Showing posts tagged with: 'bereavement'


Chore cut backs

Sat 4th Aug 2007 by Ben Palmer.

dsc_0117.jpgI had a letter from the council today - the good news is that it isn't a bill.

Apparently, "the foliage originating on the above premises which overhangs the public highway so as to cause obstruction and danger to pedestrians" needed to be drawn to my attention.

A polite, but firm letter, it told me to cut it within 14 days, or risk having them cut it and charging me for the pleasure.

OK, so the Ceanothus hedge has got a bit overgrown, but I knew that, and yes it extends into pavement, and yes I should have cut it long ago, as I also should have cut my lawn weeks ago. The truth is that there isn't time in the day to do everything, and as hard as I try, some jobs don't get done straight away.

In the old life it would have got done. If I'd left it, Jessica would either have shamed me into doing it by getting the garden shears out and starting the job, or she would have pointed out that as she'd done breakfast, dishwasher and laundry, I could jolly well get on with it.

It's those things that I miss - I'd pay anything for five minutes of wifely nagging from her. Now that I've done a good job on the hedge badly, I'll do the dishwasher, before chaining myself to the oven and kitchen sink to get the children's lunch ready.

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Happy Anniversary

Tue 24th Jul 2007 by Ben Palmer.

A few weeks ago I wrote about The Tunnel. Well, today marks the end of the tunnel, the brightening of the light for this year; it is my wedding anniversary and there are no more painful days. At least not until Christmas.

I have been busy all day, working, but this has also caused me to reflect very strongly on a markedly different July 24th, eight years ago, when the sun shone strongly enough to make it an almost unbearably hot day.

I'm happy. Happy that Jessica and I had that day together, the six and a half years before it, and the almost five years after it. My thoughts about the loss of the years after June 30th, 2004 are very different. To quote our new bedtime story book, Roald Dahl's 'Fantastic Mr Fox', my thoughts are often filled with 'dirty words that cannot be printed.'

Somehow though, I am going to make a difference to some other father, son and daughter's lives so that they never know our pain. That will make me happy.

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Too many happy returns

Mon 23rd Jul 2007 by Ben Palmer.

three candlesLast Friday was my birthday. Having had much excitement with the childrens', particularly for Emily who still insists "it's my birthday today," it was a welcome low-key day, even if Harry and Emily were both churning out birthday cards for most of the time.

Everyone seems to think I should "have a wonderful day" on my birthday. Yes, I suppose I should, and I do try for the children's sakes, but it's still one of - if not the - hardest days of the year.

I'm not really a grumpy old man, but every birthday that passes widens the age gap between Jessica and I, and underlines how left behind she is. Of course she'll never be forgotten, but we've almost reached the point where Harry has been motherless for longer than he had one, and Emily - well, she reached that point before she was two weeks old.

There's a limit to how hard we can try to hold on to her, and every birthday underlines the current of time. All we have are our - mainly my - memories to return to, and there ain't no-one gonna take them away.

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Remember the good times

Sat 30th Jun 2007 by Ben Palmer.

Jessica loved Lily of the ValleyI've kept my darkest thoughts at bay this week, unlike last year, but it's really hard to do today. Jessica was on life support from the very early hours of today, three years ago, and she died now.

I can still remember how it felt three, two and one year ago, and it isn't the same now. The pain is still there but not quite in the same stabbing way.

Anyone who doesn't know bereavement will say that I'm 'moving on', but you don't move on, ever. You learn to live with your bereavement, hard as it is, and you carry it like an amputation. Most days now I'm just aware of my missing limb and work around it with a sadness, and some days like today it hurts like the day it was ripped off without anaesthesia.

A lovely and kind card was just delivered from a friend of Jessica's, of ours: 'We're always thinking of Jess and remembering the great times we spent together,' it reads. That's what I'm doing today as well, but it's hard not to also think how the good times still could be.

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The right way

Sun 20th May 2007 by Ben Palmer.

When you're bereaved, people invariably want to say the right thing. That's if you're lucky; if not they'll want to impart some great wisdom that is based not on fact, but misguided supposition.

One of the things I was told a few years ago was that, “at least you'll be able to bring up your kids the way you want to.”

An interesting thought. It's true – Jessica and I didn't always agree. We were equally capable of disagreeing on any of a range of subjects, child-raising included. We both enjoyed having our own view points, but knew that the core of our beliefs was firmly founded in the same mould as the other's.

Thus, although a disagreement about parenting was likely, there was no doubt in each of our minds who Harry's (and albeit briefly, Emily's) best mother and best father were.

The art now is not in bringing the two of them up in the way that I want, but rather in the way that they would have been, despite the circumstances.

I'm sure that if Jessica were to comment now, she would have a list of things I wasn't doing right, but I also feel sure that she'd look at her children and smile, knowing that she was still doing a good job.

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What is childbed fever?

Childbed fever is an infection of the womb in new mothers which can lead to septicaemia. If left untreated infection will cause organ failure and death - even in young, fit mothers.
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What are the symptoms? »
Childbed fever: the facts »

What's the aim?

We would like every parent and every midwife and doctor to know that childbed fever is still a very real threat to a mother's life.
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Can I help? »

Who is Jessica?

Jessica Palmer was a Mum. She died in June 2004, at 34 years old, of childbed fever caused by Group A streptococcus.
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This website contains general information about childbed fever. The information is not complete or comprehensive. You should not rely on the information on this website as an alternative to medical advice from your doctor or healthcare provider. If you have any specific questions about childbed fever (or any other medical condition) you should consult your doctor or other healthcare provider; and if you think you may be suffering from childbed fever (or any other medical condition) you should seek immediately medical attention. You should never delay seeking medical advice, disregard medical advice, or discontinue medical treatment because of information on this website.
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