Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Now, as you may know from some of the photos you’ve seen already, I quite like tattoos, they are expressive, pretty and feminine (if the subject matter is right) and I already have a couple. My younger brother Danny is a tattoo artist and while we were away he tattooed a portrait of Aaron for me, I think you’ll agree that it came out really lovely, it’s so accurate it’s scary and I love it. It’s made a couple of people cry, and I can’t stop looking at it in the mirror.

But then we got carried away. Because the one of Aaron didn’t hurt, and because I have some on my back, spine, inside my wrist, that also didn’t hurt, I decided to got for a foot and ankle one. I wanted an image of the type of lilies we scattered with Aarons ashes…and as you can see, its lovely…but OH MY GOD!!!!

Danny warned me it feels different on the foot. And okay, I was a little nervous about some of the stories I’ve heard…but I wasn’t quite prepared, I was gripping the chair so hard I had the imprint of it on my hands, and only when Danny had to remind me to breathe every now and again did I realise I was holding my breath. ‘I thought I was hard’ I wailed to Danny’s laughter!

I let the kids watch the other one, so they all sat watching Danny outline some lilies across the top of my foot. After a minute I smiled sweetly, and then asked them to go and play so I could swear under my breath a few times. I didn’t think my language was so bad, but Danny said something about tattooing sailors and listening to less cussing!!! Then Danny just shrugged when I said he’d hit the bone, after all, he is an artist and it’s about getting the picture right, not lessening the pain.

After two hours, it was finished, and I wanted to cry, but looking down at it, I was more than happy and would gladly (sadly) do it again. Maybe not without an epidural though!

So I am pleased, Dave thinks they are lovely too, and of course, Aaron is the centre of attention, just as he knew he should be.

Sal and Aaron xxx

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National Lampoons Xmas Vacation!!!  

Sorry, I know I said I’d be back the other day, but I’m having trouble getting in the right time zone. I’ve been getting a bit more sleep lately too as I went and got all chilled out, so now there really are less hours in the day. Now, I hope that doesn’t sound like I’m complaining, and as Dave and my brothers said when I complained after feeling groggy from my first night of five hours sleep, “that’s how you’re supposed to feel when you wake up you dozy cow…you’re not supposed to go from sleep to wonder woman in a tenth of a second.” Well that was news to me.

I’ve loaded a few photos for you, this is my family, and we had a brilliant Christmas. But I mean it is us...so not all ran smoothly, my brother insisted on frying the turkey, not something I heard of, but big in America, and after all the fuss I made, it almost burnt me to admit that it was delicious, non-greasy and best of all only took and hour and a quarter to fry and twenty three pound bird. I wanted to raid the kitchen and see what else we could fry, veggies, chocolate, the toaster…but they wouldn’t let me. Such spoil sports.

By the time the kids had finished opening presents it looked like we lived in a toy shop, and I have to say, kids toys are getting better and better. My nephews got the guitar hero for the wii and Dave was the one on his back on the floor, spinning around in circles like a demented rock star….his excuse was that ‘you have to show the kids how its done’ I guess my brother was just grateful he didn’t smash it into the TV or set it alight.

We ate too much, drank too much, fell off of skateboards and almost ran Dave over in the golf cart, but generally it was great. We were sorry to leave, even if my brothers breathed a huge sigh of relief at our departure.

But joking aside, it is hard having family so far away. It’s not so bad because we have e-mail, phone, facebook and of course blogging, but it’s not the same as being able to give the kids cuddles when we like. Its lovely to go and stay and have quality time together, and the kids just slip right back into it as if they’ve never been apart. Everyone just gets so big while we’re gone.

So we are looking forward to getting back out there getting some sunshine and seeing our old friend Mickey Mouse…

Take care

Sal, Dave, Aaron, Jordan, Robyn, Deion, Garry, Claire, Zoe, harry, Connor, Lilly, Danny, Kelly, Rhys, Lewis and Tyler xxxxxxxxxxx

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Back home!  

