First of all I want to wish all the fathers out there a happy fathers day.
I have always known how lucky I am to have a Dad who has always put our family first; a dad who has always been my hero; a dad who taught me to be proud of myself; a dad who has always put a roof over our heads and food on the table and never let us go without; a dad who gave me a love for music and for lyrics; a dad who always gave me a reason to be the best person I could possibly be. We aren’t good at telling each other how we feel, it’s not how we roll. I know which songs remind him of me and the songs that remind me of him. I know that he’s a pretty amazing dad because I’ve seen what a fantastic grandad he is to Jason and Ellie.
To all those fathers finding Father’s Day difficult for ANY reason… I get it. Wishing you a gentle day.
My husband is one of the best dad’s I could have wished for for my children. His start to fatherhood wasn’t easy but even then he stepped up and did more in a morning for his son than most parents do their entire lives. He gave everything that morning to bring Jason in to this world and I will never forget how amazing he was that morning. Losing Jason was so hard on him, the outside world seems to forget that Father’s grieve too, he was looked upon to go back to work after 2 weeks, to return to normal and forget that his son was born and died all on the same day. That’s tough. He carried on being the best dad to Jason, the love he has is undeniable. When Ellie arrived I finally got to see the Dad I knew he could be and was robbed of being. Day after day he is become Ellie’s number one. He is her favourite parent, he’s the one she asks to play, the one she demands take her to bed every night. The dad she has got wrapped around her little finger. He is the one making sure we both have a future and keeping us both sane. The look she gives him when he comes home from work is the cutest thing I have ever seen and she squeals with excitement when he wakes up in a morning. He’s not perfect (nobody is) but to her he is her world and I’m pretty sure she’s replaced me as his number one.
Sending special thoughts to those who don’t have their own dads to celebrate with today too. ❤️
Unpopular opinion I know but as much as I imagine being a single parent is (and I know I would struggle to do it so I’m not judging or criticising) but I don’t understand why people feel the need to make Father’s Day all about the mums who are doing it alone. We have mothers day and I’m pretty sure I have never seen a single dad moan or celebrate mothers day. Society is too quick to judge and this is specific thing really bugs me. I just don’t get it.
In an ideal world I’d have been one of those nervous parents waiting to find out what school my boy had gotten in to. In an ideal world he’d have been accepted to the primary school where I work! In an idealworld I’d already have his uniform, or parts of it in preparation and be excitedly making him try it on for pictures. In an ideal world we probably would have had to put Jason in to the special needs school because that is where he’d have the support he needed. In a less ideal world we’d have to settle or appeal the decision.
I would give so much to be able to take that less ideal world. To be one of those excired/nervous parents dying to know.
Things like this shouldn’t cause me grief, I probably wouldn’t even acknowledge it if I didn’t work in a school however when September comes and I see all those parents and little reception newbies on their first day I know it should be me there too. I will see their anxiousness and wonder whether I’d have felt the same or whether we would both be ready for him to start school. I feel like Ellie is ready to start nursery so I know she will be fine but I will never know what Jason would have been like.
My life with him seems further and further away with every milestone that we don’t hit together. I’ve missed his first words, first steps, first hug, first smile and now ill be missing his first day at school too.
Of cause I miss him constantly and the ache I have to have both of my children here is never ending but sometimes days are harder to deal with than others and there are some days where you just can’t help but think how fucking cruel the world is.
Wow, as always, the final few days of March were horrendous. I have said for a while now that for me, the build up to an anniversary is always harder than the day. This has been the case for all of Jason’s birthdays. I find the days leading to his birth/death hit me far harder because I carry so much guilt with those days; what if I’d have gotten checked out earlier, what if i’d have known I was in labour, what if I could have done something and I didn’t. Those who have lost a baby/child will understand what I mean by all this. The guilt seems harder every year too, i force myself (more like torture myself) to read past status’ complaining of feeling tired, having swollen ankles, feeling sick, I can’t help myself. I only ever activate my old facebook account on the build up to his birthday, knowing I will see these past status’ and knowing it will feel like a knife to the heart the closer it gets to his birthday.
