Debbie’s Story – Baby Loss Awareness Week

MY SON

Chris was a lover of life and achieved so much in the short 15 years of his life.  On August 14th 2006 Chris went to Capel Curig in North Wales with 5 friends that year had been a very hot summer and that weekend there was a heavy rainfall that caused an extreme waterfall.  Chris fell into the waterfall. He was sucked back into a cave below and his trainer was caught in a branch of a tree.  A team of divers and search and rescue dogs plus locals searched downstream for him for 7 hours his body was recovered at 7.03 that evening.

Chris Debbie's son
Chris Debbie’s son

My life changed that day ….

legacy

Within a week of the funeral I began what I never imagined would be a legacy in Chris’s name educating over 500.000 young people across North Wales and the UK about water safety. I have won many Awards for my work.  However the pain never leaves you … I guess acceptance is the final destination for grief but anniversaries still bring those painful feelings to the fore.

BUTTERFLIES

In the early days around 18 months after losing Chris I attempted suicide on two occasions, I don’t tell this for pity I tell it to help others because if I can recover from this dark place then I feel anyone can.  It took lots of personal development work and I found myself on an amazing Spiritual path which I follow to this day.  I truly believe there is so much more to life than we realise and have had too many signs that Chris is with me always… Rainbows … I feel them before I see them.  They come at times when I need them and when important things are coming.  Butterflies one day I walked the path to Angel Bay where I have scattered his ashes I had a strange feeling …. Suddenly a host of white butterflies were coming towards me they settled on my body and I felt myself opening my arms … People stared in amazement … It felt like the hug I’d yearned for for years.

Debbie Turnbull
Debbie Turnbull

WATER SAFETY

Today I am looking forward to taking a huge leap with my Water Safety business teaching teachers to educate young people in schools. It is hoped that with our new plans we will educate over 50.000 young people a year. A Legacy that will live on long after I do …

I live in hope that when my time comes to meet Chris once again, in his Castle In The Sky, we will both be reunited for the rest of eternity.

If you enjoyed reading this inspirational story then please check back this week as others share their stories too. Find out more information here.

The amazing Sue France shared hers on Monday here’s the link.

The fantastic Kiki Deville shared hers on Tuesday here’s the link.

Read about Sophie’s story from yesterday here

You can read Violet and Arthur’s story here.

Sophie’s Story – Baby Loss Awareness Week

It was 5 years ago now that my world shattered and changed forever.

THE BEGINNING

Let me start at the beginning… 2015 was a year full of so many different emotions and brand news that I had to get my head around. In the May I suffered a brain haemorrhage and ended up as an inpatient which is how I first learnt I was pregnant. I was shocked, overwhelmed, overjoyed, and confused. I didn’t think it would happen for me.

the scans

It was a scary beginning, trying to recover from what had happened to me and to now protect my unborn baby. I was discharged from hospital and had a new lease of life. I was so excited to know that I would soon become a mummy. I started my pregnancy journey as most do – having your 12 week and your 20-week scans. I remember feeling apprehensive but bubbling with excitement. At my 20-week scan my little baby kept hiding – I was sent out and told to do star jumps and bounce to try and get him moving. He was just not playing ball. I ended up having 3 appointments for my 20 weeks as he was being so stubborn.

On the third visit… no one expects to be met with those concerned eyes as they look back at you having scanned your baby. Instantly I knew something was wrong and my stomach knotted so hard, my chest crushed, and my throat fought back hard to stop the tears. “I’m not quite sure but something is wrong with your baby’s heart”. I’ve always thought ever since that my little boy was trying to hide his heart problem so he could live.

HEART WARRIOR

This is where my journey began with my little heart warrior. I was transferred to a heart specialist hospital for the remainder of my pregnancy and on Christmas Day 2015, my little boy, Joshua, was born, 2 weeks early.

The love that fills your body as you welcome this little human that you created is so incredibly powerful and one that never ever leaves you.

Tiny Joshua
Tiny Joshua soon after birth

jOSHUA

Joshua was born with severe Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (HLHS). It is one of the most severe heart conditions. Joshua was whisked away very quickly following his birth and prepared for transfer to the Royal Brompton Hospital. This became our home for almost 7months. At day 2 of life, he underwent his first surgery. The first is always the riskiest as they are so fragile. He found recovery hard but as we soon realised Joshua had immense fight in him as well as one of my traits – stubbornness!

