2,191 days without you

Zoe is six_small optimised

Today is six years, 2,191 days, since you left us.

In four days I will be 50 years old, 18,250 days old.

Only 2,370 of those days were lived with you, yet by some trick of mathematics, or unknown law of nature, the sum of those days is more than that of all the ones before or since.

I miss your slightly raspy voice, your old soul wisdom, your thoughts as you encountered the world and came to your own unique view of it, your gummy smile, which I suspect was quite like mine.

I miss all the small things any mother can name, fleeting moments in the everyday. some noticed and seized on as they pass, some remembered only later, a touch, a phrase in passing, a moment just the two of us shared, the Zoeisms.

I miss all the moments and milestones you didn’t get. I see the ghosts of them in your friends as they grow up.

Lately I realise I miss me. The me that only ever existed through your eyes. The me you believed in unwaveringly. Who you loved fierce and true and believed was good and capable. That me left with you, maybe you needed her where you were going.

Maybe she would be gone by now anyway, you would be on the cusp of teenagerhood, your job would be growing up and away from me. “Mum’s a good mum,” you told your Nan “even if she does say bad words sometimes” (guilty).

I’m a different me now, without you. And I wonder, how many more days without you?

Postscript: I am a different me, but I’m still here and I’m still wearing the sparkly shoes. Today we will be doing a few things to remember Zoe. First up is her Nan and I are going out for her favourite breakfast.

Sparkly shoes & Kindness day 2017 – you’re invited

Ruby Slippers from the Wizard of Oz

Six months after Zoe died, I wanted to do something to mark her birthday, on April 4th, and The Angel Zoe Kindness Project was born. That year I invited people to carry out an act of kindness in Zoe’s name, people told me what they had done and we attached each story to a helium balloon and released them at the beach.

I was inspired to keep the spirit of the project going, which I have done with more energy and focus at some times than others! Continue reading

Not fade away

Baby girl with pink ballet shoe

This year I’ve neglected Zoe’s garden, going on holiday, forgetting to water it, not weeding very often, and yet it’s still putting on an exuberant display in shades of purple and white annuals, pink and red roses for my last summer here.

When I do remember to water it, in the long evening shadows, Charlie Cat often comes to me, dodging the spray to wind himself around my legs and ask for cuddles. Zoe would often “help” me water the garden. I wasn’t allowed to spray her with the hose, but apparently she was allowed to spray me. It’s a peaceful feeling, seeing the garden doing so well, a small creature for company, as I get ready to leave it behind.

But last night, a dream. Before this, I’ve only had two dreams of Zoe since she died. They were comforting dreams, but this one is not. Following on from another, jumbled, half remembered dream, the scene comes into clear focus. Continue reading

This week’s mantra

img_20161104_070653.jpg

I found this in among the tarotscopes and yoga class listings in a local Byron Bay magazine while on holiday. The column is called heavily meditated – and I do love a good pun. This was something I needed to read today and a lesson I needed to learn. Again.

The line that jumped out at me was this: “An inability to forgive others is reflective of an inability to forgive yourself.” Continue reading

Our house (in the middle of our street)

Bungalow with roses

If you’re of a certain age and had a teenage predilection for eighties ska (who didn’t), you’re probably humming that song right now.

By the time Zoe was born in 2006, it was being used to advertise a house building company. Whenever their ad played on TV (remember life before Netflix) baby Zoe would turn her attention to it, enthralled. I would imagine the kind of family house I wanted for us. Not the cookie cutter kind being sold by the TV ad. Continue reading

1461 days without you

grief self portrait

At the friendship bench dedicated to Zoe at her school

In other years I have these posts written in my head long before the anniversary of the day you left us, but this year there just don’t seem to be any words, so this may be a little disjointed.

I’m borrowing some words from another bereaved parent, songwriter, author and musician Nick Cave, from the depths of his grief after losing his son: “I think I’m losing my voice… just file it under lost things. My voice, my iPhone, my judgment, my memory… isn’t it the invisible things that have so much mass?” Continue reading

The Kindness Chronicles #2

If you’ve read my previous post, you might understand I’ve been having a little trouble seeing the kindness in the world lately, perhaps we all have. There seems to be an awful lot of intolerance and hate around lately, invading media and our social newsfeeds. I don’t now about you, but I’m ready for a dose of kindness to reset my perspective. So here are a few things that have caught my attention recently:

For the mistake makers, the messy hearts and dreamers

This is a beautiful post by Darla Halyk on her blog New World Mom. A simple encounter in the middle of a busy life that encompasses thoughts on judgement, compassion and tutus. Read it here, but first here’s a photo of Zoe in a tutu, just because…

Zoe-in-a-tutu

Continue reading

I see dead people (in my news feed)

Scrolling through my facebook feed the other day, I came across a photo of a dead child. A child who had died of an incurable brain tumour. Her parents had shared photos of her last few hours and her dead body on a public facebook fan page, which is “liked” by someone I’m connected to on facebook.

This has happened to me before. A friend had liked a similar photo of a boy who had died of cancer because she wanted to show her support for the family. She unliked it when I let her know it was being amplified through her friends’ news feeds, including those of many bereaved parents.

My newsfeed is generally full of news and photos from the childhood cancer community, but rarely something so brutal.

The photo caught my eye, because the little girl reminded me of Zoe. So I masochistically clicked on the album. She looked just as Zoe had when she died. Hollowed out by cancer, frail and bloodless. Skin and bones in a pretty dress, with her fingernails painted, long flowing hair, her precious things surrounding her.

Continue reading

How many days left on your calendar?

Making use of the days, quote

I think most people who have lost a child would tell you, that in those first days, one of the most painful things is that unrelenting march forward of the days. Each dawn after each sleepless or drugged oblivious night taking you one day further from the last day you heard your child laugh, looked into their eyes, watched their breath rise and fall while they slept (until it didn’t), held their warm body.

Perhaps it’s different for those with other children, but after a while I took comfort in the idea that each day was also one day closer to being with my daughter again, that each day could be endured on the basis that at the end of it, there was one less to slog through before I could look into her eyes again, hear that little chuckle. Each new wrinkle and each gray hair a sign that we would be together all the sooner. All I had to do was put one foot in front of the other and keep going. Continue reading