Lowri's Journal Current
The updates are listed here from most recent first. You can click on a date to the left and jump straight to this entry.
A little piece of your joy and energy lives on in each of our hearts and brings a smile when we think of yours, but missing you is still so very painful. We love you right up to the moon and back...infinite times,
Mumma, Daddy, Roosje, Liam and Owen XXxxx
Well it has been a looooong while since I did an update - there have been 'technical difficulties' after the resident IT expert (Tim) upgraded my laptop, but they appear to have been ironed out now....
During the 'down time' I took part in the 2007 Funrazor event that Tim and Liam had done the previous year. I had a lot of fun colouring my hair blond, then pink and finally pink with purple stripes before having it all shaved off for the antipodean summer - and I managed not to get my head sunburnt which is amazing considering I normally manage to burn my parting when I have hair. You can catch up with that event at Harri's Funrazor site. It is growing back well but for some reason still insists on sticking up vertically from the crown which is not such a great look, and the grey hairs show up well in the shorter style.
Today our youngest child, Owen, is the exact age that Lowri was the day she died...it is a strange feeling to know that from tomorrow on Owen will be older than Lowri lived to, older than his 'Big' sister - my children will no longer be in the correct age order. It has also been a reminder of exactly how young Lowri was when she died, how small she must have been - somewhere along the line I forgot how small and young she was. In fifteen days time Owen will turn 4 and I will have to celebrate that. I have avoided 4th birthday parties for the last 5.5 years and now I have to throw one. *sigh* Another couple of milestones I never wanted to pass - although, as Roosje pointed out to me today, it is a GOOD thing that Owen has safely reached this age!
Talking of which Owen had his annual ultrasound scan last week and I got the report back from that today. It says amongst other stuff 'Both kidneys are normal in appearance. No renal mass or other parenchymal abnormality is seen.' So that IS good news - and gives you something to google.
The changes continue...the lounge room that Lowri knew in our house is now our kitchen, the old kitchen is a dining room and the dining room is a lounge, there is a new garage and the old garage is now a master bedroom, en suite and walk-in robes - they should be usable as such in a couple of weeks time (although we have been hoping the work would be finished in a couple of weeks for some months now, haha!) We decided that we didn't want to leave this house so we have upgraded it to suit our family for another decade. Nobody can claim they don't know where to find us.
5 long painful years we have lived since Lowri died. I have sat here wondering what to write, and all I can think is how much I want her back again. It is not a new thought, and one I try not to dwell on most of the time, but 5 years on that is still my greatest wish - the one I make if I win with the wishbone, the one I make as I blow out my candles, and the one I think each week when I fail to win lotto (I don't buy tickets) - I just want her back with us.
It was a bright sunny day yesterday, with white fluffy clouds in the sky. Owen and I were in the garden and he told me that Lowri was on one of the clouds, we couldn't see her but she could see us. I hope that she can see us, and that it doesn't make her sad that she cannot talk to us and feel us.
As there is not a normal newspaper on Sundays I stuffed up on getting her memorial notice ready for Saturday's paper, wasn't thinking about having to get it ready early. It is the first time I have not managed to do that for her and it feels very wrong. There are so few things that I actually get to do for her these days. I realised while writing the little poem for the paper that Lowri's life and death truly taught me the meaning of the word precious and I always associate that word with children now.
Our lives have changed so much over the last 5 years. The world has changed so much over the last 5 years. It is not the world that Lowri knew. It makes me sad to think that the rest of us adapt to the changes and she is left behind in a world that no longer exists in reality.
Precious, darling daughter,
Well I came here today to finally do an update and found that I had started to write one just after Owen's birthday but I have not even loaded onto the site, so I am uploading what I had written (below) along with today's update.
Another two and a half months have passed, with Liam turning 12 and Roosje turning 14 (and now old enough to babysit!), how time flies!
