Have you ever had the experience of meeting someone, even just once, and you felt totally connected to them? Like long lost friends but you hardly know one another. And while your friendship grows you may not even see or talk to them often, but when you do you always walk away with a wonderful comforting feeling. That is how I feel about today’s Guest Blogger Nicola. She shared a LOVE story on here the first year, and came back again last year and shared another amazing post for the Month of LOVE. So I was delighted she said she would contribute this year as well. Nicola lives in Wexford, Ireland and is a well known blogger. However, she is even more famous for her incredible devotion to her family. And when you read this touching, tender and yet tough piece you will see why I love her so much!
Karen told me she was running her Month of Love series for February and asked me if I’d write something for it. I knew without thinking what I would do. It’s ironic that this will be published in February, as it was February that changed my sisters’ life forever.
The 21st of February 2018.
We were all so very excited a year ago. My sister and her husband were expecting a baby. A much-wanted sibling for their older son, another grandchild, a little cousin for their nieces and nephews.
When they went for their scan, however, life as they knew it, took a most heartbreaking turn. They were told that their precious baby would not survive in this world, he would be incompatible with life. I’m not going to go into all of the details of that time, that’s a story my sister has told herself, it’s hers and only hers.
What I will share is the wonderful woman my sister is. When someone that close to you receives news like that, words are so hard to find. I didn’t know what to say to her and I had this fear of saying the wrong thing and adding to the trauma. That’s what it is, complete trauma. From the moment you hear those words, wondering will you ever feel some kind of peace again, it is utterly distressing. Rather than patronise her with platitudes, I was honest. I told her, I didn’t know what to say but that I was here. For that, I think she was thankful. Me, on the other hand, I was terrified but also in awe of her. I wished, and still wish, with all of my heart that I could ease her pain, that I could bear it for her.
She dug deep and found a fight within her. At a time where we would have understood if she took to her bed, she got up and went about her day. This was far from easy, but she did it. She nourished her baby, she talked to him, cradled her growing bump and cherished every precious minute of her pregnancy.
It was a harrowing time and her pregnancy ran alongside Repeal the Eighth. She would travel to Dublin for appointments, where in the midst of all she was going through, she would be asked; ‘how is the Referendum affecting you?’ The Referendum was a highly emotive time and while my sister and her husband chose to continue their pregnancy, they were in the position where they completely understood why a couple would choose to induce pregnancy. On a couple of occasions, she used her voice to speak openly and with the utmost compassion for women of the eighth. I was utterly heartbroken for her, but so incredibly proud of her at the same time.
Alfie was born on May 22 at 22.56 and his little heart continued to beat for the most precious 2 hours of my sisters’ life. He truly was her little warrior. I can’t find the words to illustrate the strength and courage she displayed. She had a number of days with her beautiful son, a time they are so grateful for. Amidst the heartache, she and her husband planned a beautiful service to say goodbye, for now, to Alfie.
Time passes so quickly. The ache to hold her little boy’s hand or nurse him to sleep doesn’t ever leave Lorene. It’s her love for Alfie that keeps her going. She knows he is with her all the time. He has inspired so much. She, along with her husband and Alfie’s big brother, held a fundraiser, Alfie’s Tea Party. They raised over €7000 for Feileacain, honoring Alfie in the most lovely way.
Alfie left imprints on all our hearts, we all love him but there is no love like a mothers love. Lorene’s love and devotion to her both her boys has no bounds, no distance, no ties. We often hear about heroes, well let me tell you, real heroes don’t wear capes. They are the people around us, they are our nearest and dearest. My sister is without question my hero, I am so proud of her, in awe of her and I love beyond measure.