Sunday, September 30, 2007

Generosity and other stuff

This week has been a mixed bunch. On the one hand, it's been great as I've managed to get some business stuff done - like getting my business cards printed. YAY!! I've also managed to update my business website with images that don't take as long to download. I'm still fixing bugs on it though, so if you go and check it out, it may not all work brilliantly.

On the other hand though, I'm still feeling very low. At my obs-gyn appointment on Tuesday past I was told that my APS is not just a contributing factor to Zoe's death (as I was told by my UK specialist), but is in fact the direct cause. In addition, it would seem that the type of APS I have means that any clotting event is a sudden thing, rather than a gradual one. This means that Zoe would have suffered more than I thought. With a gradual clotting, her asphyxiation would have been gradual, meaning that she would have slipped into a coma gradually and painlessly, a bit like people who commit suicide using carbon monoxide poisoning. With a sudden event though, her asphyxiation would have been sudden - a bit like being strangled. Needless to say, I have found that very upsetting.

As I think I've told you before, our medical aid has refused to pay for any of my APS treatments for a year. When I saw the obs-gyn I asked her what that would cost if I paid for it myself. Wait for it - my entire monthly salary before tax!! GULP! So there is definitely no way Graeme and I can afford to fall pregnant before Oct next year. I'm gutted. I know that there are plenty of very good, logical, sensible reasons why having to wait till Oct next year is a good thing, but on an emotional level it just plain sucks. It's just so damn unfair.

We're in the process of joining a new small group from church. I'm excited about that, because it means we finally get to make some friends. Our church assigns people to groups based on a questionnaire that you complete about the sort of group you're looking for. So until this week, we had no idea who was in the group. Turns out that there's a woman in our group who recently suffered a miscarriage, also of a little girl, who was also called Zoe. Plus, it turns out that there's an old family friend of Graeme's in the group. And then, there's a guy I used to be in a band with from a previous church. What a small world!

All these individuals send us emails, filled with compassion and messages of support. That's great, except that one of them is clearly from a much more 'spiritual' background than I think I can stomach at present. While I shouldn't judge, I can't help but think that they have never suffered any deep grief. It wouldn't surprise me to learn that this individual has led a charmed life. I had to rewrite my reply several times, to avoid telling this person where they could stuff their prayers. I know that everyone has their share of trouble, and I know that this individual was just trying to be supportive, and that means the world to me right now. But I really hope I don't say something I'm going to regret when we have our first meeting! I hope I can either hold me tongue, or that this person proves to be much more grounded than their email would suggest - because if not, I think we will have to find another group, and immediately.

So that's the background noise I've been dealing with emotionally all week. Then at church this morning, the sermon was on generosity. While most people look at generosity from the perspective of what people give (money vs everything else), from a Christian perspective the bigger issue is not what you give, but how and why.

Why do we give? Because we have received so much. God has been so generous with us (by dying on the cross) that we cannot help but respond by giving.

How do we give? Hysterically (translated as 'cheerfully' in many Bible translations). i.e., we don't give out of a sense of duty, or with a grudging heart, or because it's the 'right' thing to do, but joyfully and cheerfully and abundantly.

That's the theory, at any rate.

So our minister then points out to us that true holiness is marked by tremendous generosity, because God has been (and continues to be) incredibly generous towards us, and holiness is being like God. He then flicks a prayer up on the projector, for us as a community to pray together, asking God to make us more generous with each other, as a 'deep acknowledgement' of his incredible generosity to us.

And this is the point where I break down in tears, again.

Many years ago I had this discussion with my brother, about God's grace. He, being the older and wiser Christian, pointed out to me, the younger and less wise Christian, that if the only thing God had done was die on the cross for us, none of us would have any cause to complain, because that is the most generous thing anyone could have done for us. God could have done that and then washed his hands of us and had nothing further to do with us, leaving us to deal with a world devoid of love or grace, and we would still be held accountable for living a life of holiness.