I swore to myself that I would not work out exactly how old Lowri was when she was diagnosed, but lying in bed one night and failing to fall asleep I found myself calculating that she was 3 years 2 months and 20 days, and that Owen would be 3 years 2 months and 20 days old on the 33rd of August - or the 2nd of September 2007 - today. I have thoroughly felt his stomach and cannot find any unusual lumps or hard spots and have managed to convince myself that he is ok for now.
Over the next few days he will pass into territory that Lowri never got to walk - her innocence was taken away in the days that followed this age and she was changed from the carefree little girl she had been into a child who had been through more medical procedures than both her parents put together. I often catch glimpses of Lowri in Owen, he has many of her mannerisms and a similar look - although he is unmistakably all boy where she had a more delicate approach to life. I find it hard to remember that Lowri was put through those horrible procedures at the age that Owen is now - at that time we just rolled up our sleeves and got on with the job of 'saving' her, now I feel a lot more sympathy for her and cannot imagine putting Owen through that.
Owen himself is trying to come to grips with the concept of a sister who has died. He also will not have the total innocence of a protected childhood. We cannot hide the photos of Lowri and pretend she never lived here. He knows that Lowri is his sister and that she lives in heaven, that we cannot see her and she cannot come and play with him. He knows that Mummy, Daddy, Roosje and Liam talk about her and miss her. I cannot bring myself to tell him that she got sick and died, I do not want him to think he is dying each time he gets sick, so there is mystery surrounding her 'dead' status that I know is confusing him and that I will have to get more specific soon. **sigh**
I am just off to look for some recent photos of Roosje, Liam and Owen (okay, I automatically typed Lowri in that list and had to remove it) to load on here as I have been promising those for a long time.
Missing Lowri as ever,
PS I have just realised that I haven't done an update on Tim and Liam having their heads shaved for the Child Cancer Foundation last December. Tim raised $2,070 and Liam beat him with $2,071 I will load some photos of that event in a couple of days - so check back soon!!
It has been a long time since I posted an update, I'm not sure whether anyone even comes to check the site anymore! Owen turned 3 this week, which was great for him - their 3rd birthday is really the first time our kids seem to understand that it is 'their' day and really appreciate the presents. He thoroughly enjoyed unwrapping his presents and playing with them, and loved the Rolie Polie Olie cake I made for him.
I have found myself looking at him and praying that he reaches his fourth birthday. Lowri was 3 years 2.5 months old when she was diagnosed and of course did not make it to her 4th birthday, and now I am scared for Owen even though I know there is little reason to worry. I know that many people think I should let this go, 'move on' and enjoy life with the 3 kids I have with me, if only it were that easy! I don't know exactly what triggers them, but I still get flashbacks to the time in the hospital with Lowri - it is not a specific event that I flash back to, just the feeling of being in the hospital and that everything is going to be ok - and then I am back in the present and realise that it is not ok. I have wondered why I have been so unsettled this week, the air temperature, the smells in the air and the fact that I have to put the heater on in the bathroom takes me back to this week 5 years ago when we were told that Lowri had relapsed and had a tumour on her liver despite the second chemotherapy protocol. Some memories still bring me to my knees, and the pain of not having her here is still very physical.
Well, as ever I will resolve to update this site more frequently. Good things do happen in our lives and we are busy as ever. I will try to post some recent photos of the children for those who have requested them.
Harri & the gang.
There was a newspaper article about the troublesome story below. I have added a link to a scan of the article at the bottom of the 18 Nov update.
Firstly, and most importantly, Liam and Tim are having their heads shaved in the NZ Child Cancer Foundation 'FunRazor' Guiness World Record attempt to shave the most heads in a one hour period on Thursday 7th December from 5-6pm NZ time. They are hoping to raise lots of money for the Child Cancer Foundation so please go to their fundraising sites Liam's bald spot and Tim goes Topless for CCF to sponsor them, and pass the URLs along to all of your friends and families for them to sponsor them too. CCF do a great job of supporting children with cancer and their families, and it is time for us to give something back for all the support we have received.
