Another Angelversary 

11 years … Angelversary, birthday, all of which are tainted with such sadness, my little soldiers living without a big brother, my army NEVER being quite complete. 

They’ve created a image of you, what they think you’d be like, what you’d like and how you’d protect them, I trust that this is true. Louis, they will live out your dreams for you so keep watching it will be hell of an adventure. 

I’ll never accept your gone, but I can say that finally, I have learned to live with it. 

It’s been a turbulent journey, ladened with pain, sadness and anger, I’ve had to learn forgiveness, I’ve had to learn to build a strong foundation only to have it destroyed again and again, I’ve had to learn resilience and determination to keep getting up when in my darkest days all I wanted was you and your brothers.

 I wish I hadn’t of had to experience the pain but I’m grateful you came into my life even if for such a small time and for that reason I wouldn’t change a thing.

 I’ll never forget you, my first born! Honestly, how can anyone ever forget their first born! 

Happy birthday up there .. they must of upgraded you to lance corporal by now xxx 

If grieving is the price I’ll pay for loving you, then I guess I’ll be grieving forever. 

Kelly Harris – Mummy to an army!


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New Beginning….

crossroad
I haven’t blogged since October 2013 and I don’t know why today is any different, my head hurts, my hands are trembling, my eyes are red and my throat stings as I fight the urge to scream and cry at the same time. Since October I have started a new job, my marriage has broken down and my ex husband and I are strangers to each other, it would of been Elliot’s 1st birthday, it would of been his first Christmas, its was our first Christmas as a broken family, and I have entered in 2014 feeling …. totally broken!

Living in my head feels very messy and cluttered lately, I can’t seem to think straight or rationalise anything properly any more, a new wave of emotions swamp my very muddled mind. Anger, confusion, sadness that cuts so deep I fear nothing will repair my damaged soul!

I’m more lost then I was a year ago, I’m less of woman, less of friend and mother, and the reflection I see in the mirror is staring back at me and I look terrified that I’m out of control, I feel like I am standing at a crossroads with no idea where to go, so now I have to make some choices, some life changing choices to change this destructive path I am stumbling down, but how do you begin to help yourself when you don’t even know where to start. “At the beginning” I hear you say, for if only it was that simple….

Beginning of what? Again and again I have started over, picked myself up, brushed myself down, painted on the lippy and brushed on the mascara, and with a fine set of heels I put my best foot forward and’ keep on keepin on’ only to be thrown off the path again and again. I am left feeling hopeless and utterly overwhelmed about my future. My mind has overheated and I am having real difficulties in communicating what I want to do and how I want to fix myself.

There are obvious times when we consider grief to be a natural reaction to life circumstances like when someone has died or moved away or when an important job or possession is lost or a marriage or relationship breaks down. But grief is not only stimulated by losing someone, grief is also an emotion we feel when someone loses a way of living or a way of looking at themselves which had been a way of life for them. My life has changed so dramatically in such a short time its very hard to come to terms with, and acceptance for what has happened seems like “forever away”.

I have embarked on a journey of counselling and its shaken everything up – my beliefs, my personality, and my sense of reality. After a couple of sessions, it appears I am suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, this shocked me and naively it was completely unexpected. ME!!! I was always the strong person, the person people come to for help and advice, the fighter, the good time gal that REFUSES to sink….. so I feel weak, downtrodden and defeated.

So I ask myself WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS TITLE I HAVE BEEN given….. I always wanted letters after my name but PTSD was not the sort of letters I was imagining….

I begin to look into this a bit deeper to get an idea of my new “label” and try and work out where this “beginning” is?

My findings were scarily accurate I find myself ticking yes to a lot of boxes and realising the counsellor woman I was so terrified of seeing could be right!!! So do I have vivid flashbacks and a feeling that the trauma is happening all over again…. YES I do… and I fear that it will happen again to my living children.

