Friday, December 31, 2010

Exit; A Decade, Tonight

So much stuff happened in this decade, for me. A lot of it was bad stuff. The sort of stuff that makes me want to say, I don't want to remember why I decided,(or didn't) did, chose, refused, hated or loved it kind of stuff.

a wonderful

Especially if you like to beat yourself up and second guess your life decisions.

And sometimes I do, and, I would like to categorically state that I do not like that about myself.

The Y2K bug, it had nothing to do with me but hindsight tells me it was probably the biggest hoax the world has seen. 

I celebrated a few New Years Eves, too many alone, I had some birthdays including a "40", bought cars (only 2) and changed jobs heaps of times. I got married, my eldest sons had their 18th and 21st birthdays and moved out of home. And one came back twice. My 3rd son lives with us at home still (because he is a teenager), he has grown so much in this decade and has had so many life experiences which are all his stories to tell, not mine. He knows too much about death.

I  had many many house guests, some for one or two nights and others for weeks and months. I discovered Jesus and developed my faith. I spent a lot of money on cigarettes and clothes, my weight went up and down so consequently I don't fit into very many items in my current wardrobe.  

I was pregnant and gave birth to Thomas, my 4th son at the age of 43 and buried him at the age of 44. I used to think that 44 was my lucky number, now I think its one of pain. I have grieved heavily, I have battled sickness and depression, I spent quite a bit of time in court for family law. 

My income fluctuated from around 12 thousand one year to over 40 for another one, and I think they were back to back.

It's been a crazy roller coaster kind of yeardecade, life.

I don't know whether to love it or hate it, but I am glad it's over and I can have a fresh start.

The highest point was getting married in 2006, the lowest point was Thomas' death in 2008 or it was a point somewhere in mourning his loss. Actually I think it was the morning after he died, the minute I woke up and remembered he was dead, I just felt so lost at that point, so wracked with grief, it was the lowest point.

So now, a new year comes and the chance for a fresh start. I am going to choose to learn about me this year. I am going to study me and find out why I do stupid things. Well that's the plan.

First I am going on a research assignment, and write down my timeline, look at the places and spaces I have occupied and see if I can find patterns and things. Then I am going to think about the things that have motivated me to behave in certain ways. I am going to see if there is a trigger that I can neutralise and a grown up behavior that I can substitute for behaving badly. I will try and understand what motivates me to manipulate others and learn about my capacity, and in doing that I believe I can recognise the signs that I am overwhelmed and ask for help.

I hope I am successful, because it sounds like a good plan. A step by step plan, which will not go step by step I am sure.

Goodbye 2010 and the 200th decade

Hello 2011, we are at the start of decade number 201 and I hope its going to be an improvement on the last one.

Are you planning an overhaul for our 201st decade?

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Happy Birthday Thomas

It's Thomas' 3rd Birthday today

I would like to have a little boy at home, who just turned three right now. It is an age that I enjoy, three year old's are chatty and they have excitement for the world, they love to be busy and they have independent moments. I love that their imaginations are are on overdrive, even if that causes them to be just a little bit naughty.

I know that Thomas wouldn't have been the usual 3 year old. He had challenges, I know that. He may have just mastered the art of sitting up by now, he would have had significant developmental delay.

We may have spent most of his short 3 years in the hospital. We would have spent many thousands of dollars on medications, equipment and aids.

We would have held our breath whenever he de-saturated because of a hypertensive event and was dangerously close to death, we would have sighed with relief every time he pulled through. And we would have thanked God that he lived every single day, thanked God for one of the best Children's Hospitals in the world being almost on our doorstep, and prayed that He would get us out of there as fast as he could.

But that didn't happen. It doesn't matter how much we wanted him to live. His little body stopped working and that's just what happened. Nothing changes that.

So, we went to the Queen Victoria Market in Melbourne to "do" something on his birthday. It's a place that we went to quite often during the season of Thomas' life. There are lots of memories there. It was handy (sort of) to the hospital, we only had to get on one tram and it went from out the front of Ronald McDonald house to the west side of the market. The food stalls and delicatessens are all on the east side so it was still a bit of a walk from the tram, an easy walk if you didn't have anything to carry or if it wasn't a very hot day.

