What do I have left to share?

October is Rett Syndrome awareness month and its something I always try to write about and share in hope of raising awareness, knowledge and the importance of fundraising for research. The problem is this year I don’t know what to write that I haven’t written before. If I’m honest I’m not up to date with current research treatment or therapies,  I can point you towards Reverse Rett UK and Rett UK who would be able to inspire and educate you so that you can learn more, but in all truthfulness I am a little out of touch 

So what can I share?

What does Rett syndrome mean to me? 

I’ve said it before but I will say it again Rett syndrome is a thief in the night. It robbed me of light and left me in darkness. 

It is so easy in grief to focus on the happy memories, the good times you had with the one you lost and I know without a doubt I do this with my memories of Livvy. I struggle to remember the dark days because it’s hard enough living with the missing, let alone voluntary visiting the pain . But Rett Syndrome didn’t just steal Livvy’s life it often robbed her of moments. 

Seizures played a massive part in Livvy’s life from the first one ever to the 26 she had that same day to the 106 of the next. They came and stole the light out of my beautiful girls eyes. If I’m being honest I had expected to lose her to these, as so many times before we had come close. The horrible thing with seizures besides watching your child contort painfully is the medications that are needed to control them. Besides damping down the seizure activity they also reduced the way Livvy could interact with the world. Hours slept away, moments missed and memories not made. We struggled for a long time to find any sort of balance ending with a vicious compromise of a few seizures each day just to be able to see my daughter smile. Accepting that her brain had to misfire daily just so she could live and engage in life.

Bargaining with the devil in ’ Hope’.

This is Rett syndrome 

I remember vividly the first time Livvy went blue, her lips so ashen, her face so pale. What in the world, how in a spilt second had my child lost the ability to breathe, thank you again Rett syndrome. 

The breathing abnormalities of Rett Sydrome are a lot better recognised now but when Livvy started with this complication nobody had a clue. Dr’s were baffled, seizures were blamed and more medications were tried. I remember once being in the hospital and literally wanting to throw the SATS monitor and smash it into a wall. Watching those numbers drop and knowing I could do nothing to stop it, broke my heart.

This is Rett Syndrome.

Livvy passed her 18 month health assessment with flying colours, she was a little delayed with walking but everything else seemed on par. Some children like to crawl for longer and Livvy was everywhere and in to everything. So nothing could have prepared me for the following months watching my beautiful sparkly eyed girl disappear right in front of me. First went her words, then her eye contact and finally her balance. Her ability to hold and play with her toys were lost in the never ending wringing of her hands. Her smile lost into the endless days of screaming. 

This is regression, this is Rett Syndrome. 

As I’m writing this I’m finding myself so full of anger, so full of pain. The reality is Rett Syndrome stole my daughter from me twice. My heart is beating fast as I remember the fear of the not knowing, the lack of understanding from Drs and specialists who I was praying would have the answers. The loneliness of this time, my retreating from family and friends as I couldn’t explain her behaviour, I felt like a failure. I was letting everyone down, I was letting Livvy down.

This is Rett Syndrome

Gosh that hurts to write, but the truth is I cannot bring Livvy back by reliving these emotions, by sharing my heart and fear it isn’t to resurrect my daughter, if only. The reason I share and the reason I am passionate about advocating for Rett Syndrome is that today another child has been born with this evil syndrome another set of parents hearts are being broken right now. Another child is suffering .

1 in 10,000 children a year are born with this devastating condition and by raising awareness, by fundraising  I can hope and pray that their journeys are less scary than mine. That treatments are found to combat the evil seizures, the fear in the abnormal breathing, the pain from the scoliosis, the frustration in the lack of understanding and the heartbreaking ability of not being heard. 

I write and share in hope that one day when a child is born with the condition Dr’s will be able to say we have a cure or we have these amazing treatments that will stop the thief known as Rett syndrome.

I write and will continue to do so in hope.

Hope in action can and will defeat Rett Syndrome. In memory of Livvy and all those amazing children and their dear families, we hope. 

