The One You Can't Put Down

From: The Poisonwood Bible (Barbara Kingsolver)

"A first child is your own best foot forward, and how you do cheer those little feet as they strike out. You examine every turn of flesh for precocity, and crow it to the world.

But the last one: the baby who trails her scent like a flag of surrender through your life when there will be no more coming after - that's love by a different name.

She is the babe you hold in your arms for an hour after she's gone to sleep. If you put her down in the crib, she might wake up changed and fly away. So instead you rock my the window, drinking the light from her skin, breathing her exhaled dreams. Your heart bays to the double crescent moons of closed lashes on her cheeks.

She's the one you can't put down."


From my Facebook wall, my status updates of two years ago. I was so happy about life, love, everything – excited to go on holiday with my children and positive about the new year….

November 29, 2008
Alison is loving the charm and delight of serendipitous occurrences

December 4, 2008
Alison is following her synchronistic destiny and is so happy with where she is going to...

December 5, 2008
Alison is looking for a star lost inside a prayer for I have heard that the answer to love is there.... smile*

December 9, 2008
Alison is a very proud mom blessed with 3 most wonderful children

December 10, 2008
Alison is counting the days

December 11, 2008
Alison is in a happy space

December 12, 2008
Alison is so excited, I just can't hide it

December 14,
Alison is as sweet as my dreams

December 17, 2008
Alison is loving the things that life is showing me

December 27, 2008
Alison is wishing her wonderful daughter a happy 14th birthday today!

December 27, 2008
Alison posted 10 new photos

December 28, 2008
Alison is your girl :)) 

January 7, 2009 (at 7:47 am)
Alison my friends who haven't heard the devastating darling child died yesterday. Daniel is no more with us. Please pray for Hendri, Alecia and me.


I want to repost this comment that Cathy has left on my previous post "Want Daniel" because she sees losing Daniel like I see it: the most wrong thing in the world and she sees how it is for me to live with this cruel injustice. She is right, it is hell.

Thank you Cathy for knowing and for letting me use your words as my voice:
I don't know how anyone is expected to bear it, how anyone CAN bear it. And yet life forces itself on somehow, even if we are only enduring it.

I so mourn that your Daniel is not in your arms. His pictures, his eyes - I always think, it is the most wrong thing in the world that your child has been ripped from you.

It reminds me of a C.S. Lewis quote: "The cold, unsmiling face of Hell." Daniel's death seems a picture of what Hell must be. I should say, of what Hell IS, because you are having to live through it every day.

I realize not everyone believes in Hell. All I know is, Daniel being taken from you has forced you to live there.

(This week, two more people mentioned that they didn't believe Daniel's death was as accidental as it is made out to be. They don't know each other and have nothing in common. But the reason behind their doubts was the same. Should I react in any way? I don't know. I also have the same concerning questions. But for now, I just close my eyes, try not to think, pray and hope with every fibre of my being that Daniel's death was an accident and that everything possible was done to save his life.)

Want Daniel

I feel so very very sad about Daniel since last Sunday (more sad than I have felt in a long long time). It is a terrible sadness because it is so clear and without hope. Just an empty reality that he will never come back, that life has continued for nearly two years, that I will probably never find the answers that I desperately seek, that I will never heal.

Soon it will be December and January - the months to remind me of all that I wish never happened.


"She looked up at him and her face was pale and austere in the uplight and her eyes lost in their darkly shadowed hollows save only for the glint of them and he could see her throat move in the light and he saw in her face and in her figure something he'd not seen before and the name of that thing was sorrow."

Karma (Daniel died on a Tuesday)

Written by Deepak Chopra, The Seven Spiritual Laws for Parents is a book for parents who wish to raise children with values that create the experience of abundance as well as satisfy spiritual needs.

The 7 laws are:

  1. Pure Potentiality - Everything is possible.
  2. Giving - If you want to get something, give it.
  3. Karma - When you make a choice, you change the future.
  4. Least Effort - Don’t say no, go with the flow.
  5. Intention and Desire - Every time you wish or want, you plant a seed.
  6. Detachment - Enjoy the journey.
  7. Dharma (the path of righteousness) - You are here for a reason.
It moves us beyond focusing on private triumphs and failures towards experiencing the fulfillment and success that comes from having some of the most valuable skills anyone can possess: the ability to love and have compassion, and the capacity to feel joy and spread it to others. .

