31 Days of Grief: Music

This is the song that speaks to my heart most when I think of Georgie.

I can only imagine the joy, the giggles, the cuddles, the love…I can only imagine…

31 Days of Grief: Altar

I do not have an altar dedicated to Georgie as I simply do not think I need one. I do not worship his existence, nor his passing away but a living God. But I do have a lot of memories of Georgie throughout the house, his memory wall, and two corners dedicated to him. One in the kitchen/living area, where we spend most of the time as a family and one in our bedroom.

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As the time passes, I expect that I will remove some of the reminders but not all. Georgie will never, ever be removed from our home nor from our memories. Simply because he has been engraved in our hearts and he will remain there forever.

In both remembrance corners I have two cards that were sent by his nurses. We got loads of cards but these two are extra special as are from two nurses who were so crucial in his care and his hospital journey.

This is what the cards read:

“Georgie was a beautiful, beautiful boy with his gorgeous smile. He had more nurses wrapped around his wee finger than most boys could hope for in a lifetime. It was an absolute privilege to care for such a fantastic wee boy.” (Hannah)

“It was a joy to nurse your son, George. I will always remember Georgie’s smile, soft nature and the effect he had on all the girls. He truly shone.” (Sarah)

And this is how I choose to remember you, darling boy. A happy, shining with happiness and love boy!

Mummy loves you, now and forever more!

10487997_10152150338681512_2541229217226938301_n1236316_10152282958066512_2797188240144417435_n

Depths of Perception

imageThis is my entry for the Depths of Perception Ocean Waves Photo Blog Competition.

It is imperfect, just like me as a photography blogger( hence the finger shade in top right hand side corner) but it shows the majestic fierceness of the ocean surprised last December on the Antrim Coast, Northern Ireland.

It was our first and last holiday as a family of four. How very eloquent and relevant for the year that lay ahead of us…How little did we know of pain and suffering and the fierceness of love that goes beyond the grave…

31 Days of Grief: Support

We did receive and feel a lot of support from our friends and church during the months of Georgie’s hospitalisation, his stay in the children’s hospice and after his passing. People were overwhelmingly kind. Getting meals ready. Looking after Emma. Getting people to clean our house or doing it themselves. Sending us flowers. Putting money together to see us through the rough months. Paying for our rent. Buying wee mementos in Georgie’s memory. But unfortunately not all people got it, our need to grieve at our own pace, once Georgie passed away. Surprisingly, it was family members doing or saying the wrong thing that shocked us. And also, members of certain churches who live under the “prosperous Gospel” doctrine who literally ran away as soon as Georgie passed away. Too much of a dose of reality for them, I suppose. I woke up on Friday morning to a shockingly upsetting email from a relative. I will not shame the person or myself by putting it here, the message that was sent to me. But I will link in my reply, in the hope, and only in the hope that people will learn. Learn to respect other people’s pain, even if they are your relatives and you think you are somehow entitled to give opinions by the mere blood connection. Learn to respect that people mourn very differently and very messily. Mourning cannot follow timescales, relationship rules or precepts. Mourning is the complete unveiling of one’s soul and should never, even be criticised or directed, as it is a very personal and intimate journey back to a new “normality”. So, here goes: “Dear Nosey and Insensitive Relative, You clearly speak from the perspective of someone who read a lot of books, knows all the “right” answers but hasn’t experienced the loss of a child. Without wanting to generalise, this has been the attitude from the “strong” side of the family ever since Georgie passed away. Ignore. Dismiss. Don’t acknowledge the loss. Don’t acknowledge the pain. Give unrequested and unnecessary advice and personal opinions and views. This hasn’t helped. Not one bit.

Did it not occur to you that “guided grieving”, read not a single flipping mention of our baby boy and his passing away, can lead to dangerous patterns of behaviour and harmful relationships? Because, dear relative, ignoring pain instead of expressing it, leads only to repressed feelings, anger and later on a very toxic and literally life-threatening explosion of emotion.
I don’t even know why I am writing this email. I know you will not allow it to break your wall of defenses and “I know betters”. I know it will not help you grieve for Georgie as in sitting down and actually allowing the realisation of his passing devastate your world. I know you will most likely rationalise your pain and push it aside. And that is ok. It is your choice.
But dear relative, MY baby died and I have the right to grieve in any way I choose to, without anyone attempting to mould and “guide” that process. And make me feel bad about the way I relate to the rest of my family during these very fresh stages of grief. I still function. My first child still gets washed and fed and taken to school. My husband still gets his warm dinners on the table and his laundry done. I grieve alongside living, as any healthy individual does.
Have a lovely day.”
My next blog post will reveal how precious my baby was, in the eyes and perception of the ones who knew him and looked after him, his nurses and our friends.
10308353_10152050475116512_8966196071248220921_nGeorgie was so loved, so very loved by everyone who met him.
How can anyone choose to ignore his existence and tell me to “move on” is beyond my ability to comprehend.
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31 Days of Grief: In Memory

Since Georgie died I have felt the need to empathise more with people and their suffering. This need was overwhelming in the beginning and I had to learn to pace myself and realise that no matter how much I would love to help everyone and with every need, I can’t.

But the few concrete things I did in memory of Georgie were:

1. Raising awareness among friends and blog readers and getting the swab test sent out in order to get on the DeleteBloodCancer.org.uk register. Georgie’s form of cancer was very aggressive and unfortunately he didn’t even make it to the stage when he would have needed a bone marrow transplant. But other children and adults suffering from leukeamia do. I would be floored and totally honoured if I get matched up with a person in need. It would be the most fantastic legacy I could leave in Georgie’s name.

