{The Nest Writes} To the dead little boy, your life was valuable. I promise.

Trigger warning: This post is graphic and may upset some readers. 

Usually I find writing easy. Almost therapeutic.

Today however, I can’t find the right words.

Or any words.

A little boy, the size of my little girl is dead. Washed up a beach, far from his home.aylan

He was alone. Scared. Frightened.

He would have spent his last breaths desperately fighting for his life, I imagine.

Today my daughter went to kindy. She put on her gumboots, brushed her teeth and went to a safe place.

The little boy will never know a safe place. He has been let down.

We let him down.

Every, single one of us.

You did. I did.

His parents tried to save him. They chose to take him away, to start a new life.

Instead he doesn’t even breathe anymore. The thing they were trying so desperately to protect is taken.

The idea that a parent would make a decision to take a toddler onto a 4.5 metre boat in open waters astounds me. But then, my family is safe.

We don’t live in constant fear. We don’t have to even consider a 3am journey on 15ft seas in a small, unsound dingy.

We have independence and protection. Safety and security.

My children walk freely on our neighbourhood streets. They won’t be shot. They won’t be taken. They won’t go to sleep with the sounds of guns.

I wonder little boy, did you have a good life? Did you like gumboots and brushing your teeth.

Did your mummy read you bedtime stories?

Did you daddy kick a ball with you?

Are you with your mummy now? Or are you alone?

I read that since the beginning of 2015 about 150,000 refugees have crossed the central Mediterranean Sea. More little people like you. Little boys and girls trusting in their parents decisions to chase a better life.

The problem is now you have no life.

Little boy, your brother also died. So did your mother. Your daddy is left here without you.

Please just know he tried to save you. He tried to keep your head above the water. He is left with nothing now.

My little girl will sleep peacefully tonight. I will soothe her and cuddle her. I will kiss her and tell her I love her.

I will be thinking about you little boy. I wish you had been safe.

Please know your life was worth something. You will not just become another statistic.

I will remember you.

I will try and help other little boys and girls that are just like you.

I will help because I want to know that if you were my little girl, that someone, would not let her down like they failed you.

I. Am. So. Deeply. Sorry.

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Aylan and Ghalib

Rest in peace little boy. You are safe now. You are protected now.

If you want to help:

Make a donation:

  • The International Committee of the Red Cross is delivering humanitarian aid to areas like Aleppo, Homs and rural Damascus, as well as assisting the millions of Syrians who have fled to neighbouring Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey and Iraq. Red Cross Red Crescent is helping more than 3.5 million Syrians by providing food parcels and blankets, supplying hygiene kits with toothpaste, toilet paper and soap, and restoring sanitation systems.
  • In Australia, the Red Cross works to improve the plight of asylum seekers and refugees, by providing emergency financial relief and  linking people to housing, education and social support programs.
  • The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) is providing water, mosquito nets, tents and healthcare to Syrian refugees. Outside of Syria, thousands of refugees have spent years in exile. With their savings drained and employment opportunities thin on the ground, millions of people are relying on UNHCR for assistance and protection. As little as $15 can provide two families with jerry cans to transport clean water.
  • The International Rescue Committee is responding to the humanitarian crisis on the Greek island of Lesbos. Each day some 2000 refugees are arriving on Greece’s shores. Most of them have fled the Syrian civil war.
  • Save the Children is working with Syrian refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq and Egypt providing families with food, clothing and shelter. The organisation is also conducting large-scale food distributions in Jordan. Meanwhile, in the Za’atari refugee camp, Save the Children has helped to feed over 130,000 children and their families. The organisation is also distributing children’s clothing, mattresses, blankets, heating fuel and stoves in Lebanon.
  • Médecins Sans Frontières is working rapidly to vaccinate children arriving at refugee camps to prevent the spread of measles. They are also distributing mosquito nets and helping improve basic living conditions to prevent a large-scale epidemic. The organisation also sets up medical clinics in the camps.
  • Oxfam is on the ground in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt providing people with clean drinking water, hygiene and sanitation packs and relief supplies such as blankets and stoves. Outside Jordan’s large Za’atari refugee camp, Oxfam is providing cash to vulnerable refugees living in informal tent settlements.
  • The Refugee & Immigration Legal Centre is an independent community legal centre specialising in all aspects of refugee and immigration law, policy and practice.

Get involved with grassroots groups

  • Save the Children runs early learning programs, which help newly arrived migrant and refugee children settle into Australia, as well as initiatives that help young people transition out of youth detention.
  • Amnesty International has local action groups across Australia that work to raise awareness about a range of human rights issues, including asylum seekers. These groups meet monthly to discuss issues and decide practical ways to raise awareness, raise funds and take action to have human rights impact.
  • Amnesty’s Welcome Dinner Project aims to connect new migrants with Australian residents around the dinner table. The aim of these pot-luck shared dinners is to create a platform for meaningful connection, sparking friendships between people of diverse cultures who are living in close proximity to one another but have not had an opportunity to meet in a supported environment.
  • West Welcome Wagon is a volunteer-run registered charity supporting asylum seekers in Melbourne’s west. It supports asylum seekers in the local community by providing good quality donations of material goods, emergency food relief, neighbour to neighbour social support, as well as special projects such as in-home English support and community engagement.
  • Montmorency Asylum Seekers Support Group also raises funds and collects food for the ASRC food bank. Volunteers also support individuals in detention centres and in the community.
  • The Brigidine Asylum Seeker Program is looking for volunteers to teach English to new arrivals.

