I should be organising your 16th birthday party

I’m at a loss. How do you ‘celebrate’ your child’s birthday when they are dead?

I should be chasing around here and there, buying balloons, presents, sorting things out, baking an amazing cake.

Instead I sit here and can only do these things in my head, while my stomach churns with longing and my eyes sting with tears.

You, my darling girl, will be 16 tomorrow. It’s such a special age to be, a milestone, yet one we cannot do anything about.

I want to throw a party anyway, invite everyone she ever knew, pull out all the stops regardless of the fact she’s not able to go herself. I know she’d want a party.

But this isn’t a celebration. It’s an awkward, messy, unhappy time. I wish I could be one of those mums who puts on a brave face and arranges a get-together to celebrate … but I can’t. The thought of Abi not here chokes me up just thinking about it.

Abi

 

I’m not allowed to cry tomorrow; the children are nervous, wondering if it’ll be a gloomy day. It won’t, but it means my heart will beat even slower than normal as I keep my emotions locked away.

I just have to get through it. I’m sorry darling. We haven’t forgotten you, we just don’t know what to do. To do something feels like losing you all over again, to do nothing feels just as bad.

Release a balloon, light a bloody candle, make a wish upon a star… it means nothing. She is in me and I’m in her always, but I know she is safe and happy where she is. I can see her at sixteen, she has grown up in heaven. I know there will be many more birthdays and milestones without her to endure.

No matter how many children I have, she is always my first, my Abi. The one who started all the love.

Dear Lord, It is only because you created such a wonderful child that our hearts hurt so much in grief. I pray that you keep especially close to us tomorrow. Ease the pain in our hearts by your comfort and give us strength to face the day. Thank you for your countless blessings on us, and for keeping our girl safe. Amen.

20121124_180136

 

 

Take me home – a pop song prayer

When trying to rebuild a life that’s been broken – it can feel like you’re grappling in the darkness, utterly alone, tired, afraid. Even the simplest routines go out of sync, the pace of life seems five steps faster than what we can manage. We’re barely breathing.

Fear, grief, faith, hope all mingle into a mess that leaves us feeling lost, numb. How can we go on…? And where do we go on too…?

Whenever I hear this song I can never hold back the tears. It strikes at the heart of the prayers of the weary me, the me that just can’t do it all anymore, the me that’s fed up with the burden I carry, the me that wants answers, that needs reassurance, to feel safe. I suppose, the vulnerable child within.

Songs can bring so much comfort to the grieving, and while I’m in a fairly clear place right now, sometimes I need to pray songs like this – to get me through, and that’s okay because it helps. I’m sharing this for those readers who need to feel a bit of release, who need to allow the tears to fall, to possibly help them move to a clearer mind.

If you need to hear this, watch Take me home, by Jess Glyne

maxresdefault

Wrapped up, so consumed by all this hurt
If you ask me, don’t know where to start
Anger, love, confusion
Roads that go nowhere
I know that somewhere better
‘Cause you always take me there

Came to you with a broken faith
Gave me more than a hand to hold
Caught before I hit the ground
Tell me I’m safe, you’ve got me now

Would you take the wheel
If I lose control?
If I’m lying here
Will you take me home?

Could you take care of a broken soul?
Will you hold me now?
Oh, will you take me home?
Oh, will you take me home?
Oh, will you take me home?
Oh, will you take me home?
Oh, will you take me home?

Hold the gun to my head, count 1, 2, 3
If it helps me walk away then it’s what I need
Every minute gets easier
The more you talk to me
You rationalize my darkest thoughts
Yeah, you set them free

Came to you with a broken faith
Gave me more than a hand to hold
Caught before I hit the ground
Tell me I’m safe, you’ve got me now

Would you take the wheel
If I lose control?
If I’m lying here
Will you take me home?

Could you take care of a broken soul?
Oh, will you hold me now?
Oh, will you take me home?
Oh, will you take me home?
Oh, will you take me home?
Oh, will you take me home?

[3x]
You say space will make it better
And time will make it heal
I won’t be lost forever
And soon I wouldn’t feel
Like I’m haunted, oh, falling

Would you take the wheel
If I lose control?
If I’m lying here
Will you take me home?

Could you take care of a broken soul?
Oh, will you hold me now?
Oh, will you take me home?
Oh, will you take me home?
Oh, will you take me home?
Oh, will you take me home?
Oh, will you take me home, home?
Oh, will you take me home?
Oh, will you take me home?