Today, on Thomas' third birthday this is what we did at the Market, we found hard rock lollies that had Happy Birthday written inside them. I managed to save 2 little pieces so I could take a photo of them.

And at 2 small cafes side by side we bought Pizza slices, Chicken Burrito and Omelet for lunch.
We bought the Omelet because it was called Omellet a Lo Thomas, and because we like omelet.

We had cake from the cake shop. We bought some Turkish delight too. Lucky we are all big people or we might have had a sugar rush tantrum brewing up by now.

We bought some little wooden toys from the stall that Thomas' other wooden toys came from, and we bought a bone carving from a Tongan man. There were buskers and even an art installation (made from vegetable boxes and chalk writing on the footpath) made by some university students to highlight sustainability. Then we came home.

It was a good day. It was good to do something different, to use Thomas' birthday as a reason to go and do something together and to speak his name.

Angie at stilllife365 posted my poem today in memory of Thomas. Thanks Angie. It would be great if you went over there and read it.

Thanks to everyone for your messages today.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Treasures from a Golden Box

There is a sparkly golden box in the corner of my bedroom. It carries inside a few small keepsakes. Never to be used again and still almost brand new, these little wooden toys with happy faces, and brightly colored rattles that make a hushed sound have a very important job. To keep my memories in place, so they don't get lost.

I like the randomness and foggyness of how this picture turned out. I made it with the scanner. These are finger puppets that we bought to amuse Thomas on his good days. There is the King and Queen and Prince and Princess and Jester. There is also some of the ladybirds and bees from a little mobile that he loved looking at. A couple of springy bungee critters and a castinet that we hushed with a piece of sticking plaster, a christmas bear that turned up on his cot one night and some quiet rattles are in my collection.

The other treasures include a copy of the poem that Dean wrote and photo that we gave to the people who came to Thomas' funeral. Also one of the nurses (Laura Taylor) took an ink footprint without us knowing and she made it into a beautiful keepsake so she could give us a secret Christmas present from Thomas.

Nurses don't get enough recognition so I will say thank-you for thinking of us Laura. It's one of my treasures now.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Wedding Anniversary

It's our wedding anniversary tomorrow

We have been married 4 years

Our first wedding anniversary was 10 days before Thomas was born. We went to a friends place for a meal but we weren't really up for celebrating. The Doctors had already found worrying signs of Thomas' condition. The scans had shown up a high S/D ratio (blood pressure) in the umbilical cord of 5, it was supposed to be around 2 or 3. Also I had a very large amount of amniotic fluid, its a condition called Polyhydramnios, we were being monitored with the fetal heart monitor every couple of days and they were trying to get Thomas to 38 weeks before delivering. We got him to 37 weeks and 5 days. I wondered (after) if the high S/D ratio was an indicator of his extreme pulmonary hypertension, but I am told that it probably wasn't. The over abundance of amniotic fluid is an indicator of his unconventional digestive arrangement, but it can indicate other things too. No one informed me about this, I did a very long internet research shift to find some information that gave me a whisper of things to come. Then I was too scared to ask.

The second year I don't even remember, except, I know we were trying to coordinate a bathroom renovation that dragged on for 12 weeks. I have thought about it and I don't have any recollection of any kind of event to mark the day. We were so sad. And the house was such a huge disaster. Everyone kept on saying to us, "you must be so happy/pleased to finally get it done", "is the bathroom great/are you enjoying picking out the fittings?", "it will be great when it's done". I felt like screaming at them, " I would rather have my son living here with me, a renovated bathroom does not fix my grief, no I don't love my new bathroom, its a big pain in the ass to not shower in your own home for 12 weeks, I hate everyone who wants to force the good side or bright side of any situation out of me" I didn't understand why people couldn't allow me to grieve, I think that they made it worse by trying to be bright and not allowing me to talk about things. My family has a history of not talking about things.

Last year was a different kind of sad with a fair bit of angry mixed in, we survived last year by prayer and a fairly big measure of stubbornness. A wedding anniversary was more of a joke than a celebration. I was very angry last year.

This year is year 4, it has been our best year yet and we are actually going to celebrate. My Husband has bought Theatre tickets, so we are going out. He has taken a day off work. And he has sourced the tickets from the internet, we are going to see Milkwood. We have the Melbourne Fringe Festival on at the moment, Milkwood is part of that festival. I better find something nice to wear, and put on some makeup.

