This card arrived in the post today from the people at SUDC UK. Sunday April 5th would have been Patrick's 11th birthday. We had plans. Pat and Eoghan were supposed to be at a family thing in Sweden for a long weekend and I had wanted to take the baby girl down to Kerry. Go for a mini stroll, visit the sheep farm, check in on Kerry and Clare and pay their adoption fee.
2020 had other plans. Covid19 restrictions meant that we were not able to do any of those things. In fact, we were not even able to visit his grave on this birthday as it is further than 2km away from our home. Given the current situation and so many people dying without a loved one to hold their hand and family burying loved ones without the normal community support of wakes and funerals, it's what needed to be done and a small price to pay in the grand scheme of things.
Were we sad about it? Absolutely...We like to make the day special. We asked one of Patrick's uncles to say HI to him at the graveyard and did what we always do also:
Everybody in this house, living or dead, gets a nicely set up breakfast table. Cake, flowers, gifts, cards. We lit his candle and ate cake for breakfast. We thought of him. We downloaded both Frozen AND Frozen 2 and watched both movies. We listened to the kids singing along to the lyrics at the top of their voices. I imagined Patrick doing some eye-rolling at that type of movie as an 11 year old. Maybe a smile at his siblings's enthusiasm singing along. Most certainly his fingers in his ears as they hit (missed!) the high notes.
What helped in no small part to make the day even more special were the many messages of remembrance and support from friends and family. Memories of Patrick they shared and birthday wishes in heaven for him. It is so important for us to see he is remembered and missed.
💓Thank you. These messages *really* matter to us - you may never know just how much. 💓
2020 has been a strange year from the start. Weather warnings kept us inside for most of January and the start of February. A surprise pregnancy that we did not expect and that once more did not last past 9 weeks. Another tiny being lost and a grief to go with it that knocked me for six. Even more so when I realised our statistics in the reproductive department - having to repeat it a number of times to various doctors and nurses.
6th pregnancy. 3 live births. 1 sudden unexplained death in childhood at 22 months. 3 miscarriages. 2 alive and well at home (thank God!).
Why? Why not? Why us? Why not us? I don't know. All I did know what I needed time out to heal and regroup.
I am thankful I was able to do that well before all the Covid 19 restrictions came in. I was able to do what I know soothes my soul, gives me peace and helps recharge my batteries.
Hiking. I got into the car, drove somewhere I knew would make my heart sing and walked. By myself. Coffee and picnic in my backpack.
Each time, I came back refreshed and a little stronger. The solitude, time to be alone in my thoughts and in my self was hugely important in piecing myself back together. I took time to ground myself by letting my senses tell me what I could see, hear, feel and smell. The wonderful views. The wind in the trees, sound of waves or songs of birds. The sunshine on my face or wind or even hail. The wet forest ground...Being part of nature. I think I understand why "forest bathing" is something that is prescribed in some parts of the world. Getting out into nature is my best medicine. Sitting on the top of Torc Mountain for a good 40 minutes taking in scenery with a cup of coffee in my hand was utter bliss. I miss it now but I am grateful for the chances I got to experience it then.
Wherever our path leads us. Whether it is rocky or smooth or we're faced with the occasional river crossing. Whether it will bring another living member to this household or not. We walk on with hope.
"Love is eternal, it never ends, it transforms."
Cliff Walk Cliffs of Moher
Ballybunion Cliff Walk
Old Kenmare Road