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Farewell, 2014 – the worst year of my life – and the best

Well, 2014. In a few days it will be time for us to part ways. I shall be sorry to see you go.

There will be some who will find that strange. Yes, 2014 has been in many ways the worst year of my life. But it has also been the best.

2014 was the year I became a Mummy. There really is no greater gift.

The year started with such promise, it was to be ‘our year’. I was expecting our long-awaited baby. My all-day-and-all-night nausea had finally abated, the dreadful draining tiredness had finally gone, and the radiant vibrancy of the second trimester had finally arrived. My bump was growing well, and inside it my baby was kicking and punching me like a pro.

You lulled me in to a false sense of security, though, 2014. You were not destined to be ‘our year’ at all. You were just a month and a half old when it all fell apart. Me seriously ill, my baby born far too prematurely, him fighting so hard for his life, my beloved baby dying a month later. Any one of those things would be enough to devastate someone, but you packed them all in even before the first quarter was over.

Hugo

Hugo

It’s funny, though, 2014 because I don’t hate you. You have given me the best time of my life.

Those 35 precious days with my beautiful baby. Every day his Daddy and I marvelled at Hugo, this perfect little human being we created together. Every day Hugo made us laugh, and amazed us with his strength of character. Every day, we loved Hugo more. We didn’t know it was possible to love someone so much. The power of that love is incomparable.

During 2014, I have been shown how much I am loved and valued, too. I have been overwhelmed by the love and support I have received from family and friends. Those friends include those I have known for years, those who I have reconnected with. I am sorry I have not been a better relation or friend this year. I have been selfish, and unreliable. I hope you will understand that I have done whatever I can this year to survive my heartbreak, but know I appreciate and value everything you have done for me.

2014 introduced me to people who were complete strangers before everything happened, whom I have met on social media and through blogging. I hope they will not take offence at my wish that I had not met any of them, but I am so incredibly grateful for your continuing love and support for me and for my blog.

I have learnt so much about myself during the past nine months. My strength, my passion, my determination to survive. My strength, my passion, my determination to stand up for what I believe to be right, to use my experience to make changes for others. My passion and determination to make Hugo’s memory live on through these changes, his enduring legacy.

Me and Hugo

Me and Hugo

When I look back on 2014, much seems a blur. I wonder if you put a funny focus on some of the months, with a finger on fast forward. I had so many plans to change the world by the end of the year. The world remains unchanged, but an impact has been made. Hugo’s legacy is making a difference already. I should be proud, I know, and I am.

This feeling is because all the crap you have thrown me alongside the good, 2014. I have crawled through some of those months on my hands and knees, or trying to climb an escalator that is going down.

But you know what, 2014? Despite all the crap you have sent me, I am still here. I am going, still. I won’t say ‘going strong’, because I don’t feel that. Considering there were times that felt like the crap was going to beat me, me still going is an achievement.

I really will be sorry to see you go. I feel like I’m just getting a handle on your ways. I know it’s silly, really: there is no actual difference between 23:59 on December 31 and 00:01 on January 1. Our culture likes to measure time in this way. Other cultures celebrate their new year at a different time.

Other don’t track time at all. That sounds quite liberating.

It sounds liberating because I am dreading the end of 2014. 2014 is the year of Hugo, the year in which he lived. 2015 is unknown. It will also bring the worst firsts of all: the anniversaries of Hugo’s birth, and his death.

I know better than to wish for anything to happen. You never know what’s around the corner. I don’t know how these things work, 2014, but surely, hopefully, I have had more than my share of sorrow and heartbreak during your year. I have enjoyed wonderful highs, so much joy, I know, and for that I am forever grateful.  Joy is a wonderful gift, and like anyone I wish for happiness. But I know that in real life unicorns do not fart rainbows. What I ask for, then, is a year of better emotional stability, where the lows do not steep to such terrifying depths.

Farewell, 2014. My best year, and my worst. Please ask 2015 to be kind.

Unicorn farting rainbows

16 thoughts on “Farewell, 2014 – the worst year of my life – and the best

  1. Louise says:

    Leigh, you have so much strength and I so admire your positivity. I’m not remotely offended about your wish that you have never met many of your online friends – I wish that 2014 could have been all that you had hoped for. It must be very hard to be bidding goodbye to the ‘year of Hugo’ with the very mixed emotions and memories from this past year but Hugo will continue to be in your hearts throughout 2015 and onwards. You do so much to help keep his memory alive, help raise awareness of HELLP and break the taboos surrounding baby loss. Hugo has touched the hearts of so many who never met him through your beautiful words and photos. Wishing you a gentle and kind 2015 xx

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    • Leigh Kendall says:

      Thank you Louise. I’m glad you’re not offended! You have always been so kind and supportive, I really do appreciate it, thank you. Hugo’s memory will live on through us, especially those like you who have taken Hugo’s legacy to heart. Wishing you a kind 2015 too xxx

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  2. Tim says:

    Leigh, your strength in adversity is an example to us all. I hope we get the opportunity to meet in person in 2015 (if I ever summon up the organisation to book myself on to a blogging conference!)

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  3. mummyshambles says:

    Amazing post, Leigh!
    2014 for me, has been full of inspirational people I’ve ‘met’ via social networking and blogging and you’re the one who has inspired me the most. Life is full of heartbreak, there really is no getting away from that but while life steals what we love the most, it can’t steal our spirit unless we allow it to. It’s our spirit which propels us forward when the worst happens. Hugo lives on in everything you do. The little man was here for the briefest time but he’s left a huge legacy of love and that love lives on in you.
    Much love xXx

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    • Leigh Kendall says:

      Blimey it’s very kind of you to say so, thank you, I’m humbled. Hugo has left the most incredible legacy, and lives on through it. It is the least I can do for him. Thank you for all your love and support, it really does mean so much xxx

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  4. Michelle Payne-Gale says:

    Incredible post. 2014 has dealt you one of the worst of blows. But I’m thankful that it also introduced us all to one of the cutest little personalities to grace 35 days on earth, as well as this passionate, devoted, articulate, determined and truly kickass Mum that we didn’t yet know in 2013. Y’know, one of those Mums that you admire and fear in equal measure?! I hope 2015 is gentle on you too. Xx

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  5. Debbie Soper says:

    I only know of you through Michaela Finegan’s posting your message on her FB page but I have to say what a fantastically strong and resilient lady you are to have gone through so much sadness and tragedy in 2014 but still see the positives. Hugo was a very lucky little boy to have a mummy like you. He will always be with you and knows how much his mummy and daddy will always love him. May 2015 be a kinder year to you both but also going forward may 2014 give you wonderful memories of the precious time you shared with your very own little angel who’s spark shone so brightly, even for a short time here on earth, that he was missed by the other angels. Wishing you peace, love and happiness not just for 2015 but for always xxx

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    • Leigh Kendall says:

      Thank you so much for taking the time to read about Hugo, and comment. Thank you too for your kind words. I am very lucky to have such a wonderful son, I just wish Hugo was with us in person. Best wishes to you for 2015. xxx

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  6. caroline326 says:

    I feel the same way about 2014 – definitely the best and worst year of my life. So much joy and so much pain coexisting in a way I did not know possible. Praying that 2015 brings you more joy!

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