Tuesday, 15 September 2015

:: irene ::

Last week we heard the terribly sad news that a beautiful friend had passed away after a battle with cancer. We were honoured to have her as our midwife for Théo's birth, though several friends, including my sister and my midwife for Eléa, knew her at a much greater depth and her passing leaves a huge hole. In comparison we knew her relatively little but she made such an impact on us that I want to honour her by writing. It's still very surreal to believe that she is no longer here. The last time I saw her was just over 3 months ago when she popped along to see Eléa and I in the Neonatal unit. At the time she made no mention of cancer and I had no idea because, as a true reflection of her character, she directed all her focus on others, encouraging us with her prayers and hopes for Eléa. Even after texting her the night I learned the devastating news that she had terminal cancer and was flying to the US for treatment the following morning, her quick reply included a reassurance that she was still praying for Eléa. I was deeply touched by the depth of her selflessness when she had so much going on in her own life. 

Irene became my midwife just a week before Théo was born, as my midwife up until that time, Deb, went on leave for her wedding. My sister, Beth, had previously spent several weeks of her midwifery training working alongside Irene. I had heard a lot about her and already was aware of her wonderful reputation, so it was a real blessing to be under her care for Théo's birth. One memory of that beautiful Sunday morning that will always remain with us was her prayer of blessing over Théo when he was just minutes old. Those are her hands above, holding Théo as she showed us how to bath the only term baby we've ever had. We were so grateful for her care of Théo and of us during those first few weeks as we navigated the unfamiliar path of having complete responsibility of our own baby from day one.

She decided to override the previous decision to pass me onto the care of another midwife for the 6 weeks of postnatal checks because of how far away we lived, instead making the commitment to do them herself. I was so thankful! During those visits, we discovered that she shared Eti's dream to become a rescue helicopter pilot as she had grown up in the Austrian alps and had often had to help connect injured people with the rescue helicopter crews who had come to transport them to hospital. She was also a paraglider and had worked near our home in Switzerland...so she connected easily to our hearts! Our girls still remember her visit shown above when she weighed Théo in "a bag" dressed beautifully for Deb's wedding. They asked me recently if Eléa's nurse was going to weigh her in a bag too ;o)

During the last weeks, with a Givealittle page that was started by a family friend to support Irene and her family, and subsequent Facebook posts since her death, it has been very clear that she touched many, many lives, from her beautiful family, to friends, and many, many women whose babies she delivered with such care. We can't make it to her funeral tomorrow, but I suspect it will be overflowing. She has left a great hole but a wonderful legacy. I have a beautiful bouquet of freesias on our table, that were given to us this past weekend. In many ways they remind me of Irene's life - vibrant, beautifully and intricately created, and with a sweet, lingering fragrance that has spread throughout the house - a reminder of spring and new life.

Now he uses us to spread the knowledge of Christ everywhere, like a sweet perfume. 
Our lives are a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God
2 Corinthians 2:14-15 

There are times when words aren't enough and life seems so unfair. We can only hold onto our Father who is incomprehensively good, far more than we can imagine, as we stand in the gap for her family and friends and pray for His overwhelming peace to cover them in the face of such loss and strength to carry on until the day they will be reunited. Please join us in praying for them too x

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