You are loved

imageI have been told this so many times in the past few days.

But I do not feel loved.

I feel that our loss has made us stranger than a stranger to those who surround us.

I am odd, a misfit, a foreigner, as in “a person not belonging to a particular place or group; an outsider.”

When Georgie died, I wanted to make sense of his death. I wanted his death not to be in vain. I wanted his death to have a reason. To have an explanation. To lead to something noble.

But then, I came face to face with the cruel reality. The reality is that death is not a subject we talk about as a society. It is a taboo. It is a nuisance. It is a too much in the face of comfort a subject.

Death is classed as inappropriate in “civilised” conversation. Pick the weather, the seasonal trends or the pets. But not death. Never death. Death is not a comfortable subject, not even in church, not even in the presence of the good news gospel. Death remains marginal a subject, even if it is the unavoidable entrance door to Heaven.  Death has become prejudiced against in church. The unexplainable, unfair, cruel death of a baby or a child, even more so.

We have become so sold to the idea of miracles and signs and wonders and the supernatural, we are so thirsty for fairytale, happy endings that death inconveniences. Even in church. And especially in the happy, clappy, “Spirit-driven” church.

Death inconveniences so much that, silence follows it unequivocally. Just like a parent teaches predominantly through body language and non-verbal cues, the church teaches its people through its silence.

And I feel that, like in The Lord of the Flies, the community of believers, in the absence of a discourse and driven by the silence of their leaders, proceed to draw their own conclusions and follow the pack instinct.

The odd-ones out, the misfits, the (eye) sores, the “depressed”, are eliminated from the community of “normals” as weaklings, as monstrosities. Just like in the olden days disabled babies would have been thrown off cliffs because they didn’t fit the norm, these days I feel Christians whose lives did not produce a miracle through prayer and faith(oh yeah, the big F word!) are pushed off the edge of the hope cliff by silence.

If miracles are the expectation, the rule, the norm, the desired outcome, then the ones without a miracle are monstrously misfitting and need smoothed out, like an annoying wrinkle on the ironing board.

I have been doing a lot of thinking. A lot of accepting. A lot of coming to terms with.

I need to say this out loud.

Death is part of life. Death will come for all of us. Death is the exit door for us all, sooner or later.

I have known the pain of death. I have thought it would be the greatest pain there ever was. But the silence is worse. I know it now.

P.S.- my baby has been dead five months today. He lived for only five and a five months so we are facing Christmas as the month when Georgie would have been in heaven for longer than he has been on earth. Please don’t be silent about it!

In the dumps

I felt it creep up, Christmas
Slowly saw it taking shape.

It grew in me from angry thoughts
Into Anger.

Then Sickness.
My body was running itself out.
Just like my soul was running itself empty.

Now, it is a big, heavy blanket of Sadness.
It has descended on my soul,
Into our home,
In our family.

Sadness is here to replace,
In an ugly and twisted way
The precious boy I have lost.

I cannot have another baby like this,
They say.
And they are so right.

Sadness bears more sadness
And a baby deserves joy.

But I do deserve joy too.
I do deserve my own miracle too.

There is no way out.
Just sadness, thick and heavy,
Filling out all the gaps.
Leaving no place to breathe,
Leaving no place to exist.

All I have ever wanted was “normal.”
Two point five children,
A home and a husband who loved me.
Was that so much to ask?
Was I so bad to deserve punishment,
And punishment to this degree?

Antenatal depression
Postnatal depression
Cancer
Death.

The death of my dreams.

And now,

Now what????

10364056_10152023112966512_1808747011739674804_nProse-Christmas-Image

New kid on the block, hubby on the blog!

Hubby is going through a health craze stage, once again. He has taken to posting pictures of his creations(and they are his, I kid you not, talking about creative men in the kitchen!!) so I decided to give him a voice here, on the blog.

I will start with his oak cakes, he made them the other night and they are savory, to my taste and I can truthfully testify to them being absolutely yummy!

Here are the ingredients and instructions for Alex’s Mediterranean Oat Cakes:

1. In a large bowl mix 300gr oak flakes, a teaspoon of oregano, a teaspoon of rosemary, a few chopped sun-dried tomatoes, chopped fresh basil and salt.

535947_10152411576827307_3325702060429242346_n2. Pour in half a glass of oat milk and mix well. Add 2-3 scoops of milled flax, sunflower, pumpkin and sesame seeds, blend and chop a quarter of garlic clove. Squeeze in a teaspoon of lemon. Get your hands dirty and knead everything into dough.

