Latest Posts

Les Braves

1100px-Omaha_Beach_NowadaysToday, we landed in Normandy, France.

It is our first time in this part of the world. We are here to visit family, to enjoy some time together and create memories.

On the way, we decided to stop on the Omaha Beach to pay our respects to the thousands who died here on June the 6th, 1944.

We did it with reverence.

Having witnessed the death of our precious son last July, I do not take pain, especially a mother’s pain, lightly.

On Omaha beach, the suffering of over 3000 mothers was incurred by machine guns,  vain ambitions and grandomania.

It was almost overwhelming to set foot on the same beach where so many dreams and hopes and lives were shattered in a matter of mere hours.

But what I didn’t know is that the beach is now guarded by Les Braves, a war monument erected in the memory of the thousands of American soldiers fallen there.

11084937_1402212546764099_1644865813_n

Very appropriately, the memorial, as seen in the picture above, marks in its three composing elements Wings of Hope, Rise of Freedom and Wings of Fraternity.

It made me think of our loss, being on the Omaha Beach.

I truly hope that the devastation that death has brought upon us last year will not be the end of the story…

71 years from now, I wish our lives would have been a promise of Hope, a testament of Freedom and a story written in the Fraterity of suffering.

I hope we will be wise and we will not allow the heart-wrenching pain we live with every day to corrode and destroy the hope in the future.

I hope we will never lose sight of the revelation that sorrow has brought upon us and never let a day go to waste. Death has paradoxically freed us of many social and spiritual bonds. I am determined to live in this new found and so very painfully gained new freedom. I am also committed to extend the same grace to anyone around me and be accepting and supportive of anyone in need.

And I truly wish that this story will bring upon the formation of a new Fraternity. The Fraternity of the suffering, the Fraternity of the pained, the Fraternity of the needy.

10729285_843711348998270_906354715_n

Today, on the Omaha beach, where so much suffering and loss was witnessed 71 years ago, we laughed and we enjoyed a moment of freedom.

May our lives and their memories would have left, 71 years from now, a legacy of joy, of freedom and of fraternity.

May our son’s loss not be in vain, just like all those young lives, sacrificed on the shores of Normandy, were not in vain to Europe’s modern history.

Dear Dalriada Doctor

Dear Dalriada Doctor,

I am sorry I inconvenienced you today by phoning twice for a prescription I should have had the consideration to organise before the Easter holidays began.

Mea culpa.

But still, a bit of compassion and respect would have worked wonders, you know?

I get it.

You sounded bored and ready to go home.

Maybe the extra money you are getting for working on a public holiday does not make you happy.

I understand.

Maybe you had been working from 9 in the morning and had had enough of snotty toddlers and drunk youths. Or maybe you were on call last night and you went to see a dying child in the hospice close by your practice. Possible.

But you don’t know my story.

You didn’t scroll long enough through my medical file to see that in July last year, my life changed into a nightmare forever.

I know, it’s been nine months and I should be “over it” by now. After all, my son was only a baby when he died, right, and I can always go and have another one. Like a puppy from a pet shop.

The truth is, and trust me, I did contemplate for a second sharing it with you over the phone, my life is as screwed up now as it was nine months ago.

I still wake up in the middle of the night. Almost every night.

I still forget loads of things. Like birthdays. Conversations. Coffee and lunch dates.

I am still grieving, you see.

Medically, there is nothing wrong with me.

I function, thanks to Fluoxedine and my daughter, who needs me every moment of every day.

But grief makes me forgetful and easily distracted and probably, as you said, disorganised.

I put my family first and end up exhausted and disheveled at the end of the day.

The little energy I have gets consumed easily with thoughts and tears and rage.

On a daily basis.

Yes, I didn’t realise I was running out of pills.

Yes, I should have planned better.

But I think, and correct me if I am wrong, your role there is not to admonish or deter patients but to serve.

I know, I know, I saw the new policy. Don’t use “emergency” services unless necessary.

I was not an emergency.

Not yet, anyway.

But tell me, should I have waited and taken myself off antidepressants and maybe end up jumping off a cliff?

I wouldn’t have been an emergency then either, because I would have been dead…

As I said, I am sorry I have inconvenienced you today.

I will make sure next time I will order my pills in time.

