Wednesday 29 May 2013

Sometimes the baby elephant falls anyhow

Photo: How can I see this and not think of you instantly? Let me know when the pompom pool is ready and I will bring my swim fins.My Canadian friend Ali shared this photo. Ali's son has the same cancer that Chloe had; but thank God is doing really well and the prognosis is good.  Yet, like all mothers of children with life threatening illnesses, Ali knows just how precarious our parenting job really is.  The wrong set of circumstances and the baby elephant really can full.  Forget all the stories of the power of love saving everything; sometimes nothing works.  Sometimes it doesn't matter how much you love, scream, pray, plot, work hard, want something with every cell in your body - sometimes the baby elephant will fall anyhow.

Mother Nature - how cruel you can be!

The Mummy elephant will be left bereft and entirely powerless.  Her reason for living, for getting up every morning, all gone.  She'll be left dazed by the cruelty of it all, guilty that she didn't somehow do more, hideously empty and her big huge heart will be broken and permanently and critically damaged.

Whatever happens she will be changed forever.

But it's likely that she will get up and keep on going.  I guess elephants, like humans, are programmed to survive.   Even with the most crippling and intense pain, we are programmed to just keep limping forward.  And so we do.

And every so often there is a little glimpse of light.  And then, just for that moment, we are glad that we are still here.  Our Roman's toothy grin tops my list here; but there are other lovely moments that somehow pierce the pain. A week in the South of France - crap weather but the most wonderful friends to share some fun and good times.  I found it really strange that I could ever again have fun without Chloe;  I had expected it to be a nightmare. A nice surprise for once.

And others - cuddling Ralph (Chloe's golden retriever) by the fire.  He just seems to know when I need that cuddle; my beautiful daughter Hannah as we seem to be growing together again to care for each other as we understand the pain of this loss best of all; Chloe's friends who have become a huge source of comfort to me (and I hope I am to them too), the local church - still not really speaking to "God" - but pop in to light a candle most days and I love the peace of the building.  There are also many sources of additional love and support should one want/need to tap into.  The Compassionate Friends, I hear, is a wonderful organisation - run by parents who have lost children who have chosen to stay in the world and use their time to help others.   These people are heroes IMHO.

Reaching out, connecting, staying part of the human race - it's all any of us have I guess.  Oh and having a dog - that helps too.

In a reflective mood at the moment - so more ramblings tomorrow.

peace and hugs xxx

Wednesday 8 May 2013

Where do I start..

Grief is so individual - that's one thing I've definitely learnt.  Nobody can tell you how you are going to feel - I guess this is your personal journey with you and your loved one.
But there are some themes and I think we're all struggling a little bit more now.  As the numbness and shock recede; it exposes the raw pain underneath.  I didn't think it could hurt more; but it does.
I miss her; we all miss her.  She was such a bright soul, so funny, so full of life and energy.  For me it feels like the lights have dimmed to almost nothing; that the colour's faded from the world; that life is a little less worth living.

But then snap! Shame on me for saying that.  Life IS worth living.  And I think of all the people who are struggling with any one of a number of terrible illnesses - what they would give for a few pain free days, to be able to see the beauty on offer, to be able to touch and feel things and live a life without physical pain.  This may sound trite; but it doesn't make it any less true.

I passionately believe that whilst we're here we have a duty to try our best to make the most of things, to love our loved ones and to make the world a tiny bit better for somebody somewhere.  We're all in this together really.

Chloe has died.  It's a fact; a brutal, raw, horrid fact.  But it is a fact.  And I knew early that it would be a struggle to turn the sadness into something better.  Something more worthwhile.

But when I open my eyes I see so much energy flooding into good causes all in our Chloe's name - many of them initiated by Chloe's friends and school mates.  Top of my list is the sponsored walk and all the other activities all initiated by Chloe's friends at her school St Philomena's .  They've raised a whooping £6,600 for the Royal Marsden in Sutton in just a few weeks.  And this has all been done whilst they were taking their final A Level exams.  Mass at St Phils yesterday was a very emotional time for me and Simon. Watching all these beautiful girls standing up and telling us what they did to raise the money.  Uplifting, inspirational and amazing.

We are so very proud of you girls!

And it's things like this that makes our light a little less dim, our word a little less colourless and life a little more worth living.  And there are many other things too: Roman's running now - not content with walking anymore - Hannah's the love of my life, and I now have all my adopted daughters (Chloe's bestest friends) to worry about).  There's Sarah's nursing; Olivia's play (she's so talented!), Koiswa's university choices, Big Chloe's childcare, Sophia's business studies .......  So much life and so much to do.  Thank God!

Girls I love being in your lives as you hold Chloe's soul for me.  I see her in all of your eyes and it's a beautiful, beautiful thing for me.  Thank you girls.

Look to the lovely - my message to myself today.