At 4 months he then had stage 2 of his surgeries as he started to struggle. Luckily Joshua was a big boy for a heart baby which served him well and enabled staged 2 to happen earlier than planned.

Joshua
Joshua always smiling

HAPPY

Joshua was a character and became so loved and known to fellow Brompton families and the staff. He was the happiest little thing, with the chubbiest cheeks. He showed so much concern for other babies when they cried and fought so hard throughout his journey.

We were able to take Joshua home twice during his life – once in the May and the second in the July – both for short periods as sadly he deteriorated and had to be taken back in.

In this time, we witnessed our little boy grow and develop into such a beautiful, kind little soul. He was infectious! He also endured things you’d never wish on anyone. There were some truly enormous highs and some heart-breaking lows. However, Joshua had this smile that made any bad day instantly fade away.

Joshua's smile
Joshua’s smile lit up the room

NIGHTMARE

Sadly, on his 9month birthday, after having spent a great day round my mum and dads, baking cakes and generally being so happy. He later deteriorated at home, and we had to call for an ambulance who took him into our local A&E.

Joshua happy and playing
Joshua happy and playing

This night has replayed out in my dreams most nights since I lost him and haunts my thoughts when awake. Things went wrong that night at our local and sadly at 2:34am the following morning he had his 4th and final cardiac arrest and left this world. The sound that left me as he lay lifeless and the begs I remember making to bring him back consume me. I sat holding him for 6hours after he died, and I felt him grow so cold on my chest, so heavy. My life literally crumbled. The feeling of losing your child is indescribable and the pain is unbearable. I just wanted so badly to switch places with him, take his pain away and to let him live. Let him have his firsts, let him experience life’s events, fall in love, have his own family.

GRIEF

The weeks and months that followed are a blur now, but I remember feeling so incredibly numb and so lonely. I didn’t want to burden anyone and tried hard to show I was okay, but you never really are okay after such an event. You just learn to deal with it and how to carry on somehow.

Joshua
Joshua happy

POETRY

Each year I found myself writing Joshua a poem – a letter almost of how I was feeling, how I missed him so and what the last year had entailed. It has become my promise and almost my yearly tribute to him. I think of him every single day and often get caught off guard and just sob. I feel guilt a lot, especially when I laughed for the first time after he passed away. I felt physically sick that I had shown an ounce of happiness.

I have found life hard since and I now suffer with anxiety, but I found throwing myself into work or a project and keeping busy keeps me in an okay place. I have met a man who I am in-love with and have also had 2 other children, Harrison, and Millie since. Sadly, Harrison too was born with a heart condition. They are both so amazing and fill me with so much love. I also sadly had a miscarriage and lost twins before welcoming Millie.

CHILD LOSS

Loss isn’t spoken about anywhere near enough and has a stigma that almost makes it so it shouldn’t be spoken of, but there are so many of us that have experienced loss. We all deal with it in very different ways but support from others is an enormous and powerful thing. Being able to share your story or provide a shoulder to cry on for someone else is huge. Loss is a lonely place, but we should be able to say their name without feeling shame or being met with awkwardness or eyes that look away. I absolutely love being a mum and feel so incredibly lucky to have had all of my children.

Sophie with Joshua
Sophie with Joshua

LEGACY

Since losing Joshua, my father and I have made it our mission to bring positive from Joshua’s death. I didn’t want it to have been for nothing. We have set up a charity called “The Joshua Lynagh Foundation”, The JLF, which went live on his anniversary this year – 26th Sept. The charity is to help others who have children with congenital heart disease (CHD). I want to ensure no one has to experience what I did. We aim to raise awareness of CHD, provide education to families and medics (especially those medics at local hospitals who do not have the expertise to deal with cardiac children) and help empower families, so they feel heard and not isolated. My ultimate aim is to learn from failures we experienced that night and to ensure they do not occur again.

You can learn more about Joshua’s story and The JLF at www.jlftrust.org.uk – you can help raise awareness of the charity by liking, sharing and donating. We can also be found on various social media sites:

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thejlftrust/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JLF.Trust

Twitter: https://twitter.com/the_jlf

FUNDRAISING project

Our first fundraising project, “ECHO”, is to raise funds to purchase a Vivid IQ portable echocardiographic machine with three probes (baby, child, and teenager – S12, S6 and S4) for The Royal Brompton Hospital.

