Christmas 2017

I cannot believe that Christmas is over for another year. Our tree is already down, I’m not a Scrooge, honestly, as soon as the day is over, I’m always ready to take it down.

The only part of the decorations that I do smile at is of course our special little star…

Christmas is still always really hard for us for obvious reasons but Leo was amazed by everything this year and that really helped us. He started to understand whom Father Christmas is and that he brought presents (although he didn’t understand the nice and naughty explanation that we kept giving him 😂). Leo also managed to leave Father Christmas his yearly Amaretto this year, he also got chocolate cake and a carrot for Rudolph!

Leo left him a special key to get in our house as we don’t have a chimney for him to come down. Do many people have chimneys for the big man himself to get down? < i>< i> Little man was a extremely excited when he woke up and opened his stocking in our bedroom and then he couldn’t wait to get downstairs. It was really hard watching him run in the living getting all excited as I was so happy watching him but so sad that we never got to see Millie get that excited, or for that matter, even experience her first Christmas.

I think it’s always going to be like that, it’s definitely different now we have Leo to watch and in the coming years, Asher too. (By the way, it’s seriously hard to shop for presents for a 9 week old baby – especially when they have a big brother who has everything to hand down to him 😒, I did feel a little guilty).

But Asher seemed to enjoy the day too …

We even managed to get a half decent photo of us all (thanks to a fancy new gadget that Dan and I got for Christmas) and of course it featured all 5 of us.

Asher’s leg is not on a funny angle by the way, it’s an optical illusion (zoom in). 😀

Leo was so excited and didn’t know which toy to play with next. He literally flitted from jigsaw to book to his new pencils all day and didn’t stop. One of the hardest things I find at Christmas is not being able to shop and buy for Millie’s presents, well not presents that she should be getting at her age, instead her presents are flowers and candles for her resting place. These aren’t presents for a 5 year old.

We decided to have beef this year as an alternative as neither Dan or myself actually like turkey and I don’t understand why we even feel pressured to eat it, it’s not like anyone is watching us 🙈! Anyway… the beef was AMAZING, it fell to pieces after leaving it in the slow cooker on high for 6 and a half hours cooling in Diet Coke, (I know, sounds odd – but honestly, give it a try) accompanied by the usual veg and some cracking Yorkshire Puddings (thanks Vikki for the recipe and method for these, best I’ve ever made!) This was All eaten with some lovely Slimming World Gravy that I made using Sweet Potatoes! Apart from the Yorkshire Puddings, it was all Syn Free 😀😀😀! If you want to follow my Slimming World journey that I’ve started, follow me here on Instagram.

Then there is the other side to what should be our happy times. Here is our alternative Christmas photograph, the one that no parent wants…

This is the sixth year that we’ve spent part of our day with our Millie at her sleeping place. We always make it look beautiful and appreciate everyone that visits our baby girl at this special time of the year. The lovely Jay at B for Balloons did Mills a special Father Christmas balloon that matched the one that Leo & Asher had at home. We duplicated a couple of other things too that we had at home, it makes us feel like we are together even more.

As you can see, over the past 6 Christmas Days, we have found certain ways to include and honour Millie as it’s what she deserves. I am sure that many others of you who have lost children do many similar things and every one is special and unique to you.

I’ve yet to find the best way for us to remember the baby that we miscarried last year on special days, I’ve not quite figured that one out yet. If you have sadly lost a pregnancy and you do special things on special days, let me know in the comments section and maybe I can get some ideas.

We truly hope that you have enjoyed your Christmas and our hearts are truly with those who have a similar empty chair to ours at Christmas xxx

92FD83DC-455B-47C8-A289-7F024B6B6229.jpegTo book a Millie’s Trust Level 3 Course, click here – limited places left for January 

To read my blog, Six, That Many? Click here 

Christmas Eve

Twas the night before Christmas …

Presents wrapped, Reindeer dust scattered, vegetables peeled, meat ready for the slow cooker and a key left for Father Christmas to be able to get into our house.

Follow me on Instagram

Candles lit, decorations left and flowers ready for Millie’s resting place tomorrow.

Always two sides to our Christmas…

And Mummy daddy are absolutely shattered and on the Amaretto and Quality Street already!

Merry Christmas everyone 🤣

Let’s see what tomorrow brings, x

Read my last blog, Six, that many? by clicking here

img_3596-2

 

Six, that many?

Looking back now, it’s hard to believe that we are just around the corner from our sixth Christmas without our little girl.

