What is this feeling called?

What is this feeling called? What would you say this feeling is called, the way I felt when this photo was taken 2 weeks before William was born. I can remember having this photo taken, and I can remember the photographer reminding me to keep my eyes open, I kept closing them, because I was in my own world, a world of just me and William. A world that I felt desperately safe in, a world where I knew my little boy way safe. A world that I couldn’t wait to introduce my little boy to, but equally not wanting to share him with anyone. I needed to see his face, I needed to touch him, I needed to hold him, to know that he was real.

Every day of his life, I felt that way, totally safe, totally comfortable, encapsulated in his love, and I sincerely hope that William felt that way too.

How do I feel now? As most of you know NHS England visited us with their final draft report into William’s death recently. As well as the final Serious Incident report from South Western Ambulance Service (NHS 111). I’m not prepared or ready to disclose their contents or comment on them yet. Many of you know me by now, so you will understand that I have highlighted several areas for fine tuning. But….

For the last 333 days my body, my mind and my whole being has been pushed, pulled and tested in ways that I didn’t know possible. I have fought with strength I didn’t know I had, I have forced myself through each day knowing that tomorrow I would need to continue the fight for my little boy. My whole being has been running on an inner strength I didn’t know existed, but I did, that inner strength has been there since the moment that I fell pregnant, that inner strength, that fight, that refusal to back down, that passion, is called love. That strength is William. That is what William was and still remains to be, my strength, my inner strength. Everything I live for. That is what the definition of what a parent is. That is what the definition of a child is. There are no breaks, there are no gaps, there is no contest, there is no divide or anything material or intangible that will come between the love that a mother has for her child, the love that I have for William. Simply, there is nothing that will ever impact the bond I share with William, even death. In death I love him just as I did when he graced me with his beautiful presence.

I have fought so hard, every phone call, every meeting and for each of the 237 emails I have sent, I have achieved what William deserves, recognition that his life, that his 382 days are worth just what my 10,571 days are. The last 11 months I have been carried along by this desperation to achieve recognition for William’s life by those that did not save him. I have almost accomplished this. There is relief, there is anger, there is total disbelief, and my whole body is fizzing with anxiety, pent-up anxiety that i have needed to drive me forwards, I cannot lose the grip I have at the last-minute.

In 2 weeks it will be William’s second birthday, a day that he would delight in. A day he would eat cake and spit out because it’s too sweet. A day he would stay awake all day and not cry. A day that he would grace us with that ear to ear smile, a smile that melts everyone’s heart. That smile belongs to my little boy. My. Little. Boy.

I still get through each day knowing that tomorrow doesn’t have to come if I don’t want it to, that theory has worked for the last 333 days, so I’m sticking to it. I don’t know how to be brave, but I’m not afraid of falling. The hardest feeling in the world is knowing that all of the love I have for William is now spent sharing him with the world, when all I want to do is have him with me and keep him to myself as the most precious secret, but I can’t, my love for William is ploughed into sharing him, allowing others to love him, allowing others to understand the love intertwined between him and me. I hate that this is the only way I can share him, show him off to the world, but I have no choice, it is the most unusual sense of pride, a guilty pride. I just know that every step I take is ‘one step closer’.


 

http://www.justgiving.com/williamoscarmead

Are you dealing with depression?

I have just typed ‘depression’ into the Google (UK) search engine to see what the definition is according to the official Oxford Dictionary. It wasn’t until page 4 that I found it: “A mental condition characterised by severe feelings of despondency and dejection, typically with feelings of inadequacy and guilt, often accompanied by lack of energy and disturbance of appetite and sleep”. People, me included rarely reach page 4 of the search engine. Our impatience and need for information sees us settling for an answer on the first page, even if it isn’t the answer that we are looking for, we make it fit. Those of us searching for depression looking for information or self-help on the internet more often than not find it on the first page. Especially with a very general term like ‘depression’. It remains to be seen whether the answer we are really looking for is on the first page, we operate under the same veil, we accept what we read, less than 10% of people advance onto page 2 of Google, like they say ‘when the glove fits…’

So what information did I glean from the first page? Well, there are links to the NHS website, several large charities and a self-help website. If you had any doubt before starting your search whether or not you are depressed, you will diagnose yourself after the first few excerpts. Who of us doesn’t suffer with low moods? Who of us doesn’t experience stress at work? Who of us doesn’t have periods of time when you feel tired or you can’t be bothered to go out? I would guess, and it’s only a guess that a large proportion of the population at some time in their lives experience these symptoms. So does that mean we are all depressed? Feeling low maybe, a little worried or anxious about something, but would you be concerned enough to visit your doctor thinking you are suffering with depression?