Still we fight

Today is the end of Rett syndrome awareness month. Yet for so many Rett syndrome is something they live with at all times.

Rett Syndrome is in their lives forever.

After losing Livvy, I guess I could have walked away from Rett syndrome but the impact of this devastating syndrome would still haunt me. I couldn’t hide from Rett syndrome it had robbed me of my daughter. I couldn’t avoid Rett Syndrome because it still tortures so many that I love.

Right now in this world too many girls and boys are losing their battle to Rett syndrome. Right now too many are fighting hard against Rett Syndrome and right now too many tears are falling for Rett syndrome, missed moments, broken hearts and painful memories all at the feet of this evil condition.

I’m often asked why I still fight for awareness and for a cure for this devastating condition. Why I still allow myself to feel pain because of Rett Syndrome and wouldn’t it be easier to walk away from the community that I don’t have to belong to anymore?

I’ve said it before and will say it again, my fight isn’t over yet. I will fight until one day there is a cure for Rett Syndrome, it’s as simple as that.

Yes; I lost Livvy to this evil and like many who have lost a child I want to attack what killed her. I want to personally wipe Rett Syndrome from the face of this earth. I want no child’s body to broken by this condition ever again. I want no other parent to have to cry themselves to sleep after watching their child suffer at the hands of this evil and more than anything I want no other parent to face the pain, the torture of losing a child to Rett Syndrome.

But mostly I fight for the ones I love, for Brooklyn, for Grace , for Sophia, for Charlie, for Amber, for Estelle, for Beth,for Olivia and for every child that has the Rett syndrome diagnosis.

I fight for them.

I fight for my Livvy, because she would want me to fight to stop her friends from suffering, for their mommies and daddies to not live in fear, for their siblings not to ever have to say “my sister died” for no one to have to face the pain of loss again due to Rett Syndrome.

Part of me wishes desperately that I could live in a world that never had to hear the words Rett Syndrome again, but it would be like “he who should not be named” of Harry Potter, it’s evil would grow and grow in the darkness.

So no I cannot hide away until Rett Syndrome is brought out of the shadows, until everyone knows it’s name. Until funding is given and medical research is made, until a cure is found.

Until that day, we fight.

I fight.

Are you really my friends?

I’ve been honest here before about my struggle with friendships. How my awkwardness and self doubt has often left me pulling away from friendships. The fear of losing people has often led me to push them away.

I know why I do this, but stopping myself is a whole other battle.

Anyhow I was asked the other day about why I talk about my internet friends so much? Also are they really my friends?

So are you?

I’ve never been the best at friendships, never one for big groups. They just required too much brain power and for me to be out of my own mind more than I was willing. Family commitments and having a lot of siblings just never made me feel the need for large friendship groups. Also the dynamics of social groups mess with my mind. Cliques, status I simply couldn’t be bothered or understand. I often just don’t get people and social situations and I’m lousy at small talk.

So hello internet.

For someone who hates talking on the phone ( a whole other blog post) I found online forums to be freeing. I could chat to who I wanted and when I wanted. The groups were those with similar interests as me or similar lives.

First it was the special needs forums then with Livvy’s diagnosis it became the Rett community and then unfortunately I found myself in the bereaved family forums. All people willing to chat, support and guide me without any pressure on me to be anything but myself.

Then hello social media,

Wow I loved it, again I was given the opportunity to develop friendships with people miles away from me who just got it. Rett moms who cried themselves to sleep after watching their daughters seizure, parents trying hard not to lose their minds with their teenagers.

It was great, until it wasn’t.

I’m not sure what happened but losing Livvy changed the way I viewed the world. I couldn’t do arms length anymore. I needed close, deep friendships but I wasn’t ready. Emotionally I just couldn’t invest time or mind-space into others. I needed to heal, love on my girls and I suppose be a little bit selfish. I couldn’t be compassionate when my heart was broken. I’m sure many other bereaved parents will tell you that one of the hardest moments after losing a child is when you realise the world continues on without your child in it. I struggled with this so I hid away until my anger subsided enough to let me live again.

