14 December 2010

8 Months

14th April - 14th December 2010

Remembering you today my love and this time last year when our journey began.

You are a part of our Christmas, a part of our family.... always.... forever....

Missing you and loving you always


14 November 2010

7 Months

14th April - 14th November

Remembering you today and loving you always...

03 November 2010

Our Final Farewell

This post has been a while in the making... simply because it is painful. The burial service for me was the turning point in my grief - I was suddenly ripped out of my world of shock and disbelief and thrown into a world of intense heartache and pain.

"The funeral brings with it the reality that after today you can no longer see your baby. Up until the funeral you are able to go to the funeral home or [the hospital] - either way the funeral brings with it a finality that is hard to endure."
Grief and Grace, A. Axelby

April 27, 2010

At the conclusion of the memorial service, I quickly made my way to the safety of the funeral car. This was not the time for conversation. All I could think about was what lay ahead. I waited anxiously for the car to leave the church as people milled around. Grant and I sat in the back seat with the little white coffin resting between us. I placed my hand on the top, feeling a deep connection with it. Finally, the car moved and I felt as though I could breathe again. I shifted my concentration back to where I needed it to be.

We arrived at the cemetery early and waited in the car. I appreciated this time of quietness. I watched as people arrived and walked over to the burial site.

As time passed we began to question where our pastor, the leader of the service was. Thank you Lord for mobile phones! Our pastor's car had broken down. Help was on its way, but it was going to take more time than we had. Our calm and wonderful funeral director made some quick phone calls and our service was delayed so that another little baby's funeral could begin on time. Our friends and family made their way over to the cafe to wait. Anxious about the delay, not wanting anyone to leave, I was comforted by the fact that no one else appeared concerned by it. We went for a short drive and spent some time at my Grandad's grave.

Time to return... We watched as people from the previous funeral quickly left. I felt sad that they had to leave in such a hurry.

The five of us throw rose petals into the empty grave, desiring to soften the hard reality of what we were about to do for the children's sake. I sit down next to my Nana, as our friends and family stand around us. Little did I know, that within a few months I would be attending Nana's funeral.
I don't remember much of what was said during the service, I just remember staring at the little white coffin. Slowly and carefully Charlotte's daddy and uncle prepare the coffin for burial. This moment will be forever etched into my memory. I watch her go... the final rip in this unnatural separation. Oh my baby girl...

"Seeing the basket containing our daughter disappear through the doorway was worse than the agony of searing pain. As the door closed there was nothing but the void where she should have been."
The Shaming of the Strong, S. Williams

We stand and release five pink helium balloons and as we watch them float away, I hear one of the children say, "They're going up to Charlotte!" What faith they have! Our friend closes in prayer and his words touch my heart, this is an eternal moment.

This day is such a paradox, a crazy mixture of grief and hope. With broken hearts, we commit our baby's body to the ground knowing that on the other side of the veil - she is alive and whole, safe in her eternal home.

"... although I knew she had left me to be with God, that did not insulate me from the deep heart-rendering wave of human sorrow." The Shaming of the Strong, S. Williams

The service delay meant that we had time to talk to the people who came to support us. Funerals are confronting and painful, a child's funeral particularly so. We were so grateful to those who came to share in our pain. This journey of grief had been very lonely and isolating - we were now ready share our story and our pain.

"It is a melancholy path we tread to lay a precious one in the dust and sadly turn for home, feeling we have left them behind. But there comes a joy in knowing it is really they who have gone on home and it is we who are left behind..." Author Unknown

21 October 2010

Charlotte's Eulogy

Written by Heather Crane

"Children are such a blessing from the Lord! And that is part of the reason that we gather with such heavy hearts today to remember Charlotte Rose Douglas.

Julie and Grant wanted another child. They desired another child in their family. They already had 3 children, so they knew that raising children wasn't easy. They knew about the sleepless nights and the difficult pregnancies and the disciplining and the nappy changes and the mess and the runny noses and the tantrums and all the tears. But they also knew about the joys. They knew about the relief after coming through a sickness, and the hugs and sticky kisses, and the first steps and the first word, the first day of school and the praying together and the laughing together. The belly laughs at watching a one year old learn to walk, or the laughs when you tickle a two year old again and again and they keep on asking for more. They are very aware that life is full of the sweet, as well as the sour, and yet they desired another child.

