This year during lockdown we chose to celebrate Valentines love by spreading love in our community and sharing our memories of those we love and cannot be with.
This page will have pictures of our Valentine craft, for which so many of our congregation and some of the local schools were involved with.
Our special Valentine’s service was very moving and you can find some of the testimony’s as well from the brave people who got up to speak.
Order of service: Valentines Day Service
Written & read by Katie Blewett:
On Wednesday the 17th February my second daughter Madeleine would have been six months old. I am six months into a new life as a grieving mother, whilst still trying to be a good mother to the wonderful daughter I already have. Her death on the 16th August 2020, a tragic cord accident that happened before she had the chance to take a breath in this world, happened less than 3 weeks before she was due. She was born the next day. Whilst the fact that losing her will be the hardest ever thing I will deal with in my life, the experience has taught me a lot about the strength of love as I have discovered that the raw grief, that I felt back in the early days, doesn’t last forever but love does. The support I received then and continue to now from my family and friends have not only taught me gratitude and how lucky I am, but also that sometimes love can show itself in ways I would have never have understood before losing her and from people who have chosen or found their calling to help those in need – for me, my midwife and the bereavement midwife who still look after me, Maddie and my family, the counselling I was provided from a charity who want to help anyone who goes through this experience, the friendly welcome I have received from the congregation here at St Paulinus and having Fr Paul and Rev Amanda to talk to and receive guidance from are what I have needed to try to navigate my way through the darkness. The fact that they arranged this service demonstrates how they are both giving us all the much needed, often entertaining, respite we need at this time but certainly the escape and welcoming I need.
It is purely my love for Maddie that gives me the strength and determination to stand in front of you today. To be able to tell you her story and the fact that she existed, ensuring her legacy will live on through me and the love from my family is so comforting to me. I am her mum, that will never change, but I cannot express love for her in the same way any of us can with those who are living, including with my first daughter Phoebe. I have to show it and be a mother to her in other ways – holding her, bathing and dressing her in the beginning, to loving her enough to let her go, her funeral being my final act of love to a physical her. Now it’s for her spirit and memory. I took part in a sponsored walk in her memory in the baby loss awareness month of October, her name proudly and lovingly displayed for everyone to see. I have sought permission to raise money to create a garden in remembrance of lost babies in Bexley, under her name which is being worked on. All acts of love in her name but hopefully also helping others and showing them love and care too.
I mentioned my family being there for me before but that continues. On the 17th of every month, flowers, a memory box and gifts so far. She even had a place at the table at Christmas- incredibly difficult but the most beautiful act of love in her memory. But more importantly when I have those days when I am back there reliving the early days, they lift me up and remind me that giving up would be the easiest thing to do, that doing every last thing I can for my children and for those around me who need that love and care is the best thing I could do in Maddie’s memory and show her the love she deserves.
I thank you for listening to my story today, the subject of baby loss is still so difficult to hear about, but hopefully through love for the children we have lost we can change this and make their names heard. I get a great deal of comfort from lyrics in music and it seemed destined that today I heard Ed Sheeran sing the exact words to sum up the journey I have taken, I was “so alone in love like the world had disappeared, I won’t be silent and I won’t let go, I will hold on tighter till the afterglow, and we’ll burn so bright till the darkness softly clears.” I have faith that it will for all of us.
Family and Friends
Words can’t describe how happy and grateful I am,
To have such amazing family and friends.
They encourage and help me to get to,
Places that I would never have dreamt.
My sisters, mum, dad, gran, members of St Paulinus Church and School, St John Ambulance Club, my readers and fans,
Are some of the loving hands that support me in everything I do.
They are kind to me and encourage me,
In a way that I can’t describe.
So, family and friends, I have a message for you –
Thank you, I love you and will always do.
Happy Valentine’s day!