We were at Millie’s resting place yesterday and a lovely lady came to talk to me who recognised me from a newspaper. We got chatting and she told me that she was visiting her son who has in grieving terms, not long been buried, she was so sad. It hurt me to see her in so much pain and knowing that there’s nothing that you can do to take it away. Her son was a lot older than Millie, in his twenties but still no age to lose your life and a parent should never have to go through the indescribable pain of losing a child, no matter how old or young they are or in fact, you are.

Instead of preparing ourselves for Christmas by hunting out the latest gifts that our children want, an extremely large number of us are hunting out flowers or plants that might just last outside over Christmas a little longer than usual, we are placing little Christmas Trees and outdoor lights around our children’s resting places and we are laminating cards to last in the rain or laying them down knowing that within 24 hours they will be destroyed but hoping that our children will have read our words in them, in some strange and mysterious way that they are involved with our lives.

Click here to follow me on Instagram

For the first three years after we lost Millie, we didn’t celebrate Christmas. We didn’t put a tree up, we didn’t see any family or friends or exchange gifts or cards. We didn’t acknowledge it, it was just another day to Dan and I.

I don’t ever think Christmas will be a huge thing for us, it hurts too much. It’s hard to make plans with other people as I can’t predict how many times each of us will break down and cry and many people (thankfully) cannot understand why this happens. We’re more comfortable just having our own little Christmas in our own home.

The fourth year was different, we put a tree up and did a little bit of Christmas because we now had Leo. We couldn’t not do it for him. We’ve always said that we don’t want Leo’s (and now Asher’s) lives to be any different or miss out on on things because of what happened to Millie.

Christmas is something that Leo and Asher’s friends will celebrate and take part in and we don’t want our children to feel left out and not to be able to enjoy this time of year, especially as they get older.

I’m not religious, not at all. I did wonder,like many of us do and we had Millie christened but once she passed away, that was it for me. I couldn’t believe in something so cruel, something that could take away a child from loving parents, so as you can imagine Christmas will never be associated with religion in our house.

There will never be any Christmas scenes, any prayers and certainly no bibles. It will always just be a fun day for our children where they get some presents and are allowed to eat more chocolate than usual!

It’s extremely hard that first Christmas after you lose a child. Everything you see or hear, tears your heart out. Children getting excited looking at toys or coming out from visiting Santa, families enjoying big family Christmas meals and songs on the radio that can make you spontaneously burst out crying in the middle of a supermarket after playing just a few notes or words.

Waking up on Christmas morning, there are lots of tears before any of the fun. The tears fall as soon as we wake up for the missing part of our family, our precious daughter. We cannot help but think about how we won’t see her face running smiling into our bedroom, or the shock on her face when she sees that Father Christmas has been or how happy she realises she can be when she can have chocolate for breakfast. None of it. We never got to see it, we never will and we still miss it like it’s an existing memory. That’s the thing with us though, we don’t have any Christmas memories with Millie because we never got to see her first one. All we know, is everything that she will miss out on, everything she will never get to see or experience and although these thoughts are with us every day in everything that we do, they became ever so more prominent at special times of the year.

We’ll visit Millie a couple of times on Christmas Day, normally in the morning and then in the evening to light some candles. She’ll be left a card and lots of gorgeous flowers from us and at home, she’ll have a Christmas Stocking, just like we all will. Although it won’t be filled with special treats like all the other ones, it’s still hers and it will still be there.

Follow me on Facebook

We’ve also got our other little star, the baby I miscarried in November 2016. I love my family so much, but it’s hard not to see what should have been, that we should have 4 children all laughing around the table with us, that there should be twice as many presents in our living room from Father Christmas and that there should be twice as much mess as there will be. I’d love to see twice as much mess and twice as much chaos in our home at any time because that would mean that we wouldn’t have any sad memories from the past and that all our children would be here with us.

If you are lucky enough to be able to celebrate Christmas with all your children around you, send a little love to the people that can’t. Christmas is an emotional time for anyone who has lost a loved one but a Christmas without a child that should be there is unbearable as you think about all the missing futures that they should have and even just the missing smile from around the table.

As much as we will laugh, smile and play with our little ones on the day, a piece of us will be with our missing children and there’ll always be a part of us that can’t quite get to that happy place that we all crave to get to, that perfect life that we all want.

I sign Christmas cards (any cards) off with Millie’s name in them, she’s a huge part of our family and always will be. Some people might find that odd and think that we shouldn’t do it, but I don’t care. Unless you have lost a child, I don’t care for your opinion when it comes to how we should we grieve or how we should act. Losing a child, is not the same as any other type of loss or any other type of grief, far from it.

