|Feeling happy in a garden in England.
When our little son Piran died, I took a big step back from my life. In order to survive those first days and weeks and months, I had to keep everything very small and very simple. Just the basics of being a mom to my children and, once I gained a little strength, a wife to my husband. Occasionally a friend. That was all I could manage.
Now some time has passed and I am feeling ready to take that step forwards into my life again. To be interested in things, to take on projects and to say yes to so many things. I have put up a lot of walls and barriers in the past 14 months and kept a lot of good people at an arm's length, but now I believe it's time for those walls to come down and for me to start reaching out a little bit again.
It makes me feel a little vulnerable, and I hate feeling vulnerable. But I have spent so much time over the past year feeling fragile and broken and lonely, and I don't want to feel that way anymore. I don't want to be a living ghost, and I don't want to be a passenger in my own life.
We spent five weeks as a family in England (with my mum!) this summer, which is a separate and genuinely happy story. We had a wonderful time. But I mention it now because there were a few moments on that trip that became little turning points for me. One was when we were walking along the street in London together, and I just suddenly felt completely present in myself. For the first time in months and months, I was part of that moment and able to do and enjoy everything that we were doing. Even though we weren't doing anything actually physically incredible, in that moment I just felt strong and capable and whole again. And it showed me that I didn't have to stay fragile and broken for ever.
There were other, similar experiences like that: Playing on the beach with my kids and feeling completely happy. Discovering a new garden (like in the picture above). Hiking along a windy clifftop path and watching the moon rise with my husband. All little moments of joy, contentment, discovery and wonder that made me feel whole and like I was exactly where I wanted to be.
I think these moments would have happened at home too. But an extended trip away with the people I love most was an excellent catalyst to help me return home with the sure knowledge that my life is here for me to claim and live and love.
So, that's what I'm going to try to do. Our little boy isn't here with us, so there will always be some hard days. We miss him so much. But there are so many other days to fill with family, friends, love, learning, passion, interest, goodness and life. That's where I'm going next.