Thursday, June 16, 2011

Reflective Writing Challenge - What Happened?

Today we will begin a series of reflective writing challenges, to inspire you to write and to help you to heal.

Our first challenge - What Happened?

Make a list of what happened in your life. Tell your story. It is often helpful to start at the beginning for healing to take place. Relive the day your life was forever changed. How did you feel? How did you react?

It may be hard. You may cry, but let the tears flow and hopefully the words will follow.

We would love for you to share what you write and welcome you to post it below or if you have a blog, please link back to our blog

Wishing you Hope, Light, Love and Happiness

Bec and Erin x x

Heartfelt Reminders

Frederick James Lewis passed away on the 14th June 1998 in Southport, Queensland. He was laid to rest in Nerang on the 17th June 1998. I was in year 12 studying for my HSC exams when my poppy passed away from a tough battle with cancer. This was my first taste of grief and the overwhelming scars it leaves on your heart. This is from one of the very first journals I ever owned. It is kept safe in a beautiful box with a bright green ribbon wrapped around it. It contains memories and thoughts of people I have lost in my life. It is simply called 'Peace'. It is remarkable to read back on this particular journal entry, as I experienced many of the same feelings after losing Yasminah.

Poppy I miss you everyday and wish you that you could of met my beautiful family. I know you will be taking good care of my angel Yasminah and hopefully letting her play in the mud too x x

Heartfelt Reminders

Grief overwhelmed me. I tried to hide the tears. We were asked to stand up and pray. I heard them close the coffin and saw them place the flower arrangements back onto the coffin.

We had come to say goodbye. Goodbye to a man whom we loved dearly and hold close to our hearts. He was my grandfather. My father's father. His life was short lived but happy. Even in his last days as we call them now, he was happy.

My sadness extends further than my words, it's hidden in my heart. Buried deep in that little corner of my soul. I mourned the passing of a great man and things lost forever. He was English by birth, a Catholic by nature. A true authoritarian, who stood his ground with a tough will, but a kind forgiving heart. He lived a hard life where the milk was straight from the cow and there was no sewerage system, he had seen two wars and fought in one. Transport was hard and he often walked miles to reach his destination. Equality between women and men was unheard of, as were the children.

A tear rolls down my cheek, the moment of realisation of love. You don't know what you've got until it's gone! No more care and share of family stories and those fun new year's eve parties. All that's left now are heartfelt reminders.

The eulogy was read by the eldest son. I was asked to read something as I am the eldest grandchild, but I was too overcome with grief. Then I noticed her, my grandmother standing there all alone among the crowd of familiar faces. Her eyes were fixed on my uncle as he read the eulogy. A smile ear to ear, a tear strolled down her cheek. Her eyes fixed on my uncle. Her love is one I've yet to experience, but know exactly what I'm looking for. Her sorrow is deeper than ours. She had lost not only her husband, provider, father of their children but her best friend, her soul mate.

The psalm was read;

The lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads my beside quiet waters. He restores my soul; He guides me in the path of righteousness For his names sake. Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil. For thou art with me; Thy rod and staff, they comfort me. Thou dost prepare a table before me. In the presence of my enemies; Thou hast anointed my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and loving kindness will follow me. All the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the lord forever.
Twenty third Psalm

The hymns all carried 'on eagles wings'. The service was smooth and the saddest experience of my life.

I looked at her again. She was seeing more than you and I. Feeling more pain than any of us felt. I wondered if she was all cried out. My heart began to ache. I remembered. Her grief I wondered was it for now, or years ago. Her mother was taken in similar circumstances.

The solitary tear is etched in my mind. His birthday was two weeks after his death, I wonder, how did she cope. Her life will never be the same, as will mine. There is a void, a missing person. A hug that will never be.

After the service we go back to the house. I remember him, after loosing so much weight. Small and frail. Skin hanging bone to bone. My grandfather or my 'poppy' as he was know had a terminal disease. No cure, as yet has been found but it's opened my eye's to life.......and death. I wonder how you're feeling now, I wonder if you see our pain. Forever in our memories you will remain.

My nan opens his closet, with all his clothes in it. She walks out of the room. Tears are shed. I hold her in my arms and tell her it will be alright. But will it? I tell her I'm here for her. Her sorrow comes from deep down inside. All that's left now are heartfelt reminders.

I have never shared these words with anyone or shared this drawing of my poppy, not even with my nan, but today 13 years on, nan I want you to know we remember and love him dearly. This was also read at my poppy's service - to every one missing a loved one today, this is for you

To One In Sorrow

Let me come in where you are weeping friend
And let me take your hand
I, who have known a sorrow such as yours, can understand
Let me come in - I would be very still
Beside you in your grief
I would not bid you cease your weeping friend
Tears bring relief
Let me come in - I would only breathe a prayer
And hold your hand
For I have known a sorrow such as yours
And understand
~Grace Noll Crowell

What are your Heartfelt Reminders?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

I've learned.....