You are my sunshine – a birthday poem

My darling Abi,

I recall you lying on your changing mat when you were a tiny baby
Those early months just you and me while Daddy was at work
Finding my feet with this miraculous little person
Who had grown inside me for nine months

I found I would sing ‘You are my sunshine’ to entertain you
It came so naturally to sing that song, it became ‘your song’
I know why now…

You are my sunshine, my only sunshine,
you make me happy, when skies were grey,
you’ll never know dear
how much I love you,
please don’t take my sunshine away….

You were my light and my joy, but now you’re gone
The light has dimmed.

Continue reading “You are my sunshine – a birthday poem”

I dreamt of you

In my morning sleep, the sleep before the day begins, I saw you

Clear, real, here

You were standing on the landing, in the doorway to our bedroom.

From my bed, I talked to you

Like I used to

You up and ready for the day

Me rousing from sleep

You looked a year or two older, taller too

Your hair still long and golden

Your face was beautiful

Luminous and radiant

xxx

Continue reading “I dreamt of you”

An elephant in the room

2012-10-21 10.37.51

 

There’s an elephant in the room.
It is large and squatting,
So it is hard to get around it.
Yet we squeeze by with “How are you?” And “I’m fine”
And a thousand other forms of trivial chatter.

We talk about the weather.
We talk about work.
We talk about everything – except the elephant in the room.

There’s an elephant in the room.
We all know it is there.
We are thinking about the elephant as we talk together.
It is constantly on our minds.

For, you see, it is a very big elephant.
It has hurt us all.
But we do not talk about the elephant in the room.

Oh, please say her name.
Oh, please, say “Abi” again.
Oh, please, let’s talk about the elephant in the room.
For if we talk about her death,
Perhaps we can talk about her life.

Can I say “Abi” to you and not have you look away?
For if I cannot, then you are leaving me

Alone…

In a room…

With an elephant…

(by Terry Kettering)

Make Me a Channel of Your Peace

Often, during the week, a prayer, hymn, or Bible passage will be repeating in my mind. I feel this is no small coincidence as it often reflects or resolves something I’m brooding over.

When writing my blog posts the other day, the lyrics from this prayer/hymn (from my school days!), ‘to be understood as to understand’, came to mind and seemed to convey perfectly my need to write to understand how I’m feeling yet also to give the opportunity for my grief to be understood by others.

Continue reading “Make Me a Channel of Your Peace”

You were so very special…

2013-01-26 19.40.19

Another poem we chose for Abi’s church service, read by another uncle.

You were so very, very special
And were so from the start
We held you in our arms
But mainly in our hearts.
And like a single drop of rain
That on still waters fall,
Your life did ripples make
And touched the lives of all.

You’ve gone to play with angels
In heaven up above
So we’ll keep our special memories
And treasure them with love
Although you, our darling daughter,
Were with us just a while
You’ll live on in our hearts
With a sweet remembered smile.

(Anon)

To a Butterfly (1801)

butterfly

A poem we chose to be read at Abi’s church funeral service, read beautifully by one of Abi’s uncles. It was one we’d read to her in the past and reminded us of her.

I’ve watched you now a full half-hour;
Self-poised upon that yellow flower
And, little Butterfly! indeed
I know not if you sleep or feed.
How motionless! – not frozen seas
More motionless! and then
What joy awaits you, when the breeze
Hath found you out among the trees,
And calls you forth again!

Continue reading “To a Butterfly (1801)”

When tomorrow starts without me…

We chose the complete version of this well-known poem to be the only reading at Abi’s brief cremation service.

Finding a reading which meant something and was not overly sentimental was very difficult. Nothing seemed to be fitting for Abi’s ‘final word’… nothing could be. But this poem spoke to us, it was both a comfort and an expression of grief; it doesn’t pretend it’s all okay but that what has happened and how we feel is both human and spiritual.

image

Continue reading “When tomorrow starts without me…”

A small request…

handhold

Please, Mum and Dad…
My hands are small, I don’t mean to spill my drink.
My legs are short – please slow down so I can keep up.
Don’t slap my hands when I touch something bright and pretty. I don’t understand.
Please look at me when I talk to you. It lets me know you are really listening.
My feelings are tender – don’t nag me all day. Let me make mistakes without feeling stupid.
Don’t expect the bed I make or the picture I draw to be perfect. Just love me for trying.
Remember, I am a child, not a small adult. Sometimes I don’t understand what you’re saying.
I love you so much. Please love me just for being myself, not just for the things I can do.
(Author unknown)