So, it looks like the running is back on and the first goal is the New Forest Marathon in September. Today it was wet and windy and I was feeling more coffee and cake than trainers and open road, but I went. On the days when I don’t fancy it, I think about why I’m doing what I’m doing and I know that once I’ve started I’ll feel loads better. Running gives me some time and space to reflect on what’s happened and it allows me time to work through my feelings in a space of my own. That said, sometimes I don’t think about anything at all, other than running.
You could always join me, there is also a New Forest Half Marathon. Try it…you might like it!
Sometimes is easy for me to think that everyone else has forgoten about Tilly, and I sometimes think that perhaps Russ never gives her a second thought. This weekend I have spent catching up with friends and family who I don’t see often, and I have discovered that its simply not the case. I think that in my heart, I know that it’s not really the case but sometimes I can still feel very isolated.
The more I talk to people, the more I realise that they are more worried about upsetting me than anything else or they are concerned about being upset themselves and then my being concerned about them. And that was something I noticed in the first few months after loosing Tilly, if I told someone what had happened, I often ended up apologising for upsetting them! So many people walking on egg shells around me, and me walking on egg shells around other people, what a strange nationality we are. Consider those nationalities that openly display their grief publicly and then consider me, an English girl, apologising because my baby had died. I think we could learn a great deal from other nations. And, do you know what, sometimes it okay if the you cry because I need someone to cry with. Oh, and if you have wine and chocolate, all the better!
I have passed some big mile stones lately and Russ and I are making some big decisions about our future. We can never have our baby girl back and we are now really seriously considering where this leaves us. Darcy is off to school in September and it will be then that I think I will feel that gaping hole that has been left in my heart open up once again and so as I move forward I am deciding what my future holds…
I remember it clearly, it was about half past five on Monday the 23rd of April. We had spent the day with Tilly, in a side room off of the main ward. Darcy had painted her hands and feet and we’d done some moulds of her tiny toes. The Chaplin had come to bless her. Then Mum & Dad had taken Darcy back home. The consultant came in, with Liz the nurse and I can still see it now. He asked “are you ready?”. Talk about a million dollar question, are you ready to say goodbye to this tiny bundle that you nurtured for nine months? Are you ready to go home without your baby? Are you ready to tell Darcy that her baby sister is never coming home? Are you ready to live you life in a way that you never imagined? We knew there was only one answer and that was yes. We knew that Tilly was only going to be with us for a short time, I can’t really pinpoint the moment when we knew but by the time it came for her treatment to be withdrawn we knew it was the only possible outcome. My heart was broken.
Will it ever mend? Not completely. There will always be a bit of it that Tilly took with her, when she finally stopped breathing, just after midnight on the 24th. One year ago today. Will I let it cast a shadow over my life? I hope not, I hope that I can live positively in her memory. You never know what’s around the corner. I still hurt. Everyday. And I will always think of her, and how she might be, of how Darcy is missing out on her little sister. Despite of that, I will still do the best I can to make both my girls proud of me.
Sometimes I feel lost, like no one else remembers. In my heart, I know you think of me, of my family. So if you do one little thing for us this week, light her a candle and remember Tilly because I am sure she is watching over us.
Well, my leg has let me down and I will not be running next weekend (well not 26 miles anyway). I feel absolutely gutted, it’s so frustrating to get so close and then to be tripped up by such a minor injury. So, I have entered the New Forest Marathon in September and will be dragging a few people along to join me (mostly for the half I think). The good news is that St.George’s are happy to hold my place for next year, so now I’ll have no excuse for not running a sub 4:00!
For me, it has been about so much more than just running the marathon, the date is significant to me. Last year the marathon was the last weekend that Tilly was with us and I remember one of the nurses from the ward, Sophie, running. Running has given me focus and also some quiet reflection time which has been really helpful to me and for the last two weeks I’ve been a bit lost without it.
This week I will be easing myself back into my training, with my goal moved a bit further ahead.
Yesterday’s coffee morning was a fantastic success, although if I’m completely honest I’m not sure I want to see another slice of cake for a very long time. The baking was amazing and people’s generosity overwhelming. We raised £444 which is a brilliant contribution, bringing the total to nearly £6000. Thank you to everyone who has made this possible.