I remember the day when they told us they  were expecting. It was a hot, sunny Sunday afternoon and we were having a picnic down at the foreshore. We laughed and acted silly (as usual), and then a slight lull in the conversation came... a lull full of meaning because Julie and Grant were sitting opposite us with big goofy grins on their faces. Those goofy grins usually mean one thing, so out it came.... YES, they were pregnant!! We screamed and hugged and congratulated and stood there in disbelief! Wow, another Douglas in the world! The amazing wonder at it all... the joy!! Truly, this may sound cheesy, but it's true... it was an amazing feeling just to know that these guys were going to be growing their family very soon and that their lives would change forever as they welcomed in another little one. What a blessing! What a responsibility, yes, but this was a time to celebrate! This was great news and we felt privileged that they would share it with us. For the rest of the day everything now was talked about through the grid that these guys were at the beginning of a new adventure! There were jokes and laughter and talk about getting a bigger car, and house (though they had just moved into a bigger one). It was an exciting time and they soooo wanted this baby. Grant especially was 'fired up' about his growing family! It was an exciting time of life.

Grant and Julie only had a couple of months of care free enjoyment. In December, Julie had appointments with her caring specialist for him to check things out as she had had difficult pregnancies before. After one particular appointment they were called with disturbing news. They didn't know exactly what was wrong, but something had been picked up in all the tests and their doctor was now determining just what was going on. When you are waiting for news... this sort of news... the minutes seem like days and for a few days in a row they learnt a little bit more and a little bit more about what their baby was facing. The picture was being laid out before them and it was not the picture that they had envisioned. Hadn't we all been jumping for joy and slapping each other's backs, just days before? The joy that they had been filled with was quickly slipping away, as the reality of the situation began to set in. And right before Christmas it was made very clear to them what they were facing: the very real probability that their precious baby, their wanted baby, their desired baby was not going to live.

So try and imagine that Christmas for them. They were reeling from such devastating news, and yet they also had three other little ones at home who were full of the Christmas spirit and were ready to celebrate. They had not yet told the children about the pregnancy, let alone the difficulties and so that holiday time was filled with all sorts of mixed emotions.

From here their whole world changed forever. They did their own research and found a whole network of other families worldwide who had faced the same difficulty. Of these babies that made it to full term, they  only lived anywhere from a few minutes to a few days. This was not what Julie and Grant had pictured at all, but they began to pray for time. They hoped to have even just a little time to meet their baby.

Through all of this they experienced also the normal side of pregnancy: the nausea, the cravings, the anticipation, the movements, the expanding waist, the doctors appointments, and the questioning eyes from others. By this stage, they would have normally told everyone that they were expecting, but what do they tell them now? What are they to say when they are still trying to understand it themselves? Energy is at a premium during these times and so slowly they had energy enough to share their pregnancy news, but understandably not enough to go into all the intricacies of the challenges they were facing. So because of this, it wasn't widely known that while they were expecting a baby, they were also expecting the loss of a child.
Imagine if you can, what it was like for them going through life with this knowledge. The physical signs showing that a baby is coming and the family soon to expand, but the facts saying that they would probably not bring their little one home.

During this time one thing that continually amazed me was the strength with which Julie and Grant have dealt with all of this. Of course they were devastated, but they didn't let their devastation overwhelm them. Of course they cried and despaired and at times felt like everything was hopeless, but still they also said things to me like the fact that they trusted God and that they knew they were not forsaken, they had God to hold onto through all of this....

So I will end as I started with saying that Charlotte Rose was a very desired, very wanted little girl. She will always be the precious 4th child of Julie and Grant and precious sister to Mikayla, Ethan and Caleb. She will be a precious grand-daughter, cousin and friend to all those who know and love Julie and Grant..."

Forever a part of us......

18 October 2010

Remembering You Always

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day began in America in 2002. The day has grown immensely since then and is now recognised worldwide. Thousands of candles are lit at 7pm around the world creating a continuous wave of light to remember and honour our little ones gone too soon.

Sunset Remembrance Ceremony
at Mullaloo Beach

A beautiful evening...

Releasing balloons - a symbol of our children

Throwing rose petals into the sea
as we remember...

Mementos on the Memory Table

Walking for SIDS - October 17th
Walking around Lake Monger

Receiving SIDS medallions

Feeding the birds after our walk

Remembering you Charlotte and loving you always...

14 October 2010

Half a Year Ago...

