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December 10, 2013

A Second Rainbow?

I can not believe its been so long since I've posted on my blog.  Life has got hectic.  We have had another change in life direction and have left Darwin and now are living at the beautiful seaside country town of Port Lincoln, SA.   Just last week my husband and I witnessed a beautiful spectacle of nature from our new seaside home.  There was some lovely summer rain and the appearance of a double rainbow over the sea.  It was quite spectacular and seeing a clear second rainbow is often a rare occurrence.  I couldn't help but think it was a symbol of our new change and hope of a second rainbow.  By that I mean a second Rainbow baby.  When you lose a baby, the term used for a baby to follow that loss is a rainbow baby.  Sadly though we lost our rainbow baby too.  We are praying for a second rainbow, who knows maybe 2014 will be the year our dream may come true.

I also had some beautiful Christmas images done by Carly from Projectheal to remember our beautiful babies this Christmas.
We love you both, and as time passes the grief has eased and we have moments of true happiness but you are always in our hearts, everyday.

Double Rainbow, Port Lincoln Dec 2013


October 21, 2013

Boab Tree - Darwin, Northern Territory

It has nearly been four weeks since I left tropical Darwin, Northern Territory.  My  husband took a job in Darwin and has been working there and boarding with some locals.  The rents and cost of living there is amazing! With an average family home renting for $700 plus per week and the average home costing over $700,000 !  Darwin is gorgeous I really loved it, super laid back and casual and the weather is always warm.  It's hard as I sit here in the Barossa Valley to imagine my husband being their alone paving the way for another new adventure for us.  The only catch is this new adventure and move to Darwin has been unusual since the start.  We have had another job offer closer to our home town which my husband has now accepted.  We decided that Darwin just wasn't right for us at the moment.  I'm excited to be flying up to meet my husband at the end of the week and can not wait to see him!  We will then drive back the 3000 km together in our 4WD and have a bit of a travel adventure on the way back home.   In a few weeks we will pack up our home again (17th time in 12 yrs!) and head to the Eyre Peninsula in Outback South Australia for our new posting.  We are again excited for a change and for the challenges this new move will hold.
 
My husband has been sending me photos as he has been exploring Darwin and he sent me this photo of a Boab tree today.  I love these trees and they really represent the Top End of Australia to me.  I love the diversity in our country and I can't wait to hit the road next week with my man, drive lots of outback miles, eat at some great Aussie pubs and ride a camel into the sunset in Alice Springs! Yippee!  Cant wait to see you Ash, my best friend I have missed you.

August 17, 2013

Graveside visit, goodbye, I love you

Today I was finally able to visit my cousins grave.  It has been playing on my mind for a few weeks that I should venture into the large Country cemetery and try and find where she was buried just a little over three months ago.  After seeing her parents during this week it reminded me yet again to be brave, take a deep breath and head to visit her on my own.   It was a cold and wet winter day today but as the sun came out and I had gone for a drive on my own I let instinct take control and headed to her graveside for the first time.  I still feel I haven't been able to grieve or truly say goodbye.  I think after pregnancy loss you sometimes feel so depleted you don't have the strength to grieve for anyone else.  It sounds awful but that is how I have felt.  I cant stand the thought nor want to imagine my life without my cousin being alive.  I cant make sense of a young vibrant beautiful women, wife and mom being taken so early from earth.  Upon arriving at the cemetery, I felt so confused and did not know where to start looking for her small grave marker.  Through the sea of headstones I began to wander, tears streaming down my face, sobbing uncontrollably.  Where was she?.  I spoke softly to myself, please find me, lead me to you.   I was lead to a new section of the cemetery and I knew this was where she must be.  I found her.  Her small plaque sitting on a concrete slab with a pot of dying flowers.  Dying flowers? really for such a young vibrant person.  Where was all the love?  I felt sad such a fresh grave already looked so tired and alone. I cleaned up her graveside as much as I could, I sat down beside her in the muddy ground and cried and spoke to her all the words I wanted to say.  It was beautiful to spend that time there and very healing. 
 
