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How you become the person that knows what to say – facing adversity, grief and crisis

I decided to go for a walk today. In my headphones, the podcast ‘On Being’ where the host was interviewing Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer of Facebook, and Adam Grant, professor of psychology.They talked about Sheryl’s loss of her husband Dave and how that triggered the creations of their book and non-profit organization ‘Option B’. Tears were streaming down my face as I was listening to the interview (leaving the people I passed on the way looking very puzzled indeed), having experienced a lot of what they were talking about first hand after losing my first daughter Ingrid.

 

I work with disaster on a daily basis, as I have the honour of being invited to the most painful parts of peoples lives, be it a heart ripping divorce or separation; the loss of a job and with it, financial safety and loss of identity; a devastating medical diagnosis; crushed hopes and dreams; fears of failure; or carrying stories of guilt and shame that consumes your energy and robs you of joy.

 

It is, in my humble opinion, the most soul baring and brave act a person can engage in, to open up about their grief, loss and sense of feeling completely lost. The willingness to heal from disaster and devastation; to start building resilience muscles; to find a new “normal”; and to aim for post-traumatic growth instead of post-traumatic stress is indeed an act of bravery. But, as with everything in life, a little help from a friend will make this journey a lot easier.

Adversity, grief and loss come with the package of being human, and if you want to engage in relationships with people you most certainly will bump into someone going though a life crisis at some point. Yet we live in a society that doesn’t want to talk about adversity. When disaster strikes, it often leads to a whole host of everyday awkward moments, leaving the affected person feeling even more isolated and weird; or as Sheryl pointed out in the interview “I felt like a ghost (that everyone avoided).”

 

Often when we meet a co-worker, a neighbour or a friend that has gone though something devastating, it’s like they are being followed by a big elephant that no one wants to address. Rather than being the “idiot” that said the “wrong thing”, many of us opt for the far less scary option of saying nothing.

 

So how do you become the person who knows what to say and do? 

 

Here are a few things to think about:

 

  • Realise and acknowledge how dramatically their life has changed. There won’t be a “going back to normal”, there will only be a “building a new normal, or finding Option B.”

 

  • Your friend might not be able to focus completely on work or anything else for a long time, so don’t expect them to jump right back up and behave like they always used to behave before the crisis hit them. Instead, try to evaluate how much he/she is able to handle and offer to share the workload.

 

  • Stop and ask how they are doing, as in “How are you feeling today? Know that I’m here to listen.”, and then really live up to that promise even if it is uncomfortable!

 

  • Meet up for a coffee break or go out for lunch. Don’t avoid them just because you feel uncomfortable.

 

  • Ask him/her what they need right now. Offer practical help, such as grocery shopping, cooking, helping out with the kids, make sure that bills are being paid and appointments are being kept or re-scheduled.

 

  • Offer your support and concern. There are no magic words, but at least say something like “I’m so sorry for your loss.”, “I know you must be suffering right now, I’m here for you.” or at least “I have no idea what to say.”

 

  • Not everyone wants to talk about private matters at work or at the schoolyard, so respect their privacy if they don’t want to talk, but make sure they know that you are there for them should they want to talk.

 

  • If the person has lost a loved one, talk about the memories and mention the name of the person or animal that died. You don’t have to be scared of thinking that you might remind them of their loss. They are acutely aware of it, all the time.

 

  • Caring co-workers, neighbours, and friends can be a significant source of support and healing to a person going though a life crisis. Don’t downplay your your actions or think that what you say or do won’t matter as you “aren’t that close”. It might well be that what you are able to provide might be a hugely important part in the affected persons life and and play a role in their ability to heal. If a person feels acknowledged in their pain, suffering and grief, they will have a much better chance of emotional healing sooner.

 

  • Remember that the person’s life will be changed FOREVER, not just the first couple of months. There is no time limit on grief.

 

  • Be yourself and keep the relationship you had with the person before the life crisis occurred. There is nothing more devastating than when friends, neighbours or co-workers “disappear” or avoid you after a significant crisis.

 

Also, make sure you listen to the podcast I was mentioning in the beginning: https://onbeing.org/programs/sheryl-sandberg-and-adam-grant-resilience-after-unimaginable-loss/

 

Don’t wait for a life crisis to hit in your own life before you know how to be there for others, like I did.

8 tips on how to support a family in grief

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Ten years ago I was on the most devastating journey of my entire life.

