Happy new year everyone, I hope you all had a good Christmas and New Year. I am, quite frankly, very glad to see the back of 2014, and not just because of losing Frankie. The whole year was a series of things happening with one thing after another after another going wrong, with no let-up in between things and no time for me to come to terms with all that was happening.
As I tried to cope with everything that happened, my grief for Frankie almost had to go “on hold”. I had to be strong for everyone else, and while I kept writing as best I could on this blog I found the latter half of this year was very tough indeed with things happening which meant that no matter how I felt and what I was going through I had to put that to one side to be there for my family.
I’ll do a bit of a recap on 2014 and everything that happened here. Whenever I think about it I can’t believe that so much happened in a year, it feels so surreal sometimes, like it didn’t happen to me, but no matter how hard I try to believe it didn’t happen, it did.
I started off 2014 with a lovely holiday in Lanzarote with my wonderful husband. After the devastation of losing Frankie and his funeral we felt that it was exactly the right thing for us to do, and during that week in the sun I really thought that everything would be okay. I was relaxed, I caught the sun, did a lot of walking and felt ready to face the world again when I returned to the UK.
Mid-January I went back to work after six weeks maternity leave to try and get on with my life after losing Frankie. It wasn’t easy, I got through every day as best I could, but oh my god it was hard, and it still is. I’d given up everything I was doing ready to have Frankie and be a full-time Mum for a few years, and I felt totally and utterly lost with no idea of what to do next, and I felt like I was just coasting along. Still, along with this blog and preparing to launch Frankie’s Legacy as a charity, it gave me a purpose and some much needed focus.
In February my husband’s work started causing problems which affected us a lot as my husband was being bullied at work. In March he was made redundant when the company he was working for shut down.
In April I was told that I was to be made redundant, and I started looking at other opportunities which became my main focus. At the very end of April I found out I was pregnant again – I was scared and worried because of what happened with Frankie.
On May 9th I was in the Worcestershire Royal Hospital as I suffered another early miscarriage just after I was six weeks pregnant. I was devastated all over again.
But I had no time at all to grieve for Frankie and for this latest loss. At the same time my father in law had a fall in the care home he was in and broke his arm, and he was rushed into the Worcestershire Royal Hospital where his health entered a massive and very rapid decline. All his organs were failing and the doctors said they didn’t know why, and could only assume it was due to the fact he had type 2 diabetes. After lots of arguing and questioning the consultants and doctors at the Worcestershire Royal Hospital who were all adamant that he didn’t have cancer, we were called up to the hospital at the end of May and were told that some results from a scan he had when he broke his arm had come to light and revealed that he did have cancer after all, in fact he was riddled with it. They said they were going to move him to palliative care only and he only had a week at the most to live.
My father in law died exactly a week later on June 5th and I witnessed him have a horrific and very painful death that I wouldn’t wish on anyone. I had to put everything I was feeling to one side and be strong for my husband.
Also in May my cousin Brenda on my Mum’s side passed away at the age of 78 from complications with diabetes. Two weeks later we had to attend her funeral. Again I had to put everything I was feeling to one side and be strong for my Mum and her family.
My husband had to arrange his Dad’s funeral which took place on June 20th with no help. One little glimmer of good news was that we both started new jobs the following Monday.
July saw a lot of family arguments over what to do about the ashes of my father in law, which culminated in my husband making the decision not to talk to his brother again.
In August I suffered another pregnancy loss that was classed as a “chemical pregnancy” because it happened before six weeks. I presented two positive pregnancy tests, one with two lines and a clearblue digital test so the doctor said there was no absolutely no doubt, but a few days after getting those positives I lost it. I was devastated yet again.
During September and October I was betrayed by two people who wanted to help with Frankie’s Legacy, who instead took some ideas of things I wanted to do and ran off with them, but not only that, made a huge mess of a lot of them, which was really sad to see. However I could see things going wrong with what they were doing and what they wanted to do for Frankie’s Legacy, so I got out and distanced myself from them before it happened. I can only describe it as being in a car crash and having the foresight to change direction and get away before it happened and I’m very glad I did this, although it was really upsetting at the time. While dealing with this I was yet again not dealing with my grief at losing Frankie, two miscarriages, my father-in-law’s death and my cousin’s death.
So onwards into November, and this was probably the worst month of the year despite everything that had happened before. I struggled to get through every day in the lead up to the first anniversary of Frankie’s death on November 29th, and my husband and I also suffered greatly because of how we were both trying to deal with the anniversary as well as everything else, and we took it out on each other. We held a coffee morning for Frankie’s Legacy on the morning of his birthday, and the following day we made the heart-breaking decision to pack up everything in his room, turn it back into a room and put it all up the attic. I hated every second of doing that, even though my husband tried to assure me that it was all just “temporary” and that it would “all be coming down again one day” I felt like I’d failed and that it was the end of the road for me being a mother.
Despite this, I made sure we put the Christmas decorations up on November 30th and when I woke up on December 1st I finally felt positive, more positive than I’d felt in a long time. I thought all the bad stuff was finally behind us and we could concentrate on Christmas and dealing with our grief over the year.
I was so wrong, and it wasn’t to last.
