Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Dear Alex, what you CAN do....

December 28th 2011

Dear Alex,

I park up and realize I am next to your parents, they are obviously with you.

In fact I am soaking wet, I, and three other mummies who have been extraordinary in their kindness and help for me these past few months, all went to the swimming pool, with slides and baby pools and everything, in St Jean de Luz, we had a picnic lunch, then went swimming, I left the pool and the four kids in their capable hands after an hour and a half to go and see you. Then I was to go back and join them.

I walk into the room and do my usual ‘hiya baby, how’s it going?’, you break down, as you have done every day for the last three days on hearing my voice. I apologise to your mum, and take her place next to you, whereupon I hold your head and mine pressed close, holding your right hand, and telling you how I know, I know how imprisoned you feel, I know this is your worst nightmare, I know it’s an unknown world, everyone talking in French, pushing you, pulling you about, trying you in different positions, turning you, returning you, lifting you in harnesses to place you in chairs, back in bed. You just want to do this all for yourself, but are incapable.

I try and reassure you everyday that, yes, this is you at the moment, yes, this is just down right f*ck*ng hard, no words can soothe, no wand to magic it away, you have to go through it. I try and make you concentrate on not just the here and now, but of our future together, rolling around in the garden with the kids, light sabre battles with the kids, being you, you, again, one day. Try and see what I see, hat the kids see, our future, together, once again, as a complete family.

Your parents leave as they have been there a while. You lay still for a while as I talk to you about the day, the kids swimming, I tell you Lola was doing roly-polys under water and doing 5 strokes under water too. You raise your eyebrows, then start to cry again. I know how you yearn to see them, how your heart and soul must ache to see their little faces, be a part of what they are doing. I tell you I am looking after them, I really am, they miss you, and want to see you, but now’s not the time. I promise you I am looking after them well, and they are happy (enough). But you are heartbroken.

In fact tonight before I put Monty to bed, he came to me in tears, doubled over, crying out his pain, ‘I just miss daddy so, so much, he wasn’t here for my birthday or for Christmas, when can I see my dad again?’ I cuddle him into me, stroking his head, and I rethink. I hadn’t wanted them to see you like this, as for the other three, I believe this will be traumatizing for them. I explain everything, but what a child listens to and accepts, does not mean they fully comprehend the emotions that would indubitable go with it were they to see you as you are. But Monty has already seen you, and in ICU, so here, he would see the difference, I suggest to him he has a think about whether he wants to come in, and I will reflect on this too, but if he really wants to, he is mature enough to deal with it, it did him good to see you last time, as sad as it was for him.

Today, I wanted to write down the things I have seen you achieve in the last 6 days since being in Neuro-re-education, each moth I will re-read it, and we will see how far you are moving. Every day, I tell you, is another day closer to being well, every day, another day won.

Today as you sit in the chair harnessed in, you move your right arm up to your face in an uncoordinated manner to scratch your nose, you roughly achieve it with the back of your hand. You can squeeze with your right hand (I gave you and arm wrestle, and it was a draw! but at least it put a smile back on your face for a while), I ask you to squeeze with your left hand, it takes a few seconds, and you very, very lightly move your hand. This was ‘paralysed’ a week ago. You move both legs incredibly well, lifting them up onto a chair I place opposite you and back down again, I tell you to practice getting your dancing rhythm back to the music, or I will always deny being with you on the dance floor! You open your eyes, and blink them. You slightly nod and shake your head for yes and no, not very visibly, but you can notice it. Yesterday when asked by me if you understood the nurses talking to you in French, you extend your right hand and move it from side-to-side in a ‘kind of’ gesture.

Yesterday, when you were in tears, and my face is pressed against yours, you move your right hand up to touch my face. I swoon, this affectionate gesture from you was huge, it came form you, the man I love, the man I miss, my man. You have some movement in your left arm too.

These are all remarkable, and the rest is all to come. Remember, you barely smiled a month ago...

The nurses talk to me about replacing the bone in your head, this will not be done for six months, you will have to wear a protective helmet until. I tell them how this Christmas was going to be our first ever family Christmas together, I said, well, at least it will be the only one not like that, next year…They look at me pursed lipped, sorrow in their eyes, and tell me that I have to be aware we are not talking months, never to lose hope, but it will be a very, very long road.

This is what we have both been in agony trying to deal with since your move. Although we were so excited that you are there, the long haul I think has hit us both. It’s taken its toll. But I promise you my baby I will lift you, I will be there no matter what, everyday, without fail, I will comfort you and be there for you, and I am never quitting, neither will you.

I am in agony for you, what you must be going through, the nurses say you cry a lot when I am not there too. It rips my heart in two.

But you will see honey, little by little, step by step, and you will reach your goal one day…

I pray you sleep peacefully tonight, and I will see you tomorrow.

I love you form the depths of the earth and the heights of the sky, together, baby, we will do this…

Me xxxxxx

Thursday, 22 December 2011

Dear Alex, the page has turned...

December 22nd 2011

Well, what a day…how vastly emotional, how many tears we shed, what a huge smile you had on your face as you were wheeled out of ICU and into the ambulance to move on to the next stage…

It’s been the most poignant day of my life, one I will never forget, ever. Ingrained on my soul and in my heart.

My friend Cecile who is a nurse at the hospital came in (on her day off) to be with me and see Alex off. The whole team were sad to see him go, they have grown very attached to you. They are so happy for you that are going where you are going, as we all are so very aware that this day was never predestined at the beginning.

Cecile and I talked for the two hours you slept before the ambulance people came to take you. She is going to Haiiti for a fortnight to help out with people who have had their lives devastated and shattered, to give something. She tells me that she saw me at the beginning, and stood back amazed at how I held always my hope, my courage, my love, my belief, my enthusiasm and positivity, refusing to let you waste away, had I listened to the Drs and believed them. (I assured her she, anyone, would do the same, when you have no choice, you just have to keep on). She told me that my attitude has inspired her, and seeing how you, Alex, have made it through this, been carried by another force, she has decided she wants to do something different, help others, and give. We spent a lot of the time together in tears, as she worked there, she knew what the initial diagnosis had been, and she is astounded that today has come about, but feels it is down to how we have been, our love, a connection on another level, that has pulled you through.