Be that as it may (and he's absolutely correct), I couldn't pray that prayer. I can't ask God to make me more generous as a response to his generosity to me. All I kept thinking was - how is letting Zoe die generous? Where is the generosity in that? I can ask God to make me more generous - no problems there - but not in response to his generosity to me. I freely acknowledge that God has been generous to me in the past. I freely acknowledge that by dying on the cross God demonstrated the ultimate generosity towards me. But, blasphemous as I know it is, that is simply not enough for me anymore. If I am to believe that God has no limits to his generosity, then I need to know where that generosity is as regards Zoe, because I just don't see how taking her from her family is generous.

(And don't try telling me that maybe there something worse ahead in her future that God spared her from, because then you will need to explain why God doesn't take all children who are born to abusive parents, or born with AIDS, or born to drug addicts so that they are already addicts themselves or suffering from Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, or those that have severe mental or physical disabilities... because there is no answer for any of that, because there is no generosity in allowing those kids to live, and there is even less generosity in taking Zoe while allowing those kids to suffer on earth. So that rubbish doesn't cut it with me anymore.)

This afternoon I've been recalling the pictures we were given in those first few days after Zoe's death, of her in Jesus' arms, and of her with Graeme's gran. Thinking about them, I know that God was being compassionate and allowing me to know that she's ok. And I am still grateful for that - knowing that does bring me a measure of peace. But knowing that does not alleviate this gaping hole in my heart, through which I seem to bleeding a lifetime's worth of faith.

I will strive to be more generous, but I have to confess that it will simply be from a humanitarian perspective - because I know that it's good for me to give, because I know that it's the right thing to do, and because I know that God would approve. But right now there is just no way I can pray that prayer.

So, as the new term begins, I'm already emotionally exhausted. I long for this grief to be over. I long for the halycon days of an easy faith that never sucked the energy right out of you. But hopefully having structure in my week, and knowing that there are only 8 weeks to go till we break up for the year, plus joining this small group, will help me get a grip on this grief. I can only hope.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007


A friend asked for photos of the house, so she can "see" us in our new home. Ask, and ye shall receive.

Firstly, a plan of the house.
I haven't photographed every room - I mean, do you REALLY want to see a photo of a toilet? - but the photos should give you an idea of the house. I make no apologies for the mess. Well, no, actually, I do. I blame it on the whirlwind bomb that is Janel, plus the fact that it's too gorgeous a day to spend inside cleaning house. As soon as I'm done posting here I'm going to lie and read a book in the garden, by the pool.

Although most people enter using the 'Tradesman's entrance', I'll start at the front door. Here's the lounge and dining room.
From there, you either go down the passage to the rest of the house or into the kitchen. Let's go into the kitchen.

Now back to the rest of the house: First stop - the family room. We still want to get an easy chair to put in it, and hook up a sound system, but for the moment it's serviceable.

Then on to the bedrooms.

And finally, onto the gardens. Let's start at the front of the house.

And now the back gardens. (I haven't included the flat on the house plan, since it's rented out and a completely separate entity, but obviously you can see it in the photos.)

You can also see the back conservatory area (not fully enclosed, but definitely more than a patio!) To the left of the patio (as you look at it in the photo) is the garage, which has been converted into an office/ spare room space. I haven't bothered to take a photo of it, just in case you're one of these very spatially aware people who has figured out that there is something missing!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Letter to God

This evening I received two emails, both of which caused me to question God.

The first was an email from a woman I hardly know, to tell me that after many years and many struggles (including losing a child at term, which was how we met) she is engaged to a lovely Christian man. Her point was that she trusted in God to do the right thing, and find her the right person, and now she's engaged.

The second was from an email service I signed up for ages ago called 'Daily Thought'. It's a South African run service, providing a daily Bible verse, thought and prayer. Tomorrow verse (sent out this evening) was 'From this day forward I will bless you,' Haggai 2:19

So my question is this: is this coincidence or not? I have no trouble believing that God wants to bless me, or is capable of blessing me. The trouble I have is that I know God won't bless me in the way I want, nor will He bless me every day. He will continue to say no to the prayers I pray, because that's what He's done up until now. The two biggest things I ever prayed to Him he turned down. The first was about a change in career, which has still left me scarred and hurt, because I don't see how to use the gifts He's given me in any other capacity (although, something a friend said before I left London may have opened a window for me on that...). The second was about Zoe. I have no doubt that Zoe is in heaven, surrounded by family, and that gives me a measure of peace.

