Kia ora tātou (Hello Everyone!)

Where have I been?
New Zealand…Well, for 3 weeks anyway!

Sorry for the radio silence, but to be honest I decided I needed a break for a couple of months from blogging. So much has happened, that I haven’t really known where to start, so I just didn’t write anything! Anyway, I apologise if this blog is a little jumbled up and if I jump around a bit, but it’s been a while, so the thoughts may come out a little randomly!

But over the weeks and months, thoughts and words have bubbled away in my mind and I feel I have to start writing again, before I implode!

So, where do I start? Since my last blog, we have had more DNA tests at St George’s. We are going back for more results in February, so until then we have no more medical insight into what happened to our little Harry. But, we have made some positive steps forward to remember and start fundraising for our baby boy. I have started a face book page @SmileWithHarryBoBo and an instagram page @smile_with_harry_bobo where I share our journey, memories, news and thoughts. (Please find and follow me!)
(I may have mentioned this once or twice before!)

Obviously we had Christmas to face too. What a mix of emotions that has been…from sadness to anger and irritation. There was just no escape from the jolly, holly bloody music in the shops and the expectation to be ‘happy.’ So for us, all we could do is try our best to embrace Christmas for Brooke’s sake, we put up a tree and bought new decorations this year (lots of stars) and a special bauble handmade just for Harry.

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But, Christmas seems a long time ago now…what’s probably even harder is the New Year. Moving from the year 2018, a year Harry was here with us to 2019, a year Harry is no longer with us. I suppose you all get rid of your calendars and put up a new one? Many of you will see the New Year as a fresh start. I can’t throw last years calendar away, because that calendar had hope of a future for the four of us together, it had special dates scribbled in just for Harry. His nursery dates, play dates, play groups and his birthday. I will keep that calendar forever. It is these small milestones that are so hard and such a symbolic symbol of time moving on…always moving on. One moment he was with us and we were planning our afternoon, the next everything just stopped forever.

The most significant moment of our Christmas was laying our beautiful baby boy’s ashes to rest. We decided to bring him home for one last night with us, before taking him to a beautiful place in the woods, where another baby boy will be next to him. We wanted to be alone, just Lee, myself and our baby boy on Christmas Eve, to say our final goodbye. Yes, it was extremely hard, very emotional and a huge moment for us, but if I am truly honest, we both said it was more the thought of doing this part that was so hard, rather than actually laying Harry to rest. We put his ashes in a little red wooden bus, which seemed so right for Harry, as he loved the Big Red Cookie bus, that we took him on, only four days before he died…

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Harry’s ashes were just the essence of Harry, they didn’t feel like him. Harry was not a pile of ashes, Harry was a vibrant, smily, happy, cheeky and affectionate little bundle of fun, with the longest eyelashes and a smile that would light up a room. He is in our hearts and memories forever, and that is how we want to remember our boy. We all end up going back to the earth, this is as much a part of life as being born. It’s just we are rubbish as a society about talking about the inevitable. I guess for me, I have a very different outlook on death now. Harry has made me realise that it happens to us all and he has given me a very personal gift. A gift that means, I am no longer afraid of dying, I don’t fear death as I once did. I really have gained a sense of peace about the end of life (Sorry, I sound so morbid) but it’s true. Trying to understand the enormity of what has happened to Harry and us as a family is sometimes to overwhelming to think about, but Harry has shown me that there is nothing to fear and one day we will be together again. I’m not religious at all, but I am spiritual and I do truly believe that there is more.
What I find so hard to accept, is that Harry had his whole life ahead of him, he had a future and I will always struggle that he was taken too soon. Loosing a child goes against the natural order of life and it leaves such heartache and pain for those that have to find a way to carry on living…

Right, time to move on and write about something a little lighter… (but my thoughts, are my thoughts and they spill over when I’m writing!) Hang on in there….there are some positives coming up!

