The conversation no one wants to have

So some of you will be aware that before Christmas I finally got the heart operation I have been waiting for and had my huge hole repaired.

Night before my operation

The night before my operation I had a conversation with my husband that no one wants to have but really we all should.  We spoke about that if things should go wrong in the operation what my dying and last wishes would be.  I told him what I would like for my funeral and that I would like to be cremated with my ashes interred with our daughter in her grave.

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Spring flowers about to bloom at Graveside

We then spoke about what I would like for him and our daughter in terms of the future if I wasn’t to be in it anymore.

Very emotional

It was a huge and emotional conversation but one I realised that we all should really have today with our partners or close family as you really don’t know what tomorrow will bring, without meaning to depress you, we could be run over in the street tomorrow.

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All I ever wanted my happy family missing one or two children

A Will?

Do you have your will sorted too?  We wrote ours back before Violet died so we are going to double-check our wishes are still current too.

So my advice to you all is if you haven’t written a will or told a close loved one your last wishes and how you would like your funeral to be, should something happen, then please do this.

Think about the ones you love

Make this conversation your priority if not for your benefit but for that of your loved ones.  It is something that needs to happen.  If unfortunately the worst should suddenly happen then it will be tough enough on your loved ones without them having to second guess whether you want your organs donated or flowers at your funeral.

Thanks for reading and stay safe.

Big love

Sarah

Always Violet Skies

You might enjoy these other articles –

Grief advice

Four years a mother

It’s not about you

It’s not about you

Yesterday I was in hospital with my daughter and they tried to take blood from her 5 times and failed.  It was horrendous having to hold her still while they inflicted pain onto her. Fortunately for her and me it was for some tests as an outpatient rather than them trying to get IV lines into her as a hospital admission.

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Aurora with fish at RMCH

If you have been through this with your child you will know how distressing it is.  Even more so if you have been through it with a child for weeks to have them then die at the end. This experience brought back many harrowing memories of my daughter Violet for me and has made me want to write this article and I hope you will take a few minutes to read it here goes…

It is not about you

There seems to be some people still frequenting public places and still having social gatherings. Those who aren’t practicing social distancing with an “it won’t happen to me. I’m low risk anyway” attitude.

I implore you to share the hell out of this article and ask people to do one thing and read this to the end.

4 years ago

Nearly 4 years ago if you had have asked me if my daughter would die from pneumonia I’d have said “what no chance they have medicines and hospitals to prevent that”. But guess what?  She died and the hospital nor us could save her. Think about that for a moment.

A disease the hospital knew all about; one that’s been around for hundreds and hundreds of years. One of the best children’s hospitals in the UK couldn’t save the life of a toddler. Think about that.

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Violet 3.5 years ago watching TV in Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital (RMCH)

Now I don’t tell you this for pity or for you to feel sad please read on.

Everything and anything

If you had told me or my husband that to save her we’d need to sign away our houses. We would have done just that. If you had have asked us to give away all our belongings and sign away any future earnings then we’d have done that too. We would have literally given everything and done anything to save her our beloved daughter. I know the rest of my family and close friends would have also. Think about that for a second.

I still remember the nightmare day she died and I still have nightmares and visions of it 3.5 years later. Again I don’t want you to feel sad or pity for me, just to keep reading and thinking.

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Violet asleep in Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital (RMCH)

As my daughter was taking her last breaths and the doctors were fighting to try to save her. Four of my family members including myself were in that very room. I remember we were begging at this point. Yes we were begging and pleading with her to muster the strength to fight. We were pleading with the doctors to save her. We were pleading with whatever higher power there might have been to save her, even if it meant trading our own lives instead. Think about that for a minute.

We would have traded our lives all four of them for her one fragile beautiful little soul.

Stay home

So that’s it folks that’s what I wanted you to read not for pity. For the realisation that all you have to do to save someone’s child (everyone is someone’s child) is for you to stay away from others. You keep your distance and stay inside your homes in order to save a child. That’s it. You don’t have to give your life for theirs just stay home or at a distance and wash your hands.

Yes I know some of us have lost our livelihoods and money so I don’t want to belittle that but remember what I said that we’d have happily given absolutely everything, including our own lives, to save our daughter.

Ask anyone who has lost someone they loved more than anything, whether a child, partner, parent, sibling or friend what they would do or give to get them back. It would be a lot more than simply them staying at home or away from other people.