Saturday, 27 December 2008

Well, we’re home after a lovely holiday in Orlando and some lovely family times together over Christmas and the lead up to it. We did a lot of swimming, said ‘Hi’ to Mickey Mouse (he never seems to age!) and ate our body weight in ice cream regularly!

It was a little harsh landing to the solitary stingy one degree weather though. To think ten hours previously we were all sitting by the pool sipping cool drinks in the ninety degree heat!!! (non-alcoholic…of course!!!)

I’m almost over the jet lag, and almost back on British time (if I ever was on such a thing in the first place!). And now the kids have finally let me on one of the computers after catching up with their friends/downloading ring tones/synchronising i-pods.

I’m not going to go into to much detail now, I have lots of news, lots of photos and one of the best things is that I got some great insight into some of the reasons about how I hold onto the grief about Aaron and all that surrounds that.

So I’m off to get some sleep now, tomorrow I’ll start posting some photos and blogging. I would have done more while we were away, but everywhere we went there were problems with the computers, so after the first couple of attempts, I gave up and decided it was a sign, so now you’ll be sick of me again in no time!

Take care

Sal xxx

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11th December 2008  

Thursday, 11 December 2008

Happy Birthday To Me!

Today is my birthday; I am embarking on the last year that I’ll be able to say I’m in my thirties!

I am always in two minds of how to celebrate now. It is very close to Aaron’s birthday, so it feels a little weird to be celebrating my own birthday, when I couldn’t share Aaron’s with him…on the other hand, Aaron would be very disappointed in me if I didn’t at least stuff myself with cake, he loved his cake, and is famous for eating half a big Thomas the tank engine cake in one sitting…we just laughed because if there’d been time, he’d have eaten the whole thing. So I’ll over indulge…just for Aaron you understand!

In all seriousness though, its not just about me is it, its about setting an example for the kids and making sure they know they still have to celebrate and have fun….I’d never forgive myself if they grew up feeling guilty for celebrating special occasions. That would be the last thing Aaron would want. I know I wont be able to stop thinking about my first birthday after having Aaron, we were still in the hospital, he was in special care, my mum and sisters came up with presents and a cake and my little sister asked me what I wanted for my birthday, and the only thing I wanted was Aaron out of special care. We were home a few days later in time for our first Christmas as a family.

Between Aaron and Deion, and winter being the time for them to be ill, I’ve spent quite a few birthdays in hospital. This year we’re in Orlando with family, escaping the cold weather and hopefully won’t be going anywhere near a hospital.

The kids want to do something, so we’ll probably go to the cinema or out to eat…or both, and I certainly won’t be saying no to breakfast in bed…who would!

I must say, I don’t feel any different…I don’t feel any different now to how I did when I was twenty, or twenty five…its only when I look in the mirror and think ‘bloody hell, how did that happen!’

Sal xxx

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The Travel Blog!  

Monday, 8 December 2008

Well, we jet off early in the morning, so keeping with the holiday theme, the video blog this week is about where we have been that we love, and where we would go if we had the chance. Look out for Trojans little jibe about me being past clubbing!! Hmmm!! And he cheated…he picked two places…

I’ll be keeping a ‘travel blog,’ while we’re away, and I’ll try to get on once or twice a week to talk about what we’ve been up to. Deion’s been getting chest infections and colds quite a lot lately, so we are hoping a bit of sunshine will put an end to that, then I may even be able to talk Dave into moving somewhere hot permanently…wouldn’t that be good.

I’ll be back as soon as I’m over the jet lag!

Take care

Sally and Trojan xxx

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Christmas holidays!  

Sunday, 7 December 2008

If I’m not doing too much blogging over the next few days, don’t worry, I’m not neglecting you, I’m just lazing around in the sun, floating around a swimming pool with a book and a pina colada!

I’m not making you jealous am I?