But that still leaves me with the fundamental question. Is it coincidence that I received an email about God giving someone the desire of their heart, blessing them in the most profound way, and that today's Daily Thought is about being blessed? I honestly don't know what to believe anymore. I used to believe that there were no such things as coincidences, only God-incidences. I don't believe that anymore. Sometimes shit happens (oh boy! there goes my resolution to avoid foul language). Sometimes God is powerless to do anything because he respects our freewill.

So I had a conversation with God tonight and wanted to record it for posterity - as an accountability measure, if you like. The gist of it was this: because I'm not walking in relationship with God at the moment (I've made the choice not to worship, not to pray, etc), I don't feel I have the right to ask for blessing. That would feel hypocritical to me. However, I do feel I can ask God to cause me to walk in truth again. For me, at the moment, that means finding a way to reconcile my experience with my knowledge, so that I can move forward from my grief. This is what I have asked of God.

Since prayer feels random to me at the moment - no rhyme or reason to which prayers God answers 'yes' and which he answers 'no' - I need to document both the prayer and the answer (or lack thereof), so I can prove to myself that there either was or was not a definable answer. Since this is the kind of prayer I suspect God will answer in the affirmative, it should be easy to see whether or not he answers.

Now I know lots of Christians, reading this, would be up in arms about the 'do not test the Lord your God' thing. All I have to say to you is - tough! If God could handle a fleece being put out several times, then I think he can handle this little request without throwing his toys out of the cot. If not, then what difference does it make? I'll still be on a road to nowhere.

So come on God - if you really want to bless me from this day onwards, help me out on this little issue. How do I reconcile my experience of your answers to prayer with what I've learnt from your Word? How do I reconcile the fact that you took my little girl from me, when you could so easily have saved her (You didn't even need to do anything except send me into labour 48hrs earlier), with the fact that you want to bless me. How is taking her from me, taking her from this life, blessing me? How has that blessed her sister, or her father, or her grandparents? How has taking her blessed anyone left behind on this earth, for that matter? I'm sorry, but I don't see it. I don't buy it.

Your blessing seems as fickle as the weather - as random as the wind. Blasphemy, I know, but at least it's honest. Show me where the answer lies, and I will walk in it. Show me where the good is in all of this, and I will proclaim it to the heavenlies. Show me how your Word is truth in this, and I will walk in it. But until then, I simply can't. I don't have the faith to walk blindly in this. I cannot follow a God who allows some their heart's desire while tearing the heart out of others. Open my eyes and my heart and my mind to understand, I beg you, because not understanding is killing me - slowly and inexorably - and if my faith dies, if my heart dies, then what is left? What meaning is there if You are not part of life?

National Braai Day

Unbelievable, but yes. We have a National Braai (BBQ) day.

We spent ours wandering around Tygerberg Nature Reserve. I have lived in Cape Town practically my entire life, and never knew this reserve even existed. The first I knew of it was when my mother moved house to about 1km from it (about 5 years ago), and mentioned it to me. Because of its position, it's not the kind of place you want to visit in bad weather - it's very exposed, so can get very windy and cold.

However, the weather was playing along today, for all the braaing that's taking place, no doubt. We decided to brave it and go have a wander. Needless to say, we are all thoroughly exhausted (up hill and down dale pushing pram and toddler = very sore back, arms and legs!). However, it was well worth it. The views were incredible - the wind had blown away the smog (I wish now I'd taken a photo of the view from the other side of the mountain, looking towards Cape Town) and so we could see all the way to the Franschoek mountains, Houwhoek on the far side of False Bay, down to Simonstown on the other side of False Bay, and across to Table Mountain. As I said - awesome views!

