I was so excited to visit, to return back to the place that held so many happy memories.
It was a place Livvy had loved, a place that had made her smile.
Mablethorpe Seal Sanctuary, a little piece of loveliness on the coastline of Lincolnshire.
I had been so looking forward to out visit, so excited to show the boys what I had shown my girls years before.
They loved the sanctuary from the cheesy chips to the cheeky meekats the boys and Brodie had a lovely afternoon. We wandered around hiding from the rain showers just enjoying meeting the wide variety of animals and just spending quality time together as a family.
We all had a favourite, Brodie loved the meerkats, the boys enjoyed the peacocks and the rabbits. I think Alan loved the goat that got himself stuck on his stall regularly, for me it must be the sea turtles bopping their sweet little heads.
Of course we all loved the seals, we got to watch the keeper feed these beautiful creatures, some that live at the sanctuary, others being cared for before being returned to the wild. This is part of my love for this sanctuary thousands of injured sea creatures returned back to the sea after being tended and cared for at the sanctuary. The core desire is not to have animals to showcase but to have animals returned back to their natural homes. It is a truly lovely place.
The seals were their normal gorgeous selfs, bobbing their heads in anticipation of more fish, here, this way please their eyes seem to call, just one more please.
The afternoon was beautiful the kids were having a lovely time when for me memories struck.
I could hear my heart beating in my chest, my head felt it was going to explode but right there in that moment i swore I could have turned around to see Livvy there. To see her clapping in joy at the seals, trying her hardest to escape her chair to join them in the water. I could hear her screams as we left to go home, her massive temper tantrum because we couldn’t take a seal home with us. I felt as if i looked on the floor I would see the toy seal she had slung in disgust because I tried to placate her with a pretend one, she wouldn’t have any of it. Her face red with temper, yet still the coy smile at the young boy at the counter even in the midst of her rage she was flirting. It felt so real as if I could almost reach out and touch her.
But I couldn’t, it wasn’t real my mind was being unfair, so close, almost, just out of reach.
My goodnesses I cried, for that spilt second my heart had been whole again, I could see my beautiful girl, I could hear her voice even if it was her temper and rage.
Yet as suddenly as the memory came it left and my heart was missing again.
Even now eight years into this journey of grief my heart aches, no matter how far you walk along this pathway the pain walks with you.
My friend said that maybe it was Livvy’s gift, her reminding me that she is always close. I like that, to know as we showed the sanctuary to her brothers she walked beside them. I often wonder what she would make of the boys that have joined our family since she has passed. I know she would have loved causing mischief with them, I know she would have loved caring for the little one.
I just didn’t expect that yesterday, I knew visiting may be bittersweet but I was so excited to share a memory with the boys, for them to get to see these beautiful creatures up close, to make their own memories. But I honestly didn’t expect the pain, for the past to feel so present. Grief is like the waves of the ocean, sometimes I can ride them gently but other times the waves they swell and I feel that I may drown.
I know I should be grateful for the memories and I am, I really am but sometimes the pain feels like its too much, like my heart may explode.
I know I was so lucky to have this beautiful, vibrant daughter, even if I only got to keep her for nine and a half years. I am so blessed that i get to call this beautiful angel my girl, my baby, my daughter. But right I feel just like those seals as they wait in anticipation for more fish,
just one more day, just one more memory, just one more, please.