Feeling disconnected

Over the last few months I have found myself returning to a place I had worked hard to come from.

I was struggling and my “go to” was my return to my closed off world,

Here I was again detaching myself.

I heard myself turning away opportunities to connect, to be part of something, to be.

Disconnected

I hate this about myself,

I know the anxiety of the adoption approval was on my mind but I hate that I was letting fear win.

Fear eats you up inside, insecurity, distrust, lack of faith, all things of which I know better.

Yet sometimes even knowing better doesn’t help.

Growing up I often felt disconnected from this world, as if I was placed here from another planet. Yes, I know this sounds strange but I truly felt ,“Not of this world”. This didn’t mean I believed I was an alien with superpowers just that something was strange about me. This followed me into my teenage years in which I struggled greatly. Lack of self confidence, self belief, the rollercoaster of growth, the endless search for identity.

Meeting my husband and having my children allowed me to feel whole, to feel complete. From the f moment I first held my daughter in my arms I felt grounded, I felt true. Being a mom surprised me in more ways than I could imagine, the joy of having such a precious gift, the fear of keeping them safe. Motherhood, no parenthood is so frightening yet so rewarding. All you want in the world is to watch these gifts grow, to keep them safe, to see them realise their dreams.

Losing Olivia did take some of this completeness away from me.

I didn’t get to see her grow past 9 years, I could not keep her safe and I can only pray that she got to live some of her dreams.

This hurts and at times it’s this pain that returns me to my feelings of disconnection.

Anxiety rears its evil head and fear starts to play games with my heart.

Yet having Olivia taught me that fear cannot and will not win

Because even in the darkness there will always be light. 

I may have only got to hold Livvy for nine years

But I got to hold Livvy for nine years.

I got to be the mom of one amazing, incredible, inspiring young lady.

I get to be the mom of three other equally incredible inspiring young women

And one day soon I will get to be officially mom to one incredible baby boy.

Fear won’t win, fear cannot win because love will always overcome.

I may get lost at times and I may sometimes feel “ not of this world” but thats ok because I truly believe that our journey on this earth is only part of package. Maybe my heart has always been in two places, maybe my soul has always flew outside the gravity barriers, who knows.

What I do know is that love is the essence of life and whilst the ribbons of love are tied around my family I will always be connected.

connection

Sharing my secret

So over the last few months I have been struggling to write the truth.

Scared to lay my heart out publicly for the world to see.

Scared is an understatement I think petrified comes closer.

Ive attempted to try,

Writing about being vulnerable, stepping out, being brave but all really hidden in the illusion of no substance.

I just could not find the words, fearful that having my dream in written form would somehow not make it happen.

Jinxing it, sabotage it, all irrational fears but fears all the same.

Sharing my story with only those I knew would hold my heart.

Today is my truth day, 

My day of honesty.

I have a secret to share, a dream I’ve held so close.

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We have been going through the process to become adoptive parents,

and………….

We have been approved!

Did you get that ?

We have been approved for adoption. 

I am so excited,

I am so happy.

Over the last months we have walked this journey, each step walking in vulnerability.

Praying, dreaming, hoping beyond hope.

I have been sick with nerves, nauerous with fear but ….

We have been approved. 

Can I write that again?

Approved.

I cannot tell you how we feel right now,

up on cloud nine, on the top of the world, over the moon,

All these statements do not come close.

We are………

Elated

Excited

Ecstatic

Happy

 

We still have a journey in front of us,

Things to do, paperwork to fill

But one day soon.

There will be another in our family. 

Another, already in my heart. 

My list for friends of bereaved parents 

When I lost Olivia it created a wall of awkwardness which surrounded me. I wasn’t sure if people were just uncomfortable with grief or scared to reach out in case I broke. The outcome was that for a long time I was lonely. A few could cross the vast gulf of pain but not many. I not only lost a child but I also lost friends. 

Now I feel no bitterness to anyone who walked away. I cannot understand but I can accept, grief is a intense emotional vortex that no body enters through choice. Walking away may have been all some could do. 

