Social media – the friend I hate to love

I was desperate for a break. What with a new baby, my hubby having a miserable time and facing a tonsillectomy, and changing my teen daughter’s school, the last few months have been a tad stressful to say the least. I’d booked us a week in Cornwall with my two sisters and their families about six months ago and I couldn’t wait.

The run up to a holiday is always stressful, sometimes I wonder why we bother as the sheer effort of packing a family of six seems too much. It was even harder this time with everything that’s been going on as well as end-of-school-year activities and work deadlines to get on top of…blahhh! I felt like I was drowning in things to do. My phone has been permanently in my hand as I use it to manage so much of my life, but I had begun to resent the way it also saps my attention.

I’m in demand from all corners. While each member of the family constantly need me in some physical or emotional capacity, I also have a home to run, clients making demands and bills to pay. I also have a whole other life’s worth of demands on social media making me feel compelled to comment on or like posts (even though I know I don’t have to). I know I’m all too guilty of letting this bad friend distract me from all the other crap that I should really be thinking about.

So, as well as getting to spend some quality time with my sisters and their husbands and children, I really looked forward to taking a break from the social media life, in fact the entire internet! Keeping up with my stresses as well as, it feels, the stresses of masses of friends and acquaintances has not been doing me any good at all.
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Family dynamics after the death of a child

We have just returned from a holiday in the New Forest, in Hampshire, UK. We went last year our first proper family holiday since Abi died, and found it to be a very healing place to go. We found the thought of visiting our usual holiday spots simply too difficult without Abi with us.

A big part of grief is realizing that so many favourite places become out of bounds, at least for the first few years. In fact, the whole concept of ‘holiday’ has changed for us now. We find it hard to plan ahead, to choose destinations, toΒ get excited about going anywhere without all our children with us.

This year, we invited one of our daughter’s friends with us. She’s a lovely girl who has been friends with my daughter for many years through primary school. Even though they now go to different secondary schools, they have remained close. Continue reading “Family dynamics after the death of a child”

Taking time out to heal

We needed some serious downtime! We last holidayed in August 2014 and had a mostly lovely time in the New Forest, interspersed by terrible guilt trips and the stomach aches that hit you when you feel to your bones that it’s all wrong.

But since then, life’s been, well, difficult. We endured the back to school strain of my second daughter starting secondary school and also reaching her twelfth birthday (the same transitions we saw with Abi only two years before). Abi’s 14th birthday, Christmas and New Year followed in quick, emotional succession and then, to top it all, the second anniversary of her death, after which we had to prepare to celebrate my rainbow baby’s first birthday. Loss and Life so closely entwined. A rollercoaster is an accurate description of the emotional journey these events took us on. We’ve felt burdened by the strain of our loss and trying to cope with normal pressures of family life. Continue reading “Taking time out to heal”

Keeping memories of Abi close on holiday

While debating where to go on our first summer holiday without Abi, I posted about the memories we had of so many places we visited regularly with our ‘Abi family’.

The Isle of Wight was one of them. Our last holiday together had been to Shanklin and we’d had a fabulous and very memorable time.

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There’s no such thing as a ‘simple’ gesture

When Abi died, we were overwhelmed by the support we received from the community, from friends and strangers alike. The attention quite naturally faded away in time, but we still have moments where people go out of their way to help us in some way.

These days, it seems the world is a more cynical place; nothing is for free, right? But I’ve seen a different side to life and people. There are so many kind souls out there who think of us and our loss as they go about their own lives. Friends will drop in little treats and gifts (often dragonfly related) which really lift us. Yet the kindness of strangers is something I will always cherish, and not all of them know of our bereavement.

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Followed by a fairy

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The day before we left to go on our holiday, we were sat discussing what we wanted to do and I suddenly felt something tickle my arm. I jumped thinking it was a fly, but it turned out to be a thistledown, or a ‘fairy’ as my mum used to call them when I was little, that had floated into the house. We all laughed. It was the first one I’d seen this year.

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Moors Valley County Park, New Forest

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Today, we visited this country park, just 20 minutes from our accommodation in the New Forest National Park. I must admit I was attracted by the dragonflies and it also has a surprisingly clear and helpful website.

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Cows on holiday

Age: 7 and 15 days

We’re staying on a fabulous farm, with newly converted cottages. You’ve settled in brilliantly after your initial nerves about being away from home.

You love your sleep. Well, you like to lie in, you’re terrible about going to sleep early, you seem to be more alert at night time, especially when it’s so light outside. So when you called out this morning I had to laugh.

All the windows are open as it’s so hot, and at 6am the cows started mooing really loudly outside the window (we later learned they were making a break for it and escaping!). At first you thought it was Dad snoring! You called out, ‘Dad, make it stop!’ Then you thought it was the TV and called out, ‘Turn it off Daaaaad!’

Such a town boy. But it was a lovely wake up call, don’t you think?

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Memories of our last holiday together

As friends and family head off on half term holidays, I’m glad to have a relaxing week ahead with my children. But I feel a slight pang of envy, as I know we are in need of a proper holiday, but with the new baby I’d not had the strength to plan one.

Who needs strength to plan a holiday? It’s the highlight of the year right?

I’m sure every grieving parent struggles with making holiday plans. Holidays are the epitome of making happy memories… and we feel lost. We can’t shrug off our grief like most forget the stress of work. Our grief comes with us… in bucketfuls!

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