14th April 2010

"All the days ordained for me
were written in your book
before one of them came to be."
Psalm 139:16

 6 months ago I waved goodbye

I am standing on the seashore.
A ship spreads her white sails to the morning breeze and starts for the ocean.
I stand watching her until she fades on the horizon,
and someone at my side says,
"She is gone."
Gone where?
The loss of sight is in me, not in her.
Just at that moment when someone says, "She is gone,"
there are others who are watching her coming.
Other voices take up the glad shout,
"Here she comes..."

~Henry Scott Holland~


"Joy in affliction is rooted in the hope of resurrection,
but our experience of suffering also deepens the root of that hope."

~John Piper~

  14/04/10 - 14/10/10

6 Months
Six months ago
A baby was born
My little girl.

Six months ago
I waved goodbye
As Jesus took her Home.

Six months ago
I walked the valley of death's shadow
Immense pain
Separated from her.

Six months ago
I chose to trust
In the One who desperately loves my little girl.


 He will wipe every tear from their eyes.
There will be no more death or mourning
or crying or pain,
for the old order of things has passed away.
He who was seated on the throne said,
"I am making everything new!"
Then He said, "Write this down,
for these words are trustworthy and true."
Revelation 21:4-5

01 October 2010

Our Tribute to You - Part 2

"Dear Lord, we thank you that You are a sovereign and all-knowing God
and today we thank you for the precious gift of Charlotte Rose.

Lord, little Charlotte is SO loved and while we do not understand why she could not stay longer,
we want to thank you for the incredible impact her life has made on ours.

Lord we acknowledge that Charlotte was not a mistake,
but that she has an extraordinary purpose.

We want to thank you that while You have taken Charlotte home to be with You,
we will continue to see the fruits of her purpose fulfilled..." (Opening Prayer - Janelle)

Sitting in Charlotte's memorial service, I feel detached, like I have
been partially anaesthetised. I can see and hear what is going on but I am unable to absorb the enormity of it all. If I did, I know the pain would be unbearable. So for now, I remain somewhat protected from the complete onslaught of reality.

The songs we chose to sing that morning were particularly significant to me during my pregnancy.  "How Great is Our God," reminded me of how all-powerful and all-knowing our God is, that our lives are in His hands and that His hands are trustworthy. It was comforting to remember that He was in control of our situation particularly when I felt so out of control.
The song 'Blessed Be Your Name' became my 'theme' song. It was inspired by the prayer Job prayed after he had lost ALL of his oxen, donkeys, sheep, camels, servants, sons and daughters!

At this Job got up and tore his robe and shaved his head.
Then he fell to the ground in worship and said:
"Naked I came from my
 mother's womb,
 and naked I will depart.
 The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away;
 may the name of the LORD be praised."
Job 1:20-21

His response was truly amazing. He worshipped! He truly believed that God was completely sovereign. What a challenge! The words to this song repeatedly ministered to my hurting heart.

(To listen to these songs return to the main page and scroll down to the bottom of the page.)

Our Pastor based his message on an article that I had read in a Billy Graham 'Decision' magazine. The article was entitled 'Is God Really in Control?' The topic was so relevant, so personal. This question often arises out of all kinds of tragedy... divorce, miscarriage, illness, physical infirmity, loneliness, injustice, racism, cancer, rejection, famine, war, bankruptcy, Tsunami 04, September 11.... - 'Where is God in all of this?'

Ecc 7:13 says "Consider what God has done: who can straighten out what He has made crooked?"

This verse reminded me that God alone was in control of Charlotte's life and only He had the power to change the outcome. The Bible repeatedly reminds us of God's sovereignty. We needed to choose whether we would believe what the Bible said and whether we would trust Him.

"Who can speak and have it happen if the Lord has not decreed it? Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that both calamities and good things come?" Lam 3:37-38

Jesus Himself acknowledged His Father's sovereignty in His imminent crucifixion.

(Pilate said) "Don't you realise that I have power either to free you or to crucify you? To this Jesus replied, "You have no power over me if it were not given to you from above." John 19:10-11.

Jesus completely believed in His Father's sovereignty as well as being able to relate to our excruciating pain. He came to the point where He prayed -  

"My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me." Matt 26:39

"Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground apart from the will of your Father." Matt 10:29

"Nothing, therefore happens unless the Omnipotent wills it to happen. He either permits it to happen, or He brings it around Himself."  St Augustine

His sovereignty is marvellous, yet at times totally mysterious to us, invincible but also incomprehensible. We cannot begin to understand why some things are allowed to happen.

