I wandered into the living room this morning to find out what Alex wanted for breakfast. I found him sat on the settee cuddling a photograph of his brother Ellis. For those of you that don’t know, Ellis died 8 years ago 1 year before Alex was born. I asked him what he was doing, he said he wished his brother had never died. This got me to thinking, what effect does the death of a child have on the children that come along afterwards?
Ellis was our firstborn, had he lived who knows if we would have had anymore children. Alex came along the following year, he was born breach and was in special care so we decided to quit whilst we were ahead with this having kids lark! Alex often says he wishes Ellis were still alive so he had his big brother to play with. He misses the brother he never knew, he misses what might have been. Alex told me that Ellis will always be his big brother even though he is not here now.
I find it fascinating how Alex involves Ellis in everyday life, at school the kids did a family portrait for their new teacher at the beginning of term, Alex included Ellis in his picture. He draws Ellis as a baby when he draws these types of pictures but this time he wrote ‘bro – dead’ next to the image.
We are finding that Alex is becoming more and more sensitive about his brother, he is questioning why Ellis died and why we didn’t have anymore children. I am dreading the day when he asks me that if Ellis had lived would he, Alex, have ever been born!
On the way home from work there was drivel on every radio station so whilst surfing the stations I happened across a discussion on Radio 4 about the so called ‘Happiness Machine’. I joined the discussion halfway through so missed why they were talking about this subject but as I tuned in somebody asked the question, do you need to have experienced a sadness to appreciate happiness?
This got me to thinking about my life, I have experienced the ultimate sadness in the loss of a child, am I now happy as a result of this awful experience? Well, I think the answer may well be yes! Don’t get me wrong, before Ellis died I was a happy person, I had a great life, lovely job and wonderful friends but since his death I have many more friends, a more hectic life, I am fitter and to be honest I have a more fulfilled life. It may be that I would have these things if Ellis had lived, who knows but it certainly is an interesting thought!
I miss Ellis every day, I will never ever forget him, his death changed me forever. I live more for today; I make sure that as a family we never go to sleep on an argument. You learn this the hard way when your child dies during the night. I am scared that if I have a disagreement with Alex before bed that when I go in to wake him and make up with him in the morning that he would be dead. I know this is an irrational fear but it is a real fear to me nonetheless.
Fundraising and running has opened new doors for experiences and new people that I may never have had. Standing on the 4th Plinth in Trafalgar Square telling my story is something I would have been unlikely to have done before. Sad as it seems, I do think you need to have experienced sadness before you can truly be grateful for what you have and be happy.
This time last year my sparkly belt didn’t fit me. My trousers kept falling down but I couldn’t find a nice belt to fit. Earlier this summer I managed to squeeze back into my belt, Facebook friends may even remember
my status referring to this milestone. Well I have hit another milestone in beltgate(!), the belt still fits, but comfortably. I don’t feel like I am being cut in half. This exercise lark really is starting to give results!
I bimbled 9 miles with my friend Rachael on Saturday in training for the Great North Run in a few weeks. The Garmin suggests this burned 1261 calories. If I carry on like this I may be able to go in a notch on said belt by next month. Keep your fingers crossed.
I bet you laughed when you read the title? Well I am not laughing!
I started running to raise money for charity but I soon realised running was a great way to get fit and hopefully lose some weight along the way. It is great when other runners wave, smile or even just nod a greeting. There is a camaraderie between us, we are all running for different reasons but we all love it. So when some spotty oik that probably can’t even run to the end of the road shouts comments such as ‘run, fatty, run’ it really is not very nice, but do you know what I do? I laugh at them, yes, me, the girl in the 10k tshirt, or perhaps it was my half marathon tshirt I was wearing! Oh, perhaps I had my London Marathon tshirt on! I laugh at them because I know that I might be overweight but I am a fit fat bird, setting an example for other fat women.