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Aurora digging in her sand pit after hospital yesterday

Hell

If it would bring my daughter back hell I’d move there. Yes to hell if she’d be alive again.

We’re not asking you to give everything or do a deal with the devil just stay home and away from others for maybe a few months. That’s it.

Isolation at this time will save lives and whilst you might think you’re ok it’s not about you. It really isn’t about you right now.

Do it for those you love because take it from me hell is going on living when someone you love more than life itself isn’t.   It can happen to you too I’m proof of that.

Trade your time for a life. For the life of a child.

Thanks for reading and thinking.  Thanks for your time.

Big love & hugs (virtual of course)

Sarah xxx

Other posts you might want to read are –

Don’t just survive thrive

Curve balls

Surviving after child loss

Curve balls

If you’ve ever lost anyone and especially if you’ve lost a baby or child then you will know more than most that life can give you almighty curve balls.

These sudden changes in circumstance if it involves the loss of a significant other or a child can feel like the curve ball is an asteroid sent for total destruction. If you have somehow managed to survive this mother of all apocalyptic curve balls then you will understand now why the curve ball of a virus leaves me shrugging saying “meh”.

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Spring has sprung in Southern Cemetery – Violet Skies

Yes I’m in a high risk category because of my heart op recovery and if I catch the dreaded COVID-19 then could be very poorly. I’m self employed and my business is travel and hospitality. These industries are currently in free fall and I have mortgages to pay. I also have a house overseas again with a mortgage that I rent out to holiday makers, again that will be hit by this epidemic. People I’ve spoken to expect me to be far more stressed out and panic stricken than i actually am.

I think I’m so calm about it because you know what I’ve already been to hell and I lived there for a while. I’ve already had the very worst thing happen to me. This virus isn’t the very worst thing. I’ve lost 2 children and still I’m clawing my way back into a new reality.

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Make the most of little things – Wine & bubble bath

I’m not overly worried because you know what? I’m a survivor. My family are survivors. We will get through this new challenge the way we have gotten through all the other sh*t that’s been thrown our way, over the years, and yes we’ve had a lot.

We will get through this new challenge with as always compassion for others, the adaptability to be able to seize every opportunity and by looking after ourselves to ensure we avoid taking unnecessary risks to our health.

This too eventually will pass and then people will be travelling, shopping and partying again until then please be kind to others.

In the words of the poet Bon Jovi “keep the faith” and wash your hands people!

Big love,

Sarah xx

You might be interested in these stories too –

Count your blessings 

Surviving child loss

Don’t survive thrive

 

 

Don’t survive thrive

So I have spent the last few years writing this blog about how to survive child loss and I’m pleased to say I have survived so far but then I saw the interview that HRH Meghan did when she was in Africa and still an HRH.  Something she said in that interview really resonated with me and don’t get me wrong I’m not a huge royalist fan at all although I did love Suits!

Meghan said in that interview –

“it is not enough to just survive something, that’s not the point of life. “You have got to thrive”

This resonated with me as I suddenly realised that I owe it to my daughters (one an angel and one very much alive and thriving) and son’s memory to not just survive but to thrive.

Over the past few years the notion of enjoying something or loving life felt abhorrent to me. How could I do that when my daughter and son are dead?  This abhorrent feeling has now been challenged by my rainbow baby who, as anyone who has met her will tell you, is larger than life and lights up a room as soon as she enters it; truly as her name means a Goddess of Light.  How can we not strive to now enjoy life with her? I know Violet would want her sister to have a wonderful life and for us to enjoy our time with her too.

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My why in John Lewis giving me the look that says “what are you doing mum”

Now my heart is finally fixed it is surely not enough for me to just survive life?

It made me think that the last few years have been about me working hard to continue on with life, to go through the motions and to try to rebuild my confidence, by to a certain extent, doing the same things I used to enjoy and have always loved doing.

I’ve re-evaluated a little now and thought about the things in my life that despite childloss I actually enjoy.  I love photography.  My hubby bought me a camera for Christmas after we lost Violet to try to encourage me to take photos of landscapes and architecture, which were something I enjoyed. Check out some of my photos in my gallery here.

Confidence loss is real after child loss.  A friend a few years ago suggested my photos were good enough to be exhibited (I laughed it off), another friend offered to display my photography for sale in a boutique hotel (again I laughed it off as felt it was certainly not that good) and then more recently another close friend and client suggested I really need to do something with my amazing photos.  Even just typing this now a little voice of the old me (pre-child loss) is screaming in my head “take every opportunity” as the old confident me used to seize every moment and opportunity that passed her way.

