Eight years 

I wasn’t sure I was going to write this year, I was thinking, wondering if I should let the day go past without remembrance. Yet I knew it would be a lie, a falsehood because pretending that this anniversary doesn’t exist doesn’t make it so. In fact the pretence builds its power giving it more control.

Eight years, eight long years of missing my beautiful daughter. 

Eight years since I held her last in my arms.

Eight years since I heard her sweet giggle.


Grief, it’s a horrific road, it often plays unfair. Sometimes it even allows you to feel like you are winning, only to sweep your feet from underneath you, cold and swift. 

Yet the truth is that grief and love, they walk hand in hand. Without one you would not get the other.

So I’ve decided today that I’m not going to hide away.

I’m going to immerse myself in all that was Olivia, 

That is Olivia.


I’m going to give myself permission to walk through the valley of pain in hope to find a place of peace.

I’m going to remember her sweet little ways, her cheeky character, her strength of spirit.

And I’m going to give thanks 

Thanks that even now in the midst of grief, I am so thankful that I got love.

I am one incredibly blessed woman that I was lucky enough to have this child call me mom. 


That I would walk a lifetime in pain for the privilege of being Olivia mom. 

That whilst nine years will never be enough they were such a gift. 

My beautiful girl I wonder if you really knew how you changed my life. How you opened my eyes into a world of innocence and honesty. How living one day with you would often seem like a lifetime. You taught me so much, you challenged me, to embrace each moment, to celebrate each breathe. 

Many can travel this life without really knowing their destination, their purpose. You young lady gave me mine, you made it crystal clear what was expected from me, I’m still hearing your instructions from heaven. 

Be kind for kindness sake
Be thankful for all things 
Stand up for what matters 
Be the voice of the voiceless 
And never ever be afraid to say yes to love. 

We are not all promised forever but knowing you are loved is a lifetime gift. 
Thank you for being one of my greatest gifts.

My beautiful daughter
My inspiring Livvy.

Until I get to hold you again, love you girlie xxx

Twenty years of flying

Dear Alan 


How do you find the right words to describe twenty years of marriage? I could go with the old adages “I would have got less for murder” or you are “my old ball and chain”.

Yet none of these are right. 



I’m simply going to say 



“You gave me wings and encouraged me to fly”.


Now it may not be politically correct or of a feminist nature to say my husband completes me or that I finally found myself with you, but this is the truth. Before I met you I just didn’t know who I was. My identity was formed by the opinions of others of who they wanted me to be or what suited them. You came along and just let me be and you loved me for me, eccentricity and all. Never did you laugh at my wild ideas or my crazy plans you just stood by my side and said let’s try it.



You have be my core, when I have felt weak and lost you have been my strength and my direction. 


When we lost Olivia I wasn’t sure I could carry on but slowly even in the midst of your own pain you held me close reminding me daily that life has so much left to give and that we still had a journey to make.

You make me laugh so often, sometimes even when you don’t mean to and to be honest those times are often the funniest (sorry). 

You love on your children with such tenderness that watching you hold our new son in your arms makes me fall in love with you all over again.

Let’s be honest though you are annoying at times, singing out of time with the songs on the radio, keeping me awake with your snoring or leaving your socks on the floor. Still I guess I would be walking a dangerous road if we were to compare tidiness as I am far from the neatest.

I actually cannot believe we have been married for twenty years. In fact I have now spend more than half of my lifetime with you. Yet it still feels so short, we have so many plans and memories still to make. Children to raise, daughters to marry off (ha ha) sons to care for. 


You are simply amazing and I know you know how much I love you but I do wonder if you know how much I admire you. 


I often get asked how I do what I do, my answer is simple “because of you”. Alan you are my strength, I know I can go out into the world and try things knowing that whatever the outcome if I fail or if succeed you will be there waiting for me. 



I watched your face as I graduated last week your smile spoke volumes. You were so proud of me as I collected my degree but I couldn’t have done it without you. Endless cups of tea, having the children whilst I study. You were my support system and my room service all in one. 


Happy anniversary dear husband, thank you for loving my unconditionally. For caring for me, for not strangling me at times.



I love you today, tomorrow and forever and whatever the future holds let’s laugh hard, cry hard and just embrace life together.



Love you moon, stars and back again



Your darling, wonderful, beautiful wife (writers privilege)



Sara xxx 

The unwanted visitor 

The thing about grief that drives my heartache is that it doesn’t care. 

Its has no discrimination, it will visit the young and the old, the rich and the poor, the healthy and the sick.

It’s not worried if today is a good day or if the moment is wrong, it has its own timing, it sings to it’s own tune.