This piece of equipment will help diagnose life-threatening heart conditions. It will be used on between 500-1,000 children per year, helping up to 5,000 children over a 5-year period.

As a portable machine, it will allow clinical staff to take it to other hospitals where children present to A&E very sick and for newborn babies. These hospitals will include Chelsea and Westminster, St Mary’s, Hemel Hempstead, and The Royal Brompton and Harefield hospitals. The total cost is approximately £50,000.

This piece of equipment will help save children’s lives. It will enable clinicians to scan patients to diagnose: sick newborn babies, children with holes in their hearts, and those who develop heart problems, such as myocarditis (inflammation of the heart) or cardiomyopathy (heart muscle disease).

If you enjoyed reading this inspirational story then please check back this week as others share their stories too. Find out more information here.

The amazing Sue France shared hers on Monday here’s the link.

The fantastic Kiki Deville shared hers yesterday here’s the link.

You can read Violet and Arthur’s story here.

Kiki’s story – Baby Loss Awareness Week

exclusive club

14 years ago I joined a club. It’s a very exclusive club, but one with a surprising amount of members. Sometimes it feels like a secret club, although none of the members want it that way, but society works hard at keeping us underground. I should explain that no one wants to be in this club. None of us ever dreamt we would join. None of us want to be here. None of us want anyone else in the club. But there is no going back once you have taken your membership. Joining this club represents the darkest moments of your life. This club has the only other people on earth who have even a fraction of an understanding of how fundamentally your life has just changed.

DEXTER

When my son Dexter was born, it was immediately clear something was wrong. Not because of anything overly dramatic, but a feeling I had, an instinct you could say, that all was not quite right. The next 24 hours would be the worst, to that point, of any 24 hours I had ever endured, as we were told that our beautiful son had a genetic condition (Zellweger Syndrome), and he would not survive for longer than a few months.

Dexter
Beautiful Dexter Kiki’s son

4 weeks and 3 days later, he died, in our arms, at Derian House Children’s Hospice. In a twist of cruel irony, he died on International Baby Loss Awareness Day, October 15. Membership to the club commenced.

LONELINESS

There is nothing quite as lonely as losing a child. All of the light disappeared from my world, and I thought I would never know joy again. In some ways, the darkness remains even now, like an Instagram filter that sits over the top of every moment of my life. I can be laughing and enjoying a moment with someone and then BOOM, suddenly I remember that I broke that day, and the guilt floods back that I have somehow learnt to enjoy life again.

That guilt took a long time to come to terms with, and without the other club members to discuss it with, Im not sure I would have learnt to reconcile happiness with such deep, deep sorrow.

Society would have you believe that we don’t exist, or that we should at least remain hidden precisely because society knows that the pain of child loss is indescribable. The mere thought of it evokes terror in parents. As it should. There are no words. There is only the rawest of emotion. A desperate feeling that life will never be the same again, because put simply, it won’t.

LIGHT

Light can find its way through, with help. Which is why our club is so important. It plays a vital role in helping us understand that you can have joy again. It also helps us vent at the frustration many of us feel at being silenced about our children.

We know you mean well. We know you are usually loved ones who want the old version of us to return. We know that sometimes you think its time we were “over it.” And we know that none of this is because you don’t care. Its terribly difficult to watch someone you care about be so viscerally sad. But when you won’t say their name, when you flinch when we do, when you never acknowledge their birthday or anniversary, it drives us again to that feeling of loneliness when it all began.

Without my club, without the friendships I have formed with other bereaved parents, Im not sure I would ever have found the strength to move forward, with Dexter beside me, in to a life and a career that I am so wonderfully grateful for. But not a day goes by that I don’t wish I didn’t know these people, for their sake, and for mine.

A SONG FOR DEXTER

Finding pragmatic ways to deal with my grief, and using my platform to try to break the stigma around bereavement has led me down a path that I could never have imagined for myself. I had always wanted to write a song for Dexter, and last year, I met another songwriter, we forged a friendship and a partnership, and I finally wrote that song. (The Day is available to buy here via Amazon or here via Apple It is also available on streaming platforms, although I would encourage you to purchase as the profits go to Derian House Children’s Hospice and Together for Short Lives).