This is a nice picture of us taken last week when we visited Marysville Vic to see how the town has recovered after the devastating Black Saturday fires. This is what 4 years of weathering devastation looks like on our faces, older with a little bit of hope for the future.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Ten Questions on the theme of trees - still life 365

still life 365 is a unique art project for, about and by mothers, fathers, siblings, grandparents, aunts and uncles and friends who have experienced miscarriage, stillbirth or infant death. still life 365 posts a piece of art every day by a poet, artist, photographer, crafter, musician, collagist, paper artist, filmmaker, painter, sculptor, fabric artist and ordinary person exploring grief through creativity. each piece is an expression of grief, survival, sadness, love and hope. still life 365 is intended to be a safe space for creative expression. still life 365 is open to anyone affected by pregnancy loss not simply parents.

1. When you saw the theme of trees for the month of September, what immediately came to your mind?

Barren, dead trees, we are coming out of winter here and the deciduous trees didn't have leaves yet. They looked barren and everything was so cold. Now only 4 weeks later, my Elm trees have flowered, we can see the new life. I know that barren doesn't mean dead. It is just such a long time since they seemed alive.
2. What kinds of words do you associate with trees?

Dark, strong, heavy, shade, wind, shelter, growing, silent, shadows, support, cradling,
3. Of these words, do you associate any with yourself?

Strong, heavy and supporting are word that I associate with myself. I am quite physically strong, I am not a delicate build, hence I relate the word heavy. I have always been overweight. Recently I have lost over 25kg but I still have an obese BMI. Supporting, I will help anyone who needs help, I am better at actions than words. Silent as I grow older I am better at holding my thoughts close. Shadows, there are shadows of pain left inside me that most people would not know exist.
4. Have you been an outdoorsy person throughout your life?

Yes, one of my favourite places to be out doors is located just 2 hours drive away. It is Wilsons Promontory National Park. Our family would camp there when we were kids for the whole summer holiday, there was no power (except for the amenities blocks). We ran wild, walked all over, swan and surfed went fishing and ate fish for 6 weeks. Our family has always had pets and for a while we kept farm animals and horses on a small property we had. I particularly love horses and dogs. I don't have any horses now but I walk my dogs most days in any weather, we have 3 dogs, 2 are Irish Terriers, and we have 1 very small Tenterfield terrier mix. The video shows Doug and Bella, it was before Erin came to live with us.
5. How has your relationship with nature changed since your loss(es)?

Walks at the beach became a favourite thing to do with my Husband after Thomas died. Its so peaceful there, everything is so big, the sky the water, it makes me feel small and my problems feel small. Photographing sunsets and the water is something I have never really done before he died, now I have many many sunset photos. I suppose I am trying to capture the moment. I am not a good enough photographer to really capture the beauty of my amazing environment on the Mornington Peninsula but that doesn't stop me trying.
6. Did you plant a tree or bush in honor of your child?

No I haven't. I have actually left my garden to die. We have been in the grip of a terrible 10 year long drought. There has been strict restrictions for watering gardens, people were having to resort to saving the water from their showers and washing machines to put on their gardens. Some managed to keep their gardens alive, most have simply pulled theirs up and replanted drought tolerant species. There has been too much death in my garden lately to plant a rememberance tree.
7. If you have planted a tree for your child, in what ways do you incorporate the tree into your life? If you haven't, what natural images do you associate with your loss? (Do you tend to it? Do you meditate or reflect under it? Do you places flowers by it?)

I prefer to reflect in the water and air (that sounds too airy-fairy) but we always think of Thomas as having flown away (like the hymn I'll Fly away). So birds cause us to reflect sometimes, not always, airplanes with double wings always make me think of him. On Thomas' second birthday when I was picking up his portrait from a local portrait artist, a magnificent Heron came to rest on the edge of the creek at the bottom of the garden. He waited a while and I took his picture before he flew away. The lady artist, Meredith said that it was an extremely rare sighting, and she had lived there for more than 40 years. We are having Thomas' memorial plaque made with Australian Native birds on it.
8. Trees have also been used to represent families. Talk a bit about your own family tree.
I have researched my family free. Its pretty straight forward, our family originates from Worksop, Nottinghamshire UK. Then "our branch" travelled to New Zealand, and then generations later, to Australia. When the family tree gets to me, the branches get into a big tangled mess. There is a break (divorce) unwed parents, and death, and that just relates to myself and my 4 children.
9. What are your feelings now about family trees and exploring your own lineage?