I cant get the image of Louis, Corey and Elliot out of my head, the image of them and their last moments of life haunt my mind daily, every day I relive the days all three died, when my mind isn’t busy, and I have time to reflect those days are relived and every painful memory is replayed in my head again and again, so I guess that’s why I fill my day with task after task and chore after chore.
Do I have intrusive thoughts and images in my head – another YES, the image of my dead children, is a an image that won’t leave. I see myself as the third person in my head, and I am holding Elliot in my arms as he lays lifeless, kissing his face and sobbing. I’m holding Corey and his tiny premature body so fragile and he bleeds from his nose and mouth and I am sobbing, feeling helpless. The final image is Louis and his last tiny breath he took in my arms and the feeling of utter shock and devastation.

I avoid almost everything about them by keeping busy, avoiding situations that remind me of the days my life changed forever. I feel detached from my emotions that surround the losses of my baby boys, I feel numb and I feel its affected the way I parent my living children. I don’t plan anything too far ahead, my opinion of my future doesn’t feel like it used to, it feels bleak.

I am angry a lot of the time, irritable and often feel aggressive, my concentration is poor and I have become so forgetful, I leave myself notes to remind me of the notes I have already wrote, and I laugh about it thinking to myself ….. AM I UTTERLY INSANE!!! My sleeping pattern is diabolical and I’m awake more than I sleep, but I am tired, I am so tired…. tired of feeling this way.

So I guess this is the beginning….. beginning of a new journey!

Accomplishment and Unaccomplishment

treading water 4-12c

My life has felt like a list of ‘To Do’s’ for as long as I can remember. I thought it was because I liked to be busy, but in hindsight I fear it’s because I am running. Running from confronting something I’m scared of tackling, or something I am hiding from because it’s just to painful to remember, reminisce or speak about! I wonder is this a coping mechanism I have subconsciously and unknowingly carried out.

When I do something, I do it to the very best of my ability, and I apply myself fully, going above and beyond what is often required. Before children I worked damn hard for approval and recognition in a job I loved.

I bought a flat; I worked harder, in my head… challenge accomplished!

I got a promotion; and I worked even harder…challenge accomplished!

I got pregnant, not quite challenge accomplished…but a new challenge!

Louis and Corey died, saddened to the core, I return to work and I fall pregnant again, Challenge accomplished!

Almost 1 year later our rainbow Lilly-Ella arrived into the world screaming, followed 18months later by rainbow Toby and the start of a combination of two very new challenges. Our own business and two children, 18mths old and a new-born little boy.

A thriving business 24/7 and a daily struggle of kids, paperwork, emails, stress and no life, one miscarriage later and beginning to feel like a failure.

A perfect little rainbow ‘Isla’ comes along, and we now have a struggling business with piling debt and a thirty something mother of three little children, feeling like I am on the edge and the strain is becoming visible…. Accomplishment is far from my reach.

Another pregnancy, a folded business and plans for an extension, mission accomplished until………….Elliot grew his wings on 6 December 2012 and nothing will be the same again……. Guilt, pain and failure accomplished.

I ran, I busied myself, I ran, I planned, and I ran some more and I planned even more filling voids and busying my wondering mind.

Ploughing forward with the build of an extension which was only being built because of our growing family, bittersweet was every brick cemented in place. Reminding me of who isn’t here now and in Elliot’s place there is a spare room and agony. I’m wondering if this spare room will ever fill me with comfort or whether to me it will always be Elliot’s ‘empty’ Room.

One Fundraising event after another, and still putting one step in front of other, mopping up tears, and holding my children dear. Survival accomplished.

A new job, which comes with a new focus, a strained and broken marriage and our baby girl starting preschool, a mixture of accomplishment and failure, I feel like I am treading water but my legs are tiring.

Months of planning and preparation comes to an end when I hold a party in memory of Louis, Corey and Elliot to raise money for the Neonatal Intensive care Unit and Improvement to Bereavement Facilities. Mission Accomplished.

