Empty Milestones

This week marks another big milestone for my family. Abbie my first rainbow baby headed off to secondary school. It’s made me think back to 12 years ago when she was just a few months old and the loveliest feelings she made me feel, she always gave double hugs, double kisses, my complete little wing woman. I have always said she made up for all I lost out on with Zac. Now she is an outgoing, confident young lady who I have a very special bond with.

I thought back then in 2006 my family was complete. But it wasn’t. Fast forward 9 years and it was the first week in Sept 2015 I discovered the precious cargo I was carrying was a boy. I skipped out of my scan on top of world, thanking the stars we had been blessed with another boy and this time it was going to be different. I was just about to by pass the danger zone the dreaded week I had lost Zac knowing this baby was perfect and I had nothing to worry about.

I trusted all that was said to me, as I believed their had been significant improvements in maternity care since I had lost Zac, although I was increasingly worried about being 10 years older.

Sharing the news with Paul was one of highlights of my pregnancy with Patrick as he was unable to attend that scan. The glint that lit up in his eyes filled me with a tremendous sense of accomplishment of being his wife giving him another son, a glint that would be cruelly extinguished in only a short period of time.

Zac should be starting 2nd year in secondary school and I often wonder what would he have been like. He looked so much like his older brother Jamie. Would he be into computer games? Would he be sporty like his big brother, would they have an inseparable bond like brothers have full of rough and tumble.

Telling the kids they were getting a new brother sent such huge rip waves of excitement through the house. Jamie especially couldn’t wait, it was like the years since losing Zac had become less painful. Jamie spoke often of how he was going to steal him away to his bedroom after he was born. We joked how Patrick was so active on the inside he was going to be a better footballer than his brother.

I love each of my children deeply, truly, wholeheartedly but it’s so hard when pieces of your jigsaw are missing. My heart aches so heavily for Patrick. What I wouldn’t give to see him smile, to see his eyes, to hear is little voice.

What I have of him will never be enough. I will always ask …..Why me? Why us? ……I will never have that answer.

For the rest of my life I must face milestones. Milestones that were never to be for my boys. Sometimes I wonder will I ever be able to face these empty milestones over and over. I am blessed to have 5 healthy living children but nothing will ever fill the void of the pieces that are missing.

I look to the stars and ask will I ever wake up from this nightmare? Can I live with the weight of this grief burdened down on me.


A Mother without a Mother….

As the 2 & 1/2 year mark approaches I have been reflecting on my journey of grief. I’ve had more wobbles and tears in recent weeks than I’ve had in quiet a while. I suppose I’ve been on autopilot making myself so busy that the inevitable would eventually stop me in my tracks. Living a life which appears from the outside perfectly normal when really it’s only a screen where I pretend it’s all ok.

Living the pretence has gotten me through week after week until someone close to me said something and that was my trigger. What they said opened that suitcase I had packed away wanting to forget. Their words took me back almost 14 years to January 2005 when we lost Zac.

I remember the utter devastation I felt, the heartbreak and I thought I would never get through it. The endless days sitting and crying behind closed doors and sitting on a mound of muck in the rain in the cemetery where he was laid to rest for hours on end. I felt isolated as people in the outside world didn’t get it. Thankfully the one person who did get it was my mum, she supported me, held me up and let me grieve. All the while not letting others interfere with how I chose to cope with my loss.

With Patrick I didn’t have that protective motherly blanket. While pregnant with Patrick I watched my mother fade away to the clutches of Alzheimer’s disease. I had spent my pregnancy grieving for my mother who was lost but still with us. I had spent my pregnancy counselling my other children to deal with an illness that had stolen one of the most important people in their young lives.

Then WHAM…..the joy and excitement that new life was supposed to bring to our home was taken abruptly too.

Yes I cried, but all times I remained composed and dignified. I’d just be dealt the roughest cards life could deal and there was nothing I could do about. There was nothing I could change, I couldn’t bring Patrick back.

This person close to me who has made me reflect is someone who helped me deal with my loss after Zac and has been a huge support to my family since Patrick’s death. His words to me were “but you haven’t fallen apart you’ve put on the bravest face and kept going since Patrick but you haven’t fallen apart”

This made me think why I have given this impression and then I remembered. I couldn’t fall apart like I had in 2005 I didn’t have my mum to protect me. My own children needed their mother to protect them so I switched on my autopilot and kept going.

