Oliver is now 15 months and 17 days old, why is this so significant? Oliver is now the same age that Joshua (his brother) will forever be. Joshua passed away in 2017, aged 15 months and 17 days. Oliver will now overtake his older brother in age, a strange concept.
Can you imagine giving all your love for 15 months and 17 days to your child, to become a bereaved parent? To care for them, to become their carer, their voice, their nurse, but always more importantly, their parent/grandparent, etc. to then no longer have them physically present? In that short time we were blessed to have created so many special memories, Joshua stole our hearts and though we now bear a lifetime of devastating grief, we know that it is because we loved him so very much.
We had a difficult journey in deciding to expand our family after losing Joshua, his diagnosis was unconfirmed but thought to be genetic (Mitochondrial Disease), and so another pregnancy was extremely risky. Add to this a miscarriage in 2018 and we were left struggling. Oliver was a #rainbowbaby in more than one way, born 7 weeks premature in 2019 he has blessed us with 15 months and 17 days of love, giving us hope, every step of the way!
I feel that Oliver has known all along that I was going to be panicked, monitoring him closely, especially for the first year, watching for signs of Mitochondrial Disease which stole Joshua from us. To counteract this, Oliver has always been a step ahead, advanced in his development in every way, as though to say, ‘Don’t worry Mummy, look what I can do!’ Oliver is thriving and meeting all milestones, meaning that I can begin to relax a little (even though the diseases has ‘any age onset.’)
Sophie has spent the past 15 months and 17 days being a big sister to Oliver, just as brilliantly as she was to Joshua. She is the most kind and caring daughter, and we are so immensely proud of her! She of course experienced grief too, and just as our counsellor said, it has started to develop with age, as she begins to understand death and the depths of its eternity. Taking on the role of big sister again has prompted questions for her, such as ‘Do we get to keep Oliver?’ As you can imagine, it has been very difficult for all of us, but we have always been honest in an age appropriate manner. Oliver absolutely adores Sophie, just as Joshua did, watching them bond has been special, though we’re always aware that a sibling is missing, the image of Joshua playing alongside them both rarely leaves me.
Oliver is now wearing the last of his brother’s ‘hand me downs’, he will now grow bigger than Joshua ever did. We will no longer be able to reminisce when sometimes dressing him. From now on, Oliver will have his own new clothing and he’ll outgrow Joshua in size and age.
15 months and 17 days of loving Oliver James, he has developed such character, he’s loving and adventurous, he thrives on attention and loves to entertain those around him with his cheeky antics and dancing. I’m not sure he will ever really understand just how special he is to us, (nor will Sophie), our reason to smile, our reason to find strength, our reason to hope.
#grief #childbereavment #childloss #emptyarms #rainbowbaby #prematurebaby #premie #siblinglove #siblings #siblinggrief #hope #love #mito #mitochondrialdisease #genetic #loveafterloss #parentingafterloss #bereavedparent #miscarriage #JoshuasMummysThoughts