Two days before we flew back to Sweden for the Christmas holidays, we had received the most devastating news a parent can get; Ingrid had a terminal genetic disease and had about 5 more months to live.

Now we had to face our families and friends and tell them that Ingrid, only three months old, would be leaving us again. I can’t begin to describe how awful I felt, and how it pained me to see our friends and family having to cope with the news. But they did, and they stood by us like the rocks they are.

It also made me think….

How would I have reacted as the friend?

What would I have done for a family in that situation?

Would I have known what to do or say at all, had it been a friend telling me the same news?

The answer was no.

Below I have listed 8 helpful things you could do if you have friends or family that have experienced loss this year.

1 – Respect that they might not want to participate in the holiday celebrations this year, maybe it’s just too much for them. Ask what they want and need instead, and if there is anything you can do to accommodate their wishes.

2 – Offer to help with practical tasks, like cooking and cleaning. After a loss there is just no energy for the everyday routines.

3 – Invite the family for dinner so they don’t have the pressure of hosting holiday events themselves. There is no energy for those either, believe me.

4 – Respect that the family might want to be left alone. Check in with them form time to time to let them know that you are there for them, but don’t try and activate them and “get them out of the house”.

5 – If the family has children, offer to take them out for activities so the parents can have some alone time.

6 – Help them remember. One of the biggest fears after a loss is that the person who died will be forgotten. Give the family an opportunity to talk about what has happened, share memories, and give space for tears.

7 – Have patience. Don’t get annoyed or frustrated because they want to repeat the same stories over and over again. It’s not because they are stuck or refusing to “get over it”, this is an important step for the healing journey.

8 – Do not, and I repeat, DO NOT avoid a family in grief. There is nothing more painful than seeing friends and relatives disappear after a loss, just because they didn’t know what to say or do. It’s better to say “I have no idea what you are going though, but I’m here for you.”, than disappearing from their lives because you didn’t feel comfortable.

 

Should you have any questions on how to support a family in grief, do not hesitate to contact me! That’s why I’m here. 

The five stages of grief

You expect to quit a job, not get fired from it.

You expect to be married to your partner for the rest of your life, not end up filing for divorce.

You expect to fall pregnant with ease, not to have to go through numerous rounds of fertility treatments and miscarriages along the way.

You expect to bring up a healthy child, not to have to choose the music for her funeral.

You expect to have your family around for support and love, not to be alienated from them.

You expect to live a long and healthy life, not to be diagnosed with some awful disease.

Reality very seldom lives up to the expectations you have for it, so when life hands you disappointments, losses and grief you are often caught off guard. There was no class in school to teach you about emotional resilience, and the word grief is mainly associated with death, so you don’t even recognize when you are grieving for reasons other than someone dying.

Grief, by definition, is the natural response to any type of loss or major change in life. It’s the emotional suffering you feel when something or someone is gone. Normally we think of death, divorce, maybe losing a pet or moving far away from home, but there are also subtle losses like losing your self-esteem or self-confidence, losing your health or wellbeing, or experiencing a financial change. It can be the loss of a job or the loss of a role like the “stay-at-home mum” when your kids move away from home. Grief and loss events are part of life; there is unfortunately no way around that.

Let’s take a closer look at the five stages of grief established by Dr. Elisabeth Kübler-Ross. 

First, let me point out the misconceptions about these five stages. People often think of the stages as lasting weeks or months, but there is no linear quality to these stages. The stages are responses to feelings that can last for minutes or hours, and we tend to flip in and out, back and forth among the different stages.

1. Denial. The world becomes meaningless and overwhelming; life no longer makes sense. You are in a state of shock and numbness and you are just trying to find a way to cope and get through the day. Denial doesn’t mean that you “forget” what has happened; it’s simply nature’s way of pacing the grief experience by only letting in as much as you can handle at that point.

2. Anger. Anger actually forces you to feel something again. It replaces the numbness; gives you structure and even if it’s really uncomfortable to show your anger, it’s an important part of the healing process.

3. Bargaining. This is where all the “What if…” and “If only…” statements appear. You want life returned to what it was. You want to go back in time and change the outcome. Guilt is often a companion in the bargaining stage, as you question whether you could have stopped the event from happening, whether an illness, accident, getting fired from a job or being left by your partner.

