Friday, May 25, 2012

Another mother buries her son, Robin Gibbs.

When Robin Gibbs fell into a coma, I read some one commented how sad it was for his mum, she had buried 2 sons and soon she would have to bury another. Sadly, this person's words came true. Robin died on Sunday. The Bee Gees are left with one singer.

On Monday, my students asked me again if I felt sad that Andrew died. They are  H & F , siblings of Sanele. Teevao buried her son who was killed by an idiot who had lost his drivers license. Sanele was only 17.

I told H & F that I often think of their late brother. They asked if I really think of him? I tell them, I drive past the spot every day, where he was killed and I see the flowers they put up for him. I say a prayer for all the family. For H & F are not my only students, I taught their older brother and sister, and their mum Teevao is like a friend.

They are Pasifika Samoans, but they always tell me they are Chinese, their great grand ma was Chinese.

In New Zealand, sometimes along the road, you can see little white crosses and flowers. Bereaved loved ones place these there to remind people not to be reckless.  

One of the most idiotic thing some one did was to steal the bicycle of a British tourist who died on our roads. Her friends tied it to a chain to the light pole. I saw it when I was running round the bays. Even dead people's things are not spared by callous people.

H and F tell me that they often have to put new flowers up. Some idiots remove them.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Patrick Martin, a cruel cruel snatch from Louise

When fellow bereaved Mum Louise read my Sands mums running she told me that in 2 days, it will her her Patrick's anniversary, and she wasn't looking forward to it. It decided to write this blog for my flower meme.

This can be a story of the life cycle of the butterfly. But this is beyond this. In two days time, Patrick Martin would have been celebrating his 10th birthday in Heaven. He should probably be playing in Junior rugby or rugby league. His mum Louise should be busy preparing for his real birthday party. But there is none of these going to happen. Louise's heart is heavy and she knows she is dreading the day.

I wasn't here when this happened. It was a stroke of unusual circumstance that Louise and I became friends. We were at a workshop and she invited me to sit beside her. I introduced myself as a bereaved mum, and Louise touched my arm. She whispered, I am too. It was as if that touch and soft words were magical. We became friends.

On Friday, I was sitting outside the clump of swan plants teaching some students. A Monarch butterfly landed on my shoulder. I taught my kids with this song Butterfly, my butterfly, wait for me don't fly away, I told the students, it is natural for the butterflies to fly away when they are ready.

But in the case of Patrick, it was far from being natural. I looked up the archives, It was a very tragic case. 

Sands mums running in their babies memories.

I did this post for the Sunday Still meme this morning, and decided this should be on this blog too. Sands mums wear pink hearts and butterflies to the memory of their deceased babies we call angels. Here is Sarah Numan  who runs Sands Manukau 24 hours. She has 3 angels, Hope, Noah , Willow and 5 living living. 
A Sands mum, I should ask Sarah if this mum has two angels.
 The "feathers" that lined the course were flapping high.  "Run Sarah Run." This was 2010. She didn't run this year, but was there to man the stand.
 The finish line was pink.
 2010 stand, lots of pink things you can't see. They reach out to people in their greatest time of needs and give them support..
 2012, the words of their mission in their banners were pink
 The women who ran and the women who stayed at the stand. Sarah with Josie Apelu, Sonia Prasad, Nina Numan, Annie OChen and Heather Clark.
 Baby Loss Awareness (NZ),  makes goodies.

 Booties that our babies didn't wear and worn out. I keep a pair too for my Andrew.
 Stickers with names of our babies who had become angels., 2010. Look below, where Annie is standing, the heart is now covered with pink and blue stickers of our angels' names in 2012.

 The sky turned out a pink show.
For all the Sands mums, a cyber pink rose bud for you from me.

There is a group of very active women and men in Manukau in Greater Auckland who belong to a club I sadly belong to. It is the club of bereaved parents or Sands.  Like me, they are belong not my choice but by compulsion. Because they themselves had gone through the pain of losing their babies, they understand and are better to comfort other parents. These ladies do a lot more than other chapters. 

They took part in the Duathlon either by running or manning the stand at Ambury Regional Park at Mangere Bridge.

These are the photos I took from their Facebook during the 2010 and 2012 event.

Contact Info

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

A harrowing experience, car restraints

A child that is properly secured in an approved child restraint is less likely to be injured or killed in a car crash than one who is not.

The new national child restraint laws state in Australia:

  • Children younger than six months must be secured in a rearward facing restraint.
  • Children aged six months to under four years must be secured in either a rear or forward facing restraint.
  • Children aged four years to under seven years must be secured in forward facing child restraint or booster seat.
  • Children younger than four years cannot travel in the front seat of a vehicle with two or more rows.
  • Children aged four years to under seven years cannot travel in the front seat of a vehicle with two or more rows, unless all other back seats are occupied by children younger than seven years in a child restraint or booster seat.
I always buckled up my children in their car restraints, but I had this  harrowing experience. It was shortly after Andrew had died. I had a 4 years plus kid, and a 20 month kid. I stopped the car at one of the most busy road in Auckland, before I could unbuckle the 20 month old out of her car seat, the 4 year old had dashed across the road. Cars screeched to a stop on both directions. Lots of old ladies pointing their fingers at me. 