After they have finished getting you ready, I realise, there are no more drips in your arms, no more heart monitor pads puzzled over your chest, no more blood pressure strap on your upper arm, no more oxygen detector on your finger, then I look up and see the machine, all is switched off. The screen is blank. It is at this point when I cannot hold it together any more, and tears flood my eyes and mouth. I am in disbelief.  This is such a happy day, in fact, I sprung out of bed this morning, put on the Gospel music version of  ‘Oh Happy Day’ and played it as loudly as I could, dancing around with the kids…this is SUCH a happy day, and I feel wrung dry, three months, three whole months, and we have finally made it.

You were so happy to be leaving, what a big day, a triumphant day. You leave smiling, and outside, you breathe your first fresh air in three months, you blink to let me know it feels good.

Cecile and I say goodbye to one another in tears, it’s all over, ICU, a page turned, and Neuro re-education the destination.

When we get there I help settle you in. and gradually as the Dr examines you, he sees clearly both your legs work, but your arms are paralysed at a 45 degree angle. Your head does not move, and slumps always to the right hand side. He asks me many questions, and I assure him you are completely aware of your state. He goes away to have a meeting with all the team, and they will write up a program for you. When he leaves, you begin to cry, you are so aware of how trapped you are, and I imagine the fact you cannot see must be even harder. You are imprisoned in your own body, and no one can do anything quickly about this. To hear and be so aware, but to not be able to move or see, this must be terrifying, and it distresses me to the core…

I tell you that ‘OK, today is an emotional day for us, we’ve come so far, but tomorrow, it stops, I am here to pick you up, motivate you, encourage you, and be there every step of the way…’. But today, our tears roll.

Monty came down tonight after bedtime, watching mop the floors, tidy up, cook, feed the animals, and he said to me, ‘mum, I have never mopped the floors, and it’s you the only adult in the house at the moment, why don’t you let me do something to help you?’

What an angel he is, I told him it was a lovely, lovely gesture, and how proud of  him I was that he had offered, but I was fine,. But he insisted in saying, ‘yes, but you do ALL the work mummy, and daddy’s not here, let me do something, can I run you a bath?’ so I let him mop the floor in the bathroom, and he felt very proud of himself for having helped me out. I do not want him to feel any adult responsibility, he is 8-years-old, and he has to stay 8-years-old, I make sure I let him know that ‘that’s what his mum is here for’. He is a good boy, and he makes his bed and folds his pyjamas and clothes, and helps set the table, that’s already amazing. I can see he was so happy to have helped though, bless him, so getting the balance right of letting him grow up too, is a privilege for him, and he is ready. As long as he does not do this because he feels a responsibility to suddenly be a grown up as a result of this situation, that he does it as a natural step, I can accept that.

Well, Christmas approaches, and the kids and I went out to choose you a little tree to go in your new bedroom, they have chosen some tinsels for you as well. When I got back, Esmie ran up to me and said ‘did you take Daddy to the other hospital mummy?’ I reply, yes, and her and Mitzi scream ‘YEEEESSSS!!!!’ And dance jumping up and down together cuddling, so excited. They all get it, the kids, even the littlest.

I see you as you are now, I hope for how you will be, I will keep you and guard you and comfort and protect you, but I will never let you give up, YOU, will never let you give up, despite, I know you. It’s all started today baby, here’s to our future…

Here’s to togetherness again…

Me xxxx

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Dear Alex, something I wrote for you today....

December 13th

The days that were……

The days that were, are no longer,
The days that were, are passed,
In a moment, our days as were, slipped from our reach,
The days for me as they happened once, are no more,
The days for you, changed,
The days for us, no longer acquainted with us,
The days for our children, incomplete, your lack of presence their void of absence,
The days of walking, talking,
The days hand-in-hand,
The days by the beach,
All taken for granted,
The days we passed together,
The days you were working, the days I was too busy,
The days of a kiss goodbye, a wave, a ‘see you later’, gone,
The days of ‘fancy a cuppa?’
The days of togetherness,
The days of being in your arms,
The days of sleeping legs entwined,
The days when I was not alone…
The days of walks with the children, family moments, of happy fulfilled days,
The days of being together, all six, at the table, when will that be again?
The days we knew, the days we lived,
The days we understood,
The days as they were, when will they be again?
Yet a new understanding,
One of hope,
One of joy at the simplest of gestures,
One of endless belief, a new voyage,
A new path,
A new life,
The days we wait for now, not as they were,
But as they will be,
Days that could never have been, if we still possessed the days that were…

Monday, 12 December 2011

Dear Alex...Another letter, another day, another something gained....

December 11th 2011

Dear Alex,

Well, it was your mum’s birthday today, although she’ll murder me for saying this, it was her 70th. Your mum and dad and I came in to see you at lunch, to find you’d been moved! You are now in the High dependency Unit, awaiting transfer to St Jean De Luz, when they see you are ready, likely after Christmas. So we felt so positive, the room is much less clinical and sterile, and we do not even have to scrub up, although we do have to do our hands, that’s all…it’s much more accomodating.

Your mum and dad went in first, and then your mum stayed with me for a while, we had some smiles from you, and your mum and I chatted away, and then you pumped! We both burst out laughing, and asked why you hadn’t let us pull your finger before (your party trick for the kids) this made you smile and chuckle a little noiseless chuckle, and your mum left us together for a bit happy with her birthday present from you-a fart…times have changed!!!

Unfortunately my health has been going further and further down hill for a fortnight or so now, I now have a peptic stomach ulcer, the symptoms are rapidly getting dramatically worse, and my legs hardly drag my body around….and I, thus, am feeling weaker by the day, dropping weight and going on nerves. I can’t bear the shaking and trembling throughout my body which even my head does, any longer.

I hope I will regain my strength somehow, it is not easy fighting all this on my own, without you, especially being so physically rundown and weak, I just have no strength in me to do what I have to do, but I just cannot ‘STOP!’, as my body is crying out to me, I have no choice…

I have decided on the ‘kids not sleeping’ front to put some procedures in place. Most people refer to Monty and Lola as the ‘big two’ and Mitzi and Esmie as the ‘little two’ . Now with roughly a year’s difference between Mitzi and Lola, although height wise, they seem years apart, Lola in 8-year-old clothes, Mitzi barely in 5-year-olds’! This is a habit, which I have picked up on too. Esmie is very clingy at the moment, and with all the upheaval, all their behaviours are very justified, and it’s all very obvious why what is going on is going on. Esmie has reverted to ‘baby’ mode. Now, I decided to buy her a dummy. I chucked all their dummies in the bin no later than 18 months old each one, they only had them for sleeping, but they served a great purpose, especially whilst breastfeeding, sometimes they just needed to suck, so I have always used them. All the kids in Esmie’s class have dummies, and she is the only one without, it’s normal for a child up to the age of 6 at times to still have a dummy here in France. Now I am not saying I am going to keep this going till then, but I am in desperate times, and so have to resort to desperate measures.