I will head back this week with some ideas to decorate her graveside to reflect her vibrancy she had in life.  I said goodbye as some other people arrived near her area and I wanted to give them their personal space.  Now the amazing thing happened, even more amazing than spending time at the graveside of someone you truly loved.  I took a few step across the driveway and saw a beautiful reflective garden.  As I walked through the rosemary filled garden I began to discover little plaques and some words.  They read "For the Precious souls of our babies".  I felt so happy and sad at the same time.  I have finally found it, a place where I could visit to reflect on our babies, as we have no graves for them.  It was so special to reflect on all the babies gone too soon..  I took a little piece of rosemary which I will place in a small glass vial and add to our memorial place for our babies in our home.   It was a very blessed day.


Precious Souls Memorial, Willaston SA. Photo from Gawler Baptist Church
 

July 12, 2013

Measuring stick

Just recently I have come across the well known TED Talk by Brene Brown on vulnerability.  If you have never seen it the You tube link is provided below.  I watched this TED Talk (I'm addicted to TED talks by the way!) after a recent counselling session and things really started to gel together for me.  I am such a 'Measuring stick' person and I was struggling with the thought that my feelings of grief were still there.  I revealed to my therapist that I was really worried that I wasn't further along in dealing with grief.  I had certainly spent many months processing our pregnancy losses and had been through many classic phases of grief but I still felt worn down somehow.  I know some people are so much more resilient in their grief.  My solution over the past few years has been to withdraw.  We do not have a strong social network and have never really felt we needed these strong social connections with people.  Brene Brown talks about our ability to connect and belong, two things my husband and I have forever struggled with.  She also talks about her measuring stick and that just clicked with me.  Why have I been so worried about measuring my grief?  Grief is a very individual thing, and I have been being very hard on myself.  Brown's TED talk mentions that we can not show compassion to other people if we can not at first show it to ourselves.  This is something I will be working on from now, being happy with where I am at, being gentle with myself and feeling OK with vulnerability. I am going to put away my measuring stick and relax.




I came across this article below on and Australian web page I follow and I thought it maybe an applicable link to those who are dreading the Royal baby.  It is hard to deal with media bombardment sometimes, and I can only imagine how hard it is if your due date was around this time.  It is never that you are not happy for someone to be experience the joy and celebration of a new baby it just reminds you of what you do not have yourself.  Much healing and love to those who will struggle over this time ahead.

June 15, 2013

Barossa be consumed.



This is the recent commercial TV campaign for the Barossa Valley, Australia.  I am proud to be a fourth generation Barossarian and we love calling the Barossa our home!

Come visit the Barossa, what are you waiting for?

June 14, 2013

Time

TIME, Has it really been a month since my dear cousin passed away? TIME, has it really been four months since we left the evil constraints of working in a monastic community? TIME has it really been two years since we found out our little man Olly was first in my tummy?  Where the F&*K does time go?  It's something you learn out of grief, that despite your pain and sadness, time doesn't stop.  The world keeps moving.  The impatient arsehole behind you in traffic doesn't give a crap about your pain, he has his own pain causing his anger at a situation such as rush hour traffic which we all know really isn't the worse thing that can happen in your life.

The biggest thing I have done for myself lately is to realise it was TIME to seek help, professional help.  I have started some therapy, it certainly is helpful but very draining in the process but I'm looking forward to the end result.  It has also been TIME for me to re-educate, to focus on a career path I feel passionate about.  I have been studying Aged Care health for the last few months and next term will move forward with Nursing studies, very much looking forward to the challenge.   Its also been TIME for a makeover, a new haircut and wardrobe changes to take care of the aesthetic stuff :-).

TIME with him is something that had been hard over the past few months.  With my husband commuting to the big city from our lil country town every day I hardly seen him, and when I do he's so tired from the commute.  The time with him is precious and it has been wonderful over the past few months for us to be able to see each other again for real as this cloud of grief from the last few years has slowly lifted from our lives.  We are ready, and it is TIME to start again.  We would love to try for a family again soon as TIME is moving against us but we will be patient and just hope that things will fall into place as we refocus our lives.


New Hair !




May 31, 2013

Right where I am 2013: One year eight months and one year 3 months

This is my second year writing as part of Angie's - Right Where I am Project.  Writing a blog entry last year for this project brought me so much healing at the early stage of grief I was at.  This healing came from the wonderful women in this community who reached out to me with some of the kindest words I've ever had said about my babies.   To all of those women, I wish to say thank you.  It is very humbling to write from my little country town in Australia and have women from all over the world make contact with one another.