I am having daily flashbacks of the time we got to spend with Patrick in our home as family. Special moments drown in sadness but flooded with overwhelming love. I’ve also been able to replay the events surrounding our final goodbyes to Zac too. These are memories I haven’t been able to process for fear of becoming unhinged. The emotional numbness and detachment has led me to block these memories because of the anxiety they bring. Even after all this time the lasting trauma is still too much for me to bear.

I still have to be a mother to both my living children and my angel children. I have to be a mother without a mother. But I owe it to my mother for teaching me how to be the best mother I can.

Remember loss mothers are mothers too and mothers are one of the most precious gifts of this earth. My boys have left a gaping hole in my heart and my mum has too.

The Winds Of Change

It’s been quite sometime since I’ve had an opportunity to write.

Life is busy, I have eased my way back into proper work again around spending as much time as I can with my precious rainbow Hope. Finding a happy balance has been difficult as trying not to miss out on the milestones she is hitting on an almost a daily basis.

My emotional battle still continue in my head consuming my thoughts and mind. Trying to find a calm place in my mind has been challenging but I have found taking important time for myself at least once a week is holding the pieces together. I’ve been lucky enough to have a very generous friend who has helped me with what I can only describe as her magical reflexology treatments which has not only helped my body but also my mind. It has helped me to relax and take on another day, one day at a time.

I have also returned to the place I ran away too in those early days where I screamed out loud and cried many tears, a place I where I was anonymous and a place I didn’t have to put on a brave face. I stood in the very same place where I broke down where I thought my life would end because my heart was so broken.

As I stood there inhaling all around me. The waves crashing ferociously, the wind blowing hard and the sun beating off my face, I knew why I came back. I had come back to face my reality, the only difference this time was the peace I felt. The peace in my head and in my heart. I felt more connected to Patrick in this moment than I have for some time. I know he guided me to go back to face this.

Myself and Patrick’s 2 oldest sisters took on the challenge of the mini marathon at the beginning of the month. It gave us an opportunity to bond over our loss, 10km of emotions, memories and for me a few tears. It felt so uplifting coming over that finishing line knowing I had done it for my boy.

For now I find the winds are changing in which direction I don’t not know and for how long. 28 months have passed and my grief has become more private. Another level of acceptance has come with that too.

In saying all that, my love for my forever baby boy never changes. I know that that love will manifest on different days as either joy or incredible sadness.

I wrote this poem for my husband Paul on his first Fathers Day without Patrick 2 years ago. Sometimes I find it hard to believe those words are mine. But as I choose to survive another day I like to believe in everything I express in my words.

To my Daddy on this Fathers Day,

A little star lights up the sky

Do not fear because I am here

I walk beside you

I hold your hand

I am your dreams

The gentle breeze

The rain that wets

The air you breathe

The rainbow in the sky

The clouds that pass you by

The trickle of water

The tears that you cry.

Daddy I never left you

We’ll always be together

The whisper in the wind

Will let you know I’m here.


My Heavy Heart 

I have written so much about time and and the time for us that was never to be. So here I write again 7 days away from Patrick’s 2nd birthday. 

The year has passed quicker than I could ever have imagined much faster than the first. All because I had to take control of my life and try to learn how to live again. This past year has opened and closed doors for me. It has brought joy and many other personal challenges. The birth of Patrick’s little sister caught us all in the bubble of newness, beauty, innocence & love. While we all relished in the delight of our new arrival I fought a very dark battle with myself. I fought the pre loss me.

For a long time I hardly recognised myself. I longed to be the once confident outgoing person I used to be but that was impossible. The anxiety that has enveloped my life since Patrick’s death has left the consequences of living in fear of bad things happening to me and my family. The fear of sleeping and reliving the horror of losing Patrick again and again. I don’t know if I will ever get past this trauma. 

I lead a double life, the life I live behind closed doors and the life I live as others perceive it. The doer, the professional, the friend, the mom and the wife. It’s very difficult to let others see you are still broken as sometimes they won’t have the courage to stick around to support you. 

Our rainbow Hope has helped me be a parent again, she has helped me be a mom again to my older children as this is something I lost sight of in the aftermath of Patrick’s loss. She has given me reason to make plans to look to the future to build my family up and try to be the best mom I can.

These last few days have filled me with the dread of dates that will haunt me for a lifetime February 9th my due date that came and went, February 14th the day Patrick’s heart stopped beating, February 16th the day I met my beautiful still sleeping prince. Finally, February 19th the day we said our final goodbyes. 

