Monthly Archives: April 2017


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The Journey There are times I think to myself ‘will I ever be finished?’ I want and plan to do so many things, some I have accomplished others remain elusive yet I keep striving to be what I think I can be, where I think I ought to be. It is a constant battle convincing myself that I am making progress, somedays it is slow, sometimes no forward steps at all and I begin to question myself, am I expecting too much from myself? Are my goals unrealistic? Is it possible to achieve everything I have set out to do? Is success meant to determine my worth? Does one stop or keep pushing in the face of failure. These are a few of the concerns of the average person I on the other hand, have felt this way for a long time. During times of success, you ride high on the wave of self-accomplishment and expect every area of your life to at least be this successful and then one disappointment brings your world crashing down, back to the harsh reality that it is not always rosy. Life has its crazy way of halting you when you have a spring in your step on your way to conquer the world, when you are ahead and ready to make history by breaking already set standards. Life will make you acknowledge that you are not always in control, you can plan all you want, execute as ruthlessly as possible and yet your outcome can still fall short of 100 percent. This is not to say that you should give up rather you suck it up and continue striving to maintain and even surpass previous performances. Last year was one of those years, many projects started and some of them not turning out to be as successful as I had hoped. I felt down for a while but as always, I found a way to bounce back and keep working to improve results and to accomplish set out targets. The new year is here ripe with new opportunities, expectations, old and new projects to complete or begin. It would be advisable to hit the ground running but most importantly don’t start your year without a masterplan. Take time to reflect, see where you are now, appreciate your journey because that is the best way to look at it, ‘a journey’. See how far you have come and how much more effort is required to see you to the finish line. Here are some tips to improve your productivity this year; Stay focused, don’t let the noise in. it is a very noisy world we live in but you must be able to filter it all. Be in your own space always. choose your goal and break it down into smaller manageable tasks. Yes, you want to walk on the moon this year, it may seem daunting or even impossible but if you start chipping off at that massive rock little by little you would make a lot of progress eventually. monitor your progress regularly and adjust if necessary. Remember to be flexible in your approach. seek information everywhere you are, always strive to find something new that you didn’t know about. This is the only way you keep growing by learning as you go. If you apply these tips and the many more you can come up with, there is certainly no limit to what you can achieve this year and in the future. I am here, not where I was last year, not where I want to be yet but HERE and I would enjoy the journey and I am proud of my progress, you should be too. You may also like others from this series About the author : Ezimen is a professional in the daytime. He loves writing, travelling and having fun! Do you know that you can now submit a post like this? To find out how, click here. Perhaps you fancy reading from others in the community? Find other articles here. Thank you Photo credit : Pixabay

The Journey …by Ezimen


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This series was created to share with our readers the thoughts and emotions of a grieving parent dealing with the monumental tragedy of losing a child. Enjoy! TOO SOON TO MOVE ON I woke up this morning feeling like I could take on the world…. However, somewhere along the line, as the day went along, I soon lost all my mojo, All I really wanted was to just have an early night. The problem though, was that it was just noon and nowhere near bedtime. That was how it felt sometimes… on days when I entered grieve mode. Personally, the weekends are the hardest for me. Weekends used to be the highlight of the week for my family until a few weeks ago when Fred decided it was time to begin his exit from this planet. It was the one time all the boys used be together. I remember fond memories with all of us in the little room that was Fred’s cubicle on the hospital ward. Fred, darling Fred… without a care in the world. Mark?  …he would attend the activity centre where he loved to play. Karl and I? …we mostly watched movies to pass the time. We later converged before the end of the day to take Fred on walks as soon as the nurses thought he could be taken out for the day. I honestly would not have done anything differently about our family time. It was so ordinary, yet so special. Now since he passed, the weekends have become quieter. No stressful trips to London. No looking for what to entertain the boys with. No changing diapers. No listening to Fred’s music for the umpteenth time….No stress! That is good right? Well, that was our normal, our routine and “our thing”. This new normal was something I had desired for so long and had given up on ever experiencing. This new normal feels strange without Fred in it. I still feel so apprehensive about settling back into normalcy. I feel like it’s too good to be true. I know that it isn’t and I am teaching myself to relax more. I am trying to unlearn having to wake up constantly to do Fred related chores- diapers, medicines, feeds, safety… I am trying to unlearn being on alert every minute. There are so many normal things that have become strange to me now, but… I am taking baby steps trying to learn to be normal again. Some friends have been asking me “what next?” …. As a matter of fact, make that … everyone asking me and being on my case! I know they mean well and I probably need the nudge but it feels so wrong to treat my Fred…my pain… like a chapter in a book that should be snapped shut. Well I don’t want to. I want to linger on…fiddling with that chapter. I know I shouldn’t but it seems so disloyal to let go and simply…move on as all propose. Did he mean so little that I should move on so easily?The ripples from the blow life dealt me when she decided in her infinite wisdom to let Fred slip away are still so profound that they are still spreading through my every vein… my every heartbeat… my every step. All I want is to savour and hold on to it for that bit longer because they are all I now have left… I know I should be thinking about what my next move should be in this new normal. However, somewhere in my head, I think it is too soon. It just seems so unfair after all the special times we shared with our son that we would just move on so easily and so quickly. I am trying to clutch at them. Sadly as much as I would like to stay melancholy, my brain is moving on faster than I would want it to. That too is a good thing as well right? I have found sleep to be my trusty companion. It helps get me well rested and more refreshed to take on each day. It is just that the weekends are so quiet…. I am going to talk to Karl about this today. I will find out if he is experiencing these emotions too. You never know. Do they not say a problem shared is halved? Perhaps we can find new ways to fill up the silence that is quickly filling up our weekends. The weather is getting warmer too, so perhaps we could even go out on our family walks again. Find new ground because I am not sure that we can possibly pick up from where we left off even if we tried. So if you are out there, trying to cope with the devastating loss of a loved one, I want you to know that we can all get through this! Thank you for reading