As time moves on I sometimes find words can have the biggest impact on your grief.  I feel a wonderful closeness to both Olly & Opal and feel they are with me all the time, but does anyone else?.  Most family and friends are too scared to acknowledge their presence in anyway in our lives.  This makes me sad.  It is the words that people do not say that hurt the most.  No one says their names.

About six weeks ago we lost my cousin who had been battling ovarian cancer for nearly three years.  She was a year older than me and had two beautiful children aged four & five, a boy and a girl.  It wasn't until before her death that I really understood at least one reason why God hadn't let our babies live on earth. I had spoken to my cousin about our babies in heaven, and I asked her to be a mother to Olly & Opal in heaven, until she is reunited with her own children one day.  I think it gave us both a great amount of hope and peace.

I think as we move forward in the grief process, and really want to learn to feel joy again instead of sadness it is so important to find some stillness in our world and to really work on ourselves.  I have started seeing a professional therapist and I already after a few visits feel a lot of weight lifting off my shoulders.  This may not work for everyone but I think sometimes we have to stop and ask for help.  It is bloody exhausting doing it all on your own.  Grief is exhausting.  Not to mention worrying about future infertility, or will I get pregnant again?  I have noticed how very tired my husband and I are and how much we need some rejuvenation.  You really do have to learn to walk very gently to allow the healing to come.  That is easy to say in a perfect world but as we know new challenges don't just stop so we can heal.

Another thing that happened in the last 12 months is I have been able to support my sister in law since she also lost a baby.  We had become a bit distant and really had never been all that close.  She had her first baby a few months after we lost Olly, and it was very painful to have someone so close have a living child.  I was glad throughout the last year I was able to apologise and be real with her and say it was just really hard for us to be able to celebrate her precious new baby with her.  I was devastated to hear she lost her second baby, I don't want anyone to go through it.  I was so glad I had the resources and knowledge to be able to support her and I am thankful that despite the pain  of our experiences it has brought us together.

I guess maybe that is where I am right now, Thankful.  Thankful to be healthy and alive, and thankful that our marriage has survived the ups and downs of the loss of our babies.  I am thankful I have been able to witness to others who have lost babies as well as offer hope to someone who was facing life without her children as she moved from her earthly life to one in heaven.

Candles burning in our home tonight
The little blue angel, given to me by my sis in law

May 13, 2013

The Day She Went Away

Today was the day you went away.  The day we said the most beautiful goodbye to your earthly life and wished you on your way to heaven.   My dear Cousin, who is one year older than me died last week aged 39 years, after the most courageous battle with ovarian Cancer.  It was never a surprise to me that you lived for so long, surpassing any Dr's predictions about how many days you had left.  Growing up side by side you were a stubborn bugger, a trait we both share :-).  Today has felt surreal, I said to my husband at your funeral that I never ever imagined as a child that I would see your brothers carrying your coffin from a church, followed by your parents so obviously deeply grieving.  It is an image I never thought I would see. 
 
It isn't the natural progression to loose your children.  I can only partially understand the depth of this progression.  Loosing our two babies has given us an insight into what it is like to live as a grieving parent.  I pray every day for your mum & dad that they will go gently and remember the amazing life you lived.  It was a joy to hug your wonderful husband today, to sense his fragility at the emotion of the day but also to embrace his amazing strength and faith in God.  Your life has been an amazing testimony to others about faith.  I cherished catching up with before you got really sick again.  Its been hard living across the other side of the Country but when we caught up it was like we had never ever been apart.  Thank you for being my cousin, friend, childhood playmate, teenage rival and mostly a woman with amazing grace and strength.  I hope my babies were waiting for you in heaven mate with open arms.  Keep them safe and loved until we see them, and until you are reunited with your own precious children.  I am so glad on reflection my babies left this world early so they could be there waiting for you.
I love you Jules.  Glitter Gang forever xoxox.
 