Hello hashtags

I laugh when writing this but Instagram and hashtags became my best friend. Literally a search engine to likeminded people. I love them, how many times would you expect #seizuresuck to appear, more than you imagine that’s for sure.

#Panhypopituitarism

#hydrocephalus #diabetes insipidus, #cerebralpalsy, visionimpaired #hypothalamicdysfunction #epilepsy

#Chroniclungdisease

#specialneeds

#complexneeds

#disabilityawareness

These hashtags have brought me in contact with some amazing people and now I’m determined not to hide from the friendships I am forming.

I have come across parents with children with complex needs with such a love of life that I cannot help but be excited by them. Their energy is contagious and their children’s smiles so infectious. like myself they live to make the moments matter. Standing up against discrimination and showing that our children matter, all children matter.

I am finding that sometimes it’s easier to be transparent behind a screen, to admit you are struggling when you are not face to face.

I have also seen waves and waves of support literally lift people out of the depths and I’m so proud to call these people my friends.

Yes some relationships I have formed are deeper, some I literally feel are family where others are not so close but I’m equally thankful for.

Some friendships will stay behind a screen and that’s ok but others I’m nervous but so excited to bring into the real world.

But all I value, all matter to me.

So in answer to the question are my internet friends real friends? My answer is this, “Completely, I don’t want to do life without them. “.

Living like Livvy

So it’s finally here, a years worth of work, a lifetime of memories all collated together in “Living with Livvy.”

I’m so excited to share my girlie with you all, for you to read and learn how incredibly brave and courageous she was. I’m also feeling extremely vulnerable as well. Here in these pages I have not held back, I have opened my heart and my soul and its laid bare for you all to see.

It’s not been an easy journey, i have returned to places in my mind I was trying to hide from. Revisiting some of the hardest moments I have every faced.

Yet it will be worth it, if this book educated one more person about Rett Syndrome if it raises more funds for Reverse Rett Uk it will be worth it.

So people, I am laying out my heart and soul here for you all so please, please support me in this venture. Go visit Amazon and purchase my book and help me raise much needed funds, help me help those working tirelessly to one day have Rett syndrome cured. One day have this diagnoses be one not of fear.

It can happen and it will happen,  let’s help  make it so.

Please visit Amazon and purchase the book, please let your friends, family, coworkers know about the book. Share this post on your social media, lets get “Living like Livvy” out into the hearts of minds of everyone. Lets make Livvy”s legacy really one of hope, lets do her proud.

How could I have forgotten? 

Yesterday the world just didn’t make sense. My heart and my head just couldn’t stay on the same page. I screamed, I cried. I was angry, I was sad and for a while I didn’t know why. 

Why was this day so hard? 

Then I caught the date on my phone December 3rd, 

December 3rd 

As I read that number it hid home with a gigantic bang.

How could I have not realised, how could I have not remembered? 

What kind of mother am I ?

Forgetting the day I buried my daughter. 

If I close my eyes I can recall that December day. It was cold but yet the sun lite up the winter sky, warm rays dancing on the icy floor. 

Frost sparkling like a carpet of diamonds fit for a princess, my princess. 

You know It’s not in any parenting books, or  on any websites. There are no handbooks on how to bury your child.

You wander through it all in daze, making decisions you have no desire to make. The colour of the casket, the silk that lines it. What does she wear? Oh the irony of it all, does it actually really matter? 

Yet matter it did, from the brand new cardigan that Nanna travelled to fetch to the choosing of her special toys, it all mattered, it mattered desperately.

I wanted it perfect, I needed it to be perfect.

It was all I could do, all I had left to do. 

I don’t really remember the words that was spoken or even the memories we shared.

All I really remember is the weight, the weight that consumed me, my feet feeling lead lined not wanting to move. To leave, to leave my beautiful girl behind. 