Whichever website you read, on as many pages you can bear to scroll through, the common denominator is that depression is a mental health condition. How a person behaves, how a person reacts to certain information and situations, what threshold a person has to cope in different situations, their thoughts, feelings and sense of well-being. Not only can these factors alter when a person is depressed, these factors can alter, resulting in depression. A condition that cannot be seen, a condition that is judged, a condition that people loosely use ‘oh, I am sooo depressed’. It is a condition that is very personal. Unique to the person that it is plaguing, treatment varies from person to person, antidepressants might suit one person but another might need a more holistic approach. Some don’t talk and suffer in silence. One thing for sure is that for those suffering with depression, hearing the words ‘snap out of it’, ‘you just need to do something to get over it’, ‘think more positively’ amongst other things, is not only ignorant it is very hurtful.

I am grieving, does that mean I am depressed? Initially probably not, as I succumbed to shock, numbness, anger and denial, you ride on the crest of a wave of grief, and as the wave breaks you come crashing down. At this point reality sets in, I am left to resume what my life is now, having to live life on life’s terms not my own. The pain of being left behind by someone I can’t live without. My natural reaction to grief persists, and will do until my last breath, but depression loiters, how can it not. Do I feel low? Yes. Do I have an aversion to going out or doing things? Yes. Do I feel hopeless, helpless and useless? Yes. Do I feel guilty? Yes. And the worst feeling of all, do I feel suicidal? Yes. These are some of the reasons I have been diagnosed with major depressive disorder. Reluctant at first to diagnose any medical condition, after all, a mother is likely to react in such a way to losing their only child, but I have progressively sunken lower. I function, but emotionally and mentally I’m stuck in a washing machine on a never-ending spin cycle.

Do I suffer with anxiety? Yes. Do I suffer with PTSD? Yes. Do I suffer with insomnia? Yes. I have never been familiar with these conditions, let alone experience them. So this is new to me. Do people understand why? Yes. And I find myself thinking, well my baby died, my beautiful little boy died and I found him, the way I feel is totally justified. But why do I think this. I think this because unless people know what your story is they judge you. Stood behind me in the queue in the supermarket they whisper ‘you’d think she’d brush her hair before going out’, but what they don’t realise is that going out is a major feat on its own, being in an environment where there a smiling, happy toddlers, my mind constantly trying to process what William would be doing in that moment. Would he be running off up the aisle, giggling? Probably. Would the cashier lady comment about how cute he is? Definitely. Would I struggle to juggle my keys, purse, shopping bags and wriggly toddler all the way to the car? Absolutely. So no, I didn’t make sure my hair was neat, because when I got out the house the last thing I thought about was brushing my hair. I got in the car and looked in the rear view mirror at William’s empty car seat, and drove past his nursery on my way to the supermarket. The last thing I was thinking about was the way my hair looked.

My message here? Don’t judge people. When you bump in to someone in the street and they’re in a dream world and they don’t apologise. Don’t think they’re rude, that could have been me walking down the street after visiting my son in the chapel of rest. When you are sitting in a cafe having a coffee and the person on the table next to you is moody, and has a face like thunder. Don’t tell them to ‘smile love, it can’t be that bad’ that actually was me, I was waiting for my grief counsellor. And when you’re stood behind someone in the supermarket whose hair isn’t as neat as you’d expect and you think they’re scruffy. Don’t judge. That was me. If you knew why, would you think the same? Would you judge me as you had done 5 minutes earlier? No.

Depression in all its form’s, largely isn’t visible. Just because we don’t walk around on crutches with a limp doesn’t mean we aren’t suffering. Don’t make assumptions about people, be kind to people, be understanding and compassionate in all that you do. Life is too short in comparison to the length of death.

 

 

 

You can’t hug memories

Impenetrable love xx

Impenetrable love xx

My dearest boy, how I miss you. It doesn’t get easier does it, does it get easier where you are? Those sentiments have proven themselves to be empty. Time does not heal, but has become my worst enemy, deepening the heartache and intensifying the pain. Every morning do you watch me as I raise my head, weary from another night of no sleep, my eyes hurt, another night of crying, crying because I just want to hold you my sweetheart. To run my fingers through your silky soft hair, to wiggle your little toes one by one, to watch the edges of your lips curl as you break into a gorgeous smile, and hear your sweet laughter as you revel in delight. What I would do to hold you again.