A kind woman said, "Next time, unbuckle the baby first"

 If 4 year old was killed, I wouldn't want to live either.I need a Valium washed down with wine!

 My oldest daughter in her bucket seat. I used to take her out in the garden when I hung up the laundry.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Mothers' day 2012

On the eve of Mother's day, 
I want to thank my husband for making me a mum. 
I want to tell my surviving children that without them, 
I won't be a mum,
I want to tell my angel in heaven, without him, 
I won't be a bereaved mum. 
For all of you with surviving children, appreciate them. 
For those of you with angels, I shed a tear for you too.

I want to share Sarah's wise and comforting words. Sarah is a bereaved mother with many angels

Reminder of our Support group meeting tomorrow. With Mothers Day fast approaching, emotions can run higher than normal. It can be a very difficult day for those who don't have living children to wake up to, as well as those who do and are split between the joy of celebrating with those children and the heartbreak remembering the ones who should be with us but aren't. If you can't make the meeting - I wish you the kindest of days and hope that it is not too difficult.

Last week, I wrote that a group of bereaved mums chose last Sunday as International Bereaved Mothers Day. I tried to tell myself last night that I had my special day with Andrew. Tomorrow will be a special day to my surviving children. It is easier said than done. All our children will forever be in our hearts.

Happy Mothers' Day.

National Nurse's Week

 This photo is very very special. Andrew was prepped to meet his coroner so that the doctors could learn about this rare syndrome. We were happy from day one when Dr James asked this difficult request. What we didn't know was Daphne his favourite day nurse had two photos taken with him when he had become an angel. She got the NICU office to pass the two photos to us. She had wanted to take photos of him. She really loved him.
Here was Dapne giving Andrew his feed. He had only a little test tube amount. One of us held the syringe/test tube while waiting for the force of gravity to make the milk go down through a tube in his nose. He had a special dummy made of clear silicon.

It's National Nurse's Week, May 6th. through May 12th. So thank a Nurse.
For 55 days, 29 Sept to 22 Nov 1989, that Andrew was at National Women's Hospital at Epsom, Andrew had the best nurses in NICU. 
There were two bestest nurses in the whole wide world. I wish I could tell them in their face. 
From my book:
We arrived at Andrew’s nursery. Betty was holding him.
Betty said, “He won’t bounce back this time.”
She gave him to me. I just held him. He was very still and had his eyes shut. He wasn’t blue or black, just a bit pale. He was at peace. The charge nurse came and told me that they had sent for the doctor. She further explained that they had sent a security guard to the Nurses’ Home to get me, but I didn’t open my door. That was why they couldn’t get me earlier. I told her that I had told the nurse on duty that I was going home to sleep that night. Somehow, that message wasn’t relayed to the next nurse on duty. They apologised and I said, it didn’t matter, I was here.
It took a while before a young doctor came. He used his stethoscope to listen to Andrew’s heart.
He said, “I can’t hear anything.”
I said thank you God, for taking Andrew at last. I came in time to say goodbye to him. To “Soong Chung.” This was what I had wanted to do from day one, so he wouldn’t die alone.
We went to the breast-feeding room. Betty kept explaining what had happened. The charge nurse told me it was best for Andrew. I didn’t cry. Betty had said that she had bathed Lo and Andrew at 4am. Usually it was the morning duty nurse’s job, but she wasn’t very busy, so she helped out.
I was so glad that, when Andrew went, he was a clean baby. Mum and my sister Elizabeth said Grandma Kong was very clean when she went. Betty had just stripped Andrew’s cot of the blue quilt. She wanted to take it home to wash it together with Lo’s quilt. This, the other nurses told me, was not the duty of Betty. She did it because she loved these two babies. Such was the dedication of these special nurses. Betty fed Andrew at 5am. At 5.10am, she checked him and found that he had stopped breathing.
I was grateful for the extra attention Betty had given to Andrew, much of which I didn’t even know. Betty chose the softest nappies for Andrew because Andrew felt uncomfortable with the others. Betty said she would stay with me until Chen Onn and the girls came. The hospital must have rung to tell Chen Onn that Andrew was really dead this time. I wanted to be alone with Andrew, but I didn’t want to be rude. I knew she had good intentions and she wanted to comfort me. She had been such a good nurse.
I told myself that I would have plenty of time with Andrew later on. But I told her, “I will be alright; you will need to do your work.”
Betty said, “I will stay.”
Someone brought a tray with tea. Betty kept saying Andrew had had a settled night, and she did not think he was going to die. At 2am, when she went for her tea, she asked the nurse at the next nursery to check on him. He was settled then. She told me that, though the nurses all knew that Andrew was terminal, none of them wanted him to die on their shift. She had nursed him for so long. It was hard losing him.
I still didn’t cry. I kept saying, “Andrew didn’t want to go to Green Lane Hospital,” Over and over again.
Betty said, “I didn’t want Andrew to die on my shift.”
But Andrew had his own plans. He wanted to die towards the end of his special night nurse’s shift. By dying at 5.30am, he was still there when his other special nurse; the day nurse Daphne could come and say goodbye. Daphne comes at 6.30 am. How uncanny is that? Had he died in the middle of their shifts, it meant only one nurse would be there to say good bye.
I told his favourite nurses Daphne and Betty, he loved them so much because they loved him. He would rather die than leave them. It sounds like a soap opera, but was actually a reality show.

