A New You

A New You

I have lost everything, and yet I have everything. It’s a hard statement to understand but I feel this is true in my life.

This time 10 years ago I really had no idea what grief, loss or unconditional love was. Now these are my constant companions, my constant friends who keep me company when all else is quiet in my life. About 10 years ago I met my husband, I didn’t know it at the time but he has taught me so much about what it really means to love someone without boundaries or expectations, 10 years ago I knew I wanted to be a mother but had no idea that with motherhood would come a grief and fear I never knew existed. There are days now that I’m so crippled by my grief and fear and other days when I “co-exist” with them side by side in some strange kind of harmony.

Being a Mum hasn’t come easy to me, I have felt that I had to “lose” a lot of myself to find other parts of myself that (arguably) are more valuable. I only hope I can provide a role model for my girls that make them proud of their Mum and I can continue to learn to live amongst the chaos of parenting with a smile in my heart and a sense of calm that keeps me grounded with perspective. As many of you know, we lost our darling Charlotte the day she was born but we knew she wasn’t going to make a few days before her birth. When we knew we would lose Charlotte, pieces of me literally died and faded away into places I still haven’t found, but the reality of living on without her has totally changed me and many relationships I have with people in my life. Losing a child and the promise of tomorrows you will never have been impossible to reconcile because you can’t find rational reasons where no logic can be found. People, especially those who haven’t experienced this, can’t understand why the grief is still so fresh years and years later. And in truth, I ask myself this question often. I think it is because it [grief] doesn’t shrink or get better over time, life grows around grief, it’s as simple as that but it still stays the same size and shape, but time can’t stop (even though I wish it could’ve many times) so we are forced (in a way) to move forward as the hands on the clock keep ticking, we, too are forced to keep moving forward.

In the early days, I barely remember taking a breath or stopping to see how far we’d come. I was in a trance, a survival mode trance just aimed at purely keeping me alive. I ate under duress and saw doctors without caring what was wrong with me. I was deeply unhappy and alone, so so alone. It was only as the fog began to lift and I could see I did have things (and people) in my life worth living and fighting for, that wanted, and needed, me to be happy. I was finally able to readjust my day-to-day existence and try (little by little) to replace existing with living, giving myself permission to laugh and feel happiness. I still find it so strange that sadness and laughter can live as neighbours quite easily, love and grief can almost be partners that fill you with all you ever need to know you’re alive and human.

They say things never stay still for too long and for us this is certainly true as this year, 2021, I had a very serious stroke in May and have had to literally learn to walk and function “normally” again. It’s a confronting thing, when you are always strong and independent and now must lean on people for everything, yes literally everything. Having people clean you and dress you and take care of you is overwhelming to say the least. But I also know how fortunate I am to even have that kind of support around me, my husband has had to make and deal with things no spouse should have to and there will never be enough ways I can say thank you to him for all he has sacrificed for me and our family.

Although, very unlucky to have suffered a stroke at my age, like with all forms of darkness there are shades of light too. And having a stroke has repaired lots in my life for the better, bridges with people I love have been rebuilt, appreciating simpler things in life and taking some much-needed time to focus on what’s really important.

We are so fortunate to have two happy and healthy little girls and to have each other and be able to live a life with our family relatively free from distress and hardship. My recovery is far from over but as each week passes my health improves and the clarity around the important things improves as well.

Nothing will ever come close to losing our daughter and I hope I never experience a pain like that ever again but most of all I hope my girls never do either and that they look back on their Mum and Dad with pride and a sense of inspiration (even just a teeny bit). Life is really all about the little things, all the little things strung together to make the ‘big’ things. I just hope I can keep moving forward and still find time to stop and genuinely enjoy these little things, maybe even try, and seek them out more and more every day.

They say what doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger and I truly believe this is true. I have found strength in the last 6 years I never thought I had but I’m proud of what we, as a family, have achieved too. It’s not the way I would have liked to realise how strong I am, but every lesson is worth it I suppose.

To my amazing husband, they don’t come better than you! What an amazing man, husband and daddy you are. Our girls (all three of them) are so lucky that they got you as their Dad, and I can’t wait for the day they realise just how lucky they are.

I’m not actually sure the purpose of this blog, but I think part of my recovery is reflection and writing allow me a channel to express my thoughts without fear of judgement or failure – they are, after all, just my thoughts. Nothing more and nothing less, just a recollection of the inner workings of my (at times) messy head.

Struggle is part of life, life is full of uncertainty and unpredictability, but it’s also full of possibilities and warmth and I know how lucky we are to have choices on what to prioritise in our lives on a daily basis and today, I choose them, my family, my girls, my husband because without them I would be lost and my life wouldn’t have the purpose it does. I have had to find inspiration in places I never knew existed this year, learning to “live” again has taught me a sense of gratitude that only comes from thinking you could lose everything, at any moment life can altered forever. Living in the moment isn’t easy and we all get caught up in shit that serves no purpose but, as each day passes, I am trying my best to be more present, kinder to myself and those around me. It’s a journey that’s for sure, with lots of bumps and detours but I am (at least for now) still on this journey and for that I am thankful for.

Back to blog

Leave a comment