She should have been 19.

I’m not sure how to explain today, how to find the words.

It seems wrong to say that my daughter is 19 today, when in reality she will be forever 9.

I want to celebrate what should be her special day.

I want to eat cake and sing happy birthday, but my heart is just so broken.

How can you celebrate when you cannot hug the birthday girl tight?

How can you smile when forever seems so far away?

Gosh I miss my beautiful girl, that feels like such an understatement. Every breathe I take aches for her, my arms crave to hold her again, my heart beats with a missing piece.

I torture myself wondering what she would be like now, I wonder would she still love her football players, her gothic clothes and Tinkerbell. Yet how can I really know, she has been gone nearly ten years, her sisters have changed so much, so would she?

I have no idea; do you know how hard that is to comprehend? No idea at all. I should know my daughter, I should have been given the chance to.

My heart feels on a roller coaster right now, my faith doesn’t feel like the liberation it should be. Yes, I believe I will see my daughter again but forever is still out of my reach.

Is it wrong of me to wish her back here, back into a body that struggled so much, a body that betrayed her in so many ways?

Is it selfish of me to just want one more day?

Nineteen, it would have been the last of her teenage years, yet the truth is she never got to the beginning.

Nine and a half years, a minute moment in time, not enough, never enough.

I know Livvy would be cross at me today, I know she would be giving me her evil eye and her stern look.

“Mom you know better. You know not to waste a moment, celebrate me and do it with joy. Remind my sisters how much I love them, tease my new brother who you should know I got to meet first. He may have got lost on his way, but I got him to you eventually.

Get out there Mom and enjoy the sunshine, sing at the top of your lungs and hug my Dad tight.

No sadness, no sorrow, no more”

I can actually see her in my mind conveying all this, her eyes alight with mischief.

I can actually feel her soft hand, her long fingers entwined in mine.

I can feel her, but my goodness I miss her.

I can try my darling girl,

I promise I will try,

My heart wants to fall into a million pieces,

My soul just cries out in missing.

I don’t know what or how I will be today, maybe there will be moments of joy wrapped in the ribbon of sorrow.

I can try but I’m sorry Livvy I cannot promise, I just miss you too much.

Happy heavenly 19th Olivia,

Happy birthday Livvy xxxxx

Eight years 

I wasn’t sure I was going to write this year, I was thinking, wondering if I should let the day go past without remembrance. Yet I knew it would be a lie, a falsehood because pretending that this anniversary doesn’t exist doesn’t make it so. In fact the pretence builds its power giving it more control.

Eight years, eight long years of missing my beautiful daughter. 

Eight years since I held her last in my arms.

Eight years since I heard her sweet giggle.


Grief, it’s a horrific road, it often plays unfair. Sometimes it even allows you to feel like you are winning, only to sweep your feet from underneath you, cold and swift. 

Yet the truth is that grief and love, they walk hand in hand. Without one you would not get the other.

So I’ve decided today that I’m not going to hide away.

I’m going to immerse myself in all that was Olivia, 

That is Olivia.


I’m going to give myself permission to walk through the valley of pain in hope to find a place of peace.

I’m going to remember her sweet little ways, her cheeky character, her strength of spirit.

And I’m going to give thanks 

Thanks that even now in the midst of grief, I am so thankful that I got love.

I am one incredibly blessed woman that I was lucky enough to have this child call me mom. 


That I would walk a lifetime in pain for the privilege of being Olivia mom. 

That whilst nine years will never be enough they were such a gift. 

My beautiful girl I wonder if you really knew how you changed my life. How you opened my eyes into a world of innocence and honesty. How living one day with you would often seem like a lifetime. You taught me so much, you challenged me, to embrace each moment, to celebrate each breathe. 

Many can travel this life without really knowing their destination, their purpose. You young lady gave me mine, you made it crystal clear what was expected from me, I’m still hearing your instructions from heaven. 

Be kind for kindness sake
Be thankful for all things 
Stand up for what matters 
Be the voice of the voiceless 
And never ever be afraid to say yes to love. 

