Heaven And Angels

Daniel is part of me, of who I am and when he died he took that piece of my being that was his time on earth. I was left with a deep wound that will never heal completely unless the hole can be filled. That is sadly impossible because it is a unique space, custom made by the love shared between me and my child.

The only person that would ever be able to make me complete again is a little boy lost to life. He was beyond precious and irreplaceable. I named him Daniel Hugo Starbuck.

I know I say the words "thank you" over and over but it is so important to me that you know how much it means to me that you are here. You are one of my angels and you bring soothing ointment to drip onto this cut in my soul. You help to ease my pain.

You give me:


I also receive special gifts from my angel child, to dry my tears and make me smile.

Daniel gives to me:

Sweet happy memories
His whisper in the wind
Dreams of him still being alive
Imaginations of how it was to hold him

Oh, how much I think of a blissful happy reunion in the after life but I honestly don't know.

I have always been driven by equal portions of realism and religion. I see our insight and knowledge of what really happen when we die as earthly and limited.

How much of what we like to believe about heaven has been created by our human selves?

Would a mother survive her child's death without the idea that death isn't final? Would a grieving mother be able to cope without the belief that the heart wrecking separation is only temporary? I say no, she wouldn't.

I live to die, clinging desperately to the hope that I will one day, one life from here, find my lost child.

My heart holds no cynicism. Only love.


it is here
with the spirit of the wind
that I will find
my soul

Owen's Mom

After Daniel had died, I searched the internet for blogs about parent's like me. Parents who lost children. I wrote to them and they responded to me with love and kindness.

Thank you so much to Linda and her precious Owen, Daniel and Kim (Elena's parents), Alice who lost her own little Daniel, Erin who had to say good bye to Charlotte. Your emails, comments, thoughts, prayers, encouragement mean so much to me and have brought light to help me through some of my heavy, darker moments. You are indeed special parents and special people.

The email below was sent to me by Linda - Owen's mom.
Oh, my dear friend halfway around the world, we are connected by loss. What misfortune deems this possible? We were not friends before our children died. We are friends now. We are friends in grief, and therefore, friends for life.

I cry as I write this, for I know your loss, your agony, your sleepless nights, your screaming days. Thank you for the email you sent today. We're connected now. It makes no difference that we live on different continents. Our sameness, is that we are mothers who miss our boys more than we would miss our own breath, if it were taken from us.In most of our waking hours, it feels as though breath, indeed, has been taken, by an entity we cannot fully describe, nor want to.

If I may, let me breathe your next breath for you. If I may, let me scream your next scream. If I may, let me sleep for you when you are fitful in the night (and there will be many of those nights). If I only could, my friend, I truly would. I've spent so many of those nights, they would not come to me without warning - and I would take them from you, if only I could...

These are the early days of loss. They will become the later days, and then...the later days again. You will not forget Daniel, your Danny Boy. You will remember him as the light, the love, the precious gift, your very own special boy. And, those of us who are out here remembering the early days of our childrens' losses, will hold you in our arms when your body shakes, and your voice finally goes quiet from the crying.

We will hold you up, as others have held us. We are here, and you are in our arms, breathing you into the future, your future. We are carrying you when you cannot walk...and when you can barely stand another sunrise, we will be here holding you up. You will always be Danny's mother. That will never change. Yours is not an easy path. Nor are any of ours. And, that is why we hold hands and walk together on this rugged road. No one can do it alone.

Love to you on this journey,
Linda Owen's mom

Mirror Me

Dearest Daniel

Nothing is the same any more as we could never return to the life that we shared with you. Not the house, not the things inside the house, not the town where we lived. The memories and obvious awareness that you are not with us any more were too painful to bear.

Part of this painful process was to pack up our house and when this photo was taken. On a whim I took my mobile phone and to capture the moment, a brief distraction from my sad task at hand. I enjoyed the outcome of this picture – a little smile between the tears of letting go.

First I shared the image with my friend who always enjoys my mirror pictures and later I put it on my Facebook page as my profile picture.

