Showing posts tagged with: 'birthday'

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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Blooming marvellous

Wed 11th Jul 2007 by Ben Palmer.

Jessica’s flowersI just made a random observation while I was out in the garden with a cigarette in the fading light: our garden is mostly out of bloom. It was always very much Jessica's garden, and it is true, I have let it get slightly out of hand and overgrown, but the roses and shrubs that we planted together were spring and early summer flowerers.

All of our birthdays; Jessica's, the children's and mine are between late May and July. Our wedding was in late July and her death and funeral were before our anniversary.

This is Jessica's time of year and I will relish that thought tomorrow, three years after I buried her in that fine oak coffin on my father's birthday.


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Mummys in Heaven

Sun 1st Jul 2007 by Ben Palmer.

We've had the Diana Concert on all afternoon, and Harry picked up on it quite early on. I explained about Diana and who she was and who Princes William and Harry are. Harry picked up the story with, "I've heard of her, and their Daddy's going to be king when The Queen dies." No flies on him.

Then we got around to why there was a concert for her birthday and why she wasn't there. We talked once again about people dying young and what a beautiful and kind princess Diana was.

"So, you see, Harry," I finished, "Even a Mummy in the Royal Family can die too soon." There was just a glimmer of recognition in his eyes; that it could happen to anyone, as he looked back to William and Harry.


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What a cheek

Sun 24th Jun 2007 by Ben Palmer.

It's unbelievable to think that Emily was born three years ago to the minute.

I was going to say that she was so small, but she was a very large small thing at 9lb 13ozs. Yet she was still so vulnerable and dependant, and also very opinionated.

Now I look at her, with a 'Dora the Explorer' back pack on - I gave it to her at some ungodly hour this morning, and she hasn't taken it off since - and she is still so strong-willed and determined. Determined to be her mother's daughter without every having known her; she is the spitting image of Jessica in looks and character.

When I tucked her up last night, she held my face with her hands and turned to give me a cheek. "Kiss me here, Daddy," she ordered.

Jessica would be so proud today.


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Into the tunnel

Fri 22nd Jun 2007 by Ben Palmer.

It's been a very busy week at work, so I've barely thought about blogs, let alone anything else. Now that it's Friday night I've got some breathing space and there's a lot to think about.

Sunday is Emily's birthday. She'll be three, and she will cause mayhem with pink wrapping paper and chocolate cake. It'll be a fun and busy day for her, but a part of me will be in the past, remembering.

Poor Harry will too. He hasn't yet fully understood the link between the birth of the baby sister that he has loved since the moment he saw her and the death of his mother, but sadly he's getting there.

He'll be a little sad and reflective in the coming week (going on past form) and there could well be some scenes. All I can do is let him get on with it within a safety barrier, and be there to pick up the pieces if tears take over.

Each in our own way we'll have to relive the events of 2004 day by day, but hopefully the campaign highlight I've got planned will lift us all a little.


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Sun 10th Jun 2007 by Ben Palmer.

Last Thursday was Harry's birthday which means I've been a Dad for 6 years and 3 days, and I now know what it really means to be a parent. For the first 3 years and 3 weeks I could have been a much better one. Since then, though, I've been a Mum as well, and I have to take my hat off to all mothers for their patience and hard work. All of us Dads should.

Admittedly, I have a fantastic Nanny to help with the children during the day five days a week, but she's been on holiday and honeymoon for the last two weeks and won't be back for another three days (and counting), and our cleaner's away as well - so things have been fairly fraught around the house recently.

Car crashes, TV interviews, campaigning, Harry's 6th birthday and his party aside, when I haven't been working I've been cooking, cleaning, shopping, bathing, dressing, clearing up 'puddles', reassuring and loving for my children, and I'm exhausted. The house is a total mess, but our clothes, although not ironed, are clean. Harry has done his homework and he and Emily are bathed with clean hair and tucked up in bed.

At the children's party we went to at Battersea Zoo this afternoon, the birthday boy's Mum, Nicky, said to me, "I don't know how you do it, Ben. I really don't."

To me, the answer is obvious. I do it because I have no choice and because I love my children. I don't like the hand we've been dealt, but I'm sure as hell going to play it to the best of my ability.

I wish I hadn't waited until Jessica's death to take the opportunity.


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Cake and candles

Tue 22nd May 2007 by Ben Palmer.

Mummy’s BalloonIt's Jessica's birthday today. She should be 37, but she will always be 34 in our hearts and in our memories.

I've bought a helium balloon, and at the children's request, a birthday cake as well. We'll have our little tea party and then, like we always have, we'll write our messages of love on the balloon and let it go from our garden and watch it rise magnificently.

Usually there's a wind that blows it over the roof of the house and out of sight, to go wherever it will, but today is calmer than in previous years and so with luck we'll see it keep rising, until it's a speck, up to Mummy in Heaven.

It's hard to believe it's nearly three years since we saw her; at times it seems like just yesterday, the memories are so strong. At other times it seems like a lifetime ago.

It is, for Emily.


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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.
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.