The Amazing song played at your funeral below:

"Even If" Kutless




April 04, 2013

Butterflies at Christian's Beach


For anyone in the Baby loss community who hasn't seen the work of Carly Marie on the gorgeous beaches of WA here is a very special video on You Tube.   With my husband being from WA, and us both having lived in this beautiful state for many years it was very special to have our babies names written in the sands of Mullaloo Beach, WA.  Carly really is amazing and if I hadn't stumbled across her website after the loss of our babies I have no idea how I would have found the strength and information we needed to move forward in our lives.  Her website is: http://carlymarieprojectheal.com/  

April 03, 2013

Hot Cross Bunnies

My best friend said the cutest thing about Easter in regard to the angry and rude customers she was dealing with the day prior to Good Friday, she called them "Hot Cross Bunnies".  It made me smile :-) .  She always has a great way of saying things and although it is funny, its sad too that people can get angry at a time of the year where we should all just slow down a bit.


Easter this year was a time of respite for us.  Recovering from our interstate move and the prospect of not currently being employed we headed to beautiful Tasmania where we had previously been for our honeymoon for a peaceful Easter break.  It was on the flight over to Tassie that we realised we had eaten hot cross buns in three different states of Australia this year - South Australia, Western Australia and now Tasmania!  We feel truly lucky to travel as much as we do, but we also make it happen.  We both love just heading off on new adventures and do things because we like them, not because that is what looks good posing in front of for a Facebook photo.  We don't really give a crap about even talking to others about our holidays as normally most people are really more interested in themselves.  As long as our travels bring us joy in our hearts that is all that matters.  We are so relieved that the Easter Bunny managed to find us in Tasmania, what a travesty that would have been if we had not had his visit!   

We once again fell in love with the beauty and creativity and just fresh vibe of Tasmania and we can not wait to go back again!




April 02, 2013

Egg Tears

This morning I was unexpectedly overwhelmed whilst pretending to be the Easter Bunny.  When my husband was in the shower I snuck around and placed some Easter eggs on his pillow as a surprise. Only a few moments after I felt extremely sad and shed a few tears at wishing I had been playing the Easter Bunny to our lost children.   My heart just felt like it all of a sudden opened up and the overwhelming power of loss and grief showed itself once again.  It is hard that some moments of grief like this take you completely by surprise.  Our little boy Olly would have been nearly 17 months old and would have been able to take in some of what is so special about Easter time.  I so wish I could have been hiding eggs, and telling him about the Easter bunny.  I miss you little man, I miss both of you.  Happy Easter in heaven.

Tammie xox

Photo Courtesy of Luminous Light Group member, Thank you :-)

March 11, 2013

Last Days

Ah moving day, always a challenge and often not much fun!!  A long day organising our belongings to be packed on a truck and sent half way across Australia.  We are super excited to be moving on from a rather stressful situation and starting life all over again.  How lucky we are to be beginning again.  As I write my cousin who has so bravely been fighting ovarian cancer for many years has entered into palliative care.  Her time in her earthly body is coming to an end.  My heart is broken for her family and young children, and most of all I wish I could take her physical pain away for her last moments here on earth.   Last days anywhere are hard but I am sure your last days on earth will be by far the most difficult.  She is at peace, and has great faith but I am sure being so aware of your own death approaching may be an exhausting and overwhelming experience.  We are looking forward to a life with more family and friends and finding our feet again.   We went for a drive today past the farms where we live and I couldn't resist photographing this beautiful Brahman, pictured below.  We have also had a beautiful cat, that we have called Puss befriend us and his is going to make the 4 day drive with us to our new home.  He was a feral cat who has chosen to be with us and live a more domestic life.  We have left it up to Puss whether he wanted to stay with us and we are so glad he has.





February 28, 2013

365 lil one

Today its been 365 days since we said goodbye to our second baby Opal.  Its amazing how fast a year can go.  A year full of grief, challenges, and most of all life changing experiences.   It seems fitting that our time living in a Monastic town in Regional WA has come to an end and we are returning back to the Barossa Valley, SA.  We have no idea whether this move will be permanent but we are looking forward to a slight sense of normality for a while.  Having been separated from my husband for nearly a month I can not wait to see him next week.  I also can not wait to head back to WA with him and pack up our home and say goodbye to some lifelong friends we have made during our time there.  The experience of living in a monastic town, for the second time round! has not been as peaceful or serene as one would imagine.  Whilst we are grateful for this special experience we have been challenged beyond belief when dealing with the hostile and sometimes hateful environment that has existed in the workplace and town itself.  We have seen many special people hurt during both our times of working there and we do hope by taking the stand we did this time that although we lost our home and our jobs in the process, we hope that no one else will be hurt again by the repressive bullying environment that has unto now considered itself beyond reproach.    We look forward to moving on, looking for new employment and settling into our new little country home.  Most of all we can not wait to be together again as a family.  We remember you today our little Opal, we thank you for coming into our lives, and we know you are with us where ever we go xox.  Thankyou for making us stronger and braver than we ever could have imagined.
 
