The week has been hurly-burly, with myriad emotions.

Bittersweet highs: so many people remembering Hugo for his birthday, beautiful gifts full of symbolism; Hugo’s Legacy trending on Twitter.

Every day since Hugo’s birthday thinking what I was doing on this day last year. I was such a proud new mummy, yet bewildered in a hospital I was unfamiliar with, in part of London I was unfamiliar with, and mothering my son in a way I had never expected. A year ago today, Hugo had to have a chest drain because of a collapsed lung, while I was finally starting to feel physically better as the result of a blood transfusion.

My first photo with Hugo - taken on March 3.

My first photo with Hugo – taken on March 3.

March is a hurly-burly month. Thinking back to this time last year, the most wonderful and most heartbreaking 35 days of our lives cannot be helped. Knowing there will soon be a time when we can no longer say ‘last year’ about Hugo. Entering a new timeframe. Trying to look forward, to the next chapter of our lives. Trying to remind ourselves that Hugo would want us to be happy, to get out in the world.

Step by step, I have been getting myself out in the world.  In a controlled way, seeing people I know well, those who know my story and who I can rely on to be sensitive, but still I am doing it.

Having a chat with friends, a glass of wine perhaps, a laugh even. The conversations don’t always have to revolve around Hugo. Not talking about Hugo does not make me a bad mother.

Getting out there in the ‘real world’ acknowledges there is only so much Hugo’s Legacy can achieve as a keyboard warrior. This brought me the most inspiring and happiest day since Hugo died. I visited London, seeing friends. First was a catch-up with the lovely Kiran from Mummy Says, then a chat with the brilliant Michaela.

Kiran and me.

Kiran and me.

This was followed by accompanying Michaela to a meeting at Best Beginnings with Alison, their effervescent CEO. It was lovely to meet Alison after chatting on Twitter for the past few months.

You may remember that for Hugo’s birthday we have been fundraising for DVD players so St George’s neonatal parents could watch the Small Wonders films – Best Beginnings is the charity that made them. I heard more about their great work, met the brilliant team, and talked about the work I have been doing as part of Hugo’s legacy. I was bowled over when I was told that other bereaved parents are fundraising for Best Beginnings, after reading about Hugo.


Best Beginnings’ Small Wonders DVDs.

Hugo and his legacy are making an impact. The news above added to the knowledge that my tweets on Hugo’s birthday had a reach of 1.1 million creates hurly-burly emotions.

We are achieving positive change. I do not need punish myself. I have nothing to punish myself for.

I can relax a bit. I need to relax a bit.

During the past week I have been keeping myself busy. I was tempted to label this activity a ‘regression’, because I have returned to being emotionally exhausted and finding it difficult to relax.

I have to remember to not forget my grief, make time for it, nurture it. I have already learned the hard way that ignoring my grief makes it worse.

It is not a ‘regression’ because it is part of the hurly-burly pattern to grief. Unpredictable, non-linear.

But I am strong, and having survived the past year I surely can deal with anything.

The other night, Martin and I gave a toast to Hugo, and to ourselves for having survived this hurly-burly year.

The Reading Residence

15 thoughts on “Hurly-burly

  1. You Baby Me Mummy says:

    Everyone is proud of what you have achieved in the worst possible circumstances. You are an inspiration to us all xx


  2. Casey Bottono says:

    I’m wrestling with what I want to say here, so I’m just going to say it. I love you, Leigh. Your bravery is evident in that first photo – thank you for sharing it. ‘Hurly-burly’ (wonderful word) sums it up so well. Thank you again, for sharing your journey with us. I wish you peace where you can find it, as often as you need it.

    Take care,



    • Leigh Kendall says:

      Gosh Casey I’m not sure what to say – but thank you. I’m honestly just doing what I do – I don’t know any other way. I meant to mention in the post, I had a delicious hot chocolate, one of the best – lovely and chocolatey – in Carluccios. Highly recommended! xx


  3. Mummy Tries says:

    Sounds like there have definitely been lots of positives this week lovely, and what a fab word to sum it up! Slowing down and giving yourself a well deserved break sounds like the very best plan of action. Well done for getting through the tough bits, you continue to amaze me xxx


  4. thereadingresidence says:

    You do need to relax and stop punishing yourself, for you’ve nothing to punish yourself for. You’ve achieved so much with #HugosLegacy and you two have made it through the year together. Hurly-burly sums it all up so well for you, and I’m glad you’ve had some highlights this week, though do have a rest now, lovely lady xx Thanks for sharing with #WotW


    • Leigh Kendall says:

      Thank you. I know rationally I have nothing to punish myself for – I guess it’s also part of trying to fill the emptiness. Thank you for your kind words and support as ever xxx


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