This year as many of you know, Jason should have been turning 4. He should have been having a party with our family, friends, possibly even some nursery friends and I should have been knee deep in cake, balloons and presents! I wasn’t. I went to work, I pretended I was fine, I sat through a meeting about the mental health and wellbeing of our pupils which then turned into a discussion on a bereavement course our SENCO had recently been on and I just sat there. I wanted to storm out, I wanted to sob, I wanted to scream that Jason wasn’t just a bereavement, he was/is my Son. I didn’t do anything of those things, I welled up at times but composed myself. I decided I was going to ask to leave early, only half an hour so I could see Ellie. I needed to be with her. While I was waiting to speak to my boss, a male teacher got a call, his wife was in labour. I knew it was going to happen. I knew it would be that day. I just knew it. I felt like I was right back in the thick of my grief, the first days where the world kept on turning, everyone’s lives carried on but mine seemed to stop. I felt like I was watching everything in slow motion and it hurt. I did manage to finish early and in the end spent a really nice afternoon with Ellie, in our favourite garden, where I have taken her every year since she was born on Jason’s birthday.
A little garden in Ironbridge, with beautiful flowers, a little wooden park and a cafe that sells the most amazing cake which I treated Ellie too because I couldn’t treat her brother.
The weekend was pretty okay, we took Ellie to Chester Zoo, another tradition we have started since Jason was born. We have gone every year to celebrate his birthday as close to the date as we can. We had such an amazing day, Ellie was really well behaved and walked around most of the day. We walked 6 miles around the zoo, saw loads of animals and thought about Jason all day.
I was gutted that the elephants weren’t out of their house due to illness, I always feel closer to Jason when I see an elephant. Ellie loved watching the baby animals, her favourites being the Meerkats and I enjoyed seeing the animals we have watched on The Secret Life of The Zoo with her. We spent all day there, not getting home until late but it was worth it. Ellie was happy, so we were happy.
Sunday was Mother’s Day. Those mums in our baby loss community know how difficult mothers day is. Regardless of how many children are living, there will always be one missing. I’ll never get a card made at nursery from him. I’ll never have a mothers day hug from him. I’ll never get to spend a mothers day with him. It doesn’t matter how many living children you have, when one is missing it tarnishes the day. I found not acknowledging it helped, I spent the day cleaning, washing, doing our usual Sunday chores. Luke struggled more so I naturally took on the strong role to help make his day seem easier. The Sunday after Jason’s birthday is always difficult for him and this one being Mothers Day made it harder this year. It sucks.
The following day I found the hardest, I couldn’t function. I couldn’t get out of bed. I didn’t want to either. I spent an hour in bed crying, my alarm went off and I just didn’t want the day to start. I didn’t go to work, I couldn’t. My head wasn’t in the right place at all. I felt just like I did when Jason first died, the world was once again moving on and I wasn’t ready to carry on. I needed another day to grieve for what should have been, for the life that was taken away from us and from him. I needed another day to feel sorry for myself because this year felt like more and more people weren’t that bothered. “It was 4 years ago, surely they should have let it go by now” It’s exactly what I would have thought before Jason so in my own mind this is what people would be thinking too. It’s okay. I get it because unless you have held a dead baby, sat and cried looking at their tiny coffin, knowing they are in there and there is nothing you can do to turn back time and make it all better, then of cause you aren’t going to understand.
Of cause, I have had 4 years of practise now at pretending I am okay with how my life is, pretending that his loss hasn’t left a giant hole in my heart where he should be. For the most part I’m not even pretending any more. Life does get easier to manage, you start moving forward because you can’t stay stuck in the same loop forever. Except when you do find yourself with anniversaries, celebrations, it’s hard to give yourself time to readjust and if you are like me, you burn out. I have felt pretty drained all week however already I am feeling that glimpse of happiness return, the anniversary is over and although I NEVER stop thinking about Jason, missing him, loving him, each day becomes easier to carry on as if i’m not broken slightly.
I can’t help but wonder whether that day was when everything started going wrong.
Illness had struck, I worked in a nursery at the time and the sickness bug had hit the kids. The day I was due to finish for my maternity I ended up having off as I was being sick and I felt so bad for not working my last day.
I hadn’t thought much of being sick, other than being grateful I didn’t suffer from morning sickness as I just wouldn’t have coped. I’m not a good sick person at all. I spent the day on the sofa, wrapped up in a blanket feeling baby kicks (or so I thought… More like flutters with him being so tiny!) and generally feeling dreadful. I had a constant smell of cigarette smoke around me which was odd as I have never smoked and no one was near the house. To this day I wonder whether someone was trying to tell me something was wrong. That in just 2 days my baby would be gone.
I have since learnt that being sick can be a sign of labour starting and I wonder whether I had signs but was too naive to recognise them. I had just turned 35 weeks pregnant and was innocent in thinking I had 5 weeks to go before we’d meet him. I was unaware that babies were born so early and it’s not something midwives tell you is a possibility either. I feel that the information you are given is just what they think you want to hear not what you should actually know.
