Farewell dear Queen

Grief sits heavily on my chest today. I know that she was old and had lived a full life. I didn’t even know her. But. The death of Queen Elizabeth II feels personal to many of us in the UK, and no doubt around the world.

The Queen was the best of Great Britain. The best of all of us. She united us in a way that I doubt anyone will be able to do again.

Her faith was her rock and she pointed us to God during her Christmas speeches. For those of us who are Christians, we take comfort in the fact that she is now in Heaven with her husband, and we will actually get to meet her one day!

As someone who grieves every day for my baby son, this feeling is familiar. It feels like heaviness, like fatigue, like nothing will be the same again. And of course, it won’t. After the death of our monarch, we feel the loss of her wisdom, her ability to unite us and of hope for the future. In this increasingly divided world, the Queen was able to rise above any political divides. I worry about our country, now more than ever.

For those of us who are already grieving a loved one, this time of mourning reminds us of who we have personally lost too. It hurts a little more today.

I think about my son Samuel, who should be 3 now. Who should be starting preschool next year. He wasn’t royal or famous, but he is loved. I wish that everyone could have known him and mourn him too. But Samuel is just as loved, valued and celebrated by God as her Majesty is. Jesus doesn’t care if people were poor or rich, disabled or healthy, old or young. God loves us all the same.

There will be many poor, unknown people who died yesterday. They won’t be on the news or get a funeral procession, but their lives also had value.

I pray that everyone who mourns would know peace and comfort today.

Let’s look after each other. It’s later than we think.

My 70th Jubilee drawing of QEII

Rainbow walk for Samuel’s Hospice

I had seen a few adverts for the ‘Rainbow run your own way’, to raise funds for Children’s Hospice South West – the group of hospices that Charlton Farm is part of here in South West England. Charlton Farm is where my son Samuel lived for most of his very short life. It is a wonderful place that cares for children with life-limiting illnesses, and their parents and siblings.

I ignored them at first, telling myself that it was too much effort, and I wouldn’t raise much money anyway… then I saw it advertised again and thought that I could easily walk for 5km, and would rope my kids, parents and in-laws in. I admit that I didn’t feel enthusiastic. I was struggling after Samuel’s second anniversary, and didn’t know if I would be up for any challenges.

To win a medal, you had to raise £15 person that you registered. I thought that I could probably give enough for myself and my two kids to do so. In the end, I signed up 6 of us to our family team.

I set up a Justgiving page, setting my target at £100. That was quite high, but I was trying to be optimistic. I met the £100 target within 24 hours! So I set the new target to £200. The money flooded in. 🙂

Alex Dixon is fundraising for Children’s Hospice South West (justgiving.com)

In the end, I made over £650 including gift aid. And I later found out that I was in JustGiving’s top 20% of fundraisers for the month of June. That’s out of thousands of different Justgiving pages.

I couldn’t believe how generous people are. I am so grateful for everyone who gave – including some people that I don’t know. I guess that it’s personal – people know that my family were helped by the hospice. And I obviously have lovely friends and family.

My team also won the prize for best fancy dress – if you know me well, you will have an idea of how happy that made me.

We did the 5km walk around Stanton Park, which is where Samuel’s memorial tree is. It’s a special place for our family. I thought that a team of 6 was pretty good to do the walk, but people kept asking to join us on the day. We had 23 people and 1 dog on the team. It was fabulous to feel so supported by my family and friends. It was such an enjoyable day, and the weather behaved. Not everyone knew each other before the walk, but they all got on well and it was a great atmosphere.

I am so glad that I decided to sign up for the rainbow run your way. I love Charlton Farm and their amazing staff- and hopefully they will be able to support families like mine for many more years.

May is a difficult month, with it being Samuel’s birthday and anniversary of his death – but this was something positive to focus on.

Thank you everyone who joined in and donated.

Grief never goes away,

never gets smaller.

You never get over it.

It’s not a hill.

