1000 views and the challenge!

I am so touched that I have had over 1000 views since I started my blog a month ago. That is so many people who have now read about my beautiful twin boys.

I have loved sharing things about them and all of your comments have meant so much and continue to add to my precious memories. It has allowed me to spend much more time thinking of them. Jess and I looked through their 3 photo albums the other day- a really special moment. It has brought all sorts of emotions along side too- I think approaching their 18th has that affect anyway but also when you think so much more and write things down it is heightened. Β It is nice though- I like that so many people know all about them now.

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I am at the point of finalising my challenge. I am going to do 18 things over 18 days, all to do with the number 18. I will start on their birthday, 13th September until the 30th, which is the day before their funeral. It also goes over the two different days that they died, the 19th for Charlie and the 25th for Joshua. I am really excited, some of the things are physical and some are about remembering and creating memories. Some with be on my own and some will be with my lovely family. I will tell you more shortly!

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Butterflies and frogs! πŸΈ

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My most recent purchase for my twins – beautiful butterflies.

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I love these pots that I am going to take to the cemetery of Β Saturday. I am sure they would have loved frogs!

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One for Charlie.❀Bizarrely I always have Charlie first so this is his pot as the frog is on the left!

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Joshua’s pot.πŸ˜ƒ

I am really pleased with these. I think probably because they are so child like. I still think of Charlie and Joshua as babies even though they would be almost 18.

Samuel’s 15th birthday

This time 15 years ago I was being induced at exactly 40 weeks pregnant. Samuel arrived at 7.30 p.m. Samuel is our 3rd boy but the only one that we have had the joy of watching grow up. I love Samuel and Jessica so much, they are my whole world. When I think too much there are many what ifs…

Imagine 3 boys, the twins would be 17 and Samuel 15, three lots of towels to hang up, three lots of clothes to put away, too many trainers to count, three lots of muddy football kits! Would they have been like Samuel or maybe more like Jess? Would they have looked the same? Samuel and Jessica are very different in personality so maybe they would have been too. I will never know.

During their very short lives they did have quite different characters. Charlie was always so laid back and chilled. He was so content as he was placed in my arms the first time, as all the tubes and wires were disconnected. Joshua was such a fighter, he overcame so much. It made my smile when he kicked off the bubble wrap that was keeping him warm and he untied the ribbon on the hat that I had just carefully tied!

I love that I am a mum of 4 children even if they are not all with me now. They are very much part of our family and I will keep their memory alive. 🌟🌟

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Remembering

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‘Remembering’ for me is so important- keeping Charlie and Joshua’s memory alive. I want to always remember every detail, my treasure chest helps with that. When I go through their things I can remember things so clearly as if it were yesterday!

A little off topic but only yesterday I was asked how many children I have by a complete stranger! I have to think hard about what to say depending on the situation, I find it difficult to say 2 but people’s responses can be tricky! I did say 4 as I mostly do and we carried on our conversation.

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This is what we wrote in the memorial book at the hospital on the day that Joshua died. Part of it we have on their headstone.

‘A short time full of life with a lifetime full of memories. ‘

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And these are the letters we sent to the most ‘special’ of the doctors and nurses that looked after Charlie and Joshua.

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Here are some letters from the class that I was teaching at the time the twins died. I also have a book with a page from every child which helped me so much whilst we were waiting to be released from the hospital. I love that children are so open and honest and will happily chat. When I went back to my year 1 class they would often say something about the fact that my babies had died!

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We had such kind messages and cards and thoughts from all of our family and friends. They all meant so much. I love looking through them all.

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The first year of grief.

This post is probably most helpful to my friends that have sadly lost their babies recently.

I am privileged to be friends with some lovely people who have also had babies die. I have connected with people through Tamba and Sands mostly and have been lucky enough to share my story and hear about others people’s babies.

At the time that Charlie and Joshua died I didn’t really think I would need any other support apart from the support from Dominic and my family and friends.

To start with I beganΒ to write down my experience. I wanted as much detail as possible so that I would always remember everything. I found it very helpful to write down all of my story and began sharing it with anyone who would read it!

I also wanted some jewellery that I could wear all of the time. Dominic bought me a gold ring which I have worn everyday since with their names on and two stars. I also bought a locket to put their photos in. Much of my jewellery that I wear even now has some significance to the twins. I have a Pandora star ring, a bracelet full of twin related charms and a necklace with star charms, amongst other things. One part of my 18th birthday challenge is going to involve some new jewellery!