The loss of my boys has filled me with different emotions. The loss of Zac left me with a heavy heart of sadness & grief but Patrick’s loss I am still unable to put into words as the effect on my life has changed me forever.

To my beautiful boy as you spend your 2nd birthday amongst the stars. 
I love you now.

I love you always.

I love you forever.

I will continue to miss you every single day.

I will remember every small detail about you. 

I will remember how your skin felt against mine. 

I will remember how I tenderly kissed every inch of you. 

You will always be mine. 


Footprints on my heart 

Today marks Zac’s 13th birthday. A year gone by of big milestones, Confirmation, starting secondary school, turning into a teenager. 

I remember this time two years ago thanking him for sending me his brother as we waited patiently for Patrick’s arrival. I remember so well not feeling the heaviness in my heart I had felt over many other years. I had found the acceptance that left him tucked away in a special part of my heart only for him. 

The milestones that have passed this year did not upset me, I did look to the skies with a frown and wonder what he would be like now but I smiled inside knowing he is safe and is a place where he is happy. 

You might ask how I came to this conclusion. For many years I searched for answers to why. Although there was nothing I could have done to save Zac as he passed due the the effects of an infection. I weigh it up now and it could happen to anyone. Ironically I do believe in the afterlife and I do believe he’s with my nearest & dearest and of course his little brother Patrick who have left this life and I take comfort in signs that he has let me know this. 

While I grieve in different ways for my boys it doesn’t take away from the fact they were both my sons. I just happen to be at two different stages on my lifelong path of loss. 

Sometimes I do ask myself why was life so cruel to us. While some days are good and others feel hopeless. I still wake everyday and live. While the loss of a baby can make your life stand still, the world still moves on. 

The vacuum that grief holds you in is the biggest mountain you will ever climb but you need to learn to climb to live again. 

I have no photos of Zac, just a small box of treasured possessions that make up his little life. This made me angry for along time why didn’t I have more. His tiny little face is etched in my memory along with  his tiny but perfect features. His tiny little footprints are embedded with him in my heart. 

Happy birthday in the stars 💫 my so perfect little baby boy, still loved, still missed, still born, never forgotten 💙

Love Mom xxx

Farewell to 2017

Time has pushed us another 12 months down the road. The road of being a bereaved parent.
In 2017 I accomplished the one bravest act of my life by bringing Patrick’s little sister safely into the world. A golden achievement on this journey of loss. 

My family has changed yet again but we still hold each other closely in our tightly knit unit. Patrick has taught us the importance of being surrounded by love and returning that love to each other. You enter this life with the love you were created with but unfortunately some people lose this security blanket of love as they grow and end up lonely or bitter or both. 

I have come to realise that one small act of kindness can change a persons life. Material things mean nothing in this life and time is only a word, sadly it has taken the loss of our beautiful Patrick in order to understand the true meaning of this statement. 

I believe our loss has given my life a new purpose and I will strive to fulfil this purpose surrounded with love of my family. Despite all the challenges and hurt I feel at different times dealing with my grief I find a different kind of happiness in my heart that I can not describe rather than being stuck in the vacuum that is child loss. 

That’s not to say I don’t have my bad days and I do when the tears flow and my heart breaks but I have learned to deal with these days so I don’t get dragged back it to the vacuum that can paralyse you. 

Again in reflection this year has pushed people into our lives and others out of our lives. Some people believe another baby fixes you. This makes me sad as although I cherish every living moment with our beautiful rainbow baby she does not replace the one we have lost. She has helped with the healing process and makes some things easier on the heart.  I can smile again. We as family can smile again. 

As we head into 2018 another year another Birthday, so many more milestones missed with our beloved boy so many more other families will join us on our journey loss as they begin theirs. My words of wisdom as a bereaved mother for the coming year are….
Remain humble, you never know who is struggling more than you.

Avoid the anger, anger can eat you up and make you bitter. 

Listen, make time for that cup of tea you might surprise yourself and need that chat more than the other person. 

Share kindness & love, we only get one chance at this life. 

Be true to yourself, never forget who you are, what you’ve accomplished, how far you’ve come. 

As we close the door on this year I want to say thank you to Patrick.

Thank you for choosing me to be your mum. 

Thank you for changing my life.

Thank you for the blessing of your little sister.

