Tag Archives: Ewan

Baby Loss Awareness Week

fb-tw-profile_babylossawareness_-750-x-750-300x300

Being a mum can be hard sometimes. Really hard. But not being a mum, when you really want to be. That’s a whole different ball game.

Tomorrow is the start of Baby Loss Awareness Week. If you asked me 6 years ago whether I’d heard there of such a week, my answer would have been no. If you asked me whether I would be sat up on a Saturday night writing about losing a baby, I would have thought you were mad.

But here I am. A bereaved mother. Unfortunately not alone, but one of many.

It is estimated that one in four women experience pregnancy loss. A quarter. 25%. Before our own loss, I knew of very few people who have been affected. In the few days following Ewan’s death, the number doubled if not tripled. People shared their own experiences or those of friends or relatives. Some were recent, others dated back 40 years. All too quickly, baby loss became far more common that I ever realised. Just less than 3 weeks after losing Ewan, one of my best friends received devastating news about her own pregnancy. The only slither of a silver lining being that I felt I was able to help her because of my own experience.

Talking about the loss of a baby is often taboo. I’ve often thought about why that is. I think generally as a society we don’t like to talk about death. We find it uncomfortable. People don’t know what to say to one another. Most likely for fear of saying the wrong thing. For some reason that is heightened when it is the death of a baby. Whether it is an early miscarriage or a full term pregnancy.

P1100244

Ewan at 12 weeks

As part of Baby Loss Awareness Week I am here to talk about it. Break the Silence. That has always been an aim of my blog, I just unfortunately don’t have the time to write often. But I’ll be honest, I do sometimes worry that people don’t want to read what I have to say about our experiences. I think I should write about jollier things. Silly really. If you don’t want to read, no-one is stopping you.

So unashamedly throughout this week I’ve decided to either write a new blog or share an old one every day. To commemorate but also to embrace. I’ll apologise in advance if they are upsetting (there is always a get out clause – you don’t have to read them). Hopefully for those of you who have ready my posts before, you will know that I try to look for the positives. You know that I consider us to be so incredibly blessed to have two amazing, beautiful, energetic and fun-loving boys, who have helped us to heal in so many ways. But know that we will never ever fully heal. Any bereaved parent will tell you the same.

Please take some time out of your busy lives to find out more about Baby Loss Awareness Week.  About the 24 amazing charities who are involved, who tirelessly raise awareness throughout the year and campaign for change.

http://babyloss-awareness.org/

If you know someone who has lost a baby, take time this week to acknowledge their loss. Whether it was last month, last year or 40 years ago. I am sure they will appreciate a hug or a few words so that they know you have been thinking of them.

Finally, if you can, join the Global Wave of Light on October 15th at 7pm. October 15th is International Pregancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. Families all over the world will be remembering their babies who were taken too soon. Light a candle at 7pm and leave it burning for at least an hour. Post your photo to Facebook or Twitter to join the digital Wave of Light using #waveoflight

candles

A Great Run Up North

img_1340

 The day I was to run 13.1 miles for SANDS finally arrived! It’s not an over exaggeration when I say that I’ve been working towards this goal all year. 12 months ago I could just about manage 5km every week or so. Three days ago I quadrupled that effort and completed my fourth ever half marathon, my first in nine years. Most importantly due to the generosity of my family, friends and colleagues, my Justgiving total now stands at £2,278 for the SANDS research fund.

Here’s how my day went!

