This past week was midterm so we went over to the UK to visit my three sisters and respective families for the first weekend. The weekend didn’t end up going quite according to plan though as we spent 20 hours in A&E and the paediatric ward of their local hospital with Rebecca (who is 12).
She hadn’t been feeling well for the few weeks before, mostly colds, sore throat and a cough but nothing serious. However on the day we arrived in the UK, I noticed she developed Impetigo on her face and later that night she woke up at 3am in agony with a very sore throat and a temperature.
If you know much about my family history over the past two years, you will know that my sister lost her 8 year old boy to a strep throat infection that went undiagnosed.
Our visits to my sister always fill me with slight anxiety as we reopen old wounds and feelings, as we see his photos around their home and mostly feel his absence from their family life.
However, this time an unexpected visit to the same hospital Oli had spent the beginning of his final days with one of our own children, who also had a sore throat, was a terrible revisiting of past events for all of us, but especially for my sister and her husband.
I realise though how the outcome for us was so different. After a long day we were finally discharged with antibiotics and a referral note for further blood tests back home at our own GP. It seems that Rebecca has a low clotting factor and needs her liver function tested again. We are not quite out of the woods and I am filled with gratitude that I can hold every one of my four children in my arms for one more day.
The day after our visit to the hospital my sister brought me and my other two sisters to a glass artist and this piece you see below is what I made. I wanted to create something that would reflect the light and which could be hung up in front of a window or a candle. I used tiny pieces of broken coloured glass at the bottom and placed silver glitter pieces in the centre.
However, most significantly, at the very top of the piece you will notice light grey speckles – those are a tiny fragment of Oli’s ashes. This is the only concrete piece of Oli that I have left to hold and I feel my sister was very generous in allowing us to share in a part of her precious son. It will be placed in a window so that my children and my husband and I can all be reminded of the precious and vibrant little boy whom we loved and miss so much.
Life is so fragile, at times so painful and yet we cling to the beauty.