We’re flying out to Orlando on Tuesday. It’s been a long year in one way or another and we’re looking forward to a break and some quality family time. We’ll get to see my two brothers and their families and I have a new nephew I’ve yet to meet. So we’re looking forward to a big/mad/hectic family Christmas.

The kids can’t wait, we are packed and ready to fly, all I need to do now, is unpack the kid’s cases and repack them with the suitable attire!!! And convince Deion he does not need to take every toy he owns, and Yes, Santa will be able to find him in America!

See you soon, I'll be blogging still and I'll post some photos.

Sal x

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I’ve had my hair cut, I love it, but I was worried it made my eyes look too close together…what do you think?

Maybe it’s my teeth that look big...

Or my forehead seems huge, maybe a fringe would look better?????

Trojan discovered another thing on his ‘super computer’ so like the grown ups we are…we had lots of fun with it…we laughed until we cried, and it was the best medicine after the week we’ve just had. Some of the photos were hilarious, and even while I was saying “the kids would love this” I was thinking if I had it on my own pc, they probably wouldn’t get a look in.

Just thought we’d share…

Trojan and Sal xxx

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Thank you  

I just wanted to say thank you to everyone for the lovely e-mails and messages you sent for us all on Friday. Your words were a great comfort to us all. Aaron must be thrilled to know he is widely remembered, sorely missed and touching the hearts of new people all over the world every day. He would expect nothing less of course!

Sal xxxx

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The Day I Met Aaron  

Friday, 5 December 2008

As its Aaron’s birthday today, I thought it would be fitting to share the opening passage in his book with you.

The day I met Aaron!

It’s 3.17 am on Thursday the 5th December 1991 In Greenwich District hospital, London. After Twenty three and a half hours of labour, lots of kicking and screaming (me, not Aaron) the midwife finally bundled a tiny baby on my chest and I felt a rush of love like I never knew existed, fireworks went off in my chest, I’d just discovered the meaning of life. My son was here!

I knew something wasn’t right straight away, Aaron was very grey and he hadn’t cried yet, just as soon as I’d got my hands on him it seemed, the nurses whisked him back off me. There were people everywhere, doctors and nurses coming in and out of the room, lots of shouting, alarms going off. Not to mention the man at the end of the bed giving me so many stitches that I thought he was knitting a jumper. I thought he’d at least emerge with a pair of booties for the baby...nothing.

This isn’t what was supposed to be happening, we should all be crying with joy now, going all googly eyed over the top of our new babies head, meeting our new baby boy and counting his fingers and toes. Not hearing doctors saying that they couldn’t get him breathing, and asking each other how long he’d been down.

We waited for the longest seventeen minutes of our lives, Dave looked so scared, and I think I held my breath for the whole time, then; at last we heard a cry, it was the determined cry of the fighter my baby was about to have to become; and I just knew in my heart that everything was going to be o.k.

SCBU Special Care Baby Unit

The next couple of days were a blur of Special Care, wires, tubes and alarms. We were young, first time parents and completely bewildered by all the equipment, bleeps, and nurses. There were blood tests and brain scans and we couldn’t do a single thing. We used to sit there holding Aaron’s hands through the incubator doors, telling him how much we loved him, telling him how special he was, and willing him to be strong. He wasn’t a premature baby, like all the tiny ones in the other incubators, he was 9lb 1oz, he looked so healthy and chubby, so why was he here? What was going on?

Aaron had drips going into both his little arms, a tube going down his nose, a tube coming from his umbilical cord; he had a plastic box over his head with oxygen pumping into it, there were pads on his chest and probes of some sort on his finger and his toe. I had never even seen a baby in an incubator before, except on television. I didn’t really even know what all the wires and monitors were for, I just new my little boy was in there, in this plastic box, having things done to him that must have been hurting him. I was his Mum, he was mine, but I was powerless to stop it all. He must have been desperate for a cuddle, I know I was.