I suddenly realized and recognise that I need more confidence in my abilities again.  That I should invest more time in this hobby that I enjoy and that people seem to think I have a talent for.  I’m now doing a Diploma in Photography to improve my technique and confidence. Another friend has now offered to feature my work on the front covers of his magazines.  Wow just wow I’m blown away and for the first time I’m going to seize this opportunity rather than just brush it away as I have in the past.

Travel is another biggie for me.  I’m a travel PR at heart and I have a real passion for this industry.  A friend told me about a new type of business where you can qualify as an Independent Travel Agent working from home and fit the training in around your current lifestyle and work.  So I decided in my new “thrive” mindset to go for it so I have now qualified as an Independent Travel Agent and this I feel will be a game changer to my family’s long-term happiness.  We love to travel.  We don’t travel anywhere near as much as we did but I love travel.  I love talking about it.  I love planning it so why not utilize my passion to help others?

Mummy-Mangwhai-NZ-Violet-Skies lowres

We have family and friends all over the world so why should we not be able to earn commission whenever we travel to see them.  I love travel and have been to nearly every continent on earth so why should I not share my passion with others.  If I can help them to plan and book their dream trip then this is amazing.  If I can help them to do start this business too so they earn commission from their own travel also amazing. This is a business that neatly weaves in with my PR career and my photography passion too plus I get to take the family along for the ride.

I’m going to try to write a little more in my blog about motivation and health too as now my heart is fixed as I need to get active and back into shape again.  Don’t get me wrong I won’t be running any marathons anytime soon but would be good to get healthier.

Also going to continue to renovate our home hopefully to make it a nicer place for my daughter as she grows and my hubby.

I plan to work further on charitable causes too to build a legacy in my son’s memory so watch out for something happening Spring 2021!

Thought I’d post this cute video just because….

I’ve now had a spring clean of my life.  How about you what do you hope to change or build more of now spring is here?

If you want any advice or to share your hopes then I’d love for you to get in touch or post on here.

Big love

Sarah,

Always Violet Skies xx

If you’ve enjoyed reading this then you might also enjoy these posts –

Top tips for flying with your baby

Planning Travel and Adventure

Surviving childloss

My heart’s all fixed

 

 

Failing as a mum? 

So these past few weeks I’ve really struggled to feel anything but confident about my parenting skills. I know from speaking to other parents out there that this is a common feeling to have at times.

Your baby died

You see the struggle for me is when the rational voice in my head tries to change my mood by telling me that I’m a good mum. Another voice reminds me that my first baby died didn’t she and maybe it was because she wasn’t looked after well enough. Perhaps I should have tried harder or done something differently?

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Violet & Arthur’s grave

Whenever my rainbow baby is ill all these feelings get dredged up from deep down. All these fears and bad memories or nightmares from hell (also known as Manchester Children’s Hospital) as I call them.

Pneumonia

If my rainbow baby is diagnosed with a chest infection or heavens forbid pneumonia then even more negative memories and emotions appear as that’s what Violet died from.

When I took our toddler to the GP a last week we saw a different doctor than usual and she looked at the on screen records looking puzzled asking does she have a lung disorder as she’s here a lot to get her chest checked. Our usual doctor insists we bring her to be checked whenever we are remotely concerned but obviously this lady didn’t get the memo. I really think they need to have something that flashes up on screen to say “her sister died of pneumonia” as I then had to explain no she doesn’t have any lung disorder we are aware of and to rationalise why we’re so over cautious bordering on paranoid. When I said her sister died of pneumonia I didn’t even get the usual “I’m sorry to hear about that” instead I think she was a bit embarrassed as I think she initially thought I was just a paranoid over protective mother.  She listened to baby’s chest and agreed it sounded crackly so prescribed some antibiotic.

Nursery

Roll on a few days and baby seemed much better thankfully so we sent her back to nursery.  Around lunchtime I got a phone call to say she was breathing rapidly and sucking in below her ribs so really serious for a little one.

Hospital

I collected her from nursery and we drove straight to hospital A & E, where the triage nurse said she thought we looked familiar.  When we explained that our other daughter died in the hospital she immediately said “oh my god you’re Violet’s parents”.  It turned out the reason we recognised each other was that 3 years ago she worked on the ward where Violet died and she had looked after her the night before.  She welled up and I started crying so it was a great start to a possible hospital admission.

