I stayed at my parents last night, and rediscovered a childhood pleasure! An Enid Blyton book. This one was called The Secret Island. I could have chosen one of about fifty books. I picked this one because it was the oldest and tattiest book on the bookshelf in my childhood bedroom. I opened the book. It was published in 1948. There was an inscription written in it in pencil. “to diana, with love from Gran and Grandad”. I remember wondering who Diana was. The book is an old hard back book, that my Gran gave my Mum and my Mum gave me. I always used to come home from school and read these books, I must have read every one ten times or more. I remember the smell of these old musty books, with their tatty yellow pages and bent spines.
I found myself reading the first chapter thinking of the children of another time. I’m sure that the first pages of this book would not be allowed to be published these days, except in a true story book. I read about children living with their Aunt and Uncle, thinking about running away because they were slapped for not doing the washing up correctly. They ran away to an Island, which was in the Lake near their house. I found myself thinking that would not work today. Today there would be news cameras, and dogs and helicopters looking for the children. But these children built beds from heather, and bent the branches of willow trees to make a roof for their little house.
What are the books you remember from your childhood? What happens when you revisit them as an adult? How do they make you feel?
Some days life as a Mum of an Angel can be pretty tough. Today is one of those days. When your baby dies, you are faced with some difficult lessons to learn. You suddenly see death, maybe you have never seen it before. But you also see life. Over time you get to know the line between life and death. Sometimes you walk it daily for a while. It takes time before all those steps you take add up to beginning to live again.
Then there are times when you are a little bit further down the road. Something happens to make you look back and you realise how far you have come. Sometimes when that happens it’s a hard day. Instead of feeling proud of what you have achieved, and where you have struggled to reach, you feel further away from your baby.
But then sometimes something happens and you are right back there again. Right back at that moment of knowing life and death. My husband is poorly. He is in hospital. The same hospital that Finley was born in. Last night I had to walk out of that hospital and leave my husband there. Oh, those steps reminded me, they took me right back to walking out without my baby. I didn’t think I could go back again. But I did, I went to see him today. And today was just as hard. He is still in pain, and around him it is easy to see that line of life and death. A poor family came in to see their husband and father for the last time. Then all the curtains were closed as in the bay next to my hubby the body was taken away.
But amongst all this sadness and pain, I was reminded of the reason why I take the steps along this path. I went to the chapel. It’s a peaceful place, but sad. As soon as you walk in, there by the door is a table of teddies. A table honouring all those babies born too soon, or born sleeping, or born to fly. And above the table on the shelf is the book of rememberance. A huge book filled with names, and messages. The names of and messages to all those babies. Someone turns the page every day so that those angels are remembered on their anniversary. I walked in and the chaplain was there. She said to me, I have been trying to get hold of you. She passed me a small white envelope. On the envelope it said Megan (Surname), a small donation from Dad and Mum, Finleys Footprints. Inside the envelope was some money. This is the 3rd donation made by Megan’s family. They recieved a pack when Megan passed away. Each time I have been touched that in their pain they think of others. In their pain they want to help. They will help 5 other families to recieve a small comfort at their time of need. And today little Angel Megan brought a smile to my face, at a time when I needed it most.