Your life as one left behind
Goes on, yes.
Memories are made:
New ones
without your loved one.
Sometimes happy,
Sometimes sad,
Sometimes nothing.

It’s possible to have good days,
Smile,
Enjoy coffee.
It’s possible to keep going,
Be busy,
Be sociable.

But grief,
The price that we pay for love,
Never goes away.

Some people will get it,
Without you having to explain,
Many will understand
Without personal experience.
Others will seem to forget,
Or expect you to
Move on and stop making them uncomfortable.
Some will tell you about how
hard their petty problems are,
And you will try to
sympathise,
But the reality is that they have
no idea.

You will lose some friends
Because they can’t deal with your sorrow.
You will make some new friends
Who love you, scars and all.

We don’t wear all black
Or cry every day,
But still
We grieve.

Grief is not a hill to get over.

It’s a path that lasts a lifetime.

Christmas memory baubles

It was 7 days until Christmas, and Leila was extremely excited. She loved Christmas. She loved the presents, she loved the crafts, but most of all she loved having all of her family together and eating too much.


Leila’s Mummy and Daddy had put up the Christmas tree, and Leila and Mummy were making some more decorations for it. They had already made some paper snowflakes and painted some wooden cutouts of the Nativity scene. Now they were working on baubles. These were no ordinary baubles though: they had little photos of their family members inside them. Mummy was cutting out the photographs and Leila was adding decorations like small sparkly stars and glitter, to make them look snowy. It was quite messy.


“Oops!” Leila cried as a pile of glitter landed on the floor. “Sorry Mummy.”


“Oh dear, not again.” Sighed Mummy, reaching for the dust pan and brush for the third time that morning.


“Glitter is quite messy, isn’t it?” Mummy asked.


“Definitely.” Agreed Leila.


Leila was filling up a bauble with a picture of her Gran and Grandad in it. They had big smiles. She put in extra glitter because she loved them very much.


“Mummy, I wish that Arlo could be with us this Christmas.” She said.


“Me too!” Agreed Mummy, reaching over to give Leila a hug.


“I really miss him.” 


“So do Daddy and I. We think about him every day.” Replied Mummy.


“How old would Arlo be now, of he was still alive?” Asked Leila.


“He would be 2 now. Just imagine, he would be getting his fingers in the glitter, and pulling the baubles off the tree!” Answered Mummy.


“Yeah, I think that he would be very cute, but also a mischief.”


“I think so too.” Agreed Mummy.

“Look, here is a photo of you holding Arlo when he was very little. Shall we make this into a special memory bauble?”


“Yes please. I think that it will be the best bauble ever.” Said Leila.


They had some tiny heart stickers, which Leila added to the outside of the bauble to show that it was an extra special one.


When it was finished, Leila held the bauble in her hand and smiled. 


“It’s beautiful.” Said Mummy.
“Sometimes I feel sad when I think that Arlo is missing out on Christmas.” Admitted Leila.


“Me too darling. But we will always remember him and always love him, won’t we? Do you remember that time that he weed all over Daddy when he changed his nappy?” 


“Oh yes, that was hilarious!” Laughed Leila.


Mummy and Leila hung all of the baubles onto the Christmas tree. They all looked good, but the one of Leila and her little brother was especially lovely. A ray of sunshine came in through the window and made it sparkle.
Mummy and Leila looked at each other and smiled. 


“It’s like he’s saying hello.”

Christmas can be a difficult time for bereaved people. If you have been affected by baby or child loss, here are some places that offer support.

https://www.careforthefamily.org.uk/family-life/bereavement-support

https://www.thegoodgrieftrust.org

https://www.sands.org.uk

National Grief Awareness Week: my story

Care for the family, who have a bereaved parents’ group, lead by the lovely Mike and Kath, spoke to me about my experience as a pregnant Mum who knew that her baby would die, and grief after your child has died.

https://www.careforthefamily.org.uk/bereaved-parents/a-very-short-life