Death at my door D.A.M.D (Musings of a grieving parent) Part 5 – TOO SOON TO MOVE ON



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Having a sick child may mean that you have to accept many bitter pills concerning your child. One of such bitter pills is your child’s development. Every parent who has a child knows that one of the joys of parenthood is witnessing the attainment of various milestones by their child. It seems like the most natural thing to expect from a growing child. The beauty of beholding the newborn and watching them blossom as the months go by creates lasting memories that parents capture, share and treasure. Unfortunately, the incidence of sickness means that some families are robbed of this . It is a devastating blow for all parents in this category. From new parents who never get to experience these emotions to experienced parents who experience a certain kind of grief for their child. The existence of other children earlier born in the home means that there is a constant unconscious tendency to compare the inabilities of the sick child against the abilities of other existing siblings. Though not deliberate, this mental exercise can leave the carer in a state of grief and helplessness. For the new parent, this blissful ignorance is taken for granted. One of the impacts of lots of hospitalisation early in a child’s life is that the child misses the opportunity to experience the freedom of trial and error offered to them by being able to roam freely in their natural habitat- home. Children in hospital find themselves confined to beds, cots, playrooms and generally- four walls. This affects all children in different ways irrespective of their physical abilities. Even where physically able to explore, the restrictions imposed on them may be the only way to safely administer all that they require to be nursed back to health. For the more delicate and less able children, these restrictionss and their physical inability to explore their surroundings further compound the issues affecting their development. Thankfully not all children with life long illnesses have to remain hospitalised. Some recover as they grow while others are managed at home with medication, care and experience. Irrespective of the category Sick children later fall into, the long stays in hospital take their toll on early development. Some escape with mild delays that leave them playing catch up with their peers while others remain severely delayed. Speech delays, movement delays, feeding delays, social and communication delays are not uncommon. It is therefore important as a parent carer to be prepared in terms of your expectation from your sick child. While parent carers seldom admit that they set high expectations for their sick children, their sadness at their children’s inabilities can be interpreted as such. Here are a few strategies that a Parent carer might find useful in helping them deal with their feelings of sadness and helplessness concerning their child’s development; Give your child time : As highlighted earlier, children require time to recover from the effects of frequent hospitalisation early in life. Even older children who become unwell and needing frequent hospitalisation also suffer from these same effects. They deal with feelings of shock and uncertainty about the future. They also have little understanding about the effects of the new diagnosis on their lives. Parent carers need to give enough time for things to settle after their sick children are discharged for some of the effects of hospital long stays to wear off. For example A recuperating child who may be finding it difficult to settle back into routines at home may be seen as becoming difficult. Parents and carers also need to give themselves time to understand the full implications of the prognosis for their child’s future health, development and general well being. The dust always settles in the end and every family always finds a way that will work for them as long as they stay calm and patient through the whole process. Try to avoid comparison : The growth and development of a child can sometimes feel like a race. Children appear to constantly face comparisons because their levels of development seem to be constantly measured based on scales and milestones. In reality, these scales and milestones should only be guides as they are derived from averages and do not reflect the differences inherent in the vast population of children’s statistics from which they are derived. More importantly, when a child is sick or recovering, these scales should not apply. Every child is different. Even two children with the same condition may be affected differently by the illness. Therefore to cope better with the possibilities regarding a child’s development, it may be a good idea to view your child individually and measure their progress based on what they were previously able to achieve so that even the most infinitesimal progress can be celebrated. If comparisons are necessary, then they have to be fair and be from a category that the sick-child actually falls under. Do not be too hard on yourself : It is quite common as a parent to beat yourself up about everything relating to your child. This is usually more on parent carers or any parent under any form of stress as a result of the pressure imposed on them by virtue of their position as parent carers. Parent carers may experience sadness because they feel like they are constantly comparing their child one minute and not comparing them enough the next minute. These feelings are very normal. Every parent wants the best for their child. It is quite normal and natural to look up and see how we are faring against others and just because you are a parent carer, you are not exempted from this feeling. What is really not normal is for a child to be unwell and so this is why your child is falling behind. You have to come to terms with this in your own time and at your own pace. While getting to the point of understanding your child, try not to spend most of the time beating […]