Adam and I woke up at 5.30am in our lovely comfy B&B room to the sound of Dylan singing ‘Bob the Builder, Can you fix it’?? He was ready to get up but we weren’t!! A few shushes and we managed to sneak another hour sleep before getting up. The owner kindly got up early too in order to serve us breakfast. We sat and chatted with a couple from Liverpool who were also going up to the run. I managed to stomach a bit of porridge, some fruit and yoghurt and poached egg, drooling at the sight of Adam’s amazing plate of sausage, bacon and black pudding!

img_1326

Breakfast done, we packed up and got on the road, exchanging ‘good luck’s with the Liverpudlian runner. On went the Rocky soundtrack to get me pumped and motivated. I’m a sucker for Sylvester Stallone’s boxing saga. It makes me think of the early days when Adam and I first got together. I’d never seen it before and he introduced me to each chapter over consecutive weekends.

img_1329

The nerves started to kick in as we approached Newcastle. We parked the car just after 9am in the city centre near the Metro and followed the crowds to the start line. Even though the race didn’t begin until 10.40am, with 40,000+ runners plus spectators, we didn’t want to risk being late. Dylan enjoyed seeing all the people and picking out the runners in fancy dress. I told him I wanted him to tell me about all the different characters he saw when I finished. We parted ways as they went to find a place to watch the start. I queued for my last toilet break and collected the safety pins for my running number that I’d forgotten to pack. I knew a few other people taking part but with the huge volumes of runners (it is the world’s biggest half marathon you know!), meeting up just wasn’t an option.

img_1333

I finally found my starting ‘pen’ after walking past thousands of others. Given my predicted time I was near the back of the pack. And then I waited, and waited and waited. The start gun went. I waited some more, the Red Arrows flew over, waited a bit more again and then 32 minutes after the start I crossed the line!

img_1348

Waiting patiently for mummy!

My first priority once running got underway was to find Dylan and Adam. We made sure that co-ordinated so I was on the right side for them to see me. After a couple of minutes I saw them, Dylan on Adam’s shoulders waving. I managed a high five with them both, big smiles all around and then after that I was able to properly settle into the race.

So, I haven’t mentioned the heat yet. How can I have got 500 words into this blog without talking about how incredibly flipping hot it was. We spent half of July staring out at rain dripped windows and in September suddenly the country breaks into an unexpected heatwave! That was the first real obstacle. Adjusting to a race that could have been in Nigeria instead of Newcastle. I took advantage of the majority of the first mile going under the city underpasses and then afterwards tried as much as possible to go along the shaded parts of the streets, although there weren’t many of these.

img_1336

We crossed the Tyne Bridge (always exciting) and apart from being hot, I felt as though the first 5km was pretty comfortable. Although there are A LOT of people running, I remembered why I love the Great North Run. For one the crowds are amazing. There aren’t many sections of the race where there aren’t spectators shouting encouragement, handing out jelly babies or ice pops. Secondly I love reading all the different running shirts and seeing who people are running for. Some people think that runners are crazy putting themselves through the torture and pain of training and racing, but it truly is an amazing sight looking at all the good causes and thinking how many charities will be benefitting as a result of this one half marathon. I saw a few SANDS runners. I didn’t pass many of them (it was generally them passing me) but for those I did, I tried to have a bit of a chat and motivational high five with them.

The heat aside, I felt like I was doing pretty well and enjoying myself until about mile 10. At that point I was thinking ‘all the hard work done, not far to go now, it’s only a parkrun (5k) which I do every Saturday’. I might even have stupidly thought ‘easy’! I think that caused me to hit the brick wall. My legs turned to jelly, every leg muscle ached and every joint groaned. Olympic walkers would easily have overtaken me as I stumbled along. The last 3 miles were pretty much pure agony. So rather than dwell on it (I want to wipe it from memory) lets skip onto the finish.

img_1358

YEY I finished!! The last mile along the seafront seemed to go on forever but finally it ended. I’ve got to give a massive thank you to the commentator at the end, who, at the time I rolled in was encouraging the crowd to give us a standing ovation and huge cheers. They obeyed, and honestly I felt like I’d just won an Olympic medal! Crossing the line I managed to keep it together physically and didn’t collapse! Mentally I almost crumbled and cried, but again just kept a hold of myself.

img_1353 img_1352

After collecting my medal and bag, I eventually managed to make my way to meeting Adam and Dylan. It was too busy for them to stand at the finish, Adam instead keeping Dylan entertained watching the Red Arrows display. Hugs all round and an ice cream for Dylan (it has been a long day for him), it was great to see them both. It had definitely been the right decision leaving Jude with my parents, he would have enjoyed the planes but that would have been about it!