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Reading books in A & E

 

Violet

Thankfully because the nurse remembered Violet it was then an easy job for me to insist she asks for the on call respiratory specialist to consult and she obliged immediately paging them for us. Anyway they did an x ray of her lungs and saw she had a possible viral and bacterial infection on them.  They gave us more antibiotics and said as long as we monitored her for any further changes then we could take her home.

We were only home for a few hours when we noticed her breathing had gotten rapid again, around double what it should be, so we knew she was getting worse and phoned an ambulance, which is what we’d been instructed to do if she got that bad.  The operator explained that the ambulance would take 3 hours to arrive so given our proximity to the hospital we would be better driving her there ourselves.

Back again

We arrived back in A & E and were told they would be admitting her for monitoring overnight, as her oxygen levels were erratic.  It felt like I was at the gates of hell and having to enter it once again.  I explained this to the hubby and he laughed saying “pleased to see you’re not being over dramatic then” lightening the mood as always!

There are no words to describe how it felt being back in that hospital again sitting and sleeping (who are we kidding more lying with one eye open and jumping up every time she coughed!) at the side of my baby’s cot bed. All the memories I had suppressed of my time there with Violet came back along with my scepticism about what we were being told.  Luckily this time we had the top respiratory consultants looking at her x ray and examining her too so I felt more confident with what we were told.

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Sleeping like a baby 

Valentine’s Day

I got the best Valentine’s Day present in that we were discharged from the hospital and once again told to monitor her.  Fingers crossed she seems much better now but it’s always tough with little ones when they can’t tell you how they feel.

Here’s hoping she recovers quickly and we never have to return to that A & E again.  Although I plan once she’s better to take some more books in for the children in A & E as quite a few we looked at reading with her were ripped and damaged.

We’re still exhausted and reeling from the adrenaline here and hoping she’s better soon.  I take my hat off to those people, especially a dear friend of mine, who have children with long term illnesses who are often in and out of hospital. It is really tough to have to try to parent while doctors and nurses torture your child trying to make them better.

Thanks for reading.

Big love

Sarah

Always Violet Skies

You might enjoy these other articles –

Grief advice

Four years a mother

Reflections on the decade that was

Grief advice

So at the start of this week I was supposed to be attending a family funeral in support of a close family member but we had a dreaded bug that floored all of us including my poor mum who had come to try to help.  That was the first of two funerals for this week, the second was earlier today for a dear friend and business mentor.

In light of these I thought I’d write something about grief and try to give some advice to anyone who is trying to support a loved one through their heart ache.  I hope this might help at least one person.

Initial grief

Grief initially is all consuming and you can literally feel as though you are drowning (read more about the shipwreck analogy here).  It is like you are on a sinking ship so you might panic (panic attacks are common), you may have great despair and feel as though you have to fight just to keep your head above water.  The feelings can be very different and unique to everyone especially depending on who it is who has passed and their relationship to the one grieving.  Also timing plays a huge part in how severe grief can be too, whether it is how someone died (was there time for a goodbye), did they die far too soon or if the passing coincided with an anniversary or special occasion then that can heighten painful feelings.

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My babies grave at Christmas

Seven pieces of advice

My seven pieces of advice for anyone with a friend or loved one who is grieving is this –

  • Listen – always listen to what they are telling you. If they say they don’t want something then listen, regardless as to whether you think what you are suggesting would benefit them.  They know what is best for them at that moment in time.
  • Check in – regularly check in with them so they know you care about them and tell them to let you know if you can do anything. Often the person is so consumed by grief that they can’t think of what to say and may answer, “I don’t know” so maybe suggest to them what you would like to do for them. For example “would you like to go for a walk?”, “would you like me to bring you dinner?”, “can I take you our for a drink somewhere?” or “would you like a spa day?”. All yes or no answers these closed questions are the best ones to use.
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Even just popping for a cup of tea is good
  • Ask first – If you’d like to drop them a meal round or call to see them ask first as it might not be a good time for them.   Don’t just drop in.
  • One week – Ideally make a note to contact them a week after the funeral as this is the period after which many others will have been in touch and now the person is truly on their own. It is at this time the grief stricken one feels forgotten and as though the entire world has just returned to normal while they are still in pain.
  • Flowers – If you would like to buy flowers for the service then please check with your loved one as they may just want donations to charity instead. If you feel you’d like to buy them flowers personally then ask them first if this would be ok or take them a plant instead or if not suggest you bring them wine or chocolates instead. Some people when grieving hate flowers.
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Lovely winter blooms in my kitchen
  • Change of mind – remember at the moment they are not thinking straight at all and their emotions are everywhere so give them leeway to change their minds. That’s why continuing to check in with them is so important as one day they might say they are fine and don’t need anything but on another day they might just need someone to go for a walk with or have a cup of tea and a chat.
  • Fresh air – don’t forget the benefits of exercise in the fresh air if your loved one has been cooped up inside then suggest you get wrapped up and go out somewhere for a walk.
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Fresh air and exercise can help to clear the mind