Six Christmases down the line since we lost Millie and we are still trying to figure out what and how we want to do things without Millie here.

My heart is with all those parents right now who are experiencing their first Christmas without their child. The pain of all those firsts is a pain that will never leave me and will always hurt. I wish that I could tell these parents that the pain will go away but it doesn’t,not at all.

You learn to live with the pain and your life is built around it. You learn how to deal with your pain to get you through these special days and you will discover what is the right thing for you to do on these days and whatever you decide that is, is perfect – for you and always will be.

If I could line you all up and give each and every one of you a hug this Christmas, I would … I feel your pain, I feel your miss.

From one grieving parent to another xxx

Click here to follow my blog on Facebook

Millie’s Trust is 5!

Five years ago this weekend, we were two grieving parents sat at home with our lives torn apart. It was less than 8 weeks since we had lost our only child, we couldn’t function, we couldn’t sleep, we couldn’t work but we needed to do something. We needed to do something to ensure that our daughter’s legacy lived on.

Our daughter 😀

We set up a charity to help parents in Stockport learn first aid. (We never imagined that we would be teaching all over the UK so soon afterwards).

We had absolutely no idea where to start, we didn’t know what we needed to do but the first thing that we did was come up with a name. After trying a few things, Millie’s Trust was born.

Step 2 was of course to set up a Facebook Page and Twitter! (Easy part)

Step 3 Research and learn how to run a charity (this was the hardest part) 

We found that some people were very supportive and others unfortunately were not. Someone told us that “only people with money run charities so it’s not going to work, why don’t you just do a charity run?”

Hmmm, probably not the best thing to say to us. We knew that what we wanted to do, didn’t exist and we knew that our idea had the potential to work.

Now even more determined to prove these pessimists wrong, we spent hours during the evening when we couldn’t sleep researching what we needed to do to make it work and how to become a registered charity.

Fast forward to March 2013 and we had raised the funds and made the application and been approved to be a charity.

It wasn’t easy though, far from it.

Setting up a charity is not something that you can do overnight and you need to be determined to make it work and you need to work hard, extremely hard.

We had Millie behind us, we knew it would work.

Something that has become extremely  special to us is the communication from the public. Your support, the way that you talk to us, the way that you have helped us. Through those nights when our sleep was so bad that we thought we were going crazy, we could turn the FB Page on and someone would be there to talk to. We could write about what a bad night we were having and it would be 3am in the morning and hundreds of people from the other side of the world would reply as they would be on their lunch or parents that were up with their newborns would be there to talk to. You honestly saved us.
We have just opened up our second venue and we teach all over the UK and have the most amazing team of trainers/staff and trustees, they could not be more supportive. We have trained over 16,000 people and now teach qualification courses, families and one of my personal favourites, children!

We had so much knowledge that we wanted to pass on and we know that some people have used it and saved lives after attending our courses, you cannot imagine how this makes Dan and I feel after hearing the stories.

Then there is Millie’s Mark!

You all helped to make this happen; 103,000 people signed our online petition to support 100% trained Paediatric First Aid staff and this is what Millie’s Mark is all about and we are so, so proud that this is part of our daughter’s legacy.

Text MILL05 £5 to 70070 to support our anniversary project.

Over a year later from the official launch, 160 nurseries/pre schools have been awarded this mark and that is an amazing achievement for all involved. There are many more currently going through the process, which takes 3-6 months to get through; it’s that rigorous. It’s so much more than just having the staff trained, it’s about the safety aspects in the nursery, risk assessments, embedding practices into the establishments and ensuring that staff have the confidence to use their first aid training. It’s giving confidence to parents in the people looking after their children.

There is more amazing news coming early next year from Millie’s Mark and we know that it is going to please so many of you 😀. Look out on our social media and websites early next year to find out what is happening with Millie’s Mark in 2018! 💕💕💕💕💕

What I have written about is only a small insight into the development of the charity, there is much more that I could tell you but you’d be reading for the next hour.

My final words for today will be of thanks.

Thank you for your support.

Thank you believing in what we do.

Thank you for making Millie’s Legacy amazing.

Love to you all xxx

Find out what our 5th anniversary project is and donate here.

Or Text MILL05 £5 to 70070

(£5 can be changed from anything from £1 to £10).

Last chance to get your soft toys for Christmas this weekend. The website will close at midnight on Sunday 17th for orders. Click here to purchase. Now Available In 3 colours.