The journey home was long and tiring, but all in all it was a great day. My time?? 2 hrs 34. Not my worse and not my best. To be honest, given how I’ve felt over the past couple of weeks, I was happy to get through the full 13.1 miles and finish. Completing this was less about the time, and more about raising money and raising awareness of stillbirth. And for Ewan to know that I ran it for him.

If you would like to donate to SANDS, please visit my Justgiving page www.justgiving.com/runningforewan

img_1364

A well earned bath

12 months later….

img_1298

Almost 12 months ago, I wrote a blog making a bold statement. That I was going to take part in the Great North Run in a years time. Here I am, on the eve of said race, sat in a lovely B&B farmhouse near Hadrian’s Wall, about 40 minutes away from Newcastle. It looks like I’m doing it then!

img_1306

Adam and I drove up to the North East today with Dylan. We made the decision to leave Jude back at home with grandma and grandad. It’s going to be a long day tomorrow and whilst it would have been amazing having him watch me, it would be hard work for Adam. Dylan is a good age (4) to appreciate what will be going on, Jude at 19 months would not! I’m not worried about him, he’ll be being spoiled rotten.

The B&B is so peaceful. I only booked it about 4 months ago, which is too late to take advantage of any budget accommodation in Newcastle city centre. So instead of paying a small fortune for a Travelodge room 5 miles away, we decided on going a bit further afield. Being surrounded by field upon field of sheep is very relaxing indeed. Dylan was super excited when we arrived. He loves a holiday and hasn’t managed to hide his disappointment that it’s only for one night.

img_1320 img_1321

How am I feeling about tomorrow? Mmmmm surprisingly calm given that I haven’t really had the preparation I was hoping for. I was going great guns with my training until mid-June after my 2 x 10k races, then I went off the boil a bit. A month later I got back on it and was doing reasonably well getting the miles under my belt, culminating in my longest 11 mile run 3 weeks ago. Then it’s gone a bit pear shaped since. Work has been crazy busy (anyone who works with me or in Further Education knows that is a bit of an understatement!). I’ve barely managed anything in the last 2 weeks at all and have felt pretty run down with work over the last few days. I have managed a couple of good nights sleep though so hopefully that will help.

Don’t expect any amazing times from me. I’ll honestly just be happy to make it round and enjoy the experience. At one stage I was really hoping to beat my best time and was aiming for 2 hr 15 mins but I can’t see that happening now. By getting round in one piece I’ll hopefully make everyone who has sponsored me proud. Most importantly I want Ewan to be proud of his mum. I can’t believe that the total raised so far for SANDS now stands at £2138! A huge thank you to EVERYONE who has sponsored me. There is still chance if you haven’t done so already – visit www.justgiving.com/running4ewan.

So if you find yourself at a loose end tomorrow, get BBC 1 on from about 10am. Maybe the tens of thousands of runners, raising money for amazing causes will inspire you to take part next year!

Those moments

Does anyone else ever get those moments? The ones where you just stop, take in your surroundings and realise just how incredibly fortunate you are? I’ve had a few recently. It probably helped that we went on holiday a couple of weeks ago and I’ve taken some leave this week too. The stresses and strains of daily life have on the back burner. I have stepped off the work treadmill for a short while and actually feel relaxed (well as much as is possible with a 4 year and 18 month old in tow).

So one moment in particular was on a steam train heading up the side of a mountain in Wales. Sitting with my husband and two boys, I looked at them and in that moment appreciated how lucky I really was. I wished I could travel back in time 5 years and show the newly bereaved, but also newly pregnant me what life would be like. I couldn’t have dreamed I would be so blessed.