In addition to the stunning views, we were treated to our first exposure to ticks (welcome home to Africa!) since coming home, but more importantly, we saw buck! Up close and personal. At one stage, they took a real interest in the pram and followed us up the hill for quite a way. Finally I think they got a bit spooked by the sound of my phone taking photos and wandered off the road again into the bush. Incredible!

Here are a few photos (of the loads I took) to give you a flavour of the day. This is the back of the mountain - looking up towards the only eyesore: phone masts (which I've skillfully avoided including in the photo). The purple flowers look rather grey in the photo, but they were just gorgeous in real life. The yellow ones also look a bit dull. I think I will have to play around with my phone settings to get the right light.

This is looking out from the back of the reserve towards the Franschoek Mountains. From the top of the reserve you can see from there all the way round to Table Mountain.

This is the last of the buck disappearing back into the bush. They had followed us all the way from the large tree you can just see on the right, at the very bottom of the hill.

Here are the other buck - this is looking out towards Table Bay again. If you look closely you can see the baby buck with them. If I remember correctly, these are Bontebok, a type of antelope (we don't get deer in SA).

I love this country!

Friday, September 21, 2007

A very long post...

Holidays are here! Yay! And the sun was out in force today. It’s been hotting up all week, and I’ve loved it. I even took 2 classes outdoors. (SKOK!) (OK, admittedly, one was because the art room down the corridor were using thinners and I had an asthma attack as a result, so had to evacuate my classroom, but still.) Today was another gorgeous day – one of those beautiful spring days that holds such promise for a fantastic summer. After the final assembly I took to lazing in the sun on the Matric Lawn, waiting for my colleagues to pack up so we could go out for lunch. I kept thinking to myself – there’s no place like home!

Yup, there’s nothing quite like azure (not just blue!) African skies, bright sun, lazing on the thick, dark green lawn, gazing up at the Mountain, feeling the light breeze play over my skin, listening to the birds in the trees… and all accompanied by the lovely smell of diesel fumes from the lawnmower 15m away that sounds like it’s eaten a toaster for lunch and got bits stuck in its teeth. But lawnmower aside, I had the most glorious 20 minutes laze. I haven’t done nothing like that in ages. No books to mark or lessons to prepare, and no other human beings needing or demanding my attention. Glorious! Heavenly! I felt like a student again at the start of the summer holidays – with weeks of summer nothingness ahead.

Of course, being on a lawn, it didn’t take long before I was drumming up earthworms and doing a bit of weeding. I can’t help myself. Really, I can’t. I love weeding (anal, I know, but I do) and I still find earthworms fascinating… the way they wriggle around, the way they feel in your hand, the way their internal structure is designed, the way they mate, their similarity to parasitic worms… Once a biologist, always a biologist I guess.

But it brought back so many happy memories of years gone by and all the hours I spent weeding the lawns with my mother (at the same house Graeme, Nellie and I have just moved into, in fact). This is one the reasons I’ve come home. I want my kids to have the kind of childhood and young adulthood that I had (minus the stuff ups and heart break) – not necessarily weeding the lawns (although I do hope they learn to love gardening), but just having happy times doing ordinary stuff with family. There is nothing so precious! Kids don’t need lots of expensive gadgets – they need love and time and words of affirmation from their family. I want Nellie to have all that.

Much later, after Graeme had collected Nellie, we were all outside on the stoep (porch/ patio) and in the garden, enjoying the late afternoon sun. Nellie was riding her car (she can now push herself forwards, so she doesn’t have to just go in reverse anymore!), I was reading in my rocking chair, and Graeme was practicing his bowling. (Oh, the injustice of SA being out of the twenty 20!) Suddenly I heard this voice – my voice – saying ‘Be careful of Nellie – you don’t want to hit her on the head’ and ‘Don’t throw that on the roof – you’ll crack a tile’, and ‘Don’t bowl in that direction, you’ll hit a car’, and ‘Don’t bowl up against the house – you’ll crack the bricks and we’ll get leaks’. When did I turn into my mother (no offence, Mom – you’re the world’s best mother and I couldn’t cope without you!!)? Not sure, but we did have a really good chuckle about it.