4. Depression. The feeling of grief enters on a deeper level, deeper than you ever imagined possible, and it feels as though it will last forever. It’s important to understand that this depression is not a sign of mental illness. The loss of life as you knew it is depressing, and it’s completely normal to be feeling this way. There is nothing to fix or medicate away; more importantly, you should find support to deal with it in a healthy way if you feel that you are stuck in this depression stage for too long. It can be through friends, loved ones, colleagues, or professional help.

5. Acceptance. Acceptance is often confused with being “OK” with what has happened, but this is not really the case. Of course you will never feel “OK” with losing a loved one, your safety, or your health. It has more to do with the realization that life will never be the same again. There will always be a “before” and an “after.” Acceptance is more about learning to live with it. It means that you have to readjust, reorganize roles, and refocus your goals and dreams in life. Acceptance doesn’t mean that you can replace what has been lost; it means that you are given the chance of finding new meaning and joy in life.

It might sound almost impossible to reach the stage of acceptance, but that is where you take back your power over your emotional wellbeing. Instead of repeating the question “Why did this happen?” (trust me, you will never get a decent answer to that question) start asking yourself the following questions:

What am I learning from this experience? In what way can it inspire me to change my life for the better?

So who am I to tell you to accept and let go?

On the 16th of December 2006, we were given the diagnosis for our three-month old daughter Ingrid, and it was bad. Spinal muscular atrophy type 1, a deadly genetic disease that we had never, ever heard of, just smashed our lives to pieces. The doctor explained that most babies with this disease live to the age of eight months, so we were given a maximum of five more months to be with our child.

It felt like my life had ended. Not only did I lose my child, but I also lost the hopes and dreams of us being a little family and watching her grow up. I lost trust in life and my ability to have a healthy child. I lost my role as a mother, as I no longer had physical proof of a child. I lost my social life, as I no longer joined the mummy groups I had attended with Ingrid.

In my case, my ability to accept and let go of the emotional pain opened up a new path of helping others in healing their hearts and trusting life again. Grief is complex, but by healing your emotional pain you can open up for a life filled with love, connection, joy and possibilities. If I could, you can, too.

Life will break you. Nobody can protect you from that, and living alone won’t either, for solitude will also break you with its yearning. You have to love. You have to feel. It is the reason you are here on earth. You are here to risk your heart. You are here to be swallowed up. And when it happens that you are broken, or betrayed, or left, or hurt, or death brushes near, let yourself sit by an apple tree and listen to the apples falling all around you in heaps, wasting their sweetness. Tell yourself you tasted as many as you could. ― Louise ErdrichThe Painted Drum LP

By Karin Andersson Hagelin

Karin Andersson Hagelin is a certified EFT Tapping practitioner and Grief Recovery Specialist®, running her coaching practice via Skype or in person in Zurich. She is of Swedish origin but has been living in Zürich since 2005. To find out more, connect with her on Facebook (www.facebook.com/karinanderssonhagelin), Instagram (instagram.com/karin_lifecrisis_coach) or visit her website.

This article was first featured in Mothering Matters, October 2015

My own story about deep grief and profound healing.

It feels like I’ve got two lives, the one before getting married in September 2005 and one after. My first life included working and studying abroad and starting a career in the hotel business based in Stockholm, Sweden.

IMG_5696My first major loss took place in September 2001, when my father passed away after a long battle with cancer. I felt so lost and disoriented without him, and it took me more than two years to get back to a reasonable state of health again. That is when I was introduced to the Greif Recovery Method for the first time, and I ended up buying the book. I’m sure I read it, but I didn’t have the energy to work though the method on my own. Nor did I have the courage to find myself a partner to work with, so the book ended up in my bookshelf.

In 2005 I got married and left Stockholm to join my Swedish husband in Zurich. As I had lived abroad before I didn’t think it was that dramatic, but this time it was for an unlimited time I moved away form my friends and family. Our first daughter Ingrid was born in September 2006, one day after our first wedding anniversary, and we fell in love with her immediately. All of a sudden we are responsible for this little human being, for life!

As we went for Ingrid’s 2-month check up the doctor was concerned about her lack of leg movement, so she sent us off to the Children’s Hospital here in Zurich for further tests. On the 16th of December 2006 we got the diagnosis, Spinal Muscle Atrophy type 1, a very rare genetic disease with a life expectancy of approximately eight months. Our hearts smashes to tiny little pieces and our lives would never be the same again. There is no way you can prepare yourself for a moment like that, to hear that your 3 month old baby has got a terminal illness and is going to die. I just wanted to scream and never stop screaming!

