On Monday April 7th, just two days after what should have been Patrick's 5th birthday, we got to share our SUDC journey in one of Ireland's main national papers.
Some time back, just before Christmas, I was browsing the paper online and read a column named Diary of a Working Mum. In it, the writer spoke about that call from the creche; the one we all get from time to time. The one to tell us our little darling has a bit of a fever and/or is not him or herself. And then, for a brief moment we are torn:
We want to rush straight to the creche and pick them up. We feel bad about having to abandon work, perhaps yet again this week/month etc. We are mildly annoyed at this interruption because it might be a very busy day. This mild annoyance is swiftly followed by guilt - after all our kids should come first - but really...they do pick their moments!
I can totally understand every single aspect of this particular train of thought. At the time of reading the column, I felt the writer was really feeling the balancing act that being a working mother can be.
Guilt over leaving colleagues in the lurch and worry for their child.
Via Twitter I told her we were very painfully familiar with a different kind of call from the creche. One that old us that there was something very wrong. One that ended with us having to bury our first-born. I told her to sod work...Our children are more important. They are only small for a short while and when they are ill, they need us. It is what it is and we should not have to feel guilty for minding them. And as for those who choose to be childless and feel they should not be inconvenienced by the sniffles of our off-spring, well that off-spring is the future tax payer who will fund their pension...Or something like that. Bottomline was: perspective. They will not be small for long and we will make up for lost time at work one way or another.
Then I attached a link to one of my blog posts.
She contacted me back and asked if I'd consider writing something for the paper and I semi jumped at the chance.
It was a good opportunity to raise awareness....awareness of SUDC and what life as an SUDC parent is like. I wrote, re-wrote and re-wrote again and finally submitted it at the start of January.
We went back and forth for a while over pictures (they put us in touch with their local contract photographer - a really really sound guy) and then at the start of April I was told that the article would be in the paper Monday 7th April. Anxious to make sure we were all happy with the pictures etc., I asked for a sneak preview of what pictures they might want to use...
...And got sent this on Friday the 4th.
The Cover Girl
"Waaaaaahhhhh!" would probably sum up my initial reaction! I guess I was expecting an article somewhere in the middle of the paper or online....not the front cover of the "Health and Living" supplement. :)
Yvonne and the Independent did a wonderful job of putting all this together. They contacted the SUDC Program in the US for a short article on SUDC research as well. This way, I am sure we got tons more exposure than if it had been a small article somewhere in the middle.
We decided then to let people know ahead of time that this was coming on Monday the 7th April in order to give them a bit of a pre-warning at least.
I think the way it happened, it being published just two days after Patrick's birthday, it all felt like it was meant to be. It felt right.
Hopefully we succeeded in what we set out to do...Raise awareness of SUDC and what life as a bereaved parent can be like.
Today, life is good. Personally, I feel more at peace since the 3rd anniversary passed. However, that does not mean for one second that the miss is gone. It is still there, every day. But that it ok. It is how it must be.
Never did think I'd make it onto the cover of anything though!
The Centre Folds :)
Thank you Pat, Eoghan and Sproggy - for the inspiration.
Thank you Yvonne for the opportunity!
Thanks to Sean Curtin for making us look decent!