Speaking of sport, I had a lovely evening out earlier in the week. Rondebosch rugby boys are touring in Argentina next year and so have organised a series of fundraisers. One was a ‘Rugby Rules for Girls’ evening, and as I teach some of the boys, I bought a ticket and went along. I was really hoping that they would cover the off-side rule, and when penalties are awarded, and what affects the decision to either kick for the posts or have a line-out, but they didn’t. Never the less, it was a really fun evening.

We had former SA Springbok prop Toks (Albert, I ask you!? A good Afrikaans rugby boy-tjie and his name is Albert! Go figure.) van der Linde and commentator Gary C as the MC’s and they were fabulous. They got women up on stage and taught us how to tackle correctly, scrum and do (is that the correct verb?) a line-out. They also went through the various positions on the field, and the difference between a ruck and a maul. Some of the stuff I already knew, but I definitely learnt stuff. They were a good laugh too, and the food was delicious (Woolies food always is!), so all round it was a great evening. I even managed to teach Graeme something afterwards! Now that’s something.

So – what are my plans for this glorious week of freedom I have ahead? Sadly, very little lying in the sun lazing. No – this week is the time I have to catch up on my business plans that have been on a back burner while I’ve been working and sorting out the house. It is also the time to finish sorting out the house. Our housewarming is next weekend and I’d like the last few boxes and bits and pieces to be done by then.

I’m hoping that the change of scenery and focus will help get me back on an even keel though. I’ve really been struggling with grief again recently. I’m back to being mad with God and therefore not really wanting to talk to him. I know that grief goes in cycles, so I’m not too worried about this; it’s just that it’s hell living through it. I know I will get through this and that at some point in the future I will find a way to live with the pain, to reconcile my (intellectual) faith with my experiences, but right now that’s a bit beyond my capabilities.

I was having a conversation with a colleague at work about this just last week. She lost her dad to cancer a few years back and her faith took a massive blow. Like me, she’s still struggling to find a way to make sense of her pain and her loss, and to reconcile her experiences with her faith. I was deeply pained to hear that her church family told her that the reason her dad died was because she didn’t have enough faith when she prayed for his healing. I know that lots of Christians believe this particular doctrine (and that they fail to temper it with the freewill of the individual or with the effects of the sin of the individual, or with God’s omnipotence) but it still angers me that they could be so unloving as to express it to someone who is grieving. Where is their compassion?

One of the kids in my register class made a comment this week about the Americans remembering their 9/11 dead and he said something to the effect of ‘oh just get over it already – that was 6 years ago!’ I nearly hit the roof! Before I left SA, I didn’t really understand what a big deal WW1 and WW2 were, and every year at the remembrance services I would think pretty much the same thoughts as this kid. Then I went to the UK, where it is a MASSIVE event every year, and slowly, as I absorbed the national culture, I came to understand what a massive impact the wars had on the population, economy and industry in the UK. Then I lost Zoe. On one of the grief message boards I’m part of the rules there state that there is no time-frame by which you are supposed to ‘get over’ your grief, and that therefore no-one should ever tell another member that they ought to be ‘over’ it by now – whether that was 6 months or 60 years after the event.

I understand now what it is to be a loved one left behind after a tragic, unexpected event, trying to move on with life, but never fully able to because someone you love has been prematurely ripped from your life. It doesn’t matter whether that loved one is lost through war, natural disaster, accident, illness or some other tragic circumstance. The fact is that you never forget. You will always remember, and you will always try to celebrate the life cut short. If that loved one is lost in an event that kills hundreds or thousands, then all the loved ones affected may choose to remember together, thus creating a memorial event. To be told to ‘get over it’ is like being told that your loved one no longer has any worth or meaning, and no-one has the right to say that about another person.