Donate, Collect

  • The Asylum Seeker Resource Centre is an ideal base to donate foods and goods to refugees and asylum seekers. People can donate to the centre’s Food and Aid Network online through Ceres Fair Food. People can also order food online from Coles or Woolworths and have it delivered to the ASRC. The centre also accepts pots and pans and new linen sets from Kmart, as well as gift cards from Gift Cards online.world map

 

{The Nest Writes} You never know when the last time will be the last time

Last Thursday my family received some heartbreaking news, our grandfather had left us. We were shocked and saddened beyond belief.Scan_20150531 (128)

We as a family had been incredibly lucky, not only because we had had precious time with him (he was 85) but because my brother, sisters and I had until this point never really experienced loss. My grandmother died when my dad was 14 so we had only ever known the feeling of having our Grandpop minus our Grandma. He had never remarried and lived his whole life in the same home he had once shared with his wife. A house that year by year stayed just about the same as we quickly changed.

When we heard the news of his passing an unmistakable ripple of pain quivered throughout our family. We didn’t know what to do. Hell, we didn’t even really know how to plan a funeral! Step by step, hour by hour we did the jobs that had to be done. We sadly shared the news of his passing, we chose his casket, planned the memorial, printed booklets.

We delved through photographs of a whole person’s life and tried to choose ones that reflected the man we had known. We watched him evolve from a small boy to a strapping young lad cloaked in Army Uniform representing his beloved Australia. He became a husband, a father and eventually he became our Grandpop.

To be honest I don’t know how to feel, I don’t know if I am even grieving accurately. Is there a proper way to do it?

I am angry and sad. I feel guilty and betrayed. Am I selfish for wishing he tried to stay just a little bit longer? I wish I could hug him or hear his deep voice. I continually count all the things that we took for granted when he was here and I now desperately wish I could experience it all just one more time. I just want to bottle it somehow. Keep it in a safe place where no one can take him away from me again.

He was far from perfect and he would definitely be the first to admit that but he was my Grandpop and I was his sweetie pie number one. I hate that I will never again hear him call me that. I miss him. My heart aches knowing there is no more time with him. That horribly that choice to see him again has been taken from me.

My sisters and I said the following at his funeral. Somehow though it just doesn’t seem enough.Scan_20150531 (139)

 Today we stand here and remember a remarkable human being.

He was many things to many people. He was a husband, a father, a brother. He was a proud Australian, a sensational cook and an average bird impressionist. He knew like few others how to REALLY wear a suit, he loved cigars and cream in his tea. He loved the Army and war stories. He loved reading. But above all, he loved us.

Gramps, you had a remarkable way with words, you could keep us on the edge of our seats with your fantastic stories. You recalled your time in the Army with such fondness and pride and took great pleasure in teaching us broken Japanese. You spoke often about our grandma and how much you wished she had met us. You liked to drink scalding hot cups of tea and would frequently remind us that you remembered when we were only the size of a loaf of bread.

You never forgot our birthdays, you always sent a card. You bought us ice creams and milkshakes and loved taking us to the park. There was many times that you even jumped on the play equipment with us!

We spent many a time with you eating fish and chips from the shop on the hill, drinking cheap soft drink and sweating through bowls of your deliciously wicked curries! We chowed down on googley eggs in a cup, well that was until the revolt of ‘94 when you crossed the line, changed the recipe and added tomato sauce! There were tantrums and stern words to you Grandpop not to never ever ever add tomato sauce again. Much like you, they were better without all the fuss.

You could cater like no other, Sydney trips were filled with stops at your house to stock up on hors d’oeurves, or like you called them ‘horses doofeses’. You made the most magnificent roasts which we will likely spend the rest of our days trying unsuccessfully to recreate.

We will remember how you told us all about your girlfriend. She was a super hairy broad, with one ear and a peg leg, but lucky she was worth lots of money! We will miss the never-ending threat to send us a photo of yourself because, in your own very modest words, you were simply the best looking man on earth. 

There is so much we will remember about our time with you, you were so generous. You gave us so much. You showered us with brooches, jewellery and teapots. Once you even let us loose with real scissors on your luscious locks and let us cut your hair! Unfortunately for the best looking man on earth our skills didn’t quite match our enthusiasm and you were left with little choice but to rock out with some bald spots for a few weeks!

Above all, we will always be most grateful for you giving us our daddy, you were his best mate and biggest supporter. We look at photos of the two of you now and your face just gleams with pride.

Without a doubt the hardest part about losing you isn’t the tears, the pain or the grieving, but now the fact that we will have to learn how to live our lives without you in it. Our gramps is gone and we are broken. We are your family and like you taught us we will band together, remember the good times, talk of you often and learn to exist in a world that heartbreakingly we no longer share with you.

We love you. We miss you. We will remember you for always.

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Grandpop I hope you are safe and rest in peace, well until I get to see you again anyway!

Farewell old man, you really are missed.

Please Nesters hug your family just a little bit closer today and make sure you take advantage of the now, you never know when the last time will be the last time.

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Not taking home your baby

Today I watched something that broke my heart. It broke into my soul and made it cry.

This is happening to approximately three million families around the world.

It happens to six families in Australia. EVERY SINGLE DAY.

We don’t talk about it. We don’t acknowledge it. We don’t know how to help.

The following video shows some very brave and strong families who have spoken about their experiences with stillbirth.

Yes, it is hard to watch. Yes, it will make you cry. Yes, it is a story that needs to be told.