“Wow, your dad sat up in bed and held Millie today, the first time in weeks that I have seen him do that….”
Memories, they can make you smile or cry, laugh or hurt. The run up to Millie’s anniversary this week has been been like a film playing in my head that I have seen before. Remembering certain things we did together over those few days, people we saw, clothes we wore – the playback list is endless.
Sitting with her grandpa is something that is engrained in my memory because Frank (Millie’s grandpa) was dying of cancer the day we lost Millie. Telling Dan what had happened when I had visited Frank in the hospice that day, the day before Millie passed made us both smile because for weeks, Frank hadn’t had the strength to hold her properly because he was growing weaker by the day and we knew he didn’t have long left to live … We never expected him to outlive his newest granddaughter.
We lost Frank exactly one month after we lost Millie.
(Millie and her grandpa Frank, June 2012)
The minutes have gone by so slowly this week and every time I’ve looked at the time over the past few days, I could tell you exactly what I was doing at that time …
Lunchtime 22nd October , sitting with Frank in the hospice and seeing him hold Millie and smiling at her … 11.40 ish am on 23rd October playing back the conversation in my head that Dan and I were having on the phone, him telling me that an ambulance had been called for Millie … 12pm being stood in Piccadilly train station struggling to get hold of that place were Millie was to find out if I needed to go there or to hospital … 12.30 taxi journey to hospital … Just before 1pm flying into the hospital and telling them I was Millie’s mum … Just after 1pm being shown Millie after not even being told she had passed away … 2.30pm in a family room with people giving me medication to calm me down and cups of tea to stop me from passing out, just after 4pm .. Dan finally walking through that door and having to accept reality … I could go on and on and on but the more detail I tell you, the more you will be sat there crying. One day I will write more and tell you more about what happened that day but right now, well it’s just not the right time for me
In some ways, the days before her anniversary are worse because I start to think about all the things we would have done differently if we knew this had been coming.
1. We would never have taken her to that place in the morning.
2. We would have hugged and kissed Millie all night and not let her go.
3. I would have chosen to stay at home and not return to work yet after maternity leave.
I can carrying on writing this list and for a long time in my head I did. I wrote it and re-wrote it and punished myself with it but the truth is and this is the harsh reality
… That we cannot change any of it.
We cannot go back and not to go work that day, we cannot go back and leave her with family instead of that place , we cannot go back and give Millie more hugs… What happened … happened …and as much as we want to change every little thing about that day, about that week; we can’t, it’s just not possible.
An anniversary is not a celebration and neither is Millie’s birthday. It is a day of remembrance for us, a day of sadness, a day of thinking about what we lost when we lost Millie. We were broken, broken in a way that we never thought we would recover from.
This is the third anniversary we have been through now but the hardest pain hasn’t stopped yet this year because all those feelings will be back again on the 3rd November, the day that no parent ever wants to go through, the day we buried our baby girl.
Every year on Millie’s anniversary we ensure that we are down at Millie’s resting place at the time that we official lost her – 12.52pm. It’s an act of respect for her from us, we weren’t there at the time we lost her but will be with her at her resting place every year until we join her.
This year we obviously had an extra welcome addition with us – Leo. Leo comes down to Millie’s resting place whenever we go and he always will. I’ve taken a photograph of him this year on Millie’s anniversary guarding her balloons before we let them off for her.
Balloons by B for Balloons, Stockport
I’ve taken this photo because I want these for Leo when he is older so he can see that he was always with us on Millie’s special day. I know full well what some of you are thinking right now “well that is just strange” .. But is it? How do you know? Believe me, until you are in our position where you have to visit your child at their resting place you have no idea how you will feel, how you will act or what you will do. We have unfortunately met a lot of grieving parents since our journey began and every one of them does something different from the next person and you know what .. That is absolutely fine and no one is in any position to judge because we all have to do what we feel is best for us to get us through our tragic journeys.
Distraction … That is my key. Distraction during this week is what keeps me sane. With the biggest lovely distraction this year being Leo … Leo has made a huge difference to us this anniversary because we have be strong for him. He’s too small to understand why we cry and he will be for a long time but one day we will tell him everything and he’ll grow up knowing all about his amazing sister.
Another distraction this week for me was being a model in a charity fashion show.
(Photograph by Joanne Thompson, follow me on Instagram – MILLIELEOSMUM )
Modiste in Bramhall held a fashion show in The Bubble Room and raised a fabulous £762 on the evening but they had asked me to take part in the show, something I have never done in my life or never actually wanted to, haha.
But I said yes. The reason being is that firstly I can’t seem to say no to things I get asked to do for our charity and secondly because I thought it would be a good distraction for me this week and it turns out that it was! I can never say no to things because of the amazing people that do things for us, like Modiste hosting the show and Paul Bell, the photographer stepping in it at last minute and catching some fab photos for us.
The fashion show was on Wednesday evening so just a couple of days before Millie’s anniversary, so it was good timing to have my mind somewhere else for a while.
(Photograph by Paul Bell)
On Saturday (the day after Millie’s anniversary) we held a balloon release in memory of Angel children and over 100 balloons were released in a local park to us and it was absolutely beautiful but so sad knowing that each and every one of these balloons had been donated for a child that had been taken too soon.
(We adhered to all UK balloon release guidelines)
One of the other things that we do on Millie’s anniversary is not see family or friends. We find it hard enough dealing with our own emotions and feelings on this day and we know that we need this time as our little family time and although some people may not understand this, it’s a decision that Dan and I made together. I even turn off my phones and respond later because I just don’t feel the need or want to interact with anyone but Dan and now Leo. It is really lovely that people text or us or leave us messages online but they are still there the day after and we always respond … But when we are ready.
Again, other people will be different and being surrounded by family and friends might be good for them, whatever it takes to get through the day.
We still have a lifetime of anniversaries to get through and we will; we will get through every single one of them together as a family.
Millie will always be part of our family and nothing will ever change that.
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This year, we have yet again launched our text line for Millie’s anniversary and you can still donate until Monday 26th October 2015 when it will be closed
Text MILL03 £3 to 70070
(You can donate between £1 and £10)
All donations greatly appreciated.
Tickets now on sale for the Christmas Market here