I’m still here 

Hello, yes I’m still here.

I can only apologise for my lack of posts, life has been crazy. Besides the visit to London for the awards, numerous appointments and meetings I have also been writing my first assignment for my university course.

It’s been crazy.

To be fair I was not prepared for the step up in my life my degree was going to bring. 

That’s not to say I’m not loving every minute of it, I really am. It’s just harder that I realised to carve quality study time into my days.

I’m learning so many new things that my brain may explode. Honestly academic writing has totalled slammed me. I love to write and normally find words tumble out of me easily but that’s when they are my own thoughts and feelings. Academic writing doesn’t want my opinion ( how rude) it wants me to explain my understanding of the research. It’s been a steep learning curve but I’m loving every minute though my husband may not. Seems I get a little grumpy when stressed, who knew 😳.

Anyway I submitted my first official full assignment for my degree. I cannot tel you how sick I was. I truly felt that I had handed my soul over. I know, I know I’m being dramatic but truly I was so sick with nerves. I don’t know if it’s because I’m older and attending university is my dream or if it’s simply my desire to do well but pressing that submit button made me almost vomit. It just matters so much to me. 

Is that healthy? 

Anyway I apologise for my absence and hope to be more frequent in posts but no promises. 

Ooh and before I finish guess what? 

It’s nearly Christmas arrrrahhh 
  

A truly wonderful evening, memories, moments and awards.

There are some experiences that will live with you forever and for me Tuesday will be one of those. My beautiful daughter won an award from the Fostering Network for an outstanding contribution by Sons and Daughters. As you can imagine I was one proud mom and was so excited to go to London to watch her receive this award.

Words cannot describe how wonderful the night was, from the moment we reached the BMA House we were so welcomed. In fact many people came up to us and to say hello as they recognised us from the film we had recorded, Brodie’s story.

 

The evening started with a tea party, in a room that was dressed beautifully, we were greeted warmly by one of The Fostering Network trustees Daisy, a truly lovely lady who has such passion for Fostering. We were then seated with another Sons and daughters winner and his family and a lovely gentleman who was there to support the Fostering Network. We were also lucky enough to share a table with the beautiful Holly Willoughby and her equally as stunning mum. We also had the incredible honour to meet HRH The Duchess of Cambridge who sat and chatted to us all.

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How do I explain how amazing the evening was, Holly was truly lovely, really friendly and so genuine and HRH The Duchess of Cambridge was so beautiful, she was warm and interested in what we did. Brodie loved it and I was in complete awe. To sit round the table with these wonderful ladies was a real honour. I think I may have burst with maternal pride, my girl rocks.

After the tea party we all moved into the hall for the awards ceremony. The Sons and daughters awards were the first ones to be given. We then got to watch the video that we recorded a few weeks ago, sharing our story and our beautiful daughter. The video was so wonderful and so emotional, I will cherish it forever.

Seeing Brodie up there on the stage receiving her award from the Children’s minister in England Edward Timpson MP, was incredible, to say I am proud of her doesn’t come close. Fostering isn’t easy and you really have to work as a family to make each placement successful. Brodie is an integral part of making us work. She opens her home and her heart to children who need a home, who need a family. Her motto is , “Our home, your home”. You can read the reason she was give this award here.

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The whole evening was marvellous, the celebration of some amazing people all involved somehow with fostering. From fantastic Foster carers to some amazing fostered children who in spite of their struggles had achieved some incredible things. The atmosphere was inspiring it was a true honour to be there.

Brodie, myself and my husband had a memory making evening, we got to speak to some wonderful people and will hold dear so many moments from the night.

My husband was in awe of Holly, Brodie loved the fact that Holly admired her converse and for me just getting to talk about why I love fostering was wonderful.

So proud of my girl
So proud of my girl

 

I want to say a big thank you to the wonderful team at The Fostering Network, you are an incredible bunch who work so hard to represent fostering and supporting the awesome work of foster carers. Last nights celebration was for you all too as you are all stars.