When you graced this Earth the Sun was brighter, the flowers blossomed longer, and mummy’s life was filled with a love that I never knew existed, it was heaven on Earth. You were heaven on earth. Now even on days that seem warm, bright and sunny there is always a darkness slowly seeping through. The depth of depression is debilitating, the anxiety exhausting, the intensity of love manifests in to what seems like a ball of fire in my chest, with no outlet, my heart aches. Now as I look up into the night sky, seeking to escape from a world with no light, the stars are brighter than they’ve ever been, because I know that you live among the stars.

As time has passed the reality of what life without you is relentless torture. There is no getting used to it, I can’t get used to it and nor do I want to. I have come to realise that my grief for you is mine alone, no one but me feels it, no one but me owns it and that’s because no one but me will ever love you more. All mummy wants to do is climb into your little cot, lay down where you last rested your head for the last time, lay my cheek where your soft little cheek touched the mattress for your last sleep, close my eyes and take my last breath, just as you did, to take the same journey that you traveled on. To open my eyes and to be with you again.

At the end of mummy’s bed, the jumper still hangs there, the jumper that I last cuddled you in, the jumper that you last snuggled into when you were so poorly. Mummy can’t wash it. Your sweet strawberry smell lingers, a couple of strands of your wispy hair still cling on, knowing you touched this jumper, knowing you cuddled your mummy, knowing you sought comfort from me in this very jumper. Knowing that this is the jumper I was wearing when I carried you to bed for the last time. It’s funny isn’t it Grumpus, how one jumper can be so significant. Sometimes I sit and look at it, like it’s a precious treasure, but you see, to me it is. This was what mummy was wearing the last time you ever hugged your mummy in. A part of the most prominent memory I will ever have of you, not a happy one, knowing now how poorly you were, but to me, it is the last time I ever hugged you and that is the most precious memory I will ever have; and no matter how many people say hold on tight to my wonderful memories of you, that’s all they are, memories, that’s all I have left, and I can’t hug memories.

Hand prints on my heart

Painting pickle xx

Painting pickle xx

After checking the paint was non-toxic, covering the floor in a plastic mat, and covering the table in brown paper, we undressed you to your nappy and put you in a t-shirt bib. We were all set. Ready to make a mess, ready to make more memories, ready to make prints of your ever-growing hands, they were slowly losing their chubbiness, and mummy wanted to capture every change as you grew from a baby to a toddler. After 30 minutes of painting and 29 minutes of wrestling with you to stop eating the sponge dabber, we finally got a lovely clear hand print. It was time to pop you in the shower, after covering yourself in little hand prints, you had done an excellent job of turning yourself into a smurf. Mummy still has this little hand print on the fridge, a constant reminder of the fun we had in the short time we were blessed with you. Little did mummy know, your next hand print would be taken after you had died.

Your hand I remember placing on mummy’s face as I held you at the hospital, to feel your touch, and to feel your skin on mine. I can still feel your little hand on my face now, and your not so chubby fingers entwined with mine. I held your hand for so long that by the time I couldn’t hold you any more, your hands were warm. I wanted so much to make you warm, to pull you so close to me that somehow my breath would warm you up, but it wouldn’t. Instead I cuddled you tight, your head resting in my neck. Mummy’s tears making their way down her face landing on yours, some would land on your eyes and it would look like you were crying. Mummy had enough tears for the both of us.

When I was pregnant I would often think how amazing mother nature was. I would marvel at your perfect toes, perfect ears, perfect everything. I tried for so long to understand how all of your little features had grown and formed exactly as they should be, how, by eating food full of nutrients and sleeping well it would in turn look after you, keeping you healthy, my body nurturing you and keeping you alive. How it could even be possible that there were two hearts beating in mummy’s body. Now your little heart wasn’t beating any more, and as I laid there, with your hand on my face and my tears falling down your cheeks, it felt like mine had stopped too.

As I lay there with you wrapped around me, I could not have felt more at peace with you in my arms. That’s where you belong, in my arms, I knew these moments were sacred. I knew these moments were limited and I knew my time holding you was running out. Nothing could prepare me for the moment that I had to place you in your coffin for the last time. It felt like I was closing the lid on my life, and the truth is, I was, you were my life and you still are now. That’s when the fear set in, knowing that I would never see you again, never kiss you again, never hear you again and never be able to hold you again. I had been the first person to hold you when you were born, I was the last person to hold you before you died, and I was the last person to hold you before the little lid was shut for the last time, the light being diminished from my life forever.

