Five Years

Five Years

06 March 2015

There was a school outing this week where the kids ended up entertaining themselves and a group of moms sat down and started chatting. The conversation came around to a local tragedy of the death of a one-year old boy.

‘Losing a child, wow, I just don’t know how you can possibly survive that’  said one of the moms.

We moved areas a few months ago and the girls have started at a new school and so not many people here know our history. Sometimes when conversations like this come up I just listen but this time I shared our story and each time I share it I can’t really believe that this has been a script in our lives. Perhaps it’s the fact that the anniversary of Jude’s death is looming once again and on my mind so much. With the darkening mornings and falling leaves, this time of year is always a reminder for us of our changed reality and that your little world as you know it can change in an instant. Has it really been five years since we have survived the unsurvivable?

This week huge fires have been blazing around Cape Town and although we haven't had to evacuate our home and have been fortunate not to have our home damaged or burned like some others, we have seen the flames on the mountain from our back garden and imagined having to grab a few things and just go. Yes, it would be a huge inconvenience to lose our home and possessions but at the end of the day none of our ‘stuff’ really matters. Possessions can be replaced; lives and health not so much. The morning that we found Jude, we said we would walk away from everything we owned if we could just have our baby boy back.

The mornings are initially my worst and then my favourite time of the day. I always wake up with a sense of panic that someone is not going to wake up and when they do, everyone is sleepy and not yet nagging and I am filled with a huge sense of gratitude that we are all around for another day together. We will always have the constant reminder that everything can change in an instant as it does for so many people constantly around the world. There are many many people out there who are surviving the unsurvivable in their own way all around us, limping along with an invisible amputation of death or diagnosis.

On that day five years ago, I remember numbly saying that I didn't know how I was going to make it through life without becoming completely bitter and awful to be around. My husband and children will attest to the fact that I am sometimes very awful, but how can I be bitter with everything that I have been given? I am so grateful to have been given so much love and exposed to much beauty in the past few years.

A few weekends ago we visited Elim, a little town 2 hours from Cape Town that we visited with Jude when he was nearly a year old. We went back to the spot that we went with him and tried to get the girls to stand still to take a similar kind of photo. When we stood there with Jude, we certainly did not think that we would be back six years later without him on the earth and with two other children.

Today I am grateful for our lives as they are and the gift of perspective. For our home that is still here in it's need of extreme renovation, for our health, for this little family of ours that can drive me to madness and that I adore so much. It can all change in an instant.

Comments (20)

  • 06 March 2015 at 06:50

    Laura Gerber - Jules, I am so very sorry for your loss!

  • 06 March 2015 at 06:51

    Leebell - Jules!!!! So incredibly written and reflects how incredible you and Si are. Been thinking of you all week with this date looming. Love you HUGE guys xxx

  • 06 March 2015 at 07:04

    Kirsten Cameron - Kayla was only a few months younger than Jude at that time and I didn't even know how to respond adequately to that terrible news it felt so huge and unimaginable. I still think of him often even though I never met him in person as I watch my girls grow. Miss ya Jules and sending love at this emotional time.

  • 06 March 2015 at 07:07

    Lisa Fullstone - I have no words except to say that you have an amazing perspective, been following your blog for years and you continue to inspire.

  • 06 March 2015 at 07:08

    Monica Dart - Babes, I'm constantly in awe of how you express yourself not only through images, but through words. I thought about Jude alot yesterday, knowing today would arrive....and shaking my head in disbelief that it's been 5 years. So special that you have taken a photo of the girls in the same spot. That photo of Judels, always makes me think of little buddha boy, holding his hand up to God. Love you my friend, and thinking of you guys

  • 06 March 2015 at 07:59

    Taryn Harris - Hi Jules - I find myself often thinking of this tragedy that happened to you 5 years ago and certainly cannot believe that this much time has passed. I don't think any amount of time can heal what you went through. But your beautiful family is certainly helping you find perspective. Thinking of you all. Xx

