Feeling disconnected

Over the last few months I have found myself returning to a place I had worked hard to come from.

I was struggling and my “go to” was my return to my closed off world,

Here I was again detaching myself.

I heard myself turning away opportunities to connect, to be part of something, to be.

Disconnected

I hate this about myself,

I know the anxiety of the adoption approval was on my mind but I hate that I was letting fear win.

Fear eats you up inside, insecurity, distrust, lack of faith, all things of which I know better.

Yet sometimes even knowing better doesn’t help.

Growing up I often felt disconnected from this world, as if I was placed here from another planet. Yes, I know this sounds strange but I truly felt ,“Not of this world”. This didn’t mean I believed I was an alien with superpowers just that something was strange about me. This followed me into my teenage years in which I struggled greatly. Lack of self confidence, self belief, the rollercoaster of growth, the endless search for identity.

Meeting my husband and having my children allowed me to feel whole, to feel complete. From the f moment I first held my daughter in my arms I felt grounded, I felt true. Being a mom surprised me in more ways than I could imagine, the joy of having such a precious gift, the fear of keeping them safe. Motherhood, no parenthood is so frightening yet so rewarding. All you want in the world is to watch these gifts grow, to keep them safe, to see them realise their dreams.

Losing Olivia did take some of this completeness away from me.

I didn’t get to see her grow past 9 years, I could not keep her safe and I can only pray that she got to live some of her dreams.

This hurts and at times it’s this pain that returns me to my feelings of disconnection.

Anxiety rears its evil head and fear starts to play games with my heart.

Yet having Olivia taught me that fear cannot and will not win

Because even in the darkness there will always be light. 

I may have only got to hold Livvy for nine years

But I got to hold Livvy for nine years.

I got to be the mom of one amazing, incredible, inspiring young lady.

I get to be the mom of three other equally incredible inspiring young women

And one day soon I will get to be officially mom to one incredible baby boy.

Fear won’t win, fear cannot win because love will always overcome.

I may get lost at times and I may sometimes feel “ not of this world” but thats ok because I truly believe that our journey on this earth is only part of package. Maybe my heart has always been in two places, maybe my soul has always flew outside the gravity barriers, who knows.

What I do know is that love is the essence of life and whilst the ribbons of love are tied around my family I will always be connected.

connection

Sharing my secret

So over the last few months I have been struggling to write the truth.

Scared to lay my heart out publicly for the world to see.

Scared is an understatement I think petrified comes closer.

Ive attempted to try,

Writing about being vulnerable, stepping out, being brave but all really hidden in the illusion of no substance.

I just could not find the words, fearful that having my dream in written form would somehow not make it happen.

Jinxing it, sabotage it, all irrational fears but fears all the same.

Sharing my story with only those I knew would hold my heart.

Today is my truth day, 

My day of honesty.

I have a secret to share, a dream I’ve held so close.

lock-583878_960_720

We have been going through the process to become adoptive parents,

and………….

We have been approved!

Did you get that ?

We have been approved for adoption. 

I am so excited,

I am so happy.

Over the last months we have walked this journey, each step walking in vulnerability.

Praying, dreaming, hoping beyond hope.

I have been sick with nerves, nauerous with fear but ….

We have been approved. 

Can I write that again?

Approved.

I cannot tell you how we feel right now,

up on cloud nine, on the top of the world, over the moon,

All these statements do not come close.

We are………

Elated

Excited

Ecstatic

Happy

 

We still have a journey in front of us,

Things to do, paperwork to fill

But one day soon.

There will be another in our family. 

Another, already in my heart. 

My list for friends of bereaved parents 

When I lost Olivia it created a wall of awkwardness which surrounded me. I wasn’t sure if people were just uncomfortable with grief or scared to reach out in case I broke. The outcome was that for a long time I was lonely. A few could cross the vast gulf of pain but not many. I not only lost a child but I also lost friends. 

Now I feel no bitterness to anyone who walked away. I cannot understand but I can accept, grief is a intense emotional vortex that no body enters through choice. Walking away may have been all some could do. 

Yet I do wish there was a list out there that I could have just handed out to all that knew me. Information to help them grasp what I didn’t have the vocabulary to explain. 

So after again watching someone walk through the loneliness of grief I decided to attempt my list. I emphasise my list because every journey through grief is unique. There is no right or wrong way to grief, it’s just your way. The way that helps you survive. I’m just hoping that even though it is my list in may help others a little. 

So here’s goes…,

1. The most important one, please say our children’s names. Our children have gone but please don’t make us feel that they are forgotten. I love nothing more than to hear my Livvy’s name in conversation to share memories or to comment how she would have loved this moment, this food, anything just say their name. They are still our children, still our lives. #saytheirname

2. Secondly please don’t tell me or any grieving parent that time makes it easier. Let me tell you that 8 years into this journey I know that’s a lot of tosh. I may have become stronger but I promise you it doesn’t get easier. I believe this statement also takes away from our children as if time fades away their memory. No chance. 

3. Thirdly Please don’t tell us it’s inappropriate to laugh. It’s ok for me to laugh, I remember not long after losing Livvy I was out with her sisters when something happened that was hilarious and I just laughed at laughed, I remember because someone who was with us commented that it was strange for me to laugh when in grief. Laughter is a wonderful thing it’s also a great release of pain. It also does not take away from the memory, it honours them. Do you really believe that being sad is what our child want for us? 

4. Number 4, It’s ok for parents in grief to be sad, their hearts has been broken and there is no time limit on grief. Don’t suggest they should try to be brave or pull themselves together, let them do what they need to do to survive. 