On 28th April 2011, I went back to Dr Aftimos to present him my book. He said it was an honour to receive it. He took me to a tour of the NICU. I had not been back for 21 years, and I garnered a lot of mental energy. They had relocated the hospital and up graded it, and that has made a lot of difference. I asked a nurse if she knew Daphne, Andrew's favourite nurse and she said yes. She told me that Daphne had retired and I was so happy to hear that she got married. I had a tinge of sadness his night nurse Betty had died. 

Thursday, May 10, 2012

The right choice

More than 1,270,616 people have read her story and like it. I want to add my two pence or two cents, because I can identify with her.

Mother's Inspiring Video About her Blind Baby Boy

People ask her why she didn't choose to abort her boy. They stare at both of them. They talk behind their back. But none of that matters because this mother knows that her boy is beautiful just the way he is. What a great video.
For those without children, it's hard to understand a mother's love. As Christians, we try to walk in other people's shoes and not judge them. But if you were to see this mother and child, you wouldn't judge them harshly.

This wonderful woman didn't abort her child when others thought she should and she brought her baby boy into the world. Although he is blind, that doesn't mean he isn't beautiful and his life isn't filled with joy. You need to see this video!
My new friend, Amanda Whitehead, a fellow and  new bereaved  mother I met at Sands linked this video on her Facebook. As I watched it, there was no dialogue, only a young woman holding her baby with his back facing the camera. She used  simple hand written school note book paper as flash cards to tell her story. The songs she chose were the ones I would have chosen myself. , "Give me Jesus"and"The Splendor of the King."
Lacey Buchanan details in a flash-card style self-video posted on “GodTube” — the Christian version of YouTube — how her son Christian came to be, the whispers she endures because of his appearance, and how she ultimately overcame it. At the end of the video, she holds up Christian and turns him around to show the whole wide world what a beautiful baby he is.
 As I watched the video, I can empathise with Lacey.  I went through such emotions thrice. The first time, I didn't know Andrew was inflicted with such a horrible syndrome that he was going to die the day he was born. People had asked me if it would have been better to abort him. I told them, I didn't know like Lacey did. But by bringing him to full term, I had 55 days with him before he became an angel.
7 years later, I was faced with the same dilemma. I had unexpectedly got pregnant. I went through a battery of tests. God had been faithful he gave me a rainbow son. What would I have done if if wasn't perfect? 
Here, for Lacey, I chose a succulent plant. Succulents are tough and resilient. God bless you.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Bereaved Mothers' Day, 6th May 2012

To many of you, this is news. To many of you, I hope you never have to celebrate this. To a small unfortunate group, this is reality.

A swan plant provides nourishment to caterpillars of Monarch butterflies.  Not all caterpillars grow like Eric Carle's Hungry caterpillar and grow up to become butterflies. Some of them die, and they drop to the ground. This is a sad fact of life. At Pt Chevalier School, we have big bushes of swan plants. My students learn about life and death. I told my students about my baby who died. They often ask if I am sad. Today, I read someone saying, our deceased babies will never leave our hearts. Our hearts need to grow bigger and bigger so we can be like the swan plant, and provide more nourishment for more  caterpillars.

It was only after 17 years after I was bereaved that in 2007, at Mt Albert Baptist Church on Mothers' Day that a prayer was said for those who have lost their mums and also for those mums who have lost their children. 
On the second Sunday in May, when everyone is celebrating Mother's day, they forget there is a group of women who couldn't. Because for many of them, they should have been Mothers, but they couldn't. Even I have other surviving children, My heart remembers Andrew. 

It is good that some bereaved mothers themselves have chosen the first Sunday of May to celebrate this day. I dedicate this day to all my blogger friends who are bereaved mothers, and facebooks friends, and friends whereever you are. To the Sands mums. Others might not remember but, we stand in sisterhood, because we belong to this special club. To the newest member, C who is not even one week old as a member.  In Chinese, a child's birthday is called SHOU NAN RE, a day of great suffering. This is a super duper SHOU NAN RE.

This May 13 will be hard for you. I pray for you.
International Bereaved Mothers Day was created by us in 2010 and it now falls on the first Sunday of every May. This year’s day is on Sunday May 6th 2012.
This special day was created to honour and celebrate mothers who carry some if not all of their children in their hearts rather than their arms.  In our modern day society, mothers who are grieving the death of their babies and children are usually forgotten. The traditional Mothers Day has proven to be an emotionally difficult day for so many mothers around the world.
On this day each year we come together to celebrate our connection, our babies and children and our hope for the future. We look at their ultrasound photos, polish their urns, lay flowers at their graves, visit special places and light candles in their memory.
Sunday May 6th 2012, get together with your closest friends and family who understand and celebrate you. Celebrate your children.