  • 06 March 2015 at 08:02

    Mich Rae - Jules, thank you for your raw & honest words! You encourage & inspire me. Sending love to you today x

  • 06 March 2015 at 08:03

    Marcos Cruz - Beautiful read and Photographs Jules, your strength inspires me. X

  • 06 March 2015 at 08:23

    Anabela - Dearest Jules, I only ever met you once up in Jhb at the Photo and Film Expo 2 years back, sitting next to you oblivious to this tragedy you live with. I cried deeply after reading your post and commend you and your husband for the strength you have living with the loss. I don't think I could... Sending you much love

  • 06 March 2015 at 09:10

    Kate Diaz - Always think about you this time of year Jules. I also cannot believe its been 5 years. Beautifully written as always :) Sending lots of love and hugs! xx

  • 06 March 2015 at 10:41

    Kareen - Jules thank you for the courage to share. For some of us who have met for a moment yet touched by your light it is evident that your shine comes with happy and sad times. My Father-in-Law was so amazed during our photo shoot that that was the first time we met. I truly believe we are the sum of our experiences and I wish you nothing but love as you remember the loss and grief. Sending you lots and lots of "warrior mom" vibes because no one but a mom knows the bond of a child. Xoxo

  • 06 March 2015 at 10:53

    Julie Baker - Oh Jules, you have such a way with words. I can't believe it's been 5 years already and so much has changed and so much hasn't. As always, your strength inspires me and Matt, Sebastian, bump and I send you and your family much love at this time xxx

  • 06 March 2015 at 11:45

    Debbie Tembo - Jules you are beautiful and blessed. We will always remember your gorgeous little boy Jude! Much strength always until you meet him again.

  • 06 March 2015 at 13:54

    Nicky Stowe - My beautiful and incredibly strong and unbelievably amazing continue to blow me away with the way you beautifully express such a personal and traumatic incident with Judes passing - you somehow carry on and continue to be the awesomeness that you are, you continue to celebrate the time he spent with you and Si - such a special little soul - we will all always think of him and always love him to the end of our days. Love you my Jules. xxxxxx

  • 06 March 2015 at 19:05

    Delre - Jules,
    Big hugs. You are one of the strongest women I know.
    Love you lots.

  • 06 March 2015 at 20:28

    Kat forsyth - Jules, I know we don't really know each other in real life, but I'll never forget the day you posted about Jude. Like Monica said, you express yourself so beautifully, and it always makes me tear up. The honest way you've dealt with everything has been an inspiration to me! Xx

  • 23 March 2015 at 12:33

    Claire Harries - Even though we've never met, Jules, I want to thank you for being so wonderful. I am grateful for your open and sharing heart. I am going through such a terrible divorce and through it, so much in my life has 'died'--my dreams, my hopes, my world. I cannot begin to imagine what it must be like to lose a child. And I don't wish make light of your journey through the death of my world as I know it. Your comforting words and perspective on life as you've managed to move on and perhaps even on some days, 'drag on', give me hope. Our life stories are completely different but we do have something in common; we have both seen very dark days. Your courageous message gave me the hope today that I so needed.

  • 13 April 2015 at 19:47

    Joelene - Jules really such an inspirational story. You truely are an unbelievable women and true test to the postive test of life. Thank you so much for sharing this story of your life with us.

  • 07 May 2015 at 17:57

    Sarah Varney - Wow what a story and so well written. You have taken the words I often fail to express. We lost our 2nd son Gabriel at 9 months, days before he was due to be born. I too never thought life could be so horrible to me and how could I go on. A year later I have birth to a baby girl Siena, she will never replace Gabriel but I thank God for her every day, I feel I can smile again but like you I dread for anything to happen to her. I often find it hard to live in fear of the worse, think it comes from having your heart broken. Xx

  • 27 January 2016 at 19:49

    Kaya - Oh Jules, I am so sorry to hear about your baby boy... What a strong and resilient woman you are to survive such a tragedy and to still be able to continue day in and day out and with a smile on your face . Sending, love, warmth and light to you and yours from San Diego, CA!! ❤

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