I tried to explain this to him, calmly, but either I wasn’t doing a very good job, or he just wasn’t getting it. He kept saying that he’d lost his grandparents, so he knew what it was to lose someone. I kept saying that he obviously didn’t understand the nature of grief if he was able to say he’s lost a loved one and yet can make a comment like that. The more he failed to understand the connection between the two, the more irate I got, until eventually I lost my cool and yelled at him so loudly the entire class (and they are a noisy bunch!) shut up and told him to shut up too. I told him he was being incredibly rude, selfish, inconsiderate and insensitive and that if he ever dared make a comment like that in my class again he need never return to my class – he could sit in the corridor for the rest of the year as far as I was concerned.

By this time, I was just about in tears. I was shaking with anger and grief. I felt like his failure to understand this was such a slap in the face. And something has just occurred to me – he hasn’t been in class since. I’m sure it’s coincidence – he’s probably been bunking school to watch the cricket. Still, I hope something I said, other than the message to get lost, has stuck and given him pause for thought. I shouldn’t have lost my cool. I shouldn’t have allowed myself to take it so personally. But I’m human, and as I said, recently my grief has been very close to the surface. I guess I was a time bomb waiting to explode. Not having the space and time to blog (or write) has curtailed a very important outlet for me.

Not having my London friends around to talk to has been another problem. I don’t think I realised till now just how much I’d been relying on them to help me through this aspect of my grief work. (I miss you guys so much – both my morning GG ladies and my evening GG! You were my lifeline!) I think it’s time that Graeme and I followed up the support group thing here so I have another outlet for my grief. I really don’t want another explosion at a kid (or anyone else, for that matter) because I’m not dealing with my grief very well.

For the moment though, at least I’m back online can blog again. But for those who pray, please keep praying. I know that it can be hard to keep praying the same prayer for the same person over a long period of time, so I appreciate your prayers all the more. In some respects I think the grief only really starts when the world around you starts to forget you are still grieving.

And on the subject of prayer – this was sent to us recently on email. Oh to have the faith of a child (dog)!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Online again

Yes, we're back! Sadly, not with a vengeance, as we only have dial-up, but at least we're online again. We're getting broadband (but the slowest version possible), so hopefully things will improve somewhat during October.

In the meantime, just to say that we are in our new house, unpacked (or mostly) and loving the extra space.

Also to say I'm having a rough time with my grieving. In a bit of a black hole again. Seems like all my friends are currently in their 2nd trimester. While I'm thrilled for them (and really I am!!) I'm also finding it nigh on impossible not to be jealous. I find myself thinking horrible, black thoughts - mostly at God. It's just not fair. And the fact that I'm going to have to wait a good long while before we can even start trying again is not fair either. I want a baby and I want it now. In fact, I don't want just any baby, I want Zoe, and then I want another one. And I hate my empty arms. This all just sucks. I'd say worse, but I'm trying so hard not to use foul language anymore.

OK, before I get completely tearful, let me go and finish my marking. Holidays start tomorrow (our version of half-term) for a week. Can't wait! A bit of sunshine never hurt anyone!

Sunday, September 02, 2007


Oh yes, and I also forgot to mention that it's Malcolm's birthday on Wednesday (for those who know who he is).... No wonder I'm a mess!


Oh yes, before I go back to bed, I ought to mention something. Telkom (the national telephone company - and yes, we only have one!) will only be able to connect our new phone line towards the end of the week. We haven't ordered broadband yet, but when we do (hopefully we'll get around to that this month) it apparently takes about a fortnight to get Telkom to connect you. In the meantime, we'll have to use dial-up, which (as any of you who have broadband will know) is like going back to the stone age (plus is incredibly expensive), so I seriously doubt I'm going to have the patience (or cash) to blog using dial-up. So, the nett result of all this is that we're probably going to be 'off-line' for a few weeks. Email will still be up and running, although our replies will probably be rather short.

Phantom pregnancies

Grief strikes at all hours, including at 4am! I woke up this morning just before 4am in need of the loo, got back into bed and promptly found myself in tears again. It's not surprising really, given that I have spent more time talking and thinking about Zoe in the past 2 weeks than probably the past month.

At school, the Old Boys' Union put on a function for the staff, to thank us for all the hard work we do. It was a lovely function, but as one of the new members of staff, I found myself answering questions about my past - the 'what's London like/ why did you leave SA/ why did you come back to SA' type of questions. And hence found myself telling people about Zoe. Once again, I was struck by how many people have either lost children themselves, or have a family member who has lost a child.

