The Story of An Angel

Another limb fell from our family tree and  I desperately tried  to stay strong but fighting my tears proved to be futile for,  little Yousha’a, you had managed to wrap around my heart and carve your name on my soul.

I know I didn’t get to hold you or even whisper a quiet “I Love You”,  but every day my  first  and last prayer was for you. Selfishly, I wished you to push through but my prayer was always for the outcome that would be easiest and best for you. And, as much as painful as it is missing you,  I know that right now you’re in heaven,  with nana spoiling you rotten.

I feel like I missed too much of your life to accurately write about it, so instead I thought I’d leave your story to your mummy to tell…

 

I gave birth to a beautiful baby boy at 12:05 on Saturday morning, the 3rd of March, 2018.

His due date was the 26th, today, and we had a caesarian planned for the 13th, but in true anarchist fashion, the little sprocket chose to make an appearance out of the blue 10 days early. We had chosen not to know his gender before birth, so that was our second surprise for the night.

 

via Yousha’a – CHD Journey of a little Angel Heart Warrior

Stay Smiling Little Angel,

Brokebella

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A letter I need to send to Heaven…

Growing up, I was one of the blessed people to have two full sets of loving, doting grandparents. All of them attended my wedding with tears of joy and proud smiles on their faces.

My grandparents are a giant part of my everyday life. I lived in the same house as my dad’s parents and my mum’s parents were only two quiet streets away. And until the day I got married, I popped in and out of both homes and often spent copious amounts of time soaking up as much of their time as possible.

They were the four unwavering pillars of strength, on whom I relied on for advice, guidance and love. Four people who played an integral part of my life. Four amazingly wise people who taught me more about life than any school lesson.

I married in a different country and moved away from home but I kept contact with my grandparents, regularly messaging or calling them and they did the same. It became a habit to randomly send an “I miss you” when they popped into my mind during the day.

Never once did I think that one of them might leave me.

But, 22 years into life and a year after getting married, I was forced to whisper a teary good bye to one of my pillars.

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Swinging on the Monkey Bars

There are some authors who strike a chord deep within their reader and for me, C.S. Lewis has always been that author, both with his impeccably written fantasy but mostly when he somehow tapped into reality and wrote little gems like this one, “Getting over a painful experience is much like crossing monkey bars. You have to let go at some point in order to move forward.”

After three years of fighting, fuming and fumbling my way through the painful cluster of issues that made up my Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS), I was (rather unexpectedly) told that I was in remission. Naturally, I was elated.

The last three years were the most painful experience of my life and I would never wish this vile disease on anyone. I tried every remedy, recommendation and passing comment to try and rid myself of this horrible illness. It had been a constant battle often with conflicting information from different sources. There were times when my Doctors made recommendations,  my OT team wanted me to do something else and people in the support groups insisted neither of these professionally trained medical professionals knew what they were doing.

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It took me a long time to learn to trust my gut. I had an amazing Rheumatologist who not only diagnosed me but never complained when I contacted her and always had time to squeeze me in when I had an emergency. She researched and then did more research until she was satisfied that she knew all the latest breakthroughs and details regarding CRPS. She even took it upon herself to communicate with both my psychologist and Occupational Therapists (both therapies I looked into because of her insistence that they would help). And she even went beyond medicine and encouraged me to cut down my medication when I told her I was seeing a homeopath and it was helping me with some of the symptoms. She was a true pillar of strength through this storm.

My occupational therapy team and psychologist were flawless. I saw them at least once a week every week for the first two years. We experimented and tried every possible course of treatment and pain management until we found what worked for me. My psychologist even taught me to identify my triggers and how to avoid them becoming a constant issue.

I met some amazing people in the support groups. Two amazing ladies, fighting their own battle but willing to chat with me and share their knowledge of the disease. They gave me tips and tricks to deal with splints and casts that you only learn when you’re stuck in one. They also gave me life saving diet tips which completely changed the way my body reacted to pain and flares. I will forever be indebted to them.

