I don’t know where to start. I’ve been absent from this blog for so long, and it’s taken such a long time to feel able to write something again. I’ve wanted to for quite a while, but it’s been easier to put it off and do it tomorrow – tomorrow that never comes. This blog post is all about love, loss and the creation of something beautiful – Arthur’s Patch.
The last year has been a blur of different emotions and I scarcely remember some of it. Nothing could have prepared us for the tragedy that happened. Losing Arthur has changed us forever. We feel older and more weary. We had no comprehension that these emotions existed. There was always happiness and sadness, but it didn’t sink into the dark depths or dizzying heights of raw, unfiltered love and loss.
Errors and mistakes…
In the weeks leading to up to his death, and on the night itself, several huge mistakes all aligned to create a disaster. An independent investigation has revealed that behind the scenes, a catalogue of errors were made: understaffing, no manager, lack of experience, complacency, bad communication, conflicting advice and a disregard for protocols ended in a situation with a tragic ending. Immediately following his death, policies and protocols were changed and if this situation had happened today, Arthur would be here. We have a meeting scheduled with the hospital and ambulance trust to talk in depth about other changes to the maternity system going forward.
The people that stood by us…
Unless you have lost a full-term baby, you can’t understand the loss. I don’t have the words to express how we have felt, and still do feel today. We are beginning to feel more like ourselves again, but we know it will never go away. A part of us is missing and that piece cannot be found.
We have managed to get through this year with the amazing support of our family and close friends. Grief set up a road-block and we were diverted onto a different path when we lost Arthur, and some of our friends and family have walked it with us. Only Mr SN and I could set the pace. Sometimes we’d make progress and walk forwards, but other times we’d stumble and fall, unable to move any further. Our family and friends were there crying with us, helping in any way they could. We feel indebted to the people that rose above the rest and helped us without hesitation.
There have been a few core people that have gone above and beyond, they’ve continually been there, week in and week out. When everyone else moved on with their lives and forgot about us, they still sent flowers, letters, and cooked us dinners. They kept inviting us out, left homegrown veg from the allotment at our door (thank you Sophie) and arrived at Arthur’s Patch when it was cold and grey to help create our vision. I don’t think I can ever repay those people back, they knew exactly how to help us, and without them we wouldn’t be feeling better. It goes without saying that my family have been amazing…I already knew they were pretty great, but now I realise just how lucky I am to have them.
In comparison, some people said nothing. They found the situation too overwhelming and left us alone, too scared of saying the wrong thing or of making us upset. What those people don’t realise is that there is nothing they can say that makes the situation any worse. Their words can’t make us feel more upset than we already are – we are already crying inside. Other people couldn’t understand at all, nor could they put their own situations into perspective. They thought that the worst thing to happen in their own life is as bad as it can get. Our reaction was to surround ourselves with the people that seemed to feel a bit of our pain.
Putting our situation into perspective…
Sometimes we couldn’t see our way through the darkness, but quite often we could put our situation into perspective and see the bigger picture. We imagined the pain that parents must feel when they lose a child after years of knowing and loving them. We imagined the pain of parents whose children have been abducted or murdered. The scale of pain still has several more levels that we have no idea about. There is always someone in a worse situation than yourself.
Both Mr SN and I are very spiritual, and we believe that everything happens for a reason. We weren’t destined to have Arthur in this lifetime, but through losing him, we have been set on a new path with a completely different purpose. We may not physically have Arthur, but we feel him all the time, he’s walking next to us, holding our hands, proud of what we are doing in his memory.
I also feel a close link to women throughout history. Although this may be a rare occurrence nowadays, in the past, and in developing countries today, losing a baby was, and is, common. I know the pain of millions of women I’ve never met. I’m more human than before – Arthur has given us the greatest gift of all, it will last our entire lives; we can see the fragility and beauty of life.
Finding Arthur’s Patch…
That brings me onto the subject of Arthur’s Patch. You may remember in the post that my mum wrote, that we were searching for Arthur’s Patch. Our dream of having land has metamorphisised into a quest to do as much good as we can in our lifetime. Arthur’s life won’t be in vain, and we will continually remember and pay tribute to his memory.
Mr SN found Arthur’s Patch shortly after we lost him last year. On a particularly bad morning, he escaped out on his motorbike to try and gather his thoughts. As he set off, a voice in his head told him to search for a ‘sale’ sign. Instead of driving fast, he slowed down and traipsed up and down the surrounding country lanes. After fifty miles, he stumbled across a sign at the side of the road. It said ‘land for sale’ with a phone number to ring. He rang the phone number and after several attempts managed to get through. The estate agent listened to our story and although she already had a buyer willing to pay the full asking price, she felt that we were supposed to buy it. At the first available opportunity we viewed the four acre field and within a couple of hours we’d payed a holding fee and it was off the market. Arthur’s Patch had found us.
Creating Arthur’s Patch…
I can’t explain how Arthur’s Patch has helped to heal us over the last year. Every emotion has been ploughed into our land. We’ve dug out our frustration, planted trees with hope, nurtured seedlings with love and cried with frustration. It’s given me in particular a huge focus, something to put all of my effort into. I can’t speak for Mr SN, but as a mother I’ve had empty arms. I have overwhelming amounts of love and no baby to give it to. Arthur’s Patch has been my saviour. I may not be able to cuddle and kiss Arthur, or to watch him grow, but for me, Arthur’s Patch is the closest thing to him that I have. I can nurture Arthur’s Patch and watch it evolve into something spectacular.
Our vision for Arthur’s Patch has gone round and round in circles. With a four acre field there are endless opportunities. What we do know is that Arthur’s Patch has helped us to heal, and it has the ability to help others too. Our vision is to create a place where wildlife can thrive alongside people. It will be a sanctuary for nature to run wild and free. Right now Arthur’s Patch is for us, our friends and family, but in the near future we want to invite people in that need it. We will be setting up a community garden and contacting local schools to find families that need help. We still don’t know exactly what Arthur’s Patch will become, it’s bigger than us, we’re just helping it on it’s way.
So far we’ve created a large vegetable garden, orchard, and the beginnings of a children’s play area and pond are emerging. We have a little cabin to shelter from the rain and an off-grid eco toilet is on it’s way. We’ve planted two hundred and fifty native woodland trees, and more will be planted this winter. Every penny of our money and all our energy has gone into this project. However we can’t take all the credit for what’s been created. A little army of volunteers has toiled away helping us to achieve our vision.
We want to say a huge thank you to all of the helpers so far, none of it would have been possible without you. I guess that’s it for this post. In the next one I’ll explain all about our vision for Arthur’s Patch and more depth and detail about what we’ve created so far. This is just the beginning of the story…who knows where it will end.