Plot twist

I often find in life people drive down certain pathways, certain they know where they are heading, perhaps they found a soul mate, took an exit at marriage or diverted to having children. They tick off the various landmarks along the way, content in a bubble of control in a journey called ‘Life’

Then there are people like me…naive enough to think they are in control until one day life gives them lemons, truck loads of the yellow fruit. As the quote goes and being a positive princess, I know you need to make lemonade out of them. Since 2009 exactly ten years today we’ve been doing just that. At 16:47 I gave birth to our daughter Gracie, the plan was to take our healthy bundle home, raise her to be a queen and use motherhood as an excuse to visit farms, play in parks and enjoy the ride of motherhood. Except, we had lemons…and a rollercoaster that I wouldn’t want the worst of humans to have to go through. Regular readers will know, we didn’t bring her home and I felt at the time when our daughters death came to an abrupt end, so to had our pathway of happy ever after.

Except, life sometimes gives you a service station and an alternative route and a mountain…a huge mountain to navigate around. The route doesn’t look as appealing and it’s not so picturesque…but some how the mountain makes you a better human, you learn, you help others and there are even a few unexpected moments of joy along the way; like the view if you make it to the top.

After a decade of our diverted path, plus a little dude that jumped in the passenger seat in 2013 I foolishly sat back in the driving seat. Ticking off landmarks and planning our future. How smug was I.

Then came the plot twist…baby three due April 2020.

Mike drop.

Not planned.

What next? I’m giving up metaphorical driving. I’m making little to no plans, I’m seeing where this huge new tunnel takes us. It looks dark and to be honest is a little scary. This time life gave us a pomegranate. We can’t squeeze it – because there are too many pips but it is so vibrant when you take time to cut it open and I’m excited for the potential of where this tunnel will take us. It’s early days but on the anniversary of Gracies birth I’m grateful for this unexpected gift.

There is always light at the end of the tunnel if you keep going, there is always contrast along the way. This is life and I’m now driving full throttle and with no road map open to where it might take us. Just like a candle on a cake, there is always light if you choose to see it.

Happy returns little angel

Sometimes happy memories hurt the most

Very soon we will of breathed for 3650 days without our first born, our daughter Gracie Alice Rose.

As I’ve written previously she was too precious for this earth and so was given her wings early. We were blessed with several days with her and in that small amount of time created enough memories to get us through a life time without her…just. I remember every moment and each stage before we left the hospital with her car seat empty and our hearts in pieces.

At the time we were cocooned by the love of our family and friends, but also the ripples of love that travelled into our communities, work places and beyond. This experience has given me a masters in grief. It wasn’t a qualification that I was planning on taking, but I hope that my knowledge might make things a little easier when you find yourself in the shadows of grief.

People lie

Much like a pregnancy, in death people like to give advice. “It’ll be ok” “when my mum died..” it goes on. However, one wise Nanny told me “people will tell you it gets easier with time – they’re liars”. At the time it felt like Nanny had bluntly slapped me across the face, a different tone shall we say from the sympathy cards we’d received in their dozens. Alas, she was right and with this blunt truth and sudden adjustment to my thoughts, it somehow made it easier? I wasn’t waiting for the day I’d feel ‘me’ again, because ‘I’ was changed forever. With this comes several added delights, people are lying to you because they love you enough to want to make it better. to ease the brutal process. You are loved. Also, I don’t want to forget anything about that 5lb9 bundle of joy, so why would losing her get easier? Another truth is you do smile again, breathing gets a little easier and appreciation for what you had, even if like in our case it was only for days…becomes a blessing.

Break all the rules

If grief was a fairy, she would be naughty, mischievous and unpredictable – she would turn up when she liked, how she liked and make you feel how you didn’t expect to feel. Some people believe that there are steps to grief (google tells me there are seven), in reality there are actually as many as your grief fairy decides. You may think you’re through guilt and in to anger and then fairy grief side sweeps you back to stage one ‘shock’. It’s your journey and just because I’ve got my masters in grief doesn’t mean I know how you feel, what you need or how best to support you. My best advice would be to reach out to someone you trust and tell them. If they are a good friend, they’ll already know you’re crazy and love you for it, so to hear that one day your fine, the next your on top of the world and the third you’ve been wearing the same Pyjamas for a month and don’t remember where the shower is will come as no surprise. Talk to your tribe, be as honest as you can about your feelings and if you can’t put it into words, silence is best served with a friend by your side.

If none of the above resonates with you, remember ‘what do I know?’ and people are liars. However, if it made things a little easier then in our family we call that a ‘Gracie steps’, tiny steps to progress.

If you’ve been affected by any of the content in this post, please speak to a loved one, your GP or perhaps speak to the wonderful people at The Samaritans (UK) 116123.