Silent Sunday – Nine Weeks

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On grief, anger and pain

It’s been two months since my baby died.

I remember reading this post back in July, on the 5th, the day my baby died, and having no clue about grief. How could I have had?

The numbness wore off.

The numbness that followed the indescribable pain of watching my sweet son die. The baby that I longed for with fierceness, the boy who was so bright and was meant to become a doctor and save so many lives, according to his doting Bica. My mini me…

And numbness was followed by anger and searing pain. In a chaotic and overwhelming melange of emotions and feelings.

I have been angry. With everyone. With myself. With God. With Alex. With Emma. With people saying things. With people not saying things. With pregnant women. With women with babies. With people sending me shitty links meant to “guide” me through my grieving process. “Spiritual” links. With people staring dumb-folded when I say I lost my baby. 

But do you know what has been the overwhelming feeling since the numbness wore off?

PAIN.

I feel like an emotional sieve.

Everything I live filters through the sieve of loss.

My baby’s absence is “present” there at any given time.

In McDonald’s, while Emma is chatting to me about school. And I know Georgie will never attend school.

In church, while the speaker talks about the healing powers of God and my mind screams: “Shut up, shut up, shut up!!!What do you know? He didn’t heal MY baby. Acknowledge the exceptions! Be real! Remember MY son, don’t just talk generalities and platitudes!”

In the car, in the parking lot, in the coffee shop, in bed, in the shower, in my sleep…

Nothing can fill me. Not one single thing.

Joy, laughing, joking, shopping, travelling, going out? 

EVERYTHING seeps away through the holes in my sieve.

Nothing holds.

Nothing.

Except for a tiny voice coming from deep, very deep within telling me in my moments of peace. In the moments I worship. In the moments I allow myself to cry.

Telling me my baby is ok. That doesn’t make my pain ok. Or his loss ok. But for a few split seconds, the comfort of knowing he is well and he is safe and he is happy where he is makes me feel at peace. Just for a few seconds. Just for a wee while.

And then, the storm rages on again within. And my sieve gets empty, once again.

IMG_9662Oh, to hold you one more time, sweetheart.

To feel your warmth and look into your eyes and see your precious, precious smile!

One day, son, one day.

Mummy loves you and hasn’t forgotten about you. She longs to be with you. And one day, she will. Just wait for me at the heaven’s door when the time comes, ok? Cause only then this mama with be ok, once again.xx

 

 

 

A pain that never goes away

What were we found to be lacking, Lord, that you took our baby away so soon and in such a cruel way?

Could we not have been trusted with him for another year or decade?

Were we so much worse than so many other parents on this earth who are still enjoying their children and know nothing of the pain of losing their heart in the cruelest of ways?

Is he still remembering us or has your glorious realm and presence deleted our very existence from his memory?

What am I supposed to do with this pain that leaks like puss from me and makes people draw away?

What can I say and do?

How many times can I say sorry for my sins.

How many times shall I repent for wanting another child?

How will I ever forgive myself for bringing the sweetest child in the world in order for him to suffer? Cause suffer he did, from the very beginning, till the very end.

And it is Sunday. And we should celebrate Your resurrection.

But what about my dead heart?

When will it be resurrected from pain and choking grief and anger and resentment?

When? When? When?

I had 8 weeks without my baby.

And it doesn’t get easier.

It gets flipping harder.

Every single day.

And I have no clue how I will pull through another 8 days, months or years without my baby.

And people seem to expect me to move on.

Even my brother, who never “likes” any of my baby’s pictures on Facebook. Trying to shame me into silence. As if silence ever shamed me into anything.

Even my husband, who ever since he returned from his prolonged holiday, hasn’t said a word, one single f…. word about his son without my prompting. “Move on”, his silence says. As if silence ever solved anything between us.

Moving on to what?

I miss you, baby boy and I will never stop writing about or thinking of or loving you.

NEVER, until we meet again.

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                                   Pain, pain, pain, pain, pain, pain, pain, pain, pain, pain…

 

Guess how much I love you

Dear boy,

You have been gone for more than seven weeks now.

Seems like an eternity yet no time at all.

You know, for someone who has lived on this earth for only five and a half months, you have left a humongous gap behind you.

I miss you everywhere.

I miss you in the health center, where I remember taking you with Emma for your vaccines. I remember how proud she was of you. How in awe you were of her, your big and caring sister.

I miss you when I drive through Carrick. Every single street and corner holds a memory of you.

I pass the church where Emma goes to GB and I remember being expectant with joy and you!

