Friday, 8 December 2017

Butterfly Remembrance 2017

Good Morning,

It is both an honor and privilege to be invited back up here along with my beautiful family, loved ones and friends whom i now call extended family. I was recently asked by a lovely lady to give a personal re-telling of my grief and loss experience. Anyone who knows me well enough knows I don't shy away from sharing our boys existence.

But if I was to be completely honest I struggled with the idea of putting a few key strokes together to share my story today. Being somewhat of an active scribbler I have always enjoyed sharing information and helping others on their journey(s). As of late I have been comfortably writing on all topics exercise and nutrition related.

It's been 2 years since the days of actively fleshing out and sharing Michael and Jayden's story. It's also been 5 years since we entered a brand new and unfamiliar world.

We were once naive and innocent, having been dating for well over a year. The future was bright as we lived in bustling Sydney. We both worked, myself in IT  and she in hospitality. It was only a short time, when we found out we were expecting. I can clearly remember the brand, it was a 1st response pregnancy test, they came in 3 sticks but we only needed one to know.

We were both eagerly excited and overwhelmed to be told they were twins. It was a wild time for us all, our families included. I relate the feeling to winning the jackpot as I felt like the luckiest man in the world! We had also begun our move back to the sunny state, making all the necessary arrangements including a house, a car, work, stable income, room for expansion, all the minor details that go through us blokes minds.

But it was not meant to be so.... On an evening of summer we awoke to my wife being in in-bearable pain. We were holidaying in Noosa at the time, the closest hospital being Nambour. What seemed like minutes had only been seconds when the unthinkable happened, her waters broke, labor had now come.

We worked together to deliver our boys, the first being Michael delivered in-home and Jayden born in Nambour hospital. Our initial shock was initially overcome by our need to parent and love our boys as we would any newborn baby. I held and caressed them for as long as I could, until their warmth left them.

It was a dark and cold time and place with little to no sunshine as we had entered a whole new world. Everything had been taken from us, our boys, my wife's health, our dreams, our aspirations and above all our legacy. We ran through all the formalities post birth leading up to their funeral cremation. Nothing was the same anymore. The taste of food, the smell of fresh air, the work to friend relationships, I had started to grow weary of the world and everything in it.

It wasn't until I met a lovely lady by the name of Esther Elliott and a group of awe-inspiring gentlemen from the Mens Den that some light started coming back. I had been heavily focused on caring for my partner that I had forgotten about me. Were as before I was a solid rock of unattainable strength, i was crumbling whilst fighting to keep it all together.

During this painful period I learned a great and many things, we are human. We have feelings, thoughts and emotions, this means we can and are allowed to cry. We also have the ability to communicate, sure not as good as the opposite sex, but we can communicate none the less. Perhaps we should give this a try.

Being a male can be quite isolating, we have a tendency to shut ourselves off and focus on others in particular our loved ones. One thing we do share is we are all sometimes hurting, some more than others. Over time and work the payment of anguish gets less intense and becomes easier to manage. Time and work.

Looking back and knowing where we could've possibly ended up, perhaps I should of taken care of me sooner rather than later.

Thank you

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Couples Retreat Guest Speaking

Its been almost 2 years to the day since i last wrote an entry. In another month it will be 3 years to the day since our boys have passed on. 

It may be an oversimplification to say things have been smooth sailing these last 2 years. Things have also been very interesting.Weve had a healthy rainbow boy, then we had another, a pot of gold. Yeah you can say ive been fighting the blank page ever since...... the truth is i havent specifically felt the huge burning desire to continue a narrative.

I've been busy, enjoying the fruits of parenthood. The constant responsibility & duties that come with being an able partner. Working for somebody, being self employed. Helping others through their journeys, challenging belief systems & transforming them in the process. Life has come and entered our lives, we have become somewhat of the norm.

This past weekend we were given the privilege of attending a Couples retreat through the Mater hospital. Facilitated by the beautiful Trish Wilson whom has always been a constant in our journey throughout grief. We met 8 grieving couples whom had all gone through a loss respectively. For some it was still a very fresh experience, for others it had been an unspeakable, traumatic experience only to be boxed away never to be recounted until days past.

