh Monument, a war memorial for those from County Antrim who died in the first and second world wars.

We have been living on and off here for the past six years. I say on and off because we keep trying to leave but we always find our way back here. We lived in Groomsport for a year (too posh-read uptight-to be comfortable for us!) . We lived in Carrickfergus as well for almost a year, in the Marina but moved back to Greenisland when I was 7 months pregnant with Georgie.

For obvious reasons we are looking to move again. This house is too full of memories now and too small for another baby, as we wish to have soon.

So if you live in Carrick or Greenisland and know of a big, lovely and bright house soon to let, let me know, will you?

Greenisland_seen_from_Knockagh

Grief,entitlement and forgiveness

First of all, let me start by saying my baby has been gone for five weeks yesterday. 35 days!!

How cruelly fast the time passes, stealing with it the sweetest features, the small details, the tactile.

I have started to forget how my baby’s tiny hands looked. I need pictures to remind me now. My body has stopped aching for his physical presence in a painful way. The time has dulled the sharpness of the physical pain.

But he is still in my thoughts. Of course he is. He is there when I accidentally end up on the Mothercare website and spot the “small brother” baby grow. And my heart stops for a few painful seconds.

He is there when I go for a walk in Perea, where our holiday apartment used to be and I see a baby boy pushed in a pram. And my mind says “this should have been us” before I can stop the thought from coming.

He is there in Emma’s features when she is deeply asleep.

He is there, present and remembered and adored, in every single conversation I have with my mum.

He is there in our plans for the future. For a forever house named after my special little boy.

And he is there when I am angry.

For four weeks I have felt entitled to be angry. To be angry with people and their stupid comments. Comments that catch you by surprise and in doing so hurt you in your deepest of deepests.

For four weeks I have cursed under my breath. And sometimes out loud.

I have cursed in four weeks more than I have cursed in my entire life.

Because there was nothing else my mind could come up with as a reaction.

What do you say when your husband keeps waking up day after day after day saying “I hate my life.”

How do you respond when your girl keeps asking with every news of a newborn: “Will he die too, mummy?”

When my heart kept being ripped out of my chest with the sight of every baby soundly asleep in his pram and superposing images flashed through my head of my baby suffering and dying such a cruel death?

But recently I realised I have a choice.

Oh, yeah, I am justified in being angry, of course I am.

Oh, yeah, I am justified to use bad language, could anyone blame me?

Oh, yes, I am justified to hold it against people for saying stupid things to us. For preaching at us. For blaming us for our baby nor being healed. For people not mentioning our baby’s name, not once, as if he had not existed.

Of course I am.

But will I keep doing it?

No.

Because I want to honour my baby with my reactions and my life.

Because I can’t behave as a spoilt brat towards God just because I didn’t get my way.

Because at the end of the day, my Georgie is safe. Forever safe. In arms of love. The greatest arms of Love.  He just took an early bus home, that is all.

And in the greatest scheme of things, him being forever safe is more important than my temporary pain.

Baba boo, baby blue, mummy hasn’t forgotten you. You are loved and cherished. Until the end of times. And beyond. Into eternity.

When we will cuddle up and hold hands and laugh until our bellies hurt.

And I know that God will not mind that upon arrival into heaven I will ask for a cuddle with you first.

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15 things that make me happy

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Today’s challenge from Outmumbered is writing about things that make us happy. Not the obvious, like the family and friends but the “small” and private bits.

So, here goes:

1. Reading. My way of escaping reality and relaxing.

2. Coffee. Frappe with loads of milk and ice in the summer. Vanilla-flavoured coffee with milk in winter. And in Ireland.

3. Rain. Goes with the reading, the warm coffee and a fluffy blankie.

4. Notebooks. I am obsessed with pretty notebooks.

5. Babies. I find it hard being around them at the moment but I have always loved babies.

6. Hand and body lotions. Again, slight obsession. Ok, not so slight. One in every drawer in the house.

7. Autumn leaves rustling. Love the sound.

8. Travelling to new places.

9. Comfortable shoes/sandals.

10. Pretty dresses. Alex would tell you need to wear more of those and less jeans.

11. Writing

12. Blogging

13. The thought that one day I will see my boy again and be able to give him a big,squashy hug.

14. My mum’s cooking

15. Pretty, artsy things. I am useless at making any but love sourcing and surrounding myself with beauty.

Vivid memories

Today’s challenge from Outmumbered is “vivid memory.”

And since it’s a month to the day since Georgie died I will try and brave my memories and go back to the day I took him to the hospital, knowing in my heart of hearts that something was terribly wrong.

