Alongside and Beyond

When i went into labour, the girls spent the day with Auntie Sue. As it goes, it was actually a fairly hilarious morning really, i so wish it had ended in a way that made the fun of it seem appropriate. Perhaps that will come.

They spent the weekend being cared for by my parents and then most of the next week too, with various lifts, extras (such as my sister) and support from coaches and dancing teachers and the parents of friends. During that pretty awful time, i was incredibly grateful for the support of all those people who love my girls and us – and immensely proud of us, our parenting style and the children it has produced that they not only coped but were loved by so many people that the help was offered and given so freely. By the end of the week and right up until we came home without Freddie, they had Claire and Charlie, offers in waiting from more friends and my parents again. I was awed, really. And that is before i even mention our fabulous staff, who kept the business running so that we had nothing extra to worry about. Or the people on Facebook who kept messaging. Or the friends i speak with more privately, who kept me afloat by text and forum. I’ve never felt so blessed really. When i think back to the relative isolation of the (in retrospect easy but it wasn’t at the time) stay in hospital we had with Fran, the difference of a huge network of friends to pour love at us made a huge difference.

During the first week Freddie was alive, the big 3 girls went to a musical theatre week at their dancing school, where they were cocooned in entertainment, friends and watchful adults. They had a wonderful time doing The Jungle Book – Fran was a main dancer, Akeela the head wolf and an elephant, Amelie was a narrator, danced and was part of the snake and Maddy was a completely awesome Kaa the Snake – she got more laughs than anyone else. She is very good. She also danced the monkey dance which i was busy watching Fran in, not noticing at all that the other big girl dancing really well in a monkey mask was Maddy – i can’t believe she gave up, she is good!!! Watching them was a little island of peace and joy in a really awful week – and reminded me that if things went as by then we expected, we had a great deal to come home to.

On Saturday the big three also went to a gym grading day – Josie bowed out but she was tired and emotional from a long week, though she had had some lovely times, including 2 play days with Rowan and Ella. Maddy was very unsure about doing a badge but i wanted her to finish with something to be proud of (she has given up gym now) and she got her Novice Bronze. Amelie managed 10 Star just fine, screwed up something on an easier Intermediate Bronze but got Novice Gold. Fran wowed herself with Intermediate Gold and Silver, including a couple of new moves she had to learn, Jump to Japana (?) on beam and a Candlestick on Beam. She’s very happy this week because she’s been put into a group in Squad of girls who i guess look like they’d enjoy being pushed and she’s now got an extra 2 hours training a week. The way it falls, she has to give up KYT for now, but it also means she can do an extra rec class coaching session on a Saturday to fill in some time. I think that will suit her well.

Amelie is perhaps not quite so impressed 😉

I’m so proud of them. I’ve had so many compliments about them, from our doctor who came round and said he knew if any family could come through this, we would, to Freddie’s doctor who chatted to them for a few minutes and said to us “They are sensible kids, they’ll be fine.” All the dancing teachers, coaches and everyone who really care and are proud of them. I’m watching them all doing grief and pain in their own ways and i’m just stunned at their emotional wholeness, their ability to work through it. It is just an honour to be their parents. As it was an honour to be Freddie’s parents, in his own sturdy little battle. Not nearly long enough but oh …  he was beautiful.

Tonight we went out for a walk. As my dad said “the sun always rises” but equally “the house always needs tidying” – and i needed to escape. We had a lovely time.






And because i won’t ever be able to do it again, here is one of the lovely pictures i have of Freddie in the time he was awake and looking at us, taken in the same week as beautiful, happy pictures of my girls.

We have been so cheated. And it just isn’t fair.