IMG_1476 IMG_1505 IMG_1498 IMG_1502

The times when we were on holiday when I had ‘those moments’ were in situations where we were either doing something different and special (boys + steam trains = absolute joy or boys + castles = bliss). Or we were just enjoying our company as a foursome (Jude insisting on spending most of a meal out high-fiving the three of us in between grabbing mouthfuls of food). Being on holiday allowed me to just concentrate on being with the family. Forget about the ironing and what was on the never ending to-do list at work. The most important decisions are centred on which beach to visit or whether to buy an ice-cream mid-morning or mid-afternoon!

I know in an ideal world we would spend more time appreciating the good things in life and counting our blessings. I forever see posts on Facebook about cherishing the little moments, making every moment count and that each day is a gift. I’m not against these at all, I understand the point that is being made. It’s just that reality does get in the way and sometimes it can be hard to cherish a toddler tantrum, a fussy eater or whingey moods.

I like to think that I am an appreciative person. That I am, in general, an optimist and a glass half full character. I do wonder sometimes if my loss has made me more thankful when it comes to parenthood. Do I hug them just that little bit tighter on occasion? That’s something I will never know.

Whilst having ‘those moments’ does make me think of Ewan, that’s a good thing. It’s important he remains an active part of me. It also makes me look at my rainbows, my rays of joy after the storm, and be truly thankful for every day, the bad as well as the good. They helped me to heal, smile and laugh and enjoy life again.

I’m off now to buy my lottery ticket for this week. I want to be on holiday all the time!

 

A Home Run

IMG_0956

After a week of gorgeous half term weather, I found myself dreaming of rain last Sunday morning. Unfortunately it turned out that my prayers weren’t to be answered and I woke up to a glorious blue sky. Hmmm, not really the best conditions for running 10,000 metres.
FullSizeRenderSo here we were, round 2 of my 2016 running challenge. A 10k race in my hometown of Burnley. Despite the heat, I was really looking forward to the run. We all piled into the car at about 8.30am – Adam, the boys and me. The start and finish of the run was in one of Dylan’s favourite parks so he was happy to come along and watch. He even joined in with my pre-race breakfast of porridge and honey.
IMG_0947
It was a very different affair compared with 2 weeks ago in Manchester. Instead of 35,000 people taking part, there were about 1500 in Burnley. Waiting to start I chatted to ex-work colleagues and saw old friends. It had a real community feel to it. A lot of people turned up to the start to see us all off, but it wasn’t too busy that Adam and the boys could stand by one of the barriers and wave as I went past. It was a great boost to see their smiling faces (although Jude was apparently very upset to see me fly past without stopping!)

IMG_0946

And so we were off. And typical of the Burnley landscape we were almost straight into a hill. In contrast to the Manchester 10k which was relatively flat, this course was one of many hills. On the flipside though, whenever you run up, you have to run down! At least our first hill was under the shade of the Towneley Park woods.

I looked back at my description of the Manchester 10k. I used the words busy and hot a lot. Thankfully Burnley wasn’t too busy and I was able to run without the fear of tripping over someone’s ankles. But hot it definitely was! Sunny to be more precise. To be honest, weather and terrain-wise, Manchester was much much easier. But guess what, I managed to beat by Manchester time by 16 seconds. And broke the magic hour mark, woo hoo!!

IMG_0948Although the run was harder, it was easily a prettier run to experience. Knowing the area helped as I knew what to expect at almost every turn. The last stretch was (again) on a hill which was a really tough finish. But with about 200 metres to go, I saw my own personal cheerleaders waving to give me that last surge of energy. As I ran past, Dylan handed me a bunch of dandelions. I don’t know who had the bigger smile at that point, him or me! It gave me the push to attempt a sprint finish – meaning that I crossed the line at 59 mins 50 seconds. Even though it only took a couple of minutes for my time to come through as a text message, I knew from looking at my watch that I had more or less beaten my personal target. I almost cried with relief!

Cue to pick up my finishers t-shirt and goody bag. I saw a one of my work colleagues who had run 2 weeks before and also got a better time.  There was clearly something in the Lancashire air pushing us along.