We shared the memory and story of Michael & Jayden & the hope of Jamie & Danni. There were at times not a dry eye in the crowd, i also had to hold back at some points. It wasnt for sake of appearance or formalities. I had unknowingly been transported back to the memory & experience of being in the same room only 2 years prior. As i gazed around and saw all the beautiful couples & heartbreak i could see myself in some. Emotions were at an all time high at that point as i recollected all the past experiences from having little to no guidance to were we were today. 

We were able to give back. To be a support for all those whom thought they had to travel it alone. For those currently stuck on a crossroad not knowing which path to take. We were the hope that they can do. That they will get their chance and get through it all one step at a time. Sure there's a lot of hurdles and the results or outcomes will not come as quickly or as often as they like. But they will get there!

To the special couple(s) that helped re-inspire me thank you. To those whom i have yet to meet and are going through tough times, hang in there and hold strong. Don't make the mistake of many by going it all alone, go through it together with your loved ones.

Let your angels guide you...
Let them be your spirits...
Let them be your entities....
Let them be your aid....
Let them be the ones we can turn to for guidance & remembrance....

Monday, 30 December 2013

Michael and Jayden's Funeral

Our boys funeral was set to take place at the Mt Thompson Memorial & Crematorium. We had already pre-arranged the service beforehand with much thanks to the social workers & funeral workers.

The night prior was an uncomfortable one, we did not get much sleep or rest leading up to the official service. One of my memories was staying up late as I was writing my speech, I ended up printing a couple of pages of things to say, sealed it in an envelope and went to bed.

We had initially invited only a small number of family and friends for the occasion. The official service would run an hour in length as the day was booked with other funeral services for the same chapel. There would also be a few speakers reading out a few words & poems for Michael and Jayden.

At the Chapel we were met by 2 staff whom assisted us in preparation for the service. One was in charge of music whom we assigned our own mix tape of some of the boys favorite music. The other was the chapel assistant whom would guide us through the service.

We arrived early to setup the chapel decorating the interior with flowers, plushies, balloons, candles and many trinkets including a pair of Elephants, frogs and bassinets.

The service began promptly with my father-in-law organizing the majority of the schedule with a few words. I was to speak there shortly after, stepping up to the podium I opened the envelope I had sealed the night prior.

To my surprise the speech I had printed the night prior had now become pages of jibberish.

All the paragraphs were completely out of alignment and order, I could not help myself but to giggle as I held the papers out. This I took as a sign of my boys having played a prank on their father.

Whether this was the case or not I did not feel entirely helpless as I stood there and spoke the words that came to mind. My cousin also took the podium to say a few moving words filled with much sadness and sorrow. My father also spoke a few words with what strength was given to him.

At the end of the service it was scheduled for our sons to be cremated along with any gifts we wished to also be cremated prior to the coffin being sealed. Among these were their first baby blankets, the bears of hope plushies, photos of us as a family, a mothers letter and a small painting.

With a simple push of a button the casket began it's journey to the back of the chapel where the crematorium was stationed. For a brief moment the casket halted in mid-flight, whether or not this was a malfunction of the machine belt or our boys saying a final goodbye it did bring a slight amuse.

Once the service was officially over we collected all of the helium-filled balloons and made our way outside chapel. Here on the memorial grounds we had kids young and old release the balloons as a final goodbye to our sons Michael and Jayden.

Here I pondered many thoughts about my sons and didn't stir from the spot until all of the balloons were out of sight. The remainder of the day was spent back at my folks for some lunch before we all parted ways.

Friday, 13 December 2013

A Letter

Dear Mr,
Thank you for your email, I really appreciate someone reaching out to me on a personal level especially in regards to our twin boys anniversary of passing. Let me tell you the day was lack for a better word 'shit'. That is not to say we didn't have our sweet moments thanks to all the mementos and all whom attended but I for the most part felt utterly crap and down.