Deepak Chopra offers profound advice on how to convey these universal truths to a child and how to embody them in age-specific activities. He follows an approach of devoting each day of the week to a specific principle, starting with Sunday being the day of Pure Potential where everything is possible.

Daniel died on a Tuesday, the day of Karma where we promise to explain right and wrong to our children in terms of how choices feel.

We teach them that by choosing actions that bring happiness and success to others, the fruit of our karma will be happiness and success.

We reflect on the law of Karma:
  1. No debt goes unpaid in the universe.
  2. To bring yourself love and happiness, do what you can to bring them to others.
  3. If you don't see an immediate result to good or bad action, be patient and observe.

Look At The Stars (Yellow)

Dearest Daniel

You know how much I miss you and how I cry for you every single day. The pain I feel is not something I would be able to endure for years and years and years, that is something I know.

I wish I could understand what went so wrong that you had to pay with your life. Where was the disconnect between what I believed I saw in your father and the reality? 

How could anyone not care about our life? And as they didn't care for you why came and take you away from me and Neni and Lecia and all the other people that love you so much. Any of us would have given our lives for you, my Angel Danny, if only we had known. 

I love you more than I can say, more than I can express, more than I can show, more than anyone can comprehend.

I walk with you in my heart everywhere I go and I fall asleep each night imaging holding you in my arms. 

I feel your spirit.

Look at the stars,
Look how they shine for you,
And all the things that you do.
They are all yellow.

Your skin and bones,
Turn into something beautiful,
And you know
You know I love you so.

Namaste, my dearest Daniel. 

I see you. Always.

Mamma x x x

How We Live

From : Sputnik Sweetheart (Haruki Murakami)

"So that's how we live our lives. No matter how deep and fatal the loss, no matter how important the thing that's stolen from us--that's snatched right out of our hands - even if we are left completely changed, with only the outer layer of skin from before, we continue to play out our lives this way, in silence. We draw ever nearer to the end of our allotted span of time, bidding it farewell as it trails off behind. Repeating, often adroitly, the endless deeds of the everyday. Leaving behind a feeling of immeasurable emptiness."

Finding Me

I feel deeply touched by this beautiful drawing that my friend Michael did for me. We are on the same painful journey and feel a similar pain - Michael lost his son Luke around the same time that I lost Daniel. (Also see my post Luke's Army)

I cannot describe how much I still miss Daniel every day. My heart pains for my child and without end a thousand unanswered questions keep on circling through my mind. I wonder if I would ever find peace...


From : His Dark Materials Trilogy (The Golden Compass)

"She wondered whether there would ever come an hour in her life when she didn't think of him - didn't speak to him in her head, didn't relive every moment they'd been together, didn't long for his love. She had never dreamed of what it would feel like to love someone so much; of all the things that had astonished her, that was what astonished her the most. She thought the tenderness it left in her heart was like a bruise that would never go away, but she would cherish it forever."

Emotional Structures

Losing my child has changed the core structure of my emotions. Positive feelings like peace, hope and happiness that used to be simple and uncomplicated have become complex and intrinsically combined with an underlying sense of loss, guilt or confusion. And where before I could put reason and perspective to sadness, nothing can be done to divert or dilute the longing I feel. My sorrow is as deep and pure as I think any sorrow possibly can be. I will always want Daniel.

Sweet And Broken Dreams

We collected Daniel's things from storage last week, after nearly 19 months. It was something I wanted to do but I was also scared and I was not sure if I really was ready to open all those containers that I so randomly packed after Daniel had died. But I did it. I went through everything, took out the bits that I wanted and repacked the rest.

Some moments were heartbreakingly sad….his shoes still dusty from where he walked with me talking and holding my hand, his Winnie the Pooh school bag ready for the school year that never started, Christmas presents that he never was given a chance to play with, the Mickey Mouse cards that I bought our last time shopping together...

