Despite having had a truly horrible time lately, today I am feeling grateful. I’m not quite sure who I’m grateful to but I know what I’m grateful for and I’m definitely very lucky. Lentil died and that’s an awful, terrible, massively unfair and unlucky thing but I’m not disappearing into a pit of despair because although I don’t have Lentil I consider myself very lucky to have everything that I do have.
Firstly, my husband. I honestly don’t even know where to begin with how grateful I am that I have him. My sister got fed up with me having rubbish boyfriends and signed me up to My Single Friend 5 years ago. I messaged Paul and the rest as they say is history. He was smiley, warm, funny, intelligent, everything I could wish for and so much more. He makes me feel safe, secure, loved. He makes me like myself more, I am a better person with him. He always seems to know what I’m thinking and he always knows what to do when my mind starts to wander and I can’t keep the sad feelings at bay. He puts up with my slightly harebrained upcycling ideas and often has to help me with them when I realise that actually thumbs can be quite useful or I could do with some muscle power. He is always there to support me just when I need him and I couldn’t be happier that we are together.
My sister. From an outsiders point of view we probably couldn’t be more different. My sister takes pride in her appearance, she’s always well-presented her make up is always done, her hair is always looking good, she wears beautiful, often vintage clothes. She’s a bit of a trendsetter. I on the other hand don’t even understand what to do with the majority of make up items. The last time I wore any was my wedding day and that was a year and a half ago. My hair is lucky if it sees a brush and is usually messily scraped into some sort of half-hearted scruffy bun. I don’t even know how to begin to describe my clothes, basically if it doesn’t have some kind of woodland animal on I’m not interested and many of my clothes are meant for children. My sister lives in London, I live in Cornwall, she works in TV, I’m a primary school teacher. In a lot of ways we couldn’t be more different yet she’s always there for me and she can always cheer me up. I’m so glad that she is my sister and that despite being a long way apart geographically we still remain really close.
My parents. My parents have had it tough. When I was born it was a shock to everyone. I was born with Holt-Oram Syndrome, although this is a genetic condition I was the first in my family to have it so my parents had no warning that I would be born with short arms and a heart murmur. They had to make decisions about surgeries, fight to get me into mainstream schools, help with physiotherapy, take me to appointments which involved travelling all over the country plus all of the other things that parents to two girls have to do. My mum was diagnosed with cancer while I was at primary school. They tried their best to keep everything as normal as possible for my sister and I and they did really well as I never realised how poorly my mum was and how close we had come to losing her. Luckily after a long battle she pulled through. Next my sister was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes so yet more hospital appointments were added to the calendar. They had to learn all about diabetes, the food, the injections, what to do in the case of an emergency. My sister and I both had a good education, we were encouraged and believed in, we both went to university and they supported us through that. A couple of years ago my mum was diagnosed with cancer again but she got through it, she fought it, my dad supported her and my sister and I. People keep saying that I’m really strong and that I have been brave through the experience of losing my son. If that’s true it can only be because my parents have shown me how to be. They’ve shown me how to deal with what life throws at you, to see the positives and to keep going.
The rest of my family. I have a truly wonderful family, grandmothers, aunts, uncles and cousins who are all there for me should I need them. I’m also incredibly lucky to have an amazing selection of in-laws who are like a second family to me and who instantly accepted me as one of their own.
Friends. I’m not sure I realised quite how many friends I have until recently. Everyone has been truly wonderful but two friends in particular have really helped to get me through the last few weeks. Jen, who I met on my first day of primary school and Emma, who I met on my first day at uni. I couldn’t ask for better friends and I only hope that I am as good a friend as they are.
Lentil. Even though we couldn’t keep Lentil and he was gone all too soon I’m so grateful that he was here at all. I’m grateful for the joy and pure happiness that carrying him brought me. I’m grateful that I could get pregnant at all. So many people can’t conceive and can’t feel the joy of pregnancy, they don’t get to experience a first kick or the amazing feeling of giving birth and seeing your baby for the first time. I’m grateful that Lentil was my son and that he made me a mother.
The people in my life are so incredibly important to me and there are far more of them than I could ever mention here but there are other things that I am also grateful for. I’m grateful that we live in England and have access to a brilliant health system, that we have a comfortable life, that my husband and I both have jobs that we love, that we live somewhere so beautiful. I’m grateful for my slightly insane dog, Maisy. I’m grateful for life, it’s too short, really unfairly too short in some cases, it’s a roller coaster full of ups and downs but it is also wonderful.