Your mom going faceless on Facebook but at least with the updated status of

“Alison is….the girl in the mirror”

as I am long past the time of being a girl it should actually have been

“Alison is...the woman in the mirror”

and for sure it could have said

“Alison is… the grieving mother with a broken heart"

and I know what you would have said - your words would have been

“Alison is….my Mamma”

but unlike the changing status updates on Facebook, I am and will always be your mom and that is why this photo is now here. For you. As a gift of love, of course :-)
My dearest Pikkewyntjie child
you are here in the wind and
the sea and the mountains
in the air that I breathe
in my dreams
in my heart

I kiss you sweet face and
give you my love
from your

Time Now

Time scares me….

… because every second contributes to a growing distance between now and when I still had Daniel. A new day is one day further away from when I last saw him. It is already a bit more than 2 months. Soon it will late be a year. Then two years and ten and twenty. I don’t want that Daniel to become something that happened long ago – I want him to stay part of my recent past.

… because I will get older every year but Daniel will always be only 3 years and 10 months old.

… because it makes me more and more aware of the reality that my child has really died. My mind has clinically accept the knowledge the moment I was told that Daniel had drowned but I have this subtle irrational feeling in my heart that this cannot be true. It makes me feel detached and blissfully numb; but I can feel how time allows reality to filter through my defense of this just being a very bad dream and with these moments of emotional realisation comes the most unbearable pain, an agony that words cannot describe.

… because we can never turn back the clock. If only we could.
Dear Lee
Thank you so much for this photo and also for all the other photos that you have taken with so much love. They are priceless treasures.
Thank for being a good person in Daniel's life and for loving "our little Dan the Man" as if he was your own child. I will never forget the laughs and special moments shared between the 3 of us.
Alls Bells

Living Life

Dearest Danny

I think of you all the time and wish you were still here with me to share the wonder of life.

It was an amazing experience to see you growing up. To see you developing from a little baby into becoming more and more a personality in your right. To discover with you the things you loved, the things you liked and what you didn't like.

You have seen so little of life. So many pleasures that you didn't live to experience – places to go and things to see. I can make a list here of all the things that a boy who live for little less than 4 years never experienced but I don't have to. Anyone can figure that out, if they want.

I am so happy and thankful for everything that we did do – that we went on holiday to the sea in December, that you started school in August when you were 3 and a half, that we went fishing (when this photo was taken), that I stopped working full time after you were born to stay at home with you and many other good decisions that I have made about your time on earth.

Never have I thought that you would be here for such a short time but you lived your life to the fullest. I am blessed because I have no regrets - what we had was perfect.

I kiss you, my little angel.

With all my love, as always.

(A very special big thank you to my dear friend (and angel) Mariska, Anthony, Leon, Marisa and the little ones Franco, Marnus and Mia for inviting us to come fishing with you and for the lovely day me and Daniel had. The photo is one of my treasured pictures of Daniel and was taken and given to me by Marisa.)

Eeyore Blanky

Just to be with his mom was all the Daniel needed to be peaceful, comfortable and secure…okay, I was maybe not ALL he needed…there was also his Eeyore blanky :-)

A white blanket with dark blue stitching around it and a small picture of Eeyore in one corner. It was his special blanky and he went nowhere without it.

On wash days I had to sneak it into the washing machine. On finding his blanket after I had washed, he would always come to me and say:

“You washed my Eeyore blanky. Look it is nice and clean. Thank you Mom.”
He died alone. Without me and without his blanky. I asked for it to be fetched from his dad’s house to put it with him before he was taken from the hospital to the mortuary.

That was the last time I saw him and I knew that he was never going to come back to me in this life. My little boy with his Eeyore blanky.

Good Mornings

As a single mom with a new born baby, my bed was not only the most practical and but also by far the most enjoyable place my baby sleep and in nearly 4 years there were only a very few nights that I didn't share my sleeping space with Daniel.

