Our beautiful baby daughter Anabelle was born sleeping June 2010.
Blessed with the screaming arrivals of our gorgeous rainbow sons,
Alexander October 2011, Zachary November 2013 and Lucas July 2016.

After Anabelle - Raising Rainbows
Heartbreak. Joy. Death. Life. But most of all Love.

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Take Time

When I was a little girl my grandparents gave me a framed poem called "Take Time". I think there are many truths within it and it has sat on the shelf in our bedroom since we moved in. One of the smallest things they've given me, but something I could never throw away. The last couple of days it has been catching my eye and I've read it again. 

Take time to think - 
It is the source of power.

Take time to play - 
It is the secret of perpetual youth.

Take time to pray - 
It is the greatest power on earth.

Take time to love and be loved - 
It is a God-given privilege.

Take time to be friendly - 
It is the road to happiness.

Take time to laugh - 
It is the music of the soul.

Take time to give - 
It is too short a day to be selfish.

Take time to work - 
It is the price of success. 

Your child's death makes you think very hard about your time on earth. The purpose of it all; everyones place in life. What have you done that has made a difference. What is really important compared to what you thought was important. Being able to look beyond yourselves to the wider context of it all. 

I've learnt much in the last 10 months. 

I've learnt Anabelle did far more to touch this world in 32 weeks than I had managed in 25 years. Yes I'd studied hard and achieved well, I'd got a job and contributed to society with my wage deductions, I'd married and set up home. But my life was all about me until Anabelle existed; when it became all about her. Anabelle in her short time with us and beyond has taught us far more about life than we could have ever figured out for ourselves. 

So within the context of my grandparents poem;

We're experts in thinking. My mind is busier than it ever was before. Thinking about what is, was, could and should have been. I'm constantly reflecting. Thinking about what we want out of our lives and what direction we're heading in; re-evaluating our ambitions and goals. Currently we're setting up our business, putting a lot of our thought into it, not rushing, really wanting to get it spot on. Anabelle's Daddy is going to use his talents to capture the memories of other peoples lives, because we've learnt how precious memories truly are. We're putting lots of thought into Anabelle's Angel Day; wanting to be part of something that could make such a difference to angel families of the future, maybe even contribute to preventing some families from living this life if only recommendations in the Lancet report are effectively acted on. Sometimes the thinking is good for us; other times it is torture. The worst kind of thinking is re-living the week surrounding Anabelle's death in our heads - what did we miss that could've changed this turn of events? 

Accepting fun and play (and laughter) in our lives after Anabelle's death was tough. Almost as if enjoying ourselves was forbidden. Guilt after a "good" day was immense. It is only recently really that feeling has disappeared. We're not grieving any less because we've had a lovely day. All credit is due to our friends who have accepted us as we are and made a real effort to include us in fun - through their effort they bring healing. Because yes, laughter is good for the soul.   

Lots of people; including Jon, do not understand how something as awful as my daughters death  has prompted my return to God and church. Don't get me wrong I've been angry at God and get angry at God, but figure he is big enough to take it. I don't understand and may never understand why Anabelle could not stay on earth. In assembly last week we sang "He's got the whole wide world in his hands" including the verse about the tiny little baby. I don't know where God was for my tiny little baby when she was with me, but I believe she is there now. I've learnt a lot about prayer, with far more still to learn I expect. I believe in it now in a way I never did before. For the most part, my time spent at church is peaceful - I find that is when I am at my calmest. I should set more time aside each day for just being quiet; but how difficult that is in a life so very busy with commitments. I don't fully understand this part of my life but know that I need it. 

We've learnt a lot about love, relationships and friendship. Anabelle taught us the full extent of unconditional love. A lot about our own marriage, accepting our differences to a whole new level with Jon's working through grief being so very different to my own. What it really means for love to endure all. We're learnt a lot about family relationships and friendships. The people in our lives who are really there and those we could never rely on in the first place. We've learnt about what relationships are worth holding onto and those that are poison and cause us harm and probably always did. We've discovered who has drawn even closer to us and held our hands and those who have drifted away.  Anabelle's death has caused the biggest shake up in our relationships; but in a time of re-evaluation I think we have a fairly good idea who will be steadfast for our future from here on in and who will be on our road of happier times.  

I've realised that nearly all things in life take work of some description. I don't mean paid work, but the effort we give from ourselves into the things that we do. We can either be half hearted and have half hearted success, or give it our all and achieve a great deal. I've put every ounce of my being into successfully rebuilding my life. Please don't be fooled by my exterior, some days you'll have no idea how much work went into just getting up this morning and painting on a face, but I'm determined. Before I did a lot of drifting. My life had been easy up until now; apart from the effort I'd put into my degree things had sort of just happened for me and I'd done very little to give back. Now I'm part of a community that does a lot of giving and a lot of supporting of eachother; as well as Sands there is Babs. A group of special ladies who pick eachother up when they're feeling down and thoughtfully arrange things to brighten up someones day. It is nice to be part of something that makes a difference to somebody else, and equally I hope my fundraising project manages to give an immense amount to a charity who's services see angel families through; because it is far too short a day, and a life, to be selfish with what we have. 

So through all of my jumbled up ramblings this morning I know Anabelle had changed the person I was completely and taught me what it really means to Take Time with my life. 


Nanny Davies/ julie said...

this is truly beautiful and uplifting. It takes a lot to put into words everything you are both feeling. thank you for helping others to understand your grief, love for Anabelle and your hopes for the future.

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After Anabelle - Raising Rainbows. I'm Caz, Mummy to beautiful angel Belle and my wonderful rainbow boys, Xander, Zachy and Luc. Wife to Jon. Twitter @cazem Instagram @cazzyem
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