Moments of Life and Death

It’s been a while but I feel the need to write now, as today marks the one year anniversary of holding Elijah in my arms as he passed away.

Much has happened since my last post, especially the birth of Elijahs brother, Isaac. Our rainbow baby. Our hope. My little ray of sunshine that warms and comforts me on this tough anniversary date.

One year without my beautiful boy, Elijah. One shattering, life changing year. I have lived moments no Mother should ever have to see.

Moments of Life and Death.

I have witnessed as my body brought forth both.

I have had to hand my child’s body to a stranger and walk away, knowing I would never touch his skin again.

I have felt consuming, overwhelming love for a fragile little soul, who will never walk this earth by my side.

I have had mere moments to fill with a lifetime of love.

I have had to say Goodbye.

I have grieved. Above all else, I have grieved. For what could have been and should have been. For what was owed and what was taken. What was taken is so staggering, that I sometimes wondered if I could remain. How could I remain, knowing that my love was not enough to save him.

I have survived horror and been blessed with beauty.

I have gone from weeping with sadness over a tiny, white coffin to weeping with hope over the new life inside of me.

I have lived in that space between grief and hope.

One year without him.

I am still there.

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Room 1

It’s very hard not to get hung up on dates and times in the aftermath of loss.

At exactly this time, exactly 4 months ago, we were having our boy christened and as we stood there, surrounded by the love of the Trevor Mann nurses, the realisation hit that they had done all they could for him and we would never bring him home.
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Up until that point I’d still kept some hope alive for a miracle.
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I was willing him to open his eyes.
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In my fantasy, all the alarms would sound. Staff would rush in,
“We don’t know how it’s happened. One of the machines wasn’t working properly. He’s going to be fine”.
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I’m sure that any parent who has been inside Room 1 of the Trevor Mann Unit knows my fantasy. It feels like you are on the edge of a different Universe when you walk in there.
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Room 1 is the scariest place on the face of this earth.
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It’s where you never, ever want to be. I hope none of you EVER have to go there. I thought I knew fear. I was wrong.
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Fear IS Room 1.
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I remember my friend Helen telling me a bit about Room 1 a few years ago. She said “Room 1 is where you don’t want to be”. Her daughter survived Room 1 and she knows the fear.
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It’s also a place filled with the most incredible love I have ever experienced.
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Julie and Chrissie.
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I rarely use the word “angel”. It’s not my thing, but those ladies are two angels who spent more time with my son than I did. That they loved him is without doubt. I can’t even begin to describe the tenderness and caring that these ladies showed to Elijah. Julie came to me after her shift had ended, after she’d been with my son all night and gave me a piece of cloth
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“I put this in the crib with him all night, so you’d have something that would smell of him” she said. She’d also collected up every single piece of wire that had been connected to him. Anything that had touched him, she’d saved it all for me. She said “I know you won’t have much to take away from here but at least you have something”.
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I don’t know how or where people like her are made. Truly amazing.
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I don’t remember much of the first time I went to Room 1. I remember running and collapsing outside the room, near the exit doors and Tim picking me up and carrying me back downstairs.
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I remember there were 3 other babies in that room with Elijah and I know at least one of those children didn’t make it home.
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I remember the silence the first time I walked in, as if everyone in that room knew what would happen the first time I saw him.
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I remember being surprised at the sheer amount of machines and wires everywhere.
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I remember thinking that Room 1 will probably change my life forever.
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4 months ago I entered Room 1 as a scared, desperate parent.
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4 months later, Room 1 has made me a person who approaches and thinks about life differently.
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I’m stronger, thanks to Room 1 and I also know true love thanks to Room 1.
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Hope and Fear and Room 1.
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I’ll never be the same again.

Happy Birthday?

I received a beautiful bunch of flowers from a friend today.

One of our builders said to me “you’ve got some lovely flowers. Is it your birthday?”
“Well yes” I said “but not yet. Next week”. “Happy Birthday” he said.

Happy Birthday.

Just two simple words and yet for me it’s not really going to be a “Happy Birthday” year.

To be honest, I’ve had a few weird birthdays in the past.