Strong past emotions began to surface on that day, the ones in particular moreso were pain and anguish. Just the very thought of having to bear through the day as well as all the future anniversaries still to come were all too much for me to bear.
All I could do was try focus and look at what we have in front of us, Jamie. His birth has been a blessing since we first laid eyes on him. He for the most part resembles his brothers in face and body which we find is a nice touch from our angels. This also happens to help with the pain, but I still find myself for the most part asking why aren't they not here?

Let me tell you the first 72 hours were hard as we could not take our focus off of him plus all the annoying nurses barging in and slamming doors we lost alot of sleep and energy because of this.
In hindsight it was all well worth it as we needed to comfort our piece of mind as well as ensuring Jamie is safe! It's been a slice up until this far, i'm starting to come to terms of being a new dad yet again. I'm finding as long as I get a decent amount of sleep whether broken or not is alright. No amount of urine, poo, vomit, sweat or tears can break me, in particular at this point.
So to answer your question yes it's been hard up until now, the pain is still there save that our recovery time is much quicker as we are much more busy and heavily focused on our son. We had some people come through for us on the actual anniversary date whilst others unfortunately did not.

Yes it sucks but we have to move on and not dwell on it unless we want to continue having a bad day.
Christmas is quickly coming up now, we have the in-laws living with us until early next year. Yes we are excited for our first christmas together with our son but we also know deep down it will never be what it was.

Wherever Michael and Jayden are brought up this festive season I try my best to discuss them in full. It still freshly hurts at times but it's the only thing I can do as we travel the course of life. I actually don't mind talking about them openly, I find i'm more comfortable talking to other bereaved parents about our lost loved ones as they are the ones whom understand it the best.
I hope this festive season comes easy and fast for you both. Your lucky to have an intellectual and mentally steadfast wife, i'm sure 2014 will be your year of success. I can sit here and say all the cliche'd platitudes you would normally hear, be strong, life is tough, be there for her etc. 
Instead I will just say congrats on keeping it all together thus far for the both of you, I know how hard it is to stay a pillar of strength or a rock. It's about trying to keep it all together while it all falls apart. This is the secret behind my constant and supportive mindset.
Well done though mate you deserve some of the limelight as do all the blokes regardless whether they are good at expressing themselves or not.
Now on that profound note I will take my leave, me and the father-in-law will be heading in tonight for the final Mens Den at Sids & Kids. We hope to see you there.


Saturday, 23 November 2013

Letter from our boys Part 2

Dear Daddy,

When we were allowed to come down to earth fr a little while and saw you and mommy we were so happy. You and mommy are such a strong and beautiful couple. We knew we were just going to stay for a moment, but we also knew that mommy and you are strong enough to go through this together and give us a special place in your lives where we would never be forgotten.

We want to say thank you daddy for this great experience on earth. The love you gave us and still sending us in heaven. We can still feel it, even though we are here. So please keep sending us your love and thoughts. Talk to us as we can hear you!

We are so proud of you daddy. The way you've changed as a person. The way you take care of our mommy and now as well for our little baby brother. But as well we're proud of the way you're grieving. It's a hard journey daddy, we know. But please try to look at things positive. We love the blogs you're writing about us. It means so much to us!

Sometimes we see you're sad daddy. Don't be! One day we will meet again and then we can stay together forever. Life on earth is just temporary. Keep that in mind ok?

So enjoy each and every day and count the blessings! Please stop blaming yourself. We were never supposed to stay for long on this earth. It wasn't your fault. It was all meant to be.

Look at how it all changed you and mommy into a better person. Aren't you enjoying the little things in life so much more now? We can see it even made you and mommy even more beautiful persons. And the connection you have with each other. The unconditional love!

We know that not being able to do the heavy weights at the gym for example is really hard for you. And we know that you're doing it for us. But remember, you're living for us now too. And we want you to be healthy! In the future you will be doing all these things again. We are doing weights for you now.

Yes we do have that here in heaven. That's what we tried to show you in that dream of yours many months ago... One day we will work out all together ok?

Daddy, we love you very much! We will wait for you until your life on earth is finished. Now go and enjoy every day! All will be fine. We are so very proud of you. We're there with you in your hearts, forever.

Thank you for everything papa. <3 <3.