Secondly I have to report a not very nice thing that has happened this week. It came to my notice that someone was posting entries on a local message board about her child who was dying of Wilms' Tumour, and she had posted a link to her daughter's CaringBridge site. The friend who told me this also told me that she looked at this person's CaringBridge site and not only had the person concerned copied a photo of Lowri from this site to use as 'her daughter's photo, but had also copied large pieces of the text from this site, ie Lowri's story, to use as the story of her daughter. The fake site was created way back in February of this year and this person had been adding updates - copied from this site - every couple of days or so since then, and she now had people believing that her daughter was not going to live until Christmas so she was having and early Christmas for her this weekend. She was not soliciting any money or gifts from people, just seemed to be doing it for the attention. The fake site has now been deactivated by CaringBridge.
I will refrain from commenting too fully on what I think of this person, but if you are reading this 'Twinkies_nz' then I would just like you to know that you have caused more hurt to my already wounded family, and to lots of other people who believed your story and have written to you over the last few months to support you. Go to see a doctor as you obviously do have a serious medical condition yourself that will get you lots of attention and time with a caring counsellor I am sure! And now I am not going to give you any more attention here.
****P.S. Well, good intentions aside, here is a link to a newspaper article that was written after the events on the message boards - article from 19th Nov, 2006.
Lowri we love you right up to the moon and
back.....infinite times, as always,
Are there birthdays in Heaven?
Happy 8th Birthday Lowri, how I wish you were here with us to
Lowri, how we miss you,
3 years, 11 months, 2 weeks and 1 day - that is all the life that you got here on earth, and today you have been dead for 3 years, 11 months, 2 weeks and 1 day too. The last few weeks I have been watching this date approach with the same fear, frustration and helplessness that I watched the cancer push the life out of your body.
3 years 11 months, 2 weeks and 1 day, I don't know why this date has had such a hold on me, maybe because after today you have been gone longer than you were here with us, and maybe because I know that to mourn something for longer than you had it must seem excessive - and yet I cannot just flick the switch and say enough is enough, it will never be enough. There is no 'getting over' you.
3 years, 11 months, 2 weeks and 1 day is not long enough - it isn't long enough to live and it isn't long enough to mourn the loss of a child. I have had clothes for longer than 3 years, 11 months, 2 weeks and 1 day, and looking in the freezer last week I discovered that I have food in there older than 3 years, 11 months, 2 weeks and 1 day.
3 years, 11 months, 2 weeks and 1 day of your gentle, happy presence, then 3 years, 11 months, 2 weeks and 1 day without it. How I wish I had savoured every second of that 3 years, 11 months, 2 weeks and 1 day with you and how much I have wanted you back for that other 3 years, 11 months, 2 weeks and 1 day.
I love you now and forever and miss you with all of my heart,
Wow, no update since January? What have I been thinking?? Well as you may have guessed we have all been very busy as usual. In February we passed out of the tennis season and into the soccer season with all the extra work that brings into the household. I have decided that this is the last season I will be secretary of the club - there have been so many "issues" this season that it's not that much fun anymore ....... and the torrents of rain week in week out haven't helped, so many cancelled games and cancelled practices, argh!
Liam is enjoying his soccer (when it is not rained off) along with basketball, guitar lessons and extra spelling and maths tutoring (actually I am lying about that, he is not enjoying the extra tutoring anymore than I am enjoying his guitar practice LOL). Roosje is back into netball and now doing waterpolo. Along with this they are both still very involved with the Sea Scouts so we have sailing every second weekend and the odd camp or regatta thrown in to keep us on our toes. They are both doing very well at school and we are proud of them both.
Owen meantime is growing into a very tempestuous nearly-two year old and likes to exert his influence over every possible situation. We may need the help of Supernanny to turn him into the young gentleman I am sure he is itching to become. He is however a real joy to us all and a constant source of entertainment. We are currently trying to improve his speech as he was a little slow in this department, only recently deciding that maybe he can talk after all.
