When you watch something that hits right at you heart.
Something that makes you scream “Yes”
Then you know its beautiful.
This is beautiful.
So as we start the new year I have been thinking a lot about the word I wish to lead me through the next 365 days.
The word that will represent all my hopes and prayers for 2015.
It isn’t easy finding one word which fits all your plans and ideas.
Still after thinking hard for a while I am going to go with the word.
This is a big step out of the ordinary for me.
You see I have never really allowed myself to dream.
Broken promises, painful situations and a lot of disappointment made me believe that dreams were for others and not for me.
It was something I accepted as just life.
I could hope but I couldn’t dream.
I was never the girl who dreamed of her wedding day.
Of the children she would have or career she would achieve.
Anxiety and disbelief stole away my dreams.
I cannot get excited for an event or a holiday until I am actually there and as for promises, well maybe we shouldn’t go there.
But this year is going to be different.
I am going to allow myself to dream and I’m going to see my dreams fulfilled.
I am going to dream that I can and will achieve my goals.
I will attend university.
I will move forward with this blog.
I will further my writing career.
I will put myself forward more.
I will look in the mirror and like what i see.
I will believe in me.
Its scary but it’s time.
My daughter returns from university today and yes I am so excited to see her.
So why did a friendly comment feel like I had been punched in the stomach?
My friend said “ I bet you are excited to have all the family back together’.
How simple and true is this comment.
Yes i am excited.
But my family will not all be back together.
You see there will always be a missing piece,
An empty place at the table.
A pile of presents that have not been bought.
On Christmas day only three of my girls will be celebrating it here with me.
Heaven holds the celebration for the other.
I want to say that i’m ok about it all, that i can be happy and enjoy the season but I can’t.
The ache in my heart is getting stronger and stronger as we head towards the 25th.
I hate that on Christmas day I have to visit the crematorium, that the only gift I can give to my daughter is flowers on her stone.
I want the air to echo with her laughter, the harmony of my four beautiful girls to play.
Yet all i can hear is the silence of the missing note.
Christmas is a special time of year, I love the wonder of it all.
The excitement that builds in peoples hearts.
The joy of giving , the love that is shared.
Christmas is a time for celebration and I promise I will try.
Still I hope that it will be ok, that sometimes through this season i disappear.
Disappear to a place where i can allow the tears to fall.
Where I can allow the missing to show upon my face.
Because I cannot pretend all the time.
I just don’t have the strength.
I need to give my heart freedom.
Freedom to grieve my beautiful missing daughter.
If you have read my blog before you will know that I’m a lover of tattoos.
The whole art form has me truly excited.
Two years ago I travelled to the Tattoo Jam to check out my narrowed down list of tattoo artists who i was consider asking to tattoo my portrait of Olivia and fell in love with Przemyslaw Malachowski from The Dragons Den Studio in Blackpool straight away.
The talent of this man is truly beyond words.
My portrait of Livvy is amazing and so many people stop me to admire it.
I just love that it captures her essence.
So of course when I had my next major piece of art planned Przemyslaw was the man I wanted to do it.
For me having a tattoo is a really personal thing you have to trust the artist with your body.
There are no do overs.
So when you find a tattoo artist you trust you are truly lucky.
So on Sunday I found myself in the car starting my two hour journey to the Tattoo Jam.
What can I say.
I think the art speaks for me.
It’s truly stunning.
Again Przemyslaw took my vision and turned it into a piece beyond my wildest dreams.
This piece is so important to me.
It’s my faith.
In my heart on my sleeve.
I love it.
Thank you again Przemyslaw for my amazing art and thank you again for being such a genuine guy.
Until the next time.
When my daughter died I spent a lot of hours (still do) looking at photographs and the one thing that struck me hard was that I was barely in any of them. In fact I had maybe one or two with me in them with Livvy.
To be honest I wasn’t surprised but I was angry.
Angry at myself.
You see it hadn’t happened over night this camera shy behaviour of mine. From my teen years I have shied away every time anyone got a camera out.
I just hated how I looked, it was as simple as that.
It wasn’t always because of my weight because even as a size 8 I still hated seeing myself in a photo.
Yet as the weight went on so did my resolve to become the photographer never the model.
Having beautiful children was the perfect excuse, I wanted to capture them not me.
So then I found myself with no shared memories of me and my beautiful girl.
I had lived them but I had nothing to remind me.
It hurt like hell.
I wanted to remember the laughter we felt when we twirled her on the ice.
The daily messes we got into at meal times.
I had her smiles to see but I wanted to see my smile and remember my joy from that moment.
It hurt and I was so angry that I had let vanity or maybe shame rob me of these memories.
So it was at this point I decided I couldn’t allow myself to be lost from all memories. I didn’t want my girls to ask where I was when they look back in years to come. I wanted a reminder for them of who I was and what I looked like and how crazy we could be together.
It wasn’t easy to step from behind the lens but it was one best things I have ever done.
Don’t get me wrong I still cringe a few times when I see my double chin but I can look past that now and see the memory that was formed.
The moment that was shared.
In fact my girls laughed at me the other day for taking what they called “yet another selfie”. They speak the truth beyond this journey of memory making I have learned to love who I am. My body has birthed four amazing girls. It has carried so many children on it’s hips. It too holds it’s own memories.
It’s also the only one I have and yes while there are bits I would love to change I do finally like most of it.
Stepping in front of the camera scared me silly but I am so thankful that I did.
Life is different now, I have less regrets.
I take chances regardless of how far from my comfort zone they are and I have been rewarded with so many new and amazing memories. I’ve also met so many incredible people too just by being less afraid.
I wish I could go back and tell that gawky teen to love herself a little more.
I wish I could tell that new mom to capture those moments with her precious child.
I cannot go back but I can tell all you out there.
