Grief

Why I do what I do

Why I do what I do

Over the year I’ve been actively following, listening to, and engaging with as many disability self advocates as I can. I’m aware of my abled position of privilege as an ally, and I’m trying to use the right terminology, and pass the mic, and generally just nott fuck it up.… Read more

Autumn – hues of technicolour depression

Autumn – hues of technicolour depression

We’ve had a terrible summer. The weather never seemed to realise we were waiting in our shorts and singlets, and it held out on us for months. We had days, not weeks, of sunshine, and then suddenly, it was March, and Autumn was upon us. Eva was born at the… Read more

I see a girl…

I see a girl…

I have this photo on my phone of Eva. I spread the apps out across my phone so that there’s a screen with just one app and I can swipe through the screens until I reach her face, free from apps in the way. It’s the face I see before… Read more

Eva’s third birthday

Eva’s third birthday

Eva’s birthday is coming up. April 6th. She would have been three. Every few months I play a thought experiment, and try to imagine both our lives if she was still here. I imagine the big things, her crawling, her hearing sound with cochlear implants, her and I living together… Read more

New photos of Eva

New photos of Eva

I have hundreds of photos of Eva. My phone is never far from me and I used it, a lot, to capture her smile, her successes in tummy time, he cry, I captured everything I could. Even with these hundreds, and the dozens of videos I captured too, there is… Read more

Two years since she died

Two years since she died

It’s hard to believe it has been almost 2 years since Eva died. Eva was only here for 10 and a half months, less than half the time she has already been gone, but I will feel her loss and the hole she left behind her for the rest of… Read more

The hardest thing

The hardest thing

On Thursday a new episode of the podcast will come out. Instead of asking the questions, this time I will be the one telling my story. I asked my talented friend Kelsey Dilts McGregor to help me and step in as the host for this episode. Towards the end of… Read more

Dreaming of Eva

Dreaming of Eva

All my life I have had an active sleeping life. I’m a sleep talker. Former sleep walker. I do it nightly, sometimes multiple times a night. As a kid, and well into my teens, I walked in my sleep. When I was 15 my Dad built me a mezzanine floor… Read more

What does it mean to be a mother?

What does it mean to be a mother?

What does it mean to be a mother? Does it have a definition we all agree on? Is there a difference between being a mother and a parent? When Eva was born and her diagnoses started rolling in, I was desperate. This wasn’t the role I signed up for. A… Read more

Playing sliding doors

Playing sliding doors

It’s been 18 months since Eva died. Saying that number, 18 months feels cruel. She only lived to 10 months, and already she has been gone longer than she was here. To someone who meets me now, there’s no indication that I am Eva’s mother. No indication that I was… Read more

What didn’t happen

What didn’t happen

When Eva died, she had so many big things coming up. She was getting her hips and eye operated on. She was going to get a G-tube placed so she could finally have the tape off her face and the NG tube out of her nose. She was going to… Read more

No excuses: Imagine it

No excuses: Imagine it

“I can’t imagine what you are going through…” It’s a phrase that every parent who has lost a child has heard multiple times. It’s meant well. The speaker wants to let the griever know that they recognise the magnitude of this loss. They’re trying to validate the griever’s feelings by… Read more

Eva’s things

Eva’s things

I did some clearing today. The day after Eva died, we put all her clothes in bags and cleared her room out so it could be used for her when she came back from the funeral home. Mercifully, I didn’t have to do this task at the time. Ess and… Read more

Learning how to grieve

I’ve been thinking a lot about what grief looks like for different people. I’ve been thinking about when you see death on the news in foreign countries and the people, mothers, fathers, sisters, cry with their whole bodies. They throw themselves on the ground and wail and scream. Their grief… Read more

Thank you and I miss you and I love you

I’m scattering Eva’s ashes this weekend. I’ve arranged for flower petals to scatter with her and I’ve asked the people who will be there to say a few words for Eva. Eva’s foster parents will be there. My parents. My sister and her partner, Eva’s aunty and uncle, will also… Read more

Happy 2nd birthday, Eva

Happy 2nd birthday, Eva

What does Eva’s birthday mean to me? It means a day when I can think about who she was. I can remember her smile and her smell. I can remember her grunts of determination as she rolled herself across the floor. I can think of the way her whole body… Read more

A candle for Eva on the eve of her birthday

A candle for Eva on the eve of her birthday

 As a teenager I loved candles. And incense. My bedroom smelled like a Catholic Church, heady with musty fumes.  I went off them as an adult. They were for romantic dinner tables and birthday cakes, but not for everyday use. Candles belonged with dream catchers and super flared jeans, in… Read more

