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4 YEARS

Four long hard years since you left us to fly with the angels, after only nine and a half years of enjoying your presence in our lives.  At times it only feels like yesterday and at times like today, it feels a lot longer than four years.  Thank God for technology I can still hear your voice and listen to you tales on video.  If I close my eyes really tightly and really concentrate I still feel yours arms around me, but your smell is gone forever and I’m struggling to remember it.

Stay with me baby please I need you my precious bubba

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Another Christmas without you 💔


It’s been nearly 4 months since I’ve written on your blog, my last post was for your birthday.  So much has happened in those months darling. 

I met and fell in love with a lovely man, a good man who looks after me.  On our first date he bought me a beautiful rose made out of feathers.  I felt it was a sign from you my Órla Rose giving your approval.  On our second date I found out his birthday was the day before yours (a day now that I dread every year) and that evening whilst we were standing outside I noticed a little white fluffy feather, my sign from you to let me know your there, directly at his feet.  

We’re on our 6th month together now and I can’t quite believe I feel happiness again.  For a while I felt guilty that I woke up thinking of him and not you but I know you knew that I could never forget you my darling.  We’re making plans for the future and for the first time since you left us I’m looking forward to my future.  I talk about you all the time to him.  I want him to know you and learn how brave and strong you were.  I show him your pictures and let him hear your voice, he comforts me when I’m having a bad day although I know he can’t feel my pain it’s nice to have someone to cuddle & love me again.

It’s approaching Christmas again, our third without you and myself, Jim, grandma, CeCe and Leigh will all be spending it together.  Grandma put her tree up this year as Leigh is more aware of what’s going on around him the first time since you and grandad went to heaven.  This week I put my Órla angel tree up and began selling your Órla Angel key rings and bookmarks for your memorial fund.  It’s cheered me up so much that I actually feel a bit Christmassy.

I hope you and grandad are happy & excited and looking forward to Jesus’s birthday up there.  We will never enjoy Christmas the same ever again without you both but I want you to know that although I miss you everyday bubba I’m ok and living my life to the full.

Till we meet again my angel xxxxxx

    

Happy 12th Birthday

I struggled to begin this post today, last Saturday should have been your 12th birthday with your family and of course we celebrated it with cake and a party (although as you know your mom & gran got so drunk we forgot all about lighting you cake until the next day).

Was it your 12th birthday? Are you 12 my angel or are you forever 9 in heaven? I promised to always celebrate your birthday & try and be happy because that was the  day you blessed us with your life but I’m not sure how I should think of you now as my ever growing nearly teenager? But no that can’t be, do you still grow in heaven? 

I had planned a fancy dinner to raise funds for your memorial page for Cystic Fibrosis, I so wanted to hit that £2000 mark but it all got too much for me and I cancelled it all at the last minute.  Why do I put so much pressure on myself, I feel I should be doing something important on your birthday and doing something in your honour, I want people to say your name & talk about you, I never want you to be forgotten.

So I put party decorations up and blew up balloons and cooked a special dinner for gran, CeCe & baby leighlo, Uncle Pat, Aunty Ann & your cousin Lauryn.  I also had Jim there which I know you would have wanted as you sent him to me.  We released some of your special balloons in the park and tried to fly some lanterns which was a complete disaster but gave us a laugh at the time. 

After hours of dancing to Mike Denver in the front room (I even managed to drag Uncle Pat up for a dance or two) I was told I fell asleep at 3.30 am although I really don’t remember. I think it was safe to say we definitely ‘celebrated’ the day in your honour.

I think I’m choosing to believe that you are forever 9 in heaven and that although your birthday here on earth would have made you older we are just celebrating the 9 years 9 months & 20 days we had you with us.  

Happy Birthday my precious girl, I miss you so much darling but then you know that already.  

Till we meet again.

orlarose.muchloved.com

2 years 19 days

It’s been 2 years 19days since my life changed forever.  My little girl found freedom and was able to breathe easy without anymore pain and I found the courage because of her passing to find my own freedom and break free of an abusive marriage.

So what have I learned in these 2 years 19days?

I have felt pain like I never knew I could feel, heart wrenching gut twisting pain.  I remember feeling pain each time I’d find out my husband had cheated on me and thinking nothing could hurt more than this, then my dad passed away after a short illness and I felt I couldn’t possibly hurt anymore but oh boy was I wrong.  Two brief months later my precious child joined my dad and I was overcome with pain like I’ve never felt.  I could think of nothing else other than wanting to join her in heaven, it was all encompassing and thoughts of being with her wouldn’t leave my head.  If it wasn’t  for my only other child and her finding out she was pregnant the day before Órla left us I know for a fact I would not be here today.

The pain has not eased and I know now it never will.  Life without my youngest child will always be wrong.  I think of her every minute of every day, she is my first and last thought  and if I’m totally honest I’m looking forward to the day I meet her again.  I have no fear of death anymore because it means I get to see my angel but I will not choose this for myself because I know I have another daughter who needs me and also a beautiful grandson.  Only God will decide when I join my baby.

I have also learned to control my grief, I learned fairly quickly that people (especially other mums) don’t want to hear about the pain of losing a child it’s too raw and too terrifying for them to even attempt to understand.  No matter how hard it is I’ve learnt to sit and listen and nod at their children’s achievements without bursting into tears even though my heart is breaking just a little bit more.  Sometimes on low days I search out the people that I didn’t meet through Órla because no matter how close a friend they are it just hurts too much.

I’ve learned to value my own life and realise how precious life is.  After spending 15 years with my first husband who then left unexpectedly and rebounding a mere 3 months later with my 2nd husband and wasting another 15 years on an abusive relationship I’ve finally found my own worth and realise I am complete on my own and don’t need a man by my side. I enjoy life to the full and think in the here and now.