I found out a few things about my predecessors when researching my family tree. There were a couple of births to women in their 40's and in 1880 or thereabouts giving birth in your 40's would have been very hard. Giving birth would have been a highly risky event during those times. There were some children whose births were recorded by the church but they did not appear on the census, I believe that means that they would have died. One family had a marriage recorded, with a birth just 6 months later, then the death of the mother a couple of days after the birth and a couple of weeks later the death of the baby. I was researching this information while I was pregnant with Thomas and it knocked me around a bit, I now know a little of the pain that they would have felt. I am thankful that it wasn't me living in those times, I am also thankful that I come from from people who were strong and healthy. My predecessors were Bricklayers and Bakers. I wonder if thats why I love bread, I don't love laying bricks though.
10. The rings of trees fascinate me. I remember learning that in hard years, the rings were smaller, or darker than in years of good water. Describe the rings of your tree.
I think that the rings of my tree are mostly all small and dark, I have been weathering a storm of some kind most of my life. This storm has been the hardest. I am coming up for my 4 year anniversary of my marriage. The first year I was pregnant, the second was the year Thomas was born and died, and from then there has been grief. They have all been really tough years. Every year I have felt like bailing out at some point. Every year I have hung on through my fight or flight times. I have chosen to fight to stay married. It has been one of the hardest things I have chosen to do.

Carrying and delivering Thomas and watching him struggle for life and then losing him has been the most defining experience, I am forever altered by it. It was such an expectant time, full of grief and hope. Grief for the things that were wrong and hope for the promise of the future. I find I am humbled, saddened, shattered, exhausted, shocked, angry, thankful, scared, in awe, dazed, and determined that Thomas' life will not become an event that I will find a way to harden up and get over. His life and death will be something that I will hold dear to me, keeping him alive in my heart. I want to remain vulnerable to my grief, to others grief for this reason.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Memorial Plaque

We went and placed our order for Thomas' memorial plaque today.

We decided on the Native Birds design. The Cherry Blossom stone and a grey finish to the plaque. We made a 20% payment and we will pay it off over the next 4 months. We just need to decide on the inscription.

I took some pictures at the cemetery while we were there. It is a very peaceful and pretty place.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Computer Grief

I was just reading this amazing poem on Still Life 365 and grief hits me.

I try and make a comment that does some justice to the effort of the writer, the depth of my feelings and the unfairness of writing a poem about a baby who died. And I cry.

My computer ends up being the witness to my grief most times. It is when I connect with blogs on my reading list that I allow my feelings to surface. Face to face with my computer its safe to grieve. My Hubby and son are used to it and they don't comment when I am crying and reading or if I sit here all night long, they have stopped asking why.

Most of the blogs I read are written by women. Most of their readers are women gauging by the comments. Most of the authors and I have the death of their baby or significant loss in common. We mostly have grief in common. Everybody expresses their grief differently and we are often in different places based on our family's needs and our own needs. But I find that there are these fundamental places that grief takes all of us. Heartbroken and inconsolable the feelings of loneliness and forever altered, permanent differentness is stamped on each of us. We all struggle to jump back into the human race, and we do so as it is required, with varying levels of success but we are all changed by grief. The blogging community is a lifeline for many of us. I wouldn't say its a lifeline for me, I have met one lovely babylost mum (Hi, how are you going today?) but I haven't got any face to face, email or phone friendships from this community. I feel quite lonely.

I am used to being lonely, I haven't written that so that people will behave differently either. I have always felt lonely or alone, my first memory of feeling lonely is in the middle of Primary School. I was probably 10 or 11. Grief is a different kind of lonely. People don't understand why I am still so deep in grief when they have already moved on to the next thing in their lives. So I hide it. I separate myself. I don't know any other way to behave like I am normal. Their kind of normal. Hiding it doesn't work though, because nobody wants to bring it up in case it upsets me (as if I have forgotten all about it, like loosing $20 at the beach last summer), I end up grieving all alone, except for the blogging community. I am validated by them, I feel what they feel, therefore I am not mad, and the normal that I have to pretend to be is the real madness, and the blogging community validates that too (thank you everyone). I don't really have to make personal relationships to get that validation.

