Yesterday I was very honoured to receive an award for a piece of writing I did for International Women's Day. I wrote it about all the women who have inspired me. I want to dedicate it to every single woman in my life who has stood by my side over the past few years. Every piece of advice and words of encouragement you gave me managed to pull me through the bad times. Without you I wouldn't have been able to write this.Thank you ❤️
The woman who has inspired me the most, is the one who stood beside me through thick and thin. No matter what has happened to me, she has always been there.
When I lost my three-month-old son Charlie to meningitis, she held me tightly in her arms as I cradled his body. She was a beacon of light during the depths of my grief and held the pieces of my broken heart together. She told me that his death wasn’t in vain. She urged me to ‘turn your loss into a positive and use it to help others’. She gently encouraged me to write about him, to share his story and try and save other lives by talking publicly about our traumatic experience.
She was the constant hum in my ear, whispering ‘you can do this, you can make a difference’. She gave me the strength to get out of bed each day when all I wanted to do was to curl up into a ball, cry myself to sleep and never wake up again.
She didn’t let me down, instead she pushed me harder and harder until we reached millions of people, raising awareness of the signs of this potentially fatal condition. Her support was unfailing, telling me I was capable of much more than I could ever believe. Together we achieved incredible things and for a brief moment life was magical.
She was there when I found out I was pregnant with my daughter and shared my emotional delight, comforting me that everything was going to be ok this time. She smiled knowingly, as she said this baby was a gift from Charlie. In her heart she knew that he had sent his little sister down, to help heal some of those terrible wounds I had suffered.
When I became seriously ill, she was still right next to me, my very own cheerleader. She told me I was more than just my illness. She was convinced that I could turn my disability into another way to do some good and that I shouldn’t let it take over who I was. ‘It is just a part of your body that isn’t functioning, but it doesn’t define you’ she reassured me. She said I had a public voice now and I should use it to advocate for other people, those who were in the same boat that I now found myself in. Yet again, she knew me better than anyone else and had a way of pulling me through.
As I questioned myself over and over, she asked me if I wanted to give up? Knowing full well that giving up wasn’t part of who I am. She was the only person who could say that to me, as she knew exactly how I would answer. No, I wouldn’t stop, but I would do as much as my body was capable of. I couldn’t do much physically, but her words were enough to keep me going, even when my body let me down.
When I fell into a deep depression, there was that whisper in my ear once more ‘you are enough’. I shook it off and ignored her, as I couldn’t believe that it was true. I wasn’t enough, I was a burden to everyone because of my disability. She wouldn’t stop though, she kept going and going until the words finally filtered into my brain. Eventually a flicker of light shone through the tunnel of darkness, pulling me back from the brink once more.
She told me just to be me and let my personality shine, but once again I didn’t listen. That was the hardest advice to take from her. Being yourself is one of the most difficult things to do in life, to let down the fortress around you and allow people in. She loves me though and accepts me for the person inside. She said, ‘dance in your wheelchair, sing songs really badly, make people laugh, be the natural show off that you are and write...oh please write!’
So I did. With great trepidation I wrote down my innermost thoughts and dreams. I shared deep, personal things with complete strangers, and you know what? She was absolutely right! She knew exactly what was best for me. It gave my confidence the boost it so desperately needed and she lifted me out of some of my darkest days.
Today I looked over at her, to see her smiling back at me, like a proud parent to a child. She is the person I will always look up to, the person I want to be.
She is my inner voice. She is me.