And I truly hope that you will never be at the receiving end of a Dalriada line…

10423270_10152084182716512_293582403789621959_nThis is my son, whose loss I grieve every day. I know you didn’t know. Would you have treated me better if you did, I wonder???

Cinderella magic with Cinemagic

Cinemagic is something new to me, I must admit. I had to research its history and future events before writing this post.

A group of enthusiasts formed a charity meant to inspire children and young people through film and film making. The charity hosts now events in major cities like New York, Dublin and Belfast.

To benefit the children and siblings that have been in contact with the Northern Ireland Children’s Hospice, Cinemagic had this morning in the Odeon cinema ( Victoria Centre, Belfast) a special screening of the new Cinderella movie. And we went, to Emma’s total delight and to ours too, we must admit!

For two hours, we were given the opportunity to dream alongside our children about princesses and princes, love which conquers meanness and happily ever afters.

We were reminded of good life principles of “stay strong and be kind” with which we would have agreed wholeheartedly before we were faced with our new reality.

It is good to dream. It is good to forget, even for a couple of hours, that life is unfortunately far from being a fairytale.

It is good to become a child again and be transported in a world where the good and the bad a clearly delineated.

It is good to remember that normality is possible and doing things as a family, incomplete as it may be, can still be enjoyable.

Thank you, Cinemagic!

And thank you, Northern Ireland Children’s Hospice, for keeping us close and allowing our living children to enjoy a delightful event alongside their parents!

disney_cinderella_2015-wide

When do I miss you?

I miss you in my dreams,
I search for you futilely and desperately
But I can never find you, my son.

I miss you when the dreams wake me
In cold sweats.
I miss you at the crack of dawn
When you should be snuggling against me,
And search for comfort and my love.

I miss you first thing in the morning.
The house is too quiet
Without what you should have been.
Without your presence,
Without your giggles,
Without your joy.

I miss you when I work,
I work with so many lovely little boys.
And I always wonder
How you would have looked,
And how you would have been.
Would you have been shy or gregariously loud?
Would you have liked Maths?
Would you have loved story books like Emma?
Would you have liked trucks or trains?
Yoghurt or apples or rice?

I miss you when I sit quietly for lunch
Back home.
I imagine you being with me.
I remember you playing under your baby gym
This time last year.
I can almost sense you,
And I can almost see
In the foreshadow of the “will never be.”

I can see you running around the house,
I can see us being whole again,
Naïve in our togetherness,
Naïve in our happiness,
Unaware of the pain that death brings.

I let my imagination run mad,
I can almost feel the joy of having you again
If only thoughts had the power to redeem
To resurrect
To restore.

I miss you now
As much as I have missed you
When you left.
I hope my sorrow
Gets filtered as it lifts up to you
And by the time it reaches you,
It is warm cuddles and kisses and tickles on your belly.

I miss you, little boy.
I miss you, my son.

I wish life would hurry on,
Like an express train,
I wish I would reach my destination soon,
So I no longer have to imagine,
So I can truly have you in my arms,
So I can smell your perfect baby skin
And tickle that little belly of yours.

Hurry by, time, hurry by…
You are the only thing now between my son and I…

10557248_10152186032016512_3508606494158911151_nBiB2015x350nomwriter

Brilliance in Blogging Award Nomination 2015

I have been told numerous times since Georgie died that I am a brilliant writer.

I don’t think I am, to be honest.

I am just honest and true and my writing is raw many times.

I write to heal. I heal by writing.

But now, I have a favour to ask.

I have asked my Facebook friends last week and now it is time to extend the invitation to you, my lovely and supportive blog readers.

If you do think my writing is any good and it deserves noticing, would you vote for me in the Brilliance in Blogging Awards?

BiB2015x350nomwriterThe writer section stands at number 8 and this are the details you need in order to complete it:

Blog Name: Mama’s Haven

Blog URL: http://mamashaven.com/

Blogger’s Twitter ID: https://twitter.com/MamasHaven

Blogger’s email: oanachi@yahoo.com

Why do you feel this blogger deserves to win the blogger award?: Your choice of words!

URL of your favourite post from the blog: Any of my posts. My most recent is this: http://mamashaven.com/2015/03/22/mothers-day-2015/

Thank you very much!