Kiki Single cover image
Kiki Single cover image

THE KEEPSAKE CIRCLE

After this process, I realised that it helped me immensely, and it also opened up dialogue with people about bereavement. In partnership with Derian House, my songwriting partner and I have spent this last year meeting with 10 bereaved families, and we have written 10 original songs in musical tribute to their children who are no longer with us. The project, The Keepsake Circle, has been so rewarding and getting to know these children and hear these families memories has been an incredible privilege. The album will be available for purchase from November 12.

The Keepsake Circle
The Keepsake Circle

And to my fellow club members as we enter in to Baby Loss Awareness Week for 2021, I am with you as we remember. And I thank you for helping me feel less alone.

If you would like to connect with Kiki then you can do so on instagram here

You can find out more about The Keepsake Circle on instagram here

If you enjoyed reading this inspirational story then please check back this week as others share their stories too. Find out more information here.

The amazing Sue France shared hers yesterday here’s the link.

You can read Violet and Arthur’s story here.

Sue’s story – Baby Loss Awareness Week

I lost my daughter to Cancer when she was 27 and it was over 20 years ago. However I share the same “what if she had lived?” feelings as any parent who has lost a child, whatever the age.

Rachel as a little girl
Rachel Sue’s daughter as a little girl aged 4

MEMORIES AND RITUALS

Memories and rituals are precious to me and were never more so than in lockdown.

My daughter loved Spain and a year before she passed away she had bought a holiday home near Puerto Banus . It was her wish for her ashes to be scattered from a speed boat just outside the harbour and this we duly did. We went out with her husband on quite a choppy sea and the ashes scattered behind us in the wind.

The beautiful Rachel France as an adult
The beautiful Rachel France as an adult

Every year since then I have travelled to Spain and thrown flowers in the sea and I was devastated when I couldn’t do that this year. I happened to mention this to a lady called Ali Meehan who runs a networking organisation for expat businesswomen. I had met Ali when I spoke at her International Women’s Day Conference in Marbella in 2018. She recalled that I had won a beautiful white orchid in her raffle and used some of its flowers as my sea throwing petals that year and this had stuck in her mind. During lockdown Ali and I had come together to hold joint zooms between her group and my group. I counted her as a friend but what she did next took my breath away. On Rachel’s birthday, she went to the beach at sunrise and as the sun came up over a beautiful sea she threw roses in the water for Rachel. She sent me a video of this and it will always be a special memory.

Petal scattering in the sea
Petal scattering in memory of Rachel in the sea

KINDNESS

This exquisite act of kindness made the world of difference to me and I urge any friends of parents who have lost babies to give them some thought this week too. I know we all often forget the birthdays of those children who belonged to our friends. Sometimes we are only reminded when we see a facebook post and then we quickly jump in and send our love and condolences. But this week if you could just contact your friend and send flowers or a card or even just a message, you have no idea how much it could mean.

Sue France on Rachel's beach
Sue France – as a child Rachel spent many happy summers on Welsh beaches too where this photo was taken

Sue France runs the popular networking group. Creative Connecting in Cheshire and she is Patron of the charity www.giftofawedding.org

If you would like to contact and engage with Sue then her instagram link is here.

Child Loss Awareness Month & Baby Loss Awareness Week

Hi Folks

I hope you are all ok and have had a lovely weekend.  I haven’t posted on here for a while and I will go onto explain why including something very special that will begin tomorrow for the whole of this week.

Violet watching bubbles at her friend George's party. The last party she ever went to. Violet Skies
Violet watching bubbles at her friend George’s party. The last party she ever went to. Violet Skies

September

Those of you who have been following and reading my blog posts regularly will know that September is an especially hard month for us as our beloved daughter Violet died 5 years ago at the the end of the month and a year later her brother died on the 1st.  Usually I would have written lots of posts about it and the huge tidal wave of grief that hits me again every single year but this year I haven’t.  That doesn’t mean I wasn’t floored by it or that I didn’t find it hard.  I did.  I just decided I wouldn’t share it again on here as I felt I was simply repeating myself every year.