So there you are my top tips for you for trying to navigate support for someone during the early stages of grief.

Please remember that with everything everyone is different and so grieves in a very unique way. They also will grieve differently depending on the person who has passed and their relationship to that individual.

I hope this is helpful to some of you out there.  I hope so anyway.

Love

Sarah

Always Violet Skies x

If you enjoyed reading this why not read these –

Surviving after childloss

4 Years a Mother

The decade that was

Chinese New Year 

If you didn’t already know this weekend marks the beginning of a New Lunar Year or Chinese New Year.   As someone who has worked for and with Chinese focussed companies over the years I’ve probably been interested in Chinese New Year more than most.  I also have a best friend who is Chinese and another friend who grew up in Hong Kong.

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A Violet Sunset over Hong Kong Harbour

This Chinese New Year is even more special than usual however as it also signifies the reset of the twelve year calendar cycle.  The rat is just the beginning. This new twelve year cycle gives the Chinese time to reflect on the last twelve years and make bigger plans for the next twelve too.

The year of the rat therefore often sees a time of great change so its quite apt that brexit will happen in the year of the rat lets hope the sinking ship analogy doesn’t apply here too.

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Hong Kong Harbour during the Light Show

The last year of the rat was of course twelve years ago and it saw great change for me. I had made the decision to quit my full time job at the end of the previous pig year and by the time the rat year started I had ventured into new projects in new industries. I started work on communications for a huge sporting event, alongside one of my friends, and started working with what would be one of my favourite clients the airline Finnair. I’ve now been working with airlines for twelve years! Wow. I also ended up setting up my own agency and continued to be my own boss.

Through working for this airline and other firms at this time twelve years ago I ended up meeting some of my favourite people and made some good friends that are central in my life still today.

The last twelve years saw significant personal change too. I met my now husband and married him. I became a mother 3 times. Unfortunately I lost my daughter and a son but we still have a little rainbow daughter keeping us on our toes.

I bought a house in Cyprus (you can rent it here) and a family home with the hubby too that we have been renovating.  I’ve circumnavigated the earth more than 3 times visiting friends and family all over the planet. I’ve been privileged to explore new cultures and places.

I started a blog about childloss to try to help others and I’ve raised over £40k for Charity.

I finally finished the twelve year cycle by undergoing an operation to fix my heart, which thankfully seems to have been successful so now I begin a new 12 year cycle with a newly refurbished ticker!

I don’t know about you but I feel exhausted reading all of the highlights that have happened in twelve years 😂 interesting though to realise that the biggest shift career wise for me happened exactly at the start of the twelve year cycle shift.  I hadn’t realised that until this weekend.

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Lucky red lanterns in Hong Kong

Here’s hoping any changes we all go through at the start of this rat year and brand new cycle are positive ones that work out for the best in the end so that by the end of the next twelve year cycle we can look back to see all that has been achieved then realise the effort was worth it after all. 

I’m personally hoping for a slightly more peaceful and less dramatic twelve years but let’s see what happens. My life seems to have been non stop drama in the past twelve.

There’s also been a significant shift already in my professional life as I’ve started lecturing at university opening up a new avenue career wise alongside my consultancy business. I wonder what else this year will see, perhaps more opportunities.

Anyway no matter what animal or symbol you are in the Chinese zodiac here’s hoping the next year or twelve are good ones for you all.

Chinese-Lion-CNY-Violet-Skies
Chinese Lion Dancers outside the Yang Sing

Love Sarah

Always Violet Skies xx

If you enjoyed reading this you might also be interested in these articles –

Reflections on the decade that was…

September = New Beginnings

Due Date Anniversary

Also check out my gallery of photos from my travels to Hong Kong here too –

Hong Kong photos

My heart’s all fixed

Back in 2016 I felt the worst pain I have ever felt when I lost my beloved daughter Violet and then the following year I lost her brother Arthur at 22 weeks of pregnancy too.  I knew then exactly what people meant when they described a broken heart.  I have never felt a pain like it.

