It has been, April 21st has passed again. I think the lead up to it is worse than the actual day.
On Friday, the Health Visitor came for Florence's one-year review. She said that I could have postponed it, but life goes on. I expect the world to stop. I want everyone to stop what they are doing and acknowledge Patrick as the beautiful wee boy that he is. I want everyone to know how he died, that it could have been prevented, so that it will never happen again to another baby and their family. But, let's be honest, this does not happen and never will. So, the health visitor came. We talked a wee bit about what I am doing at the moment 'career' wise and things are progressing nicely (more later).
After the Health Visitor, we all went into town to buy Patrick a balloon and a birthday cake. I went to a card shop and bought a helium Thomas the Tank Engine balloon. So far so good. We then went to the supermarket to buy cake.
So, picture the scene. I am outside, shopping bought, and Florence is watching me pack it before putting it in the car. Shay is running around, but then tells me he wants to get into his seat. He has a Go Jetters magazine that he wants to look at. I say, 'ok, hop in if you want'. I am packing groceries when I hear Shay talking about a balloon. 'Thomas the Tank engine balloon, hello balloon'. It clicks - the balloon is loose in the back. I turn around and see the balloon pocking it's top out of the car. I run towards the back door shouting 'grab the balloon', and reach for it, but it slips through my fingers. A lady in the car next to me jumps for the string, but to no avail. And, so we all watch it floating into the clouds. The lady actually apologies for not catching the balloon...
It definitely was not the balloon release I had in mind. But, the balloon headed in the right place and would have reached Patrick no matter where it was released from. I would like to think it was Patrick's way of telling me that things cannot be planned, that everything always works out, and his way of having a laugh at my expense.
Patrick, we hope you liked your balloon xx
This whole week has been a struggle. I have still been functioning, do not get me wrong, but Patrick and what happened two years ago plays on my mind constantly. We are living in a very melancholy, reflective house at the moment.
Two years ago Tuesday, we were in the hospital. I was worried about Patrick. We were eventually sent home after nothing being achieved. If anything, Patrick was worse off by that stage. In hindsight, I wish we had of driven straight to another hospital. But, why would I have done that at the time? The guilt haunts me.
Two years ago yesterday, Patrick moved for the last time. He last kicked me at 9.30pm on what was a Sunday night. A few hours after that, we were told that Patrick's wee heart had stopped beating. Wee pet.
Two years ago today, we went back into the hospital so that he could be born. I remember driving to the hospital and the whole country was in cherry blossom bloom - they still remind me of him and have become his flower. I went for a walk earlier this morning and picked a few blooms for him. They are sitting underneath his photo on a bookshelf which has become his shrine.
Two years ago tomorrow, he was born. I always wonder if I should mark the day he died - April 19, 2015. But, what would I do? I do find it strange, when I really think about it, that we have his birthday two days after the day he died. I know that is when he was born, but he could never be born in the same way that most children are born.
Anyway, Patrick's birthday tomorrow. We will see how that goes...
21 Smiles for Patrick is over. I made it to fifteen, but that is all that I will be doing.
I was fine until Easter Sunday and then I woke up and thought, what am I doing? Why am I making other people smile? Will it bring Patrick back and make all this go away? No. The Smiles were a great distraction and a great thing for me to do. I will do it again next year and will give more smiles, but this year, it is finished.
You see, I have come to realise that I hate Easter. Is Easter always at this time of year? A week before Patrick's birthday...great.
Two years ago at exactly this time I went to Easter Mass services at my local church. I remember exactly where I sat. I remember what I wore. I remember that Patrick was moving like mad and I thought, 'this boy is going to be a footballer'. He used to move so much at night time. I was so pregnant and Patrick was so cooked that I was counting down the days. I remember thinking about christening him in the very Chapel that I was sitting it. We had everything ahead of us, everything to look forward too. He had all my hugs and kisses, and smiles and tickles before him. He had a place in the family to fill. And now what do I have? Nothing.
Yesterday I woke up and I just cried. I went to the shop to buy milk and I sat outside and cried. I sat in the car park to the chapel and cried. I sat at the table reading a newspaper and cried. I have started snapping at the husband again; he bears the brunt of my frustration at the world... What utter rubbish everything turned out to be.
This year, we 'did' Easter for Shay. I bought him a Paw Patrol Easter Egg (a favourite) and he was so happy. I did not say anything about the Easter bunny. I told him about Jesus (a man who walked the Earth, died, rose again, and now lives in Heaven with Patrick) and that we get eggs because they symbolise hope and new life. Saying this to him while Patrick's loss sits on my shoulders seemed contradictory, somehow hypocritical.
So, I do not like Easter. Patrick's birthday is on Friday... Maybe I should just hibernate for the whole of April? It has become a month increasingly difficult to be happy with.
I have been thinking of how to get a photo of each smile. Firstly, I seem to forget my camera a lot. Secondly, I do not know if I will always be present to witness the smile that is from Patrick. So, conundrum.
Right, picture the scene...
It was a Monday morning and it was bucketing rain in Enniskillen. If you have ever lived in County Fermanagh, this is not an unusual event. I had been walking around with the children thinking about all the things I could possibility do to put a smile on someone's face - it is harder than you think. I went into a card shop and bought some stuff (for lack of a better word) to give to the recipient of Patrick's Smile. I wanted them to have something that said what the good deed was for.
So, it was bucketing rain and I was sat in my car writing a card to give to the person who was going to receive Patrick's 3rd Smile. I paid for five hours of parking and only needed one so I had four hours to give to someone.
There was a lady at the machine who had been there for a while. I thought I was too late, but she seemed to be having some trouble. I decided to take the plunge, run over, and give her my ticket and note about Patrick.
The note read: 'Hello. You are the recipient of Patrick's 3rd Smile. Enjoy. I have just done something to make you smile. From Patrick's Mummy'. #21SmilesforPatrick (I love a hashtag).
I am super glad I did it, but it was actually really embarrassing. I will get over my reluctance to do this and hopefully be more confident in 'giving out smiles'.
Three days down; three smiles given!
Patrick's birthday is coming up and I have been thinking about what to do for it. Finally, I have decided to do 21 Smiles for Patrick.
Every day for the next 21 days (Patrick's birthday is the 21st of April) I will do something to put a smile on someone's face. I do not quite know what these 21 things will be, but I want to shed some joy into the world.
Today is Day One and the smile has been put on my face simply by deciding to actually bite the bullet and do this 21 Smiles. It is difficult sometimes to put yourself out there and this is me doing that. I will try and put a photo up of these smiles, but today there won't be. Ha! You'll see me another time I am sure.
Just know that the smile is starting. 21 days until Patrick's second birthday, let's see what smiles I can create. If you would like to join in, please let me know.