I am now (and have explained clearly to all of them where they stand, and what their position is) explaining to Mitzi she is one of the ‘big ones’ and Esmie is still little and in need of some babying. As Mitzi is a big girl, I am now grouping her in with the big 3, in the hope this may re-instate some confidence in her, she will not be lost and misplaced as one of the ‘little ones’. Esmie thus, is now again, the ‘baby’, well the ‘little one’ and hence the dummy, and she will now be sleeping in my bed, and the big 3, as they are big and understand this, can take it on turns on the sofa, rather than 2 in the bed, one on the sofa, it’s been chaos quite honestly, bedtimes and night time. Tonight is the first night, and I am hoping and praying this will work, and Esmie will get the mummy time she misses since the sudden day when daddy disappeared, and she went to school fulltime 4 days a week, with not much mummy time for her on her own, as she was so used to this.

She is asleep now in my bed, with her dummy and her ‘dou dou’ a comforter in English. She was out like a light. I am not spending the first part of my evening and then long into the night running up and down the stairs to a screaming child. I feel the calm already.

I had such a lovely time with you today, and it seems you are more relaxed too in this room. As you can now breathe on your own, and have no need of the machine, this has enabled you to be moved, a step on…a BIG step on, one machine down. To begin with, over a fortnight we watched machines moving one at a time out of your room, finally breathing when the defibrillator was  taken away. Seeing that next to you was a constant reminder you could go at any minute.

How far we have come. And today, guess what you did, well, I know you know, but these letters are reminders to you, I told you how in love with you I was, and you slowly and deliberately blinked your eyes three times, I say ‘was that I love you, you just blinked 3 times to tell me you love me?’ and you blinked once for yes! Then a wee while after, after I had stopped crying and cuddling my face into yours, you blink your eyes three times again, and I reply to you ‘I love you too, my angel’. I did not ask you something, you told me something. Wow. Another first!

What a day, a fart and three blinks…you’re amazing Alex, I am so utterly overwhelmed by your strength, determination, your progress, with you. How did I manage to bagsy you as my man? I must have been an angel in a previous life to deserve such a person as you…

I miss you my baby, but I know you’re gradually coming back…we will walk down the aisle hand in hand for our 10 year wedding anniversary in 2 ½ years time-that’s our goal, and renew our vows, in front of the Most High, after all we have been through, in front of our kids, who for the moment have lost you, in front of family and friends, and man, what a party afterwards it will be, we will have deserved it, that’s for sure!

I love you, see you tomorrow,

Me xxx

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Dear ALex, My gorgeous, AMAZING man....I have your smile back!

My gorgeous, AMAZING man....I have your smile back!

December 5th 2011

You smiled, and you smiled and you smiled today! Not just once, but LOADS! A little chuckle and just so many BEAMING HUGE smiles!!! I have my man’s smile back! It’s been too long, and now thinking about it, tears well in my eyes, and fall down my cheeks…

You spent the first part of my visit asleep, the nurses explained to me that it is in fact the sitting up in the chair. They have had you for 3 hours Saturday and 2 hours yesterday sitting up, (strapped into the chair) which is why you are so very exhausted, they say it’s an immense effort for the body. Which is when I look at you and joke, ‘yeah it’ s alright for you lying down all the time, then going ‘oooo how hard it is to sit up, lie me down again please nurses’…yeah, how hard babes, chance would be a fine thing in my case’. You know me, and know I never, well, rarely sit down, and so you smile a broad smile….

Ashley (Alex’s older brother) came in with me again and there is much banter flying around, making jokes. We discuss also the fact I am going to get a piercing, to mark this event, either in my nose or above my lip, he rolls his eyes and says he’s not into it. I ask Alex to squeeze my hand if he is cool with it, he does, but Ash doesn’t believe me, and Alex smiles at this. I then spend ages trying to get him to tell me whether he thinks ‘nose’ or ‘lip’ a squeeze to decipher which one, he spends ages holding his hand flat, refusing to tell me, we tell him he’s winding us up, he’s doing it deliberately, he wants me to get big cow rings in my nose AND my lip so I look like cattle till he’s ready and out of here and can flatten any man who looks at his woman again! This whole time he is smiling and blinking, and genuinely revelling in all the banter and jokes. I say to Ash to check out how he has re-juvenated in here, it’s alright for some, I tell Alex I now have wrinkles as a direct result of this  incident I can store mars bars in, will he get me botox for Christmas? He does a little chuckle, (a silent one, as speech has to be relearnt) and squeezes my hand. So I call him a mean b*st*rd!

Anyway, in all this, you can see, you are here baby!

On Friday night, I dreamt I saw you smile loads, that it was the next ‘thing’ you learned. I woke up on Saturday so desperately longing for this, wondering when I would see your smile again…and you see? My dream came so very true…I just can’t stop the tears rolling in joy.

They put you on the breathing machine all night long, but all day long, you manage with just oxygen. They are going to try you without it tonight, and see how you go. There’s no talk yet of transferring you, but I am holding on to hope that it will be before Christmas…

On that note baby, I can not WAIT to see you tomorrow! I so hope I get those smiles again and tiny noiseless chuckles…the fact you are enjoying company, understanding banter, and even joining in by not squeezing my hand!

I love you SO much, SO much it’s unreal…

See you tomorrow honey,

Your proud and overjoyed wife xxx


I even went to bed crying last night, and have woken up this morning doing the same, just that image of your smile…I feel like I AM getting you back. And this is more overwhelming than you could ever, ever imagine…it’s on a par with having a child, getting married to your soul mate, it’s indescribable in words...I feel like we are now on the long path to recovery...At LONG last...

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Dear all......

...As most of you, by now, will know, my husband Alex Wood, at 32-years-old, suffered a head injury at rugby training. After the first life saving brain operation was unsuccessful, he had to have another one 24 hours after. At this point, the Dr told me they did not expect him to survive...