10151241_10152411576807307_4733015030065812972_n3. Roll dough and cut out cakes using a glass. Place cakes in a pan, place in preheated oven and bake for 15 minutes.

10268467_10152411576832307_3368461370152822865_n4. Serve cakes cold. Serving suggestions: cucumber & smoked salmon & red chilli; avocado & tiger prawns; beetroot and tiger prawns.

1510837_10152411576852307_1013553975951132295_nAlex has agreed to me using his pictures and recipe in this blog post. He just wants to help people eat healthily, he says. I appreciate his generosity and creativity, I love doing cooking/baking posts but when I am in the kitchen I have very limited time to take pictures and fiddle around so I think Alex might become a regular contributor on the blog.

Watch out for his posts, ya’ all!

Magic Moments

I am really struggling to keep my chin up these days. It is hard to find any positives in the day when you have lost a precious child, you are battling a cold and the pressure to be “merry” has become almost palpable, with December knocking impatiently at the door!

But in the midst of all the pain and rotten, bed-ridden days, we were offered (by two wonderful local charities who got to know us and have worked with us since Georgie died) tickets to two beautiful shows for Emma to enjoy: Disney on Ice at the Odyssey Arena in Belfast and Alladin, the pantomime, at the Grand Opera House. Here are some pictures of the very impressive shows:

10808615_458823940925543_816171593_n10784840_1504240553183112_284588505_nI have also been forcing myself to deck the house in Christmas attire and prepare the ground for Christmas, all for Emma’s sake. She is only 5 and it is not fair on her to have no Christmas celebrations nor joy just because we, as parents, feel like hiding away from the world until the 1st of January:

10809928_860350830664345_1939020253_n10832038_810427265664953_1448056195_nThis Saturday it was also our wedding anniversary but we just couldn’t bring ourselves to celebrate as such. We did exchange cards and sort of promised each other that we will try and do better next year. This year nothing feels like celebrating:

10808903_1511607645756971_956478068_nI am really trying, I am…I will do the Elf on the shelf and a book-a-day advent calendar with Emma. But I do wish Georgie was here to marvel at the silly Elf and pull at the Christmas wrapping paper…For Emma, the magic will have to still be there but for me, there is no more magic…

magic-moments-300x300

Silent Sunday – 30/11/2014

10808903_1511607645756971_956478068_nSilent-Sunday

Fraser Bear’s Snow Story

story1One week ago, the House of Fraser launched a wonderful Christmas competition for children, to celebrate the launch of a toys’ section on their website.

Emma was invited, alongside other lucky mummy bloggers’ children, to come up with an ending to Fraser Bear’s dilemma: explaining to Baby Bear, in very simple terms, what snow is.

We chatted a lot about snow this week, Emma and I, and since the competition gave us the option to either draw the ending or use no more that 200 words for our explanation, we came up with an idea that might solve successfully Fraser Bear’s dilemma.

After much consideration, Emma decided that the best way for Fraser Bear to explain the concept of snow to Baby Bear would be to find as many images of white sugar used in winter culinary creations. Emma thought that for someone who had never seen snow before, comparing it to powder sugar, “only cold”, would be the easiest way to make Baby Bear understand the concept.

Here is our collage “picture”:

Snow-Fraser Bear's storyIn words, here is how the story would go:

““Baby Bear, do you remember the beautiful winter cakes we saw in the shop the other day? The snowman, the North Pole igloo cake and the marshmallow man we made together this afternoon ?”

Baby Bear looked less confused this time and nodded, with a smile of recognition on his little face.

“Do you remember the powder sugar we used to cover the snowman in, once it was all decorated?”

Once again, Baby Bear’s eyes lit up at the sweet memories of cake and time spent together making memories.

“Well, Baby Bear, exclaimed Fraser Bear happily, this is what snow really is: It is like powder sugar, only not so sweet but very cold to the touch and on your tongue.”

Fraser Bear watched Baby Bear’s face scrunch up for a few seconds and then, the realisation of what snow is making its way on Baby Bear’s face with a big, wide grin:
“Cold sugar…yum, yum!”

Fraser Bear smiled at his little brother:
“Yes, Baby Bear, snow is something like cold sugar, indeed!”

Disclaimer: This is our blogger entry to the House of Fraser snow story competition. We were not rewarded financially for writing this post and Emma and I found putting our entry together a wonderful opportunity to work as a team on a winter project. Emma was invited to choose a toy from the comprehensive toy selection on the website.

