Last month, I donated and pledged to the 5for5 Challenge. If you haven’t seen what this challenge is, have a look here at the story of Seamus and how his family are marking his fifth birthday.
Here, to hold myself accountable, is an update on my five pledges on two month since the birth of Leo. Thank you for Seamus’ parents for doing this challenge, because it’s helped keep me motivated each day and see progress in our recovery.
FUNDRAISE : To raise £5000 by Leo’s first birthday
We have set up The Legacy of Leo on Facebook to keep our friends and family up to date with the different activities – feel free to follow if you want too. And to date, have now raised £2375 which is about another £400 this month alone! So close to our half way point.
We are gearing up for cake sales and runs to push the fundraising, and have information and resources through from both Oxford Hospitals and SANDS to help! May is going to a big month!
SANDS sent me this little note, and I’m very excited to hit this target and get Leo a little certificate!
WELLBEING : To do everything I can to be healthy mentally and physically
This has been by biggest focus this month, and is really helpful to have something to motivate myself with every day – to just do at least one thing.
I have used my made up #100DaysOfWellbeing to journal my activities daily on my Instagram which helps keep me accountable and honest.
So far I am in Week 3 of C25K, have gone swimming a couple of times and doing yoga most days. I have dabbled in a bit of mindfulness to keep a calm mind and have discovered that on the foggier days if I do something about Leo, it helps, massively.
I think one of the biggest things to protect a #grievehealthy approach is talking and writing, whether online or in person. Being honest about this Rollercoaster and opening my heart to others – really does help. Blogging is like an addiction when things are dark, to release it all from my head and you really are able to tap into another support network like no other. It’s amazing to be able to connect to others, all over the world, going through this and to see how similar the journeys are.
I haven’t delved into the more academic side of this yet, but have started to read a few books and have a list to work through. This month featured After Finley by Mel Scott, Hold I Came to Hold You, Coping Without Cara and have just finished Dead Babies and Seaside Towns by Alice Jolly. I particularly liked Mel & Alice’s accounts for the pure honesty and the way that they captured the emotions. They spoke painfully true to me on several occasions.
VOLUNTEER : To enquire about working with a charity or organisation to help others
This is a much more ‘later in the year’ goal however I have looked into what I need to work towards for getting there, such as becoming a SANDS befriender. To ‘give back’ is so important, as the support we have and I’m sure, will receive in the future, is invaluable.
REMEMBER : To participate in some local & National SANDS remembrance events & take part in #CaptureYourGrief in October
This has been another key focus, although the starting small. I’ve tried to connect with different projects or people to opening my heart up to those working to help remembrance, and share our story where I can. I’ve also worked to create places, like a mini garden for Leo in our garden, to give us places to remember him through.
A few of the things I did are:
Submitted a photo of me and Leo and the below quote to the #bereavedmothersloveproject by @jessisnapp for US Mothers Day project.
“What does it mean to be a bereaved mother?
It’s means that you are the opposite to what the world defines as a mother. A whole word and lifetime of love and protection to give and no one to direct it to. You redefine motherhood by redirecting that love and vowing to forever honour a person you never really knew but will also be connected too.
The love of a bereaved mother is…
Bittersweet – a constant comforting heartache – for the pain of missing someone is what reminds you of how deep you love them.”
We visited the National Arborteum and the SANDS garden there which has given us another place to go and ‘be with’ Leo. Afterwards I submitted a few pictures from our day at the National Arbortum and of Leo’s funeral flowers to the The People’s Picture project for their new centre. We need to paint and place a stone when we go back in summer.
I also shared my thoughts for #BeAFriendFriday by @laurelbox which was shared to their followers. This is my contribution for what friends can do to help those in grief:
“Follow their lead & keep checking in. If they want to do something or talk about something that seems unexpected to you, just go with their flow. Don’t change the subject or coerce them into something else. They are sending you a message that that’s what they want and need right now. No matter how small or big the things they want to do is, support them. It could be anything from fundraising or just looking through their pictures with you. If they just want to be silent, sit and be silent with them. If they want to talk about their baby, get involved, say their name. Don’t be afraid to upset them, they are already upset. Remember the dates, don’t forget their child. Ever. #BeAFriendFriday”
If you would like to honour Seamus’ fifth birthday, please have a look, set yourself a challenge and don’t forget to donate. All the information is here. Please spread the word!