Over £3,000 raised and a massive total of over £6,000 since I starting fundraising but I am left feeling deflated and very much underwhelmed after the huge high, and the amazing feelings of accomplishment.

But a deeper sadness taints my fundraising because the dark truth is ‘would I really be doing this if I had all three of my sons here?’ and sadly but honestly the answer is probably no… and that leaves me feeling confused?

I see my innocent children changing, they have seen, heard and witnessed so much for their young, tender age, there is sadness behind their eyes that only a mother can see, sadness similar to the sadness that mirrors in mine. I see I have changed and the life I lived is now a memory of a life I had. I wonder how much longer I can tread water for…. Feeling unaccomplished.

Fifty Shades of Grief

50 Shades of Grief ….

Excuse the title but humour is a huge part of how I get through my life on a day to day basis. Although the title may be a little humorous; beneath the humour there is a serious point I want to make about grief…

Am I jealous? Because I feel resentful of someone’s joy!

Am I bitter? Because I hold negative emotion, resulting from severe grief, anguish, and disappointment

I am neither of the above, I am a grieving mother.

Elliot was the perfect addition to our family, he was the icing on the cake, he was wanted and needed so so much, not just by me but by his brother and sisters, his daddy and aunties and uncles.

I would not wish the losses I have endured upon my worst enemy and I am not wishful of pain, loss and grief upon other people but I fail to relish in their up and coming happiness.

Smiling so soon after burying a child is like being unfaithful to their memory the guilt is another shade of pain that lies heavy on your heart, so to joke and share laughter with friends and family seems like ‘moving on’. I’m in a monochrome world of grief where right now for the first time in my life everything is ‘black and white’

After the loss of Louis back on 5th September 2005 I felt bitterly sad, my first born son, as soon as he was given life something far stronger than me took that gift away, I was bereft, lonely, abandoned by my child. Rob and I are very intune with each other but equally on this day I remember feeling so alone.

I felt after his passing a sudden strength to battle on for my little Corey, so much smaller but such a fighter, I desperately needed him to survive for my survival, metaphorically speaking of course. This term of ‘survival’ I use because at the beginning of my journey to motherhood my heart was full to the brim with love, and with life, my heart skipped a beat when I was elated, and I lived my life with the ruling of my heart. Louis died, and he took some of my heart with him, he took some of the existence of my being.

I continue to live or exist in spite of this ordeal but with a little less ‘heart’, so survival of the rest of what made me, ‘me’ was imperative. Corey died on the 7th September 2005 and my heart did break in two, I’m not taking Louis loss lightly but the prognosis was never a positive one where my first born was concerned, so ‘dare I say it’ I was slightly prepared to an extent when Louis passed.

When Corey died, initially I felt anger more than sadness I felt a strong hatred to the world we live in, HOW? WHY? IF THERE IS A GOD, WHY? A thousand questions and no answers infuriated me; I remember stomping out the hospital minutes after Corey’s passing and there I sat, tears rolling down my cheeks but with no sound, my body wanted to cry but I was so angry I would not allow the convulsions of sadness out, I wasn’t ready to address that. I sat out side the Hospitals maternity unit emotionless tears streaming, alone in the brisk cold early hours of the morning. The hot air from my breath leaving a cloudy trail in the dim early morning light and there next to me was a girl, a stranger, she was young, late teens I guess? But I instantly noticed she was heavily pregnant and holding on to a drip feeding her some obvious required medicine intravenously and there it was, her baby bump blooming. Whilst she caresses her tummy with one hand she smokes a cigarette with the other, and the cloudy trail leaving her mouth was one that made me wince, I was thinking of what I had lost in the last couple of days and looking at her growing what I need and what I would care for with every part of my being. I was angered and felt immediately sorry for the baby within her body breathing in the contamination.