I was struck by my reaction to different people - with some I was in a rush to smooth things over and pretend I was no longer grieving; with others I was determined to dwell on the subject. It also struck me how easily I seemed to be able to say 'I lost a child', and 'after Zoe died', without feeling the need to burst into tears. But, of course, all this talk has stirred things for me.
One interesting conversation I had was with a guy who is a friend of my uncle's - knows him from their gym class (of all the connections to have!) and my uncle's work (before he retired). Having lost a child himself a few years back, he was interested to know the reasons we lost Zoe, so we got chatting about pregnancy in general and the reasons for our losses in particular. Of course, this conversation only started as I was trying to leave, so instead of leaving at 7pm, I only left at 8pm - having spent the entire hour talking to him. Still, it was a really good conversation.

People talk about phantom pregnancies as if there is a psychological problem with the mother. I don't consider myself to have serious delusional problems, or serious psychological problems (although I guess some might disagree!), yet since that evening I have had at least 3 moments where I've experienced a phantom pregnancy - all 3 times I've caught myself thinking - no, 'knowing' would be more accurate - I'm pregnant, and all 3 times I've felt a baby kick within me. And before you say anything, it didn't feel like gas. I know what that feels like, and this was not that. This was definitely a baby kicking.

In fact, this was not just any baby kicking. It was Zoe kicking - kicking me in exactly the same spots she used to. And the worst part about all of this is that all 3 times have happened when I was busy with other things and completely unprepared to deal with the grief that followed - that moment when you realise what you're thinking and feeling, and then the reality of the loss hits you. While I treasure these moments in one respect because they let me feel, for just one moment, that Zoe is still here, that I still have a connection with her, that I can still appreciate and love her while she's alive, at the same time it's been the most difficult moments to process.

The other thing that has happened recently is that I have found myself thinking a lot about being a parent of a daughter (because of another incident that took place which I can't discuss here as it relates to a Minor's privacy) - what that is going to entail; how I am going to protect Janel from falling pregnant out of wedlock; the sort of relationship we might have when she is a hormonal teenager and lashes out at Graeme and I for just being alive; etc - and thinking about what I've lost with Zoe.

And then I watched 'Finding Nemo' again the other afternoon with Nellie (one of her new current favourite TV watching things), followed by 'Blood Diamond' with the folks & Graeme on Friday evening. I really ought to know better by now. No more watching of ANY movies that involves something happening to children. They are now VERBODEN. Too much heartache that I really just don't need. (At least both stories had a happy ending, or sort of.)

And of course, this morning - well, yesterday morning now actually I suppose - I was packing up all our stuff for our move, and decided not to pack Zoe's ashes until the final moment as I don't want her sitting in a bag or a box somewhere. Just looking at her photo and her little ashes pot... sometimes I envy Nellie her Leo. Sometimes I wish I had a large cuddly toy I could carry with me to cuddle with when things are miserable and I'm in need of a bit of love and security, when I need a mommy to tell me everything's going to be ok. This being an adult thing really sucks sometimes.

So I guess it's hardly surprising that grief surfaced. The surprise, for me, I guess, was the time. At least I can honestly say I no longer have bad weeks or days - just bad moments. Whether that's a good thing or not, I can't say. I know there are no formulas for grief, but my healing does seem rather fast in comparison to a lot of others I've read about... Maybe that is more of God's grace in action, or maybe I'm just burying it deeper than I realise. I hope it's the former, because I really don't want to suddenly wake up one morning in a few months'/ years' time with depression!

Anyway, I think it's time to go back to sleep now - I will need my strength for moving and unpacking more boxes today. I just needed to get this all down on 'paper' - otherwise I knew that sleep would be completely elusive, plus I didn't want my crying to wake Graeme. Poor guy has been rather unwell of late and now seems to have developed another pleural effusion ... (I'm hoping and praying it's just a pulled muscle in his back!) ... so he really needs his sleep.