Thank you for a wonderful evening, thank you Holly for loving my girls shoes and her plaits and thank you HRH The Duchess of Cambridge for giving us a memory to cherish and for wearing the same colour dress as me. ( see I do have some dress sense).

I also want to say thank you to my amazing foster son, you are such a gift to us all and we are so lucky to have you as part of our family, today and always.

Yes, fostering is a job but it so much more, it’s the opportunity to change lives.

I am so grateful that I get to do this everyday. Is not always easy but it is always so worthwhile.

I truly love my job.

Finding joy.

This weekend I sincerely fell apart, my tears fell and my heart broke a little more.

But this is ok.

Because falling apart allows you to put yourself back together.

In the brokeness you can find your truth.

Grief is a shit there is no doubt about that but this weekend in the midst of my grief I felt joy.

How crazy is that?

Loving is scary, there is always the thought that your heart could get broken

But not loving is really not living.

So in the my midst of pain I will hold on to the joy.

The amazing incredible joy I feel when I think of my beautiful girl.

The joy of knowing how blessed I was to love this child.

The blessing I have being a mom to four amazing girls and two incredible boys.

So right now whatever pain you are facing or whatever fear is tearing at your heart, hold on to your joy.

For it is said ….

‘Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.

Alfred Lord Tennyson

Seven years too long.

I rose from my sleep to the sound of my youngest crying, large pain filled sobs filled the air. I went to her bedside and she just held me close. The tears didn’t stop, each one choking her voice. I didn’t want then to ask what was a matter, I just waited for the sorrow to allow her to speak.

“ I’m forgetting her mom”

These four words struck me hard in the pit of my stomach, “ I was trying to remember her favourite song, the one we had to listen to so many times, but I cannot remember it”.

“I don’t want to forget her, I need to remember everything to keep her alive in my heart.”

Alive, it has been seven long years since my precious girl was alive.

 

Seven grief drowned years since the blue of her eyes sparkled with mischievousness.

Since those sweet dimpled red rosy cheeks smiled up at me.

I’m scared too, I’m so frighted that each day that passes without her is another step in the gulf between us.

My mind trembles over the memories, reaching out into the depths for the moments.

I want to reach out and hold her hands in mine, those soft silky hands with her long twisty fingers.

I want to hold her close and smell the fruity fragrance of her favourite shampoo.

I want to close my eyes and hear her sweet giggle as it washes over me.

I’m scared too.

 

I’m so desperately scared that I will forget one precious moment I shared with her.

Forget how it felt to hold her.

Forget how it felt to love her.

Seven years is simply seven years too long.

7 years too long

I was only wondering the other day about memories and how many the brain can actually hold.

I was fearful that my mind would save those that didn’t matter and lose those that do.

I don’t want to remember song lyrics or days at work, I want to remember my beautiful daughter, my Livvy.

I only have nine and a half years to hold onto to, please let me keep them all.

I want to remember everything and anything, from snotty noses to belly laughs I want them all.

Like Brodie I want to know the words to her favourite songs to see her dancing along to her favourite tune.

Please don’t let me forget.

Seven years

How in the world has it been seven years?

Time seems to have made no impact on my broken heart.

Still it calls out for her,

The calendar says seven years has passed

But my arms still ache to hold her.

My lap yearns to feel her upon it.

I hold her sister in my arms and we just allow our tears to fall, then Brodie turns to me and says “parachute girl, flies over the world and jumps up out of the airplane

We haven’t forgotten, we wont forget.

How can we,

How could we?

Every moment of those nine and a half years we had together is a gift that we will cherish forever.

Every second spend with our beautiful girl blessed our hearts.

Seven years may have passed but Livvy is and always will be

Their niece

Their granddaughter

Their sister

Our beautiful girl,

Our precious daughter.

how i miss this girl

Who am I now?

What is the term for a parent who loses a child? 

If you lose your partner you become known a widow or widower.

If a child loses their parents they become a orphan.

But what do you call a women who had lost her child.

I often find myself struggling when asked how many children I have, do I say four and then when asked more about them explain that one will be forever 9 and then wait through that uncomfortable silence that tears at my heart. Or do I just say three and not acknowledge my beautiful Livvy.