So, back in May, I randomly and very spontaneously decided to book tickets to fly out to New Zealand on Christmas Day! So that’s what we did. We had a mini Christmas day with Brooke, and then in the afternoon we headed off to Heathrow and boarded our first flight to Singapore! Finally arriving in Auckland on the 27th! (That’s one way to avoid Christmas!)

New Zealand! Where do I start…from the moment we arrived the sun came out to greet us! Blue skies, sunny days and stunning scenery. Even after a 24 hour flight, I think all 3 of us felt a sense of relief when we stepped foot into Auckland! My best friend, Rachel was at the airport waiting for us! When Harry died, Rachel didn’t hesitate to jump on a plane with her baby girl and fly around the world to be with me. I can’t put into words what this meant to me, I will always remember the moment she called me to tell me she was coming…I cried with relief, but also she gave me something to focus on for a few days. And when you are in the tight grip of paralysing grief, just getting through an hour and a day is literally terrifying. A lot of the early days I struggle to remember things, especially conversations, but I do remember finding it hard to move my body. It’s hard to explain, but just moving my hand or having to stand up from a chair, seemed impossible, like my body was stuck and so heavy. I think it must have been the way the shock manifested itself in me physically…

…Flipping heck…sorry, back to New Zealand!…

We took Harry with us on all our travels and adventures, we just wanted him to be a part of everything we do. We took Brooke to see the glow worms in Waitomo caves, they were incredible. It was like looking at thousands of twinkling stars. At one point we were looking at the fossils and our guide turned the lights out. He asked us to sing a song, but no one was brave enough! He wanted to prove how absorbent the limestone was to sound. So quietly I started to sing ‘Twinkle twinkle little star’ with Brooke, then Lee joined in, then the guide and then the whole group. We sang it again even louder….just for Harry. That was a magical moment, so special, personal and a a memory we will treasure forever. We didn’t tell anyone the significance of the song, we just held hands and took that moment for ourselves…

What an incredible country New Zealand is! Obviously it has the dramatic mountains, lakes, beaches and volcanoes! But, for us it’s all the other small things that really draws us into NZ. For me, it’s definitely the people, they are so full of a zest for life, genuine happiness and they just seem to have a positive vibe about them. It was very rare to speak to someone that wasn’t happy! Their positivity rubs off on you, you can’t help it! Also, it’s the outside lifestyle that really appeals to us and Brooke loved it! She ran around bare foot all the time! Loved the beaches, swimming, bbq’s and even chasing Rachel’s chicken’s off the decking every morning! We saw our little girl’s spark light up again, which was priceless… She was a little Kiwi Kid!

Every morning was a new adventure and she embraced all of it! We took her on days out to the beach, where she had a go at body boarding! We took her to visit a Kiwi and we went out on a boat to see dolphins, which she loved! Brooke even went up in a helicopter over Lake Taupo (not many 4 year olds can say that!) and then we went on another boat to see the Maori carvings, which were fantastic. We walked around the craters of the moon, visited Huka falls and many other magical waterfalls. Brooke experienced swimming in the natural thermal pools and travelled around in the Ute like a little back packer! She sang to Harry a lot, even more than at home. I think it was her way of including Harry in her holiday and adventures. She truly believes that Harry can hear her when she sings to him. So much so, that we get into trouble if we interrupt her! It’s hard to listen to sometimes, but also very reassuring and comforting for us to know that she is finding her own release for her own grief and never being afraid to talk about Harry with us.

We finally headed back to Auckland for a few days with Rach and Gerry, before spending our last afternoon up the iconic Sky Tower in Auckland eating ice-creams!

Honestly Brooke has no fear!

And then our adventure came to an end. We had a sinking feeling and sense of heaviness pinning us down again. We knew we had so much more to face when we arrived home…and I guess we wanted to avoid coming back to so much sadness and pain.
But, we will be back New Zealand…we know we will be back one day!

Ka kite anō – See you again!

“Hurihin to aroaro ki te ra tukuno to atarangi kia ta ki muri i a koe”
Maori proverb

“Turn your face to the sun and the shadows fall behind you.”

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Claire x

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