An Aunt’s Perspective: My Journey With & Without My Nephew Freddie

When Nic asked me to contribute to her blog I was really touched and honoured and I had no hesitation in taking part.  Having watched Nic write about her inner most thoughts and feelings during the month of October, it felt really natural to write about how it feels from an auntie’s perspective to lose my precious nephew, Freddie.

Freddie, as he is now known, spent most of Nic’s pregnancy known to me as ‘Ickle Ricole’. It was only on the day I got to meet Freddie that his name was revealed so for most of this blog I will be referring to him as ‘Ickle Ricole’.

So when did my journey with Ickle Ricole begin?  Well I had the amazing fortune to find out I was going to be an auntie twice!!  The first time was on the night James Arthur won the X Factor.  I had invited Nic and Rik round for dinner and it is fair to say that a few cocktails were consumed that evening.  As the taxi drew up, Rik went outside and Nic grabbed me in my hallway and in a slightly tipsy state revealed that she was a day or so late and that she was possibly pregnant.  I remember jumping up and down in my hallway absolutely elated and then going into complete panic mode that I had just spent the whole night supplying her with alcohol!

The next morning I was just beside myself and Nic realised what she had revealed and tried to put me off the scent.  I remember feeling absolutely gutted that it was not the case, so when Nic revealed on Boxing Day at Mum’s that she was in fact pregnant, well it was double elation.  Secretly I still consider the first time I found out in my hallway and I will treasure that memory forever!

Knowing that I was going to be an auntie filled me with so much pride and adulation. Having never been a mum myself, or lucky enough to be gifted the title of a godmother, I just could not wait to be the best auntie ever.  However, despite my complete and utter joy for my sister and my brother-in-law there was a part of me, if I am brutally honest, that was incredibly jealous.

For the first time in my life I was not going to be the first for something.  I had been the first-born, to go to school and university, to get a job, to get married etc., but Nic was going be the first to give my parents the most truly extraordinary gift of being a grandparent. For months I silently struggled with these thoughts whilst Nic was expecting and I remember so vividly sitting in the hospital room on the day Nic and Rik lost Freddie feeling so guilty that I had ever had these thoughts.

After we found out Ickle Ricole was a boy, I think I was most looking forward to watching him grow, laugh, throw funny tantrums or to say a kid’s favourite word “why?” a million times, but most of all bake cakes with him.  As a boy he probably would have absolutely hated it but I could not wait to have him stand at the cooker and teach him, like my Grannie taught me, how much fun you could have baking in the kitchen.

It evoked so many memories for me and I just could not wait to throw mini sports day competitions in mum’s garden and present him with little cups and trophies like our Grannie did with us or teach him how to get all arty and crafty and watch him take back to his mummy and daddy everything he had made with his auntie Chellebelle (as I am known) and seeing their faces.  I could not wait for my fridge to be covered in Ickle Ricole’s drawings, to hear him say auntie for the first time and to have my heart melt in two.

On my 40th birthday I remember my friends saying that Ickle Ricole was going to be utterly spoilt by his auntie and true to form I bought so many things for the little guy.  I loved my ‘pretend’ shopping trip with my sister where we pretended we were buying gifts for my friend who was expecting but actually it was for my her!  Two gifts really stand out as the most precious to me now and that is a little navy blue t-shirt I had bought him for 0-three months old which said ‘My Auntie Rocks’.  I could not wait to see him wearing it….

Continue reading An Aunt’s Perspective: My Journey With & Without My Nephew Freddie

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One More Step Along The World I Go

All Souls Service
All Souls Service

On Sunday 3rd November a few members of my family attended the All Souls Service held at St Matthew’s Church, Cobo.  This was a service of commemoration and thanksgiving and attending it at St Matthew’s Church was particularly poignant for our family as this is the church where Rik and I got married and held Freddie’s funeral.

You can add the name of your loved lost one to a list which is read out during the middle of the service before candles can be lit in honour of each person.  We chose to add both Freddie and Rik’s mother to the list, plus my auntie who lost her fight to cancer at the end of last year.

As we were sat there waiting for the service to start I couldn’t help but notice the hymn numbers on display from an earlier service.  The first song number 27 immediately caught my eye as this is now Freddie’s number having been born at 10.27pm and had his funeral on the 27th August.  My husband then pointed out to me that the fourth song number was a hymn he chose for our wedding service called ‘One More Step Along The World I Go’.  I looked up the song in the hymn book provided and as I reminded myself of the lyrics, was taken back to why we loved it so much and chose it.

One more step along the world I go,
one more step along the world I go;
from the old things to the new
keep me traveling along with you:
And it’s from the old I travel to the new;
keep me traveling along with you.

Round the corner of the world I turn,
more and more about the world I learn;
all the new things that I see
you’ll be looking at along with me.
And it’s from the old I travel to the new;
keep me traveling along with you.

As I travel through the bad and good,
keep me traveling the way I should;
where I see no way to go
you’ll be telling me the way, I know.
And it’s from the old I travel to the new;
keep me traveling along with you.

Give me courage when the world is rough,
keep me loving though the world is tough;
leap and sing in all I do,
keep me traveling along with you.
And it’s from the old I travel to the new;
keep me traveling along with you.

You are older than the world can be,
you are younger than the life in me;
ever old and ever new,
keep me traveling along with you.
And it’s from the old I travel to the new;
keep me traveling along with you.

I saw it as a sign and a reminder about the promises we made to each other on our wedding day and that the tough and rough times we are going through now are to be traveled through together.

As Freddie’s name was read out I had a huge sense of pride and hoped he could hear his name so he knew we were thinking about him.  I believe that the more we do in his honour the more of an existence we are building up of him.  I am so pleased we named him and he has an identity for us and our family to build memories on.

As I placed my lit candle with the others I spoke out to my son and said ‘I love you Freddie’.  I know he knows we love him, but I just keep having to say it to make sure he is aware that as we continue through life, we keep him traveling along with us.