Don’t hide who you are.
Fill your Instagram feed.
Jump into the scenery and make those memories.
One day they will be the most precious gift you could give yourself.
September has begun and i am simply a mess.
It could be holiday blues.
It could be just plain exhaustion.
Or it could be that I’m just so very p*ssed off.
Yesterday was the first day of the new school year and it should of been the day that Livvy started Year 11.
Its crazy to think my baby would have been 16 next year, when the truth is she didn’t get to see double figures.
I don’t know how to feel right now.
Its a variety of emotions that seem to move with the wind.
I close my eyes and I try so hard to imagine Livvy as a teenager.
What would she be like?
Would she still be the little rock chick, dancing her heart out to Guns n roses.
Or would she have continued down the road she started with her love of skulls and all things gothic.
I imagine her sitting in her chair in Dr Martens, or maybe Converse.
I just don’t know.
It’s breaking me apart right now.
The not knowing what she would be like.
The not getting the chance to make those memories.
I was robbed of my baby girl.
She was robbed of her future
And its just not blooming fair.
The five stages of grief,
What a joke.
Stages are something you work through.
You finish one and then move on.
I’m not moving on.
I miss my daughter so much.
For me there is only one stage of grief
What would you say if I asked you “Who are you?” or “Who am I?”
I may read from my about me page but is that really who I am?
I am a crazy tattooed mum to four amazing young ladies..
A foster mum to one very special young man.
I am a gothic loving lady who is finally learning to love her plus sized body.
A new lover of fashion and with a complete addiction to books.
Yet I am also a woman who thinks way to much and often gets lost inside my own head.
I worry all the time.
Have i done that right?
Are the kids ok?
Will they like me?
Why are children dying?
Why are there so many wars?
Why do some have so much when others have nothing?
It’ so hard to answer the question “who am I?”
I think I can only answer this as who I am right now.
Life is always evolving.
I am not the person I was 10 years ago.
I am not the person I was last month.
In fact I am not the same person as I was yesterday.
Life, events, circustances and people they change me.
So what would you answer if I asked you ” who are you?”
Today is my birthday I am 38 years old.
I cannot believe how amazing my 37th year has been.
I have finally found me.
That sounds crazy doesn’t it.
How do you lose yourself?
I don’t think i actually ever lost myself because I don’t believe i had ever found myself before.
For so long I have tried to be who I perceived others wanted me to be.
Hiding my heart to keep others happy.
But its not honest and its certainly not a way to live.
I will be ok when I get my degree.
I will be better when I lose weight.
I will become nicer.
I will try to be kinder.
More open, more trusting
A better mom.
A better wife.
My list became endless and always out of reach.
I finally can see that.
I am kind hearted
I am a good friend.
I am beautiful.
I am so loved.
What a year!!!
I wish it hadn’t took 37 years to get to this place but hey ho I am here.
I am so excited to see what my 38th year will bring me.
I already have exciting things planned.
I mean I’m modelling for goodness sake.
Whatever happens I know it will be fun and filled with love, laughter and friendship.
What more can this birthday girl ask??
Someone once told me that “happiness is a choice”.
I’m not sure if I fully grasped at the time what they meant but over the last five years I have had to choose.
Choose to be happy.
You see emotions are like waves, sometime’s they can be calm and peaceful.
Yet at moments they can be raging against the elements, wild and unforgiving.
Grief especially is a whirlpool.
It tries it’s hardest to suck you down into the depths of despair.
So I have had to fight.
Fight to be happy.
And you know what thats ok.
I’ve learned a great lesson in life
That happiness isn’t a given.
You have to look for it
At times you really have to search for it.
You have to remind yourself that darkness is only the absence of light.
So you have to look for that light.
I call that light hope.
I find the light in my children’s laughter.
Listening to their plans and dreams for the future.
It’s there in memories that I hold dear to my heart.
Never forgetting the strength and courage of the one I have lost.
I find my light in the knowledge that life is for living.
That I have to make each moment count.
It’s there in the promise that one day I will hold my daughter again.
Sometimes life gets does get hard and I find myself fighting against the waves.
Frightened that I’m drowning.
But I still search for the light.
The promise of a new day.
The chance to make another memory.
I remind myself that although the whirlpool will never leave me.
I don’t have to let it consume me.
Ride the waves
Tomorrow is always a chance for hope.
I’m so excited and can’t wait to share this news with you all.
My late daughter Livvy has been chosen as one of the 195 girls to be honoured by Team Sparkle in the So Cal Ragnar Relay. 6 amazing women are running 195 miles for 195 girls with Rett Syndrome. “195 miles” that works out about 30- 35 miles each, can i just say OUCH.
Livvy’s mile is number 171 and is being run by a Rett mama Allison Foley.
As you can imagine I am super excited having Livvy honoured in this way it has certainly blessed my heart. But I’m also so happy to be part of this amazing fund-raising event dedicated to funding the research into curing the devastating condition Rett syndrome.
I am seriously stoked to be part of this event.
So why am I telling you guys all this?
Its simple I need your support.
I am hoping to raise $100 to support this amazing cause.
Seriously no donation is to small, it all goes to an amazing cause.
Please check out Team Sparkle Facebook page and learn more about this amazing ladies.
Make a donation, please let them know its made in Livvy’s memory.
Also go check out Livvy’s Page over at Girl Power 2 cure, I am slightly bias about this charity as they have been strength to me in times of weakness and have given me comfort in times of sorrow. But more than that they give me opportunity to honour Livvy and to keep her memory alive by fighting alongside them against Rett syndrome. To quote Kelly Butler from GP2C ” once a Rett mama always a Rett mama” I can’t tell you how much I needed those words.
So thats my exciting news for the day, lets support Team Sparkle as they support our girls.