We are now 9 weeks on, and he is out of the coma (which was at Glasgow scale 3) and responding a little, blinking his eyes in response to things, squeezing our hands with his right hand, and has some movement in his left leg. There are a myriad problems, epilepsy and blindness have been confirmed as a result. He now has to relearn everything, and I FULLY believe, that with time, although we are told not expect much, if anything, that he will recuperate all that he possibly can. This will take years. BUT he will win...

The reason I am writing this blog is because one of the things that seems to have been forgotten is his French. Thus, my decision for him and his recovery is to get him back to England, move back as a family to England, leaving our dream, but following our new journey, delighting in his slow, but sure recovery. This can only be done when he is in a fit enough state. He has had a tracheotomy and a stomach peg fitted to help him on his road to recovery. 

When he is in a position, and we do not know when, as he still in the High ICU centre in Bayonne Hospital, we will move back. To get him back to England will require an ambulance and much other equipment, so my sister initially set up this website:

Since, many people have been joining in, coming up with fundraising ideas for his move, and rehabilitation...

I am asking everyone if they would please just check out these various events, and sponsor, if you could, everything makes the difference.

They are all, too, on my sister's site she has set up for him, but I have put some of the links up below.

Thank you all so much in advance, and for all your support, love, prayers and care...You, none of you, have any idea how much it has ALL been helping me get through this.

Thank you, Tamsyn x

Monday, 28 November 2011

Dear Alex, one of my letters to you that you will read one day...

I have replaced my blogging with writing letters to Alex every night, although I thought today I would put up one of my letters to him....A minute glance into my life at the moment...

November 28th 2011

Dear Alex,

I am sat here with baked beans, baked potato and the French version of cheddar cheese on my lap as I type. I picture you with your feeding tube in your nose, and feel grateful for this meal. In fact I feel grateful for a thousand things today. That, although I found you unresponsive earlier, that you looked more relaxed, that the tracheotomy has seemed to put an end to the repetitive lung infections, for the beauty of nature, the bird calls, the weather, being outdoors, the fact that at the meal table tonight, when I ask how the kids are doing, they are OK. They tell me openly how much they are missing you, but they know that I am there for them. They are happy that I am still the ‘funny mummy’ they know and apparently love (till they hit teenage years). I am grateful that they can seek comfort in me being their normal happy mummy. I am not always ‘putting a face on’. I do at times feel comforted and reassured that, although I know this will take years, you will, one day be back, being you.

Each time I get back in from the hospital Esmie asks me ‘have you got daddy back today?’. This always hits me hard, and I battle with the lump blocking my throat as I stroke her angelic little face and tell her, ‘no sweetheart, not today…one day’…

I am holding on to hope and seeking much comfort in The Most High throughout this, knowing that he has our days mapped out for us, even before we are ‘knitted together in our mother’s womb’. This was always going to be our path. Everything leading up to it, the way you have been my rock, my angel, my mentor, comfort and daily strength, the way you deal with things, has inspired me. I now am trying to do this for you.

I have replied to many people who have told me that they see this incident as being ‘unjust’ that I do not feel this way, life is life, life is precious, and everything that happens, happens for a reason. I believe that we will make it through this and come out with a wealth irreplaceable with material riches. As horrendous as this is for the kids (and DO NOT get me wrong, as a parent, wrapping up our kids in a bubble wrapped protected packet is all we want to do for them, but life cannot be avoided, I would never have wished this ever on our kids, it hurts them dreadfully) but trying always to look on the positive side of things, our kids, seeing what they will witness in you, your force, your determination to get back all the things you will be able to, your trust in God, our faith that this was our chosen path, a path chosen for us to give us more than we could ever have had, had we not suffered. The compassion they will grow in, the love, acceptance, patience and perseverance they will gain through this, will change them in a way that this world has great need of. More people to be non-judgemental, compassionate and accepting. We are a generation, as I have said earlier, a generation of ‘quick fixes’ and  ‘instant gratification’ and through this (though I would never ever, ever wish this upon them, or anyone), they will know life, understand things on a far deeper level. I am trying to be there for them, keep you present, reassure them. I have even explained the fact that you will be blind. Monty wrote on his Christmas list yesterday ‘a Guide dog for daddy, just in case’…

I am keeping Lola off school tomorrow, she needs some mummy time, so school can wait. She’s so very sensitive and is missing you so terribly, as they all are.

It feels like so long since you were whipped away, the last words I hear you say to me are ‘what the hell’s going on’. I am longing for you to learn to speak again, what a conversation we will have honey!

Before I leave today, I ask you to kiss your wedding ring, you close your lips and I can see you try and kiss it. I wear your ring around my neck and put it on your wedding finger every time I come in. I sleep with my wedding ring finger through it and place my other hand on top of it, and pray. Pray for God to keep giving you strength, replenish your weakened bones, fatigued body, and heal gently all that needs to be healed.

Well baby, I am back in tomorrow, as always, the first there, and the very last to leave, get some rest, sleep with inner peace, you’re going to come through all this.

I love you honey, more than ever I imagined possible…

Your wife xxxx

Sunday, 20 November 2011

A video for daddy....from his kids who miss him terribly....x


Daddy, this is us at the moment, the things we are doing, you should be there, we miss you dreadfully.

We hope our videos we do help you to remember what you will be coming back to one day when you are better....

you are in our hearts, minds and prayers, and although Mummy says it will take a long, long time, we know you will be well enough to see us soon and we can help you even more on your road to recovery...

We love you Daddy,

love from your kids,

Monty Buster, Lola Grace, Mitzi joy and Esmie Rose xxxxx ooo xxxxx ooo xxxxx

Friday, 18 November 2011

making waves for alex....

Dear everyone,

I have obviously been absent for a very long while from here, and will continue to be, as I cannot write about what my life is actually like in reality at the moment, and have replaced my blog with writing daily letters to Alex so one day he will be able to fill in all this time he will realise he has lost...

But I did want to draw everyone's attention to this; my sister has set a website for Alex, please check it out. You will find news of how my husband Alex is getting on with daily updates in the 'news' section...

It's still very much a work in progress, but if you could check it out and want to be up to date with his progress, please feel free to click below.

Thank you, and pass this on if you could, thanks again,

love to all, Tams xxx

Big smile on his face, catching a wave in his favourite surf spot, Tarnos...

