Ok I'll admit I lost my mojo it's hard for to admit that especially as I've committed to the biggest challenge I'll probably undertake but fingers crossed it's on it's way back and I'm ready to get this challenge on the road.
You may (or may not) remember back in May that I said I would do my utmost to raise £100,000 for The Lullaby Trust in one year completing the challenge in September 2015 for Alexander's 10th Birthday.
The challenge is due to start next month and I'd love to start it with an awareness campaign on Social Media. A selfie or such like with a donation by text to our campaign, I know it's been done before but they always seem so successful I'd love to give it a shot.
I'm worried I'd be lying if I said I wasn't but I am determined and I will do my very very best to keep this campaign going but I know I am going to need so much help. Would you consider holding a fundraiser for me? It doesn't have to be huge just a gathering at home for friends, a tea party, a cake sale, anything that will help boost our total it is all going to help massively.
I'll make my apologies now for bombarding your Facebook and twitter pages but I'm not sure I have to words to express how important this research is to me and all those parents out there who put a healthy toddler to bed and then lost them to this silent killer. I'm not sure I can just carry on as normal knowing there is someone willing to undertake this investigation into Sudden Unexplained Death in Childhood, someone trying to give us answers, without doing my bit to get it underway.
Please if you think you can help us in any way at all no matter how big or small you think it is I'd love to hear from you I really am going to need all the help I can get for this one.
This post has been a long time in writing, it's one thing to share my story but another one completely to put into words the heartbreak of another.
On Saturday 2nd February Jennie Edspire and her family's lives were devastated when little Matilda Mae never woke from her sleep. A week away from Alexander's 6th anniversary it was a heartbreaking reminder of that time for us.
The very close world of Mummy Bloggers was rocked to the core as they found out this devastating news and I was contacted by a few who know me and my story to ask me to reach out to Jennie, I was more than happy to do so. I'm not a blogger but I follow a few, I love reading other people's hints and tips, recipes, life stories and Jennie's story and words since this tragedy happened have been so heartbreakingly close to my experience I wanted to share her blog link so you can see her journey.
Jennie hasn't held back in the telling of Matilda Mae's story but she writes with such honesty and emotion you have to admire her strength and courage. Many would hide away from the world, shut themselves off to grieve privately but in telling her nightmare I feel Jennie has started creating her legacy for Matilda Mae. Jennie is a doer, she reminds me of me! Using the internet to it's full resource to keep the memory of her precious daughter alive she is blogging making people aware that Sudden Infant Death Syndrome is a very real nightmare. On launch day for the Lullaby Trust there was an amazing outpouring of support from her blogging community who all linked up to get the message out there and I know that she is also fundraising for them by holding A Mile In Memory of Matilda Mae.
She is sharing her story, making it public and seeking help, there are so many people reaching out to her I hope she knows she is never far from many's thoughts. http://www.edspire.co.uk/
Jennie has been nominated in the BritMums Brilliance in Blogging Awards (BiBs) and I'd like to help her get the recognition she deserves for wearing her heart on her sleeve. This is a bittersweet nomination for Jennie and one she maybe feels she doesn't deserve or wouldn't have happened were it not for the loss of her daughter. I wish with all my heart another family hadn't been affected by SIDS and I hope Jennie takes strength from the nomination, Matilda is helping her share this very special and emotional journey of grief. Please take a minute to vote for Edspire
It's for families like Jennie's and babies like Matilda Mae and Alexander that I fundraise, I want to stop Sudden Infant Death Syndrome in it's tracks, to stop families hurting like we do, to keep babies where they belong...in their mothers arms!
So as one more baby leaves this world in turmoil I was reminded of a Poem written for and read at the Family Carol Service held in York at Christmas by FSID. From one heartbroken Mummy to another Jennie Thank You for telling people how it feels to be us x
Precious Memories - Valerie Robinson
You were with us for a short time only.
Such a very short time.
Too short for us to know you well:
Part of our lives forever, we thought,
Not knowing that yours would be so short.
We will never know the person you would become,
You will never know life's joys and fears,
But you understand that you are loved:
The world and life you have barely seen,
Which should have been yours-Should have been.
Did you know our anguish when you were gone?
Part of us, yet, no longer here.
We will never understand the reason for our loss:
Life's gift can be lost through accident or disease,
But who understands when it's neither of these.
Does God need some children in Heaven
To balance the long-lived souls.