Hospital life : Worried about your child’s development


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This series was created to share with our readers the thoughts and emotions of a grieving parent dealing with the monumental tragedy of losing a child. Enjoy! THE SPRING CLEAN Our spring clean this year was long overdue and today we decided to start with a clean up of all our phones and devices. The main reason for this as the primary starting point was that unlike other areas that needed a proper clear-out in our lives- given the events of the last few weeks, our devices were the most volatile and dis-organised. We had many pictures and videos which had suddenly evolved from being mere captured moments to becoming treasured moments. The demise of our son two months earlier, meant that he stopped being captured in our moments from then on. Our devices unfortunately were subject to loss or damage. We had to hold on to every memory we could milk off them. There seemed to be a sense of urgency in carrying out the clear-out although I honestly could not tell why. Although having the memories stored in this way kept them to hand, they unfortunately also made us stumble into our son’s videos or pictures very suddenly. Such sudden appearances of his images were sometimes welcomed and comforting but at other times they were very upsetting depending on the state of mind we were in. It became necessary to keep them safe elsewhere. That way we could reach them when we felt readier to confront them. It also had another alluring advantage of freeing up the space in our devices thus creating room for us to capture even more memories as life sadly went on. Interestingly, something happened as we sorted through our devices. Our emotions swung into overdrive. What we did not bargain for were the surge of emotions that came flooding out as we sorted through each memory that each image or video we came across pulled into our consciousness. What started off as an innocent exercise began turning into a gruelling experience for us all. In no time we were in bits. We thought we were doing well and feeling strong emotionally since our loss or why else would we have felt courageous enough to begin this exercise? Each memory seemed to stick us right into a lane in our memories where we stood watching each event depicted by the capture photograph or video unfolding. We wished we recorded each event more or better still that we started the recording earlier. We filled in all the blanks in our minds as we relived each moment with our late son in those photographs. We confronted the foolishness in the dreams we revisited as we remembered nursing them when those images were captured. Would that we could have known what lay just a few years, months, weeks or even days ahead from when we took those snapshots! Our  activity today made me feel like a child pulling at scabs, fascinated by their appearance and yet not knowing the pain that lay ahead after pulling sweetly at it. The allure of curiosity overshadowing all common sense. I wondered if there was even any wisdom in capturing so many images as one walked through life. I questioned the sense in storing them. I missed the power of depending on only the mind to recall memories as was quite customary before all this technology. A time when memories in our hearts faded away with the passage of time until they lost their potency as painful reminders and reduced to just a dull ache. I toyed with the idea of deleting them all but I knew better than to make any decisions while overcome with emotion. As we all tried to get through each last image, I could see us all crumbling but pulling each other along as we talked through the different emotions we were going through. My little strong son Mark said he wished his late brother Fred could visit us sometimes. He made this painful wish in his usual innocent way. My broken heart ground to a pulp as I explained the impossibility of his simple request. He claimed to understand as he sat on my lap in silence while we all put each memory away in the file we had opened in the removable hard drive. With the last one done for the day, we heaved a sigh of relief. The dull absence of the sunshine to warm our hearts clouded up what was left of our day not only in the literal sense but in every way. Afterwards, we switched on some happier songs on the sound system to tune us out of the emotions we had just unexpectedly confronted, I saw again how we began to brighten up even without any sunshine in sight. The torch of hope was kindled again as we swayed to the beats. We knew the importance of letting life go on. One foot in front of the other, one day at a time would mean that surely one day soon the memories would not hurt so badly. We had to trust as we always did that there was nothing without reason. Our boy Fred was safe in the place where not even the pain of his disease could ever get him. So here I am standing between the isles in a shop where I came to as an excuse to get some air. I am staring blankly and wondering if I would ever open that hard drive ever again? I know I am as curious as a cat and won’t resist but that will have to be sometime in the future when I too feel far away from today, far away from the pain, far away from the emotional drain…. Thank you for your time. Hope you can join me again next time! Just so you know, there was Part 3 last week. Click here to catch up. You may also like to read other articles like this. They can […]

