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. 

💙💙💙💙💙💙

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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

12 Forgotten Years

As I sit here in work, this morning of all mornings knowing just after lunchtime exactly 12 years ago Paul and I were handed our tiny little baby boy Zac, our 4th child.

Zac was a second trimester loss ( similar to what is being played out to millions in Coronation Street at the moment). To small to be classed as a stillbirth but perfect enough to be our little boy. 10 little fingers, 10 little toes perfect little face and a cute button nose.

I walked out of the maternity hospital the same day and returned 5 days later to collect a small white casket to bury.  We were given little support apart from the formalities and we were left to pick up the pieces of our life by ourselves.  A handful of close family came to watch us bury our little boy and say goodbye.

image1-1

Looking back I feel like I lost years of my life grieving for the son that was my so called guardian angel.  He was never talked about with the exception of Paul and I keeping his little memory alive with the children at home.  After his sister Abbie arrived 12 months later it was as if by magic he never existed.   Our rainbow baby Abbie brought us so much joy “my little ray of sunshine” as I so fondly call her, brought double the love, double the smiles and double the hugs. I struggled for along time being a mommy to this beautiful little girl, wrecked with guilt for my child who never made it.   I do believe her brother sent her to mend some of the heartache. But forgotten is something he is not in our lives.

Life has brought me so much joy, happiness and pain over my lifetime.  I never thought I’d be here again only 11 years later grieving hard the loss of another son.  I have learned nothing is guaranteed when it comes to bringing life into this world.

I would not have survived losing Zac if I had not rediscovered my faith.  But now I question my faith and ask where is God in all of this.  Why was I robbed of my 2 boys, my 2 sons, 2 brothers. On the other hand I have witnessed first hand the changes in attitude to babyloss at all stages, new supports, people not afraid to speak of their experiences and most of all recognition for our lost babies. I have met some truly  incredible people over the past year who do incredible work for families like us.

It took me 8 or 9 years to find a place within me to keep the heartache for Zac locked away only for all those wounds to be reopened with the loss of Patrick.  People who have never experienced a loss like this will never understand.  It simply cannot be compared to any other type of loss.  As I feel that hard blow to my chest again today and the pain that is impossible to describe in my heart.  We will honour the memory of our little Zac. We will have a cake to mark his 12th birthday, light a candle and remember the part of us that left.  As anticipated I will live my life for the next few weeks with a dark cloud enveloping me while my sons birthdays come & go.

image2

A 12th year gone by and a 1st year to, we will continue look to the future with a hope and an optimism that no matter what happens that my boys will protect us and shine some happiness back into to our lives.

“Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul
And sings the tune without the words
And never stops at all.”

Emily Dickenson

Christmas, Reflection & New Year


The heartbreak of Christmas is truly sad when you are a bereaved parent. I have had so much sadness in my days in recent weeks. It’s difficult to communicate to others when you feel so low. You relive the lost over and over and feel the emptiness of what should have been. 
Walking the streets and shops amongst the happy people full of Christmas joy is hard. Making your home in to a Christmas haven is even harder. You feel you have no reason to celebrate. You want to climb in to bed and wake up next year. Truth is for many they’re are others to think about my husband and my other children. Although the ache in my chest will not allow me to breathe. I must. 


The tears flow more regularly, the not wanting to see people increasing. The thought of putting on a smile for others breaking me slowly. Christmas time is about celebrating family, being thankful for what you have and giving to others.
Christmas eve I woke up before anyone else slipped out of bed and cried before anyone knew. Paul did appear briefly but I sent him back to bed as the quietness of my own company is what I preferred. When the children arose from their slumber, I continued on as normal, cooking, cleaning, preparing the usual Christmas feast. There were moments I escaped to the solitary of my bedroom to shed a few quiet tears secretly then I would reappear with a washed face and broken smile. I didn’t manage to get dressed until we going to evening church. The carols were nice, the decorations beautiful, but after an hour of listening to the importance of the birth of a special baby boy enough was enough. The tears flowed and flowed hard amongst a crowded church. My eldest Jamie enveloped me in his arms while I pulled myself together to make our escape. Thank god for my scarf but it did absorb all the snot and tears.

When we got home and the sandman was calling I dutifully laid all the presents out as I have every year. I headed for bed and cried myself to sleep it didn’t take long as the emotion of the day was just exhausting. 

The happy smiling face of a 10 year awoke me “Santa Has Been” she acclaimed! I mustered myself out of bed and followed her and her siblings to the living room. The day past me by in a blur of laughter, excitement & tears. Patrick was not forgotten and I know I felt his presence.

Today is New Year’s Eve as I sit and reflect on the year that has been. While some people complain it was an awful year (celebrity deaths etc) I will always be grateful for 2016. The wash of love I felt and still do when I held Patrick in my arms for the first time. Those 3 precious days I got to be his mommy. The memories we created and crammed into those few days. Those breathe taking moments in my life I will never forget.  The heartache it has brought, the compassion it has taught me and my family, the courage I have gained to face the unknown and lastly the lessons I have learned regarding other people’s behaviour.

 I will close the door on this year leaving behind the people who chose to use our tragedy for their own personal attention seeking purposes. these people (so called family) managing to disrespect our son’s memory without even realising. We will take those who surround us in our everyday lives who remember Patrick is a part of us, old friends and new on our journey of hope, remembrance and continued healing for 2017.  


Back in 2001 when I was newly married Faith Hill released a song “There you’ll be” a song that I loved. The significance of the lyrics now will echo in my heart forever 💙💙
“In my dreams I’ll always see you soar above the sky

In my heart there’ll always be a place for you

For all my life

I’ll keep a part of you with me

And everywhere I am there you’ll be”


Remembering forever our boys 

Patrick  16th February 2016

Zac 20th January 2005

#stillbirth #babyloss #remember

Hope…


Hope is defined as a feeling of expectation and desire for a particular thing to happen. 
But hope to me runs so much deeper than just words describing a particular noun on paper. The stages of grief don’t follow any particular order and the range of emotions can all be felt in wave that crashes in on you any day at any time. 
I’ve tried over the last seven and a half months to show my family that hope can help you heal. I wake up everyday in hope that no matter how bad it’s going to get that I can turn it around.  
In recent weeks I have returned to work, the children have returned to school and our adjusted normal is starting to take shape. I’ve begun to talk to people again and meet new people through my daily conversations . The world that frightened me so much in those early days of my grief still scares me somedays and then other days I do not know what I was so worried about. 
Fortunately for me I have become so much more astute to reading people’s behaviour. I will put my hand on my heart and say sometimes certain people have no control of what comes out of their mouths. This I have put down to complete lack of life and emotional experience. 
I have noticed that some people don’t mention my loss anymore. Have they forgotten I gave birth to Patrick or that Patrick ever existed or is it just Anne Marie has returned to normal so let’s just not mention it. This is where hope comes back in to the equation. I hope that people do not feel I don’t want talk about Patrick or Zac. I do…I do, my boys may not be living but they are very much apart of me a part not to be forgotten just because everything appears normal. So I hope everyday that people I meet remember my boys. 


A bereaved mother carries her grief always. No matter how normal she appears she never forgets her precious baby. Speak their names, include them always. Small gestures like this adds to the hope they visualise in some minuet way. 
#babyloss #stillbirth #patricksparty