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

This week’s mantra

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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

The friendship seat #1000speak

It still haunts me to know that being bullied was a feature of the last few months of my daughter’s life, that in the beginning it wasn’t handled very well and that I failed her in this.

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Early in her second year at school, around the time she turned 6, Zoe told me that some older girls were seeking her out every day at lunchtime to tease her, particularly about the way she spoke. Zoe had some speech issues relating to nerve damage either from her cancer or the radiation treatment. She had undergone surgery to her palette before the school year started and along with speech therapy, this was greatly improving the situation, but it was enough to single her out as a victim in the eyes of these girls (I want to say bullies, but that label seems to make them less human than they really are).

I took her in to school early one morning to catch her teacher before others started arriving and explained to the teacher what had been happening. Her teacher’s first response was “Well, I hate to tell you Zoe, but some people just aren’t very nice.” She went on to say that the next time it happened, Zoe should find the teacher on duty and point out who the girls were. While I was a little shocked at the comment, I felt there was a plan of action. And as a busy working solo mum, I didn’t want to rock the boat and be “one of those” parents. I assumed the school had it’s way of dealing with these things.

Continue reading

Compassion is hereditary #1000speak

I inherited compassion from my daughter

You know that saying – “Insanity is hereditary, you get if from your kids”?
Well, I think I inherited compassion from my daughter.

Until recently it was widely believed (in Western cultures anyway) that babies were born innately selfish, that it was our moral duty as parents to turn them from self obsessed little savages into beings fit for human society, through training them with reward and punishment. It seemed to make sense – after all, newborns are famously demanding in getting their own needs met no matter how exhausted their parents. Continue reading

Giving and receiving on Zoe’s 7th birthday

On the 4th of April I woke up, as I thought I would (or maybe willed myself to do) at 3.40am, the time Zoe was born in 2006.

Many grieving parents say that it’s often not the specials days themselves – birthdays, anniversaries, Mothers Day, Christmas – that are hard, it’s the days leading up to them and the anticipation of them. I’d had a rough few days. I couldn’t concentrate and just wanted all the swirling thoughts in my head to go away. I was having trouble keeping the momentum for The Angel Zoe Kindness Project going when I just wanted to hide away in my bed instead and not speak to anyone. For the first time I felt I was not coping and started considering grief counselling. Continue reading