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

A letter to Monty Buster....

Dear Monty Buster,

Happy 8th birthday my big man!! How unbelievable, how these 8 years have flown…

You were (after 23 ½ hours full on labour) an emergency caesarean section, I had to be knocked out completely, general anaesthetic, as I was in a terrible way, and you were very distressed. Your daddy was the first person to hold you, and for the 1hr and 45 minutes I was still under the anaesthetic, he talked to you, rocked you, and told you ‘mummy will be awake soon’. It’s funny, how on your 8th birthday, you have been hearing those same words from me, ‘daddy will be awake soon…’

When I had you, my life goal was fulfilled, to become a mother. You, my son, and the 3 girls, and your dad, are the most precious things to me. You are an amazing boy, intelligent, extrovert, you love helping people, your adoration of everything that is nature makes me stand back in awe.

The way you help and encourage your sisters, the way you are so affectionate with your cuddles, and so openly loving.

Yesterday was painful for all of us, there was the most important person missing, your dad. He’s been away for 5 weeks now in hospital, and I know how sad this makes you feel. I cuddle you and tell you to let out your tears when you need to, but you just miss him, his cuddles, your play fights, light sabre battles and football penalty shoot out tournaments with him in the garden.

You take it all in, you are very articulate and when I talk to you and explain things to you, you understand, you’re a young adult in your mind.

You decided, and I said on your 8th birthday that if you still didn’t want to, you did not have to eat chicken, as since we have had chickens you have made the connection between where the meat on your plate comes from and you no longer want to eat chicken. So there you go, I respect that, and I respect you, you show me so much love and respect, and when you’re tired OK, it’s not always the same! But you are utterly wonderful.

You LOVE maths as you always enthusiastically tell me, and also love to talk LOTS! You maybe sometimes need to let others get a word in edgeways too dude!

When you are older, I will be able to explain to you what actually happened, what has actually been going on these past 5 weeks for daddy, but for the moment you’re too young. I explain to you that daddy is getting better, all the little things he can do, squeezing my hand, blinking, wiggling toes, you understand it’s been serious, but I refused ever to tell you I thought the worst (well, was told to think the worst due to amazing fact your daddy survived the second brain operation despite all odds) because I want to keep you involved, keep talking about daddy, but make it positive, and when the times come that you need to cry, you need to do that, but when you’re alright, that’s cool too. Daddy WILL be back I tell you, but we have to have patience, it will take a long, long time.

You are dealing with it all incredibly, you are strong, you are something and someone incredibly special, with a drive to help others and be good, and these are super human qualities.

My little man (although I am not allowed to call you that an more!) I am SO proud of you, my heart bursts, you are my favourite boy in the whole wide world (as you have 3 sisters I can say this!).

How I was so infinitely blessed to have you I will never, ever comprehend, you truly are a gift from the heavens my baby boy.

I love you eternally, unconditionally and devotedly. Your soul, a brilliant shining light inside mine.

I am so sorry daddy is not here, but one day you will understand it. There’s some hard times still to come, a move back to England for English care for Daddy, because we have to do what is best for Daddy now. My heart breaks at leaving France, but we have no choice my angel, and I know you will grow and thrive through all the challenges which lie ahead.

I love you son, around the world and back again,

Happy birthday for yesterday my angel,

Love mummy xxx

Thursday, 20 October 2011

This is for my one and only......

What ever the future has in store for us, Alex, our journey, yes has changed, but we will grow, hand in hand, walking on this new different road together.....

Monday, 17 October 2011

Support and Prayers....

Just to let everyone know, I am surrounded by lots of people who are being hugely supportive to me and my family at this difficult time.

I am going to be offline for sometime, as I need as much time as possible with my kids,  and Alex in hospital. If anyone needs information, there will be ways for those who need/want to know what the updates are by contacting the people around me.

I am very tired, and am finding this extremely difficult, obviously.

So I hope to back soon, and I would ask you all to keep praying constantly for the recovery of my husband, and God's strength to be with him, my kids, and all of us who this time effects.

Thank you all, for all your support, please, please, we need so desperately your support and prayers still, and as I say, I hope to back soon, but need some 'quiet time' to deal with this.

Love to you all, bless you all, and thank you in advance for your prayers.

Tamsyn x

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Uncontrollable tears of relief....

Tonight, after the phone call from the hospital, I sit on my own for a while, watching the moon. I sit on one of the kid’s stools next to their sand pit. As I gaze at the moon, feeling peace tonight, I realise the huge yellow moon, it’s rays are directing themselves into my heart. The rays are strong, and shine brightly, and I allow myself to breathe, slowly, tears of relief, my husband has made it through, AGAIN. The moon is beautiful, and it is, I believe, by no coincidence that it’s rays project towards my heart, I reach out my hands, palms open, ‘touching’ them. I sit a while and feel the utter relief. The end of another day, and it has ended positively.

This morning, they rescanned alex, and he had to be rushed off for more interventional surgery. This, I was not expecting, and I, and my sister-in-law, who has come in with me today, cuddle and allow ourselves to break down on hearing the news. We then look at each other, and tell each other, no, be positive, be strong, do what Alex would be doing for us. We quash our weakness, and turn it into strength and hope and go down to see Alex. We walk hand in hand, still tears, but as we get to his room, we both breathe, we stop the tears, and walk in. We hold his hands, I touch his chest, and explain what he is about to have to go through. I tell him that at the moment, his body is weak, but that his spirit has always been, and WILL always be strong, nothing can touch that. He has to let the strength of his spirit take over now. Let his body be treated by the doctors, the surgeons, but let his spirit do the fighting that it needs to do now.

I tell him he can do this, that I KNOW he can do this, and that although I have to leave, I am there, still there, always there, and my spirit and my love and the prayers and the strength everyone is sending him from all over the world WILL carry him through this. The surgeons will do their bit, but it is up to HIM, but not only him, to do this, to get through this next steep hurdle, and I will be back.

I do not stay long, we’re not allowed, they have to prepare him for his second operation.

This afternoon, I return home to the kids, determined to make the afternoon about them. I am strong, I play with them, and we all take them out for their first ever Macdonalds! They play, eat crap (!) and have a wonderful time. I see a photo of Alex, and disappear off, break down in the toilets for a while, put my ‘face’ back on for the kids, and take them to ‘Toysrus’ and their Auntie spoils them with presents. But i know I have to protect these kids of ours, they are our ours to protect.