So, this morning I set out to South Petherton in the bright spring(ish) sunshine to join their annual pre London Marathon 22 mile supported run. I got chatting to a lovely lady and off we went, I was feeling good and quietly confident until I pulled my calf at mile 2. I’m not ashamed to say there were a few tears as I called Russ to come and pick me up and hobbled back to the village. My first thought being ‘game over’. However, having iced it and taken some advice I’m hoping that its nothing too drastic and I should be up and running within the week. Please cross your fingers for me.
What my tantrum will be if I get told I can’t run.
I can say for certain that this was not the way I thought I would be spending Tilly’s first birthday, I imagined doing that thing we all do for first birthdays; throwing a party that is more for us than them, with cake they can’t eat, presents they haven’t asked for and friends they haven’t met! Sadly our day involved taking flowers to the church yard and darcy sending a balloon up to heaven. We did make a cake and Darcy wanted to sing happy birthday, a bitter sweet moment but lovely to share memories with her.
And so I wonder….will it ever get any easier? And when? Years 2, 3 or 4? I think there will always be moments when I can feel the tears pricking at the back of my eyes. A memory, a kind comment or a thoughtful gesture. This week I have been able to remember Tilly’s birth like it was yesterday. The day was warm and sunny, Darcy and I went on a picnic to Hampton Court Palace with some friends. My close friend Sharon picking me up and asking if I was okay, my response was ‘I’m not sure, think I might be in labour but lets go!’. Tilly was born just after 10pm and we had to draft in an emergency baby sitter because I may have left it a little late calling Mum & Dad up for Darcy duty (they were a good 2 hours away). The next few days were tiring (Tilly never fed well) but having my two girls at home with me will be time I will cherish forever. Blissfully unaware, as we were, of what was just around the corner.
So, this evening I will hold on to those happy memories and light a candle for our beautiful angel and I ask you to do the same as you look for a beautful shining star in the sky and remember our beautiful baby Tilly.
Now, I know that no one will ever say I am lucky. I’ve lost a baby. But I know that that’s not the norm, that the vast majority of pregnancies & births have the joyful outcome we expect. I know that Tilly had excellent care and that everything that could be done for her, was done for her. If her condition could have been prevented or cured it would have been. Comic Relief highlights that there are places in the world where this doesn’t happen, where loosing a baby would be unusual. Still heartbreaking, just more common place. The the price of two coffees in Starbucks, a life could be saved. A frightening reality.
People have been supportive of our cause, and tonight we’ll support this one. I also thinks this highlights how lucky we are, that our children don’t die needlessly and that we have the latest medical care, right on our doorstep.
Sometimes you just have to appreciate what you have.
This Sunday will be Mother’s Day. I am immensely sad because I should be enjoying Mother’s Day with two beautiful girls. However, through the unpredictable waves of sadness that I’ve been feeling I can still appreciate that I am lucky because I do have one beautiful girl to spend Mother’s Day with. A friend of mine (who shall remain nameless) made a suggestion that there should be a ‘I Would Like To Be A Mother Day’ and it struck me, there are lots of people who have lost quietly or may never have been able to have children but we will never know because its not something that we ever really talk about.
So, on Sunday take a moment to think of those who have lost or those who maybe have never had…
That is all.
…about how excited we were this time last year I find it hard to believe what’s happened to us. I think it’s going to be a tough couple of months and I am glad that I have the marathon to focus on, wallowing won’t help but I think that doing something positive and being able to give something back to St.George’s will. And it really helps when I know that there are people out there who still think of us and recognise and acknowledge that things are still tough. In a way I think the next couple of weeks could be some of the toughest yet. I’ve had more volunteers coming forward to do fundraising and some fantastic donations in the last week, telling us that they think of us often and that our story touches their heart in a way that makes them want to contribute. Amazing.
Today I saw Darcy with my friend Charlie’s baby, who is a few months younger than Tilly would be. He is beautiful and seeing the way Darcy is with him is heartwarming and heart breaking all at once. Seeing what Darcy is missing is one of the hardest things of all.
We will always be missing what might have been.