Death at my door D.A.M.D (Musings of a grieving parent) Part 4 – THE SPRING CLEAN



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GETTING HELP – A RIGHT OR A PRIVILEGE? One of the weird things in life is the realisation that you are on your own. You see, it’s not that there are no systems in place to support people in distress and in great need. One must never lose sight of the fact that whatever situation you find yourself the problem remains YOURS. When you are not in difficulty, you find so many people pledging their undying support for you through thick and thin. At times for some who are lucky, they do get the support they need. But for others, they only get some help, no help or useless help (in essence ,not the kind of help they need!). In less developed societies people grow up with the realisation that help may not be around the corner. It is imprinted and stamped into their thinking faculty. There are no assumptions. Most people grow up with so much political and economical instability that survival of the fittest becomes the order of the day. However, in advanced societies especially here in the UK, most people grow up with the knowledge that help is always around the corner. People will help, the system will help and government even factors “help” into their plans. These helpful plans are not only made but also implemented. With all this culture of assistance, some many believe that being helped is their right and that their problems should be shared with everyone else. To them it becomes a crime if this help is not forthcoming or existent. Arguments exist about this subject matter and rightly so for various reasons. I want us to focus on the fact that whether we get help or not the difficulties we face in life remain OURS. Armed with this realisation sometimes, we can cope better with these hard times. We learn to cope in an I-have-to-come-out-stronger kind of way. Sometimes accepting the situation helps us to be better equipped especially psychologically to deal with them. It makes us more prepared to ask the right questions about our situation. Thereby leading us to solutions and strategies to help us live with or manage during the hard times. So while we may be going through a rough patch now we still have to find a way to carry on. No one can suggest or advise on how to find the best way through any challenge. However, we cannot go wrong by taking things one minute at a time, one hour at a time and one day at a time until we get to a point where we can look back and see how far we have come from the challenge. People around us can only help us temporarily or a bit long-term by setting things in motion to provide support. Unfortunately that’s all they can do. The buck still stops with us. We are still the ones who have to live with our circumstances. We have to find ways to pull ourselves up every day, forge ahead, take one small decision at a time. We also have to make sensible choices within the limits imposed on us by our circumstances. At times it is not feasible to get all the help we need. The system is not always able to provide all the support that will wipe away our difficulties. This occurs when the problems we face are either too enormous or a bit unclear. It is not still a reason to lose hope. If we cannot find the help we need, we must learn to use the help we find. Complaining less while adopting a calm disposition from the onset may avail us the opportunity to use what is available early enough to give some relief to our situation. It may be possible to access the rest of the help elsewhere. Perhaps through support groups, charities, the Internet and so on. It is a waste of energy to keep getting upset with people when all the help that can be offered has not only been offered but has also been accessed by us. It just means nothing more can be done for us. We need to start looking for other options early. If you live in the UK, you can always get assistance through various agencies set up to help people passing through difficulties. The Citizens advice bureau is a good place to start. They can signpost you to other agencies or groups that can offer support. You can access this service for free. You can also visit the government website as it is loaded with lots of information that you may find relevant. For those outside the UK, look out for agencies that provide advice and support in your country. Trusted family and friends are also a good place to start when you feel stuck. No matter your circumstance, do not lose hope. Help is never in short supply. The extent of help you get may be difficult to cover all you need. At least a little help is better than no help at all. Thank you for reading. You may also like to read other articles like this. They can be found here. Photo credit : Pixabay    

GETTING HELP – A RIGHT OR A PRIVILEGE?


