Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Birth -Days

Although she is at one end of the globe and I am at the other, my dear friend Sue and I not only share a love for the faith but a baby born on the same day albeit ten years apart!

Twenty six years ago today I gave birth to this "I'm forging my own path" gal!  She never ceases to surprise us with her varied interests and love for learning.  It was Sara, who patiently taught and encouraged me to knit socks on double pointed needles, up until that time I had been quite content knitting on two!   This was the same gal who struggled to master knitting at the age of 13 and so taught herself to crochet instead, so much easier when you are left handed :-)  Soon after she rocked that challenge of the two sticks and has gone on to design her own knitting projects in the form of a tube skirt, free form round cushions on her honeymoon camping trip and a jumper for Pip complete with a monogram motif.  

Sara meandered many paths in young adulthood from pottery and art, to youth ministry and class room assistant, finally settling on the more permanent and well suited path of horticulture and garden design.  She always challenges me to think the best of others and " not to sweat the small stuff."  She also has a very generous heart and instead of selfishly sharing her birthday solely with her beloved husband, they welcomed her baby brother along for the ride and he had an ace day in Manchester, visiting the Lego and Disney stores amongst other things.

Dave, Pip and I did our usual trip for the little flowers meet and on the way home we popped into Barton Grange to buy a last minute present for Sara!  I forgot to take any pictures of the goodies but we bought a wooden painted folk fairy to hang on the door, a cute fox hand sewn ornament and an irresistible snowman Christmas jumper!  Apparently, Tom had to dissuade Sara form buying one in Manchester, just in case she was given one as a present!!  Little did he know :-)


Whilst I have shared the joy of remembering times past and a big hug from my littlest big girl, my dear friend Sue shares a completely different story.  Thomas would have been sixteen years old today.  He was born on the 9th of November 1999 and died a day later.  His projected short lifespan was not unknown, as Sue  discovered that he had a diaphragmatic hernia at her eighteen week ultrasound.  Medical science has moved on in the intervening years and  nowadays surgery can be done to repair the opening.  Sadly this was not the case for Thomas and yet despite the prognosis, Sue and her husband Andy went ahead with the pregnancy.  In a world where the life of the unborn is at risk and so many babies are aborted, they chose life for Thomas and in so doing he was born into the loving arms of a mother, father and the wider family.

In addition to the family visit to the graveside and a picnic on his birthday, over the years many teddy bears were bought at Christmas, Easter and Birthdays as a way of honouring his short life and presence in the family.  Needless to say, the family have amassed many teddies over the years and so it was earlier in the years that Sue had the wonderful generous idea of sending a "Thomas Bear" to various friends and family members throughout the world.

  And so it was early on in May, a welcomed furry friend appeared during a very poorly time in the family.  I had hoped to blog about our visitor, but my time here in cyber space has been very remiss and I missed the opportunity.  I knew however that one day I would write about him and Thomas and so without further ado let me introduce you to:

 Aquinas Bear.

I cannot remember the name of the tree but Andy cuts and engraves the name of Thomas, his birth details and the words "with love" followed by a heart.  The heart of that family is their love for God and that love is then multiplied many times over in the people they meet in real life as well as online. 

Dear Sue, thank you for sharing Thomas with us and for your love, friendship and prayers across the miles.  May you experience God's presence in a very special way today as you celebrate Thomas' birth in your family.  Mother Mary, comfort the family with your loving presence, most especially during those moments of sorrow at a life not lived.  In Jesus, name.  Amen x 



dorinalouise said...

I send you and Sue so much love on this special day. Aquinas Bear is a dear, and Sara is a very beautiful (left-handed! as is Korrina!) daughter :) These young ladies know how to work with both hands and discover new ways of living life. Happy Birthday to all of you. This is a very special day to remember and live through. I'm so glad you shared it. You will all be in my prayers tonight :) xoxoxo

Sue Elvis said...


Happy birthday Sara!

What a wonderful post. San, I enjoyed hearing about your beautiful daughter's special day and looking at the photos. I am so glad we have children who share the same birthday. Aquinas Bear looks perfect in his new home. I am glad to see him!

Yes, you are right: Many babies are able to have surgery after birth to repair their hernias and they live. But surgery wouldn't have helped Thomas. He didn't have enough lung tissue for independent breathing. His internal organs had moved through the hernia into the lung cavity during pregnancy. There wasn't any room left for the lungs to develop. I have read about a few babies who had their hernias repaired during pregnancy, but this seems to be a rare and complicated procedure. After reading about a baby who did have this kind of surgery and lived, I wondered... what if...? But I accept Thomas' death. Everything is as it should be. God is working through his short life. And I have been blessed with so much despite the sorrow. I am surrouded by so much love.

Thank you dear San for your prayers and friendship and love. You are a blessing in my life! xxx

Sue Elvis said...


Thank you for the love. I do apprciate your kind words. I sent Aquinas Bear to San a few months ago. His bear tag is made from a piece of gum tree twig (eucalyptus) that I found close to home. I sent the bear off to England with a piece of Australia around his neck!

Sandra Ann said...

Yes I have heard of surgery being performed whilst the baby is still in utero but that has definitely been an advancement pertaining to the 21st century.

Thankyou for reminding me of the eucalyptus tree! Of course we use the oil when we have coughs and colds, so another chance to remember you all :-) xx

sustainablemum said...

A beautiful post San. Holding you both in my heart :)