The doctors came round four or five times a day, whispering amongst themselves about our baby and the treatment he needed, us in our naivety not really realising we had the right to ask them exactly what they were saying, what they were going to do to make our baby well. Then they’d turn to us and tell us that he’d had a rough start and they would wait for him to improve, then they would all scuttle off again, move on to the next incubator, whisper about the next baby. We just thought that’s how it was.

My First Cuddle

I first held Aaron when he was two days old. A nurse had to take him out of the incubator and pass him to me, and we had to be careful of all the tubes and wires attached to him, I couldn’t quite believe that someone else had held my baby before I had, but as soon as he was in my arms, it didn’t matter. That was the most intense moment of my life, I fell in love with Aaron before he was even born, but this was the moment he tried to open his eyes and look at me, I made him a promise then and there that I would love him forever and keep him safe.

Before long I understood what all the monitors were for, the nurses were so lovely and explained everything as they were doing it. After the first couple of days, I was changing Aaron’s nappy and washing him, brushing his hair, none of it an easy task through the two small incubator doors! I got to cuddle him two or three times a day, we bonded just like any other mother and her first baby. It wasn’t quite how I imagined it, but things never always are.

I guess life never really turns out how you think it will. I never imagined when I had Aaron that he wouldn’t be here with me on all his birthdays, we just don’t expect to outlive our children do we…it’s not the natural order of things.

But here I am on his seventeenth birthday, missing him more than ever.

Take care

Sal xxx

Happy Birthday Aaron xxxxxx

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Thursday, 4 December 2008

I apologise for my absence over the last couple of days. It is only the second time I’ve missed a day, and it was because of another virus…just not a human one…the computer when down with it this time…so I couldn’t get on the net and I realised just how much we rely on our computers now, and also how much I have come to enjoy the blogging.

In a comparatively short time I have become quite attached to using the blog sort of like and on-line diary. It’s been a great way of getting some of those thoughts out of my head and sharing my experiences too, I have also come to enjoy the e-mails and the feedback I get from the entries.

I have now loaded just about every anti-virus, anti-worm, anti spyware, system, data and user protection known to man onto the PC. With any luck, my computer should be harder to hack into that MI5, the Pentagon and the FBI computer systems. So it shouldn’t happen again. I suspect I may have overdone it, as I had to confirm who I was roughly thirty times before I was allowed to connect to the internet…but hey, better safe than sorry. I am relieved however I didn’t go for the retina scan/voice recognition package I saw…I’m kidding!

After reading about what these worm thingies can do to your work, I sort of panicked, I have all my books, all my photos and all my t-shirts designs saved on separate flash drives, just in case!

Well, I can’t stay and chat today, as I now have about thirty million e-mails to answer now that I can get back on-line. But its fine, it wasn’t like I was really going to get any sleep tonight anyway.
Speak to you tomorrow

Sal xxx

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How Far We've Come!  

Tuesday, 2 December 2008

This is something I wrote for Aaron In the darkest days after his passing….it really makes me realise how far I have come in three years, so at times when I think I am at stand still, in those times when I think the pain will never ease, this can remind me that I am doing okay, we all are, we are living and laughing and loving. This gives me hope, and I’ve never shared it with anyone before, but because I think it may give someone else in a similar situation hope too, I’m sharing it now…

"I fight my way out of a groggy sleep. I open my eyes and blink in the darkness of the room. It’s still dark outside, but something must have woken me. I can’t hear a sound, but I have a feeling that something isn’t right. I just can’t quite put my finger on it.

Then, suddenly, in a split second, any remnants of peace are shattered as I realise what it is. My heart plummets in my chest, my breathing quickens, and a physical pain shoots through my body.

Then time goes into slow motion.

I pull back the covers and climb out of bed, I run downstairs and into your bedroom. I know I’m running, but it takes forever, I feel like I’m in a dream, a nightmare, running and getting nowhere.

If only it was a dream Aaron.

After an eternity I reach your bed so I can hold you and cuddle you. If I just see one of your special smiles everything will be okay, once I get one of your extra tight hugs everything will be okay, I look in your bed, and I know then that its not going to be okay, because you’re not there, you’re not there snuggled in your cosy bed where you should be.