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This series was created to share with our readers the thoughts and emotions of a grieving parent dealing with the monumental tragedy of losing a child. Enjoy! BACK IN TIME I keep walking… I keep taking one step after another. I keep putting one foot in front of the other. Sometimes it feels like I can feel my feet being printed in the ground as I take each step.   I walk for dear life. I walk to keep you near It’s the one thing we used to share. I can’t stop myself.   And then came a comforting thought as I walked today….   Perhaps all I need to do is retrace my footsteps. Perhaps all I need is to walk backwards. Perhaps 6 million steps back is all it will take. To get me back to the time when you were here.   I would probably need to walk back in time till I find myself … Till I find myself pushing you along the path we used to thread together. With my eyes closed I can feel your little hand in mine. I can see your big eyes looking up at me. Asking me to lead you on as only I could do.   Come along my love and I will take you to the place you loved. I will guide you to your place of freedom. The place you wanted to be all along….   Now all I have is your song. With your song I make that journey every day. With its melodious tune I am guided back to the time When you were here right next to me humming along.   Now all is quiet but right here in my heart you are never silent. I can feel your presence near. On the strings of the cords that you played. I can see the marks that your fingers made.   I want you back! O how it hurts so…. But to have you back will be to wish more pain on you. My only wish is for you to fly free. Sometimes it’s hard, most times it’s easy   To see your face in the memories we carved on still paper. Feels like my heart is being stabbed with a dagger. But catching that glimpse gives me every reason to be strong It makes me long for you but keeps my heart warm on cold nights.   How can all of life point to the exit sign? How come all we have is a box full of memories? How do you pack up a man’s life in a box? How come it all fits in even though you were larger than life?   But back in time my love is where  I know I have to go Back in time is where you live Back in time is where I go when I want to be with you Sleep sweetly my love…. Thank you for reading. Just so you know, there was Part 2 last week. Click here to catch up. You may also like to read other articles like this. They can be found here. Photo Credit: Pixabay.

Death at my door D.A.M.D (Musings of a grieving parent) Part 3 – BACK IN TIME



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I have now stayed over one year in the hospital with Fred and a whole lot has happened since then. There have been tears, laughter, sadness but most importantly, hope. Just “good old hope” about positive outcomes or at least finding the positive sides to our outcomes whatever they may be. One very interesting should I say side effect of the whole hospital experience has been that I have become more “hospitaley” than I would like to admit. I can now exist in chaos; beeping machines and screaming toddlers make up the sound track of my life. I have turned into an art waiting an art. Somehow I have become less fussed about dates and postponements, they always come in the end no matter how far they are thrown. One less part is that I can now eat bad tasteless food. I can eat fast foods, bad food, good food and you would never tell from my face. My taste buds are as bad as my ears to less than desirable foods and sounds. I have also conveniently forgotten how to do house chores, live at home and be normal. Our life has been quite split into hospital and domestic. Karl handles the domestic side expertly ( and for that I feel blessed and remain thankful) while I handle the hospital side. It has been working for us. Fantastically, I must add because as “Adam Smith” said – division of labour leads to specialisation. Karl and I have become gurus in our chosen fields. Sadly the downside is that I have now honestly forgotten how to handle the domestic side. One of the mums on the ward calls it “being institutionalised”. I can still cook (that will take more than a year to get de-skilled) and that but when I say I have forgotten the domestic side, I mean, I now experience a feeling of apprehension when it is my turn to stay at home with Mark. I find I secretly can’t wait to leave. No one notices this but deep down, i know my brain will rather do what it has now become used to – cleaning beds, clearing up vomits , chanting nursery rhymes, making sure Fred is fine. It is stressful but it has become my new normal. I can’t seem to find where things are kept when I am at home. I can’t get over how much Mark has grown. He sees through our white lies (which by the way are meant to be my parent secret tools). One year is a long time in a child’s developmental clock and it seems like a shame to feel a sense of loss. There is always time to do something. Many parents with sick children especially those who have long admissions can relate with this. There are some ways to try to overcome this hurdle: Communicate: If you feel left out of the lives and routines of the family, it may be time to have this discussion with your partner or one who shares the care of your family with you. Keeping your frustrations bottled up may not allow you find solutions. It may fuel your helplessness. For those without partners or who are single parents, it may be a good time to speak with HCPs or social services. They are there to provide support and signpost you to other services that can assist you. Swapping: It may be a good idea to consider swapping. By swapping I mean allowing a partner, family member or person of trust swap places with you for a few hours or days at a time depending on what is available. No matter how little the time off is, it will still be helpful. Some local authorities provide only a few clustered hours of care depending on the family needs and what is available. Do not decline help except you are sure that it is not really suitable. My rule of thumb is to accept anything I get to enable me consider my options before declining I find it is easier than declining and later realising it may be a good idea to avoid disappointment. Maximise the quality of time spent with the rest of the family as the time at your isposl may vary and be limited, it is not such a bad idea for you to plan the activities you intend spending with your other children or family members. Remember that if you only plan to do anything, you may end up doing nothing. Also, having a plan will endear positive sentimentality towards you. It will make other family members or children feel important and cared for. The siblings of sick children normally feel neglected. Little steps towards improving the quality of the time you share with them can help foster family unity which in turn can be stress relieving for the caregiver. Don’t feel guilty: As long as you have made adequate arrangements for the care of your sick child, there is no need to feel guilty about the time you take from caring for your them. Guilt is emotionally exhausting. It also robs you off the enjoyment of the short time you have to spend with the rest of your family. It can make you appear absent minded and unhappy to be with the family. The other siblings can pick up this from you and in some cases resent you for it especially when they can compare your mood and demeanour and find a sharp contrast between your behaviour with them and the sick child. You deserve a break. Spending time with the rest of the family is good and healthy for you. It can make you happy. Happiness impacts positively on your overall well-being as a person. When your well-being is improved, you can feel refreshed and rejuvenated, becoming the best carer you can be. Make time to rest: resting can help lighten your mood and leave you feeling less stressed. Time spent with the rest of the […]

