It feels as though I’m constantly making excuses these days about why I’ve had no time to blog, to work my way through my lengthy To Do List, to see friends, do the housework, sit down and just….relax!! I’m always so full of apologies, rushed text messages to friends, “Must meet up soon!”, snatched telephone conversations, “I’ll call you back later!” and countless emails explaining my absence, my lack of posts, my inability to get anything done. And this last week, whilst suffering with tonsillitis and the sickness bug, I found myself struggling with the over-whelming pressure of it all, juggling the children and the home renovations, the mountain of washing (why do children always save projectile vomiting for bedtime?), before realising that actually, it’s all about priorities.
As many of you know, I am planning a charity event on the 16th July, the “SANDS Summer Soiree”, in honour of Joseph on his tenth birthday, and in all honesty I had no idea just how time consuming that would be. I don’t think that I have felt this stressed out about something since my wedding day – the worry that it won’t be a success, that people won’t come and support it, that I will have somehow let Joseph down despite my best efforts. I think in some ways it is even more stressful than my wedding day as at least then I had known that an RSVP meant that my guests would definitely be there on the day and not just a loosely based “going” on a Facebook page and the hope that they don’t get a better offer between now and then.
I’ve had to have tickets printed, both entry and raffle, plead for prizes and freebies, advertise and sell, organise music, catering, a bouncy castle to entertain the children. And through spreading the news of our event through word of mouth and social media, I was contacted by a local reporter who asked to share my story, take a few photos and hopefully help rally support for our event. It soon became clear that, what I had assumed would be a short article featuring details of our event, turned out to be a double paged spread, hitting the front page of the local papers, creating such a stir that the following day we featured on the website of a national newspaper and I had journalists knocking on my door asking for interviews by 8am. This week has been spent giving telephone interviews, sitting through photo shoots with the children and signing on the dotted line to agencies who want to share our story.
And for someone who just last week told you how much I hate having my photo taken, seeing my ugly mug on the front page of the newspaper was really quite difficult and I have spent the week battling with that little voice in my head that tells me just how terrible I looked, the regret that I hadn’t even brushed my hair, that I was wearing my oldest, comfiest Primark cardigan and that I really should have put on at least a slick of mascara. And yet I’ve had to suck it up because I know that, regardless of how greasy my hair was or not, there may have been somebody reading that article who really needed to read our story, to know that although it may seem as if their world has ended right now, that doesn’t mean that it’s the end.
And not only has it been time consuming for us all, but it has been emotionally draining too, having to re-live that time in my life, to go back through old, and extremely painful, memories. It has brought back a lot of feelings that I haven’t dared visit in a long while and, all of a sudden, a decade feels like no time at all. I seem to be swept up in this false bravado, the message behind the article being, ‘Look how wonderful her life turned out to be!’ which is absolutely true, of course it is, and yet how can anything ever be truly wonderful when we wake up every single day without our son? I feel that perhaps I am lulling myself into a false sense of security that the event will be nothing but fun and laughter, a time to celebrate Josephs life with some of our favourite people, and yet in reality I’m un-sure as to whether I will even get through the night without falling into a snotty, crying heap on the floor, whether the magnitude of a whole decade without him will hit me like a tonne of bricks
Yesterday I looked back through Josephs memory box for the first time in what felt like an age, through his scan photos, the prints of his perfect little hands and feet, the little name tags that had been placed around his wrist, the tape measure that had measured him from head to toe.
I looked through his clothes, remembering how excited I had been, the “I’m the baby brother” romper suit, the tiny swimming trunks we had planned for the Summer, the “My first Christmas” bib we had so easily expected he would wear. And, through my tears, I read through the hundreds of cards of commiserations, the beautiful messages of support, words that at the time had hurt too much to read, now so poignant, so true. And sat there, surrounded by his things, I realised just how much support we had, and how much support we do have, even a decade later. Those who want to there with us at our charity night will be there, and those who can’t be there, for whatever reason, will hold us in their thoughts, generously donate, send much appreciated raffle prizes and the reassurance that had it been possible, they would have been there for me, just as they always have been. And in that way, there is nothing at all to worry about.
So I won’t apologise for my absence, or excuse where my time has gone, because although I could have spent the week blogging or cleaning or doing the ten thousand things that I really should have been doing, I’ve actually been doing something far more important. On the 16th of July, at 7pm, we will be holding our event surrounded by those we love, raising money, a thought, and a large glass of wine, to SANDS, to friendship, to never giving up and most importantly to Joseph and the many, many little ones who we met along the way.
If anyone wishes to join us at our event, buy raffle tickets, has a prize to donate or would simply like to give via the Just Giving page, you can find all of the links below.
Thank you so much for all of your support so far, as always it is much appreciated.