2. Making myself transparent and vulnerable through my blog and my writing in order to encourage others to live a life true to themselves.

3. Opened a bank account with Alex and through his generosity and understanding, inspired by one of the books I read after Georgie’s passing. We call it “the love account”, it has at the moment a small overflow of cash I can use when I see a financial need I feel I need to address in friends or strangers’ lives. All in our special boy’s name.

10364056_10152023112966512_1808747011739674804_nAlthough he was little, he left a huge mark and a big gap in our lives. Although he be but little, our love for him continues to be fierce and fuel our lives and our giving.

Live on in our hearts and in our love for others, little man, live on!

So proud of you and the courageous way you lived, my boy!

Mama loves you. Now and forever more.

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#MorningWin Challenge: The Adventures of Billy Biscuit

Everyone needs a bit of joy in their lives and motivation to get out of bed in the morning.

Ever since we lost Georgie, I have found mornings difficult. Waking up to face the day feels at times overwhelming.

So…I create.

I create beautiful lunches for Emma to take with her to school.

I create links with the past by carrying or wearing a reminder of Georgie’s existence every day, to give me courage and feel him near.

And I also create through my writing, when I feel the need and find the time:

“Once upon the time, there was a pack of biscuits(or two…or three…).

They were sent for reviewing to a mummy blogger who decided their ephemeral life should go down in history as the “adventures of Billy Biscuit.”

So, instead of being shoved in and munched on unceremoniously, these privileged biscuits got to accompany her everywhere and have a glam and useful existence.

Some of them got consumed reverently on a Sunday morning, during the slightly too long and less than entertaining Sunday service:

10723717_1578227229071941_2070974450_nOthers got to enjoy the stunning views of the Belfast lough and the company of a good cup of coffee and a fascinating book. What a way to be remembered!

1741122_1502456869996857_1870212222_nOthers still made it to Tuesday and the gym and got a taste of the (not so) grueling exercise regime the blogger puts herself through every week. Here is the pack exercising on a make do yoga mat before…consumption. (The pink swimming goggles were an unnecessary piece of gear, included because they had the word fitness on them. Hint..Hint…)

10684295_268250310038296_623801708_nSome made it to Wednesday and got to meet the giant pumpkin brought in to celebrate the harvest season and said hello to relatives, the roasted monkey nuts!

10724962_610158929096186_1308194792_n The few left in the pack were devoured on Thursday by the giant spiders (okay, not true but what other excuse to give for feeling the need for a couple of yummy biscuits?)

biscuitsThe last of the pack got to be had with a lovely cuppa over a blog post. Totally unrelated to Crunchy Hazelnuts blog post. Hmm..hmmm…mmm….yum…”

10727387_335525159963505_1547329885_nThis post my entry for the #MorningWin Linky Challenge sponsored by belVita Breakfast. New belVita Breakfast Crunchy offers a fruity, extra nutty or chocolaty option as part of your breakfast experience, adding more variety and excitement to life. Visit http://bit.ly/belVitaUK for more information on new flavours available.

“Dear Brittany”

If you live in America, you are sure to have heard about Brittany Meinard and her terminal cancer which has prompted her to take matters into her own hands and decide the day she will die. It will be in 3 weeks from now, the first week in November. She is also advocating for the law to be changed throughout America and for everybody who is facing a terminal condition to be granted the choice to “die with dignity.”

This is my open letter to Brittany:

“Dear Brittany, I am so sorry to hear about your condition. But most of all, I am so sorry to hear about your decision to end your own life, before suffering and incapacitation set in. I do not write this letter from an idealistic and lacking real perspective point of view.

You see, this time last year, I was pregnant with expectation, joy and idealism. I was carrying what I thought to be the fulfilment, the completion of my picture perfect family, a wonderfully gorgeous baby boy.

Brittany, that boy was born in January. He brought us joy and he has done us proud. Proud of what, you would ask?

Oh, you wouldn’t believe it, but our baby boy was diagnosed with leukaemia three short months after he was born, shortly after Easter this year. If he had been a grown up living in the States, in the States you are advocating for, the States where death will be free to choose when life become too messy or ugly to look at, this would have been the end of his story, right here.

But you know what? He lived for another two and a half months after that diagnosis. And he fought, oh gosh, how he fought!

You see, Brittany, without trying to shame you or make you feel bad in any way, Georgie taught us so much about living in those two and a half months.

He taught us that suffering and extreme joy, to the point of waking up at night and singing to the top of his voice, can coexist.

He taught us that there is always, always something to smile or grin about. Georgie brightened our days with his happy and relaxed personality, he was the one who paradoxically gave us strength during the ordeal of his treatment and hospitalisation.

He taught us that death can be peaceful and in a way, beautiful. His death was like a candle being blown out, nothing grotesque or scary or terrifying about it. Just a passing from one realm into the next.

Georgie taught us that life is to be treasured. To the last drop. To the last breath. Until the moment he exhaled his last breath, we stayed deeply connected, soul reaching out to soul, deep calling unto deep. If we had been robbed of even one second of that precious connexion, we would have been devastated. If we could have prolonged his life by even a minute, we would have gladly done it as we understood, with our hearts, not with our brains, what life is all about.

We miss our darling and happy boy every second of every day. We probably will until the day we die.

But would we have chosen to shorten his time with us, in order to spare ourselves and him the pain of seeing his become less of himself and more of death? No, a thousand times no.

He was and will remain our precious boy. His body transformed and towards the end became unrecognisable but his soul remained the same throughout the whole experience. He was loved and loved us till the very end. PicMonkey Collage

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