We are not all promised forever but knowing you are loved is a lifetime gift. 
Thank you for being one of my greatest gifts.

My beautiful daughter
My inspiring Livvy.

Until I get to hold you again, love you girlie xxx

In honour of Livvy

Saturday was an amazing day, we held a Livvy’s Smile Donkey Tea Party.

The sun shone for us, the donkeys behaved and memories were made.

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I had a truly wonderful time.

I got to catch up with old friends and make some new.

I got to listen to laughter as it filled the air.

I got to watch children cover themselves with chocolate and cream as they ate their cakes.

Donkey rides, cart rides and so much more.

Seriously it was awesome.

Yet as I sat at home editing the photos from the day my tears began to fall.

My heart just ached for the missing piece of my puzzle.

Whilst I was blessed with some amazing hugs from some truly incredible children my heart yearned for my little Tinkerbell.

Birmingham Donkey Sanctuary holds a special place in my heart.

Each corner is filled with the echo of my Olivia.

Those first steps she took defying the Drs.

The giggles as she rode her favourite donkey.

alvis livvy

The dirty looks she gave Amber when told to sit up straight.

So many moments, so many memories.

 

I was asked why we started Livvy’s Smile and why I hold events that bring me pain?

It is simple really we started Livvy’s Smile because we are so grateful.

So thankful for the wonderful memories we have stored from Livvy.

Memories that truly get us through the darkness and we just want to give that light to other families.

On Saturday we created those special memories full of chocolate eclairs and cool moms.

Memories that will give us hope through the hard times.

Why do I it when it causes me pain? 

Because I can and because I have to.

I was blessed to be Livvy’s mom, to get to call this amazing girlie my daughter.

Livvy changed my life. 

The realisation that we didn’t have forever taught me to live in the here and now.

To live a life full of laughter and love.

 

So yes hosting these events will always be bittersweet.

I’m sure I will always return home and cry for the missing piece of my heart.

But I will never stop working hard to create memories because each moment, each memory is in honour of my beautiful daughter.

Every smile I see brings her closer.

 

Yes, I know my heart will always ache,

Grief is relentless.

Like a snake it slowly twists around your heart until you cannot breathe.

Your body craves for one more breathe, one more moment.

So as the tears fall I know they do so in honour.

Each teardrop is formed in everlasting love.

Livvy is part of who I am and who I always will be.

Livvy’s Smile is testimony to eternal love. 

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Trigger points

I remember reading an article about the effects of grief on the mind. How many grieving parents, loved ones could suffer from a form of PTSD.

Post traumatic stress disorder is often though to be only related to soldiers, those many brave men and women who come home battle scarred. Who have seen more than most could imagine. I for one am not disputing how terrible and awful this is. Still it is true that post traumatic stress disorder can occur for different reasons. It could happen to a victim of a crime, a witness of a traumatic event a harrowing close call , etc.

So yes I can see grief causing PTSD in fact let’s be honest I think I could venture out and say that grief could actually be at the heart of it. Grief is the extreme sadness at the loss of something and in all cases I have mentioned there is an element of loss.

Soldiers have lost part of themselves through all they have witness.

Victims of crime have lost part of themselves to the perpetrator.

Whatever has happened, who ever caused it the event has taken away who you were before it. So yes you have lost a part of you.

I know I lost a part of me when Livvy died. I changed right there and then. I could never go back to the person I was before. I had lost my daughter. How could it not have changed me? What greater loss is there than the loss of a child?

This article was trying to get people to really understand how badly one could be effected by grief. How what some would state as a mental condition is actually also a physical condition.

How we need to accept and understand our trigger points.

Personally this all made sense, I know there are places, smells even people that cause my heartbeat to race. That when I am at a certain place or I smell a certain aroma ,I see or hear certain things I am transported back into the time when I was there with Livvy.

This is often beyond just memories, take for example the local emergency unit I cannot enter it without feeling nauseous. It was there I left my beautiful girl. Even now still the siren of an ambulance makes me tremble.

Triggers aren’t always expected either they can hit you when you least expected. Like only the other day when I was at the children’s hospital.  I was sitting there minding my own when a girl passed me with blond crazy curls. My body shook and  I could have just sobbed right there and then.