Ironically after I had lost Violet in early 2017, before Arthur, I sought medical advice for dizziness and lethargy that I’d had on and off since I had had Violet.  When she was alive I was told it was probably because I was sleep deprived with a new baby and being a busy mum but when these symptoms continued after she had gone I got it checked out again.  I was diagnosed with having an ASD or hole in my heart that will have been there since birth but possibly enlarged during the pregnancy and birth of Violet.

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I have this gorgeous art work by The Gallery UK in our dining room!

The hole it turned out was pretty large nearly 2cm in diameter and without a repair my symptoms would probably have got worse and I was at higher risk of clots and stroke too.  So I have been waiting for a repair since early 2017.

I still remember that first diagnosis of a broken heart and laughing saying “well I know this already as my daughter has just died”.

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My broken heart depicted here – Violet Skies

So now it feels odd when I tell people I had a broken heart but now it’s fixed as though it means I am over the grief of using my children.  I find myself having to say physically my heart is now repaired but of course emotionally it isn’t.

What’s great is that when I came round from the anesthetic I asked was there a window open as the air felt so fresh, like it does at the seaside or in the country when it’s full of oxygen.  Of course there was no window open I just now have the ability to absorb more oxygen from the air so even today when I breathe in the air feels clean and fresh (yes even in Manchester).

I can’t wait to visit the seaside or countryside as I feel it will blow my mind the amount of oxygen I will have.

The other major difference already is that I don’t get out of breath as easily just walking down the road and my muscles don’t burn after even slight exercise either.  I felt like the bionic woman initially!

It will take a few months hopefully before I feel the full affects of the operation as one side of my heart is still very enlarged so will take time for the pressure to dissipate but I’m hopeful that by spring I will certainly have a new lease of life.

I will never run a marathon but looking forward to having more energy to spend quality time with my rainbow baby and family alongside of course juggle work, charity and this blog too.

So at a time when lots of people have resolutions about losing weight or stopping smoking I am trying to remain as healthy and stress free as possible in order to give my heart a fighting chance to heal and recover properly.

What are you hopeful for this year?

Do you have resolutions or hopes for the decade ahead?

Please do share with me…

Love Sarah

Always Violet Skies xxx

You might be interested in these posts too –

Broken hearted

Surviving after child loss

A Literal Broken Heart

 

 

Due Date Anniversary

So today in 2018 was our son Arthur’s due date but he was born sleeping on 1stSeptember 2017. I don’t therefore know what you call today “a scheduled birthday that should have been”??? A Due Date Anniversary?

Confused situation

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It feels odd being sad today because if all had gone to plan and he had been born today happy and healthy then we wouldn’t have our little girl Aurora as she was also born later on in 2018.

It is a confused situation entirely.  Arthur doesn’t even legally exist as he was born sleeping at 22 weeks old so 2 weeks earlier than the legal requirement for human life however if he had drawn a breath at birth than he would have lived so then would have a birth and death certificate.  He never drew breath so he has neither certificate.

 

Legally he never lived

Even though in the eyes of the law he didn’t exist to us he did.  I felt him moving constantly inside me kicking over and over.  We saw him somersaulting on scans and constantly moving even if no one else did.  We knew him a little and met him whilst he was sleeping.  He looked like a miniature version of my hubby with a thick head of dark brown hair.  His name sits now underneath his big sisters name on their headstone at her grave.  We interred his ashes with his sister Violet so she can look after her baby brother.

Their baby sister is continuing to light up our lives here living up to her name “Goddess of the Dawn” and certainly keeps us on our toes.

Rest in peace my little rocket man; keep kicking those legs making those rainbows up high.

Love,

Sarah

Always Violet Skies xx

Here's to all those Rainbow parents

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Reflections on the decade that was…

So as we say goodbye not just to the year 2019 but an entire decade lots of people have been reflecting on what they have done in the past 10 years.  Some have posted before and after photos.  Others have listed achievements they can be proud of.  Others are listing those things they want to achieve in the 20s.