Why He wanted you with Him, he alone only knows:
Memories of our happiness are still so deep,
All too soon you went to sleep.
Your life to us was precious,
We valued every hour.
The memories of you will never be lost:
With each passing year we let our love grow,
Why you are not with us, we still don't know.
So it's done I have officially completed my training and signed up to be an FSID Befriender.
Travelling to York on Saturday I was still feeling apprehensive about whether it was the right thing to do and about I would meet. I haven't 'met' others who have suffered a loss the same as me face to face and although I've shared our story on the FSID website and in their 40 years book I was anxious about sharing it with a complete stranger.
I hate entering a room of strangers on my own, it's a huge insecurity of mine and whilst I appear confident and outgoing I am quite shy and uncertain in situations like this however, I had no need to worry. I suppose as a befriender you can't be too shy or reserved and so as we all arrived we got chatting about the journey, parking etc you know the mundane chatty things strangers talk about.
It turns out there was a mix of us in the group with a few being experienced befrienders there for catch up training and the rest of us there to work on the skills required to be a befriender. It was also nice to meet members of the FSID team as well, Hafsa and Jean who were guiding us on the day and Gill Ryder who is the Regional Development Officer for FSID in the Yorkshire (and more) region.
I don't want to go into the ins and outs of the day but we started the day in pairs each telling the other our story with the aim being that we would then introduce our partner to the group. I was honoured to hear Mary's story about her grandson Edward and I think all of us were surprised at how emotional we all got, we shared parts of our story that we wouldn't normally share with a stranger and we came to the conclusion that as they'd been through a similar tragedy, subconsciously, we weren't afraid of upsetting or shocking that person as they could empathise with our situation.
The whole aim of befriending is to get the caller to open up and talk about the things they feel they can't with anyone else, knowing that the befriender can hear the bad parts of the story without glossing over it or telling you to pull yourself together. No one else knows the pain of losing a child suddenly and unexpectedly like another. They ring the helpline because they want to talk and I have to give them the space to do that, letting them know I am willing to listen to everything they have to say without offering the usual platitudes. You know the usual 'It'll get easier over time' or 'It's normal to feel this way but time is great healer' the things you say when you don't want to hear the bad bits and unconsciously cut the other person off.
I came away on Saturday with a confidence that I could do this and whilst it's not easy to hear someone's very sad story they need to tell it to someone so why shouldn't it be me! I was privileged to meet all those brilliant and brave Mums, Grandma's, Aunties and Granddad's who have all felt as I did and understood this ache that I have on a daily basis. They shared their story with me and I with them and they got it every single one them and I thank them for that.
Befriending isn't a massive commitment so I may receive contact only a handful of times in a year but once that contact is made it could be a longer term commitment involving a phonecall every couple of weeks or so or maybe even an email. Also once a year attending one of the family fun days run by FSID (which are free anyway) and taking an hour or two out of my day to be available to chat if I'm needed. Considering Alexander's Ball are funding the Yorkshire regions fun day for 2013 we shall definitely be there!
Thank You to Jean and Hafsa who made the day as comfortable as possible, who answered questions and sat patiently whilst we shared our stories and often went off the track sometimes!
In September I applied to FSID to become a 'Befriender', I got to thinking that not everyone is as lucky as I am to have the support of family and friends. Over the five and half years since we lost Alexander I can honestly say that without them I might not be quite as sane as I like to think.
They are there for me at a moments notice allowing me to unload and cry if I need too, there is nothing like a friendly shoulder to cry on.
I want to be able to offer that to other families who reach out to FSID asking for help. I raise money and yes it's hard work but it's not the same as giving someone emotional support but I am a little apprehensive! What if I say the wrong thing, what if I'm not the right person for the job, What if I fail?
On Saturday I am taking a jaunt to York for FSID's befriender training where I will be given the tools to offer support to anyone that asks for it, be that on the telephone or Face to face. I'm not there to be a counsellor or answer any medical questions I am there to listen and encourage the caller to open up about how they are feeling, no one quite understands like someone who has been through it. They are asking for a few hours of my time a month which is nothing to me but everything to a newly bereaved parent.
So wish me luck I am nervous about it no doubt but I know that people listening to me (or reading my story) has been a huge help and I want to offer the same support to someone who needs it. I'll let you know how I get on next week.
http://fsid.org.uk/page.aspx?pid=1079 Here is a link to the befriender information on FSID's Website
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