My family have all done so many things since my little Thomas came along. There have been overseas holidays, deaths of significant pets, children maturing and leaving home, first jobs, new jobs, qualifications earned, holiday celebrations, major health issues, family businesses sold, relationships ended, divorce, home renovations, new governments, relationships started, babies born, family breakdown, absent fathers, changing churches, money trouble, to name a few. People move on to these new places, but I don't. I don't move on, I cant move on, I am tethered to the place and time of Thomas' birth and death. I can experience those other things and reluctantly I have been present for many of them but I will always affected by the dates 17th October 2007 and 29th February 2008 and the days in between. I will never drive past one of the major hospitals in Melbourne with any other thought in my mind. I understand now that there are people who will never ever get this. I am very happy for them because they will never know this pain, they are spared.

I sit at my computer and catch up on Blog posts and comments in the mornings usually and also some evenings. Some bloggers take professional photos and post heaps of them, so I as the reader get a visual experience along with a story. The art blogs are inspiring and the artists make it look so simple, I am inspired to spend some cash on art materials, then I get stuck. Some write from their vast storehouse of experience of grief plus their infertility, or their parenting journey, disability and homeschooling, home makeovers, craft and food, weight loss, the list goes on. I want to know about people and I really enjoy reading. Blogs affect me, I like it that way. Each blog is like a never ending interactive book, until it ends or goes private. I wonder if there are any blogs in my reader that will still be there in the years in the future. I hope so. I wonder if mine will still be there.

I am not obsessed. Well, not as much as I used to be. I spend a minimum of 4 to 5 hours a week reading blogs, usually more, hence I rarely post on my own blog. Time is not the only reason I don't post very often. I find it very difficult to be actually honest about myself in a way that tells my story and shows my personality in a positive light. Also I think I have something to say then I second guess myself and I stay silent because I don't think anyone will want to read what I have posted. Blogging is such a one sided conversation, and when it's about stuff that is in the vulnerable places of my spirit and my soul I want it to appear as acceptable so I don't have to carry more pain. I am so tired of pain, it is a well worn feeling that has shaped my core. I don't want people to feel sorry for me and to be put into the too hard basket, I want people to know who I am without having to add more pain. I want to be liked.

I sometimes wonder if I just let all my stuff out onto my blog if anyone would even notice or care. I don't think I have any non-following family members who reads. But I can't write a personal grievance here, just in case I upset someone.

There are some amazing writers out there and their stories lead us into cultures that I will never get to experience first hand. I am very happy to experience them second hand via a story. I really love stories. I believe grief is important work and I want to be part of the validation process too. For my own sake as well as yours (the reader). I write this post because it means that I have to feel bold to feel OK about writing my opinion and feelings. Even though my writing is nothing special and I don't make many typos, and my photography is average, (because I usually haven't charged the camera and use my mobile phone instead) I continue to post bits and pieces. Sometimes I feel like my voice is not adding anything to the mix. Today I am putting my opinion forward and trying to honestly reveal some of me.

Maybe its because I read Rachel Simon's Angry Day and I related to it, and I cried.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Its a small world

.......even when you are interred

When I was at the cemetary today I had a good walk around looking at the plaques nearby our little Thomas.

I was surprised when I saw that a young man that I have known for most of my life is resting just up the street from Thomas and on the other side.


My neighbor from over the road (from my actual house), her grandson lies only 1 space away from Thomas and behind him (facing the other way).

Its been a long time since I have been to visit the cemetary.

I am ready to have a memorial plaque placed for Thomas, he lies in a lawn cemetary so there are only flat plaques in his area.

It costs about $2,200 and it takes about 10-12 weeks.

I have to get my husbands permission because he owns the plot. I hope he is ready too.

What do you think of these possibilities?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Cards for Donya

I sent a birthday card to Donya today.

Donya has Down syndrome and she is turning 50 on August 18th, and she loves to receive mail.

I read about Donya on the blog My Blessed Life where Myra blogs about her hearts journey.

So it you want to write a happy birthday message and post it to Alabama USA, leave a comment on the blog post where Myra writes on behalf of Donya and her Mother, and Myra will email the postal address to you

Myra is also babylost.