"I've learned that no matter what happens, or how bad it seems today, life does go on, and it will be better tomorrow. I've learned that you can tell a lot about a person by the way he/she handles these three things: a rainy day, lost luggage, and tangled Christmas tree lights. I've learned that regardless of your relationship with your parents, you'll miss them when they're gone from your life. I've learned that making a "living" is not the same thing as making a "life." I've learned that life sometimes gives you a second chance. I've learned that you shouldn't go through life with a catcher's mitt on both hands; you need to be able to throw something back. I've learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision. I've learned that even when I have pains, I don't have to be one. I've learned that every day you should reach out and touch someone. People love a warm hug, or just a friendly pat on the back. I've learned that I still have a lot to learn. I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel."
— Maya Angelou

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Right Where I Am: 2 Years 2 Months 16 Days

I follow a lot of blogs written by other babylost mumma's from all around the world. One blog I follow and love to read as her posts are always inspiring is Angie from Still Life With Circles

I am joining in on the Right Where I am Project, where you do exactly that, write about where are you in your grief? Emotionally. Physically. Psychically. It is a chance to write about where life is right now for me, in this very moment after the loss of my second child, my first daughter. How things were back in the early days of loss and how they are now. Right Where I Am 2 Years, 2 Months and 16 Days into my journey

I am a 30 year old woman. I have been married for a decade to a very funny, deeply passionate man who is my best friend. I am a proud mum of 4 children and I volunteer my time to run a non profit organisation helping other families who experience miscarriage, premature birth, neonatal loss, stillbirth, infant loss of their child or diagnosis of a congenital abnormality.

I will do my best to describe where I am. I still find it hard, hard to share, hard to talk, hard to grieve. Hard to express the ache deep within my heart, especially to those on the outside looking in. I feel I have grown as a person, friend, a wife and a mother. I wear my heart on my sleeve. I sometimes wonder right now if my 'friends' think I am nuts. I know they think I should be 'over it' but losing a child is not something you ever get over, nor do you get through it. You just learn to live a new life. When you lose a baby who has never taken a breath, you don't have the same memories as if you lost a spouse or a relative, someone who was an adult and lived a life. I don't know what colour Yasminah's eyes were, or what her voice sounded like, or how she would look if she smiled or laughed! I have only a handful of photos and memories of her time within my womb.

It's like my heart has been scarred, permanently damaged. The early days and weeks after losing Yasminah I thought I could never go on. I wasn't suicidal, I was just so angry and hurt that this had happened to me! How could this happen to me? My body was confused just as much as my heart and mind. I will never forgot the day she was born, that first night listening to other babies crying in the ward and as the tears flowed from my eyes my breasts cried out for the child I longed to nurse. I wanted my daughter, I wanted sleepless nights, dirty nappies and late night feeds. I didn't want to know that the world went on, that meals still needed to be made, that washing had to be done, bills had to be paid, that the world around me had no idea that I had lost my child. I didn't leave the house, I stopped talking to my best friend who had her baby 10 days after I lost my daughter. Our children were meant to be growing up together. Everyone said I was very brave to visit my best friend in hospital so soon after losing Yasminah. I remember walking into the ward and seeing my friend and all her family were there. I felt like I had 100 pairs of eyes glued to my every move. I then held her child, I was so nervous, the first baby I held in my arms since my daughter. It felt wrong and weird to have a moving, breathing baby in my arms. This is what I should be doing not visiting my daughters grave. I held it together until I made it back to the safety of the car then proceeded to break down as the pain cut deep into my soul and the reality of everything I was missing crept in.

I felt hurt when I searched for other mums to try and relate to, I didn't want to feel alone, but that's exactly how I felt. Because Yasminah had differences I was made to feel from other mums who had perfectly healthy babies die that it was for the best because there was something wrong with Yasminah. This is the worst thing you can say to a mother who has lost a child who was different. I was angry with the world around me, angry that it kept moving. I couldn't stop crying. Why did this happen?

Two years later and I think of my daughter almost every moment of every day. Yasminah's name passes through my lips as often as I can. I cry but not as much as I used to and it is no longer always a hysterical, chest beating, screaming cry. You know the type of cry that gives you an instant all day headache, puffy and red eyes. Rather I shed silent tears, as the water flows in the shower or in the still of the night looking at her photo beside my bed. Sure there are still moments I break down and it can feel like I am right back in the beginning of my journey. I am no longer angry. It really does get a little easier as time goes on.