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Couple's Grief Weekend - Letter from our boys

From the 20th - 22nd of September we attended a Bereavement support seminar that span over the entire weekend. It was held at the Santa Teresa Spirituality Centre in Ormiston QLD.

Over the course of the weekend we engaged in numerous activities, most of it was entirely based around creating the connection with our 'Angels' and keeping that connection alive.

Below is a sample letter written by one of the tasks we had, where we had to write a letter from our angel(s) to the partner:

 Hi Mamma,

It's me your son Michael, I will try to make this short and as painless as possible for you. I love you and I miss you mamma! We both infact miss you very very much. My missing you is a bit different to Jayden's missing you because I did not spend so much time with you when I was born. So because I didn't have the same amount of time that my brother had with you, I would like to connect with you through this letter.

How are you mama? How have you been on this journey they all call life? I know it's been a long tough journey thus far and it will also continue to be a journey but hopefully with much more ease. I wanted to tell you how proud I am of you, we both are very proud and very fond of you mama. We couldn't have wished for a stronger, caring, loving mother then you. 

You were perfect for us mama, in every way! That is why we picked you mama. We picked you for all the right reasons and all of them were good in every way. I relished the time I spent inside you along with my twin brother. Because we were safe, we were cared for, we were nourished well and most importantly we felt all the love you and papa gave us through your tummy.
You did a tremendous job caring for us both mama. I know it was hard having 2 little mama's and papa's inside your cute belly. We only hoped we could have made you feel better when you carried us along. You fed us so many delicious meals from papa we couldn't help but to eat it all.

I think we got this from daddy didn't we mama?

I miss feeling your love and your beautiful voice mama, your laugh, your sweet singing. We think you must have been an angel weren't you?

Just as you knew and felt, we didn't know what happened mami? We weren't prepared for what happened next? All I can remember was we went swimming at the beach with you mama. We could feel the waves and the water moving us up and down. It was nice mami, we really enjoyed the water!

But that night I think we were being called somewhere mami. I don't think we were still safe inside you any longer. But somehow we ended up outside?

I could see papi was helping you and could see he was trying his very best not to panic but to be there for us all. I felt daddy's presence and felt him holding me and never letting me go. I heard lots of noises and lots of lights until we found out what happened.

I wasn't alone though mami I was with Jayden, he was here with me the whole time. I held his hand and gave him a big hug because that means I am officially his bigger brother. We want you to know we are fine where we are mami. It is so beautiful here where we are, the landscape changes dramatically from sunsets to lush evergreen. It is peaceful here mami, you can become anything you want to here and in a way you are all things.

There is so much to tell you and to show you but unfortunately there isn't a whole lot of time. We want you to know that we have been watching you and have been helping to guide you where we can. We are so very proud of you and are happy to know we have another baby brother along the way. We have a small surprise for you but you will have to wait. I will give you a small clue though ok mami? J-A-Y-D-E-N. ;)

I love you so much mum don't forget that! I am always with you and we will try our best to look after our new baby brother Jaime. It is a beautiful name by the way, we're proud you picked it. We shall see you again soon, but for now hang in there for all time, live life, be strong, forgive and forget.

In the end all is right with the world.

Monday, 4 November 2013

Mt Thompson Memorial Gardens & Crematorium

Just before Michael and Jayden's funeral we were allowed access to the site of our choosing during the funeral preparations.

Just off  Nursery Road, the Mt Thompson Memorial Gardens is located on a hill in Holland Park, Queensland.

It is a large piece of land filled with 2 main funeral arenas, numerous gardens, wall plaques and the like.

It was here in the main office where we consulted with the Mt Thompson funeral organizers how it would all play out.

Upon entering the office there are numerous urns on show in a display cabinet. There were 2 that stood out for us, one blue & one pink.

They were decorated with teddy bears encircling the urn, in the end we chose the blue one. $264.00

After we were given a tour of the grounds starting off with one of the venues. We felt it was rather large and ill-fitting considering the number of attendees. We continued onwards to the other chapels which were hosting a service at the time.

There was also another room in the back which was also used for services, however we soon found it to be rather small.

Having seen the chapel attached to it we went with this one.