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A Christmas grave

For a mother of loss this time is ever more poignant as it not only marks the start of another year without my child but another decade entirely without her.  This coming year should have been Violet’s 5thbirthday and her brother Arthur’s 2ndbirthday next week.  As has now become our family’s tradition we took our morning stroll via the cemetery to wish our children Happy New Year with their sister in tow before heading off for a New Year’s Day lunch.

Last New Year’s I began a new tradition of looking at what each year since we had Violet has taught me. If you missed last year’s here’s the link.

My experiences for 2019 were – travel with baby daughter to the other side of the world for brother-in-law’s wedding, visited Hong Kong and an amazing old friend in Australia.  2nd brother-in-law’s wedding in London. Rainbow got hearing aids and we started a new journey as parents of a hearing impaired child.  I began a new role as university lecturer & continued my PR consultancy.  Rainbow’s 1st birthday and nursed her through two bouts of pneumonia at 15 months.  I got my heart op & had a 2nd Christmas with our rainbow. Raised over £40k for Alder Hey Children’s Hospital.

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Mangawhai in New Zealand

My Learnings for 2019 are –

  • Hospital admissions are extremely stressful when it is at the hospital where your first born died.
  • When your child gets the same disease as her sister at exactly the same age her sister was when she died from it, then the stress is almost unbearable and you don’t sleep for months.
  • Always trust your gut instinct and ask for second opinions if necessary.
  • Travel insurance doesn’t pay out when you cancel a holiday because your baby is sick and she wasn’t due to travel.
  • You can travel anytime in the future (hopefully) so cancel it if needs be
  • Date nights can be rearranged although perhaps don’t prepay for wine matched dinners (jus asking for baby to be sick!)
  • Good friends are so precious and even when you’ve been apart for ages getting together is still the same
  • Don’t leave your baby sat wearing only a nappy on a friends fluffy white rug as they may decide to take the nappy off…
  • Never fly Swiss air with a baby nightmare airline
  • Family time is the best so try to schedule more of it in
  • Other people have had completely different experiences and challenges in life to you so respect their feelings however alien they may seem and try to learn from them
  • The cardiac ward at MRI is one of the noisiest night time places in Manchester I think a nightclub might give patients a better nights sleep
  • Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital is absolutely amazing and MRI should take notes from them.It almost makes me want to move to Liverpool!
  • We are lucky enough to have the best neighbours ever you can’t buy that
  • Some people still surprise and shock me but some in a good way
  • Remember not everyone has experienced the same things in life as you so your minor issue could be catastrophic for them so try to be sympathetic
  • Everyone has an opinion or viewpoint even if it might seem irrational or stupid compared to yours just smile and nod sometimes life is easier that way
  • Home renovations and interiors are a good way to distract from stressing about life’s bigger issues
  • Photography is therapeutic as is planning future travel
  • Charity work and donation to charity can help you to re-focus on the good in the world rather than the bad
  • When your life flashes before your eyes you want to try to ensure it is a good one
  • It can be very scary having to talk about your own funeral arrangements and organ donation but it is so necessary so please do that now.
  • Life is so precious and as clever as the top surgeons are they still don’t fully understand some things like hearts.
  • I’ve experienced a physical broken heart and an emotional broken heart and can tell you the latter feels worse
  • What is left of the NHS is amazing
  • Remember whatever happens there are more good in the world than bad even if at times it feels as though it is weighted towards those who are bad.
  • Hope is stronger than fear.

I have learnt that when unimaginably stressful events happen in a year the number of “learnings” or developments increase, so try to remember this if only once a year.  Hopefully we will all learn from the fallout from Brexit and the recent election. There is something constructive that can come from the most upsetting and distressing of situations if you really look closely.

For all those who have suffered loss this past decade please remember and recognise what an achievement it is to be a survivor after all you have been through.

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The dreamcatchers near Violet’s grave in the cemetery 

It is also possible to squeeze out a tiny bit of happiness from it all too.  As the legend that is JK Rowling wrote for Dumbledore ““Happiness can be found in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.”  So flick that switch or light that flame even if it is on a very tiny candle, your baby or babies will thank you.

If you only take one thing away from this and repeat it as a mantra in the mirror every morning throughout January it should be this…”You are amazing and whatever the future holds you can handle this”.  Here’s to the roaring twenties!

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The Roaring Twenties – Vector files

Love Sarah

Always Violet Skies x

You might be interested in these blog posts too –

New Year Learning and Growth

September = New Beginnings

Barcelona in winter with a baby