If we win the competition, and the £250 voucher to spend in store, we will use it to update Emma’s room to suit her school age. We will most likely invest in a desk for her to use to do her homework at and have it as her own creative space for beautiful, artsy handiwork.

Grief is…

a whirlpool, we were told in counselling last week. It sucks you in, when you least expect it and it spits you out, exhausted and drained.

a maze, out of which you never quite manage to emerge, I read. You pass from one chamber to another, sometimes chased, just like in the Maze Runner, not by a griever but by Grief. Sometimes you crawl through it, from one chamber to another and back again where you started: shock, anger, acceptance, pain, shock, anger…

anger plus despair plus pain plus loneliness. All at once, on any given day.

a loud banging-like noise in your head that deafens you to any other noises of this world. All you feel like doing is shout back. But at whom? And to what effect?

never knowing how to play your emotions. Play them down and they come flooding over, like a tsunami, when you least expect it. Play them up and people drain away from you, like water off the surface of dry, parched up land. Grieving emotions are inconvenient and raw and tiring for the onlookers.

a living nightmare. The only way I know that the past year hasn’t been a bad, bad joke of a dream is the pain I feel every time I wake up. The reliving on autopilot, any time of the day and of the night, of overwhelming feelings of fear and despair and emotional destitution and disillusionment .

re-shifting of belief paradigms. I used to believe everything happens for a reason. I used to believe God is good to the little ones and merciful and just. I can no longer collate beliefs based on church preaching and passing of information alone. I actually walked out of church on Sunday as church at the moment as it stands makes no sense to me. Preachings on God as a healer are void, completely void of truth to me. I am now the result of my life experiences.

the blunt refusal to be grateful for what I have lost in the light of a better future. I have been tearing into shreds my daily calendar of quotations when the word “thankful” featured on the page. I refuse to be. And don’t you dare preaching at me and saying I should be grateful for what I am left with. Because I see no reason why your kids can still enjoy THIS life and THE NEXT and mine had to miss out on this one completely. As grand as the celebrations will be in Heaven for Jesus’ birthday, MY baby could have been spared around 70 years on this earth to enjoy celebrations with us here as well.

darkness, like a tunnel through which you walk alone, never quite knowing when or if you will encounter light again. Sometimes you see a glimpse of light, like this morning when a friend pulled me aside, wiped my tears and took me home and made me coffee. Some other times, you see a glimmer of light in the horizon, when you think of the day your body will stop working and your spirit will be released to meet the spirit of the little one you have missed so very much all along.

is not intentional. I wish I could make myself forget the pain. Forget the trauma of seeing my baby in pain for months. Be able to ignore the facts and my gut feeling that tells me that he must have been suffering from when he was in the womb. Be able to be the wife I am expected to be (and reminded I am not), the mother I am supposed to be (and fail miserably at being every time I lose patience with Emma) and celebrate in the joy of trusting the Lord. But it is not a matter of choice. Pain is not a choice. I would have never chosen this path for my baby, for my marriage, for my surviving child.

is completely oblivious of seasons and celebrations. My grief couldn’t care less about Christmas being less than a month away. It does not diminish in intensity. Actually, it has magnified in rawness and strident loudness as the days have clocked in, closer and closer to the “happiest day of the year.”

being beaten at life. Because no matter what you do, no matter how many boxes you tick, no matter how many posts you write, presents you buy and kindness acts you perform, at the end of the day all is left in your heart is…hollowness.

I leave you with the image of my two children. This picture was taken two days before the nightmare began. Before our family was decimated. The day when we were still a normal family with two bright, beautiful and full of potential children. I love it and I hate it, in the same time. I love the normality in it and I hate it for the dreaded fear and anticipation that it brings with it. Just like my every memory that has my sweet baby boy in it, sweet and sour, all at the same time.

105I miss you sweet face.

I miss what you should have been to us, a son, a brother, joy, completion, innocence, motivation to fight and live on.

I know you are having a good time there and you are probably in awe of all the big lights and decorations coming up for the biggest celebration of the year.

I know you are loving every colour, every glimmer, every sparkle. You love roaming about, you love seeing everybody and everything, you love the singing and the joy permeating the air, the atmosphere, your very pores.

I just miss having you here, in this world full of tears and imperfect people and pain. I miss the chance to give you of the little I have, my love and my care and my attention.

Wait for me at the gate, will you? Introduce me to the realm of wonders but most importantly, save me a spot close to you. As I am determined to spend eternity so very close, since death denied us your presence here.

Love you, to the heavens and never back again.

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