I am overwhelmed by the stream of people who come by, taking away my huge ironing pile, my washing, they sweep up, make tea, and carry me to the sofa to lie down for a little while when the stress of the ‘waiting’ physically takes over for a bit, and I collapse momentarily. They play with the kids, and I eventually manage to muster up the courage to take them in, Aunty Allie baths them, Grandma gives them fish sandwhiches, and I carry them up to bed.

I get ‘The’ phone call. My hands tremble as I answer. ‘Hello? Madame Wood?’ I can barely speak. ‘Everything went fine, the operation was a success, your husband is back in the ward, and there’s no problems’. I thank her through my uncontrollable sobs of relief, and tell every one the incredible news.

I shan’t write too much tonight, I am so very, very tired. But I wanted to leave it on a positive note, as tonight, he has done it, he has made it through again.

You, my baby, are the strongest person I know, your spirit, that of a lion’s, your inner strength, insurmountable, that you have shown with ultimate perseverance today, and through these last 12 days. You DID it my baby, I KNOW you will fight this, and I KNOW you will come home to us. I know this tonight, and I will sleep.

My angel, I am your angel too, I am here, protecting you, guiding you as I can, within my limits, but God’s hands are firmly wrapped around you, and I believe you shall come through this.

Thank you, to the Most High, thank you God, thank you everyone, thank you from the bottom of my heart and soul for carrying me, us through this.

Well done my baby, well done my angel, you keep your spirit fighting like a lion, and you will come home, you are going to come home, I know this.

Good night my sweat heart, I shall see you tomorrow, and rest, rest your tired body, let your spirit, let God do this, because that’s all the strength you need.

Good night my angel. x

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

My Dilemma...

My dilemma…

Alex can’t sleep. We are told by the Drs that the best means for his brain to heal is sleep. Today he is frustrated. He has spent another night having nightmares about people beating him in the head, unable to go back to sleep, as each time he finally manages to sleep, he is plagued by these violent nightmares. They check him regularly in Hospital, and from one minute to the next as he lies there, trying to deal with the pain in his head, trying to sleep, he is unable, it’s very disturbing in Hospital.

He told me he wants to discharge himself, he’s had enough, for him he feels he’d be better at home, at least he can shut a door, and have the means to rest and sleep as and when he needs it. We have been told to expect another month of him being in and out of sleep, and a month after that recuperating slowly and then the 3rd month, fully getting back on his feet. In fact the recuperation period can take up to 6 months.

My dilemma is this, if he’s at home, he is NOT in the best hands, I will not know what to expect as ‘normal’ when to be over worried, when to rush him back in if things deteriorate. For me I would prefer him to stay till Friday (as they’re anticipating) and then I will try and be around as much as possible. I will obviously take precautions when I am out, get a mobile phone so he can call me, leave the phone beside him in bed so he can ring me/whoever, if he needs to, and he will get rest. Thus he feels he will recover more quickly. And this I understand, but it troubles me.

The clot is still there, and whilst he is still so vulnerable and fragile, I think he needs to stay as long as possible, I am not even happy about him coming out Friday if I am honest, as he still seems in a very bad way. He does have his stronger moments, but he’s not eating. Partly as he finds the Hospital food repulsive, partly because he's in too much pain, feeling too weak, and partly as he is at the point where he’s had enough, he needs his home comforts. But I am afraid. I am not a Doctor, how will I know?

His dad went up to see him tonight, Alex was in a bad way. His dad will stay the night if necessary, as his head is worse again, a lot worse. The nurses gave him more morphine, and something to ‘knock him out’. They seem not unduly concerned. But his dad is staying nonetheless, and I will go as soon as I am free tomorrow.

I want him home, I miss him so, my heart’s racing pace never subsides, and I expect it will not subside till a scan shows it is finally going in the right direction. As I repeatedly say, it’s all this waiting. Nothing else matters. And with no conclusive ‘yes it’s started to be reabsorbed’ proof, emotionally I am wrecked, tired, wrought, alone.

I have eaten better today, a message from a friend helped me realise I really do need to eat, despite. Everyone’s messages have been of great comfort, and in fact I have little contact with this friend  since school, so I was jolted into action, and am trying not to make any more excuses. I am eating little, mainly rice cakes, bananas, drinks of soup/tea/milk and a small evening meal. It’s not regular, I never know where I will be from one minute to the next. I find I am eating out of duty, it’s a chore, it hurts to swallow, my heart seems to be blocking it’s descent. But I do know I must.

Everyone’s messages are of optimism and of great comfort, and there are times when I feel it may be OK, but I struggle to keep myself afloat, I teeter on a thread. Waiting. Because no one actually can tell me ‘yes, he WILL be fine’, and that’s all I long to hear…

Life without you by my side is so hard my angel. May God give you rest, peace and heal you, may you be you, once more, may this time be one of life’s traumatic lessons, that we both come through together, stronger, closer to God, to what life is really all about.

I shall not sleep till your dad is home, I need to hear again how you are, I need constant reassurance. The nausea I feel constantly subsides a little when I know you finally sleep.

I need to keep writing, pouring out my anxieties, thoughts, doubts, my hurt, but my eyes burn with tiredness, and my mind finds it hard to focus. I shall try and rest a bit now till your dad’s here…

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

You were supposed to be coming home...

Pressing frantically at the button calling the lift to take me up to the 4th floor where you lie, my hands tremble. Externally and internally I am finding it hard to keep a grip on a positive attitude today, my strength is waning today. But I take deep breaths as I walk down the corridor, to sit with you and wait for the results of your scan. Today I feel as though there will be some kind of definitive answer to your ‘state’ and am desperately fighting the negative thoughts gnawing away at my resolve to be positive. My haste to get to you, my racing heart, pounding head from the infernal pain I feel are coursing through my body. I see you, I am by your side again at last. I cuddle your head and whisper ‘how you feeling, baby?’ I know the answer, you’re head hurts, your pale face and sweating body answer me.

The waiting is the worst part, the feeling of being in limbo, not knowing what really is normal, not normal, what to expect. Everything concerns me, demands all my abilitites to not scream out my frustration.

