This was a nice surprise. A genuinely unexpected one. At a time where I felt that I had stalled in my efforts an email appeared to say I had been nominated for the new Awareness Advocate category at the Butterfly Awards.
At the time I didn’t know the names of the other finalists and now I do I’m even more surprised. I’ve been walking this path for nearly 3 years alongside my day job and my life. I’ve been trying to combine the two with some mixed successes. Mine is a subtle war of attrition, in part because of the constraints of my role and in part because it’s not my nature to court publicity. I feel profoundly uneasy with self-promotion which is why I feel I haven’t achieved as much as I could have.
This is the usual guilt of not doing enough, of not being enough. Luckily I have fellow club members to help reassure me that it is enough and self-care is vital. We all have our battle scars from awareness raising.
Speaking of which I remain baffled that the mighty Jess has not been nominated for the phenomenal work she has done for the cause. My nomination referenced my small role in collating the tweets from #BabyLossHour but she has been the driving force in making those hours happen!
The need for a little self promotion has also marked a big shift for me personally and my friends and family. The blog started as a private one, shared with the fellow loss parents of the Tamba Bereavement Support Group . They helped give me the push to get those blogs to a wider audience.
But even with my semi-anonymity I didn’t tell many of my friends and kept it from my family for a very long time to try and protect them but also to allow me to write without having to censor myself.
As 7 years ago when our sons died, the news about my nomination, for what it was for and what I have been doing has inspired people to tell me about their own hidden stories. The same happened at work, it made me realise what I’ve been doing over these years as a matter of course is seen as a big thing. I’ve been thanked for sharing which always feels weird to me but I’m learning to accept.
I genuinely don’t expect to win and may even feel embarrassed if I did compared to the other nominees. I’m happy to have made a small difference in encouraging people to have those difficult conversations at home, at work and beyond and in doing so making them less difficult and as natural as talking about living children.
For those interested in amateur YouTube slideshows you can watch my-first-Youtube style presentation here. It was meant to be backed by one of my own tracks but after a frustrating four hours trying to get something usable using many, many apps I chose a Nick Cave track instead. Enjoy.