Zoe at 10, through others’ eyes

birthday-card

A decade today since I first held my baby girl in my arms and named her; Zoe Michelle.

The last birthday Zoe celebrated was her sixth, but I’ve continued to celebrate them for her and to mark the anniversary of the day she passed. I began The Angel Zoe Kindness Project for her 7th birthday, the first after her passing. I’ve always included others who knew her, but have wondered if they feel it’s getting inappropriate, just a social duty now, especially for the children who were young when she died.

A few days ago, we held an early celebration since Zoe’s Dad was in town. One of the children who usually comes couldn’t make it, but she sent the beautiful card at the top of this post. She was five when Zoe died. It made me realise that Zoe does still mean something to a lot of people, so I asked friends their thoughts about her on her 10th birthday. It turned out some were about Zoe, some were about me.

I wasn’t going to post the ones about me, but they are so intertwined, and I realised it’s because Zoe’s soul has blazed through the centre of me, has changed me so profoundly, that we are deeply intertwined, in other people’s hearts as well.

I’m so honoured they allowed me to share their thoughts here.  Continue reading

Encounter #1000speak

You are blessed. You are worthy. You are enough.

Yesterday I cycled around handing out Easter eggs for The Angel Zoe Kindness Project (and to burn off calories from consumption of Easter treats). Everyone I met was happy to take the Easter eggs and exchange a few words.

On my way down to the cycle-way, I encountered someone I see from time to time asking for money outside the local supermarket. When I see him I usually give him a couple of dollars or buy some food to give him on the way out. Sometimes he’s left before I come back with the food, even if I ask him to stay. Continue reading

My one and only

Mine-was-the-only-one

I cannot buy it—’tis not sold
There is no other in the World
Mine was the only one
– Emily Dickinson

One of the first things people ask when they hear your child died of cancer is “Do you have any other children?” Even some other parents whose children have died ask this. Only a few have lost their only child and many of those have gone on to have other babies. Really? I wonder to myself, would having another child make it better? Continue reading

Ten and counting

Ten-years

This is an ordinary story, one that happens across the world in many different ways, but nonetheless one worth recounting.

Tonight I’ll be attending the 10th Anniversary dinner of the group of women I first met at an ante-natal class in January 2006. It’s taken us a couple of months to get it organised around school starting, kids weekend activities, commitments with work and partners. But it’s no small thing to have been regularly meeting for ten years, it’s worth celebrating. Continue reading

A tap on the shoulder from the universe

Monarch butterfly

In the couple of years following Zoe’s death, I wouldn’t have recognised inspiration or an idea if it hit me over the head, let alone tapped me on the shoulder. I did manage to resurrect my half forgotten blog and tortuously express some thoughts in writing, but it didn’t particularly feel like inspiration, or a message from the universe. It felt more like a desperate and visceral compulsion to make sense of what had happened and communicate my pain.

But right now, the the universe does seem to be telling me something. I think it’s to write more, which I haven’t been doing much of recently – one new post in three months.

Last week The Daily Post included an excerpt from one of my posts in their one of theirs, Creating (the physical and mental) space to write, which clearly I haven’t done recently. The response from a reader reminded me of one reason I write, or at least one of the reasons I publish what I write. Continue reading

Why I’ll be eating ice-cream for breakfast on the 18th February

I’m sharing this post from last year to invite you all to eat ice-cream for breakfast on the 18th February.
I’m planning to, come back and tell me if you do too! You can also use the hashtags #icecreamforbreakfast and #kidsgetcancer too on social media networks.

Retro Girl & the Chemo Kid

There will be people around the world eating ice-cream for breakfast on 18th February. And despite being in two minds about cancer awareness campaigns, I’m going to be one of them. Here’s why.

icecreamforbreakfast_small

Generally I prefer charity activities that raise money for their causes over “awareness” campaigns that seem to do little other than make people feel good about participating.

I am planning on supporting Eat Ice-cream for Breakfast Day though. It doesn’t raise money. It doesn’t have an ice-cream company as a corporate sponsor. Yes, it is an awareness campaign for childhood cancer, motivated by remembering a little girl called Malia but it’s asking something a little bit different from you too.

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Signs

I believe in signs. You might call them co-incidences or wishful thinking.

It’s my first day in Budapest in 24 years. I’m learning how to live without Zoe. It’s a stiflingly hot central European summers day and I find the cafe in what was once a glamourous department store, with frescoed ceilings and gilded embellishments. It’s a cool dark respite from the blazing sunlit day and I’m drinking a home made lemonade. There’s a grand piano and the pianist starts playing Isn’t She Lovely. It’s the song I would put on and sing to Zoe while I danced around the house with her when she she was a refluxy baby who couldn’t sleep. It’s the song I told her was my song for her because she’s lovely. She replied it was her song for me because I’m lovely. It’s the song we played at the beginning of her funeral. I’m in the right place.

ceiling fresco Budapest Continue reading