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.

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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

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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.

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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.

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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

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Baby Loss Awareness 2017 – Let them talk

Baby loss, pregnancy loss, child loss.

Let’s not talk about it.

Society says so.

Society calls for it.

It makes you uncomfortable.

It makes you scared.

It makes you …

Oh wait, hang on a second… it’s not about you.

It’s about your friend who is broken hearted as she puts the clothes away for the baby she longed for who’s heart has just stopped beating.

It’s about your brother that has just watched his wife/girlfriend curled up on the floor in the bathroom or keeled over the toilet feeling the life of their child slip from her and he’s confused and struggling because there is nothing he can do to take this pain away from her.

It’s about the new mum who is leaving hospital whilst her milk is coming in but who has had to leave her baby behind in the morgue.

It’s about your son who’s packing away the unused cot and pram that he saw his unborn child in, his future taken away from him in a split second.

It’s not about you, it’s about them.

Let them talk. Let them cry. Allow them to feel that they are not alone. Tell them that you are there for them. Listen to them. Let them sleep on you. Let them curl up and be where they need to be.

Remember their loss.

Remember their child’s birthday.

Remember their pregnancy due date.

Remember their loss date.

Remember that they will never forgot.

A baby is a baby no matter how far along in pregnancy that they may have survived.

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These babies have a Mum and Dad and they’ll always be a Mum & Dad and they will never ever forget.

I will always be a mum of four, it doesn’t matter that you will only see two of my children holding my hands whilst crossing the street.

You cannot see them, but I have an angel on each shoulder watching over us. One is my Millie, my daughter on one shoulder whom we lost when she was 9 months old and on my other shoulder sits my unborn child who I miscarried at 12 weeks, a child with a name that only I and Dan know.

Be kind.

Be brave.

Let them feel that they are not alone.

Let’s talk about it.

Tell me about your babies that you’ve lost.

Child loss is an unbearable experience, a situation that you don’t ever want to believe that you could be in. I’ve been their twice in completely different situations, one extreme to the other.

They both hurt. It always will.

Baby Loss Awareness Week

9th-15th October 2017

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Making Memories

One of the best things about having little ones is their ability to make you laugh out loud even when they are not actually with you …

      This week I went to pay for something at the shop and instead of pulling money out of my pocket … Stones 😂. I didn’t just laugh, the lady behind the counter did too! For some reason though, she didn’t want to accept the stones as payment, I’m not sure why… 😉.

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It didn’t stop there, yesterday I wanted to write an envelope in the office and put my hand in my hoodie to pull a pen out and out I pulled a big piece of bark … Cue big grin from me … I can’t help it.

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They make me smile even more because they trigger memories , I know the stones were from Bruntwood Park when we were there last week ( apologies Bruntwood!) and the piece of bark was from a farm that we visited late last week in Stockport! 


I love making memories with Leo and I cherish them all and I cherish every memory we have of Millie too, no one can ever take those away from us and most days now, those memories make us smile, not cry like we used to.

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Memories don’t have to cost a fortune to make, not at all. Most of my favourite ones involve visiting parks and running around or lying on the cushions at home on the floor reading books to Leo whilst he lies there listening and stroking the dog. 

Enjoy making your new memories today xxx
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Six years …

Six years ago today Dan and I got engaged, just 5 months after we went on our first date. When you know it’s right, you know it’s right 😍. Just 4 months later (less than 9 months after our first date) we got married in the most gorgeous place in Seattle – we cannot wait to go back there one day.


This is just a little message to say, go with your own feelings. Many people had their own opinions about whether we were rushing things and even whether we would last… 6 years down the line and we are still standing and we’ve proven all those people wrong. 

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Unfortunately many people split up after losing a child, their marriage cannot cope with it and we totally understand how it can get to that stage – I’m not going to lie, we got very close to it a few times after some huge rows but it all came down to the same thing – losing Millie and what it had done to us individually but we have stuck together and little Leo has been our rainbow to solidify everything again.

Do something for me. Always make sure that you are always happy, make your own decisions and don’t let other people’s opinions influence you – if we had, we might never have got married! 

Our 6 year anniversary is in September, so in just a few months and it’s another huge milestone for us … Every birthday, Christmas and anniversary is a massive achievement now for us. 

Look forward, not back and always be happy xxx

Would you torch your most traumatic memories? 

If anyone has picked up Cosmopolitan magazine recently there’s an interesting article in it titled just that. I read it with great interest and it’s probably going to split the reader audience into two groups.

According to Cosmo “scientists predict that within the next five years we could eviscerate our most painful memories” 

I’m pretty much sure that you think I am going to say yes I would. I’m not actually sure myself as I write this.