ängel Ingrid och mammaWe had our first battle with SMA already two weeks after getting the diagnosis, when Ingrid caught a bad cold and one of her lungs collapsed. She fought death off that time, as she would on several occasions after that.

We had the most amazing care team from Kinderspitex in Zurich, which gave us the chance to care for Ingrid at home. To be able to live life as normal as possible in the comfort of our own home was such a big help for us. I’m convinced that it prolonged Ingrid’s life and definitely ensured the optimal quality of life as a family. Ingrid passed away peacefully at home in May of 2007, almost 8 months old.

After we had lost Ingrid it dawned on me how little help there was for us as parents. We had received excellent medical care for our child, but after she was gone and all the medical equipment had been collected we were pretty much left to fend for ourselves. We now had to arrange all the practical details like organizing the funeral, order a tombstone and arrange all documents to be able to fly back to Sweden with an urn. Having to deal with all of this while in a state of chock and grief was daunting, and I have never felt so alone, isolated and lost in my whole life. There was no real list of support options presented to us, so on top of everything else I had to muster the energy to look for help myself.

Immediately after Ingrid’s passing I signed myself up as support parent at the Children’s hospital as well as with the palliative home care team (Kinderspitex) here in Zürich. At least I would be able to give other parents with SMA babies a chance to contact a fellow parent. But what about all the other people being stuck in loss and grief for various reasons? How could I be there for fellow expats experiencing loss and grief? How could I assist people living far away form their natural support system of family, friends, native language and familiarity?

That’s when the Grief Recovery Handbook mysteriously nudged itself out of its dusty existence in my bookshelf. I decided to do the certification to become a Grief Recovery Specialist to be able to offer this support, not only to fellow SMA parents, but also to other people experiencing loss.

-214Today I work with my passion to help others getting unstuck from their unresolved grief, feel less alone and isolated and have someone listening to their story. I wake up every day feeling so blessed to be able to do this kind of work, and that Ingrid taught me so much about life, death and all the things in between.

With love, Karin

 

Time heals all wounds… Or does it? 5 things to ease the pain

One of those myths we keep on hearing about Grief is that time is supposed to heal all wounds.

Really?

My own take on this is that the intensity of the chock, grief and pain after a significant loss does indeed subside over time. However,  you only need to hear that certain song, quote or word; see that certain church, hospital, picture; celebrate the first Christmas without, anniversary without, birthday without… Or you start to imagine how life would have turned out had they still been in your life (you get the picture right?). All of a sudden the memory and the physical discomfort associated with it starts to flare up like a bad nightmare.

Before you know it you are fully re-living the stress, sadness, chock and heartbreak as if it was happening right this very second. It’s happened to me on several occasions, and it feels like I was transported back in time and put back in that very instant. And I have caught myself thinking, “but time is supposed to heal all wounds, so why am I still so overwhelmed, sad and stuck? What a load of BS!”

“The mistaken idea that after enough time passes something will magically change to make us whole again is preposterous. If we were dealing with any other human pain, no one would say – Just give it time.” from the Grief Recovery Handbook

Take care of your broken heartIf you broke your arm, no one would suggest you sit and wait until it heals, right? But if your HEART breaks, that’s one of the first “helpful tips” we get!

How many of you are still experiencing pain caused by a death, separation, pet loss, move or loss of faith that might have happened 20 years ago?

I often meet people that are dealing with “old” pain and grief dating back as far as childhood, and as soon as we start talking about it they are immediately experiencing the event with the same intensity as if it was indeed happening RIGHT NOW. Unless you are given the right tools and action steps (might it be thought therapy, coaching or any other technique), the old pain will still be stored in your memory and sometimes even in a body part, causing pain and discomfort.

I had pain in my right shoulder for many years after we lost our daughter. I just didn’t get why the pain was there until I got help to connect the dots, that my right shoulder was still carrying her. As her muscles were so weak,  she was CONSTANTLY hanging on my right shoulder. Not until I realised that and dealt with the pain of losing her did the pain go away!