Thank you for helping me to be a better person and to give back to help others.

Although my heart is still missing a huge piece thank you for being mine. 

My eternal baby boy forever 💙

Further apart…

Today marks 18 months since we laid eyes on beautiful you Patrick.

That’s 548 days since I saw your beautiful face for the first time and 545 days since I last kissed you. I still feel that clench in my chest as I kissed you never wanting it to be our last. 

550 days since your heart stopped beating and we learned you had left this life before we got to meet you. All these memories I relive over and over as if it were yesterday. They are not memories I ever want to let go of. The feelings I felt, the tears I have cried, they are all I have left of you. 

Although 18 months have passed and time pushes us further apart. l am thankful I have your little sister to help me through the dark days. I’ve watched her grow for the last 162 days and question would you have done all the same things. I try not to dwell as it hurts so much and I know you wouldn’t want me too.

I’ve been told your little sister is an old soul, I wonder is part of you there. I watch her talking in babble to the sky and I wonder if she is talking to you or are you trying to send us a message. This is how I like to believe you are. 

This day last year we went on holidays to be anonymous to spend some time away from our grief where nobody knew our story. Today I battle the joy and sadness I carry. I look at our precious rainbow baby and I can’t imagine life without her but I have to live the reality of life without you. 

I wish for toddler tantrums, I wish I could feel the force of your body as you thrust yourself into my arms, I wish for our special code language to tend to your needs, I wish I could have washed your mucky face. I wish you could have called me Mama. I wish you could have kissed me back. 

Sadly these are all things I can only wish for as life so cruelly robbed us of all these opportunities.  I will never fully understand why you died. 

My heart will never be whole without you here but you will always be a huge part of this family. Time is so precious, days turn into weeks, weeks turn into months, months turn into years. My love for you never changes its overwhelming and unconditional. I hope you are dancing amongst the stars little man sending us moonlit kisses. 

At your funeral ‘Somewhere over the Rainbow’ was played. Today I have listened to the soft melody and words. 

These particular lyrics have stuck with me…

“Somewhere over the rainbow, bluebirds fly

Birds fly over the rainbow

Why then, oh why can’t I?

If happy little bluebirds fly

Beyond the rainbow

Why, oh why, can’t I?”

#stillbornstillloved #babyloss #grief #stillbirth 

The Greatest Love….

My heart bursts with love for my living children every milestone, every achievement, every school report, seeing them happy. This makes me feel like the most important person in the world. Why? From the moment of conception I was responsible for them. I carried them safely within me for 9 months, I brought them into the world with every ounce of strength I had in my body. I was their first everything, first touch, first kiss, first love. I cater for their every need. Having a tiny human so dependent on you is overwhelming but it is the most rewarding journey you will ever be on investing your time to mould your tiny human to be the best that they can be. I have been blessed to do these things and will continue to do these things into my living children’s adult lives. 

For Patrick this opportunity was stolen from me and all I have is the comfort that he was healthy and I took care of him within me. I have memories to cherish, his first flutters, the cravings for food he caused my body to have. The way he liked me to sleep as not to disturb him, his pattern of kicks and punches to let me know of his ever growing presence. He let me fall in love, he allowed me to make plans, he allowed me to dream of our future and of his future in our family. These memories will haunt me for the rest of my life. I also have my memories of those precious days I spent with him. Although no life did he breathe, I held him, I kissed him, I slept along side him, I dressed him, I sang to him, I made sure he knew each of his siblings. I poured as much love as I could into his lifeless presence because he was mine and I needed to be his Mummy. 

My life has changed a lot in the last 15 months, I’m not the person I used to be but above all things I am still a mother to my living children but most of all to a beautiful baby boy who never got to share this life with me. He has filled me with so much overwhelming love I have no way of channelling. He has taught me so much about life and people I could never imagined.

On my wedding day almost 16 years ago I walked up the aisle to Westlife’s Flying Without Wings a song with lyrics meaning so much at different stages of my life these particular words ring through my mind daily.

” For me it’s waking up beside you, to watch the sunrise on your face. To know that I can say I love at any given time or place. It’s little things that only I know, those are the things that make you mine”

There are only certain things I know and remember about my beautiful boy therefore……

Patrick you will always be my greatest love xxx 💙

#stillbirth #stillborn #babyloss #family 

A Rainbow has Arrived

My life has been a whirlwind for the past 17 days. Our world has been turned upside down and our days have not been the same. Never could we imagine a glimmer of pure happiness returning into our lives but it has. 17 days ago brought new life, something to live for and a new future for our family. 