 

What’s a Liebster Award?

Liebster Award x

Liebster Award x

No? Me either, no clue, I had to consult the only person I would know for sure, Mr Google.

When a very lovely like-minded mummy from Claire Bear Blues nominated my blog for a Liebster award, I had no idea what it was. I had to Google it, and a small part of me hoped I’d won a lobster, sadly I hadn’t won a lobster but I had been nominated for an award in the world of blogging. To hear that I’d been nominated was very heart warming. Initially I wrote as I just needed to get my thoughts out, but sharing these with other bereaved parents, it has introduced William to the world. It fills me with so much pride that William is helping others. So here goes….

Liebster Award Rules x

Liebster Award Rules x

11 Facts about me…

  1. All my life I’ve wiggled my toes, but since William died, I haven’t, William used to do it too.
  2. I can speak Spanish.
  3. I like mint sauce on anything.
  4. I have orange juice on cereals rather than milk.
  5. I love donkey’s, I’ve always wanted 2 donkey’s.
  6. I’ve had 9 operations.
  7. I am doing a degree in economics.
  8. I have no balance / co-ordination.
  9. I really enjoy crafts, so cross stitching especially.
  10. My favourite book is Juliet by Anne Fortier.
  11. The best thing that ever happened to me was being blessed with William, and the worst was having him taken away.

 

Here are the questions for me…

1. Why do you write?
I write because my mind is so full I need to write down when my mind and thoughts spill over and my head is muddled, this happens quite often! I write now because I want the world to know about William.

2. When did you begin to write?
I started to write in January 2015 the month after William died.

3. Did you start this initially for someone else to read or just for yourself?
Initially I started to write just for myself, I needed an outlet, somewhere I could express my thoughts without being judged or analysed. I think a part of me feels like William can read these words, he is part of everything I do. I’ve received tremendous support from readers of my blog and you have become part of our journey.

4. How often do you write?
I write whenever I can, a lot of the time I write and somehow seeing my thoughts in black and white makes it real, so I write as often as I can as for me it is a way of unjumbling my mind.

5. Is there anything you are afraid to blog about?
No, I am no longer afraid of anything, and I have no fear of sharing my darkest thoughts.

6. What do family and close friends think?
They are extremely supportive and in some respects see it as an insight into what is going through my mind. On the outside I can be smiling but on the inside my heart is breaking. They love the little photos and videos of William and learning about the little person who I hold so dear.

7. Do you share your blog often?
I share my blog every time I write a post.

8. What has been the best aspect of blogging for you?
Writing is very cathartic. Being able to express how I feel and sharing my love for William. One particular memory stands above the rest. A lady contacted me from America and explained after reading my blog she insisted on a second opinion with a pediatrician for her son. He in fact had pneumonia and fluid on his chest. He was admitted to ITU and made a full recovery. She thanked me personally for raising awareness.

9. Are there any differences between your online persona and your in-person one?
No, what you see is what you get with me. I write about something so personal, and anyone who knows me will know that I speak the same of William in person as I do in my blog.

10. Do you mostly write, or do you read too?
I mostly write. I love to read but have found since losing William that I am unable to focus as well, so I don’t read as much now.

11. What is one quote that fits your life right now?
“I’m so sorry I couldn’t save you.”


 

I nominate the following inspiring blogs…

Kathleen Duncan – My journey through grief into grace

Grey Skies & Little White Boxes – Life after losing Kamren Grey

Grieving Gumdrops – The Sweeter Side of Grief

Miracles Each Day – A course in miracles and a course in love

Therese Borchard – Mental Health writer and Activist

Taking the Mask Off – Addiction Mental Health Stigma

Write Meg! – Another take on writing, reading, loving and eating!

Forever 21 – A broken heart is open to receive

Broken Mothers Club – For mothers who have lost children

Mourning Amy Marie  – Grieving loss of my 27 year old daughter

The Infinite Fountain – A Father’s journey through the labyrinth of loss and longing

My questions for you are…

  1. Why did you start to blog?
  2. What advice would you give to a new blogger?
  3. How do you feel when you’ve written and shared a blog?
  4. What inspires you to keep going every day?
  5. Are there any differences between your online persona and your in-person one?
  6. Which blogs do you check daily?
  7. In your opinion, what’s the best blog post you’ve written so far? Give us the link.
  8. What’s the most breathtaking sight you’ve ever seen?
  9. What is the one thing you must have with you when on the go?
  10. What’s your favourite place to go and write?
  11. What is the one quote that fits your life right now?