So here are 5 things that you could do to ease the immediate pain:

1. Think about a loss that is still very painful.

2. Write down exactly how you feel about it, and if there is a physical pain that goes with that feeling.

3. Start writing down what is still bothering you about the situation.

4. Put all of your thoughts, apologies, forgiveness and other emotional statements you would like to tell this person in to a letter.

5. Imagine this person, or take out a photo and read the letter out loud adressed to this person. End with a clear GOODBYE.

I would still recommend to get in touch with a Grief Specialist or therapist if the pain is too great to face on your own.

You might also find this video helpful:

It took me nine years to face my grief

scared as hellIt took me NINE years to reach that point of exhaustion where I just said to myself “I really, really, really need to get help to finally let go of the all the pain and drama in my life”. By that time I had lost my dad, moved abroad and lost my first born daughter (in that exact order).

What would happen if I finally took charge of my emotional system? What would need to change? Who or what would I have to let go of in my life? What patterns, behaviours and thoughts would I have to change? What would I have to start doing or who would I have to start being if I got well, finally felt unstuck, started to live my purpose, quit that awful, life draining job? Who would I have to become if I let go of all the drama that defines me?

That’s a lot of scary stuff… I know, that’s why I waited for so long. But I refused to define myself as the bereaved mother, stuck in pain, guilt and sadness forever and ever. There had to be another way!

Only you will know when you have reached that crucial point when changing how you define yourself and your pain and drama is the only sustainable thing you can do in order to move forward. Why don’t you grab the opportunity and start getting clear for the new year NOW by redefining how you want to show up in the world? How you want to feel? What you want to contribute to?

There are a million-and-one techniques out there, I’m teaching ONE of them, but I encourage you to go out and investigate which one rings true to you. Only you know whats best for you.

So it is Christmas…

IMG_3652We are now two weeks away from Christmas! A lot of us are  busy getting all the Christmas gifts, food shopping and family plans in order for the big holiday!

But for many this Christmas will be the first one celebrated….

  • without their loved one
  • without their beloved pet
  • without their partner (and maybe children) after a separation
  • after getting a devastating diagnosis
  • after losing their job
  • without celebrating with close family and friends after a big move

The empty seat at the dinner table is a massive reminder of who’s not there, and family rituals change due to the departure of a particular family member. Approximately 64’000 will have passed away before end of December 2013 in Switzerland. Around 280 of them will be children under 18 years old. A lot more will have gone through a separation of some kind. Even more will have received devastating news of some kind, but those big changes and reasons to feel lost and in grief are not as easy to spot on the statistical radar.

So I wanted to equip you all with some tools that could come in handy should you meet, or even be one of these grieving persons during the holidays.

What are the things to AVOID saying to a grieving person?

  •  Don’t say “I know how you feel”.

This one is a doozie and it seems to be comforting doesn’t it. Well it isn’t. You see when someone is in a pit of despair they have no idea how they feel so how the heck would you know? Just because your Mum died and their Mum died doesn’t mean it’s similar – this is because every person and every relationship is unique, so the pain is unique – and here’s the thing. This isn’t about you – it’s about them so stop changing the subject to you!

  • Don’t say “Be grateful you had them so long”

This is a well meaning attempt to get you to count your blessings but in truth it’s plain hurtful. No matter how long you had them you’re entitled to want them around now and yes you’re grateful but you still want more and there’s nothing wrong with that at all.

  • Don’t say “You’ll find somebody else”

Well this may be true eventually but while I’m in deep pain missing the love of my life desperately it’s also completely irrelevant to how I feel NOW. So if you find yourself tempted to say this to anyone who has lost a partner through death or relationship breakdown; stop. Take a breath and think about someone or something important to you and say to yourself – “if you lost them don’t worry you can get another one”; register how that feels then say something else.

  • Don’t say “They’re in a better place.”

Now according to your belief system this may or may not be true. However it is also irrelevant to the person still here and grieving. It may give a slight comfort if they share that belief, it may cause acute discomfort if they don’t. Either way it’s also changing the subject again – away from their perfectly natural and valid pain and onto the person who isn’t there.

  • Don’t say ” So, he won’t be needing those golf clubs/concert tickets/other stuff”

I’m sure I don’t need to explain why this is a bad one – but mainly it’s because once again it’s about you (and your desire not to see those tickets wasted!) and not about the person in pain.

So what are GOOD and HELPFUL things to say?