A couple of months ago we had a bit of a scare with Owen when he passed some blood in his urine, a classic symptom of Wilms' Tumour. We had a couple of terrifying days while we organised an ultrasound scan for him, but he was given the all clear from that. Whew! We still do not know what the blood was about, but presume that he did himself some kind of minor injury during one of his many dare-devil escapades.
I have recently started an on-line support group for NZ parents who have lost a child to cancer. It is in it's early stages but so far gratefully received by those eligible to join. There are some very common issues which we bereaved parents have in our grieving and it is a real comfort to share these thoughts and feelings with others who truly understand. I don't believe that I will ever "get over" what happened to Lowri and how little time she spent with us. There will always be "should have beens" and "could have beens" in the back of my mind no matter where my life leads from now on. I am trying to focus on remembering the good times and trying to hear her voice and see her face again, so many memories are still hiding somewhere too deep in my brain. She is still my mini-me. I am watching that counter in the upper right hand side of the index page of this site and seeing the figures there get closer and closer together. It will not be too long before we have been apart from Lowri longer than she was with us here, what a ghastly thought.
Well time for bed here in soggy Auckland, I promise to try to update a little quicker next time and add some photos soon! Don't forget to check out those Wilms Warriors on the links page who need your prayers and support.
Harri & the gang.
Happy New Year! I thought it was time I did an update for the site as it has been so long.
I have finally done an update to the photos of the garden and there were so many 'stages' of the project to show that I have had to create a whole new page for them. If you want to recap what the garden looked like before we started you will have to go back to the original garden photos page. See how many times you can spot Copper, our dog, trying to hog the limelight.
Christmas passed quietly for us this year. Two empty places at our table as not only Lowri was absent but also Hans (Tim's Dad) who died in May. I cooked too much Christmas lunch and had to phone our REALLY GOOD friends Sue & Noel to come over with Sue's Mum to help us eat it all. That worked out well as we had company for Christmas lunch without the stresses of expecting company! Owen was a blessing on Christmas Day, he was so overjoyed with every present, I have never seen a child get so much pleasure from opening their presents. It was good entertainment to watch him. I have also loaded a couple of photos from Christmas - I hadn't realised that I haven't shown off my kids here for nearly a year and a half!
We are now enjoying the extended school summer break (Roosje has two whole months off!). The swimming pool is getting a lot of use by all of us and is well worth the money and chaos. Phase two - the house alterations will hopefully begin this year - but then we said that last year too LOL. Roosje and Liam spent a week on Motutapu Island at the national Sea Scout Regatta where Liam managed to trap his foot in a hole while running down hill. We had a call to say that he had a suspected broken foot and we had to meet him off the Coastguard boat and then follow the ambulance to Starship hospital (where Lowri was treated). It brought back so many tough memories, and yet that place still feels like a second home. Long story short there was no sign of a break in his foot but he ended up wearing a 'moonboot' which holds his foot flat and takes some of his weight off the foot as he appears to have damaged the ligament on the side of his foot. Hopefully he will be fit for the start of soccer training in a few weeks time (priorities!).
I hope that 2006 is a good year for you all.
Happy 7th Birthday darling angel girl.
click photos to enlarge
Today we celebrate your 7th birthday - 7 years since one of the best things to come into our lives happened - 7 years since you peacefully slipped into our family and captured our hearts. We celebrated 4 birthdays with you here (including the day you were born) and today we celebrate the 4th birthday without you here. It has all gone way too quickly. We never wanted you to become this distant dream and still want you to walk back through that door to claim your cake and presents. The hole in our family will exist forever - and yet this day will always be joyously the day that you came into our lives and changed us all.
Lowri we can never say it enough times, we love your right up to the moon and back ....... infinite times and we miss you with every breath that we take. Hugs to heaven for you and kisses forever XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX.
Mumma, daddy, Roosje, Liam and Owen
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This site was last updated 09/23/09