Violet and Arthur's Grave September 2021
Violet and Arthur’s Grave September 2021

escape

Luckily this September we managed to do the thing I love to do the most when I get hit by the wave of grief and that is to escape.  This year we escaped to Corfu and I spent Violet’s anniversary on a beautiful beach listening to the crashing of waves.  I even did an early morning yoga and meditation on the beach.  I really feel travel can be healing and a good way to do something positive for your spirit rather than being sat in what can feel like a groundhog day every year.

Me in Corfu September 2021
Me in Corfu September 2021 when we escaped 5 year anniversary of Violet dying

BABY LOSS AWARENESS WEEK

Anyway as we head now into Baby Loss Awareness week and October which is Child Loss Awareness month I still wanted to continue to talk openly about child loss and also to further conversations around the subject too.

Over the years this exclusive club I am a member of has introduced me to other fellow members who all like me didn’t ever choose to be here but like me have gone onto do some pretty amazing and special things in memory of their children’s legacies.  They also like me have chosen to openly talk about their children in the hope it helps others to do so too and that those who are outside our club can better understand what others are going through which can help to smash the taboo surrounding child and baby loss.

GUEST WRITERS

I am honoured that some of those I now have the privilege to call friends have agreed to share their stories over the next week on here.  These friends are all amazing, strong and phenomenally inspirational.  They all have lost their babies at differing ages and for different reasons so I will let them tell you in their own words starting from tomorrow.

I hope anyone who is going through any kind of loss at the moment is being kind to themselves and to all those who love them.  Reach out and send a quick message to someone you know who has suffered loss to simply say you are thinking of them.

Big love and hugs to you all

Always Violet Skies

Sarah x

 

Happy 6th Birthday

Happy 6th Birthday to my darling girl; the girl who made me a mummy and taught me how to be strong, even when I don’t want to be.

Today you should be excitedly opening your birthday cards and presents before school.  Perhaps taking sweets or cake or fruit in for your classmates to enjoy whilst wearing your birthday girl badge.

We would have probably done you a birthday party in the back garden in the sunshine the weekend just gone. Some of your friends would have come that you have been friends with pretty much since birth, school friends too and also your amazing cousins.  I bet your baby sister would have had a meltdown because she wasn’t the centre of attention for once too.

I wonder what we would have bought you for your birthday?  Judging by your cousin who is seven now probably a new bike or perhaps you are still as musical as you were aged 15 months so maybe we got you a piano?  Your Aunty Kate would have made you the most amazing birthday cake too.

6th birthday cake Violet
6th birthday cake Violet

Anyway today we will do what we have done for the last 4 birthdays and we will take birthday balloons to your grave to say happy birthday to you darling girl.  This year we have sent beautiful wild flower bouquets to your Grandmothers to make them smile through their tears.

Last year we gave party bags to all of the people who have supported us since you passed with sweets, mini champers (you did like your bubbles although not the alcoholic kind) and uniquely thoughtful gifts for them to make them smile.

Random acts of kindness
Random acts of kindness

In the years before that we always did random acts of kindness on your birthday like taking balloons and sweets to the Children’s Hospital; delivering cakes and balloons to your old nursery and leaving token gifts of sweets all around the local area and park.  Alas once again for the second year we are scuppered by COVID19.  I will do some random acts of kindness in a different way so check back here to find out what they were as if I reveal all now well they won’t be random and a surprise will they?

Cakes at nursery for birthday
Cakes at nursery for birthday

As we always do we will donate money to various charities, including giving money for a little child your age to receive a school uniform and toys that their parents wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford.  We have renewed sponsorship of a little girl your age in Africa paying for her to complete her schooling.  We also renewed sponsorship of the elephants at Chester Zoo in memory of your favourite elephant toy.

Elephants at Chester Zoo
Violet’s elephants at Chester Zoo

Does anyone have any good ideas for something we can do this week?

I will also be starting the ball rolling to establish a charity in your honour to enable us to support many smaller causes and charities so we can help lots more people. It will also continue to build your legacy.

The Violet Ball September 2018
The Violet Ball September 2018

I hope we will make you proud little girl.  You had such a big heart, such an appetite for life and a calm wisdom about you that was so advanced for your years.

Your little sister I know misses you even though she never got to meet you.  She misses not having a sibling to share things with.  She adores her cousins and whenever they visit she loves spending time with them.  She shares her toys and games generously.  She loves other children so I know she would love you.