And some moments were painfully of him that I forgotten I had, a piece of paper with baby Daniel scribbles on it, the Dr Seuss books that Alecia read to Daniel so many times that the books and the "reading" became a mere formality as they both knew every word by heart.....

What can I see?
I see a bee.
Now a goat sees me!

An egg feels smooth.
A bush feels prickly.
Fluffy feathers feel soft and tickly!

A tasty lollypop!
Lovely cream!
Empty plate, licked clean!

I can hear a noise.
I can too.
What can we hear?
A king's KERCHOO!

Noses are for smelling.
Doughnuts smell sweet.
Lots of noses smelling owls' feet!

In total I believe it was the right time and the right choice to bring Daniel's things from storage. I feel lighter, more complete and some way closer to Daniel, which is good and difficult and painful.

I miss his physical presence, his breath, his life and in my heart I know the truth, the harsh reality that there is humanly nothing that anyone can do to ever substitute, repair or replace what Daniel, Henry, Alecia and I have lost.

We Will Live In Birds And Flowers

"I'll be looking for you, every moment, every single moment. And when we do find each other again, we'll cling together so tight that nothing and no one'll ever tear us apart. Every atom of me and every atom of you... We'll live in birds and flowers and dragonflies and pine trees and in clouds and in those little specks of light you see floating in sunbeams... And when they use our atoms to make new lives, they wont' just be able to take one, they'll have to take two, one of you and one of me..."


To keep on living after I have lost Daniel will never be easy. His death has left me with so many challenges (other than my sorrow and longing),difficulties that I have to deal with every day, soul torturing events that I must somehow survive, impossible hurdles that I need to clear on my journey towards some kind of renewed peace and healing.

One of these barriers blocking my way is forgiveness. I really want to forgive Daniel's father and stepmother and I have no doubt about whether I should do it or not but in the words of Rev Julie Nicholson whose daughter was killed in the 2005 London bombings, it will not be easy. She said that forgiving another human being for violating your child was almost beyond human capabilities. I know.

But I also know that to forgive the unforgivable is not impossible: The Forgiveness Project / The Catherine Blunt Foundation.

It is a just a process.

My Danny

"Perhaps they are not stars,
but rather openings in heaven
where the love of our lost ones
pours through and shines down upon us
to let us know they are happy."
- Eskimo Proverb -

Being 11 months old, Daniel went on a journey of discovering the content of kitchen cupboards. Oh, how I miss him, how I love him and how my heart still breaks for him every single day and night. I will never stop wanting him to come back home and I will never stop to feel the ache and the longing for my child, my darling baby, my Danny. 

To Treasure

This is Daniel's school report that he received in December 2008, after completing his very first term at school. I was (still am) so proud of him and looked forward to see him progress throughout his school career.

From the teacher's file, his Teacher Elize later also gave me her official progress report about Daniel. She wrote as follows:
Since Daniel has been a part of the Noddy class - late in 2008 he has made a lot of friends.

He is a friendly little boy who knows all his colours and shapes and even the ABS...all the way to Z.

He is happy to come to school and is very eager to see what we do each day.

See you again in 2009, Daniel!
But was never to be. Daniel died on the 6th of January 2009, the day before he would have gone back to school.

Cry Ever Tear

When hurt turns red and a piece of your heart is missing. When the cold bites deep and you’ve got that feeling like you just got out of surgery. When the only way to stay sane is to concentrate on anything else but how you feel. When you count the tiles in the ceiling. When you push the earphones closer. When the first day of winter arrives. When you remember every nuance of every word of every time. When all this happens. Embrace it. Feel every feeling. Cry every tear. Sob every sob. Because this is what it feels like to have loved.

After 18 Months

I received the phone call that Daniel that died while I was at work. My office was on the second floor with a window looking out on a big tree. I still see myself standing with my mobile phone to my ear, begging Charles not to let my child die. I was looking outside and I remember the exact detail of the leaves on that tree, all the tiny shapes in different colours green. 

