Beautiful People Do Not Just Happen

Beautiful People Do Not Just Happen

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That Thursday, like so many other days, is indelibly imprinted on my mind.

Our Belfast consultant had previously informed me that Leah’s medical details had been sent to the paediatric haematology team at Bristol Children’s Hospital and that they would be discussing her case that day at a team meeting, with a view to possibly accepting her for treatment.

I hated the thought of being so far away from home, but I had done my online research into the hospitals in Dublin, Belfast and Bristol. I had become increasingly convinced that Leah’s best chances of survival, humanly speaking, lay in her being accepted for treatment at Bristol Children’s Hospital.

I spent most of that Thursday afternoon quietly praying.

At 7.20pm our Belfast haematology consultant phoned me to inform us that Bristol Children’s Hospital had indeed accepted Leah for treatment. I was so relieved and so pleased.

Our first phone call from this doctor on Friday the 19th April had been such a negative experience.

Our first meeting with him had been even worse, but in this phone call I started to see him for the caring, compassionate man that he really is.

I eventually chased him off the phone, as I was sure that the poor man had probably not even had his dinner yet. He had given me all the time that I needed in this phone call.

The fourteen weeks that Leah and I spent in Bristol changed our lives forever.

Some of those changes are very sad, traumatic ones.

I hardly know how to word this, because I will NEVER be glad that my daughter suffered and died, yet I can still appreciate the many positive aspects of our time in Bristol.

I very much appreciate the amazing staff and patients and families that Leah and I met during our time there.

Although I’m heartbroken, yet I’m also enriched, by those that I’ve had the privilege of getting to know along this journey.

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The Calendars

The Calendars

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We are part of a large close extended family and at Christmas we have some big family get togethers. This photo shows just my husband’s side of the family, but it has three more members since then – via marriage and birth.

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We decided several years ago that it was far more important to spend time together than to lavish money on expensive gifts.

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My children always liked to have some little gift to give to aunties, uncles, cousins, grannies and granda’s. At one stage Leah used to hand make a book mark for each person. Then, about four years ago, we started making magnetic calendars on Vistaprint. Leah used to design these. We printed two or three dozen each December. I’ve no idea how we missed the “typo” in the 2011 one, where the second Scripture reference should be 1 Peter 5:7!

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When I look back at the wording Leah chose for the 2013 calendar I am amazed – prophetic words indeed. This calendar would have been made around three weeks before Leah’s first trip to the GP and the blood test that changed everything.

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The calendars seemed very expensive to print that year. In all the busyness and expense of Christmas I became very irritated and I crossly told Leah “This will be the last year that you’re making those calendars – they’ve got far too dear.” Sadly those words came to pass in a way that I could never have imagined.

My Facebook “Timehop” app tells me that this day three years ago I posted a link to a song called “One Last Christmas”

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I have no recollection of seeing this video before or of posting this song 12 months before Leah became ill and 24 months before her final admission to hospital.

I’m really struggling emotionally this month, but I’m also thankful that Leah actually made it home from Bristol, that she had six weeks with us in her beautiful purpose built bedroom, that she got to spend time with some of her family and friends and that we did indeed have “one last Christmas”!

“It’s the news that no one hopes for
Every parent’s greatest fear
Finding out the child you love so much
Might not make it through the year

Now the thought of spending Christmas
Without him just feels wrong
They’ve been praying for a miracle
Now they’re praying he can just hold on

For one last Christmas, one last time
One last season when all the world is right
One more telling of the story
One more verse of silent night
They’d give anything so he could have
One last Christmas”