Romans 11:33 His judgements are unsearchable, and His paths are beyond tracing out."

These truths are what have sustained me throughout the unknown and the extremely painful loss of my baby girl.

"... (I have) confidence that (my) suffering is under the control of an all-powerful and all-loving God; (my) suffering has meaning and purpose in God's eternal plan, and He has brought it or allowed it into (my) life for His glory and (my) good."
'Is Good Really in Control?' - Jerry Bridges, Decision Magazine

25 September 2010

Babylost Father's Day

International Babylost Father's Day - September 26th
For Mikayla, Ethan, Caleb & Charlotte's Daddy
With love xxxx

21 September 2010

Our Tribute to You - Part 1

Charlotte's Memorial Service
Tuesday 27th April 2010

I walked this day in absolute disbelief, completely wrapped in a blanket of shock. The thought of burying my baby today was literally too much for my mind to comprehend. My heart was aching but my mind had shut down.

"During the first week of loss, the bereaved walk around behind some invisible shield, His shield, which is like a blind coming between us and the most painful part to come; we are numb and protected from the truths hitting us all at once. I believe this is God's grace that He gives us so that we cope during the first shock of our news. He doesn't ever take His grace away, but there does come a time when the blind is opened, and the flooding light that comes back in rushes upon your senses with the awful clarity of raw truth."
Grief and Grace - A. Axelby

We arrived at the church early and waited with our family in a side room.
I was feeling hurried and tense. After a little while, the funeral director gently averted my attention to the little white coffin waiting in the corner of the room. Surprise and shock overwhelmed me, the casket was so small.... so final. As everyone left the room, we held her and gently placed a tiny chain with a broken heart pendant around her neck.
On it, we had engraved the word 'Mummy'. I wear the other half.
A precious, unforgettable time...

We waited at the entrance to the main hall... the tiny casket in Grant's arms, the children holding my hands.... the music starts (We Dreamed of You). I know that there are many people there but I can not bring myself to look at anyone. How do I respond? At the front of the church there is a beautiful arrangement of pink and white flowers. In front of these, we placed the tiny casket and lit six candles, one for each member of our family -  symbolising that Charlotte would always be our fourth born child, our daughter - forever a part of us and our family.

14 September 2010

5 Months Ago

The following tribute was taken from 'Shaming the Strong', written by
Sarah Williams. Sarah's baby girl Cerian was born still at 35 weeks. 
Cerian had a condition that was 'incompatiable with life.' 
Sarah read this tribute at her daughter's funeral.

My heart echos these words, as today I remember my precious girl born 5 months ago.

"People normally write tributes to recollect the memorable things that loved ones have done and to celebrate achievements... you spent your short life resting in a hidden place.
But had you lived a long life crammed full of activity and accomplishment, I could not have been more grateful to God for you, nor could your life have had more value and significance to me. I am so grateful to you for taking me to a quiet place of intimacy with God - for giving me a glimpse of the nature of His love.
There was nothing you had to do to earn my love. I didn't require anything from you before I loved you, not even your physical normality. I loved you simply because you were mine.
You were not precious to me because of the things you did. Your worth was written into your being from the very first moment of your existence. The value of your person was not measured by your usefulness, nor was your identity composed of hard-won achievements or the gleanings of experience.
Thank you for helping me hear an echo of God's eternal love for us.
Thank you for giving me a message and a song.
You whispered them to me in the secret place, but I will shout them out. I'll shout them to a world afflicted by activity, obsessed with strength, afraid of weakness, outraged by deformity and intimidated by death.
You (are) precious... because you were created and given as a gift. I am privileged to have carried you. As a mother, I honour you and all that your life has been."

10 September 2010

Preparing Their Hearts

How do we include the children in the service? How much do we expose them to? Should they attend the burial? Will the experience frighten them? These were some of the tough questions we wrestled with before the funeral. Our funeral director, who had had a lot of experience in this area offered us some wise council. He challenged us to consider our reasons for not wanting to include the children in some areas. After all, we had included them in everything up to this point. They had met their sister, they had held her, could they not cope with her funeral as well? What would their imaginations come up with if they didn't attend? What would we say, when in the future they asked us why we didn't include them in the funeral? We began to realise that we were the ones who were afraid, the children would be okay. A new question arose: How do we prepare them?