The Dr comes in, at her half smiling pursed lips, my heart blocks my throat. It’s not the news we were hoping for, expecting. I am not bringing you home, not yet. The scan showed ‘no change’ it’s not worse, so that’s good, but why has it not even diminished a bit? Some positive sign given? Why?

This last week, I have relived my whole lifetime it seems, it has taken that much time, eternities this week has lasted. I wait till she leaves, caress your head and lean into you tears rolling onto the cold hard hospital sheets. Hoping to rid myself of some of the pressure of this pain I am in. You start to feel worse, I panic, run and call a nurse, who says he just needs to sleep, this is the best healing for the brain. She gives you morphine, a tranquiliser and paracetamol and I pass the next 3 hours mopping your brow, holding your head where it hurts and trying to comfort you, trying to help you sleep. Finally, we both fall asleep.

The Dr explains they will try and get you up and about  a bit and ‘see how you go’. Then Thursday they’ll reassess. More waiting. More sleepless nights, more kilos dropping off me. I am eating, at least trying to stomach things every now and again. Keeping my strength up mentally and physically, but today I am spent. If you show signs of improvement, you can go home under constant surveillance, but at least you’d be here. But I would be too worried, I think, to be the one trying to asses if you’re normal, if it’s normal, I think you need longer in there. You cope for a little while every now and again, and this lifts me. Then you reach a point where you need to shut down, and the pain, the sweats kick in. I am there again, hurting, feeling useless, trying to comfort you to not much avail.

I am struggling today, if truth be known. I’ve broken down several times. I have not been able to have much of a grip on myself, my emotions, I was just so hoping the scan result would have been good.

I am struggling. The smile which dared to creep back to my lips the other day has been torn away once more, and I again, am in limbo, waiting, waiting, hopelessly waiting. I know once again the darkness of distress.

I want to be able to think ‘it’s all going to be alright’ and believe this. I just wanted the results to be good. They’re not bad, they tell me, but the ‘at least it’s stable’ is of little comfort to my breaking heart.

I try to disregard my anxiety, you’re no worse, after all, but this is so long, so lonely. I push  all thoughts out as I watch you and hold your pale clammy head, an exhausted Alex smiles up at me. Trying to be strong, it’s just that he needs rest he assures me. But I have never seen you like this. So charismatic, so dynamic, so determined and strong in your relationship with God, your role you play amazingly and self-sacrificially to being Father to our kids and to me as your wife. I struggle the time I am with him to not let the terror grip me; battling alone the doubts my mind catapults at my heart,

God give me strength, God give him your strength and peace.

You are not coming home yet; I will not be sleeping in your arms. I’m struggling today honey. It’s late, the Dr has given me something to help me sleep, and your mum and dad are here to help out, make me eat, watch the kids now.

I’m sorry to be this way today, it’s kinda hitting home a bit, and I am tired. I don’t want sleeping pills, I just need your strong arms wrapped around me, as we sleep every night, and as we have done since our first date.

I miss you, Alex, I miss you too much, it hurts so much and I am so lonely despite people surrounding us with love and support. Because it’s you I want, you I need.

Tomorrow is a new day. I have lots of things I have to tackle in the morning, but I will be in at lunchtime, and stay as long as I can.

Although being here, the fact of not being next to you is of little importance, I, me, my soul, spirit and heart are with you, for eternity.

I love you x

Monday, 10 October 2011

My heart is torn once again...but in it all, there may be some VERY good news!

I wrote this blog (below) Sunday night, feeling ‘contented’, I did not however put it up today, however, because this morning I call Alex, he is not well. I rush into Hospital, and he appears to have had a relapse, I chase around trying to find out what’s going on. The day is spent there, speaking to Doctors who tell me it is 'probably' normal, but no conclusive ‘he’ll be fine’s. I thus, again, find myself, my heart, once again in torturous pain. They give him some morphine for the pain, and with me stroking his head, he manages to sleep. I have just called him again (I had to leave, to pick up the kids) and the sleep has vastly helped. They will rescan him tomorrow morning (not Thursday), and if signs show his blood clot is beginning to dissipate, he may even be allowed to come home tomorrow afternoon! So although I still feel on edge, jumpy at the phone’s every ring, I feel reassured once again tonight, and will now put up the blog I wrote yesterday, and may well even be in my man’s arms once again TOMORROW night!...

I walked the dog last night, for the first time in nearly a week. As I wander down the lane, trees, bamboo and grass determined to own this lane, I come out at a field. This is the time of year they cut all the maize down, the field I walk up into reveals a large bright moon, the trees surrounding it are turning their breathtaking beautiful colours, the dusk light is pale peach, orange and pink and I am engulfed by the energy surrounding me of nature, the beauty of creation. I stand for a few minutes, allowing the tranquillity to seep into my body, my eyes absorbing it all, my mind calms for the first time since Tuesday. And I thank God for hearing my cries, others’ prayers, and I wander back up the lane smiling.

I do not know how I have managed this week, but the ‘normality’ of life is demanding my attentions again, and I actually cooked dinner for the kids for the first time in almost a week. It's also the first meal I have eaten in nearly a week. I eat, a small amount, but a meal nonetheless. I have done some washing too, even folded some clothes. I soak in my first bath for 5 days (no comments please until you have been in my shoes!) and am gradually accepting things will be getting back to ‘normal’.

It’s a strange readjustment, from going on empty, on automatic pilot, to consciously being able to make a few decisions, wandering around with purpose in what I am doing, rather than aimlessly pacing, not knowing why I am where I am, what I am supposed to be doing. In fact today, I have felt the exhaustion, utter, utter exhaustion. I have been emotionally vacuumed dry, hence the relief of allowing myself to believe it may be alright for the first time in days, my body has crashed, and I am no longer numb.

I see Alex today and lie on the hospital bed nest to him, he strokes my head today, and I shed some tears of relief, I can finally count on being in his arms once more, I can finally let myself be reassured that the scan on Thursday will be showing the clot is on it’s way to being reabsorbed back into the body, and that he will back with his family, in our bed on Friday night.

I have decided all the kids can stay in school for this week all day for the 4 days they are there, with no (well, not much) guilt, as visiting hours are 12 till 8, this way I will be able to go in and see Alex in the afternoons, and maybe even relax a bit in the mornings, gradually getting our laundry back in order! He asked me to bring him in some clean underwear, to which I reply that it might be tricky, as I have done not ONE load of washing since Tuesday! There are none clean! And rooting through the mountainous pile of dirty laundry in the garage may tip me over the edge…So his dad (who has been down since Thursday, as luckily my in-laws are still in France till the end of October) buys him some new underwear to tide him over whilst his useless wife gets back into the swing of things!

