"Edited to Add"....

This started as a pregnancy blog when I fell pregnant in May 2009 after four years of finding a donor, doing all the counselling / paperwork / tests and trying.

And now, thanks to a 4WD which skidded onto our side of the road, killing our baby daughter at 34w and injuring me, my partner and two of my stepdaughters on 27 December 2009, it has turned into something else. We didn't want this something else, but apparently it is all we've got to go on with.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Haloumi Star Sign

I've been on a hiatus, but it has been a good one. When I started work in April, I made a ridiculous commitment to give a paper at a conference at the end of july. I'd drafted the proposal for the paper back in November, in that other life I had, pre-accident, thinking, perhaps Haloumi would be ready to travel overseas at 6 months so that she could accompany El Prima and I to the conference. It would be in Singapore - some welcome heat in the middle of our winter, and we'd have a fat, sturdy baby who could hopefully adapt well to travel. Or maybe she wouldn't, and we could cancel the trip - I was happy to put it at the mercy of our imagined baby-parenting lives.

By the time I found out that my proposal had been accepted, my life was almost unrecognisable: no baby or pregnant belly, broken knee, scarred body, new city, no busy working life, and a strange weepier, more fragile version of myself. The way I walked, the clothes I wore, the things I needed to do to get myself out the door, the small things I needed to have close to me - it was as though I'd developed this new invalid personality. But I knew that I would need some kind of deadline if I hoped to get any research done in this new job, and there was nothing like a conference paper to spur me into action.

I couldn't get funding for it, I had to pay for it myself, but I needed a date to work forward towards. As the date got closer, as June and July dissolved into more grief and sadness, I thought, "I've made a terrible mistake - I won't be able to do this. The bit of me that could draw research together and write is gone." But I had to come up with something.

And somehow, I did. It was only after I became too tired to be tired, and too panicked by the deadline to panic, that from weariness came something that was there all along. For a little while, I had my concentration back, and I could look at all my work and pull the threads together, say what I needed to say.

It was such a relief, to get a taste of that pre-accident me, to remember that I'm still there, that the sadness hasn't wiped away everything.

El Prima came with me, and after the conference, we took a bus, then a boat out to a little malaysian island - adrift not only in the South China Sea, but when nighttime came - also in the middle of the Milky Way. I've never seen so many stars.

One of the lovely things some friends did for us after Z died was to band together and to name a star after her. We have a chart, a certificate and everything. After a few unsuccessful attempts at finding her particular star with zero astronomical knowledge (and without a telescope), we've taken to appropriating whichever star we liked as 'her' star. Usually, for me, it is the first star I see in the west as I'm walking home from the tramstop. Given its brightness, I think it may actually be a planet (maybe Venus?). But that night on the island, our heads together and our toes in the sand, El Prima and I saw a shooting star, and felt like she'd sent it for us - a tiny solitary haloumi firework.


  1. This post made me cry. I'm so glad she was there, cheering you on.

  2. Thanks N. She still makes me cry every day, but sometimes now it is in a 'good' way rather than the usual.

  3. I'm glad that you caught a little glimpse of the pre-accident you. I've found that my concentration and being able to pull together multiple threads into something coherent are skills that have really suffered. I think tt's a real accomplishment to have pulled this off.

    Glad that you and your El Prima enjoyed the stars and that very special tiny haloumi firework. x