I don't know whether I've mentioned that I am the eldest of eight children, four boys and four girls. That's a large family by today's standards, and growing up, we were all aware how unusual that was - even in the seventies! I have images of my mother pushing a pram and leading the way through Town, like a mother Hen, with her brood trying to keep up behind her- and of people stopping to stare.
Being part of a large family is great - but it also means that we lurch from one crisis to another - it's exhausting, mentally and physically, and can cause breakdowns in communication, misunderstandings, hurt feelings....
But we came together yesterday - all of us - my youngest sister, a mother of seven children and pregnant with her eighth, had a miscarriage in the early hours of yesterday morning - she lost so much blood that she had only one pint left inside her and she stopped breathing - the hospital staff induced a coma and put her on life support - we thought we were going to lose her.
The baby had grown onto her cervix and the bleeding could not - and is still not under control - although she is now out of a coma and breathing by herself. Our Mother was there visiting, thankfully - and one of my brothers had just moved up North and could be there to support her - even though he had been up all night with his wife in hospital after a car crash! (she is badly bruised and shaken, on crutches, but ok - see what I mean?).
It was a difficult day - but we believe she is going to pull through now - and although she may have to have an hysterectomy, which will be devastating for her (she is only 38) her children still have a mother.
We give each other the strength we need - when it counts...
These beautiful blues and reds - from crushed blueberries and soaked red onion skins -
Life goes on - and beauty is always to be found -
But thank God for Life!