Hospital Life- The past year


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Those of us who spend longer than the normal time in the hospital know that it becomes inevitable that new “weird” associations become formed. It becomes normal to be intertwined in the lives of the doctors, nurses and staff looking after your child. As much as these health professionals will prefer to keep all dealings with parents strictly professional they seldom do. Such a feat is only easily implemented and achieved with parents that embark on flying visits to the hospital with their children or loved ones. However, for the rest of us who have become co-opted into the “lifetime users’ league” (if ever we had an office) of the hospital wards, this is simply impossible. Daily we witness and are privileged to share different milestones with these health professionals. They become like family to us. Some undergo their training placements and begin being supervised. Others progress into the next level, getting signed off by using our children as learning vessels while we watch them grow in confidence. In no time, and right before our  own eyes, they become qualified doctors, nurses, healthcare assistants and so on. Similarly, sometimes we are privileged to snoop out some of the gossip. Some become married,  divorced or even pregnant. Others go on maternity leave, holidays and secondments. These various experiences bring with them different emotions that we as parents become privileged to share in mostly by virtue of our perpetual presence. We then experience some of these highs and lows with them. They in turn become our friends, standing by us emotionally when we are sad. Since our moods determine how we deal better with the challenges we face as parent carers, they make it their duty to scoop out some of our personal gossip and help us work through some of our challenges. They are happy when our children improve and shed a tear when they get worse. The funniest is the bittersweet feeling they experience when we finally get discharged. We imagine that they are sad to see us go but happy that the child is well because  they know the family will finally enjoy some stability while it lasts. On the day I wrote this article, it was the day many of the doctors finished their placements in our hospital. Many of them got transferred to other hospitals. I imagined it to be our turn to experience the same bittersweet emotions. Unfortunately, the finality of these exits unlike the type of emotions ours evoked in them brought with it a sense of quiet dimness. In our case, we were always expected to return. However, in their case, it was final. I felt truly happy and privileged to have known many of them, yet sad to see them go. It was a career growth for them and a good thing. I knew however that it was going to take me time to adjust to. My son although oblivious of these as a result of his health constraints was caught up in a net of endless cuddles and coos which he seemed to endure. He hated being smothered but on that day we made an exception and permitted a squish here and a squash there. They wished they could take him along. Clearly he had left an impression on them and hopefully his zest for life would be theirs to remember forever (especially now with his abrupt exit). As for one of his favourite nurses, her departure was especially felt by me. It was a big blow because when we started to say goodbye it was only because we thought she was off on holiday. Sadly, the cat was let out of the bag when I found  her getting extra cuddles from her colleagues. That was when I realised that her departure, like the doctors’ was final. Our sweet nurse was off to pastures new, pursuing her dream of a lifetime. She was part of the team that looked after Fred at birth when he was diagnosed. The thought of saying goodbye to her felt like a snip to the umbilical bond that I attached to her endless presence. She was meticulous, professional and had an unrivalled sense of attention to the minutest detail. It was our loss but certainly a huge gain to the new hospital. As for one of the doctors who I like to think of as Fred’s favourite in an ironical sense, he had grown to endure her endless cuddles until he began to expect them. He stroked her hair and smiled sometimes to show his approval of her. We all knew that to be a big deal in Fred’s books. It feels like the end of an era when I think of it now. Like Dorothy said in Wizard of Oz,  “people come and go so quickly here”. It is the cycle of life. Everything keeps moving. People keep coming and going in different ways. These were people who formed a big chapter in the story of our lives. It is this chapter that was forced shut by the events of the last couple of weeks. Now we have to look ahead towards meeting new people, creating new relationships, and experiencing new challenges in not only our hospital life but in our life as a whole. So here’s a big cheer to you all… Our crew! We wish you all the very best of luck for the future. May the sun always shine down with a smile for you all. Thank you for all your efforts. The battle is now over for Fred but it was a blessing to have had your input for as long as we did. Ciao! or as they say in the movies “Astada vista!”. So amidst these cheers and tears of joy I ask you … Have you ever had to say goodbye to some of those in the care team for your child or loved one? Thank you for reading. If you enjoyed reading this, you may also enjoy some other […]

