The past month has been so busy, I've hardly had time to think. It's a throwaway comment, but the reality in our position is in many ways welcome. It means so much more than 'I've hardly had time to think'. It means I've had opportunities to try and push everything bad to the back of my mind. I've been so busy with what is in front of me that I haven't had chance to look around. That's important because the relentlessness is the hardest bit.
Relentlessness is the hardest part about having lost someone, and the hardest part about having one of our young people ill in hospital. It's with us every second of every day. Whatever else you are doing, you can't ever escape, and you wouldn't want to forget, but to have respite from dwelling and worrying is very welcome.
The 17th to 23rd November is the UK Children's Grief Awareness Week. I need no more reminders of how their sister's death has affected my children, but they aren't the only bereaved children out there, there are over 400,000 of them.
1 in every 29 school children has lost a parent or sibling.
The theme for the week is #MakeTime2Listen – we can all make a difference to make sure that bereaved children and young people’s voices are heard.
When their sister died, I arranged for all of our older children to see a counsellor, and we were very lucky to be given our own counsellor within a few days. She told us to listen to our children, to let them describe and talk in whatever language they needed, even if that was silence. Talking is great, but really listening is a skill I know I have, but will forever wish I had perfected.
Christmas is very much on it's way. A hard time for many, I know we are beginning to feel the weight already. We are trying though. We have been invited to all kinds of awesome places to celebrate (we've even seen Santa already!) and my little boys have almost drowned under a ton of amazing toy reviews (pyjamas and socks for Christmas boys). We have had many smiles, each one awesome.
I collect my smiles each month to prove to myself we can do it. Whenever I've wanted to give up, they have been my reminder that it really is worth carrying on. They show me sadness doesn't have to win for long, joy sneaks back in. Every smile is hope.
Thank you to everyone who has shared their smiles over the last month, they have been lovely to see and there have been some beauties. You can share your smiles using the hashtag #TBCSmiles on Instagram and Twitter. You can show you understand Children need to be listened to, by sharing #MakeTime2Listen on Twitter.
Here are our smiles - every one of them great... (click on the photo to enlarge).