Yes. Of course I would give anything for what happened to Millie not to have happened to her. 

Yes. I wish I didn’t have to see my daughter in a morgue or a coffin.

Yes. I do wish that I could turn back time and not put her in that place and keep her at home with us.

So. Ideally going off the above statements; yes, I would like to torch my most traumatic memories…but then it gets complicated… Or does it? 

You see. If I torched my most traumatic memories from my life then we wouldn’t have Leo. If I torched them, we wouldn’t see his beautiful smile every day or hear his infectious giggle. But if we torched my memories… Then we would have Millie back and be living a normal life? Wouldn’t we? 

Ah, now, you see; I’m not too sure. 

You see, I’m a big believer in when you are born, whether you like it or not, the day that you will pass from this world to the next is already written in the stars. I think we are given the choices to so many things in life that eventually lead to our death but we ultimately arrive there on the date that was scheduled by us. Not by God, I might add, as I am not a believer. 

Which job should I take? Which man/woman shall I marry? Which house should we buy? What town should we live in? Should I take a promotion or travel the world? Shall I buy a white car or a black one? Shall I get the bus to work or drive? So, so many decisions to make in your life, a life that is made up of so many twists and turns of which ultimately you control your destiny of how you get there but not the time it all ends.

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Torching traumatic memories I don’t personally think would necessarily work. For example torching the traumatic memories of what happened to Millie? It doesn’t actually change the fact of that matter that Millie is still gone does it? It doesn’t change the fact that like today on this gorgeous sunny day I have had to visit our daughter at the cemetery and the only presents I can really buy her now are flowers and balloon? How would that work then? The traumatic memories are erased yet there is then a huge big black gaping hole in your memory that would surely confuse me as to how I would have gone from hugging my daughter the last time I saw her to visiting her at a cemetery? Surely that cannot be good for anyone’s mental health? 

Referring back to the article, discussing the disappearance of the journalist’s Guinea pig in 1985 (as luckily for her this seems to be one of her most traumatic memories) actually made me sit aghast thinking maybe the article firstly, should have featured opinions of people who have been through a lot more traumatic events like the loss of a child, or the devastation of 9/11 or the pain of going through a life crippling illness and secondly that to me are actual real traumatic events because if the science was used to “torch” the memory of a lost Guinea Pig, I would be pretty annoyed at whoever performed it! 

Maybe, just maybe, this is one thing that science should stay out of. You cannot forget here that the things that you experience in life has an effect on you as a person and ultimately makes you the person you are – something of which I don’t think that science should interfere in. 

So in reference to myself and going back to the original question? How do you honestly make that decision? Effectively choosing between my children. Except would I be? As I said earlier, erasing the traumatic memories of what happened to Millie wouldn’t make Millie come back and Leo would still be here albeit his mother (me) would be constantly confused about where my daughter is as I would now have a huge big black memory hole as to where she had gone and how …

I am now actually genuinely confusing myself writing this blog! 🙄🤔😟

I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts on this one! 

Update from Leo: 

Mummy took me for a walk the other day because it was sunny and daddy had gone out for a verrrryyyy long run because he’s in training for that long London run, what was it called again? 

Well, we came home and he was in MY BATH. I couldn’t believe it, he was in there with all my bubbles and there I was just stood at the side of the bath with mummy! Well I’m not sure what was going on but I’m certainly not used to seeing daddy in the bath covered in my bubbles. Actually, why doesn’t he smell funny if he doesn’t have baths like me?

He told mummy that he was broken after his 18 mile run. I don’t know how far that it is, but it must be a long way if it broke him, does that mean that he is broken like when I broke my toy the other week? 

Love Leo xxx
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Smudged Mascara 

I’ve found it quite hard to blog for the past few weeks because I have things in my head that I want to write, I start to write and then I cry and when I cry it doesn’t stop thus leading to a blurry screen, eyes being sore from lenses being rubbed whilst I cry and then mascara all over my eyes after I’ve forgotten I’ve already done my make up for the day – picture it, go on , seriously, it will make you smile me looking like this. Don’t worry, I know you’re not laughing at me crying, I know you’re laughing at my panda eyes and the cartoon image this brings to your head, it’s fine, honestly have a laugh on me. Even though you are all laughing right now, you know you have totally been there with the smudged mascara for whatever reason, smudged mascara is part of being a woman  I think! 

If you can’t laugh at yourself, like I’m doing now with this, what’s the point in it all? 