Hospital life: Saying goodbye to some of your Child’s team members.



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This series was created to share with our readers the thoughts and emotions of a grieving parent dealing with the monumental tragedy of losing a child. Enjoy! ACTUALLY BURYING MY SON I had times were my thoughts were marred by the inconceivable idea of committing him to earth. I thought all sorts. I had all sorts of images about the decomposing and loneliness down there in the grave. As a mum, I felt subdued, helpless and on the receiving end. That was when I decided that I had to take back control of my thoughts. I could not let them control me. I like to think that we experience our thoughts. If we begin to think there is a snake in the room, even though it is not a statement of fact, we soon begin to feel scared or unsettled. I did not want to lose control of my feelings. One of the reasons why death is scary is because unlike most experiences, there are stories about those experiences from those who have been through them that can either throw more light on them, reassure us or scare us. With their accounts, we begin to separate fact from fiction and ultimately gain more understanding about the issue. Death is one experience that by virtue of its finality remains a mystery. No one has actually come back from being dead to tell us about what it is like. There are no real tangible facts. All the facts that exist are intangible explanations that require more than the five senses to make sense of. People tend to adopt a “faith” to help make sense of it. Sadly not everyone has a faith to help.The uncertainty surrounding the death experience fuels anxiety leading to various reactions to death. Shock, fear, grief, loss, anger, confusion and the list is endless. We as humans are made to make sense of things by mirroring them with our past experiences. This helps us understand. So if I tell you that I broke my leg, you are most likely going to remember (draw on a past experience) where you either broke your leg (experienced yourself), nursed someone with a broken leg, or knew someone who broke their leg (experienced by proxy). Either way, you will tend to understand better because you have felt that sort of pain before. Unfortunately, no death experience is felt by any of us directly, it always happens to someone else. This means that we can only make sense of death by thinking about it in the way we can understand. We may worry about how the deceased feels. In my case I worried about my boy being “lonely” in his grave, I worried about his skin “decomposing” and looking horrible. I worried about him being “trapped”, not moving etc… all these are characteristics that affect people who are alive and really nothing to do with the dead. A dead person can feel nothing and therefore can sense nothing because all life is gone from the deceased. The things that lead up to death are a process that release the person into the state of being…. dead. For some the events that lead to their death are peaceful, for others they are tragic. Either way, without these processes, death will not occur. They will then stay alive, just like the rest of us who they have left behind. It is only if the deceased was alive that they would experience the feelings of pain, love, laughter, joy, sorrow, worry and so on. It is important to try to consciously stop trying to make sense of the feelings of the body of a dead person. To stop worrying about how the dead “feel”. That word “feel” is a word that only makes sense when you are “not dead”. The deceased that we think about are in essence “dead” and therefore have no need or ability to feel things. They can neither feel anything on their physical bodies like wounds or decay nor can they feel any emotions like pain or loneliness for example. I prefer to experience a feeling beyond what my senses can call factual to help release me from being imprisoned in by grief. You can think of the dead as free from pain, disease (in my son’s case), free of being limited by whatever circumstance held them down while they lived. It may help you experience happiness amidst the sorrow. It also does not make any factual sense … which is the whole idea of this line of thought. Being dead cannot make sense beyond the lifelessness of the deceased that is left behind for us to deal with. To enter into any understanding about death, we have to find that way to connect interiorly in our being either through faith or deep spiritual exercises. As this may be a feat possible for only monks and mystics, I am afraid, we may be better of leaving the dead well alone. I also saw my son one last time before he was committed to earth and although `I had built myself up for a disastrous experience, it was one of the most emancipating experiences of my life. He had began to transition into a state of oneness with Mother Earth. There was no trace of resemblance with my beautiful boy. He was simply gone! It helped me free him in my heart to be buried. You know when he initially died, he still looked so beautiful and peaceful in the chapel of rest where he lay. Somewhere in my head, it kept feeling like he would wake up. I knew he could not because he was gone but it did not stop me wishing.This increased my anxiety about having him buried. I felt a lot of comfort knowing he was in the mortuary. In my mind, I could only feel comforted that he was “asleep” in death … in that cool fridge. Sadly my emphasis in that statement was on the “asleep” not on […]

