In her first blog post, read about how Lyndy marked a special, but heartbreaking milestone – her precious son, Thomas’s 18th birthday.
This year marked a very special time in my life, I turned 50 and my precious son Thomas turned 18. I will tell you a little of my story. Thomas Bowden was born on the 20th August 1997. Unfortunately Thomas was diagnosed with HRHS, a condition where the right ventricle of the heart is underdeveloped and Transposition of the Great Arteries (TGA) at 26 weeks gestation.
The specialists all believed that Thomas would survive, but would require surgery. Thomas was born by C-section in our small hometown of Hobart Tasmania. He looked a picture of health, 9lb 15 oz of pure joy.
However, not long after he was born things started to go wrong. Thomas was placed on a ventilator and flown 600km away by air ambulance to the Royal Children's Hospital in Melbourne for treatment. On day 3, Thomas underwent a 10 hour surgery, the first of what was to be many surgeries. For 24 hours following Thomas heart surgery things went so well, he was placed on at least 20 different machines doing so many different things to keep him alive.
Day 4 brought with it a special celebration. When I arrived at Thomas's bed that morning there was a special card saying "HAPPY BIRTHDAY MUMMY LOVE THOMAS", what a beautiful gift. The day went along smoothly until around dinner time when suddenly machines started to beep everywhere. Doctors were called but in my mind I still believed everything would be okay. More machines beeped and alarms went off. Code Blue is called and people come from everywhere to try and save Thomas's life. I paced, I cried, in my mind I screamed, how could I stand here and watch this happen to my child, my baby. This will always be something I later regret, I left the room. I was placed in a small room for what seemed like an eternity but in reality probably was not. I remember the Doctor entering the room but still to this day I cannot remember him telling me Thomas had died.
For all I remember is that sound, the sound that came deep from within me, the sound of my heart breaking, the sound that only a parent who has a child die can truly understand.
When I returned from Melbourne a friend told me about Sands. I needed to be able to talk with people who understood my pain and what my journey would now be like without Thomas in my life. Over the past nearly 18 years Sands has been by my side, supporting me and acknowledging that grief is a lifetime journey. Sands gave me hope and understanding.
Over the years, I have thought about long and hard about what I could do to mark this very special but heartbreaking birthday. I could have organised a party, or had a special dinner but I needed to do something that had meaning, something that could make a difference, something that allowed others to celebrate Thomas’s life.
I came across a site called Everyday Hero. The title of the page resinated with me, for Thomas is my hero, I am the person I am today because of Thomas’s existence, however brief it was.
I decided that I would seek donations for Sands in memory of Thomas’s 18th Birthday. Setting up Everyday Hero was so easy, I needed that, I didn’t want anything complicated for me or for the people that were going to donate. I was not sure how it would go but set a target of $500, sent the link to all my friends and family and was truly overwhelmed with the generosity by my loved ones, and even people that I didn’t know. Together we raised $798 for Sands. To me this page meant so much, to be able to give back to Sands in memory of my beautiful son. There are no words to describe how this felt, but I will say I felt privileged that Thomas meant so much to so many people.
A poem for Thomas:
In the quiet of the night I remember like it was yesterday..... and as the tears fall softly down my cheek I think of how you felt in my arms and how you smelt like the sweetest spring day..... the bond between parent and child is so powerful...I wish beyond wishes that things were different but as a wise person once said...." When you accept what has happened, you aren't acknowledging that it is okay but rather, that you know you must find a way to keep growing and living - even if you don't feel like it...Don't let grief be your constant companion...Realize that your grief is born out of unconditional love for your child and rejoice in that love which will never end... Embracing life again is not a sign that you have stopped missing your baby, but an example of a love that is eternal"
♥ I love you and miss you Thomas Anthony Bowden ♥
20/08/97 ~ 24/08/97
Thank you for taking the time to read about my Thomas. If you would like to create a tribute page for your baby like I did, click on the link below and sign up.
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Sands on 13 000 72637