It’s coming up to that time,Christmas, I can say it now without thinking it’s ages away because it’s not, it’s less than 2 weeks away. This year has gone so fast.  This time last year, I was very heavily pregnant, although I was pregnant and should have been enjoying it, I wasn’t to be honest. I was so scared that something was going to happen to Leo, I was petrified  that we were going to lose him and I didn’t feel as though I could fall in love with him because I didn’t feel like I could cope having my heart broken again like when we lost Millie. That soon changed though, when he was born within seconds I knew I was totally in love with him.  (Me, heavily preggers last year Christmas time) 

  
I’ve struggled this year, a lot. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t change a thing but I have found everything twice as hard because my head is constantly in worry mode. With Millie nothing ever really worried me, I was such a laid back mum and that’s exactly how I wanted to be. 

With Leo, I’m trying to be similar, I know I won’t ever be as laid back and easy as it was with Millie because of the tragedy that we have suffered but we don’t want Leo to suffer because of what happened to Millie; no matter how hard it will be on Dan and I. 

You will be pleased to hear that we have become a little bit braver with Leo and we will now allow two very close friends of ours look after him for a couple of hours, we weren’t sure when we would get to this point but we knew it would happen. These friends have both been on our first aid courses and have children of their own and we are never more than a couple of miles away when he is being looked after. 

For Leo though, this means he gets to spend time with other people on his own. To be honest, I am shocked that he is such a confident little boy when it comes to him being around other people and them handling him because of how much more on edge Dan and I have been, but he is very much like his big sister, he will go to anyone and let anyone hold him. For example, last night we attended an awards ceremony (you see because we won’t leave Leo unless he is very close by, Leo attends all events like these with us) and he made friends with the lovely man and lady sat next to us who also happened to have this amazing guide dog with them. Leo didn’t think twice about throwing some smiles out,having a chat, stroking the dog and giving high fives to them! He loves the attention I think 😀 – which in particular attracts women. This so makes me laugh! I can turn around for 2 minutes and just like last night I will turn around and Dan and Leo will be stood there surrounded by women, I find it hilarious! Haha

  
(inspiration Award won last night)

I know some people would’ve judged us last night for having our little man out so late with us but am I bothered? Not in the slightest. Lots of people don’t know why our son would be out that late with us and don’t know the heartache behind it – so why need I worry? If Leo being with us out till midnight keeps me sane, that’s what we will do. He sleeps until he needs it whether that’s going to bed at 7pm and sleeping till 7am or midnight until noon. Last night, he got to meet all these brand new people and see all the London lights, had his photo taken at Baker Street and travelled on the tube at midnight and he loved it and as soon as we got back to the hotel, he was in his pyjamas and fast asleep within minutes and didn’t wake up until 9am. He is now currently asleep on us on the train home. 

    
I’m not a mum who sticks to rules and lists and follows books, I like to erm .. wing it for want of a better phrase. Some mums like to follow guides and advice which is absolutely fine and works for a lot of mums but I’m the complete polar opposite and I like to fly by the seat of my pants and take everything as it happens. Trust me, if I tried to plan anything I can guarantee something would go wrong anyway, so I’m better not planning anything – that’s what I tell Dan anyway 😀 seriously though, I’m just not a planner or scheduler, never have been and I know that there are plenty of people that I drive crazy in my life because of that! Just don’t ever ask me to be on time anywhere, I am a total self confessed “latee” – and yes I know that is not a real word but it sounds appropriate! Bizarrely I have been very amused by a definition that I have seen online today (see below) … This made me laugh so much as it is totally me …  A time optimist also known as the below … This is so my word of the day 😀

 

(Photos from http://quotelounge.tumblr.com/post/134963265638/1082858991224372451-swedish-time-optimist)

I don’t care if people judged me for having Leo out late, he’s our child and we make up the rules for him. No one should judge anyone’s parenting because every single child is different and that is actually what is so fun about children, that’s why they are totally unique.

We also paid Winter Wonderland in Manchester a visit on their press night on the Friday just passed and I really didn’t know what to expect but it was amazing and if you are thinking about going – then it’s definitely worth the ticket price – all rides included in the ticket. Leo was amazed by all the lights and noises from the rides and the little 4 year girl we went with too absolutely loved the rides and would have gone on everything 5 times over if she would have been allowed. We also have our charity stall there on various dates up until Christmas Eve, so please do come and say hi if you see us.

   

We haven’t quite managed to get our Chritsmas tree up here at home yet – but we will do this week. I’ve never really been a fan of having them up from early December anyway, they start to get in my way and I am pretty sure Rolo would have had it over by now. We will be putting it up this week though and getting some lovely lights up for Leo to watch. We are trying to do everything that we would have done for Millie’s first Christmas so that we don’t look back and think “we wish we would’ve done that” – it’s Leo’s first Christmas and we will make it as special as possible for him – so lots to do this week , watch this space.

Leo seems to be changing at such a fast pace, he’s nearly 10 months now … Where did the time go? 

xxx

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