Death at my door D.A.M.D (Musings of a grieving parent) Part 2 – THE COURAGE TO SAY GOODBYE


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Do you feel like you lack the punch life needs? Haha…welcome aboard! That’s what I thought when I was a little girl. I was not born strong…I am not really sure anyone was born strong to be honest. Living life is the journey that makes or breaks you. Think about it this way, you will never realise how much you have grasped a course or subject until you are tested. No matter how much you read and rehearse it, there is no simulation that can perfectly mimic the exam day. The tension and adrenaline rush,the uncertainty surrounding what the question might possibly be ….chai! Nothing prepares you for that part unless you sit the exam. In the exam hall, the panic attack can make you fail the exam not even the lack of knowledge. The beauty of that failure is that you can use it as a stepping stone for further preparation and subsequent success. That’s the opportunity that life gives us. In living life everyday, we are confronted with many situations that prepare us for many things that lie ahead in future. We may never realise all we have deposited within us until the need arises to use them. Have you ever heard yourself say this before: ” I wonder how you coped? or I am not sure I would have survived it if that happened to me?” Well if it’s any consolation, I have said that too. The thought about an event or possibility of an event that lies ahead can be more draining than the actual occurrence of the event. That is just because when the brain is not thrown into a situation, it can overthink it to a state of panic. It goes into overdrive and tends to think the worst in preparation for the event. That can leave a person totally drained and overwhelmed by an event that has not even occurred. Well the good news is that you are not alone. All I can tell you today is to be strong in your mind. Stay trusting yourself and you will not fail. If I tell you today that I trust you to smash that interview won’t you believe it? Or tell you that I trust you to stand up for yourself will you not see the sense in it? Don’t wait for anyone to tell you that because you have the ability to tell it to yourself. Just believe it…. The good thing about “believe” is that it is the main ingredient that conjures faith and strength. Remember what they say “if you think you can you can” and I say to you today : if you think you can’t you not only can’t but you loose the oomph! Is there anyone in your life or any situation bringing you down and making you feel small? Ignore it because it is not what “they” think of you that counts, it is not even what “you” think of you that counts because you are human and can get things twisted sometimes. It is what “God” thinks of you that counts. You do not even have to be religious for God to think wonderfully about you. You don’t even have to believe it either, he just does. Julia Cameron in her book “The Artist’s Way(TAW)” describes God as an acronym for Good Orderly Direction. I too see the sense in that especially for those that struggle with the God concept. If you listen to the voice within… that still small voice of reason, you will locate that Good Orderly Director that guides all of life and creativity. For me he is the King of kings, the Lord God almighty and the author and finisher of my faith. For you he may be described or named differently. There is strength deposited in you. You have the punch life needs. As you live life, let the circumstance that appears to crush you mould you into that person you will become. Ignore the urge to complain so that you will learn the lessons life is teaching you. Those lessons form the building blocks for that strength which you admire in others. I have a plan to reach out to you and guide you as life has guided and taught me to. Together, we will strengthen each other. Nobody knows it all. Feel free to leave me a comment about your thoughts. Don’t forget to share the post so that others who struggle can be reached. There is hope even as little as a whisper to be found in every situation in life. Thank you for reading. You may also like to read other articles like this. They can be found here. Photo Credit: Pixabay. You can also watch the video by clicking on the link below.

You have got the “Punch” too!!!