Violet at her first birthday party. She loved balloons! www.violet-skies.com
Violet at her first birthday party that was also our belated wedding reception with her friend Abby. She loved balloons! http://www.violet-skies.com

Both your dad and I miss you more than you can imagine.  We would do anything to have you back with us again.  To have you arguing and squabbling with your sister, to watch you teaching her how to do things and to listen as you read her stories.

Sending you so much love on your birthday and wishing we could cuddle you once more.

Love always

Mummy, Daddy, Arthur (who is with you) and your baby sister Aurora

(who sang Happy Birthday to your Nanna a few days ago).  xxx

Thanks for reading this and if you enjoyed it then please check out

My story

Lockdown 3.0

If you would like to donate to Violet’s fund at Alder Hey here’s the link to do so

 

Lockdown 3.0

How are you all coping in Lockdown 3.0?

Last March when COVID hit I lost all my consultancy clients overnight.  They were airlines, hospitality and theatre industry companies.

How have I survived?

When people ask me how I’ve survived losing all my travel and hospitality consultancy clients overnight back in March. I tell them this…

I’ve been through the worst loss ever already losing my daughter 4 years ago and again losing my son 3 years ago. Everything is comparable on what you have experienced before and sadly I have been through much much worse regards loss so yes it did flaw me for a little while because I love my clients and seeing them suffer upsets me. Seeing those I love and care about poorly or suffering through lack of employment upsets me.  Having the way I coping with my grief removed threw me off kilter.

Me and Aurora in Sydney Australia
Me and Aurora in Sydney Australia.

I’m lucky that financially we have been able to survive thanks to my savings from previous hard work over many years, the government support and my husband. I know we are fortunate with this.

My real struggle

My anxiety about my surviving daughter getting sick and dying from COVID was the thing that flawed me. I have worked hard on dealing with this ever since. This is the reason some friends may feel I haven’t been in touch with them that much this past year. I have had to switch myself off from a lot of the negative worry and messaging around COVID. Combine that with having to shield last March because of a recent heart operation too and you can hopefully understand why I have had to be distant.

Aurora sleeping during the 1st lockdown
Aurora sleeping during the 1st lockdown. Our rainbow child. Our everything.

Friends

I was also conscious that if friends were already struggling with lockdown and their own issues with depression then they certainly didn’t need me offloading onto them too or (as some friends have said previously) make them feel bad or guilty for their moans that they feel seem insignificant compared to mine.  In this global pandemic I didn’t want to make anyone feel any worse than they already did and everything is relative to you too.

i don’t do waiting…

As anyone who knows me will testify I don’t rest on my laurels!

I’ve spent my time up skilling and investing my time into my own travel business, that’s incidentally doing very well despite the pandemic.   My travel business is named Sarah Stephens Escapes because travel was the very thing that saved me after we lost Violet we “escaped” a lot and I learned how healing and therapeutic travel can actually be.  When I lost my clients in March 2020 I decided to embrace what I knew and what had saved me back then. I am so glad I did as it has helped me to remain positive throughout the majority of the pandemic and even though I can’t travel or as escape as much as I would like to I get to life vicariously through my clients.  I discovered I enjoy planning holidays for others as much as I do my own trips.

Sarah Stephens Escapes
www.sarahstephensescapes.com

I’m also back doing PR consultancy again and training/coaching others that I love too.

charity

Watch this space too as I have epic plans underway on the charity front to continue to build Violet’s legacy further and big plans for this blog to evolve too.  I have been busy in the last year…

The Violet Ball September 2018
The Violet Ball September 2018

JANUARY STRUGGLES

Sorry for the lack of posts in January (until now) as some of you may know the end of December and start of January is always hard for me as Arthur’s due date was 7th January so his birthday should have been around this period.  Always a tough time for me but this year made worse with the pandemic and friends sadly losing loved ones too.

HOPE AND KINDNESS

There is hope out there people please try to stay positive and to cling onto any glimmer of light you can find.  Another friends little boy was on the heart transplant list and fortunately some parents in their darkest hour agreed to donate their own child’s heart.  These kind and amazing souls may have saved the life of an spectacularly brave little 5 year old boy who has already, with his legendary mum, done so much good for the world.  Kindness still exists people so please continue to believe in the good out there and that this will prevail.