Emotionally I would say I am doing OK. I still have good and bad days. Today wasn't a good day but it wasn't a bad day, it was somewhere in between. I stayed in my PJ's, I didn't shower or brush my hair. I thought about her a lot! I cried a few times today. I LOVE to talk, and have the phone bills to prove it ;-) There are 3 women who I talk to on a daily basis. My best friend, we share everything and I can talk about Yasminah to her and whilst she has never lost a child she is there for me unconditionally. It is hard to watch her child grow and celebrate birthdays, but in a lot of ways it helps me too. She listens to me rant, rave and cry. This is important. You really learn who your real friends are and who you can rely on. There is a saying I love that says you have friends for a reason, season or lifetime. My best friend is a lifetime friend. I have lost a lot of my season friends, you know friends from high school, old work colleagues, and neighbours. Many of whom may read this. It is not that I didn't want to still be friends with them, rather we just didn't connect anymore. The other two women I talk to are fellow BLM who both lost their child because of a congenital abnormality. They have lost a child who wasn't prefect in the eyes of others. To us our children were perfect, we understand each other and I would be lost without them all in my life. I no longer feel alone.

I have held another baby in my arms, my rainbow babies. For me it was a no brainer to try again. It was a difficult and a challenging pregnancy filled with fear. Would there be a problem during the pregnancy? Would they pass away too? Experiencing their sudden premature birth and watching my twins fight for life was scary and confronting. But I had a silent faith in my heart that everything would be OK, that they would survive. I held onto hope. Having our twin girls after the loss of Yasminah brought joy and happiness back into my life. I got to do all those things I missed out on with Yasminah. And still do, but I always wonder what it would be like to have 3 girls. The What if's are always there. Yasminah's little sisters spent 4 weeks in NICU but are now thriving happy, beautiful little girls who are learning to walk and talk. They play with dolls and I get to brush their curly hair. They have an wonderful big brother who loves them so much but he also talks about Yasminah. I love how he includes her in our life. I am happy and blessed that I have 3 beautiful, happy, healthy, living children and an amazing husband who stands by me through it all.

Life is good at the moment, it is hard, but it is filled with hope. Yasminah was a gift to me and I will miss her always and forever. But right now 2 years, 2 months and 16 days into my journey of grief I am surviving one step at a time. Big breaths, baby steps.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Intrinsic - Adele Basheer

We are always appealing to businesses in the community to ask for their support and to help us provide families with a Gift Of Hope. We have an amazing team of volunteers who are a valuable contribution to YGOH and help us spread awareness and build support for our organisation.

Recently one of our volunteers Kylie, who has previously been successful in gaining support and donations of supplies for our journals, received the most heart warming gift to help us on our journey.

Some of you 'scrappers' may be aware of Adele Basheer and her inspiring line of stationary and scrapbook supplies. We were extrememly grateful for their generosity. We received 5 packs of 4 different designs of 12 x 12 Scrapbook paper that we use to decorate our Journals. Along with 5 different packs of stips with inspiring messages and words. Adele and the team and intrinsic were also very thoughtful by including 11 cards from their range.

Also included was a lovely card, personally written to the team at YGOH with this small inspirational quote. And you all know how much I LOVE quotes!

Dear Kylie and all Yasminah's Gift Of Love,

We admire and congratulate you on the beautiful work and support network you offer to others. Your website and Facebook page clearly displays that you are there for those in need and certainly generates a warm feeling and supports what you offer...Hope, Love, Light and Happiness.
We're thrilled that you have taken the time to reach out to us for help and are very pleased to enclose scrapbooking papers to use on your wonderful books.
At intrinsic we all share a common thread to make a difference in people's help them learn and grow. Our Website one way of making a deeper connection, with Adele and many others offering their words of wisdom and hope. Of course our gorgeous freebies are very welcomed each month too, so please keep in touch!
With love and light, Trish, Adele, Jamie and all the team

For me personally this was a truly touching gift as my children's journals are from the intrinsic range. Including Yasminah's pregnancy journal.

My husband purchased these journals for me when we finally fell pregnant with our first child on the 25th October 2006 after a long battle trying to conceive. The idea was that I would use one journal for each tri-mester of my pregnancy. But I only managed to fill one journal; Cherish, with my journey through my first pregnancy. We then decided that we would keep the other journals and I would use them for future pregnancies. Not knowing then just how important Yasminah's pregnancy journal would become. I love how pretty these journals are and how they inspired me to write. Inside the journal Adele writes :

A journal should be written on pages within a cover that inspires your soul.It should be beautiful to you because your life contains beauty. It should feel precious to you because your life is precious. Your journal will become a friend for life and within its pages you will find greater insight, awareness and wisdom to encourage you on your lifes path Love Adele

I would personally like to thank Adele, Trish, Jamie and the team at Intrinsic on behalf of Yasminah's Gift Of Hope, for all their support and generosity. We have distributed your lovely donations to our volunteers to help them, help us decorate our Gift Of Hope Journals.