What about those parents who children didn’t stay. Is a woman who faced a still birth still a mom? 

It’s a hard and the worlds terminology needs to catch up and allow us to honour our children. 

I do always say I have four children in fact I am a mom of 6, two may be in heaven but they are still hold pieces my heart.

To the parents whose child never got to stay you are still mom and dad and nothing can take that from you and if someone tries send them my way.

I mean if your brother or sister died do you stop being their sibling. If your parents die do you stop being someone’s son and daughter. Of course not.

So I want a name I want something to honour my loss and cherish the part my child still holds in my life.

I asked my friends how they would describe themselves now they have faced the ultimate loss. Broken parents, heartbroken, missing, all truly valuable words but for me it’s not enough. 

Then I came across this 

The word we are looking for, she says, “must be a quiet word, like our grief, but clear in its claim.” The word “widow,” which means “empty” in Sanskrit, is such a word, and that same language, she suggests, provides another for us to borrow: “vilomah.” This means “against a natural order,” she writes. “As in, the gray-haired should not bury those with black hair. As in our children should not precede us in death.”
K F C Holloway 

Vilomah, this word sits right with me. 
Against the natural order. 
I should have never had to bury my child. To walk away from a hospital room never to hold them again. No parent should have to plan their child’s funeral.

It’s against the natural order.

So maybe I am a Vilomah a word that may never be understood but is held as truth in my heart.

19 years

Wow today My husband and I celebrate 19 years of marriage, I think one or both of us deserve a medal or five ha ha.

What have I learned in the last 19 years?

wedding image

Well, marriage is hard, fighting at times to stay together when walking away would be easier.

Learning to accept that you are both far from perfect. That you both are works in progress.

I’ve had to learn patience to understand when he doesn’t get me. To work harder at communicating. I cannot expect him to know what I’m thinking and feeling when for the most part I never know myself.

I’m sure he will tell you that listening is so important that often underneath my rage is me just asking to be loved. That somethings which seem little to him are often important to me.

I know I’ve had to learn to listen better too, sometimes when he says he doesn’t want to, it maybe because he feels uncomfortable or unsure. I have to learn not to expect him to have the answers all the time.

Time apart is good, it doesn’t mean you love each other less it’s about respecting the fact that you have different ideas of fun. Whilst a library may be my favourite place Alan so prefers his RC clubs or getting his hands dirty in his shed.

The kids are crafty they won’t think twice about playing mom and dad off against each other. So communicate as parents. “Dad said it was ok” has been my girls favourite since they became teens. Now dad says “I will check with mom” and vice and versa.

Love needs work, it’s so easy to get caught up in being parents, in work, that we forget to work on being husband and wife, on being lovers.  Date nights are great but even an hour chatting  together is lovely.

I still cannot believe it’s been 19 years since I said I will. Some days I want to strangle him, yet sometimes when he smiles at me or reaches for my hand I get that little flip in my stomach that takes me back to that 19 year old girl who fell head over heals.

I can honestly say it hasn’t been an easy 19 years. We have faced the worst heartbreak that can happen to parents, the loss of a child. Yet somehow instead of pulling apart we pulled together. Grief can destroy the strongest marriages but somehow we managed to grieve together. I had to learn that sometimes he cannot find the words to share his pain. He has had to understand that sometimes I have too many words.

I guess if truth be told I was lucky I fell in love with a man who wasn’t scared of fighting for what he wants. All the times I’ve tried to pull away he has just stayed strong. He understood my fear and just overrides it with love.

My husband has taught me that love can be true. That sometimes what people say is what they mean, and that promises can be kept.

I cannot believe that I have now nearly been married for half of my life. It seems crazy. In fact we have now been together over half of my whole lifetime. Most of my memories now have him at the core.

Yet still I am so excited about the future, the next 19 years.

Is it sad that I’m excited to grow old with this man.

We have so many plans, watching our girls grow up, maybe a marriage or two. Yet the greatest gift we have is being able to walk this life together.

Making new memories and cherishing on our old ones.

Happy Anniversary Alan, thank you for the last 19 years and here’s to many more.

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