If I win or even if my blog gets a mention in the awarding process, it will be all thanks to you!xx

Mother’s Day 2015

I meant to write this post last week but as I said in my last post, things have been busy.

Shortly before Christmas, we spent a weekend in Daisy Lodge, Cancer Fund for Children’s retreat base.

11055673_693129500799535_1951680353_nAs a recently bereaved family, we found the experience energizing and soothing, the place a safe haven, like nothing else in this world and the staff amazingly intuitive, discreet and caring.

We managed to made friends, good friends, with other bereaved families who were visiting at the same time.

A second invitation, for Mother’s Day weekend, was very much appreciated and all three of us really looked forward to resting, recharging our batteries and reconnecting with people we have come to call friends.

Mother’s Day can be a hard day for a bereaved mother. Any day carries the potential of memory triggers, of painful reminders, of nightmarish “whys” and “ifs.”

But Mother’s Day is guaranteed to trigger strong emotional responses to the loss of a child. Memories of cards received in the years past. Or the pain of realisation that cards, flowers, scribbles and awkward but sweet attempts of making breakfast will never happen, like in our case.

It could have been a very painful day, spent in the wrong environment, with the wrong expectations and suffocated by the flood of mother homages that will never come from my baby boy.

But being in Daisy Lodge felt right.

We were patients suffering of the same heartache who for two and a half days could put our defenses down, our “normality” forgotten and be ourselves.

We laughed and we cried and we spent loads of time together, talking about our little ones.

We compared grieving notes and finally felt “normal” and relieved to hear that there are other parents who feel, act and think exactly like us.

We healed together.

We were, for a beautiful weekend, a community. A community we would have never chosen to be part of but of which we are now coming to appreciate the support and existence.

And just like this picture that the little girls made, we felt the mess of our pain and the randomness of being chosen as the families to suffer loss, becoming a unique piece of art, pain and joy and hope for the future woven together.

1963129_639834789449451_1421055258_nWe enjoyed being looked after. We appreciated the beautiful flowers we received on Mother’s Day. We valued the time and the permission we were given to pause, to meditate, to draw from our experiences and to create:

11015583_865987930114042_1736137046_n But most of all, as mothers, we appreciated the opportunity to mention our little ones, the ones whom we cannot easily mention in the real world, because the mention causes discomfort.

And the permission we were given to reestablish publicly what our hearts know secretly, every minute of every day.

That our precious children are gone but their memory will stay forever, not only with us as their parents but also with all these other families who are coming to know and love them through us and our stories:

11005134_1557125787870472_1374483362_nWe are still a family of four and we will forever be missing a precious little boy whom Heaven robbed us of too soon.

Mother’s Day was an occasion to remember what a precious treasure we were given for a short while and a reminder that love never perishes, not even in death…

Grief on the back burner

I have been busy.

I have been happily busy.

We have been travelling around the country, seeing new and beautiful places.

I have been working with children and enjoyed every day of it.

I have been spending quality time with my daughter, creating precious memories and having loads of learning experiences and fun together.

But in my busyness, I neglected my grief.

And I am back to not sleeping.

And back to nightmarish dreams.

I don’t dream with my boy but I dream myself in situations that highly frustrate me.

The last one was being in a dilapidated house full of rubbish and cockroaches and piled up high with junk.

And I was there with nothing to tackle the mess.

Feeling completely enraged, frustrated, hopeless.

I have been ignoring my grief but I have done myself no favours.

It is pure rubbish what people say,

that God heals all the wounds with a magic wand,

that if you “put your baby to rest and allow his soul to float to heaven”

that if you ignore your heart’s pull to sit down and just be with your memories and your pain,

that things will get better.

They don’t.

Reality checks are necessary.

No.

They are mandatory.

I miss my son.

I am still very angry for losing him.

I do not care that the number of my “friends” has halved in the last few months.

I NEED to remain true to myself

and to the memory of my son.

I am a bereaved mum.

Carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders.

I am not okay.

I am still extremely vulnerable,

extremely forgetful,

easily stressed.

Cause the death,

the death of a son,

is not to be taken lightly

and does not heal in eight and a half months.

I fell on the grief path.

But it is time to pick myself up and carry on with my journey,

remaining down will mean I am a coward

and it will mean I have betrayed the responsibility I was given.

photo-1422728221357-57980993ea99