Being truthful I had expected to be little upset. I had spend so long in this hospital with Livvy. I could see her in the corridors, the cafe everywhere. So maybe my body was primed, but blond curls, seriously.

I actually had to pinch myself to stop me from falling apart. Here I was trying to be brave for my foster son, losing it wasn’t an option. Well, it wasn’t until a few hours after when in the privacy of my bedroom I could let the tears fall.

I guess why I’m sharing this is because sometimes we need to understand our minds and our body’s and how one can seriously effect the other. Also I think we need to be kind to ourselves a little more.

Grief in any form is a powerful thing. Maybe you are grieving the loss of a friendship, job, marriage. Maybe like me you heart is forever broken by the loss of a child. I don’t know. Yet understanding that this loss changed you is the only way you can more forward. It’s not easy and their will always be triggers but to put it simply life goes on. Even when at times you don’t want it to.

Listen to both your mind and your body and understand that sometimes being brave isn’t an option.

be kind to yourself

Thank you doesn’t seem enough.

I’m not sure how I am feeling right now, yesterday was a whirlwind of emotions. I laughed, I cried and I laughed some more.

There isn’t really a guideline on how to feel I guess, no instruction book on how to celebrate birthdays of those that never reached them.

I know some think i’m strange, that to celebrate the birthday of a child that has passed is wrong or odd. That’s ok, everyone is completely entitled to their own opinion and the fact is grief is so unique. Nobody feels the same, everyone has their own journey through it or as I believe ‘with it’.

I’m struggling to find words to describe yesterday it was one of the hardest days of my life but also one of the most blessed.

From the moment the clock struck the new day the messages started to flood in.

Birthday wishes for my beautiful girl.

Messages, pictures and names drawn in the sand my girl was remembered.

Friends all over the world wishing my girl a Happy 16th.

Yesterday was a blur of family, friendship and cake, it was a truly special  day.

It is only now as I sit back and reflect that I really realise how completely amazing it was.

I could not thank people enough for what they gave me yesterday. After many nights of wondering and worrying that my Livvy would be forgotten my heart was swollen by the love I felt and the amount of people who remembered her day.

The fund-raising event for the charity formed in her memory Livvy’s Smile was a great success I don’t yet have a final total raised but I know its in the hundreds which is so wonderful.

Besides the donations I also want to say thank you to those who ate cake with their friends and family in honour of this day. I know I harp on a lot about this but memories are the greatest gift we can give ourselves and I am so blessed that you all made new special ones yesterday in honour of my girl.

So yes I’m not sure how I am really feeling today but what I do know is that my heart is full. My girl was honoured in such a beautiful way and for that I will always be grateful.

Thank you doesn’t seem enough but THANK YOU.

Livvy's banner

 

Sometimes I have too ….

So my last post mentioned that we are holding a fund raising day for Livvy’s 16th birthday and it’s going to a be fun memory making day and a positive way to honour the memory of my beautiful girl. 

Still I need to be honest and say that right now I’m struggling. I’m trying so hard to be positive and happy that I feel like a complete fraud.

My head is spinning and my heart is just slowly breaking a fragment at a time.

Each morning I wake to the memory that my child has gone.

Every night as I close my eyes I pray for a dream. A fantasy where my heart is complete, where I get to hold her in my arms again.

I’m sorry, I know this is far from the positive way I usually try to write. Where I try to use my words to convey all Olivia taught me.

To cherish my memories.

To remember in joy.

Today I just can’t be that person.

I’m just too blooming sad.

My eyes are heavy with the tears that are still to fall. Yet my pillow is wet from the tears that have found their freedom.

My head is in such a mixed up place.

I’m angry 

I’m sad 

I’m missing 

  

I’m so angry at life for taking my daughter from me. 

I’m fuming at myself for not remembering her unrelenting spirit, her bravery, for allowing grief to take the upper hand to overwhelm me.

I’m sad, completely and utterly broken hearted. 

It really is as simple as that.