"Dear God, help us as we try to explain death and resurrection to our children. Reassure us about the ability of children to understand and their capacity to believe, and make our faith equal theirs. Then grant us the right words at the right time to satisfy the mind and comfort the spirit of our children. Amen." William H. Armstrong for 'Water Bugs and Dragonflies' - D. Stickney

We decided to begin by reading them a story adapted by Doris Stickney called 'Water Bugs and Dragonflies.' It is a story that helps to explain death to small children. It is about the miracle of transformation, when water bugs change into shiny dragonflies moving from life in the pond to the wonderful new world of sun and air.

"No one can predict the reaction of children to this story. The world of imagination is more real to them than the visible one. They surprise us with a clear grasp of that which we would make complex. And with unerring honesty, they see through our flimsy pretenses."I don't know," is an honest admission. But, "I believe" gives our children confidence in a future to be anticipated and in a Creator whose plan can be trusted."
D. Stickney

When we had finished the book, we began to walk the children through the funeral day, to prepare them for what they would be confronted with. It was very painful for Grant and I to share with them the realities of death and burial, as we were exposing them to subjects which we would have preferred to protect them from. They were shocked at first, but this quickly gave way to a calm acceptance, as we weaved the confronting subject of death with the beautiful hope of eternal life.

Elisabeth Elliot wrote about the experience of losing her best friend at 9 years of age in her book 'On Asking God Why'.
"My playmate was dead. The sight was very real for me. It was not a shock. Children are not shocked at things. It is their elders who cannot face reality. I was awed and solemn, and I thought about it for years afterward. It was a very wise decision of my parents to take me to the funeral."

From 'Grief and Grace' by A. Axelby -
"Heaven - The children learned that they now have a sister waiting for them in heaven, someone they want to meet again. A tie has been formed with heaven that gives them another reason to look forward to that day when we will all be reunited as a family."

We concluded by telling them that Charlotte's funeral provided a wonderful opportunity for them to be able to personally honour their sister. One way they could do this, was through their attentiveness to her memorial service and their behaviour. This could be their gift to her -

The day was now prepared...
The children were ready as they could be...
It was time to face reality...

"People were bringing little children to Him in order that He might touch them; and the disciples spoke sternly to them. But when Jesus saw this, He was indignant, and said to them, "Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the Kingdom of God belongs. Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the Kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it."
Mark 10:13-15 NRSV

03 September 2010

We Dreamed of You


"As a midwife, the issue of grief and loss is always a difficult and challenging one. Caring for a dying or deceased child, or a bereaved family however, is such an honour and privilege. I did not always feel this way. As a student midwife, I felt completely unprepared and incompetent to care for these families and thus, it was suggested to me to embrace this topic and to try to overcome my aversion to it. A wise woman informed me that 'Midwifery was not all happy and beautiful. That some women went home with an empty womb and empty arms. But this too was a journey, a celebration of life'. I then wondered, 'How was death a celebration of life?' I have been a singer and pianist for many years, and so decided to attempt to understand grief and loss through lyrics and music." Devon Plumley

We Dreamed of You
Music and Lyrics by Devon Plumley

Verse 1
We were travelling down the road of life
When we learned that we would have a child
Emotions overwhelmed us,
Surprise, turned to love and joy.

Verse 2
Plans were made for your arrival,
We changed the house around to suit your needs.
We made space for your crib, soft toys, for everything,
We'd bought for you.

We wanted you.
We dream about you
Sweet child of ours
We'll pray for you.
And everyday you are in me,
I love you so much
Sweet child of ours,
We'll pray for you.

Verse 3
Then the time went by so slowly,
I felt you grow and move inside me.
Each day that you were in me,
I prayed for you.

Verse 4
Then that day arrived, I'll never forget,
When we learned that we would lose you.
I can't explain, how I felt at that time,
But I just cried.

I love you so much,
Sweet child of ours,
We pray for you.

While we were in the hospital awaiting the birth of our baby girl, the staff gave us a package to look through and inside this package was a CD. Interested, I put it into my portable CD player and listened... 
I  played it over and over again, listening to the beautiful music and to the words which told my story! I was about to have a baby who I 'wanted' and 'loved' and 'prayed for' and I too, had now 'lost' her....
The words were very hard to hear, but strangely enough they were also a blessing, because this song put my thoughts and feelings into words. I knew that this was the song that we were to play at our baby's funeral service. It reflected what our hearts wanted to say.