The main thing is to be honest and sincere. Sometimes all that’s needed is a hug or a smile. Ask questions, be ready to really listen to the answers and don’t offer solutions – a griever wants to be heard not fixed.

Some helpful starters are:

  • I imagine that you feel like….

Starting a sentence with “I imagine” is unassertive and gives the griever a chance to correct you. For example you say “I imagine you feel like you’ve been hit by a train” and they say well more like my entire world has exploded. This has given them a chance to say quite unconfrontationally how they really feel. Saying “you must feel devastated” will be generating an internal “yah think!!!” even if it’s not said out loud.

  • What happened?

Give them a chance to tell their story – don’t interrupt – questions are about you not them

  • I don’t know what to say…

Is often the best thing to say when there really is nothing to say.

 

Source of above bullet points: blog article “Top five things you should never say to a bereaved person and a few that you should” by Carole Batchelor Certified Grief Recovery Specialist www.griefrecoverymethod.co.uk

 

If you need more resources, there is a really good webinar where Russell Friedman from the Grief Recovery Institute talks about The Impact of Grief During the Holiday Season. Listen to it here.

I suck at math!

IMG_2737 When I was in 5th grade it was decided that they would divide the three 5th grade classes in my school into three math groups depending on our abilities in that subject. Hence we were divided into the “fast” group, the “average” group and the “slow” group. I have no idea if they were given those exact names, but that was the general idea behind the three groups. I ended up in the “fast” group as I was one of the fastest in math in my class, and had been since 1st grade.

One day, as we were about to get a math test back, our teacher declared (in a very annoyed tone) that someone in the group had managed to MOVE  THE COMMA THE WRONG WAY THROUGHOUT THE WHOLE TEST! That very test ended up on MY desk! I was the one that had been so utterly stupid to do such a thing that the teacher felt the need to tell the whole group about it! I was 11 and I felt so ashamed.

Since that day, because of WHAT that teacher said, HOW she said it and what she DIDN’T DO to repair the damage, I’ve held this view of myself that I suck at math. My whole life I’ve been avoiding having to calculate “in public”, making sure I can triple check if the answer is correct before I show it to someone. I’ve had to ask colleagues to make fool proof formulas that I could follow whenever I needed to do any form of calculation for my “task list”. I’ve gone to great length so save myself from making such “stupid” mistakes ever again because it was so humiliating that first time.

Now, that was just ONE DAY of my life, and what ONE TEACHER said and yet it has affected my ability to calculate in a negative way! I can’t say it’s been a HUGE loss in my life, but I wanted to use it as an example to show you how the opinion from an authority figure from our childhood, (be it a teacher, a coach, a parent or grandparent…) can do to our presently held beliefs about our abilities. Maybe you are carrying a similar story from your childhood around, and maybe that story has created this limiting belief about your own abilities. And that in turn might be limiting you to aim for your dreams TODAY!

Find that memory, lift it up and have a close look at it. Forgive the person who said or did it so that you can free up that space and energy for better and more fun things in life – then move on! If you need assistance in that procedure, just give me a shout OK? Warm regards, Karin

I remember… A poem to my Angel daughter on Mother’s Day

I remember the first day I could spot you on your cloud.

You were watering the plants, yellow and purple flowers, and as you poured the water and giggled, a light rain started to fall outside my window.

I was so thrilled to finally have found you again after all the dark clouds of grief had finally passed by and left a clear blue sky for me to enjoy.

We promised to continue growing our family so that you would have siblings, and we kept our promise. You now have a little sister and a little brother, and we love telling them stories about what you and grandpa Dagge are doing up in heaven.

When it snows, we tell stories about how you throw snowballs at each other, and on us as well, because we know how much you love to play!

When the wind blows, we tell stories about how you are drying your angel wings, that got wet when you went for a swim.

When the thunder scares your little brother, we tell stories about how you and the other little angels are having a Bobbycar race up in the sky, with the rainbow acting as the race track.

When the sun shines, we tell stories about how you are playing with a mirror, sending us beams of light and love. Playing with the light on our walls and ceilings, and your siblings are laughing as they try to catch the beam.

When the autumn comes, we tell stories about how you and the fairies are painting all the leaves in the most amazing, radiant colours.

And when the spring finally arrives after a long, dark winter, we tell stories about how you and the fairies arrange for all the flowers, trees and animals to come alive again.

How I love those stories, and how I love keeping you with us through them.

With love,

Mum

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