The phone call ended while I was folded double to the ground, feeling sick while my eyes found every twist and turn in the faint marble pattern of the floor tiles, also detail still so clear in my memory. And I remember the wooden grain of my desk as I gathered my things to go to Daniel, leaving behind the world as I knew and loved it. 

It was a two hour drive to where Daniel was. I remember how every kilometer felt like forever and I know that I spoke to Charles again, again begging him not to let this nightmare become true. He then gave the phone to one of the doctors to tell me that Daniel was really dead. I can still feel and see the texture of the material that covered the car seats. I also noticed that there was a small bead missing from the pattern on my handbag and I wondered how and when it had lost it. 

I think the car radio was on for the entire time that it took to get to Daniel but it is only one song that I can remember playing. It is "I'm Only Human" by The Parlotones (a South African band) and whenever I hear it, it takes me back to that drive, revoking the empty feeling of the first hours after being told that Daniel had died. The song isn't sad and it isn't about death or loss but as the words from the chorus hauntingly repeated "I'm only human after all" I thought of death, being the end of our humanity and how I wasn't ready for Danny's life to have ended - it was too wrong, too soon, too painful, too unreal... and sadly too real.

That was me, 2 hours into my new lifetime of sorrow and longing. It is now nearly 18 months later and I know I will relive the horror of that day, in its vivid sickening detail, for the rest of my own human existence. How can I ever forget how it is to have lost Daniel?

Winnie The Pooh

This video clip comes from one of Danny's most favourite movies, The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. I cannot watch more than 10 seconds of this video before the pain gets too much. This music and pictures brings back memories that touch the centre of my soul. 
Dearest Danny
The "Winnie Poohs" are for you and for the special times we had watching this "DVDV" together. You have touched the core of my soul and to say that I miss you will never be enough. I ache for you, cry for you, look for you, wish for you. Losing you was to lose a part of my very Angel. Sleep well, my love is with you forever, now and into the next life - there where we will find each other again


When he shall die,
take him and cut him out in little stars
and he will make the face of heaven so  fine
that all the world will be in love with night
and pay no worship to the garish sun.
- William Shakespeare -

Daniel Wonderful

"Daniel wonderful" was another favourite  "mammadaniel game" and it went like this:

Mamma:    Daniel wonderful….

Daniel:    …yes…(all smiles in anticipation)

Mamma:    Daniel beautiful

Daniel:    ….yes….(glowing)

Mamma:    Daniel clever

Daniel:    ….yes….(loving it)

Mamma:    Daniel happy

Daniel:    ….yes….

Mamma:    Daniel funny

Daniel:    ….yes….(mixed with a string of uncontained giggles)

Mamma:    Daniel special

Daniel:    ….yes….(head nodding up and down in confirmation)

Mamma:    Daniel BIGGG

Daniel:    ….yes….(can't wait)

Mamma:    Daniel STRONG

Daniel:    ….yes….(come on Mom, hurry up!)

Mamma:    Daniel….the……..BEST!!!!

And with that we collapsed in a bundle of laughter, tickles, cuddles, kisses, love.
This game was always on repeat and we would do the whole routine few times in a row. Daniel also loved to do it the other way round where he would say "Mamma wonderful…Mamma beautiful..."

These memories pain and warm my heart in equal measures and how I wish that it wasn't all over, how I wish to have him back - my wonderful, beautiful, special Daniel child.

The Child In The Grave

By Hans Christian Anderson (1859)

It was a very sad day, and every heart in the house felt the deepest grief; for the youngest child, a boy of four years old, the joy and hope of his parents, was dead. Two daughters, the elder of whom was going to be confirmed, still remained: they were both good, charming girls; but the lost child always seems the dearest; and when it is youngest, and a son, it makes the trial still more heavy. The sisters mourned as young hearts can mourn, and were especially grieved at the sight of their parents' sorrow. The father's heart was bowed down, but the mother sunk completely under the deep grief.