The next day I felt perfectly fine, I’d cancelled plans with friends because I had been ill but actually thought about uncancelling due to how much better I felt. I’d taken a picture of my growing bump in a summery dress, we took a stroll to Tesco for pizza as it was what “baby wanted” and while walking around I had started to feel some pains in my tummy that felt a bit like constipation pains… Of cause I know now that they weren’t at all and I should have taken them more seriously and got checked out. Maybe if I had have been checked we’d have been able to save him, we’d have had a chance of saving him.
I think every grieving parent goes through life finding ways to blame themselves for the loss of their baby/child. Those “what ifs” haunt me 4 years later and they always will. Not a day goes by where I don’t feel like I should have known something was wrong and done something.
For those who dont know World Down Syndrome day happens on 21st March every year. This is because of the triplication of the 21st chromosome in a person with DS.
DS is very important to me. I am lucky enough to have a younger brother who has DS and I couldnt imagine my life without out. He has made me the person I am because of who he is. I spent my childhood being known to lots of people as Zacks Sister but i didnt mind because to me he was so much more special. Yes he is special but not in the way you might think. His DS doesnt make him special, its just him and he has never let his DS stop him, if anything he has achieved more because of it. I am so proud of him and the young man he has become and I will continue to be proud of him.
My Son also had DS but we didnt know until his post mortem results. I remember worrying that I couldnt conceive and ive always said if I was unable to have my own children I would adopt a child with DS. Knowing Jason had DS makes losing him so much harder. He would have achieved so much I just know, like my brother his DS wouldn’t have stopped him. I spend a lot of my time comparing what Ellie can do to what I think Jason could be doing now, Id be planning his 2nd birthday now but instead all I can do is write about him and celebrate the fact that he too was lucky enough to have Down Syndrome ❤
As of 15th October Team Jason has walked or cycled at least 340 miles and we are still going strong! Well everyone except me (I’m struggling with getting a mile in at the moment!)
We have managed to raise £225 for Aching Arms which is equal to 22 and a half Aching Arms bear! I feel so amazed that people’s generosity means that at least 22 bears will be donated and sent to so many families who need comfort, especially as it is so close to christmas. I know how much my Aching Arms bear helped me last christmas and gave me some comfort.
I am so incredibly proud of everyone who has helped contribute so many miles, when I started this challenge I wasn’t sure we’d even get to the 100 miles I had first anticipated but was determined to try and get as close to it as possible. Now we’re over 3 times that amount and aiming for 500 miles before the end of the month. I know how lucky I have been to have 9 other amazing people who have helped contribute their miles as I know I couldn’t have done this alone.
So far, in my heavily pregnant state I have managed 35 miles which is nothing compared to what others have walked for Jason.
If anyone reading this feels inspired to raise their own funds for Aching Arms or any other charity i’d love to know about it! Or if you want to find out more the Aching Arms website is on the Useful part of my blog. Or if anyone would like to sponsor us and help get us to 23 bears (I hate the thought of only half a bear!) I would again be so grateful. The link to my Virgin Money Giving site is http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/team/jasonsfootprints
Throughout October we remember:
All the babies born sleeping.
Those we’ve carried but never met.
Those we’ve held but could not take home.
The ones that came home but could not stay.
Help break the silence. Help remember our Angels.
October is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month and on the 15th the whole world can take part in the Wave of Light where we light a candle in memory of our own babies and all those babies who sadly are no longer with us for whatever reason. Jason was one of those babies who I held but could not take home and I miss his cute little face and gingery hair every single day.
Throughout October a very special charity Aching Arms are holding a fundraiser called Miles in Memory. For those who are unaware of Aching Arms, they are a charity run by a group of bereaved mothers wanted to raise awareness of baby loss and the impact this has on family, friends and others. They also bring comfort to bereaved families by sending Bears to hospitals and to people who have requested one themselves. My Aching Arms bear has brought me so much comfort and has helped get me through some very hard times in my journey.
Their challenge Miles In Memory is running throughout October and is a fun way to help raise funds for the charity. I have set up a team of extremely amazing people who are going to help me contribute as many miles as we can in Jason’s memory by either walking, running, cycling or swimming. I am going to be doing as much walking as Bean will possibly allow me to do to get those miles in this month and would be grateful if anyone could donate or just share our challenge and get the word out as Aching Arms have been so helpful since losing Jason I want to give back as much as I possibly can.
Throughout the month I will be blogging about #teamjason and how the team are getting on with their challenge and updating this post with pictures when I can. I am so excited to get this challenge going tomorrow and finding new places to take a walk and show Jason some of the wonderful places I have locally to me.