I kept on at myself “she isn’t there” “she has already gone”. Yet in that casket laid my last physical connection with my daughter and everyone is telling me I have to move, I have to leave. 

I held on tight to my youngest hands as I left that chapel, scared to let her or her sisters out of my sight. Wanting to hold on tight to them and never ever let go. 

I was empty, I was lost. 

Walking through the pleasantries, shared moments, warm hugs. 

Yet nothing was ever going to be the same again. 

I would never be whole again. 

I left part of my heart behind in December 3rd 2008 and whilst the brokenness has started to heal I will also have a missing piece. 

A beautiful blond wild haired missing piece. 

My girl, my Livvy,

Forever in my heart, forever my daughter. 

It’s October 

October is Rett Syndrome awareness month and normally each year I am sharing here and everywhere as much information as possible to raise the awareness on this syndrome. 

This year I have struggled.

Not because it isn’t as important anymore because it definitely is, but because I am angry.

I’m so angry that Rett Syndrome is still taking children from their parents. 

That Mother’s, fathers ,sisters, brothers grandparents are broken hearted.


I’m angry that my friends have to go to sleep each day just praying that their child will awake in the morning.

I’m furious that so many are in hospitals fighting infections, seizures, recovering from seizures. Families separated, families struggling. 

I’m frustrated that no matter how far the research is coming Charities are still being the ones to fight for funding to save our girls. That government funding is few and far between. 

It’s another year, another October and we had lost another. 

Another too many

Another too soon 

Another heart broken.

So yes October is Rett Syndrome awareness month but for those fighting against this syndrome October is another month in a year full of battles, heartache and fear.

I’m so angry at Rett Syndrome. 

We need a cure and we need it now. 

Let’s end October with a bang. 

For the last 23 days I have asked you to join with me and support my #nomoreemptyarms campaign. Asked you to upload an image with you and your loved ones with the hashtag #nomoreemptyarms. All this in hope that we could raise a discussion from the hashtag about Rett Syndrome, generating awareness and understanding is what I was hoping and praying for.
  

You all have supported me incredibly, and again I have been shocked at the momentum that the hashtag has created. My heart has been blessed by the comments, by the questions and by people saying “they didn’t know what Rett syndrome was but do now”. It’s been truly awesome. But now as we reach the last 8 days of October and the final days of the Rett Syndrome awareness month I’m going to ask you to do something more for me.

I’m going to ask you to donate £5 to Reverse Rett and do so in honour of my empty arms, my Livvy. 

  
I want you to join me in fighting against Rett Syndrome and shouting out loud #nomoreemptyarms

  

£5 may not seem a lot, a price of a coffee, a magazine but in fighting against Rett syndrome every penny counts. 

So please make a donation now in honour of my Livvy and for all the parents out there whose arms are now empty because of Rett Syndrome. Then tweet me, Facebook me or just let the world know that you have donated and that they can too. Help share the fundraising link far and wide.

I’ve just donated £5 to Reverse Rett because I want to make sure that there are #nomoreemptyarms you can to. https://www.justgiving.com/Nomoreemptyarms

Please do this for me in honour of my Livvy, do this for all the children fighting against Rett Syndrome today and please do this so that we can be fight together so that no other parent has to lose their child to Rett Syndrome. 

The cure is within our reach, make our hopes a reality. 
Please visit my just giving page. 

  
Please donate here today 

Weapons of hope

Can I tell you something Rett Syndrome sucks. No matter how loud i shout, no matter how much I raise awareness it still doesn’t change the fact that Rett syndrome sucks.

Rett syndrome stole my heart. 

My world was shattered, my soul forever scarred. 

Grief is a turbulent ride it twists you up and down and inside out. Just when you think you are coming to land it flies up again twisting the very air you breathe.

 A tornado in your soul.

I want to stop being angry, to stop wanting to scream out loud, I want to find peace. 

But I cannot, not until there is a cure for Rett Syndrome. Not until the thief is placed in a cage. Not until the battle is won. 