Counting backwards

Counting backwards

Holidays seem to make me count backwards. Where was I last year? The year before? I did this before Eva, but now it feels even more pressing. Easter is no different. Last year on Easter I drove to the Hawkes Bay for a holiday with friends. The holiday coincided with… Read more

For my friend

A good friend lost her dad to cancer recently. She was 25. Too young to lose your dad. Of course there’s no age that makes that kind of epic loss ok, but at 25 you’re just really finding your feet as an adult. You need those people in your life.… Read more

The first anniversary

The first anniversary

365 days have been and gone. Today is the 25th February 2016 and a year ago I held my little girl in my arms alive for the last time. The build up to this day has been really hard. I have not known how to feel or behave. I haven’t… Read more

Eva memories – day 14

Eva memories – day 14

It’s the 24th of February. A year ago today, I had no idea that I had just over 24 hours left with my daughter. I put her to bed and went to bed myself. I woke up around 9.30pm to the sound of her coughing through the monitor and padded… Read more

Eva memories – day 13

Eva memories – day 13

Child birth often comes with so many expectations. It’s why we write a birthing plan. I had so few expectations. I was having Eva in a hospital, with a midwife. Before I knew I was going to be induced I assumed I would play it by ear. I wanted all… Read more

Eva memories – day 12

Eva memories – day 12

When Eva got out of the hospital after she was born she was six weeks old. Still a wee thing, but those six weeks felt like a life time to me. So much had happened and changed. I thought of her as so much older than she was. I remember… Read more

Eva memories – day 11

Eva memories – day 11

Eva was due to have her hips operated on not long after she died. At three months old they realised she had hip dysplasia. I could have laughed I was so angry when the paediatrician told me that. “She’s had her hips checked before,” I told him. “She is seen… Read more

Eva memory – day 9

Eva memory – day 9

Eva’s first laugh was so amazing. I had seen her smiles. They were fleeting and if you blinked you missed them. But then one day I caught it on camera. I had proof. And she didn’t just smile, she grinned. She didn’t just grin, she giggled. It’s amazing how that… Read more

Eva memory – day 8

Eva memory – day 8

I got really good at driving one handed when Eva was alive. Most of the time she liked the car, but when she was a bit clogged up or sick she got pretty upset. I eventually got a mirror so I could see her, because the sound of her crying… Read more

Eva memories – day 7

Eva memories – day 7

This memory feels a bit general, but it’s inspired by a message I got from my good friend Ess, Eva’s honorary aunty that we lived with together. She had listened to the latest podcast and she sent me the loveliest comment. She said “I can remember you saying to me… Read more

Eva memory – day 6

Eva memory – day 6

Eva and I had one summer together. It was fantastic. Eva was so healthy and making such huge strides in her development. I was confident and calm and really thought I could do it. During that summer we drove up to the Taranaki for a friend’s wedding. I stayed with… Read more

Eva memory – day 5

Eva memory – day 5

I missed yesterday’s memory. I was so busy editing the next podcast that I forgot. It got to be 9pm and my brain was tired. I looked at Eva’s photos and said sorry, I’ll make it up tomorrow. Today’s memory is about realising that communication with Eva wasn’t something I… Read more

Eva memory day 4

Eva memory day 4

When I first took Eva back into my care she got sick. Really sick. The night before I was to pick her up from her foster parents’ house, I got a call at 1am saying she was in the ER having trouble breathing. I remember asking, “seriously?” To which her… Read more

Memories of Eva day 3

Memories of Eva day 3

I had a fairly relaxed attitude when it came to Eva’s physio work outs. I had a lot of equipment, I mean a lot, where I was supposed to put her into all sort of positions to strengthen her neck and core. I did use them, but not as much… Read more

Memories of Eva Day 2

Memories of Eva Day 2

In lots of ways, Eva was a lucky girl. She didn’t have any siblings of her own, but it seemed she was always surrounded by friends. As I’ve mentioned before we lived with my very good friends Ess and Jay and their son Em. Em was only four months older… Read more

Anniversaries

Anniversaries

Eva died February 25th 2015. This makes her anniversary, three weeks away. It’s no surprise that anniversaries for events like this are hard for those left behind. Anniversaries, birthdays, Christmas, any event of importance where the marked absence of that person feels carved in neon lights. For me, the hard… Read more