My mum had left the previous Sunday(after being with us for three months) and he had seemed to do a bit better than he had done that week. He had been down with what we thought was a nasty diarrhea and mild fever. Waking up every two hours during the night with this weird sweat, only around his head. We had been shopping in Tesco’s like a normal wee family and took Emma to her drama class that Monday. And then, my precious boy stopped eating. Altogether.

I remember that evening. Alex kept telling me Georgie was ok. That babies do that sometimes. But I remember this dread I couldn’t shake. This overwhelming fear. This ominous feeling. I Facebooked with mummy friends asking advice. I researched online. And I worried, gosh, how I worried for my Baba…

The following morning I called the hospital. They weren’t happy. They asked me if I could drive myself there or if I needed an ambulance. I chose to drive….Our last drive together, my boy and me…

When we got there they started the tests. Read, poking at my baby boy with needles every two hours. They didn’t know what was wrong. They suspected leukaemia. From blood tests done the previous week. The local doctors were too cowardly to speak to me straight away. They sent this poor Romanian doctor who was working on contract in the hospital to say the word to me. “Prepare” me. She was the one who would do a lumbar puncture later that evening on my baby without putting him to sleep. Cruel practices, Romanian communist style. My poor baby boy…

By the end of that first evening, they had almost run out of places to poke. He looked like a sieve. And he had barely a few ounces of milk on his own. I felt lost. And helpless. And numb. And physically exhausted.

Fast forward 24 hours of hell, of restlessness and a half confirmed diagnosis of leukaemia. Of Alex holding my hand and our baby and looking lost, for the first time since we got married. Of plenty of cuddles with a feverish baby who wouldn’t get settled for more than half an hour at a time.

And then, the move. To the royal Hospital for Sick Children, CHU unit. Cancer and haematology.

The ride in the ambulance this time, with my sweet boy lying on a stretcher, looking around with his big and inquisitive eyes, looking so tiny on that big, long stretcher.

The arrival and wait in the unit. My refusal to believe my baby belonged there. Me addressing stupid questions to cancer consultants like: “How can you work here?” And my baby crying. Incessantly. Going in the theatre for more tests. This time under anaesthetic, thank goodness. The uncertainty of a diagnosis.

Another sleepless night. A clueless young doctor who wanted to put a second line into my baby’s other hand. So that I couldn’t even hold him. And me stepping into the role of my baby’s protector, at last. Me, telling her to bugger off. Along with the anaesthetist who was talking about inserting a line into my baby’s scalp. “Say what? I don’t think so.”

Finally, finally getting my baby into a restless sleep way past midnight. With the help of the wonderful CHU nurses. Charlene. Girls who had seen it all before. And who worried and stayed by my side until Georgie settled.

And then, the clueless doctor again. This time bringing the consultant in. Just to be told to let us be. As we were cuddled on my bed, mummy and son. Tight embrace. Restless sleep. But sleeping.

And then, the morning of that memorable day. The day when everything changed. The day when we were told the name of the disease. The same day when my baby would stop breathing for a brief few minutes to too many medical procedures. The same day, by the end of which, we sat sobbing into yet another waiting room, this time in the NICU, and we placed our baby into God’s hands. Supported by the comforting arms of our pastors. Loved.

I don’t think I will forget. Every time I relieve these memories I relieve the anguish and the pain. The helplessness. The sorrow. The indescribable pain of seeing my baby suffer.

But I don’t want to forget. Because my baby is there, in all these memories. And to forget would be to forget him.

A month in heaven, Baba Boo, Baby Blue. A month! I know somehow that for you all pain has been forgotten.

But I also know somehow that you haven’t forgotten us, your mummy and daddy.

We love you, sweet face. We miss you and nothing feels right without you.

But one day, one day, not too far away in Heaven’s time, I will hold you again.

In a forever sweet embrace, this time.

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10 years from now

Today’s challenge from Outmumbered is trying to see ourselves in 10 years time.

If you had asked me this six months ago I would have replied like any “normal” mummy, who had not known grief and sorrow. I would have said I would have been the happy mother of a teenage girl and a preteen boy. With a normal job. And a normal marriage.

But now we have crossed the threshold and are in the “beyond.” Beyond the unthinkable. Beyond our precious son’s death. Beyond the norm.

So where do I see myself 10 years from now?

I see myself living my life as if it mattered.

I see myself creating and keeping alive a legacy in Georgie’s memory.

I see myself as the mother of a teenage girl and if, God will choose to bless my womb, of another precious son or daughter.

I see myself still married and still loving my husband.

But I also see myself in the “beyond.”

Beyond living my life as if it mattered, I see myself living it full of joy and acceptance.

I see beyond the creation of a legacy for Georgie a hoard of blessings being poured on a multitude of lives. And all in my precious boy’s name. And with the help of his Saviour.