I got big hugs all round when I met up with Adam and the boys a few minutes later. I tried (unsuccessfully) to get a good finishers photo with Dylan and Jude but they had other ideas. Bless them, they were ready to go home!

IMG_0952
Reflecting afterwards on the run, it was really hard. But all the effort was worth it to have Dylan and Jude watch me finish, and then to get a PB in the bag. They don’t know why I am running yet but they will someday soon. The medal will be tucked away in Ewan’s memory box which is where I’ve decided I will put all my running memorabilia. It feels like the right place, where he can look after it.

Now, onwards and upwards to the half marathon. I’ve proved I can go half the distance this year, so it’s time to step up the training. Wish me luck!

If you would like to sponsor me, please visit my fundraising page. All amounts are gratefully received, however big or small.
www.justgiving.com/running4ewan

IMG_0950

It’s good to talk!

Sands logo

We don’t talk about Ewan a lot. That sounds pretty silly doesn’t it? Saying that on a blog which is (in essence) about him. But writing is different to talking,

What I mean is, whilst talking about him is not a taboo subject, it’s not something I do every day, or even every week. It’s not because we’ve forgotten about him. It’s just not something that comes up in day-to-day conversation. Current conversations now revolve around how long did Jude sleep for his daytime nap, or where has Captain America’s shield gone? (Answers, usually about an hour and a hour, two if we are lucky, and no idea – it’s been missing for weeks!). You get my drift.

That’s not to say we don’t think about him. We see his hand and footprint every morning and he is always in our thoughts.

The past couple of weeks have been a bit different.

A couple of weeks ago I was asked to talk about the SANDS charity at my mum and dad’s church. Every year in May, the congregation gather together one Sunday morning before the service and have breakfast together. At the end there is a collection for charity which changes each year. In 2011, the year Ewan died, they chose SANDS as the recipient and raised £260 in donations.

Five years on, I was incredibly touched to be told that they had again chosen SANDS. But this time I was asked I would go and speak about the work of the charity and about why it was of such importance. I have spoken in public about Ewan, but not for some time. I wanted to use the opportunity to explain how the work SANDS has done over the last 38 years made a real impact on Adam and I when Ewan was born. Instead of him being taken away from us, we were able to spend time with him, take photos and make memories. It sounds so simple, but parents of stillborn babies 20+ years ago were not afforded the same treatment.

The generosity of the congregation raised £311. A huge thank you to Bethesda Street United Reformed Church in Burnley.

Last week I met up with our Communications Officer at work. Each year a group of staff take part in the Great Manchester Run and raise money for charity. Those who run get to put forward the charity and choose.  Figuring I had nothing to lose, I suggested SANDS , and was delighted when it was chosen by my co-workers/runners.

I offered to talk about my own experiences with Becky so that she could put together an article. The result is the link below. I think she made a pretty good job of it!

http://www.nelson.ac.uk/adults-news/ncc-team-prepare-charity-run-support-brave-colleague/

Last time I looked, the College Justgiving page stands at £155 – I’m hopeful for a lot more!

I think some people might think that talking about Ewan is something I don’t want to do, for fear of me getting upset. Five years ago, that would have been the case, but now, with the benefit of time and healing, I can talk about him and just be …. normal. I like to talk about him, because he is our son, a part of our family. I like to talk about SANDS because it focusses me to be positive about our experience, because without their tireless campaigning and education, it could have been so much worse. And I don’t get upset because our lives are filled with so much joy. Just look at the two monkeys below and you will see why!

If you ever want to ask me about Ewan, please do. I will be happy to share, because  as Bob Hoskins once said … ‘It’s good to talk’

IMG_0578 IMG_0596

 

Due Date

A mother should never dread the due date of her baby. She might be worried or nervous, but in most cases she will be buzzing with excitement and anticipation. Not so the mother who loses her baby before the due date arrives.