There was the year my hubby gave me an Action Man for my birthday because Action Man had a spy camera, which apparently is “cool”. Then there was the year he wanted to give me birthday tokens that I could redeem for sex at any time. I think one of the tokens actually said “this entitles the bearer of this token to a quickie” đŸ™‚

I’ve had some GREAT birthdays. Like the year he took me to Paris as a surprise for my 30th.

This year? I’m not sure how to describe how I feel this year. I think it’s the year that time should forget but I never, ever can.

I had an idea of what I would be doing on my birthday this year.

If I close my eyes, I can actually see it.

Tim and Gabey come into the bedroom. They’ve made me birthday breakfast. Elijah is in a white sleepsuit and Tim is holding him in the crook of his arm. Gabey shoves a piece of toast in my face and shouts “Happy Birthday mummy” and blows me a kiss. He then tells me how he made me breakfast and a card. He says “Eli helped too Mummy”. The card is hilarious and wonderful. Its got Gabey scribble all over it and Tim has held a pencil in Elijahs hand and written “I love you Mummy. Eli xxx”. Tim smiles and says “he wrote that all by himself you know. He’s very clever for a 3 month old”.

I guess the truth is, now Elijah has gone, I never get to have the birthdays I imagined ever again. Although honestly, just between us, how many of us really do get the birthdays we want or imagine? My friend Debbs got a box full of her own computer from her hubby one year. I love you Debbs and that STILL makes me giggle. Best birthday present story EVER. I doubt anyone can beat that?

So this year, I’m going to share a birthday Bucks Fizz with a few of my dearest friends, let Rekha feed me cake & laugh when Gabey shoves birthday toast in my face. I might even buy Gabey his first ever Action Man to celebrate.

Well, he is “cool” after all.

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43

That’s the number of ladies who made me cry today.

Not just a few tears but the sliding down the wall sort of sobbing cry. In fact, I’m still sat on the floor, writing this now.

I just received a card in the post. Written inside are some beautiful words and an email address and a password. “Oh that’s interesting” I thought. I clicked the details into my computer and this is what I saw…

and there was a next page and a next….

All of those lines contain the names of people who have put money into an account in memory of Eljah. 43 names in total and I’ve never met 42 of them in person.

I am warmed by this incredible gesture made by an online group of wonderful mums.

We may live in a world where people sometimes fight and deliberately hurt others but we also live in a world where 42 people cared enough about someone they have never met, that they did something in memory of a tiny little boy who never got the chance to live in their world.

Thank you beautiful ladies. Your compassion has truly humbled me.

I may never stop crying.

How can you mend a broken heart?

I’ve just turned on Channel 5 and they are playing a Denzel movie called “Book of Eli”. Denzel is listening to a track by Al Green called “How can you mend a broken heart”. This particular song stops me in my tracks everytime I hear it.

Hard memories hearing that song.

A few days after Elijahs funeral, we decided it was time to pack away the nursery. It was a beautiful sunny day, Gabey was out of the house and it was just the two of us. It had to be done as I crumpled every time I caught sight of the tiny cot mattress he would never lie his beautiful little head on. I could only start healing once this very sad and very tough job was done.

We gently packed away the baby clothes, the tiny socks and the tiny mittens that I would have put on his hands to stop him scratching his face. Then we got the tools out and undid the bolts and screws to take down the beautiful baby cot. As each little piece came down, I felt a little piece of my heart break with it. Watching as my big, brave husband cried taking down the place where his boy was supposed to be spending his nights.

Its one of the saddest moments of my life.

Then once it was done, I put on the iphone and we played this song. Al Green “How can you mend a broken heart”. We held each other and we danced and we cried, as the bright sunlight streamed into the now empty room.

How do you mend a broken heart?

I can’t answer that question but Rolling Stone magazine once said that Al Green was “born to make us smile”. His song, THAT song and the dance we shared together on that day, started us on our path to healing and getting through this together.

If you are hurting, have lost someone, lonely, need healing, put this song on loud and dance and I dance with you. From me (and the Reverend Al Green) with love x