A little later than I promised (blame the nurse training course I was on yesterday!) Here is as promised a little guest blog post from a very special lady called Kirsty Evans. I was introduced to her not long after we lost Harry Lloyd through Saying Goodbye and I would like you all to take a moment to read Kirsty’s story. I am so proud to now be working alongside this amazing lady. A true inspiration and someone I now consider a dear friend. So over to Kirsty…..
Hello I’ll take a few moments to introduce myself. I never know quite where to start with these types of things so please bear with me. My name is Kirsty Evans, I am a mum of three and am married to the lovely Rob. A few months ago a good friend introduced me to Louise and we have become firm friends since.
I am a full time mum and have been since January 2012. Prior to that I was a family lawyer. My children – I have three beautiful children. Evie was born in 2008 and is now 4 years old. She is a typical 4 year old other than the fact she was born with an extra chromosome known as Trisomy 21 – to the lay person Evie has Down Syndrome. She does not suffer from it – she simply has that special extra something. Since Evie was born we have learnt so much about ourselves as people. I don’t particularly like the career minded person I was before. Yes my job was thoroughly enjoyable but it should never be so much that my family came second. Evie and a few other things have taught me that.
Evie is developmentally delayed but who cares about that? She is beautiful and funny. The centre of our world – without her we both would have been lost a long time ago. Now we all love our children and would do anything for them but there are certain events in life that make you hold your children closer for longer and appreciate every little thing that they do and achieve. Evie’s achievements take longer than her ‘average’ peers but they mean so much more. When you have waited nearly three years to see your child walk and over 4 years for them to use a toilet you appreciate it even more, particularly as when they are first born you have no idea if they’ll be able to do the most basic things. So enough of my beautiful Evie – I could go on forever and onto my next amazing child.
Joshua was born on 20 February 2012. A perfect beautiful boy. More about Joshua later.
Then this January we had Harriet (Hattie) our gorgeous baby girl, a baby sister for Evie and Josh. All three of our children are so perfect, so loved and they all look so similar. In each I see a trait of the other, their noses, their mouths, their beautiful hair. As I think of them I see the others and a lot of us too. In temperament Evie is very much like me – impatient, bossy but with it so charming and funny. Hattie’s character seems to be like her dad – moody when hungry! Sorry Rob!
Rob and I have often been told because of various circumstances that we are brave and that other people wouldn’t know how to cope. In life you find that sometimes you have no choice other than to be strong. What else to do? Sit in a corner and cry? Believe me if it would help I’d have done it. We have had a really rough two years from 2010. I don’t want to depress anyone (or myself for that matter) but in a short space of time we had several tragic events in our family which meant we lost four family members in horrific circumstances. And none of them were linked to the same event. Just when you think you are recovering from one thing, another hits you and you get to the stage where you daren’t think anymore that this is it – there can’t be anymore bad luck – because each time it was said something else happened.
The last two events are what I shall concentrate on. Firstly the loss of my mum at 69 to lung cancer. My mum was my best friend. I know everyone says it but she really was. I miss her voice, her face, her hands. I miss her telling me off. I miss her listening to me and just understanding. I miss her more every single day. There are times when only my mum will do. She has turned into my conscience – that little voice telling me what to do, but she always was that voice. I still have my dad and my brother who are fab. I am fortunate to have a brilliant family which made losing mum even harder. At the time mum (November 2011) died I was 5 months pregnant with Josh. She promised me before she died that she would always look after me and she has. At this moment in time despite great sadness at the loss within our family I have never been happier. I appreciate my life so much more.
The second loss – in February 2012 we discovered that our beautiful boy Joshua had died at 34 weeks. I hadn’t felt that great in pregnancy but put that down to the stress of mum being so ill and then dying. To say it was a shock is an understatement. I physically shook for a week. We later discovered that our beautiful boy had died from fetal hydrops (fluid retention which caused the placenta and ultimately his little heart to fail) – no reason discovered, there is one strong possibility but we will never know the true reason. Should that matter? That we don’t know the reason behind the hydrops – no but I do like explanations and reasoning – the lawyer in me strikes again.
The loss of Joshua reinforced the loss of my mum. When we both needed a hug from her she wasn’t there. When I needed a cuddle from my baby boy for losing my mum he wasn’t there. We had such great hope for our baby boy. We had hoped that this would be a new start for our family, something good happening after all the sadness. Grief is a terrible thing and even now as I type this I sit and cry. I will never ‘get over’ losing either my mum or Joshua. I just have to get used to it. And that really stinks.
This is where Evie came in. I always knew how much I loved her but every one of her cuddles began to heal our hearts. She didn’t understand that her baby brother had died and she still doesn’t. But she knew something was badly wrong and she did what she does best – loved us and made us get up in the morning, giving us a purpose. A week after Joshua was born we took her to the beach. It was a cold and wet February day but we actually began to feel alive again and that we would survive this. Watching Evie run and kick a football and get soaked in the waves was the best medicine. The bracing sea air cleansed our heads and minds. That was the beginning of healing. But it never goes away. Mother’s Day was a dreadful day as was Josh’s due date. Hearing of other losses brings it back but each time a little gentler, a little less of a shock that such a dreadful thing could happen.
Months after losing Josh I began to look for people who understood such a loss personally and I found through the medium of twitter Zoe from Saying Goodbye. I had previously focused my efforts practically, physically tiring myself by redecorating the entire house top to bottom. In finding Saying Goodbye it struck a chord. It wasn’t a negative organisation, it was supportive, they remembered our babies and honoured them but they moved on whilst always never forgetting. By this time I was in the early weeks of pregnancy with Hattie. I found the chats and then in time practical things I was doing for Saying Goodbye really cathartic and worthwhile. Within a few weeks Zoe introduced me to Louise. There are so many similarities between us, not just in the tragic loss of our children but in other ways. It’s like I’ve found in her and Zoe the sisters I never had. Although we joke that Zoe is the elder wiser triplet!
The work of Saying Goodbye has enabled me to move forward with our loss. When I was pregnant with Hattie, particularly in the last few weeks, Louise and Zoe supported Rob and I every step. They listened and calmed – never ever judged. They gave me hope that it would be ok. And when Hattie was born safely I began to breathe again. When she was ill and in intensive care they were there still. All the time.
As you know Louise and I have been asked to be joint National Fundraising Managers for the Mariposa Trust (Saying Goodbye) and this means that we can give something back, that our little boys’ legacies live on. They are not forgotten.
Louise and I believe that Joshua and Harry are together safely playing with all their loved and lost ones around them. It may seem to be an odd belief that two unrelated children are together but that is what we believe and we have our reasons.
I want to thank Kirsty so very much for being so open and honest in this post. I told you she was an inspiration! Kirsty and Saying Goodbye have given Daddy Lloyd and I are our hope back. For that no thanks will ever be big enough.