We knew Ewan had died 8 weeks before his due date. I’ve written before about one clear memory I have of that morning when I went to get some petrol. As I was filling up, I remember thinking that ‘in 8 weeks our baby might be here, in 10 weeks it probably, most definitely will be here’. Not to be.

Very early on, I knew that we had to do something on Ewan’s due date. Whilst I know that very few babies arrive on their actual due date (it’s something like 4%), I knew that the day would mark a very important milestone. I just knew that I couldn’t spend the day sitting at home, watching the hours pass and wondering what might have been.

So Adam and I made plans on how we would spend 11th March. I have written already about our love of Scotland. At that time we had recently discovered the West Coast Highlands and Islands and so decided to head up to the Isle of Skye. If you look on a map, Skye is pretty far north. It’s about a 4 hour drive north of Glasgow, and that’s just to the southern tip across the Skye road bridge. I booked a cottage on the northern tip, a place called Uig, another hours drive. Looking at it now, it seems as though I was trying to get as far away from home as possible. That thought didn’t really cross my mind at the time. We just knew that Skye would be a beautiful place to escape to.

11 20

We split the journey up and stopped a night at a beautiful B & B at the southern tip of Loch Lomond. The following morning was the 11th March. We looked onwards and upwards. We had a weekend of amazing and wild scenery to look forward to.

The roads skirting along the length of Loch Lomond, onto the high ground of Rannoch Moor, through Glen Coe, past Ben Nevis and up to Skye give you simply spectacular views. They are a thousand times worth the journey to get that far north. There was still plenty of snow on a lot of the high ground after that particularly long and cold winter, which extended onto the mountains of Skye. The scenery was simply stunning. I’d like to think my photographs do it justice, but it doesn’t!

79 78

On Skye, we eventually found our tiny cottage, a former Granary, and settled in. Out of the three nights, we had two blazing sunsets over the sea, looking out across the Little Minch towards the Outer Hebrides. I love the photograph Adam took of me smiling with my head out of the window. Looking out at the sunsets brought real calmness and peace. On the day that could have been one of the hardest tests, I am happy.

31 87The next day brought cold, but fine weather. We threw our warm gear on and headed to the Old Man of Storr, Staffin and Kilt Rock. We did quite a bit of walking and in the afternoon I started to get tired as we were heading up to a summit for more spectacular views. I was frustrated with myself, even though Adam kept reminding me that it wasn’t 8 weeks since I had given birth and my body was still recovering. I reluctantly agreed to turn back (why is he always right??).

58 40 48

The rain for which the West Coast is famous for, joined us on the Sunday. Although it was tempting to stay tucked up indoors, we braved the elements and drove to the Waternish peninsula to go to the beach! I loved watching the wind whipping the water off the waves. Later that night we huddled up and listened to a wild storm raging around us outside.

104 97

With heavy hearts we packed up to go home and back to reality. It was only a short trip but we came back a little more energised and with the ability to carry on facing the difficult challenges life was throwing at us. We didn’t forget about Ewan whilst we were in Scotland, we took him with us and continued to talk about what had happened and how we felt. But the trip gave us an excuse to ‘do’ something and enjoy ourselves. Smile, laugh and be silly without feeling guilty. Be normal. Start healing.

117 114

How do I feel now on the 11th March? It’s funny. It’s actually not a day that I usually think or worry about. January is a huge focus for us as this was when Ewan was born. Being perfectly honest, when I thought about writing this post, I had to double check whether his due date was the 11th or 13th.  Most importantly though, it is now my niece’s birthday. She is 3 today (Happy Birthday Emma – see you tomorrow!). It’s quite fitting that we can now celebrate this day, laughing and smiling as we should. And I like to think that Ewan will be celebrating with us too.

 

A tough day for some

Selfie

Love it or loathe it, you can’t escape the fact that tomorrow is Mother’s Day in the UK. It will be my sixth Mother’s Day as a mother, but I have only spent five with children. Having experienced the raw pain of losing a child, I now have a real understanding of what Mother’s Day means, to me anyway. In very simple terms, I can best describe it as appreciative. Appreciative of the fact that I was given another opportunity, two opportunities in fact, to be a mother.