It fact it is rather rude and has no boundaries at all and no matter how much I try it will not go and sit in the corner for a little while. 

The notes are its own and its music we just have to play, often on repeat, over and over. We fall asleep to its unique symphony, we wake to its morning chorus. 

Someone once told me I was broken, I don’t think they meant it in the way I understood it but I totally agree. 

I am completely broken. 

Grief leaves you with a brokenness that you can work through but from which you can never fully heal.

You cannot go back to who you were before your unwelcome visitor came to stay.

Yet in the brokenness you will see light, a gentle flame that holds out refusing to give in to the darkness. 

My realisation thanks to my new best friend called grief is that it wouldn’t hurt so deeply if it didn’t matter.

The pain that is tearing at my heart, it’s ok because it’s a testimony 

A testimony to love.

You see just like grief, love is another than pops up and won’t leave you alone.

It tangles your heart in web of moments and memories, wonderful heart fluttering emotions. 

So grief may be the hardest of emotions that leaves you gasping for breathe, but fight back reminding it that it’s is also one of great celebration, 

We loved, we laughed, we lived.

We created those moments that we will cherish for all time. 

To live we love. 

To love we have to grieve. 

So whilst there are times where grief and I will fall out, grief is the friend I will welcome again because my grief is my testimony to my love. 

Why – Orlando xxx 

I haven’t been able to write this week. I just couldn’t find the words to really explain my feelings,my utter horror at the atrocity committed in Orlando this week.

My heart breaks for the families of those who lives were lost, stolen.

My heart breaks for the LGBT community that has suffered so much already. 

How do you find words to comprehend such pain? 

There simply aren’t words.

My heart is aching terribly 

But my head is full of whys. 

Why did this happen?

Why was this allowed to happen?

Why is there such bigotry in this world?

Why is there such hate?

Why can’t people just be free to love whoever they want?

I pray for a world were love is celebrated in all forms. Where there is no “it should be this way” or “that isn’t right”.

I pray for a world where love is just seen as love.

Love can and one day will unite this world it’s this hope that I hold on to.

What defines you!

If you were to read about my past in script form you would be forgiven for thinking that this may have been a script for a television drama or more likely a soap opera.

It’s a story full of pain, loss and at times anger.

Yet it is my life and right now I am walking a journey which is laying it completely open and completely bare and its hard. It fact it’s blooming painful, yet in the midst of the tears of which there has been plenty I have actually found myself feeling a strength that is holding me all in place. In fact it must have the wire that has held me together through this life’s journey.

My faith in myself.

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I cannot go back and change the past. In fact I’m not sure I would ,as everything that has happened has formed me into the person I am right now and I actually rather like who I am.

We all have pathways to walk and as human beings we will make mistakes, we mess up and at times we completely screw up but its how we move forward that defines us. How we learn from experiences and how we grow.

 

My life may have been messy, but it has challenged me to see beyond the barriers. I love with all my heart, I believe in people with all my soul and most of all I have hope. Hope that with love and empathy this world can and will be a better place.

 

So if right now like me you are feeling scared and vulnerable keep pushing forward because you may not realise it, but these moments, these challenges may be the moments that define who you really are.

Is it pretend…?

My daughter was in her sociology class last week when the subject turned to fostering and adoption. She was sitting there listening to the views of others when one boys opinion really annoyed her, it seemed that to him fostering and adoption is “pretend parenting.”

Well I’m certainly not going to argue with the viewpoint of a 15 year old because as we all know at this age they are always right, but I would ask him to think about this.

Is it pretend when I walk the bedroom floor for hours soothing a teething baby?

Is it pretend as I wait patiently and worryingly outside the hospital theatre’s door?

Is it pretend when I hold them tight when they wake from nightmares?

Is it make believe the pride I have in all their achievements?

The worry I feel when they are sick?

The missing I feel when they are not with me?

Is it pretend when my heart fills with love for them?

I don’t really expect most 15 year old’s to understand but so many times I come across adults who just don’t get the love I feel for my fostered children. They see them as a means to an end or just part of my job. In fact the current government seems to view fostering as second class parenting but that’s for another post.

It just drives me mad that people view it this way, as it’s so far from the truth.

You see the moment I open my home up to child I also open my heart to them.

Slowly we both get to learn about each other.

I get to watch them as they come to understand that this is their home too.

I want them to know they are so loved, that they are so cherished and that they are so wanted.

I want them to put their stamp on their bedroom, knowing that it is their’s for as long as they want it.

To sleep without fear of moving on or not being safe.

I want them to know that they are now part of the tribe, that no matter what they do there is no giving up.

We fight for family in this home.

We fight for dreams to be realised.

There is no pretend is this family, just pure real true love.

A families love. 