Happy Birthday Donya, congratulations on turning 50 years old.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Lessons - Walking with You

I have taken part in the bible study on the Walking With You blog by Sufficient Grace Ministries. The book that we are working through is called "Threads of Hope, Pieces of Joy, A Bible Study". I have posted lesson 2 today.
See the page titled "Lessons". The page tab is just up the top of my blog under Thomas' picture. There is no way to leave a comment on that page so I have made this little post so you can leave any comments.

If you have done the same lesson, how did you find the questions? I think it took me about 2 hours to work my way through it. Did it take you that long too?

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Its a little bit different

I have been "shopping" for new page elements and there are a couple of different things on my blog now.

There are the buttons along the top which will lead you to different parts of my blog. Also, I now have some pet fish, they want to play with your mouse pointer. I hope you like them.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Why I feel So Rotten

I have been feeling unwell for a while so I eventually went to the doctor and asked him to tell me why. He ordered some blood tests and listened to my symptoms, he also looked carefully at a lump I have growing on the knuckle of my index finger.

Lately I have been feeling really flat, I have been having palpitations, I can't seem to wake up in the morning, I can't seem to get going either. I have been feeling sluggish and sad, resentful of working, and powerfully sleepy in the afternoon. I haven't been interested in being intimate, I have had yuckky and long menstration, symptoms of PMS at the wrong times with an aching belly and tender breasts. I have been gaining weight steadily, with sore and stiff feet, and fluid collecting under the skin on my shins. And I had a lump on my finger that was sore.

Even I feel sorry for me after reading what I just wrote.

Anyway the upshot of the blood test is that I have Hypothyroidism. All of the things described above can be symptoms of it. Except the lump. Add the above symptoms with depression and anxiety, low heart rate, sensitivity to heat and cold, and one I don't have, high cholesterol, and you have an almost complete picture of my unhealthy grieving mind and body. I was just going along with this poor state of health, I was waiting for the day I would start to feel better. Apparently I had to do something about it. I have become used to feeling unhealthy, I wonder if I will feel, dare I say, good, soon. I hope so, I hope feeling good doesn't mean that I will stop being sad about Thomas dying.

Since I received that diagnosis I have been reading about Thyroid testing. I know that Hypothyroidism can run in the family because Thomas had it too. After Thomas was diagnosed with it, one of the first things that the doctors asked me about was the family history. My Grandmother had Hashimotos Disease which happens with untreated Hypothyroidism. For me, I need to take a thyroxine tablet everyday for the rest of my life, I need to have some more blood tests to determine the level of medication required but I need to take the medication for a few weeks first.

There were other things that they checked with varying degrees of good and bad, but the thing about the Hypothyroidism is that I have it and Thomas had it too. Maybe I gave it to him, genetically speaking, although apparently if you have Down Syndrome there is a higher likelihood of having a Thyroid issue. I am not happy about giving it to him, but I feel sort of closer to him because of it.

I have been reading as I said earlier, one of the reasons for secondary infertility is thyroid disfunction. It also can cause birth defects and cause problems in pregnancy. I wonder how many people out there who are ttc have checked their thyroid function. I can't remember when mine was last checked. I would think that mine has been bad for a while. Maybe it was the reason I lost a pregnancy at 5 weeks in April of last year. I had no idea that it could affect pregnancy, the doctor didn't suggest testing back then either.

I don't feel better yet but I have started taking the Thyroxine, and Vitamin D tablets because I have a deficiency, It is good to know that I don't have to feel so bad. Feeling bad is so tiring. Have you had a check up or a blood test lately?

Here is a picture of my finger and the reported Lump. It's not very big, it's below my fingernail on the left side. It doesn't show up on the x-ray so the doctor says not to worry about it.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Happy Blogging Birthday to Me

Today marks one year of blogging on this blog, more importantly it has been one year since I found this community. I can't imagine how I would have survived this previous year without you all to "talk to". Thanks everyone for sharing your babies and your lives.

I am sharing a video of Thomas that I took when he was only a week old. It is titled Thomas the Mouse because that is the nickname we gave him before he was born. He was so very quiet when I was carrying him, he hardly ever kicked, when he moved it felt more like wiggles and he never let my husband feel any kicks, as soon as he put his hand on my belly Thomas would stop wiggling around. Quiet as a mouse.