I go shopping in Tesco’s and you are there, accompanying me. When I glance at the baby boys’ bibs. When I see the nappy aisle.

I remember you when I go for a stroll and see the coffee shop where we took you one rainy morning.

I miss you when I go to the library and I see the baby books and I know you should have been here with me, on my knee, reaching out for them.

I miss you when I go clothes’ shopping. I miss you in the bright colours you loved so much. I miss you in the coffee shop I took you one very unsettled morning and nearly fell asleep. Me, not you, remember :-)?

I miss you in IKEA. When I see the baby cots. And babies in pram. And pregnant women.

 

And at times, it makes me sad. And somehow I know you know about my tears, there where you are.

At other times, it makes me angry. Not with you, never with you. Just at a future without you.

At times, it makes me feel lonely. Lonely with my pain and sorrow. Lonely for your smiles and your sweet presence.

 

And they say time heals but I know now it is not true. Time doesn’t. Grief comes back, in vicious and distressing circles, again and again and again.

And nothing makes it better. NOTHING. Only your presence would, baby boy. Only your giggles. Only YOU.

 

Guess how much I love you, sweet boy?

I love you to eternity and beyond.

I love you to heavens.

I love you all the way into my future, until the very end of it.

I love you with a fierce and never ending longing.

It will never end. It will never diminish.

It will never change.

 

And God, I have given you my heart.

Twice.

Once when I became aware of your love for me and surrendered to it.

And again, once again, when my heart was ripped from my chest and flew to be with you.

So now, I wait.

And I expect your blessing, once again.

You will need to show me how to live again.

And how to grow another heart, capable of love and vulnerable to pain.

How to be like you.

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42 Days of Summer

So BritMums launched this challenge at the beginning of the summer. How do you fill your days during the summer, how do you entertain your little ones?

Here is 42 ideas:

1. Go out cycling.

2. Blow bubbles. Inside or outside. Doesn’t matter as long as you spread a towel on the slippery floor to make the activity safe.

My sweet Georgie loved bubbles.

                                                                                                                                                  My sweet Georgie loved bubbles.

3. Go for a walk to the beach.

4. Go swimming. Indoor or in the sea, weather permitting.

5. Make a scrap book with pictures and activities you do over the summer as a memory for when they are all grown up.

6. Sleep in late after a movie night in with popcorn and sweets.

7. Build a fort indoors or in the back garden. Chairs and blankets will do.

8. Join a summer class. Emma is big on drama at the moment and although she didn’t get a chance to do any classes this summer due to our circumstances, she will start in September.

9. Go fruit picking, if you have where.

10. Go to an local farm, buy organic eggs and make scrambled eggs for lunch.

11. Go to an open air market, encourage the children to pick new fruit and try them all in a fruit salad when back at home.

12. Join a church summer club. Or more :-). Our local churches have a rota over the summer and the children get to be entertained every week by a new and exciting summer club.

13. Make ice lollies. Or fruit lollies, the healthy version.

14. Take a walk in a local park or forest and observe the nature together.

15. Take pictures of new things. It encourages creativity and makes for hilarious pics.

16. Go to a kids’ cinema show. They are cheap and a fun way to pass the morning.

17. Make summer paper plate crafts: the sea, the sun, anything summery to brighten a dull day spent indoors.

18. Give their room a good tidy up with them helping.

19. Encourage the children to get their rooms ready for school by throwing out/donating/passing on things they no longer need/have grown out of.

20. Join the reading scheme in the local library and do a reading challenge.

21. Play in muddy puddles on a rainy and miserable day.

22. Let the kids loose with chalk. Provide a board for indoor creations and a safe path for outdoors.

23. Syringe painting. Emma had loads of fun doing this in the children’s hospice.

24. Take a trip to Home Bargains, give the kids a low budget of a few pounds and see how much they can buy in the arts and crafts section.

25. Paint everybody’s nails.

26. Play a board game.

27. Get the baby swimming pool out and let them splash around. Add bubble bath for chaos.

28. Download Netflix. I was so late with this, I still resent myself the lost weeks, LOL.

29. Camp, indoors or outdoors.

30. Make jam or just bake together.

31. Shaving foam in the bath tub, if you are really struggling for ideas :-)

32. Collect sticks, stones or shells, depending on location. I “forgot” our stone collection in Greece.

33. Build sand castles.

34. Water balloon fight. Shall I say more?

35. Do a sponsored charity walk for a charity of their choice. Teaches them compassion.

36. Watch at least a serious movie that teaches the children that the world can be a sad place.

37. Talk about life. Answer honestly when they ask serious questions.

38. Sleepovers. For both you and your littles. Ideally at the same time :-)

39. Visit a butterfly farm.

40. Have a dress up day. Morning to bedtime. Including yourself :-)

41. Make a bird house. Or a bird feeder.

42. Have a picnic indoors and let them make a mess in the living room.

This post is an entry for 42 Days of Summer Linky Challenge sponsored by McVitie’s BN. We were sent biscuits to sample, tough job :-). Learn more at http://bit.ly/1mRpMCL

Loneliness

This week the world has been shaken by the loss of a great man.