We will win this battle, the scientists are waging a war, preparing weapons of happiness.

Weapons of promise.


Weapons of hope. 



One day the weapon of the cure will be found and Rett Syndrome will be defeated.

Until then we will battle on, supporting the research with fundraising. 

Every penny in the arsenal against the enemy.

Against Rett syndrome,

Will will be hope in action, until there is #nomoreemptyarms

  

  

Perfect sense

I was restless last night as I sat and tried to catch up with my weekly television programmes. I just couldn’t relax and I didn’t know why. 

I checked the oven, the doors and my diary but I just couldn’t work out what I was missing.

Then it hit me. 

I was listening out for Livvy, somehow I had stepped back in time to seven years ago. The Friday night ritual of Alan going out for the evening and me staying in caring for Livvy.

My mind was listening out for her noises. Her gentle snores or crazy giggles.

I was even waiting to eat with my sister and have one our much missed Friday night chats.

For those few moments I was in my before time. 

Before my heart broke.

Still I wasn’t allowed to stay for long.

Only seconds later the pain overwhelmed me. 

Like shadows slowly consuming the light.

My heart was beating so swiftly, my brain pounding against my skull.

Raw open wounds.

I don’t know why our brains do this to us? 

Flashbacks to moments we cannot hold on to.

Memories so real you can almost touch them.

I cried last night, gut wrenching sobs of missing.

Time really doesn’t ease your pain. 

I was so angry, the frustration of being able to do nothing dominated my mind.

Why,

Why,

Why?

Finally I could cry no more, my soul was empty, my tears exhausted.

I know I cannot go back, 

so many ways and so much time. 

But for that brief moment then I wasn’t broken.

For those few minutes life made sense.

Perfect sense 

In honour of Livvy

Saturday was an amazing day, we held a Livvy’s Smile Donkey Tea Party.

The sun shone for us, the donkeys behaved and memories were made.

DSC_0090

I had a truly wonderful time.

I got to catch up with old friends and make some new.

I got to listen to laughter as it filled the air.

I got to watch children cover themselves with chocolate and cream as they ate their cakes.

Donkey rides, cart rides and so much more.

Seriously it was awesome.

Yet as I sat at home editing the photos from the day my tears began to fall.

My heart just ached for the missing piece of my puzzle.

Whilst I was blessed with some amazing hugs from some truly incredible children my heart yearned for my little Tinkerbell.

Birmingham Donkey Sanctuary holds a special place in my heart.

Each corner is filled with the echo of my Olivia.

Those first steps she took defying the Drs.

The giggles as she rode her favourite donkey.

alvis livvy

The dirty looks she gave Amber when told to sit up straight.

So many moments, so many memories.

 

I was asked why we started Livvy’s Smile and why I hold events that bring me pain?

It is simple really we started Livvy’s Smile because we are so grateful.

So thankful for the wonderful memories we have stored from Livvy.

Memories that truly get us through the darkness and we just want to give that light to other families.

On Saturday we created those special memories full of chocolate eclairs and cool moms.

Memories that will give us hope through the hard times.

Why do I it when it causes me pain? 

Because I can and because I have to.

I was blessed to be Livvy’s mom, to get to call this amazing girlie my daughter.

Livvy changed my life. 

The realisation that we didn’t have forever taught me to live in the here and now.

To live a life full of laughter and love.

 

So yes hosting these events will always be bittersweet.

I’m sure I will always return home and cry for the missing piece of my heart.

But I will never stop working hard to create memories because each moment, each memory is in honour of my beautiful daughter.

Every smile I see brings her closer.

 

Yes, I know my heart will always ache,

Grief is relentless.

Like a snake it slowly twists around your heart until you cannot breathe.

Your body craves for one more breathe, one more moment.

So as the tears fall I know they do so in honour.

Each teardrop is formed in everlasting love.

Livvy is part of who I am and who I always will be.

Livvy’s Smile is testimony to eternal love. 

IMG_0004livvy2