Event the darkest night ends
Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise

Big hugs, stay safe,

Love

Sarah x

If you enjoyed this then you might enjoy reading –

The “Royal” Baby

There’s a baby in our house

Strange times

 

The “Royal” Baby

I have delayed posting or commenting anything about the heartbreaking story of the loss of Meghan and Harry’s baby.

Was it royal?

There is a lot of debate as always in the media and online about whether it was or wasn’t a “Royal baby”.  Well to be frank who cares if it was royal or not it was still the loss of a poor baby; someone’s baby; Meghan and Harry’s baby and Archie’s kid brother or sister.  It is sad to hear of the loss of any child and it is equally sad to see they haven’t had any family support (that we can see publicly) from the Windsor side anyway.

Support

The lack of support and understanding for child loss is palpable.  It is a shame that the official stance from the Royal family was to refuse comment and to keep it as a private matter, when clearly the taboo of child loss does need to be spoken about rather than a continued adoption of the English way of pretending nothing has happened and simply moving on.

I am hoping that privately the Windsor’s have reached out, especially to Harry.  For a dad it can often be even worse support wise than it can for mothers of loss. I would imagine Harry could really use some support from his father and brother at this time. I hope privately that they have reached out to him and that he has had this.

MORE COMMON THAN YOU THINK

Meghan said in the eloquent column she wrote for the New York Times.

“I discovered that in a room of 100 women, 10 to 20 of them will have suffered from miscarriage. Yet despite the staggering commonality of this pain, the conversation remains taboo, riddled with (unwarranted) shame, and perpetuating a cycle of solitary mourning.”

Violet and Arthur’s grave this summer

‘She asks “Are we ok?” This is the question that all child loss sufferers need to be asked and we need to feel we can escape from the traditional English response of “I’m fine” or “I’m OK” to be more honest with our feelings in order to encourage others that it is ok to do so too.

FIRST CHRISSY THEN MEGHAN

Meghan and indeed Chrissy Teigen earlier in the year were both criticized for their honesty and openness around the loss of their children when in fact they should be praised for it (as well as given love and support).  They are doing a great service to the child loss community.  It is an exclusive club that no one wants membership of and lots don’t feel they can admit they are members of it either so the more celebrities open up discussions about the subject then the better the fuel to help rid us of this awful taboo.  By enabling people to talk about Meghan or Chrissy rather than themselves it enables greater dialogue around the subject avoiding the fear of offending a friend or loved one.

From @chrissyteigen instagram

NEW YORK TIMES

If you want to read Meghan’s article in the New York Times here’s a link to it.  Thank you to Meghan and Chrissy for sharing their pain with us to help others to speak out too.

I had a new business meeting today and mentioned Violet Skies in it.  The lady I was chatting to then opened up that she had lost two children herself too and praised the fact collectively we are helping to encourage dialogue around the subject.

So let’s get talking about it.  Why not be open about it?  Let’s ask “How are you today?” and  “Are you ok?” genuinely ready for an answer that doesn’t include the word “fine”.

Please let me know what you think as always and if you can share that would be amazing too.

Lots of love

Sarah x

Always Violet Skies

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There’s a baby in our house

Lots of Aurora’s friends are now getting to the age where little brothers and sisters are arriving. She has been obsessed with babies for the last 6 months but now seems to notice and comment on photographs more than before.

The photographs she comments on are those of her big sister who technically should be older than she is now at age 5 but of course she died at 15 months so will be a baby forever. Aurora is finding it a hard concept to understand. She understands when she points at photos of my niece as a baby and I can say that was what she was like as a baby because she knows her as an older girl now.

There's a baby in the house
There’s a baby in the house

When she points to say “my baby” at photos of Violet, because in the photos she is indeed a baby compared to 2 year old Aurora, and we say that’s your big sister Violet she looks very confused.

There's a baby in the house
There’s a baby in the house

Today in the park she met her nursery friend Erin who was there with her new baby sister & on the way home she said my baby sister & I said yes you have a big sister who’s a baby. Even I’m confused goodness help a 2 year old!

Newborn Aurora
Newborn Aurora at a Neighbours House

Any advice as to what we say to her so she understands better?

The unknown challenges you face with a rainbow toddler.  Please let me know if you’ve been through anything similar.