I remember the shock of reading the news that evening.

Robin Williams? Dead? Suicide?

Wrong words jumbled together.

So we all did what our hearts told us to do.

We mourned publicly the loss of a great person. We quoted the artist, we comforted the man’s family. We created and forwarded lists of his favourite performances.

More important, Robin Williams’ death served as a catalyst.

Unprecedentedly, we ACKNOWLEDGED clinical depression publicly and its devastating effects on the sufferer and the surrounding family.

And then, we acknowledged our own pain and hidden suffering. I saw so many beautiful people coming forward and bravely acknowledging their personal fight with the overbearing monster that clinical depression can be.

And we showed solidarity. And we proved humanity still exists by embracing these people and whispering to them, in comments on their blogs or in tight embraces when we saw them face to face.

It is okay. It is not your fault. As Nick Coffer put it so very well, mental illness can be very ” democratic. Old, young, rich, poor – pushed to the moment where ending it all becomes a real option. Suicide remains the biggest single killer of middle age men – and it remains one of our biggest taboos. Talking openly about mental illness and embracing people who are suffering, without judgement, will be the long-term sign that we are an evolved and compassionate society.”

I couldn’t have put it better. Indeed, embracing people who are suffering, without judgement, would be a sign that we are a compassionate society. A society where it is safe to raise children and open up about our pain.

This week another thing happened. The Christian world has been shaken by the news of great pain.

Ooooh, no, it is not what you think it is.

No, I am not going to be proper and extract a few tears from us, righteous and holy people, feeling bad about the tragedy that has been taking place in Iraq. About which I am utterly outraged, by the way, and will write some other time.

No, I will write about a subject that is avoided and buried deep and considered shameful by the Church. Just like clinical depression used to be, not so long ago.

A subject to which we have no solutions as we have no understanding.

To which we offer idiotic solutions like exorcism(!!!) or we choose to totally avoid and ignore.

This week, a prominent Christian female figure in Church came out as gay. 

Oooooh, I can hear the roar of disapproval already.

For all self-righteous folk, the exit is clearly marked by a white cross found on the right hand side, top of the page. Just go now, I will not judge.

For all Christ-righteous folk, the exit is clearly marked by His Cross.

I do not know what homosexuality is. I do not know if it is a mental illness. Or a chromosome gone haywire. Or the consequence of sexual abuse at a young age. Or…or…or…

But you know what? I do not need to know.

Just like I do not need to know why my baby got leukaemia and died at not even six months of age.

Just like I do not need to know why there is depression and so much pain in the world.

My role as a Christian is not to have the answers.

I am not supposed to know.

My role is plain simple on this earth.

I am here to love. Show acceptance, compassion and mercy.

How dare we stigmatise, isolate and declare pariahs everyone who is unlike us?

Words carry no meaning in themselves, only the meaning we give them.

So how is it different being a Christian in Iraq from being gay in a Christian church?

How is it different if the result is the same: annihilation of either body or soul. 

And if I remember right, Christ said “beware of the enemy of your souls”. He warned us of the danger of losing our humanity as he knew our bodies are less important in the greater scheme of things.

I do not support gay-ism.

Just like I don’t support clinical depression.

But I feel for the suffering. And I find totally unacceptable for us, as a church, to use a person for their gifts, be “blessed” by their singing, just like Vicki Beeching but then turn our backs to her as a human being just because she is different.

If I could, I would give her a hug. If I could, I would look her in the eye and say sorry. For all the years when she had to face her “demons” alone. For us failing her as a church while she was blessing us with her gifting.

The “world” turned the tables on clinical depression. Robin Williams’ death served the ultimate purpose of acknowledging the drama of clinical depression and erasing the shame.

Hey, Church, here is a revolutionary idea for you! What if we acknowledged homosexuality as a terribly isolating issue and embraced the suffering?

Not follow suit, I say, but just for once, show the world how to live and be compassionate!

 

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And I would go a step forward, big man, and say: “The most radical act anyone can commit is to be happy and help others be happy too, if it is within our power.” Rest well!

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

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