Just to let you know I took it with my mobile phone, I wanted to send something to my Husband who had to be at work and away from his newborn son. Its a huge no-no to use your mobile phone in the NICU but the nurse knew I was doing it and let me break the rules, anyway, its low quality and goes for 20 secs. It is my voice that you can hear. The last sentence I am saying and gets cut off is "He's had a little bit of Morphine, so he is having a bit of a cruise-ey sleep".

Sunday, February 14, 2010

My Valentine

My Valentine to baby Thomas, click here to go to Still Life 365 where a slideshow of Valentines made by grieving parents including me will play.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Where have I been? And, where I am now

I haven't been blogging very much thats for sure. The date on my last post tells that story. I cant even say that I have a heap of "almost posts " with draft stamped on them in my list of posts. I simply have not been writing. I have been reading though, I read blogs most days and I have been reading novels, and I have been reading about Aspergers Syndrome too, this is because a pediatrician told me that my 3rd son has AS, but I think he is wrong, we are currently having that investigated further.

Reading blogs helps me. I know that everyone has a story and I am not going to find someone else with the same story as me but I read blogs of people who are writing the chapters that come after grief. That is what helps me, knowing that there are going to be more chapters.

I have been thinking about the similarities between Grief and Love.

Love comes when you least expect it and when you are not looking for it. It explodes into your life, love day dreams consume your day and your thoughts, touching or coloring every part of your life and making it difficult to carry out more than routine tasks. I have experienced this "Falling in Love" kind of love. I have declared to myself that this is the one, declare that I will never take this perfect relationship for granted, my love will always be fresh for my wonderful amazing man who will always strive to please me and succeed. I have thankfully moved out of the falling stage.

Grief has a similarly devouring affect, it also arrives without warning, completely bowls me over and leaves me gasping for breath. It is so powerful, it illuminates this single relationship to the point that I am blind to the many other relationships in my life. I am driven to gather things that have a smell or a date or any memory attached, things that bring a moment in time back to my mind. I am very emotional, I write poetry, I draw, photograph, scrapbook, treasure jewelry, plant seeds, I file and store faithfully.

Its a lot like falling in love, except it feels so bloody crappy.

I used to have grief dripping off me, all over the place. I was an automatic walking grief machine, I had buttons all over me and it was very easy to push any of them (or all of them at once). I dispensed anger, pain and sadness when I was gasping for breath at the shopping centre because of a panic attack, or when I was bawling my eyes out because someone else got their baby, and when I was very angry and self righteous because someone else didn't take notice of the danger that threatened their child, and sadly when the stony unfriendly silence that I presented to someone with a happy attitude. I alienated a lot of people and lost a lot of relationships.

Grief is not the same for me anymore. In the beginning it was on the surface of my skin, dripping off onto everything I came into contact with. It's now almost 2 years since Thomas died and I have found that it is easier to tell my story, I am more comfortable, less shocked. I feel like grief has grown into me, its deeper now. I feel like it has reached under my skin and blended with my muscles. Like a slow growing creeper I imagine it moving toward my core where it can live, sheltered privately. I like the thought of it becoming part of who I am. I do not have get over it, move on, and heal, leave that experience behind me as I move forward without the baggage. Feeling sad sometimes will always be part of who I am, and writing that makes me feel a bit happy, less pressured.

I think that grief might follow the trend that Love follows. Love kind of grows comfortable. It's still love, but it becomes comfortable. It grows deeper and stronger. Deeper than the love I had at the "Falling In" stage but maybe not so gasping for breath. I have seen older lovers grow into each other. They become like a matched pair. They start looking like each other and talking like each other too. Its like they have blended a bit of the other person into themselves.

I imagine that one day people will not be able to see my grief anymore. They won't see it on my face, they will just see me. Over the years it will have altered and I will have accommodated it to the point that it is no longer recognised. It will become a treasured and guarded resource, a place where great strength lives. I am not in that place just yet (of course) and I often go back to the dripping stage. At the moment I am in the place where I can catch glimpses of the future and want to step into it.

That is where I am now. On the doorstep of Thomas' 2nd Angelversary.

I love you Thomas
Wish you were here

Your Mum.