That sounds kind of contradictory. One of the hardest thing about spending 32 weeks creating a life, for it then to end so abruptly is that you so desperately feel like a mother, you ARE a mother, but you don’t have a baby in your arms.

And when Mother’s Day comes along just over 10 weeks after you have lost that baby, it just feels like a slap in the face. It’s everywhere. On television, radio, in almost every shop and store possible. Inescapable. I actually can’t remember much about that first Mother’s Day, only that I woke up feeling terrible and wanting to hide in bed all day. Quite early in the day, I received a text message from a friend who whose mum had died a few years before. I don’t recall the exact words, but it was a message of understanding and awareness of how I might be feeling.

Growing up we never really got caught up in the commercialism of Mother’s Day (although I am sure that is something that has snowballed in the last decade). My brothers and I would attempt to do something nice for our mum. I know that mum still has a card one of my brothers made, with a poem he wrote. A rhyme something along the lines of ‘have a cup of tea whilst you relax on the settee’. I remember writing a breakfast menu with about 10 different toast shapes she could choose from. I think she opted for heart shaped!

Mum always used to (and still does) say that we didn’t need to get anything or make a fuss. She would much rather we do something spontaneous on another day in the year, rather than buy something when retailers dictated. Unfortunately on one occasion in my teenage years, I took it a bit too far by not even getting a card or acknowledging the day existed. Not my best hour! I’m hoping I’ve made up for it since!

IMG_9609

When I wake up tomorrow, I will be thinking about a few things. How happy, lucky, fortunate and blessed I feel to have my two rainbows, crawling over me, thrusting pirate swords and rattles in my face. My wonderful handmade cards from nursery already have pride of place in the living room. Anything else will be a bonus. Most importantly we will spend the day as a family, whether that’s going to the park or watching a DVD.

IMG_9610IMG_9612

But I will be thinking of all those mothers who don’t have noise and chaos, dribble and mess. Of those mothers who have lost babies and children. Also of those women who don’t have children and may never have. For whom Mother’s Day is one day they wish they didn’t have to endure.

And the people out there without their mothers. Those who no longer have the luxury of deciding whether to buy chocolates, wine, flowers or a pamper day. Or the even simpler luxury of putting their arms round them for a hug. On this note, I go back to word appreciative, this time of my own mum. How lucky I am to have her with me, and how I should be telling her more and more how amazing she is (Mum, I love you!).

Above all, I will think about my angel. He may not be with me in person to celebrate Mother’s Day, but I will forever celebrate being his mother in my heart.

 

Back to Another Place

IMG_9200

Dare I ask if winter is behind us? At least all that relentless rain (pretty please!) Today has been the kind of day that half term dreams are made of. Sunshine and blue skies. Only the temperature gave away the fact that we are still in February. We all wrapped up well and headed out to the place I wrote about a few weeks ago; Crosby Beach in Liverpool. A memorable place we visited just after Ewan died.

IMG_9206

This was Jude’s first visit. We brought Dylan when he had only been walking a few weeks. I’d forgotten how great it is for children. Obviously as well as the beach there is a huge park, outdoor gym equipment, a lake (perfect for throwing stones) and a bistro/bar.

IMG_9230 IMG_9197

Three years ago, the newly toddling Dylan absolutely loved the open space and at the time my dreams of a relaxed family picnic were dashed as he just wouldn’t keep still. Jude isn’t walking yet, although I don’t think it will be too long. He’s at that stage where if he’s in the pram, it needs to be constantly moving. Luckily there is a long promenade at Crosby beach, plus the sand is really firm so easy to push the pram on.

IMG_9224 IMG_9214

Dylan didn’t pay too much attention to the statues (again) and instead concentrated all his effort on cracking shells with a big stick. 4 year old heaven!! It would have kept him entertained for a good couple of hours I imagine, but Jude was getting hungry and a bit cold because despite the sun, there was a biting wind.