Always Violet Skies,

Love Sarah xx

If you like this post then you might enjoy these –

Low risk ain’t no risk

Strange times

Lonely child

 

Lost mojo & a birthday or two

I’ve not written a blog post for a fair few weeks (well over a month!) because to be honest I just couldn’t be bothered.

I wondered if anyone was actually reading these and so whether I should continue or not.

 

Feedback

Then I did a few extremely honest captions on instagram and got a fair few comments back from people telling me thank you, as what I said really resonated with them too. Someone also thanked me for making them feel less alone and that they reached out to find my blog when they were at their lowest ebb.  That my blog showed them they could move on too and that there was a glimmer of hope at the end of the apocalypse that is child loss.

I’m back… did you miss me? (don’t answer that!)

So I am back again with my ramblings and I hope you will find them insightful.  I’m also going to re-jig my website a little over the coming months so posts are easier to search for and to find.

I know a fair few of us have found the last 3 months especially difficult as we adjust to a new way of life, perhaps facing new financial pressures leading to a change of outlook, lifestyle or having to rethink career or business goals.

I have tried my hardest to be positive about the situation even though work dried up, my birthday was in lockdown and we spent the majority of 3 months isolating to keep our toddler safe.

Drinking-wine-lockdown-violet-skies
Anyone else enjoy a glass of wine in lockdown?

I volunteered my time to help the lonely elderly by making regular phone calls to them to give them a caring ear and someone who cared.  I also gave some of my PR assistance for free to help charities out including setting up one to help benefit those struggling from lockdown who are self-employed missing out on government support.

Missing family and friends I found hard along with valuable social interaction for the greater good.

Lockdown easing

Now as lockdown eases a little, we have decided to venture out more to open spaces, parks and to meet friends and family, observing social distancing of course. This I find really does help my mood and improves perspective too.

Etherowpark-2020-violet-skies
Etherow country park -Summer 2020

I do feel as though I’ve also been a crap friend too over the last 3 months as I’ve been struggling somewhat but hope to make it up to you all during the rest of the year.

5th Birthday

I’m thankful that lockdown had eased as this week it was Violet’s 5thbirthday, meaning that we could visit her grave and even more lovely was the fact that Chester Zoo reopened on her birthday.  We sponsor the elephants there in her memory so like to visit them to remember her and this we got to do yesterday.  It helped to make a very painful day a little brighter.

Anger

I still find I have a great deal of anger at the world because of Violet’s loss and my soul aches as though part of it has been ripped away.

I often think about what she would have been like as a 5 year old.  What would she look like and sound like?  What would she enjoy doing?  How would she be?

What-would-she-be-like-at-5-violet-skies
Would this be what Violet & Aurora would be like if she was here?

Positive things

I try to focus on the positives and doing good deeds for others to try to spread the joy that Violet embodied.  She brought a calm stillness to those she met like a master of Zen, pretty rare in a baby.

We are paying for a 5 year olds school uniform in Violet’s memory to help a family who are struggling.  I have also made up little party bags that will be delivered to friends this week to hopefully make them smile and spread some joy.  Once again we have renewed sponsorship of the elephants at the zoo too.  Some kind people have also donated to her fund so Alder Hey will once again benefit from Violet’s legacy.

Memories

It was lovely that quite a few friends and family remembered Violet on her birthday, surprisingly lots of people who never met her sent messages of support and even flowers.

Happy-5th-birthday-violet-skies
Violet’s 5th birthday graveside 

I do find it additionally upsetting & heartbreaking though that lots of people who did know her very well didn’t remember or acknowledge her birthday. This makes it all the more painful for us.

At the end of the day the greatest comfort you can give to the parent of loss is to remember and talk about their child especially on their birthday.

Failing as a mum of loss

My mission as a mum of loss is to try to keep her memory alive and when those who were close to her fail to remember she existed I feel as though I am failing as her mother.

Please remember this with anyone in your life that has suffered the loss of a child or a spouse or sibling.  A simple text message can mean the world to them.  They want more than anything to bring their loved one back and one way to do this is via memories so help them to remember the positives.

Remember this

I’ve been watching comedy to take my mind off things and this I thought was quite poignant by Jason Manford

“Just because you’re struggling it doesn’t mean you are failing”  I will try to remember this.

Take care and spread the love if you can

Love

Sarah

Always Violet Skies

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Why low risk isn’t no risk

Lonely child

The conversation no one wants to have

It’s not about you