I see beyond being a mummy to Emma and to a possible rainbow baby. I see myself “mothering” the unloved, the lonely and the needy. And who knows, beyond the ordinary, the extraordinary of having another child, a child not of my womb but of my heart.

I see beyond being merely married to the man I love and respect. I see us growing stronger and more in tune with each other and with what God wants us to do as a powerful and influential couple in Him.

I see beyond the pain we feel now, I see hope and joy and success and life!

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Day 3: Favourite quote

imageToday’s blogging challenge launched by Mumnumbered( and by the way, I am writing this from a stubborn iPad which won’t allow me to add links to the website quoted above!) is a favourite quote.

I have none.

But I like reading and citing quotes daily, quotes that got my attention that particular moment in time.

The other day I read this one, by Corrie ten Boom. “A religion that is small enough for our understanding would not be big enough for our needs.”

I would go a step forward and take religion out of the equation, since I care not about any form of religion and replace it with God.

“A God that is small enough for our understanding would not be big enough for our needs.”

As much as I would love to believe in a “safe” deity who could be manipulated into doing what I want Him to do, like protecting my baby’s life from illness or saving him gloriously from death when I pray, I know that such a God would easily let me down.

He would be weak, as He will need guidance from mere mortals.

He would be confused, as He would have to respond to contradictory requests coming from different individuals.

He would become easily overwhelmed with the amount of ridiculous demands we would make of Him.

He would need holidays and sabbaticals from the human neediness and sorrow.

But the God I believe in goes beyond my understanding. He knows how to comfort when the human heart is traumatically bruised. He has made a way for us to be reunited with the ones we love. He understands pain personally since He lost a Son himself. He knows when to talk and when to be quiet. He never tells inept things like: ” I have allowed  for your baby to die so you can be spiritually elevated”, like some of His self-appointed and delusional prophets have told us. Or ” at least you got to serve him while he was alive.” Or “he is better where he is.”

No, God has actually been quiet since my baby died. Cause He knows me. And he knows that at the moment I am not ready to listen. He has made me and He knows I need time to vent. And question. And cry. And miss my precious baby son.

But I know He will speak when I am ready. He will understand me and my needs and will pour the healing when the time is right.

He will come through when He sees fit.

Until then, I choose to believe in a God wiser that me. A God sensitive enough to keep the distance but close enough not to let me slip into despair. A God bigger than my understanding!

 

 

 

 

20 things about me

With everything that has happened lately I stopped blogging. It has been merely pouring out my grief. So when I heard of the challenge launched by the lovely Outmumbered mummy blogger I decided this would be something I would like doing this month. I will try every day but if internet connections fail me, you will forgive me, won’t you!

So here goes, today’s challenge. 20 things about me you may not know.

1. I am an introvert. I recharge in quietness. I love to read and need time on my own to process information and facts.

2. I was born in Romania but have lived in Northern Ireland for the past 8 years.

3. I love the colour blue. I went through a phase as a teenager when I wore ONLY blue…

4. I love God. But I have been really struggling in the past few weeks to comprehend why my baby had to die in such a cruel way, of such a horrible illness, at such a young age. And I have been angry with Him.

5. My husband says I never use the bad language I use while driving or when I am really angry with him on the blog. Let’s just say I haven’t found the context to use it yet…

6. I used to attend an Orthodox Church as a child and teenager. And had a lot of respect for our priest who sadly passed away recently.

7. I hate cats(sorry, Mimi!) We used to have a tomboy called Tom who scratched and bit and peed in the house. Never again!

8. I travelled a lot and speak three languages fluently. And I can converse in basic sentences in other two.

9. I wish I had a ton of money and be friends with this world’s influencers. So I can help relieve pain and give joy.

10. I have always seen myself as a mum of two. Georgie’s death didn’t take that dream away. I will be the mum of two living children(and one precious baby angel!)

11. I hate unquestioned traditions and prejudices. If people questioned their system of beliefs more often there will be much less wars. And pain in the world.

12. I have become a beach bum this summer. It took me 8 years of being married to a Greek to get the fever of travelling for hours to get to a “good” beach.

13. But I still love lazying by the pool too! So not Greek, I know!

14. I can’t swim, by the way. Something to do with being born 9 hours away from the sea…

15. My mum is still my best friend.

16. I love peaches. And watermelon in the summer.

17. When I am very stressed, I stop eating. I lost loads of weight after giving birth both times because both my babies were very unsettled.

18. I love food and I can eat anything under normal circumstances.

19. I love having fresh flowers in the house all the time. They give me joy.

20. I learned to drive when I was 27!

That’s me for today, see you tomorrow hopefully!

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