Living with Cerebral Palsy 🍋🍋

Saturday, 7 January 2017

Don't look back in anger...

I love old photographs. I realise this is hardly revolutionary, most people love old photographs. Nothing can quite give you the warm, fuzzy feeling that an old photograph can. It can remind you of a great time you once had, or of someone you loved that is no longer here. It can present you with moments you don't remember as a child, or moments you do. Places you lived in, people you knew. It's hardly surprising that when faced with a question of what objects they would run to save if their house was on fire, most people say photo albums. Photographs record the big moments forever..birthdays, christmas, holidays. We want to treasure them and keep them to took at when we are old. They also record the small moments. The forgotten and seemingly mundane. But not always the insignificant....
Yesterday I saw an old photograph that did not give me a warm fuzzy feeling, it made me sad. I should point out I do not remember being sad when it was taken, aside from the general sadness that coated absolutely everything at that time of our lives in a permanent thin film of disbelief and horror. I was enjoying time with friends and family, I remember it clearly. I know Elin had not slept again the night before, but that she was beginning to improve following her giant operation at Alder Hey. So when the photograph was taken things were, by enlarge, probably looking up for us at the time. I think I was  feeling more hopeful and positive than I had been in a while.
But when I look at the photograph I still see sadness and desperation in my eyes. It surprises me that I look really young. I suppose I was young, I was 25 when I had her. I didn't feel young at the time. I'm
pretty skinny (by my standards at least) from what must be the effects of constant worry (every cloud!!!) Worse, I see Elin. She looks sad too. She was- she cried a lot that day, I remember. She cried a lot every day at that age. She looks so stiff from the yet undiagnosed dystonia and the uncontrolled seizures we were still grappling with. I was so proud of her and I look back and she just looks so poorly and upset. I have to face up to the fact that she was. The first six months of her life were pretty miserable. For all of us. Many of my friends have had babies since I had Elin. I watch the purely magical world they arrive in following the birth and that magic is as foreign to me as it is to a childless person. We lived in permanent shock. It was like living in a horror story, where you just have to get up each day and keep living life as if everything is ok. The photo unwittingly takes me back to that time. I cry when I see it, for everything we went through and everything we lost and were grieving for. Mostly I cry for Elin. Where was our magic??
But then, looking back is ultimately empowering. How can you ever know how far you have come, if you never look back? Boy, have we come a long way with our amazing girl. This time is alien to us now. Sometimes I cry for what is past, sometimes  I cry for the future, but never for our present. The baby in the picture, stiff, unhappy, confused by the world, regularly in pain and simply unable to smile (it was ten months agonising months before she did) is in that foreign land of times gone by. How different she is now.  So I will always steal myself and be brave and stare these photo's in the face. They can't hurt me. She is the happiest girl in the world. She smiles and laughs constantly and brings so much joy to the lives of everyone who knows her.
It's a miracle and so is she.

It turns out our magical moments just arrived a little late :-) 
never stop believing, folks. Happy weekend xxxx


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