Opals Prayer Flag - Photo by CarlyMarie -Project Heal
 



January 31, 2013

More time

All I am thinking of today is more time.  More time here on earth, more time with loved ones, more time in the current place we live, more time with my husband before I go.  In relation to this my dear cousin who is nearing her last few weeks on this earth as she slowly looses her battle with ovarian cancer.  I pray everyday for them, for them to have more comfort from pain, more time together as a family, more time for her with her children, more time for her with her husband, more time for her on earth.  I can see how at peace she is with dying and she knows God is calling her home. I am sure there will be many moments in life we wish for more time, and that's why it is important to embrace each day as a new adventure. 

I am packing my bags next week and leaving my husband to return to our home state.  I really hate being away from him but I know I have to be brave and return home and pave the way for our next new adventure together.  I wish we had more time together but for now I am loving every moment with him just as I know my dear cousin is cherishing every minute God is giving her on this earth. Below is a beautiful picture taken of her and her family just a week ago.  It was taken at Kingsford Homestead, home of the Australian TV series McLeod's Daughters.

Julie, Steve & Family @ Kingsford Homestead
Photo taken by Helen Mills Photography

January 24, 2013

Firsts

Today is our Baby boys first Birthday in heaven.  For months I have thought about today and somedays I have dreaded its arrival.  Life is all a matter of perspective and we feel so overjoyed today to celebrate our little mans birthday even though he isn't here with us on earth.  We know he is somewhere safe, surrounded by love and joy on this his special day.

A single candle for Olly, lit by his dad 25/01/2013










My Wonderful Hubby took the time to find this beautiful first Birthday in heaven poem

January 01, 2013

Bright lights, New Year


These lights hang in the trees outside the Monastery in the town in which we live.   I changed some of the colour to black and white as that is kind of how I feel about approaching the New Year of 2013.  I feel relieved that 2012 is now behind us, well according to our modern day calender it is.  I always get a pit puffed towards the end of the year, all the Christmas hype and emotions that go with it.  The year of 2012 was when we lost our second baby.  I feel like 2013 mentally is a fresh start.  A year filled with new hopes and dreams that may see us both carry and deliver a healthy baby.   We as a couple are not obsessed with having a baby, but it is certainly on our hearts and it is something we would like to add to our lives.   We feel we have so much to contribute the world through the raising and education a child of our own, if we are unable to do that I am sure we are both happy to contribute to the community raising of children globally as we continue to live and travel.  

So I am not really sure if I am a bright coloured light this year or a black and white one.  I long for the innocence we had before our losses but I would also never want to loose the amazing insight, understanding, empathy and self growth we have gained through these two sad years of grief.  We miss Olly & Opal everyday.  There are so many things that happen that remind you of them daily.   Its still sometimes hard to celebrate other peoples children but we are getting there.   The healing we came to seek in the Monastic town in which we live and work has not existed.  Instead we have entered a rather harsh and hostile environment that has been challenging to say the least.  Sometimes you wonder how much character building do we need?  I guess as long as the Universe wants us to grow there will be many challenges ahead.  

I have a special prayer for 2013, for my beautiful cousin who is courageously fighting terminal ovarian cancer is able to experience peace both physically and spiritually.  I don't want her to have lots of pain and I pray her husband and children can treasure every moment she has.  It breaks my heart that someone who is 39 with a gorgeous family can have such a battle.  We all know people who have these battles and as we get older and experience more of life we realise these battles are a part of life.  It is how we chose to take on these battles that truly defines who we are.  My cousin has displayed a bravery and grace that would put most of us to shame.  

May we all make everyday of 2013 special.  Not just celebrate New years, carry on endlessly about Christmas etc but treat everyday with the reverence and respect it deserves.