Lets play on National Children’s Day

Play, that thing we assume all children do.

But do we realise how important it is to our children’s development?

  • Play increases self-esteem and self respect.
  • Improves physical and mental health.
  • Extends their social skills, teaches turn taking and patience.
  • Encourages imagination and creativity
  • Offers opportunities and for children of abilities and cultures to play together.

 

Today is National Children’s Day

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Let’s celebrate our children and make today one of play.

 

Thank you doesn’t seem enough.

I’m not sure how I am feeling right now, yesterday was a whirlwind of emotions. I laughed, I cried and I laughed some more.

There isn’t really a guideline on how to feel I guess, no instruction book on how to celebrate birthdays of those that never reached them.

I know some think i’m strange, that to celebrate the birthday of a child that has passed is wrong or odd. That’s ok, everyone is completely entitled to their own opinion and the fact is grief is so unique. Nobody feels the same, everyone has their own journey through it or as I believe ‘with it’.

I’m struggling to find words to describe yesterday it was one of the hardest days of my life but also one of the most blessed.

From the moment the clock struck the new day the messages started to flood in.

Birthday wishes for my beautiful girl.

Messages, pictures and names drawn in the sand my girl was remembered.

Friends all over the world wishing my girl a Happy 16th.

Yesterday was a blur of family, friendship and cake, it was a truly special  day.

It is only now as I sit back and reflect that I really realise how completely amazing it was.

I could not thank people enough for what they gave me yesterday. After many nights of wondering and worrying that my Livvy would be forgotten my heart was swollen by the love I felt and the amount of people who remembered her day.

The fund-raising event for the charity formed in her memory Livvy’s Smile was a great success I don’t yet have a final total raised but I know its in the hundreds which is so wonderful.

Besides the donations I also want to say thank you to those who ate cake with their friends and family in honour of this day. I know I harp on a lot about this but memories are the greatest gift we can give ourselves and I am so blessed that you all made new special ones yesterday in honour of my girl.

So yes I’m not sure how I am really feeling today but what I do know is that my heart is full. My girl was honoured in such a beautiful way and for that I will always be grateful.

Thank you doesn’t seem enough but THANK YOU.

Livvy's banner

 

Memories cherished as memories are made.

I have just returned from a wonderful week in beautiful Wales.

I have loved every minute of it, from the beautiful sunsets to the endless beaches.

Its been a truly wonderful week.

It was a week I so needed, time to recharge and refresh my mind.

Time to allow the words to form and the passages to write.

I am feeling stronger that ever.

My heart and mind are on the same path.

This holiday was the first time I have gone back to this area of Wales without Livvy.

I honestly believed that it was going to have to be another first without her.

Yet it wasn’t because as I have enjoyed the views, cherished the sunsets and loved the ocean I have felt Livvy everywhere.

Memories cherished as memories made.

Dogemals 2015 Newquay 2015 west wales 2015

My word for 2015

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.

 

dream

2015 is going to be my year of dreams.

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.

2015 you are my year to dream.

Its scary but it’s time.

All together

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,

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.

A work of art.

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.

Mary tattoo

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.

xxxxx

Dragons den

Don’t hide away.

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.

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.

Our togetherness.

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.

Photobomb snapshots.

Fill your Instagram feed.

Jump into the scenery and make those memories.

Because

One day they will be the most precious gift you could give yourself.

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There is only one stage for me.

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.

 

Anger

 

Grief

 

Numb

 

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.

 

Denial

 

Anger

 

Bargaining

 

Depression

 

Acceptance

 

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

 

Simply heartbroken.

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