Yet I do wish there was a list out there that I could have just handed out to all that knew me. Information to help them grasp what I didn’t have the vocabulary to explain. 

So after again watching someone walk through the loneliness of grief I decided to attempt my list. I emphasise my list because every journey through grief is unique. There is no right or wrong way to grief, it’s just your way. The way that helps you survive. I’m just hoping that even though it is my list in may help others a little. 

So here’s goes…,

1. The most important one, please say our children’s names. Our children have gone but please don’t make us feel that they are forgotten. I love nothing more than to hear my Livvy’s name in conversation to share memories or to comment how she would have loved this moment, this food, anything just say their name. They are still our children, still our lives. #saytheirname

2. Secondly please don’t tell me or any grieving parent that time makes it easier. Let me tell you that 8 years into this journey I know that’s a lot of tosh. I may have become stronger but I promise you it doesn’t get easier. I believe this statement also takes away from our children as if time fades away their memory. No chance. 

3. Thirdly Please don’t tell us it’s inappropriate to laugh. It’s ok for me to laugh, I remember not long after losing Livvy I was out with her sisters when something happened that was hilarious and I just laughed at laughed, I remember because someone who was with us commented that it was strange for me to laugh when in grief. Laughter is a wonderful thing it’s also a great release of pain. It also does not take away from the memory, it honours them. Do you really believe that being sad is what our child want for us? 

4. Number 4, It’s ok for parents in grief to be sad, their hearts has been broken and there is no time limit on grief. Don’t suggest they should try to be brave or pull themselves together, let them do what they need to do to survive. 

5. Still include us in things, ask us out for the meal to the cinema, anywhere, don’t be offended if we say No just always ask and continue to ask. Just asking let’s us no that you care, that you want to spend time with us. 

6. Never suggest that we will get over it. This should be a simple one but I can’t count on fingers the amount of times I’ve been asked, ” are you ok now, are you over it”. I don’t think answering WTF is inappropriate in these situations.

7. Be practical, offer to make meals, walk the dog,do the grocery shop. Just be there to help in whichever way we need.

8. If we have other children offer to take them out for the day. Take them to the park, swimming anywhere they can just be kids. They to will be hurting and sometime not thinking helps tremulously. 

9. If we need space please give it to us, everyone has there own way of coping. Some need people, some need space. Just respect this and give us the space we need to work through the pain.

10. Don’t give up on us, yes the friend you knew before our loss has gone but please don’t give up on us because whether we realise it or not we really need you to be there. Up front or in the shadows just knowing that we are not alone makes such a difference. 

Back to school with Maped Helix

Whilst we are only really half way through the summer holidays my daughter is already stressing about returning back to school. This is normal as she has always liked to be prepared and sorted before she relaxes into the holidays. This year it is a little more stressful as she is heading into her GCSE’s year.

Though thanks to Maped Helix her stress load has already been made a little easier. They sent us this fantastic selection of their products which are going to be perfect for both her coming study, revision and even exams.

Maped helix

We have been a fan of Helix for many years, their maths sets have been a staple for all my girls. When you send your children into the exam room you want to have confidence in the products you have given them, Helix has always given me that reassurance.

helix maths

I am rather impressed and envious of the goodies Brodie has been sent and I’ve already tried to liberate a few but she isn’t having any of it. They are all now hidden away in her bedroom waiting for the coming school year.

Brodie is the last of my daughters to face GCSE’S and whist this makes me a little sad I know I still have A levels and the older ones dissertation to face before my home becomes exam stress free.  At least with Maped Helix on hand I can help reduce the some of the forthcoming anxiety , it’s certainly going to be a busy year for the girls, I am still in shock that I have one starting her GCSE’s and one in her last year of her university degree, amazingly considering I’m only 20ish. 

My place to just be…

Tomorrow I head to my field, a place where each year I get to go and for a few days feel whole. My heart breathes with the knowledge that I’m not alone. That here in this green refuge people get it, they get me. 