I have played this beautiful song only once since Charlotte's funeral, as it evokes so many memories and feelings. However, I am sure that it will bless us again in the future, when we listen to it and remember a precious little girl who deeply impacted our lives.

29 August 2010

Your Memorial Day

A day to honour you my darling,
A day to make you known.
A day to thank your Creator
For the love through you, He's shown.

We will thank God for you my darling,
Our girl for all of time.
We're so grateful for the life He gave,
We will cherish it for a lifetime.

A day to show how much we love you,
A day to share our hearts at last.
A day to savour precious memories,
Which we'll treasure when this day's past.

We'll say goodbye to you my darling,
But only for a while.
One day in the courts of heaven,
 We will watch you laugh and dance and smile!

Until we meet again my darling...

"The Lord watch between me and thee
while we are absent one from another."
Genesis 31:49

23 August 2010

Because of Her...

I'm home, living in limbo between our baby's birth/death and her funeral. I am still in shock and living in a dream world. When will I wake up?

"I wandered around the house aimlessly. My arms were the biggest problem. They should have been holding something, but instead they hung like clumsy redundant objects at my side. They should have been pushing a buggy, but my hands were empty. I kept folding my arms across my chest and stuffing my hands inside my sleeves. In the end I had to resort to hugging a hot-water bottle and rocking myself on the sofa. No one had told me how physical the pain of losing a baby would
be."  The Shaming of the Strong - Sarah Williams

I am physically and emotionally exhausted. The after-effects of the pregnancy are taking its toll on me. All I want to do is stay in bed, alone with my thoughts. I need everything to just stop for a while... but time does not slow down for me and there are arrangements that need to be made - so many details to organise - bible readings, songs, order of service, a speaker, the cemetery etc, etc.

"We must choose a burial plot in the local cemetery. As I sit waiting....
I am totally bewildered by the normality of everything that is going on
around me: people going about their daily business. Don't they know
what has happened? Don't they know that these are not normal times?"
Ciara's Gift - Una Glennon

"Many grieving parents speak of a wish for time to stand still, a desire to be suspended in time, because the pain of moving from here is too hard."
Grace and Grief - A. Axelby

As my pregnancy progressed, God gently revealed to me that I 'was' going to loose my baby. As this realisation gradually unfolded, I began the undesirable task of writing down some ideas for the funeral, so that when I arrived home from hospital, I already had a foundation to work from. For days, I sat on my bed and wrote, while Grant made all the necessary phone-calls.

Flowers and cards began to arrive and these were a great comfort to us, as people finally began to hear about what we had been through over the past 4.5 months.

I had so many things that I wanted to communicate through Charlotte's funeral. Firstly, I wanted people to know how much she was loved, even though she hadn't physically lived with us. Secondly, I wanted to communicate know how much we desired to have a fourth child - she was truly wanted. Thirdly, I wanted her memorial service to be beautiful - to honour her life and make her known -  she was real, she was our daughter,she was our child. Lastly, but certainly not least, I wanted to honour God as the Creator of her life. God had ordained the number of her days from the beginning of time. Everything was as it was meant to be.

As I began to work on the details of the funeral, my mental energy grew. I poured everything I had into the day that would be dedicated to my girl. Because this day was for Charlotte and about her, it gave me the time that I needed to concentrate just on her. As long as all my focus was on her, I was able to carry on with the task of organising my baby's funeral.

15 August 2010


~ 14th August 2010 ~

Remembering our precious girl born 4 months ago today
and her cherished great-grandmother
on what would have been her 88th birthday.


Mullaloo Beach

12 August 2010

Our Two Realities

To a new home she's gone,
She has left us behind.
We are left with the sorrow and pain,
Strength and comfort to find.

Wrapped in eternal bliss,
Overflowing joy and love unending.
Gathering the pieces of our broken hearts,
Time will help in mending.

Life is her's forever,
Praising her Saviour and her King.
Sweet memories are with us still,
Faith helps to dull death's sting.

Eternity to enjoy,
Reunited with love ones lost.
Time goes by so rapidly,
Ignoring our pain and cost.

It was her hope and her desire,
Eternal life, eternal love.
We continue life's uncertain journey,
Entrusting her to God above.

Her life continues on,
We know this is not the end.
Free from the pain and toil of life,
In His presence forever she'll spend.