Like most toddlers Daniel had certain rituals that needed to be followed religiously. One of them was to have first thing, every morning, this same delightful dialogue:

Even before he opened his eyes he would ask "Mamma!!! Where are you?" That was regardless whether I was still right next to him in bed or not.

If I was already up and out of bed he would call again "Mamma!!! Where are you?" in a much louder voice with a slight undertone of panic and I had to answer telling him where I was, in the kitchen, in the bathroom or where ever.

I then had to go him so that we could restart our day. Right from the beginning.

"Mamma!!! Where are you?" as if he had just woken up.

"I'm in bed with Daniel" was the reply he required.

Then it was my turn to ask "And where is Daniel?"

"With Mamma!!!" said with shrieks of delight, devotion and all the love a 4 year old boy could possibly have for his mom.

And that was our good mornings, starting each day secure in our happy togetherness.

The Circle Of Love

I give my love and deepest gratitude to:

- God for giving me strength, inner peace and hopefully one day the power to forgive
- My children Henry, Alecia and  Daniel for making life so beautiful - My friends for being healers, caretakers, protectors. Their presence, thoughts, messages and prayers help to heal my wounding and ease my sorrow. Their ongoing gifts of hope and happy moments are precious and will never be forgotten.
- Every stranger who reads my story, who cry with me even if you have never met me or Daniel. You are special and I am touched by your kindness and your willingness to open yourself to my sadness and loss.
Beautiful, soul inspiring poetry from The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam, as quoted from Excerpts from The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam - explained by Paramhansa Yogananda:

"Every thought we think is a flower of life's garden, and not the permanent possession of anyone. Let our thoughts, then, be fragrant and beautiful, not rank and ugly, that the memory we leave behind us be felt as a blessing on the earth."

"The more we live guided from within, the greater our control over outer events in the great game of life. For when we live at our own center, in super consciousness, we live in the only true freedom there is."

"He who made us must surely also love us. His reason for ordaining death as the final act of life must, therefore, be somehow connected with His love."

"God feels no anger, no matter how many times we err. He is the Fountainhead of limitless, unconditional love."

"Life could have been so beautiful, had mankind only lived as God intended. Instead, human life has become a jumble box to hold the pieces of a mad jigsaw puzzle - a confusing assortment of evil and good, sorrow and joy, death and life."

Happy Birthday Dear Daniel

Happy birthday dearest Daniel

We were both looking forward to today with excitement and happy anticipation. I never imagined it without you.

I wanted to do something special and symbolic for you but in the end everything looked so empty and senseless. There is nothing that can ever replace what would have been your 4th birthday.

I am so sorry that your life had to end before the dreams you had for today could come true. You were so deserving of the love, pleasure and happiness that would have surrounded you today, like all other days, but with extra attention on you and with an awareness of how special and precious you are to the world.Your day to celebrate you.

My day was spend lost in my thoughts, memories and dreams of you, me, Neni and Lecia.

With love, smiles, hugs and kisses

Weekend Away

Dearest Daniel

I went this weekend to a dam to go sailing with a friend on his yacht - he thought it would help to ease my pain about losing you and my deep heartache about your birthday tomorrow.

I was so sad to be there because I knew how much you would have loved it there. To stay in the caravan under the trees next to the water, sleeping in my arms on the small bed. You would have loved the boat, the water, the wind and the sun.

There was also a play area with many friends your age and I could just imagine you joining them in their fun and laughter.

I looked at all the parents with who had their precious children still with them and I thought how lucky and how blessed they were.

I wish it was today 4 years ago, the day before you were born because then I still had the nearly 4 happiest years of my life, being with you still ahead of me. Now it is just this empty longing for you, my Angel Danny Boy.

I miss you so much. I want to hold you, kiss you. stroke your hair never to let go of you again. I pray to see you soon my baby. May God not punish me with a long life, may I also die soon.

I love you dearest Daniel, my Piki-man, Pikkewyntjie.


(I want to do something special for you tomorrow but I have no idea what to do or where to go, just again and again know that my love is always with you.)