This week over 70 families are coming together to just be. 

To laugh, to cry and to make some amazing memories.

Families with children with special needs coming to a place where disability isn’t disabling . 

Here on this field their are no “cannot’s” only “how shall we”. Children in wheelchairs will race for the finish line, wobbly walkers wobble to victory. 

Laughter, friendship and understanding.

We get it.

We get you

I’m so excited for my field, I cannot wait to meet up with friends old and new. To just relax and be.

Children will play, wine will be drank and cake will be eaten.

But most of all memories will be made that will last a lifetime. 

I cannot wait

Memory strike

I was so excited to visit, to return back to the place that held so many happy memories.

It was a place Livvy had loved, a place that had made her smile.

Mablethorpe Seal Sanctuary, a little piece of loveliness on the coastline of Lincolnshire.

I had been so looking forward to out visit, so excited to show the boys what I had shown my girls years before.

They loved the sanctuary from the cheesy chips to the cheeky meekats the boys and Brodie had a lovely afternoon. We wandered around hiding from the rain showers just enjoying meeting the wide variety of animals and just spending quality time together as a family.

We all had a favourite, Brodie loved the meerkats, the boys enjoyed the peacocks and the rabbits. I think Alan loved the goat that got himself stuck on his stall regularly, for me it must be the sea turtles bopping their sweet little heads.

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Of course we all loved the seals, we got to watch the keeper feed these beautiful creatures, some that live at the sanctuary, others being cared for before being returned to the wild. This is part of my love for this sanctuary thousands of injured sea creatures returned back to the sea after being tended and cared for at the sanctuary. The core desire is not to have animals to showcase but to have animals returned back to their natural homes. It is a truly lovely place.

The seals were their normal gorgeous selfs, bobbing their heads in anticipation of more fish, here, this way please their eyes seem to call, just one more please.

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The afternoon was beautiful the kids were having a lovely time when for me memories struck. 

I could hear my heart beating in my chest, my head felt it was going to explode but right there in that moment i swore I could have turned around to see Livvy there. To see her clapping in joy at the seals, trying her hardest to escape her chair to join them in the water. I could hear her screams as we left to go home, her massive temper tantrum because we couldn’t take a seal home with us. I felt as if i looked on the floor I would see the toy seal she had slung in disgust because I tried to placate her with a pretend one, she wouldn’t have any of it.  Her face red with temper,  yet still the coy smile at the young boy at the counter even in the midst of her rage she was flirting. It felt so real as if I could almost reach out and touch her.

But I couldn’t, it wasn’t real my mind was being unfair, so close, almost, just out of reach.

My goodnesses I cried, for that spilt second my heart had been whole again, I could see my beautiful girl, I could hear her voice even if it was her temper and rage.

Yet as suddenly as the memory came it left and my heart was missing again.

Even now eight years into this journey of grief my heart aches, no matter how far you walk along this pathway the pain walks with you.

My friend said that maybe it was Livvy’s gift, her reminding me that she is always close. I like that, to know as we showed the sanctuary to her brothers she walked beside them. I often wonder what she would make of the boys that have joined our family since she has passed. I know she would have loved causing mischief with them, I know she would have loved caring for the little one.

I just didn’t expect that yesterday, I knew visiting may be bittersweet but I was so excited to share a memory with the boys, for them to get to see these beautiful creatures up close, to make their own memories. But I honestly didn’t expect the pain, for the past to feel so present. Grief is like the waves of the ocean, sometimes I can ride them gently but other times the waves they swell and I feel that I may drown.

I know I should be grateful for the memories and I am, I really am but sometimes the pain feels like its too much, like my heart may explode.

I know I was so lucky to have this beautiful, vibrant daughter, even if I only got to keep her for nine and a half years. I am so blessed that i get to call this beautiful angel my girl, my baby, my daughter. But right I feel just like those seals as they wait in anticipation for more fish,

just one more day, just one more memory, just one more, please.