 

 

Monday is the start of the Fostering Network’s Foster Care Fortnight. This years message is Time to Foster, Time to Care. They  want to spread the message that for many prospective foster carers NOW is the time to care and NOW is the time to foster. Please go take a look over on the Fostering network’s website and if you have ever considered fostering now is the time to do it.

There are so many children out there waiting for families to reach past pretend and to embrace them in real family love. 

 

Becoming a foster carer was one of the best decisions I have ever made.

It’s not always easy but it so worth it. 

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Handmade in my heart.

It’s amazing how having a baby changes your life, in all areas, in everything.

The last few months have been a shock to the system. I miss my sleep. I miss eating my dinner in one go and I really miss drinking my tea hot.

Yet all these changes are so worth it when the little one looks up at me and smiles.

How is it possible to feel so much love in such a short time?

I am smitten.

My heart was in need of baby snuggles.

My arms in need of baby cuddles.

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Our house has been turned upside down and it’s amazing. My girls are the most incredible big sisters I could ask for, from changing bums to just giving my arms a break they have been so wonderful.

Open arms, open hearts.

I cannot believe how something so tiny can make such big changes.

Even today I found myself buying some new clothes not only wondering about style and fit but also if they are baby proof or will hide baby dribble well.

I also cannot believe how vast the world of baby stuff has become, from food to clothes to equipment the baby market has gone wild and I am loving it. There is so many things that I just want to get him, my husband is already fed up of hearing the words of “he would look so cute” or “he so needs this”.

Yet still I love things that are handmade, items created just for your little one. They just seem that little more special and nothing is more special than this beautiful star blanket crafted by the wonderful Naomi at Mama Naii’s.

 

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I actually saw a photo of one she had made previously and just fell in love and knew little man needed one. So after chatting about colours and size we soon became the proud owner of this wonderful blanket and this adorable Gerald giraffe. I wish I could show how much he loves it. Watching him hold on tight to the giraffe is so cute and seeing him cuddled up tight in his blanket is priceless.

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Naomi crafts some truly beautiful things and is always willing to chat about what exactly it is you want. I already have my second order in and I’m planning my third too.

So if you are like me and feeling blessed to have a little one in your life maybe take a visit to Mama’s Naii’s Facebook page, or Instagram page and have a look for yourself. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

Countdown to 40

40

 

I realised last night that in under a month I turn 40. This is a major milestone in my life but one I am so excited for.

Growing up I remember thinking 40 was really old, I mean it seemed that my mom was 32 forever so I was sure I would stay this way. Yet time has moved on and I have been slowly creeping towards this age.

I remember when I turned 30 I was really freaked by it all, I didn’t feel ready to be 30 years old I was uncomfortable and not happy in my own skin. Life wasn’t easy and I had just started to show signs of the illness that changed my life. I look back to those days when I was chasing after 4 children under 10 and teaching dance. I remember just not feeling complete as if I wasn’t living life to the full.

Fast forward the last ten years and my goodness a crazy amount has happened. I have walked through some of the darkest moments of my life. My heart has been broken, tore up into millions of pieces and then trodden on. I never imagined at 30 that I would have to bury a child let alone two. I would have never been able to comprehend surviving the loss of my daughter and my foster son. Never in a million years. Yet somehow I have survived, my heart may never be complete but it is learning to love on, learning to beat strongly again and I am learning to live life to the full again.

I know deep down that 40 isn’t really a special age. I mean I preach often about celebrating every day we have here, but still I am rather excited for the day.

This may sound big headed but I like who I see in the mirror now. I may not be a dance teacher or able to fit my bum into a size 12 but I truly love my body and I’m so grateful to it. It has given me four amazing girls, completely different, independent ,inspirational girls. It allows me to foster two truly awesome boys, each a blessing in their own special way. My body may be a little battle worn but it’s not been beaten and I am so thankful for this.

I look back to the person I was 10 years ago and I know I have been on a journey. I use the term “self discovery” loosely  as is the only way to get close to describing  the transformation I feel I have faced.

I love who I am (yes I may have said that before) but I seriously do. I love my emotional side, no more will I apologise for my random tears or unexpected hugs. I’m empathic and I care and this is something I am proud of now. No more calling myself soppy and pathetic, I actually rock.

I love my courage, I am more willing to put myself out into the danger zone, being vulnerable, feeling scared but still moving forward.

I love my brain, it’s ok that I am a little geeky at times, that sometimes the idea of a good book wins against a movie or a night out. That I appreciate my own company and yes at times I get lost in my own mind.

I love myself and I love my life.

As I head towards this birthday milestone I do so with so much gratitude.