I walk hand in hand with Alex this afternoon to the end of the corridor to see the kids, we gulp back emotions, and the excited chatter as the kids update him on all that’s going on, after a while gets too much for him, but who wouldn’t it?! And I help him back to his bed. Monty is overjoyed and can’t wait to burst out that he scored a goal in their football match yesterday, and his team won 1-0!

So things are slowly getting there, my heart still leaps in my mouth at every phone call, but I suppose that’ll slowly lessen too.

I imagine it may be a while till I am back blogging properly, but you never know, it is my diary, my way of expressing myself, a comfort to me, so I doubt it’ll be too long before my blog gets back to normal too!  

Thank you once again for all the love and support and help you have shown us, we are SO very overwhelmed and grateful, and I for one, have been carried by the knowledge that there is a world of people out there, there for us, supporting us, caring about us and praying for healing.

Tamsyn x

ps I am now off to have another bath, I may even shave my legs in anticipation of my husband's return!

Sunday, 9 October 2011

This week, from my perspective...

It’s funny how long time takes when your world feels like it will end. Everything stops, everything, your heart, your mind, you continue because you must, but you do not know how you are doing it. Your arms move, your legs walk, you do the school run, but for me that’s as far as it went. We have been eating nothing but pasta, omlettes and bought soups since Tuesday. The laundry I could not even look at, the animals fed at 1 am, as I still paced about, everything had stopped.

I was getting by on auto pilote, my friends were concerned by the weight I have lost. But how can I eat when my soulmate is where he is? I know I must, I try, barely stomaching drinking cold soup out of the carton, retching a bit on anything solid, I stick to tea and soup and bananas. Well there’s worse diets! But I do it because I know that although my world is on hold, I have to be strong for you and the kids.

It’s funny, an event like this rearranges ALL priorities. We busily go about our lives, ‘fulfilling’ ourselves by the things we like to do, our routines, our hobbies and so on. But when it comes to it, when it really comes to it, something of such magnitude stops the clock. The washing’s ignored, spilling out from every corner, the cooking becomes opening cartons and reheating, one’s self, forgotten. Because none of this actually matters.

I have been going to and from the hospital 3 times a day, 20 minutes there and 20 minutes back again, arranging kids’ care, dressing them in unironed clothes, hair unbrushed, toothbrushes forgotten about. But still trying to keep some normality for them, doing the school run, head low, not wanting the world to see my swollen red eyes, my pale tear stained face, my unwashed hair.

Other mummies rally round my head spins with proposals of babysitting, taking them to play at theirs, feeding them, taking them to school. It’s all too much, I cannot make the simplest of decisions, I just break down as my mind goes blank, is it real? All this? Pleading with myself to 'wake up and it'll all have been a dream'. So many kind offers, but I cannot cope. The decisions are made for me, they organise me, the kids, and free me to be with Alex in hospital when I can. I am someone who finds it very hard to ask things of people, but I have learned this week, that people WANT to help, they WANT to be useful, they ARE there for you and do not begrudge it, quite the opposite, as I usually think. Normally, hence, I carry on doing it all myself, but even I, this week, have just quietly agreed to kids being looked after, trying not to feel hopelessly guilty about not being with them, meeting their needs, trying not to worry, they are with friends having a ‘good time’, and all I can think about is Alex.

I wanted to keep it as normal as possible for the kids, I smile and cuddle them, telling them ‘yes, daddy’s fine, sweetheart’ but break down when they cuddle me tightly back. They feel everything kids, they ‘get’ it. I explain ‘daddy’s poorly, he is in hospital, but he’ll be fine, they make you better in hospital’. But my tear filled eyes and fake brave face they see through.

This morning I visit you, you are still 'out of it' but whisper to me to come over, you grab my bum! And say 'Wow, that's that's the first time I have felt your booty in DAYS!' And I cry, you made a joke! You said something the Alex I know says all the time! Although you're still very weak, and doze off again after a few minutes...

I went to Hospital this evening again and tonight I do not recognise him, he sits up in bed, smiles, and chats away for an hour or so, the drips no longer in his arms, the heart monitor no longer present. How can this be? This morning even, he couldn’t speak much, too tired, head hurting still. It’s me, this time who says very little, I guess seeing you this way, the blanket I have put on my emotions, my routines, my life, is lifted, and I suddenly feel complete and utter exhaustion. You seem to be ‘back’.

I arrive home and tell the kids that tomorrow we are going to go in and see daddy (at his request, he has not even been able to contemplate this before). We are at the tea table, Monty and Lola double over, bodies heaving with tears and uncontrollable sobs. Bless their little hearts, they have ‘got’ it all along…

So tomorrow we are ALL off to see him, he will be able to walk down the corridor to the part where children are allowed. How is this? How can you so suddenly have turned the corner in this way? OK, you're not healed, you still have to stay in under close observation till your scan, but look at you! God IS there, he does hear our pain, our prayers, and he DOES respond.

To all of you out there, the hundreds and hundreds of people who have been reading my story, our story, the thousands of people who have been praying, THANK YOU from the bottom of our hearts. Your love, prayers and thoughts have carried me through this unimaginably intense week. Tonight, I am daring to believe it WILL be alright, you ARE coming home on Friday, and due to all this, we will continue, my baby, to grow from strength to strength, hand in hand, soul enveloping soul, love engulfing each others' daily lives.

Oh Alex, what a week…! When you see all the messages, when you read the kind words, from friends, and people whom we have never even met. When you see the support we have been offered, you will be weeping, as I have been! I can assure you of that.

This is normally my Thought For The Day today, but honestly, if there’s something I can say to everyone from this week’s experience, it’s that, if we could all be a little more grateful for the smaller things, basic comforts we have, we would have less of a need to ‘keep on searching’ and thus be SO much more fulfilled with that which we DO have…

Thank you everyone, from the bottom of our hearts and souls for the support, help, and love and prayers. It looks like his corner has been turned, and I WILL have my man back!

Tamsyn x

Quick update, he overdid it completely yesterday! Did not have a very good night, head pain etc...BUT he still seems MUCH better.