Day and night she had attended to the sick child, nursing and carrying it in her bosom, as a part of herself. She could not realize the fact that the child was dead, and must be laid in a coffin to rest in the ground. She thought God could not take her darling little one from her; and when it did happen notwithstanding her hopes and her belief, and there could be no more doubt on the subject, she said in her feverish agony, "God does not know it. He has hard-hearted ministering spirits on earth, who do according to their own will, and heed not a mother's prayers."

Hole In My Heart

Time heals...but not everything.

While I recognise the parts of my life and of myself that have come an amazingly far way towards recovery over the past 16 months, there is also a part that will never be able to heal. Of all that may get better, how can having lost Daniel ever get better? It won't. For the rest of my life the intensity of my longing and the depth of my sorrow will remain with me, untouched and unchanged from the very day that Daniel had died, as will be the painful gaping hole in my heart.

Mother's Day

Fairy Godmother

She shares with me many precious memories of Daniel's first days and weeks and I will always be thankful for her support and companionship after Daniel was born – as a most amazing friend and for Daniel as his Fairy Godmother.

She moved to another city when Daniel was about 4 months old and as a farewell gift she gave me the collage.

I treasure it as symbolic of my energy and as a true reflection of my life after I had Daniel ,complete and filled with joy.

My Decision

This is a letter that I wrote to Charles when after 3 years of absence, he asked to have contact with Daniel.

We were never married and legally he had no access or visitation rights to Daniel. But was it my right to deny my son having a dad? I thought it was the right thing to forgive Charles all hurt and injustice that he caused us before and I welcomed as Daniel's dad into our precious world. But with that came my fear that he would try and take Daniel away from me...regardless of his multiple promises that he never would.


Made by Daniel - to go with Turtle Love for some thoughts.

Our Home

After Daniel had died, I never went back to our home other than to pack up everything. Henry and Alecia's things went with them to their dad. A few pieces of furniture, one box with some of my personal things and everything that was Daniel's went into storage. The rest I gave away. I couldn't bear the thought of opening the same fridge not seeing Daniel's food inside or having to wash clothes in the same washing machine that I used to wash Daniel's clothes. Same with our TV, DVD player, everything I had in my kitchen, curtains, linen and other things we had in our house content. It was 13 months ago when I closed the door of our home for the last time and I drove away knowing that the life I had with my 3 children will never be again.

Today I wrote on Facebook that I was happier than I ever thought I could possibly be after Daniel had died.

Grieving Parents

If I look back at the Last year and a bit, the time that started after I lost Daniel, I see so many wonderful things that came to me. I see how God gave me all these blessing to make life easier and as good as it could possibly get.

The letter is from me to someone whom I first met as a fellow blogger around the middle of last year. From the beginning his friendship has been a source of strength and support and I felt immensely sad and helpless when he recently lost his son, as suddenly and unexpected as I lost Daniel.

Dearest Friend

I hope you are as well as you possibly can be so shortly after your loss. If I think back to how I felt a year ago, I relive the intensity of complex emotions and unanswered questions. I wish there was more that I could do to ease your pain but to be your friend.

When I think of Daniel, I have so many thoughts and feelings but among them are two things that I now with my entire being, heart, mind and soul and that is that Daniel is safe and happy where he is now and that I will definitely see him again. I also believe this to be true for your son and for you.

I wish you strength and peace. You are an amazing person and I know you will conquer your pain but it takes time. This is not a quick or easy journey and don't push yourself to remember if you are not ready for the memories.

It took me a year before I could look for the first time at one of the few small video clips I have of Daniel and I still have a brown paper bag in my cupboard which I haven't open. It came from the hospital where Daniel was taken to after he had drowned. When I arrived there he was naked under a sheet and the clothes he had one were put in a bag. I still don't have the heart to know what he was wearing when he died.

There is no time limit on how and when we open ourselves to all that encompass the loss of our children. When we are personally ready and strong enough to face each memory, we will. It can be today, tomorrow or never. There is no right or wrong. And my only advise to any grieving parent is to do what you feel are best for you. I have seen how unique we are in our mourning. Just be as good and as kind to yourself as you can be.

I keep you in my prayers and thoughts.

Love, Alison