You really have gone.

I climb into your bed and curl up in your dolphin quilt; I bury my face in your pillow and breathe in your special smell.

And then I sob, because I don’t know how I can learn to live without you Aaron, you defined me in so many ways and you made me who I am. I don’t know what to do, I want to scream with the unfairness of it all. But I know that won’t help, nothing will help, because nothing can bring you back to me.

I cry until my throat is raw and I feel my heart will break, and that’s where I stay until your daddy and your brothers and sister gently shake me awake in the morning.

I can see that they’ve been crying too, because they all miss you as much as I do.

We will love you always our darling Aaron,

Mummy xxxx"

Life is very different to this now, I no longer dread sleep because this is what I have to face in the morning, and Aaron’s room isn’t a shrine. I don’t think that’s what he would have wanted. We will never move on, we will never have closure, or any of those other dreadful cliché’s you hear a million times a day after you lose someone. But we have accepted that Aaron is with us in a different way.

The love doesn’t change, it’s stronger than ever.


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And The Nominations Are…..  

Monday, 1 December 2008

We got a letter home form Robyn’s school today. Now I realise, that for many parents this would send a chill through their hearts and they would close their eyes for a moment before opening it to read what their son/daughter had been up to, all at the same time as picturing the grounding/punishment they would be dishing out.

Not for us though, Robyn often gets letters home telling us that she’s done well in a test or handed in an exceptional piece of homework. This one was congratulating us because one of Robyn’s teachers has nominated her for ‘pupil of the half term’ for her exceptional attitude to learning, and her consistently excellent quality of class and homework.

So we are a very proud mummy and daddy today. We always are, but this is proper ‘gloat at parents evening/to all our friends and family’ stuff.

Robyn reads these blogs, so this is to say, “Well done Robyn, we are very, very proud of you, keep up the hard work. And if play your cards right, I bet you can wrap daddy round your little finger and get something really cool…as long as its not too short, too grown up or in the shape of make-up!!!!”

Bursting with pride

Sal x

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Remembering Those We Have Lost  

As I have mentioned already. Aaron would have been seventeen on Friday 5th December. Needless to say this is a rather emotional week for me. So rather than try to skim over it, or stick a bright smile on my face and say everything is fine, as is often the tendency. I have written about it and been as honest as I can.

In that vein, Trojan and I got together yesterday and did our weekly video blog about loss, coping with loss and the importance of remembering those we love. We ran over time, and that is why Trojan split it into two videos rather that edit, it isn't the sort of subject you can cut short.

Everyone who knows Aaron has their own way of remembering him, their own way of wishing him a happy birthday. The same way as we all have a way of remembering those who have passed on.

I know some people find it too painful to remember, and that is fine, there are no right and wrongs, no rule books, and grieving is a completely personal thing.

For me, it is the memories that keep me going, all the good stuff is mixed up in there with the bad stuff, the good memories far outweigh the bad. So for me, remembering Aaron’s smile, and the love in his eyes, his hugs, his cheeky laugh, that’s what makes me carry on, that’s what pushes me on to leave a legacy for him with the t-shirts, the charity and the books.

He will be in the hearts and minds of those who knew him forever, but I am determined that for generations to come, Aaron will be passing on his special love and generous spirit.

He is mummy’s Angel xxxxxxxxxxxxx

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World Aids Day  

As today is World Aids Day Trojan and I were talking about it and what it means to people all around the world. And not just Aids, all terminal illnesses, and how those illnesses affect the family, friends and the carers as well as the sufferer.

So this is a video blog to acknowledge that suffering and to remind people to do all they can. It is too easy to get caught up in our own lives and our own problems, and to be oblivious to the fact that there are people suffering, families grieving and suffering, and in some cases whole communities and countries suffering.

Take care, do all you can,

Sal and Trojan xxx

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