I’m missing, damn I’m missing everything about her, from her long perfect fingers to her sweet crazy curls. Her long beautiful eyelashes to her cute stubby toes. 

  

I miss my girl.

I had to write honestly today. 

Really needed to share my heart. As much as I appreciate the comments and emails I’ve received of you all  telling me how strong I am, I wanted to be truthful.

I’m not always strong 

I’m not always happy

Sometimes I can’t even pretend.

Sometimes I have to let the tears fall.

To allow the gut wrenching sobs escape from deep inside. 

I have to allow myself to be angry, to be completely pissed off at life, to rage again God screaming “Why?”

I have to allow myself to hurt, to let the pain twist deep into my stomach.

I just have to stop pretending I’m ok.

Because right now I’m not. 

It really is as simple as that.

  

Memories cherished as memories are made.

I have just returned from a wonderful week in beautiful Wales.

I have loved every minute of it, from the beautiful sunsets to the endless beaches.

Its been a truly wonderful week.

It was a week I so needed, time to recharge and refresh my mind.

Time to allow the words to form and the passages to write.

I am feeling stronger that ever.

My heart and mind are on the same path.

This holiday was the first time I have gone back to this area of Wales without Livvy.

I honestly believed that it was going to have to be another first without her.

Yet it wasn’t because as I have enjoyed the views, cherished the sunsets and loved the ocean I have felt Livvy everywhere.

Memories cherished as memories made.

Dogemals 2015 Newquay 2015 west wales 2015

Forgotten photograph

Last night I fell apart.

I truly just sobbed and sobbed.

I cried until I couldn’t breathe.

I was angry

I was broken.

I found myself screaming at God

The crazy thing is that nothing had happened.

Well nothing major.

I just came across a forgotten photograph of Livvy.

One that I hadn’t seen in such a long time.

You see I had uploaded it to a photo printing site that I don’t use that often, but a discount email spurred me into a visit.

As I scrolled through photos of my foster son there right at the beginning was a few that I must have uploaded over 7 years ago.

There was her sweet beautiful face.

Just looking out at me.

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For just one precious moment she felt so close.

Then reality struck and I realised she was completely out of reach.

I catch my breathe as I write that. The physical pain of her missing tightens like a noose on my heart.

Grief is a funny old journey. No thats not the truth there is nothing funny about it.

It destroys you, it slowly epps away the person you were before the loss and leaves you with a shadow of what was once.

Your heart is never the same.

I needed to cry last night.

I needed to allow myself the freedom to grieve.

To drop the facade and allow myself to feel.

Being brave is hard.

Being strong is exhausting.

You cannot live in the world of pretence forever.

I’m not ok.

I never will be.

My heart is broken.

My soul aches for my daughter.

My arms are empty.

A part of me is forever missing.

All together

My daughter returns from university today and yes I am so excited to see her.

So why did a friendly comment feel like I had been punched in the stomach?

My friend said “ I bet you are excited to have all the family back together’.

How simple and true is this comment.

Yes i am excited.

But my family will not all be back together.

You see there will always be a missing piece,

missing piece

 

An empty place at the table.

A pile of presents that have not been bought.

On Christmas day only three of my girls will be celebrating it here with me.

Heaven holds the celebration for the other.

I want to say that i’m ok about it all, that i can be happy and enjoy the season but I can’t.

The ache in my heart is getting stronger and stronger as we head towards the 25th.

I hate that on Christmas day I have to visit the crematorium, that the only gift I can give to my daughter is flowers on her stone.

I want the air to echo with her laughter, the harmony of my four beautiful girls to play.

Yet all i can hear is the silence of the missing note.

Christmas is a special time of year, I love the wonder of it all.

The excitement that builds in peoples hearts.

The joy of giving , the love that is shared.

Christmas is a time for celebration and I promise I will try.

Still I hope that it will be ok, that sometimes through this season i disappear.

Disappear to a place where i can allow the tears to fall.

Where I can allow the missing to show upon my face.

Because I cannot pretend all the time.

I just don’t have the strength.

I need to give my heart freedom.

Freedom to grieve my beautiful missing daughter.