Patrick bestowed us a blessing in his little sister Hope. A tiny precious bundle, our miracle. Ten little fingers, ten little toes with the prettiest little face. I never thought my heart could feel this way again.

While we’ve been getting to know each other over these early days I’ve sat and thought about what I missed during those early days with Patrick. Although some of these thoughts upset me I look at my miracle and a little bit of that pain melts away.

I have spent 9 months threading on egg shells wondering was the same fate going to happen again. I’ve spent 9 months in a bubble of insecurity, anxiety and helplessness. I carried precious cargo who was not mentioned or spoken about with fear rifling through my mind every second of everyday. My pregnancy was not full of innocence and excitement. I was envious of people flaunting their bumps and speaking with eager anticipation of their impending arrival. I hide away disguising my growing belly to the outside world.

It’s a common occurrence for bereaved moms to conceal subsequent pregnancies, even from those close to them. We tend to over analyse everything related to the pregnancy and fear the worst. 

Now I look around and see how worth it it all was. I’ve seen true smiles return to my other children’s faces especially when they envelope their little sister in their arms. This is healing on a different spectrum. I see hearts filling and pride bursting from even the way they walk. 

I also sense a new presence of Patrick around the house. Almost as if he’s trying to say something to me. Hope arrived in emergency circumstances and in the mist of the drama at the hospital I closed my eyes and pleaded with Patrick to look after us both. I know he did. From the day we arrived home I could feel this new protection surround us, the love of a lost son and big brother.  

As the cloud clears the skies and our Rainbow glows light into our lives. I will learn to be a bereaved mother and a new mother at the same time. I’m living in the moment taking in every piece of new I am presented with. You will not hear me complain of sleepless nights, of a cranky baby or maybe the fact I haven’t been able to leave the house. I will cherish each and every moment, good with the bad because I have been truly blessed.


Our last days…..

As I sit here reflecting on what’s almost a year to the day. I’m consumed by my due date coming and going the anticipation of wanting to meet my longed for baby boy.

The excitement in the house of the impending arrival  that could arrive any hour as Patrick made is even presence known in my swollen belly.  I used to tell him to settle down that there would be plenty of room for him to make a racket as soon as he made his journey to the outside world.  I knew I wasn’t going to get a look in with big brother Jamie planning to steal him away to his room and inhale him or so he told me and his 3 sisters fighting over who was going to bring him out for a walk.  Chloe’s friends left me a long rota of babysitters so I wouldn’t have to miss a night out and Abbie & Sophie told me they would endure to learn how to change a dirty nappy! 

The house was ready,  crib made, clothes washed and the essentials waiting to be used planned with meticulous precision. Abbie had picked out his coming home outfit and was very proud to be a big sister for the first time. I remember the shopping trip she bought the outfit. “Mom this will be perfect” she excitedly said handing over the beautiful little 3 piece that ultimately Patrick wore when we said goodbye.  

Sleep was a precious commodity over those last few nights, I certainly didn’t mind, it was all preparation for those endless night feeds ahead or so I thought.  I gently spoke to Patrick all night long sharing all the hopes & dreams his Daddy and I had for his future and how much fun was going to be rained on the house with having a baby disrupting the normality that was our existing life. 

Instead I sit here planning a remembrance rather than a birthday party. Yes there will be cake, yes there will be balloons but not in the manner we wish them to be. We won’t be celebrating a year of milestones, instead we will celebrate a year of survival and the fight to keep Patrick’s memory alive.  The tears flow this afternoon as I write this. The pain is something that only a bereaved parent understands, reliving the hours, the minutes, the moments. Willing your still little body to take a breathe.

As the coming days will come and go, one year will turn to two and so on. There are many who will not forget and yet many who will. That unfortunately is the circle of life. I will cry for what we’ve lost, what was supposed to be and the future we lost when we lost you.  Our road map of life may be different now but you were still on that journey with us. 

I will never forget how happy you made me, I will never forget how you made me feel, I will never forget meeting you for the first time, I will never forget the soft touch of your skin, I will never forget your beautiful features. I will never forget the impact on our lives. I will never forget YOU my beautiful, handsome baby boy 💙

#babyloss, #stillbirth, #stillbornstillloved