I know smoking is an addiction like any other drug, I appreciate its very hard to give up and I say this knowingly, for I am an ex-smoker, but at that moment, at that moment after my little boys had died I wasn’t rationalising and I wasn’t seeing reason, I was seeing hate, and I could of quite easily took that cigarette and stubbed it out on her immature head.

The weeks passed by and being surrounded by babies was a comfort to me, I longed to feel the happiness what being ‘real’ mother meant. I was not afraid to approach a random stranger and look and touch there newborn. I would ask questions and show interest in their bundle as if I were their friend or a family member.

What I didn’t find comforting was the sight of twins. For some reason there did seem to be everywhere it was an unwelcomed memory which evoked thoughts of a path that was not meant to be and this deeply saddened me. Grocery shopping one day at my local store and I walked straight into a trolley with twin baby boys strapped into the reclined baby carriers in matching baby blue fluffy winter suits, hoods with ears, and they looked every bit how I imagined my little boys to look and I found myself running in the opposite direction, convulsing sobs that failed to surface on THAT DREADED DAY!

With time and with the addition of my other children things got easier, Instead of these emotions being in the forefront of my thinking and encasing my every thought. The overwhelming need to be near a newborn and the fear of twins only surfaced from time to time but I had a certain amount of control over my emotions, and began to reason things out in a rational manner, or so I thought; until the death of Elliot in December 2012.

After many years of attempting to repair my broken heart I realise now it was never repaired, I just masked this gaping hole with the new love I have for my other children, this hole has been re-opened and the hole is deeper and darker than before. Elliot took not only a part of my heart but a part of me, I fear that I will never be the same person again because of loosing Elliot but I live in hope that having lost Elliot it will make me a stronger and wiser person because I have loved. I have loved my babies all so much, and equally and obviously the opposite side of this is when you allow this love into your hearts, you have to prepare yourself for some pain when what you have loved is stolen from your grasp.

Elliot’s passing, was followed by new additions to our family on every side. I felt like I was being tortured and began to question my beliefs all over again. Whilst I was expecting, so were members of my family, a brother and a sister in a law and my own sister too, we had giggled, laughed and chuckled about pregnancy and the ailments it brings from constipation and sickness, to varicose veins and a bladder the size of a pea but none of that deterred from the fact we were all happy to be experiencing this together. My story didn’t have a happily ever after and I had to prepare myself for the pending arrivals of these three bundles of joy.

Two out of three babies that were due, are now here. Healthy and most importantly alive and kicking.

So my message to my family if they happen to be reading my blogs in between nappy changes and sleepless nights, I want to take this moment to let you know that from the bottom of my heart I am elated that my brother in law has another daughter he has longed for ever since my first rainbow daughter was born 6 years ago, and I am so pleased that my sister in law has a son, a brother for her daughter/my niece. I am only sorry that Elliot will not be a cousin to them here on earth and I am sorry that I have yet not found the strength within me to send a card or meet my niece and nephew. I am not bitter nor jealous but quite simply I’m a grieving mother. I don’t want what you have, I want Elliot back!

And to my sister whose bump is still growing, I know you know how I feel, no words required. I have distanced myself so as not to fill you with guilt. I don’t want you to feel guilty for being pregnant but I am not as strong as I wish I was, and watching you with your bump again just reminds me of what I have lost. I am just as exited for you to be given the gift of motherhood for the second time and I wish you get everything you should out of being a mother, empower this, only women can give birth and its amazing, hold your children close and love every second because life is short and all too soon we are faced with questions about our own mortality and this can be terrifying. So relish every cry and nurture every tear for these will create memories which you will hold dear.

So this brings me to the end of this blog about some of the 50 shades of grief I have felt.

So in my opinion there is no right or wrong way to feel after loss and every time you experience grief it will manifest itself in a different way, rearing its ugly head when you least expect it. You will feel, angry, sad, bitter, resentful, hate, love, laughter and pain but guess what THATS ALL OK!!