My daughter returns from university today and yes I am so excited to see her.
So why did a friendly comment feel like I had been punched in the stomach?
My friend said “ I bet you are excited to have all the family back together’.
How simple and true is this comment.
Yes i am excited.
But my family will not all be back together.
You see there will always be a missing piece,
An empty place at the table.
A pile of presents that have not been bought.
On Christmas day only three of my girls will be celebrating it here with me.
Heaven holds the celebration for the other.
I want to say that i’m ok about it all, that i can be happy and enjoy the season but I can’t.
The ache in my heart is getting stronger and stronger as we head towards the 25th.
I hate that on Christmas day I have to visit the crematorium, that the only gift I can give to my daughter is flowers on her stone.
I want the air to echo with her laughter, the harmony of my four beautiful girls to play.
Yet all i can hear is the silence of the missing note.
Christmas is a special time of year, I love the wonder of it all.
The excitement that builds in peoples hearts.
The joy of giving , the love that is shared.
Christmas is a time for celebration and I promise I will try.
Still I hope that it will be ok, that sometimes through this season i disappear.
Disappear to a place where i can allow the tears to fall.
Where I can allow the missing to show upon my face.
Because I cannot pretend all the time.
I just don’t have the strength.
I need to give my heart freedom.
Freedom to grieve my beautiful missing daughter.
When my daughter died I spent a lot of hours (still do) looking at photographs and the one thing that struck me hard was that I was barely in any of them. In fact I had maybe one or two with me in them with Livvy.
To be honest I wasn’t surprised but I was angry.
Angry at myself.
You see it hadn’t happened over night this camera shy behaviour of mine. From my teen years I have shied away every time anyone got a camera out.
I just hated how I looked, it was as simple as that.
It wasn’t always because of my weight because even as a size 8 I still hated seeing myself in a photo.
Yet as the weight went on so did my resolve to become the photographer never the model.
Having beautiful children was the perfect excuse, I wanted to capture them not me.
So then I found myself with no shared memories of me and my beautiful girl.
I had lived them but I had nothing to remind me.
It hurt like hell.
I wanted to remember the laughter we felt when we twirled her on the ice.
The daily messes we got into at meal times.
I had her smiles to see but I wanted to see my smile and remember my joy from that moment.
It hurt and I was so angry that I had let vanity or maybe shame rob me of these memories.
So it was at this point I decided I couldn’t allow myself to be lost from all memories. I didn’t want my girls to ask where I was when they look back in years to come. I wanted a reminder for them of who I was and what I looked like and how crazy we could be together.
It wasn’t easy to step from behind the lens but it was one best things I have ever done.
Don’t get me wrong I still cringe a few times when I see my double chin but I can look past that now and see the memory that was formed.
The moment that was shared.
In fact my girls laughed at me the other day for taking what they called “yet another selfie”. They speak the truth beyond this journey of memory making I have learned to love who I am. My body has birthed four amazing girls. It has carried so many children on it’s hips. It too holds it’s own memories.
It’s also the only one I have and yes while there are bits I would love to change I do finally like most of it.
Stepping in front of the camera scared me silly but I am so thankful that I did.
Life is different now, I have less regrets.
I take chances regardless of how far from my comfort zone they are and I have been rewarded with so many new and amazing memories. I’ve also met so many incredible people too just by being less afraid.
I wish I could go back and tell that gawky teen to love herself a little more.
I wish I could tell that new mom to capture those moments with her precious child.
I cannot go back but I can tell all you out there.
Don’t hide who you are.
Fill your Instagram feed.
Jump into the scenery and make those memories.
One day they will be the most precious gift you could give yourself.
It’s been over a week now since Plus North and I have come down to earth with a bang.
I have been watching all the photos from the event going online and I am so cross at myself.
I hid behind my husband.
I look at the ladies all taking selfies together in groups chatting, laughing and I know I let myself down.
Why do I always shy away from friendships?
Oh come on
I know why.
I just don’t feel good enough.
I’m sorry I don’t mean this to be a woe me kind of post.
More Sara you are a stupid so so kind of post.
Why do I let the past control my future?
The evil lies that I was told still be my truth.
I was so determined to go to plus north and really engage in friendship. But I saw beautiful amazing women and I felt inferior.
I hate that I feel this way.
It’s so much more than just plus north. It’s me generally.
I am so very lonely and hate that I do this to myself.
Honestly I am my own worst enemy.
Am I beyond hope?
September has begun and i am simply a mess.
It could be holiday blues.
It could be just plain exhaustion.
Or it could be that I’m just so very p*ssed off.
Yesterday was the first day of the new school year and it should of been the day that Livvy started Year 11.
Its crazy to think my baby would have been 16 next year, when the truth is she didn’t get to see double figures.
I don’t know how to feel right now.
Its a variety of emotions that seem to move with the wind.
I close my eyes and I try so hard to imagine Livvy as a teenager.
What would she be like?
Would she still be the little rock chick, dancing her heart out to Guns n roses.
Or would she have continued down the road she started with her love of skulls and all things gothic.
I imagine her sitting in her chair in Dr Martens, or maybe Converse.
I just don’t know.
It’s breaking me apart right now.
The not knowing what she would be like.
The not getting the chance to make those memories.
I was robbed of my baby girl.
She was robbed of her future
And its just not blooming fair.
The five stages of grief,
What a joke.
Stages are something you work through.
You finish one and then move on.
I’m not moving on.
I miss my daughter so much.
For me there is only one stage of grief
What do you do when life seems crazy and you feel like it’s all to much?
Do you have ways of calming yourself down, meditation, prayer or maybe wine?
I’m not really sure I have a method.
I seem to carry on and carry on until I have to sleep with complete exhaustion.
Only yesterday I realised I do something else when life gets stressful.
I pull away.
My phone stays silent,.
I ignore the notifications and I only communicate as and when.
It’s as if I can only cope with so much that I’m scared to open up in case it becomes more.
Yet in doing this I find myself alone, lonely.
It wasn’t always like this.
Something happened last year which left me hurting terribly.
It took away my naivety
It took away my trust
And why I have tried not to let it have a hold over me I realise it has.
My closing off and pretending I’m ok Is literally locking out those who wish to be there for me.
[Tweet “Punishing many for the few.”]
I apologise to those I have shied away from.
I see now all you were trying to do is be there for me.
I am truly grateful.
I can’t promise I won’t hold back or close off anymore.
[Tweet “But I can promise I will try.”]
As any writer will tell you there are times when the words flow and others when each word written feels like it has been torn from your soul.
I often have days of both.
One thing that seems to free up the gates of inspiration is when I am writing about something that I am passionate about, surprising hey.
A month or so ago I received and email from the company i worked for telling me about a competition that was being run by Irwin Mitchell Solicitors and KIDS. They challenged us to write a piece about disability, either from living with one or caring for someone who had one.
Of course this set me off and before long I had emailed my entry in.
Now this was rather surprising for me as I normally hold back in fear of rejection but as part of my nothing ventured, nothing gained new outlook I decided why not.
Well imagine my joy to receive an email telling me that I was joint winner of the 18 and over category.
I have won an amazing prize of a Kindle Fire but I will also get to see my words in a book they are making to raise money for KIDS.
I am super excited about it all and cannot wait to get my own copy.
I”m so glad that i didn’t allow my fear and insecurities stop from entering this time.
[Tweet “Nothing ventured, nothing gained”]