I’ve learnt to take life as it comes, value the friendships I have and not waste time on negative people.  I’ve become more selfish with my time.  My time is precious and I’m not willing to waste anymore of it.

I’ve learned to take chances and opportunities with life, none of us know if our tomorrow comes.

All of this I attribute to the loss of my daughter, she made me realise how lucky I am to have to still have life and not to take it for granted.

I love and miss you bubba as much today as the day you left me 2 years 19 days ago.  I will be forever greatful that you chose me as your mummy and graced me with those 9 precious years.  You taught me so much in your short life and continue to teach me in your death.

Till we meet again xxx


Órla’s Carriage

I was kindly asked to write a piece for my friend Kate Hamilton at mourningcross.com I thought I’d share with all.
When my daughter Órla was diagnosed with a terminal illness aged 7 years my world was turned upside down. A very quick 24 months later and I knew I was spending the last summer with my precious baby.

During those last few weeks I thought a lot about her funeral, in fact I could think about nothing else, I needed to plan and organise and keep my mind busy.

I researched palliative care and what to expect. I choose songs that I wanted played during her funeral. I decided what she would wear & which favourite items would go in her coffin. It then came to the choice of coffin.

I had buried my father two months previous to Órla and looking at choices available I desperately needed a sign from him that this was ‘the one’ he would want but alas they all appeared cold, dark and melancholy. In the end we choose one that was named Stanley the name of the company my father had worked for most of his life.

When it came to Órla I wanted to be prepared, I wanted her final resting place to be quirky and funny just like my little girl. I wanted pretty & girly not dark woods and cold brass handles. I wanted something very personal so that her last send off was about me & her and no one else.

It seems that a lot of people are feeling the same way and the variety of different coffins available have increased immensely in the last few years. We have wicker, wool, bamboo to mention a few and then there’s the Eco coffins and cardboard variety.

It was whilst browsing I noticed a ‘decorate yourself’ cardboard coffin. I knew straight away that this was what I was looking for, it couldn’t get anymore personalised.  

When the day came that Órla passed I was dreading the coffin arriving, I wasn’t ready for her to leave her bed, her room. The coffin was placed on wheels in my kitchen, suddenly the blank white box I choose seemed like a mammoth task that I had to undertake when I was at my lowest. When we were all at our lowest but it had to be done, so we began drawing, painting, sticking.

What I never imagined was how therapeutic and calming it was. All three of us put Órla’s favourite characters, pictures and sayings around the sides of the coffin. Our two cats meanwhile climbed on top and inside also wanting to be part of it. We played loud music that Órla loved, we reminisced about the past, we laughed, we cried, we drank and we even danced over the following 24 hours in our kitchen in between popping in to see Órla in her bed in the next room. 

By the time her carriage was ready (we no longer saw it as a coffin) we were ready to say goodbye to our beautiful girl. All three of us felt we did her proud.  

Órla had no big funeral, no traditional wake just very immediate family. She was a very special girl and never liked people around her so our work was not to be paraded about but then that was never our intention, we just wanted a more personal resting place but what we ended up with was an amazing experience that we shall never forget.

orlarose.muchloved.com

Dearest Daddy

    
I want to dedicate this post to my wonderful dad whose anniversary falls today. 

We have been 2 years exactly without him now and though it seems strange to say, I am so very grateful to my dad for leaving us when he did for little did I know my beautiful Órla Rose would depart this earth a short few weeks later.

My dad was my hero and I was very much a ‘daddy’s girl’.  I was the one who waited up for him to come home after working late.  I was the one who enjoyed getting him his soda stream drinks and making cornbeef and onion sandwiches for him.  I was the one who went to mass twice on a Sunday so I could get to hold his hand all to myself when he went to evening mass.  I was always the one to go to collect him at the airport with mum when he was on a business trip.  I craved his attention and as I got older was desperate to make him proud of me.

He was an odd man my dad, who didn’t like to mix with lots of people and was very particular about who he allowed in his company.  He didn’t suffer fools gladly and those who didn’t know him may think he was rude and ignorant but for those of us he let into his world knew that he had one of the biggest hearts a person could have.  He loved his family and life for him was about his mum & dad, his wife and his 3 children and his grandchildren as the years went on.

No problem was ever too big for my dad I always knew he would try and fix everything for me to the best of his ability.  As I got older my dad became my confidante, my advisor, my councellor and one of my closest friends and I looked forward to our Friday night chats over a few drinks putting the world to rights.

  
When Órla was diagnosed with autism aged 4 years he began researching it online and when 3 years later she was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis he was my first point of contact if I had any concerns.

He was diagnosed a short time earlier himself with pulmonary fibrosis and set about starting a healthy regime and indeed for two years we were all fooled into believing that it might just be ok.  It was not to be, in Jan 2014 my dad was taken into hospital with what we believed was odema but turned out to be heart failure.  He spent 2 very long weeks in hospital being poked and prodded and then came home to spend the next few weeks being cared for by myself and my mum.

During this time myself & Órla moved in to my mum and dads house to help and both dad & Órla could be heard coughing away both asking how the other was.  On 22nd March dads journey ended and almost immediately Órla’s health deteriorated so my mum came to live with me to help care for her.  On 16th June Órla lost her battle and joined my dad in heaven.

It was only then that the full realisation sank in for mum & myself that they had both gone.  My one huge comfort was knowing that my dad was there to meet my daughter when she passed over and knowing she is with him still gives me great comfort.

  
Dad I cannot thank you enough for being my daddy and looking out for me and mine right to the very end.  

Till we meet again