On the evening of December 1st, I was told the devastating news that my first cousin Tony had passed away of a massive heart attack when having dialysis treatment that afternoon. We were very close and I was absolutely heartbroken. He was only 57 and he left behind a wife, son and his parents who are in their 80’s – my Aunty and Uncle. I had to endure seeing all my family completely fall apart and seeing Tony’s Dad, my Uncle, in floods of tears over the death of his son. I had to attend yet another funeral on December 18th, right on top of Christmas, which I can honestly say was the worst funeral I had ever been to, and see my cousin. Worse, I again had to see my Uncle and Aunty completely fall apart at the burial and I will never forget the screams of anguish from my Uncle and him saying “it should be me, why isn’t it me” over and over again as long as I live.
Then on Monday 22nd December, I realised I was nearly a week late. I hadn’t been keeping track of my dates because of Tony’s death and everything else that had happened but I took a pregnancy test that was positive, followed by another positive test the following day. On Christmas Eve I woke up and I was in agony and losing it – yet another chemical pregnancy, exactly the same as what happened to me last August. Why was it happening, why was I getting pregnant but losing them so soon, sooner than I ever had before?
The Monday after Christmas I went to the doctors cradling the two positive tests in my hand as if my life depended on it. He ordered a whole round of tests as he thought the very early losses mean I am either low in progesterone or that the lining of my womb isn’t enough to sustain a pregnancy, and told me to take one 75mg aspirin every day along with my folic acid as a precaution for the latter until they could do all the tests. I’ve already had some blood tests and I have some scans and more tests at the Worcestershire Royal Hospital next week.
So here I am starting 2015 with not just the loss of Frankie but the loss of my father in law, my cousin Brenda and my cousin Tony and 3 early pregnancy losses since Frankie. I thought that 2013 was the worst year I had ever had because I lost my much loved and much wanted Frankie, but 2014 is up there as well. I’ve had no time to breathe, think, write, relax, grow or develop in 2014 and I’m amazed that I’ve done the few things that I have done on top of dealing with one thing after another after another. I wish I could say that I hope 2015 will be gentler, easier and allow me time to come to terms finally with my grief from everything that’s happened, not just losing Frankie, but I can’t. I’m too scared to and I’m on edge all the time now wondering what’s going to happen next. Every ring of my phone sends me into a huge panic as I think it is yet more bad news. Every email I see come through sends my heart racing as I think the contents will contain bad news. I’ve lost a lot of my ability to drive, I hate getting behind the wheel of my car and I’m tense and on edge when I’m driving, so I try to avoid it altogether.
I have hardly written anything up to now and this is the first long piece of writing I have done for a long time. I even don’t like being a passenger in a car and I’m always looking left, right, ahead and behind me in the mirrors in case something happens. My anxiety levels have gone through the roof, and I know I need to talk to my GP about it, and I will do when I see him again for some of the test results next week. Despite all this I am going to try and continue without antidepressants which I have been offered many times and try my very, very best to see something positive and do something positive every day. That being the case, my new blog http://www.365daysofpositivity.co.uk was launched yesterday, and I aim to do something positive every single day and blog about it.
There are some other projects that I want to go back to as well, namely the “Everlasting Footprints” magazine that I hoped to launch a good 2-3 months ago with Leigh Kendall of Headspace Perspective – www.headspace-perspective.com – and write a book of my journey as a bereaved mother called “Frankie’s Legacy: Love, Loss Grief & Recovery”, but all the things that happened to me in 2014 got in the way. I think as well, as much as I hate to admit it, I need to have some counselling and talk to someone. I so desperately want to help others that have been through what I’ve been through but until I help myself, until I talk about it all with someone else who can hopefully help me make sense of it and until I can accept it all, the Everlasting Footprints Support Group and mentoring I offer to other bereaved parents is on hold. I can’t help others who are in the same situation until I help myself. It probably sounds really selfish, but that’s how it is at the moment.
People say to me all the time on Facebook that I’m brave, strong and an inspiration, but just read the above and know that I am NOT strong, I am NOT brave and I am NOT an inspiration. I’m just trying to do my best one day at a time and trying my best to not lose sight of one very important thing that we all need…..hope. Despite everything that happened in 2013 and 2014 I remain hopeful – hopeful that one day I will finally become a mother (although I have to realistic on this as I am 41 and the clock is ticking rapidly), hopeful that I will be at peace one day and accept losing Frankie (although I will never, ever, ever forget him, I will carry him in my heart forever).
Just ONE of the things I’ve been through since September 2013 would have been enough to floor someone, yet despite all of this, I am well and truly blessed and lucky. I have a wonderful husband who adores and loves me more than anything in the world, amazing parents and family, amazing friends and most important of all…I have my health. Without your health, you have nothing – I’ve seen that first hand. I learnt some valuable lessons in 2014 and I also learnt who my true and real friends are, and who in my life was just using me for their own personal gain. I can tell the difference a mile away now due to all I’ve been through this year. I have so much to be thankful for, and so much to live for and be positive for.
So as we forge ahead with 2015 now it is here, I won’t say I hope it will be a better year as there is NO guarantee of this whatsoever, but I will try to head into this new year positive and hopeful for the future as best as I can be. I will take each day as it comes, and live each day as if it is my last, because as this year has proved it can all change in the blink of an eye, and we should make the most of EVERY single second we have on this earth. That being the case, there will be some big changes with me – watch this space for those – and now that I’ve started writing again I make a promise and a commitment here that I will continue. I will continue to tell Frankie’s story, I will continue to share my feelings and I will continue to create Frankie’s Legacy. It may not be in the way I intended this time last year but as the saying goes….there are other ways to skin a cat. I have to do what’s right for me, and no-one else, from this point onwards.