5. Still include us in things, ask us out for the meal to the cinema, anywhere, don’t be offended if we say No just always ask and continue to ask. Just asking let’s us no that you care, that you want to spend time with us. 

6. Never suggest that we will get over it. This should be a simple one but I can’t count on fingers the amount of times I’ve been asked, ” are you ok now, are you over it”. I don’t think answering WTF is inappropriate in these situations.

7. Be practical, offer to make meals, walk the dog,do the grocery shop. Just be there to help in whichever way we need.

8. If we have other children offer to take them out for the day. Take them to the park, swimming anywhere they can just be kids. They to will be hurting and sometime not thinking helps tremulously. 

9. If we need space please give it to us, everyone has there own way of coping. Some need people, some need space. Just respect this and give us the space we need to work through the pain.

10. Don’t give up on us, yes the friend you knew before our loss has gone but please don’t give up on us because whether we realise it or not we really need you to be there. Up front or in the shadows just knowing that we are not alone makes such a difference. 

Back to school with Maped Helix

Whilst we are only really half way through the summer holidays my daughter is already stressing about returning back to school. This is normal as she has always liked to be prepared and sorted before she relaxes into the holidays. This year it is a little more stressful as she is heading into her GCSE’s year.

Though thanks to Maped Helix her stress load has already been made a little easier. They sent us this fantastic selection of their products which are going to be perfect for both her coming study, revision and even exams.

Maped helix

We have been a fan of Helix for many years, their maths sets have been a staple for all my girls. When you send your children into the exam room you want to have confidence in the products you have given them, Helix has always given me that reassurance.

helix maths

I am rather impressed and envious of the goodies Brodie has been sent and I’ve already tried to liberate a few but she isn’t having any of it. They are all now hidden away in her bedroom waiting for the coming school year.

Brodie is the last of my daughters to face GCSE’S and whist this makes me a little sad I know I still have A levels and the older ones dissertation to face before my home becomes exam stress free.  At least with Maped Helix on hand I can help reduce the some of the forthcoming anxiety , it’s certainly going to be a busy year for the girls, I am still in shock that I have one starting her GCSE’s and one in her last year of her university degree, amazingly considering I’m only 20ish. 

My place to just be…

Tomorrow I head to my field, a place where each year I get to go and for a few days feel whole. My heart breathes with the knowledge that I’m not alone. That here in this green refuge people get it, they get me. 

This week over 70 families are coming together to just be. 

To laugh, to cry and to make some amazing memories.

Families with children with special needs coming to a place where disability isn’t disabling . 

Here on this field their are no “cannot’s” only “how shall we”. Children in wheelchairs will race for the finish line, wobbly walkers wobble to victory. 

Laughter, friendship and understanding.

We get it.

We get you

I’m so excited for my field, I cannot wait to meet up with friends old and new. To just relax and be.

Children will play, wine will be drank and cake will be eaten.

But most of all memories will be made that will last a lifetime. 

I cannot wait

The unwanted visitor 

The thing about grief that drives my heartache is that it doesn’t care. 

Its has no discrimination, it will visit the young and the old, the rich and the poor, the healthy and the sick.

It’s not worried if today is a good day or if the moment is wrong, it has its own timing, it sings to it’s own tune.

It fact it is rather rude and has no boundaries at all and no matter how much I try it will not go and sit in the corner for a little while. 

The notes are its own and its music we just have to play, often on repeat, over and over. We fall asleep to its unique symphony, we wake to its morning chorus. 

Someone once told me I was broken, I don’t think they meant it in the way I understood it but I totally agree. 

I am completely broken. 

Grief leaves you with a brokenness that you can work through but from which you can never fully heal.

You cannot go back to who you were before your unwelcome visitor came to stay.

Yet in the brokenness you will see light, a gentle flame that holds out refusing to give in to the darkness. 

My realisation thanks to my new best friend called grief is that it wouldn’t hurt so deeply if it didn’t matter.

The pain that is tearing at my heart, it’s ok because it’s a testimony 

A testimony to love.

You see just like grief, love is another than pops up and won’t leave you alone.

It tangles your heart in web of moments and memories, wonderful heart fluttering emotions. 

So grief may be the hardest of emotions that leaves you gasping for breathe, but fight back reminding it that it’s is also one of great celebration, 

We loved, we laughed, we lived.

We created those moments that we will cherish for all time. 

To live we love. 

To love we have to grieve. 

So whilst there are times where grief and I will fall out, grief is the friend I will welcome again because my grief is my testimony to my love. 

Hope in me.

I  am scared of Hope.

That crazy thing that stirs your soul,

That wondrous but frightening emotion that wont let you go.

Encouraging you to believe,

To trust in the future, in the plan.

I cannot hold on to hope the way I wish I could.

The fear of being let down, or broken promises hold my heart back.

I struggle to get excited, the what if’s or the maybe’s hold me hostage.

How I wish I could just embrace hope.

To just let the joy of expectation flow free in my heart.

Let the promise fill my soul.

 

How I wish I could just embrace this,

Scream out to the world my hopes, without fear of embarrassment if they fall through.

I hold tight to my dreams, lock them away in my heart, scared that they wont be.

I so admire those that can step out in faith loudly, as if they are shouting to the world this will be. I step out but I do it quietly, one foot forward but my heart is still holding back.

My friends tell me to believe, that all will be well and my heart it so desires to trust,

To find freedom in faith, in hope.

I know I’m a work in process, at least I’m acknowledging the fact that I need to move forward

To start my walk towards hope.

I so want to,

I want to free myself from the fear of the past and step out in the truth of the future.

It’s not easy, but as I work towards hope,

Maybe you can have hope in me.