Hillarys - June 3rd 2010
The realities of heaven and earth are worlds apart. Nana's reality is one of perfect joy, love and peace, while the lives of those left behind are shaken and filled with the pain of loss. What a paradox! The hope and the reality of eternal life can be such a comfort to those who mourn.

09 August 2010


Doris Emily Siddans

14th August 1922 - 6th August 2010

Beloved wife of Noel (dec)
Cherished mother of Christine, Brenda & Paul
Much loved Nana of Julie, Dean, Kym, Sandy, Mark & Sharon
Great Nana to Mikayla, Tanami, Ethan, Ryan, Caleb, Zac & Charlotte (dec)

When I stand in Glory,
I shall see His face.
And there I'll serve my King forever
In that Holy Place.

Part of our journey...

05 August 2010

Left Behind

All things are changed. One mass of shade... I walk in a foreign town.
Is it changed, or am I changed?
~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow~

"His words were written so long ago yet they are just as true today. When I came home from the hospital the world appeared a different place from when I had left it three days before; acute, surreal, transparent. Everything seemed different, but it was I who had changed. I belonged to a new world, a world touched by grief. In the world of grief you see all in a clear, sharp focus. It is well defined, but more cutting somehow. You are tender and sensitive to any fresh pain. Your heart feels as if it has a gaping wound from which you will never recover."
A.Axelby - Grief and Grace

Sat 17th April
"You can go home tomorrow," were the words I dreaded to hear. I had very little desire to leave this 'safe' world of mine - a world of transition, a world of relative isolation and a world that still included my baby girl...

Sun 18th April
Time to say goodbye -
.... to the loving midwives who had shared this part of the journey with us.
... to my safe haven, untouched by the pressures of life.
... for now... to my baby girl. There are no words...


Walking through the corridors
Towards my new reality.
Empty arms, wounded heart,
Mind closed.

Passing faces
What do they think?
Bags... Flowers... Mother... Baby?
Ah the doors... to the real world.

Driving in a bubble of disbelief
A tiny hole... my bubble is shrinking.
Capsule empty, heart crushed
Mind closed.

 Home... everything has changed,
I'm not the same.
I can't get up, I can't think,
I can't do anything.

I am frozen and consumed
With the distance now between us.
The grief of separation...
Arms empty, heart crushed -

...Mind closed.

02 August 2010

A Tear Drop On My Door

"...(she) experienced the loss of her full-term child at just twenty minutes of age. 'Pure exhaustion,' she was informed as they quickly whisked him away, never to be seen again. 54 years ago when this occurred, the hospital in which he was born baptised him 'John,' although he was to become known as Mark to his parents. It was explained to me that in those days, all babies who had died were either baptised 'John' or 'Mary' and that the parents did not get to see or hold the child. Not one photograph or hand print exists of baby Mark. All that exists is a faded memory in the minds of his parents, and a star that is named after him by his mother."
-We Dreamed of You CD - Devon Plumley

Fortunately, our experience was quite different to this mother's tragic story. Our own painful journey was somewhat softened by the wonderful care and support we received from the hospital.
A Perinatal Loss Programme has been developed to support families in grief and to help them create lifelong memories.
We spent a lot of precious time with Charlotte. We took photos and recorded the time we spent together. We were able to create some very special memories. The hospital also provided us with a variety of keepsakes to help us remember the time that we had with our girl - blankets, tiny clothes, a keepsake box, hand and footprints, birth details, love hearts and teddy bears (for the children). A lovely, pretty bassinet was also provided by the hospital for Charlotte to use.
The hospital's chaplain was available to talk to us before and after the birth and he provided us with some excellent council. The social worker was also lovely to talk to. All the staff, including the midwives and our wonderful doctor, did a remarkable job in such a loving and caring way.
I was in the labour ward for the duration of my stay (5 days). The room was spacious but most importantly, it insulated me from the cry of other babies. The front desk monitored phone calls and visitors so that we could have as much privacy as we needed. I later discovered a little tear drop sticker on my door, which was put there to remind the staff who entered our room, that we had lost our baby.
We were truly blessed to have been in a hospital that looked after us so well during such a difficult time. Their care and thoughtfulness will continue to help us through our time of grief.

