When I was first introduced to Elle’s blog I was struck by the Leonard Cohen quote she shared,’There is a crack in everything; that’s how the light gets in.’ Let me tell you never was a truer word spoken. Elle’s beautifully written story is one of enormous heartbreak, healing and home-making and I’m honoured to share her journey with you today. I know I’m not the only one who will be sending her wishes of love and light.
When I became a mother to our beautiful baby boy, Teddy, last May; I simply had no comprehension of what was about to happen over the course of that week; or indeed since then. Teddy fell ill during the night after he was born; thus, we spent three days in a NICU unit, before we returned home, with no baby. Our son had died.
What happens when what you had envisaged happening following the birth of your first born, doesn’t happen? What do you do when the universe makes you think it’s all going your way, and then takes all of your cards from your hands and throws them up in the air? What do you do when you have your beautiful, long awaited baby boy; and then he dies? I never imagined we would have to answer any of those questions. The universe, however, had some ideas of its own.
After losing Teddy, I have spent the last nine months of my life navigating a new way through; devising a new plan for when the old one seems laughable. Working out what to do next, where to go from here, and what my purpose is if I’m not the Mummy that I had planned to be? I have always loved our home; since the moment we walked through the door to view it almost two and a half years ago; I knew this was the house I would make a home. I never thought that this home would, quite frankly, save me.
My passion for interiors and for feathering our nest began long before Teddy arrived. He was always there in my planning though; “When we have a baby we’ll need this room” or “We should probably move this to here for when we have children.” What was different then was that I never needed that passion; it was just an interest, a hobby; something I fitted in around the day-to-day goings on in our lives.
When we returned home from hospital empty-armed and broken hearted; I simply did not fathom that it would be our home that helped to heal me. What I have discovered over these months is that throwing yourself into a “hobby” that is as creative as it is rewarding, really can help you in more ways that you knew possible. Admittedly I have had the time to pursue things that I never would have made time for if I had been at work; or if indeed, Teddy had lived. I have made lampshades, footstools, painted (and re-painted) pretty much every piece of new and existing furniture in our house. I have sat at my sewing machine in some of my darkest moments. I just kept on sewing.
Some days it has been all I can do to drag my sorry-self out of bed and make myself leave the house for some fresh air. I know I always feel better when I do, and thankfully my little sidekick Boris is the perfect excuse that I need to make sure that I do just that (Besides my husband he is the second love of my life. A pug.) This home (and Boris) have given me reason to get up, get out, and keep giving this life everything that I have each day.
Truthfully, I have found the process of planning, making, creating and then being able to enjoy our home something that focuses my mind again. It gives me the “purpose” my life was missing after Teddy died, the purpose I so desperately needed when I felt as though purpose was entirely lacking from my life. I have been able to lose myself in antiques markets and home fairs; relishing in the anonymity that they brought. The freedom to just indulge in something I loved without the stares and whispered words from people who knew what had just happened in my life. It made me feel like me again; no awkward conversations or silences, just the freedom to enjoy something.
It has been a true therapy to immerse myself in my home. I feel like I am creating a nest for happier times to come (and I know they will come), as well as finding a way to overcome what life has handed us. I feel so lucky to have been able to find a way to occupy my mind in the day and help me sleep at night (Without so much as a trip to the doctors!).
We still have so many plans for this house; we are already busy with the next stage of the renovation; planning my long-awaited kitchen-extension-of-dreams. It’s not our forever home, but that’s not to say that I don’t want to feel like we’ll be here forever. This home has wrapped itself around me in my hour of need, and I feel as though it’s my turn to repay the favour by continuing to lovingly restore and renovate it until it’s “just right”. So, I am going to do my very best to do just that.