I began to buy anything star related or to do with angels as well as anything with Forget-me-nots on. It kept me busy! The only reason that we put up a Christmas tree a few months later was because I wanted to decorate it with stars and things with their names on. I still do -our theme for the tree is always the twins!

The thing I found most difficult was that the world and general life carried on as normal. I didn’t have any interest in everyday things, going to Tesco was just the worse. (I would walk around with my head down.) It was at this point that I realised I needed some more help with my grief. I contacted Sands and met some of my best friends now. And I got in touch with Tamba because I needed someone who would understand the whole ‘twins’ thing. When I spoke to the first person who had also lost her twins, the relief was incredible. I was also lucky that in my local Sands group there were a few people who had also lost twins that I could meet up with. We would just meet for coffee and spend hours chatting about our twins and sharing our photos. Sands also provided the chance to go along to support meetings. I have met such lovely people along the way. I will talk more about how my roles in Sands and Tamba have developed in a different post because for now it was just the support and the strength it gave me.

I also had a mission to find a candle with 2 wicks, one for each of them. It was quite a task but kept me busy for a while. I always light a candle on any significant dates such as Christmas day, our birthdays, Mother’s day etc. and sometimes just when I want to!

We were really lucky that we have so many photos of the twins, so we spent quite a while deciding which ones to print out, to put in frames etc. That also kept me occupied for the first few weeks; arranging their photographs albums. We have photos up around our house of Charlie and Joshua and I used to love it when I could hear Jess or Samuel telling their friends about their older twin brothers. I remember Jess wanting to take in a photo of them to school. Her first teacher was lovely and is a good friend of mine now.

I would say that my main way of dealing with my grief was to talk and talk about them: to Dominic, to my mum, to friends and other family members and also to my new Sands and Tamba friends. I loved to say their names, their weights, talk about their characters, share their photos. Once I even showed a poor girl in Argos my photo as she saw it in my purse!

Becoming pregnant again with Jess also helped me a lot. It was a worrying time but it gave us something to focus on and to look forward to.

I would say that the first year was the most difficult, the first’s of everything; Mother’s Day, Christmas, our birthdays – right up until their birthday. Luckily Jess had been born a week by then. We were just so pleased that she was Ok and we had a lovely family day on their birthday, starting at the cemetery, Jessica’s first visit! Then on to Stratford for the day. It was as lovely as it could be. For me particularly I just wanted to celebrate their day and keep their memory alive. It was hard but it was a special day.

 

Tamba bereavement group

20170505_115711Tamba has played such a massive part in my life since I had my twins.

I excitedly got in touch with them when I found out we were expecting twins. I joined the group and looked forward to the regular twin magazines whilst I was pregnant. Twins were so special, everyone was so excited, even people I didn’t know. And then ‘identical’ twins – I planned the outfits, the holidays, school etc etc.

The magazines continued to come after they had died and it took me a while to ring them and explain that I didn’t need them anymore. That’s when I learnt about the bereavement support group.

I was matched up to a befriender who lived in Manchester. The first phone call was quite scary but so reasurring. We exchanged many calls and letters after that first call. I continued to be supported by Jackie for the whole of that first year. I was pregnant with Jessica by then too so needed lots of reassurance! I needed support that was specifically twin related. I would never know what it would be like to have twins growing up. I would still love twins, they fascinate me. Once Jessica was born I would constantly imagine what it would be like to be doing everything with two, feeding, bathing, dressing etc.

After Jessica was born I decided to become a befriender, to help someone as Jackie had helped me. We had to be a year on in our grief. The first few calls were nerve wracking but it felt good to be doing something for Tamba. I continued befriending as a volunteer for 15 years. I have spoken to so many people, made so many friends and heard about so many precious babies who have died. I feel privileged that people will share their story with me. I love to tell people about Charlie and Joshua and I get to say their names too. I have been lucky enough to meet quite a few of my Tamba friends as well which has been lovely.

I was then asked to take on the role of the Tamba bereavement group coordinator, working 5 hours a week from home. Sadly the office takes me about 2 hours to get to usually, but I do go on occasions. Then my hours were increased to 7. I love my Tamba work so much. I am so lucky that I get to do two jobs that I love. Since Sept 2015 I have been able to speak to so many more bereaved parents, I get to talk to everyone who comes to Tamba who wants a befriender. I also still do some befriending.

It is so special that even though my twins died that I can still be part of Tamba.

I am so grateful to Tamba. I am sure it is one of the main reasons that I have got to this point with my grief. That is why I want my ’18th birthday challenge’ to raise some money for Tamba if it possibly can.

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Sands also played a big role in supporting me but I will talk about this separately.