'Charlotte in the Sand' by Mikayla

"Most effectively and importantly, there is the Lord, Who will patiently listen to your deep cries of anguish and will in turn give you the peace and comfort you need to get through the day. Remember that He understands your sorrow and season of grief. His Word tells us in Ecclesiastes 3 that there is a time of weeping and a time of mourning. He then promises that He will make everything beautiful in His time, thus restoring our lives by His love and grace."
Rebekah Mitchell - Grief and Grace by A. Axelby

26 July 2010

Shock - The Collision of Two Worlds

"God has so made us that we can somehow bear pain and sorrow and even tragedy.
However, when the sorrow is overwhelming, we are sometimes temporarily anaesthetised in response to a tragic experience. We are grateful for the temporary anaesthesia, for it keeps us from having to face grim reality all at once."      
Good Grief - Granger E. Westberg


                             The Collision of Two Worlds                           
I'm living in a world of disbelief,
A thick fog hinders my view.

My body is numb, time stands still,
But life goes on around me.

This is a new and different world,
Everything has forever changed.

I think, but I can't make sense of anything,
I read and it is meaningless.

I'm living in a world of disbelief,
I wonder when I will be leaving -

For I know there is another world waiting for me
The world of reality and pain.

"The valley of the shadow of death is a solitary place, a wilderness, a desert, full of pits, a land of drought." Christian was worse put to it here than in any other place. He said, "I would rather walk in the dark with God, than alone in the light." Here he walked by faith, not by sight. -Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress-

25 July 2010

Children's Memories

15th April

Charlotte at the Hospital - by Mikayla
A man talked to us about Charlotte and told us that she had died. He then showed us Charlotte. We got to hold her and a lady video taped us. I thought, "This is Charlotte, she looks like a dolly and she is so small." I felt sad because she had died and I had always wanted a sister. The hospital keepers gave us Charlotte's teddy bears and love hearts and we got to keep them. The man prayed for Charlotte. It was so special that we got to see her.

Mikayla and Charlotte

 -by Ethan
Mummy was pregnant and had a baby. I saw Charlotte and the doctor talked to me about how she had died. I sat on a chair and I held her.

Ethan and Charlotte with Mummy in bed.

21 July 2010

Creating Memories

Thurs April 15

I wake up... a new day. A thick fog covers my mind - everything feels surreal. I am exhausted... I haven't even got the energy to open my box of cereal. 
Oh... I need to let people know about the birth of our baby...
Many people are walking in and out of my room this morning - tea ladies, midwives, social worker, chaplain, doctor... but the most important visitors are yet to come - Charlotte's brothers and sister.
Must get up and make myself presentable for the children, presentable for the memories that we are going to create, for the photos and the video.
The children arrive - expectant - looking around - Where is she?
The chaplain comes to prepare the children to meet their sister. He prepares them to meet a baby born early and a baby that is not living. He is gentle, truthful, yet inviting.
Here she comes... the midwife brings her into the room. They look inside the bassinet.
"I want to hold her," they say. Daddy gently lays our baby in their arms. They look at her and hold her quietly, taking it all in. Photos are taken. The chaplain conducts a short blessing service in our room. It is a fairly quiet and peaceful time. He prays for us.
I am now physically and emotionally depleted. The children leave for home and I am finally able to tear off that painful mask that I have been wearing all morning... what a relief...

17 July 2010

Charlotte's Birthday

Wed April 14

On Wednesday 14th April
Grant and Julie's precious little girl
was born quietly into the arms of Jesus
at 28 weeks.
A sister to Mikayla, Ethan and Caleb

Dear God,

We thank you for April 14 2010, for the day our little girl Charlotte Rose was born.
Thank you for creating our daughter, for the gift of her and for the 7 months of life that You gave. We thank you for her life and for the significance of it. Because of her, You have changed us and grown us. 
Thank you for surrounding us with people who cared for us during this time. Through them, we have felt Your love and care. Thank you too, for placing us in the hands of a Christian doctor who shared our faith and understood our heart. 
We are comforted with the assurance that Charlotte is now in heaven with Jesus her Saviour, and that Your love for her is perfect. She is blessed to never feel pain or sorrow but only pure love and joy. Because of You, we know that we will someday be reunited with our daughter for eternity.
Thank you that Charlotte matters to You, that her life was planned by You and was significant.
We are honoured to have been part of Your plan for Charlotte's life and we thank you wholeheartly for it. 
Through her life and because of it - may You receive great glory. 

In Jesus Name

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