Over the last years I have had people walk into my life that have blessed me in so many ways. Friends that love me for me, deep true friendships that can pick up after a time apart just where we left off. Friends I can laugh with, friends I have cried on. I am so grateful for each and every one of them.

I am so thankful for my family, my daughters and my sons each so unique and so beautiful. Getting to watch them grow and learn and experience life is such a wonder, such a gift. My Dad, my Step Mom, my inlaws, my aunts, uncles, cousins, relantionships that I truly value and people I truly love.

My husband, I am completely in love with this crazy man, after nearly 20 years of marriage I still get that flutter in my heart when he walks into a room. He makes me laugh, he drives me insane, but he truly is my soul mate.

I am so thankful that I miss my Livvy, because missing someone is the recognition of an amazing love, a truly unbroken bond. My girl and I will be together again one day, but until then I am going to try and live as she did, fully and with all my heart.

So the count down to 40 begins and I’m so excited. I’m so ready to celebrate the 40 years I have been here with all my family and friends. An evening full of laughter, music and hopefully a gorgeous outfit.

Yet 40 is only the really the beginning, the start of a new stage in life, one I hope will be full of love and laughter and the people that really make my life truly amazing, my family and friends, because with them and because of them I actually love myself more at 40 then I ever did.

 

40 looking good

The one he needs 

I can’t believe it’s 4:30am and I’m wide awake. Our new little man is teething and nothing besides being pushed in his pushchair seems to be helping. I’m actually not sure whether it’s the movement or the constant reassurance that I’m there that is bringing him comfort. 

To be fair whichever it is as long as he is happy then so am I. 

Yet as I sit here at this crazy hour with nothing else to do but rock the pushchair my mind is off doing that crazy thing again known as thinking.

I’m pondering on how much better we all feel when we know we have someone there for us.

From the moment we are born we are dependent on others. We need our parents to feed us, care for us and keep us safe. As we grow older we find ourselves more independant but can we really ever reach a point in life when we don’t need others?

Now I guess we could talk about hermits and the solitude they prefer but besides the extreme cases I truly believe we all need at least one other person in our lives. 

I know I couldn’t imagine my life with out some of the crazy people that bless it. My family, my friends and even the wider circle including the amazing lady who does my ironing. 

Everyone of these people play a part in my life, in my survival.

So right now as I’m exhausted and just praying this little one would sleep I’m feeling grateful. 

  

Thankful that here in this moment I get to be the person he needs. 

If my words were never to be seen. 

“Write as of no one would ever see your words”. 

I saw this statement on Twitter yesterday and it really made me stop and think, what would I write if my words would never been seen?

Would I tell you that I am pissed off at humanity, that the images I see and the news I read from around the world actually makes me sick at times to be part of the human race. 

The disgusting way we are treating the refugees from Syria. Destroying make shift homes, attacking those that already have nothing. Treating them as the enemy as they flee from all they know all they love. 

The current state of the political system the way it’s leaving people soul destroyed. Budgets being slashed for the things that really matter, social care disappearing, vulnerable people being left in crisis. 

The NHS slowly being sold off to rich selfish corporations whose only compassion is for the money it can make. 

People coming second to financial gain.

Would I tell you that I truly believe the world has changed. Gone is the love each other sentiment of this planet to love myself. 

The art of conversation is lost, gone are the days of real words and sentiment now we are a society of text talk or emojis.

If my words were not to be seen by anyone I would tell you that I worry. I truly worry for society. That I wish people would wake up and realise that we aren’t meant to walk through this life on our own. That our actual DNA needs to us to be sociable and to build relationships. 

We need to think outside ourselves. That the greatest joy can be found in giving not in taking.

If my words were never to be seen maybe I would admit that I’m tired of selfishness. Of seeing some that have so much and others that have nothing.

I’m angry at the rise of homelessness, emotionally corrupt landlords raising rents that only the elite can afford. Forcing families who have lived in an area for generations to have to move away from all they know, all they love. We are building lines between those that have and those that don’t. 

If my words were never to be seen I would admit that I too have to change. 

That I know I can be selfish at times. That my expectations of others can sometimes be to high. That I need to learn to let things go. 

If my words were never to be seen I would admit that I hurt. 

That sometimes I actually feel as if my heart may physically break. That I’m tired of pretending, that I crave to be true. That sometimes I don’t want to be the bigger person or rise above it. I want to call some out on their behaviour. Tell them it’s not ok. 

If my words were not to be seen. 

Well then they would be just words. A formation of letters that hold no power.

Words are to be seen.

To be shared 

To be experienced.

So I’m writing today without fear, writing with my heart wide open. 

For I want my words to be seen.

I want my words to matter,

But most of all I want my words to be my truth.