Then my parents, family and loving husband. My parents lived this horror with me and I can never imagine how painful it must have been for them to watch me suffer and be unable to do anything about it. My parents stood by every crazy idea we came up with in therapy, every mood swing, medication reaction and weeks of sleep.  My sisters and grandparents never failed to distract me from the pain and remind me what normal felt like. They loved me and protected me and reminded me every day that God was with me.

My husband, was actually my best friend when I got diagnosed. He phoned me every day after campus to give me company while I waited to go home and made sure I laughed at least once a day. Three years later, I still tell him that he’s the reason I still remember how to smile today.

These people were the light in my nightmare and looking back, I was blessed with amazing people.

They gave me the courage to push through the pain and find myself. To stay strong and work towards the elusive remission.  And now as I stand here, practically pain free, trying to contemplate my next step in life, they’re standing behind me pushing me forward and lending me the strength to let go and move forward.

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Contemplating my monkey bars,

Brokebella.

Poisoned Mind

There she sat, beautiful and pristine. Some would say she was an angel. She lured you in. Whispered heavenly nights and even brighter days. She knew her power and used it to her advantage. She was a goddess and you fell at her feet whether you wanted to or not. She was the potion master and no one left her with their mind in tact. She decided when it was enough. She chose what concoction would poison your mind.

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SEXUAL VIOLENCE AND RAPE: NO MORE WHITE SOCKS PART 3

“Hi, again…” It had been a long time since we had spoken (each caught up in our own lives and still trying to process the parts of the story she had already told) and today (perhaps because we were meeting in person this time), I could see the shadows in her eyes. Unlike before, today her eyes showed how much she was struggling. Shadows fluttered behind them like dark fairies slowly staining her usually strong exterior and demanding she address them.

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SEXUAL VIOLENCE AND RAPE: NO MORE WHITE SOCKS PART 2

I know I’ve been away for a long time but writing the rest of this story was even harder than writing the first part. It took me three weeks before I could go through my notes again and start working through the horrors she had disclosed to me. My brain simply could not comprehend what had happened.

I could not put the strong, independent woman I knew in the same box as the scared, broken sixteen year old whose soul laid in tattered shreds. It sounds melodramatic to say the least but as this story unfolds I guarantee you will also be wondering how on earth anyone could survive such a horrific and traumatizing teenage experience.

She had this deadly calm look in her eyes (the mug of hot chocolate long time finished but still softly held in her hands like protection) as she prepared to tell me the rest of her story…

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Sexual Violence and Rape: No More White Socks Part 1

I’ve never felt so helpless researching or writing a story as I did with this story. It took me twice as long as it normally does to write and I’m still not sure I’ve managed to capture the essence of the story.

The strength of the human spirit astounded me as I listened to this tale unfold and realised how many times this innocent soul was shattered and fought back. This is the story of a girl whose fate was decided by everyone around her. This is the story of the cycle of shame.

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Sexual Violence and Rape: The Family Girl

This is a story of a girl who sacrificed her sanity to protect her family from falling apart. Please understand that the victim is still plagued by the ordeal and for the first time in almost two decades since the incident has she decided to finally talk about her experience.

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Sexual Violence and Rape: The Definition

Recently social media has been inundated with victims of sexual violence and rape coming forward and telling their stories, rape statistics being put on display and hashtags that (while controversial) have finally started the conversation many victims, and campaigns such as the Red My Lips Campaign, have been trying to have for years .

I’ve heard tons of victims say, “but it could have been worse”, “I wasn’t raped so I pretended it didn’t happen because he was family…” or “no one will believe me over him so I didn’t say anything.”

The more often I hear victims belittling or down playing their experiences the starker it became to me that as a community we’ve made victim blaming and protecting the reputation of the offender a norm.

So before we can delve into the depths into the necessary discussions and look for solutions to the problem we need to clearly define both sexual violence and rape to ensure that when we discuss these issues we understand that there is no such thing as a small or big offence, both are  devastating to the victims and the offenders reputation should play no role in the discussion.

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