A solemn reminder

As I’ve noted below, I’ve just moved my WordPress blog over to my own hosting solution – I bought the domain a few months ago, and sadly, I’ve only done a minimal amount of work getting the website up to scratch. Life, unfortunately, has an awful habit of getting in the way, after all.

One of the main motivations for setting up my own site was to coalesce all my web output within one hosting solution. I had my blog on WordPress, and a web site devoted to my daughter Arily (more of which anon) on Yahoo. While the WordPress site was fine, Yahoo were a nightmare to deal with – the tools were rudimentary, and like Yahoo in general, their web hosting solutions were overpriced and light years behind the competition. So, on the advice of a friend, I moved to Blacknight – an Irish hosting company, and they’ve been superb thus far. I must admit I’ve been drowning in the number of web hosting options and packages available, but the support has been excellent. Highly recommended.

So, over the last two days, I’ve licked the Playing With Dust site into shape – the main site has a bit of a way to go (it’s a placeholder of sorts), but the blog is in superb shape, I’m really happy with it. Of course, I have to actually post a tad more….. but I suspect that will not be a problem going forward.

The activity that has been most important to me though is working on my daughter’s website. My daughter Arily (an acronym for ‘Always Remember I Love You’, she was also known as Lauren) died in 2006 – she was stillborn, as a result of Trisomy 18. Neither my ex-wife nor I were prone to any genetic issues, it truly was one of the those one in a billion instances, not that the thought of that made it any easier. When she passed away in 2006, I put together a simple website so that family and friends could see photos etc., as we were living in Virginia at the time, far from the comfort of loved ones.

It wasn’t much – basic HTML, some pictures and video, plus a guestbook – but it meant a lot to us, as it was a statement that our daughter existed. Far too often, people sweep stillborn children under the carpet, so to speak – but to my ex and I, she was very, very real. She kicked. She responded to us. One of my favourite things was simply to talk to her, and feel her kick in response – she was part of us, our family, and deserved the right to be acknowledged. So the existence of the web site was very important to us – and we were overwhelmed with the response from friend and stranger alike.

As time moved on, we began to heal – and work on the website stopped, apart from moderating comments (spammers have no humanity, it has to be said). We had our oldest son, Conor, moved to the UK, had two more children (a girl, Eimear, and another boy, Liam), and sadly the marriage came apart at the seams over the next few years. Life really didn’t afford the opportunity to work on a website, which stayed idle and neglected.

Until yesterday, that is.

In one of those strange coincidences, I decided to sit down and work on getting Arily’s website back up and running on National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Day. It wasn’t hard work – but because things had been neglected so long, a lot of plugging away was required,  links that didn’t work, guestbook database issues etc.

It was hard looking at the text we wrote – we were heartbroken, utterly utterly heartbroken. Equally so looking at the pictures. The saddest thing of all, for me, was looking at links from other couples leaving posts about their similar stories – and finding that the websites no longer exist. The memories of those children have slipped away, for whatever reason – and that is heartbreaking.It just makes me that much more determined to keep my daughter’s memory alive. It’s still in basic form, but it works, and improvements are on the way. So please, do take a visit to her webpage – it’s not easy reading, but it does mean a lot to me.