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  1. says

    praying for you all every night and lighting candles for you all xx

    gorgeus gorgeus big beautiful boy – what a fab picture

    (and it isn’t fair, I’m so sorry)

  2. says

    So so so beautiful, all of them. Tears are being shed here again, but I can’t help but smile at the beautiful photos. Cheated and unfair, yes. Hugs to you all x

  3. says

    Totally gorgeous, what a lovely photo of Freddie :) Maybe one day you’ll feel able to post more, I would love to see them. And you’re right, it really isn’t fair :(

  4. says

    Not fair at all, no, not a bit.

    Well done to the girls for their achievements at dancing and gym. And well done to you and Max, for doing such a great job with parenting. Lots of love to all of you.

  5. Jenny says

    He’s just gorgeous Merry and he was lucky to be born into such a wonderful family. Its more than unfair that he isnt with you :( More tears here tonight for you,max and your gorgeous girls.

    Lots of love
    Jen xxxx

  6. SallyM says

    As Nic says, all 5 of them are beautiful and you do every one of them proud. Congrats to the girls on their achievements, fabulous at the best of times let alone in the face of heartbreak. Much love and hugs xxx

  7. HelenHaricot says

    you are indeed part of a wonderful family merry, and that includes the gorgeous freddie who we would all have loved to stay with you for longer. xx

  8. Claire says

    Lovely, gorgeous photos of all five of them. The girls are so brave and strong, they awed me, as did you on Tuesday. And it isn’t fair at all. xx

  9. Michaela says

    Beautiful photo – he looks very like Fran! You have a family to be proud of. I only met you once at Melrose but I remember how lovely your girls were. I remember Fran coming to tell me that Jodie was upset on the stairs, and Maddy chatting away to me in the play room. Lovely, confident and polite girls!

    You are right – it’s not fair :( x

  10. says

    He did remind me of Fran in those few awake hours, particularly the second picture on this page of her when she had just had her operation. The same “what on earth has happened?” look in their eyes.

  11. says

    What a darling face … Such a beautiful family. The sun does keep rising, yes. For such a long time after my baby girl died, the very sunlight hurt my skin. One day … one day, it didn’t anymore. Love does not know the bounds of life and death … you will always have Freddie with you. I know it isn’t the same. I know. I am sorry. Merry, I keep you all in my prayers. Take care.

  12. says

    You have a beautiful family Merry. that photo of Freddie is so precious, I’m so glad you got to spend some time with him awake and alert. Precious memories.
    Love to you all for the times ahead. x

  13. Sharan says

    A gorgeous little boy who should be in your arms, life is so horribly cruel and unfair at times, words seem very inadequate.

    What we once enjoyed
    and deeply loved
    we can never lose,
    for all that we deeply love
    becomes a part of us. Helen Keller

  14. Aunty Sue says

    Max and Merry – The reason your girls have coped so well is because they have a Mum and Dad who put their own feelings to one side and care about their feelings first and make sure that they are OK. You have always put your family first and am really proud of you all. Freddie was so lovely and I feel very privileged to have seen him and stroked his dear little toes. I don’t think words can express the sadness I feel that he is no longer part of our family. You know that I am always here for you all.

  15. Alix says

    What a beautiful family you all are… and what a gorgeous boy Freddie looks in the photograph. I am absolutely stunned and gutted for you. xxxxx

  16. Linda says

    Just wanted to say how sad I was to read your news Merry. Such a gorgeous little boy. You’re all in my thoughts and prayers x

  17. says

    They are ALL so very beautiful. You remain in my prayers. I heard a song the other day and thought of you and little Freddie. It really is so very sad that he is no longer here, and I am amazed how strong you are! Your girls are wonderful and though I have never met them I know I would like them a lot ~ they share your strength! It’s so lovely that you can post about all their achievements in the midst of grief ~ well done puddle girls 😀 God bless you all & ((hugs)) aplenty.

  18. Claire says

    I too am very sorry merry and was praying for you when I heard. You don’t know me either but I found your muddle puddle site invaluable during my brief spell onto home ed 7 yrs ago! Will continue to pray for you and your family. Xxxxxx

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