Almost a year now

Almost a year now

I’ve been back in the country for a little over a week. In that time I took two days to do nothing. Absolutely nothing. I watched TV. I went for a run/walk. I slept. A lot. I cooked for myself. I tried not to think about the impending school year… Read more

Almost a year now

Almost a year now

I’ve been back in the country for a little over a week. In that time I took two days to do nothing. Absolutely nothing. I watched TV. I went for a run/walk. I slept. A lot. I cooked for myself. I tried not to think about the impending school year… Read more

i fear no fate

i fear no fate

This trip has felt at once exciting and terrifying; exhausting and invigorating.  I have been inspired and anxious, panicky and confident. I have sat for hours in airport terminals and train stations, and slept on planes, trains, air mattresses and couches. I have felt a deep sense of connection with… Read more

Grief is – Emily Rapp and Big Sur

Grief is – Emily Rapp and Big Sur

I’ve been reading Emily Rapp’s book, The Still Point of the Turning World on this trip. I started reading it not long after Eva died but never finished it. I have only finished one book since Eva was born. Wild, by Cheryl Strayed.  Rapp’s book is about her son Ronan… Read more

Ever changing impermanence – or a day at the aquarium

Ever changing impermanence – or a day at the aquarium

Where Eva and I lived together in Wellington, there was a reserve right by us. I would put Eva in the front pack and walk with her down to the reserve. Sometimes I didn’t make it to the bottom where there was a dam, but if I was feeling energetic… Read more

A bit of an indulgence

A bit of an indulgence

I’ve found myself showing the various little kids that I’ve stayed with on this trip videos of Eva. Often they have spotted her photo and pointed at the screen and said, “baby” so I take that as my cue. Or else I’m trying to distract them. Or sometimes I just… Read more

My flame burns the brightest 

My flame burns the brightest 

I have shared so much about my life with Eva, my readers, and anyone else, could understandably think I don’t value privacy at all. I share Eva with the world, so you could assume I don’t feel protective of her memory. It’s something I have thought a lot about as… Read more

A New Year, moving forward not moving on

A New Year, moving forward not moving on

The end of 2015 is approaching.  I feel conflicted about how to view it and moving forward. I’m sure some people would think I would want to put the last two years behind me. 2014 and 2015 have without a doubt been the hardest years of my life. I have… Read more

The full force 

The full force 

So many of the mothers I am visiting on this trip have worried about how I will cope being around so many children. They have been concerned, quite realistically, that being around healthy, happy kids will be upsetting to me and remind me of what I have lost.  Truth be… Read more

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas, everyone. This was my Christmas last year. I’m glad I got one with Eva, even if it was the only one. This year is very different, but I’ll be thinking about that little chicken licken all day long.   Read more

I won't sit in the waiting place

I won't sit in the waiting place

When you lose someone you love, there are some dates and days that are harder than others. Anniversaries, birthdays, family gatherings, Christmas. They all take on a different meaning. We remember the Christmases we got to enjoy with the people we have lost, and we know that we won’t have… Read more

Sweet pea

Sweet pea

I have managed to avoid tears on this trip so far. It’s not that I don’t want to cry, but I have just not felt like crying. But then a friend I was visiting in Salem gave me this. And suddenly, I was crying.    My friend had given her… Read more

The right decision

The right decision

A few months ago a woman reached out to me through facebook. She was pregnant and the 20 week scans had revealed real problems with the baby. I won’t give too many details, because this isn’t my story to tell, it’s her’s and her family’s. But I will say she… Read more

No right way to grieve

No right way to grieve

Grief does funny things to almost every other emotion. It heightens some. Happiness feels bigger, brighter. Beautiful sights seem to radiate that beauty instead of merely being. Your favourite song warms you from the inside out. Rain on the roof makes you close your eyes in enjoyment. Sadness is deeper,… Read more

A club you never wanted to be part of

A club you never wanted to be part of

It’s hard to press publish on a blog where the majority of the posts are about grief. It’s hard because I’m writing what I’m feeling, but I don’t feel that way 24 hours a day, or even every day. I hesitate to press publish because I know it makes people… Read more

The gaping abyss

The gaping abyss

I live in an apartment. I come home and take the elevator up to the third floor. It’s not a fancy elevator. It’s one where you are keenly aware that you are in a metal box being transported between stories. This particular one has a gap between the elevator itself… Read more

To remember her

To remember her

I am house sitting for my old house family this weekend. They are taking a much needed holiday with their son and I am spending the weekend with their dog, not a bad way to spend a weekend. It’s the house where Eva and I lived together. It’s where we… Read more