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Life Chez Dee Episode #40: 5 12 19

5th December is a date etched well and truly in my psyche. Three years ago was probably the most horrific and traumatic day I have ever, ever had, or ever will have. The day when my boy, my beautiful, funny, cheeky, bundle of energy, became very ill; seriously ill; and didn’t get better. 5th December 2016 was the day that Edward died.

Today I woke up to the most beautiful red sky, obviously Edward hard at work making his presence felt by setting the sky alight on this third anniversary of his death. Rather than meeting this day with the focus and attention that I would normally consciously and subconsciously give it, today I find myself having to divert my thoughts and attention elsewhere. It has been a day full of so many emotions, which I have found rather hard to process to be honest.

Today it was necessary for Oliver to go into hospital to have four teeth removed, so he was at home this morning. We went up to the Edward’s grave, to light some candles, give him some flowers, put some decorations on his tree. We had a look at the Book of Remembrance which was open on today’s date, with the beautifully written entry for Edward today.

I had to go to go off to work, but Justin and Oliver put some lights and decorations on our Christmas Tree, which this year is outside …. given that I just can’t face the damage, and therefore the stress, which the cats will cause me … I just know they’ll be in the tree, up the tree and pulling the tree over if our Christmas Tree was indoors. Maybe next year, when the cats are a little older could we perhaps hope to chance it being indoors.

Justin took Oliver for his appointment about lunchtime. He was extremely anxious about the dental procedure, as on his last hospital admission in 2017, the hospital managed to traumatise him by handling various procedures extremely badly. Therefore the procedure today needed to be done under a general anaesthetic, rather than at the dentist. He’s having to have all four back teeth removed, to make room as there’s overcrowding going on, but also because these four back teeth haven’t formed properly. Apparently this is due to me being off colour whilst pregnant. So insignificant was this “illness” I had, I can’t even remember it, but the consultant says that the way the teeth have formed will have been down to my illness, in such a narrow window of time when the tooth buds were forming, that he can probably pinpoint the day I wasn’t feeling great. Apparently I needn’t have been that ill either, just a little upset tummy or slight nausea would have been enough at that critical point in the baby’s development. I’m aghast quite honestly. Anyway, rather than losing any of his lovely teeth to make room, the dentist thought that the best teeth to lose would be these that weren’t so great and thus avoid any potential problems with them in future too.

Anyway, the upshot is that today, on the anniversary of his brother’s death, Oliver is going into the same hospital to have a general anaesthetic and surgery.

Although Edward’s date of death is 5th December, I always feel that 4th December is marred too, as this is the day that Edward took ill, this is the day we decorated our Christmas tree with him for the last time, the last time he danced around our lounge with tinsel round his neck, the day of Justin’s Birthday. Normally, we both have a day out together, to do something special, to mark the day for Justin; both of us knowing that this was the day that Edward was really poorly, but as he died in the early hours his death is officially 5th December. In a way this keeps Justin’s birthday separate – and yet it doesn’t – because no matter what the official date of death is, our memories are of that dreadful day, and no matter how much we try and make this a lovely day for Justin, we can never, ever, erase those thoughts, and those memories from our minds or our hearts … and in a way, nor do we want to. So it’s really difficult; I don’t think either of us know what to think, we don’t know how we feel, there are just too many emotions to deal with.

This year is also very different. I am helping with the postal vote count for the election, and therefore am doing this for a few days. The extra cash will be very handy before Christmas, but this means that we won’t be spending Justin’s birthday doing something special. It also means that it will be Justin who takes Oliver into hospital too, and I will dash up to meet them when I finish with the count – hopefully I will catch Oliver before he goes in, but at least I will be there with him when he wakes. Oliver is ok about this, and of course if he hadn’t been ok about this, there is no question, I would not be doing this work.

Another thing which has fallen on this day is the tree in St Anne’s Parish Church is also due to be decorated today, but I have several volunteers who have offered to do this for me, I have left it in their capable hands. The tree is already there in the Church, kindly sponsored by Justin Bailey, of Bill Plant Driving School. Again the tree is adorned with the many, many trees handmade by so many in the community, and left there for people to take. All we ask is that they read about the charity, the work we do, and the story of Edward; that they read about the signs and symptoms of meningitis and sepsis; and that they talk about the charity, raising awareness further. I thank those who stepped up to help me with this today, as it really did lift a weight off my shoulders, and they did a fantastic job. Tania was there, who (as she’s offered her help with lots of other things) has also been roped onto the Ball Committee; Zoe was there with her son Oliver, which was rather special, since it was Zoe and Oliver who organised a walk shortly after Edward’s death – far too soon for me and many others to even be able to go to – but the walk helped others to show their love and support, helped to raise awareness of meningitis, and also kick started all the charity work and fundraising I have done in Edward’s name. Sandeep was also there to help decorate the tree, and I do apologise if I’ve missed anyone else off who was there that I’m not aware of. You have all made the tree look absolutely beautiful. All we need is for people to go and see this, and indeed all the other trees in the festival. When they get to the Tree for Edward I’d like them to read the story behind it, take a tree, and go and tell someone else about it too, hopefully raising awareness further. I hope the tree will be treasured by its new owner, and it will help raise awareness in years to come when the decoration is put on the Christmas Tree each year. Please vote for the Tree for Edward with your voting counters, I’d really appreciate that.

It was a long day today, but all has gone to plan; all has worked out; Oliver’s surgery went well, and he was able to come home fairly quickly, albeit discharged with the wrong discharge letter from the hospital … two breaches of confidentiality in fact, as we had someone else’s personal details on their discharge letter, and goodness knows who Oliver’s notes were given to.

I found out that evening that the Tree for Edward had had the guardian fitted to it. The Tree for Edward is in Lowther Gardens. The charity has sponsored this tree to support this local tree project, run by Tree Guardians. If you get a chance please visit the very beautiful gardens at Lowther, and take some time to admire the enormous, striking, imposing Tree for Edward which is now adorned with a beautiful copper heart to identify this as being sponsored by The Edward Dee Fund.

To be able to announce this on this incredibly poignant day, I thought rather special.

I sat and read through so many messages and cards which I’d received today. I thank those who thought to send these, and those who sent cake, and chocolates, and flowers, and plants. I even received a handwritten letter from someone (and I will respect their anonymity) who wanted to support me in all the charity work I do; who told me how much faith they have in all I do, and that they wish to set up a regular payment to support me. I cannot tell you how touching this is. Each and every time someone blows me away with the faith they have in me and the support they give … I say again and again, that I will make you so proud that you are supporting me.

The words you wrote to me have really touched me, to the degree that I have read, and re-read them, over and over. And I thought them so appropriate that I’d finish my blog with them.

“… [Edward] has sent you on a different path making the most of so many opportunities in his name, and there have been so many opportunities and achievements in such a short time.”

Edward really does have a way of guiding me and making himself known, remembered and heard … and I will continue all I do in his name, giving him a legacy, making him as proud of me, as I am of him … always.

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Dec 13, 2020

Very moving and thought-provoking. Inspirational words. Thank you for sharing, Liz.

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