Thursday, 24 September 2015

Look north article

Above is a link to the article shown on Look North this week, which Harry and myself featured on to raise awareness of childhood cancer. 

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Harry's 8 th birthday

Wow I can't believe how 8 years ago how I felt so ecstaticly happy to have my longed for baby in my arms. How beautiful the world was and now, well we will always have a piece of our heart missing. Life never quite so beautiful. 
I wonder what Harry would look like now, I wonder what he would have wanted for his birthday, I wonder what kind of cake he would have wanted, I wander what kind of party he would have had, I wonder............
That is all we can do, wonder. 

Harry's much loved and cherished hamster - Joey, died the night before his birthday. How timely and poignant. When I broke the news to Callum he was very sad, we all felt sad, because Joey was such a link to Harry, but age just over 2 Joey had been struggling with life, his mobility was very poor, he lost interest in his food, just like Harry did.
Trying to put a positive spin on things I told Callum that Harry had the best birthday present ever, that Joey was now with him in heaven.

To celebrate Harry's birthday we bought 3 balloons, to take up to his tree on the Chevin and we had finally got a plaque to attach to his bench. The day started with heavy rain, but fortunately brightened up into a beautiful day and the view from The Chevin was awesome as always! We had lunch first in the cafe and being the heritage weekend there were activities going on up at The White House, which enhanced the day. We attached one ballon to the bench and let the other 2 go. A very moving and touching time, to see the balloons float away. 
We returned home for cake, chosen by Callum and he blew out the candle with the number 8 on. Both sets of grandparents joined us.
We buried Joey in the garden. Callum wanted to cremate him, but burning a wee hamster, well decided it was just not appropriate! Harry was cremated so I understood where he was coming from. So Joey has a little cross, to mark his burial ground. Like Harry, Joey will never be forgotten and has his legacy too in the form of the book 'Runaway Joey!'

So here we are 18 months of living without Harry. Callum talks lots about Harry, gets upset from time to time, but, Harry remains a part of our family and always will.
Our holiday to North Wales was great and being on a smallish caravan site meant Callum could go off and play with the other 5 year olds on the site, which was lovely to see. Though Callum did exclaim during that holiday that he wanted Father Christmas to bring him another brother, called Harry! So the conversation then leads to the parameters of Father Christmas's powers to grant wishes!
A piece of our hearts will always be missing, till the day we die. We try and get on with life and by and large we do, but behind that smile is always a feeling of incompleteness. 
I think keeping busy is what many grieving parents do, as the moment any of us stand still the overwhelming feelings of grief come, the flashbacks, the memories and ultimately the sadness.

I have just had 2 people from Look North here, to do an interview, to be shown tonight in conjunction with Candlelighters, to feature our journey and also focus on the statistics of childhood cancer. I know what I said will be edited into seconds and they will show footage of Harry too. But I hope it can raise awareness that childhood cancer exists, that it comes and invades your whole family, not just the child fighting to survive. The reason I do these things is because cancer affects the rest of our lives. The flashbacks will always be there, the grief, the pain of living without Harry. They don't go away, regardless of how hard we try. So I figure I might as well use our experience to educate and help others. Most of all it keeps Harry's memory alive. Harry though not on this earth anymore, through me, can still make a difference! 

Monday, 7 September 2015

September 2015 - childhood cancer awareness month

I haven't had time to write on here these last few months. I've been completing a university module for work, to qualify me as a best interest assessor under the mental capacity act, just handed it in last week! Fingers crossed! 

I have also been busy getting a power point presentation ready. I am lucky to have a friend Lynne Rhodes-Holme whom met me for the first time in April 2012, giving a presentation to Otley Rotary club only hours after Harry's 9 hour op to remove his tumour, help set up 'Harry's legacy' which has been launched in conjunction with the Rotary club to raise money for Candlelighters. I gave my first presentation under this umbrella a few weeks ago to Leeds Rotary club, which is in its centenieth year and they have chosen to support candlelighters for their charity of the year. They gave £5000 to Harry's legacy which we are truly grateful for, in exchange for the presentation I gave with Lynne Rhodes- Holmes! Hopefully there will be lots more opportunities to raise money over this next year!

We have also had a fab summer with Callum during the 6.5 week hols! Will write more over next week, but thought I'd share my picture of Callum's first day back at school today. Callum has just started year 1, the year that harry is in the picture and the last year he entered. Feels strange to think that at the end of this school year, Callum will be older then Harry ever was on this earth. Though Harry will always be Callum's older brother. He talks lots about Harry. He cries about his loss of harry too. 2 miles up a hill in Kettlewell he sobbed his heart out for Harry and said  if harry was still alive and poorly, then he would give the money he's been saving up, to help make Harry better. We all had tears running down our cheeks and shared a group hug! Just because Callum is young, it doesn't mean he is too young to grieve and have that big MISS that we all feel. 
It is Harry's 8 th birthday on Saturday too, so an emotional week. I remember 8 years ago, feeling so excited about the prospect of meeting our baby, harry was born 2 weeks early, so my wait wasn't long! 
I also remember this time 4 years ago. Harry had, had night sweats and had been waking up the night, then seemed ok for his birthday. Then he seemed to be getting withdrawn, then he had intermittent pains in his legs, abdomen and constant temperatures. I remember going out of my mind with anxiety as Harry turned from our gregarious boy into a lifeless being laid out on our sofa.
September is childhood cancer awareness month. Gold is the colour for childhood cancer.

A poem, written by a cancer mum. The words are so true. Cancer is so horrible, most don't want to imagine, but sadly it was our reality and the reality of too many.