I managed to steal the stick from Dylan long enough to get my (now) obligatory beach shot of my angel and two rainbows.

IMG_9218

We treated ourselves to lunch in the bistro. I had contemplated a picnic but decided it would just be too cold for the boys. It was great to have an hour to warm up giving us the energy to go back out in the cold for round two in the park.

IMG_9231

I love this place and couldn’t help but take photo after photo. We definitely need to come back in the summer, when the temperature is warmer and hopefully Jude will be running up and down, shunning my lovingly prepared sandwiches!

IMG_9235 IMG_9246

So maybe I’m being a bit too optimistic in thinking the rain has ended, especially having looked at Wednesday’s forecast! At least I can revel in this wonderful day out today with my beautiful family. Five years ago Adam and I came on our own, encouraged by the sun, starting to heal and sowing some seeds of happiness. Those seeds have flourished and are now smiling and laughing with each other, and at us every day. Absolute bliss!

IMG_9253

Truly loving brothers

Five Years

The 17th January comes to a close. For a lot of people across the UK, today has been significant because they were able to enjoy the first real snowfall of the winter.

For Adam and I, it will always be a significant day because carries with it an important anniversary. It is a day were we remember what happened to us back in 2011. Five years ago.

Our lives started down a very different path to the one we have been cruising happily along for some time. We had been eagerly anticipating the arrival of our firstborn. Instead, he was born sleeping. Five years ago.

Every year we aim to celebrate. It gives us a positive focus. It was a bit difficult the first year as we had a five day old Dylan to look after. My mum and dad babysat for an hour or so (making it the first time I had left him) whilst Adam and I went to visit Ewan’s grave. The second year, we both took the day off work and kept Dylan off nursery. We spent the day together and went out for a lovely meal.

The third year followed a similar path. Again we booked the day off to be together as a family. However something slightly bizarre happened. My friend sent me a message to ask if I had checked the results of the local weekly hospice lottery. I had a monthly Direct Debit going out and in about 5 years of taking part had probably won about £25. I didn’t make a habit of checking it regularly.

I looked. I had won the first prize! A random draw, I won the jackpot on Ewan’s third birthday. Surely that’s more than a coincidence? I don’t know why, it just felt as though Ewan was watching over us. And sent us a gift to make us smile on his special day. It felt appropriate to make a donation back to the Hospice and also to Sands.

Last year, I had just finished work the day before for my maternity leave. We had another dusting of snow and took Dylan to the cemetery with his new gardening kit. I took these wonderful photos. He helped us to clear the snow from the grave and arrange the flowers.

IMG_4366 IMG_4367 IMG_4372

IMG_8663Dylan and I went to the pantomime this afternoon with family. Afterwards Adam collected us with Jude (who was a bit too young for the theatre), and together we all went to visit Ewan. It was getting pretty cold but we wrapped up and picked our way through the snow. Dylan is starting to get quite inquisitive and I wondered if he would start to ask more searching questions. I haven’t yet worked out how we are going to talk to him about his older brother. I’m not sure he is old enough to understand quite yet. Anyway he was quite happy to make holes in the snow with his pick! Jude was just happy to be held.

We went for tea afterwards. Jude who has been fussy with food recently ate his body weight in mashed potato, veggies and turkey and they both enjoyed time together in the play area. I just loved watching them.

IMG_8673

Today hasn’t felt just quite as difficult as previous years. Is this time being a healer? Is it because I now have double trouble to run around after? Yes to both to a certain degree, but I also think that writing this blog for the past 6 months has helped by giving me the opportunity to share my thoughts and feelings about Ewan, about the difficult times, but also the joy that both he and his brothers have given us.

So all it remains for my to say now is Happy Birthday Ewan. We miss you incredibly and there is a part of us that will always be with you. You will always be loved and never forgotten.