17th August 2016 – Fionn

I wrote this blog almost as soon as Fionn arrived into the world. It remained incomplete until now, and finally I have some time to write some more now that Fionn has some longer stretches of sleep. Our two wonderful boys are all tucked up in bed. Our angel, of course, remains as radiant as ever; fluttering his wings all around, reaching out and touching people in the most extraordinary ways.

Fionn’s journey into the world received_10157230929905721

I have noticed many parallels between Fionn’s journey to us and Oisin’s departing from us in the great cycle of birth and death (or for me it is birth, life, death and rebirth.) In previous blog posts, I wrote about some experiences I had leading up to Oisin’s death. In particular I had a meditation experience where I became aware of a monk, and then a circle of them around Oisin’s bed. They seemed to be there for Oisin as a guide to help him transition. Well similarly, I had a strong meditation experience just days before Fionn arrived. I was doing a 40 day Sadhana  (yoga practice) “removing fear of the future” and the experience was so full of energy and imagery it seemed as if it was clearing something in me so that Fionn could move into the world. Sure enough he came along just a few days later, just in the same way Oisin seemed ready to leave us a few days after I saw those monks. Contractions began at exactly 40 weeks. 40 day Sadhana. 40 week old baby!! A special number indeed.

We planned a home birth from the outset. It seemed to fit us and I needed the care and sensitivity of a personal midwife to be with me on this journey. Here I notice another parallel with the death journey. In both birth and death, we were blessed with a guide,  a loving and wise motherly energy that walked with us and offered strength and knowledge. Tess, the palliative care nurse,  was this loving and wise energy as we journeyed towards Oisin’s death. Ellmarie was the loving and wise energy for us as we journeyed with Fionn towards his birth. As the month’s rolled on, any fear around home birthing left me. I trusted my body, I trusted all I had been through to this point and the birthing process was beautiful in the same beautiful agony that I described the death process with dear Oisin. It was dignified. It was graceful. Oisin was very present with us. We had his photo around the birthing space and we burned Frankincense just as we did when Oisin was in the “big bed”in Ballymore. We played music. Barry thinks I might have delivered Fionn to Mirabei Ceiba’s “Sa Ta Na Ma.” (the cycle of birth, life, death and rebirth). I have no idea of course what I delivered Fionn to, but as he journeyed into the world through the dark tunnel of the birth canal, I was holding tightly to Barry for the final push! Throughout, Cilly was sound asleep in bed, and delighted to awaken to this wonderful new little brother that had finally arrived in our family. It had very much been Cilly’s wish to “grow another”


He came into the world very quietly. A very sweet and gentle thing. His eyes. Oh how his eyes can smile and speak to you! They sparkle and shine. They seem to speak of such wonder at the world he has arrived into.  Now at 10 weeks he smiles, he babbles, he flaps his arms around, trying hard to communicate everything he wants to tell you. He has so much to say already!

My other boys were born early. Oisin was 5 weeks premature and Cilly was 3 weeks early. Then here comes Fionn, breaking all records on the Wilton side of the family. My sister and mother had early babies. He is a big boy too. Already in 3-6 month clothes since about 7 weeks old!!  Yup Fionn is quite the individual and we feel very blessed that I could have another child to bring into our family.

Cilly is delighted. I can see already a wonderful bond forming between the two of them. The way Fionn smiles and smiles at Cilly. They have started sticking out their tongues at each other, and the other day Cilly took it upon himself to gently rock Fionn to sleep in his bouncy seat.dsc_0741received_10154545466128245



Ah yes grief. It’s still around, as present as ever. Behind the scenes of all that we do. The desperate sadness and heart ache of Oisin’s death seems as strong as ever. Still so hard to believe, so hard to make any sense of what happened. The trauma of the whole experience remains, and as time goes on it seems as though the trauma is growing within us, and has started to speak already, in various emotional and physical ways.  For me it has been helpful to remain aware of how trauma can “speak” and I try to stay open and listen, to keep working it through the body so it doesn’t get stuck and transformed into something else. When trauma, which is in all of us, starts to manifest in the body or mind I see it as an opportunity for healing. There are any number of layers we can go to when it comes to healing, from popping a pill, to talking therapies, to creative therapies, to body based work, to energy work to spiritual work.

img-20161002-wa0004Deep healing at the level of the original trauma and deeper still at the level of the soul, no two ways about it, involves moving through the hardest most painful emotions (like shame, grief, guilt. rage, fear). There is a readiness. It feels frightening and threatening to the ego. Like a death in itself. A final letting go of habits held onto for so long. Patterns of behaviour once used for surviving some pain that no longer serves us. Patterns that now limit us. Fear is the main barrier to be worked through before the pain can finally be looked at clearly and released. There are therapies that can help, and I have been so impressed with them I have trained in them myself. That’s why there is a help and
support section in this blog. We do not live this life to be limited. We are not  here alone.

I’ve had many tearful moments since the arrival of Fionn, as I long for Oisin, in human form,  to be part of this amazing new life. He shares it in spirit, but there are many moments when that just isn’t enough. We miss him…People say a new baby helps. Perhaps. In a way. We’re distracted into the whirlwind of a newborn baby. It’s made up the numbers again. Cilly has a brother back again. It also leaves a bitterness. Didn’t we already have it all. Two beautiful boys so close in age? Now here I am starting all over again. Now Cilly still has to wait for the best friend he once had, but Fionn will have a different relationship with Cilly. He will be 4 years younger. That’s not good or bad. Just different. It wasn’t in the original plan. I still feel utterly heart broken for all that Cilly has had to go through and that he should have to “grow” a new best friend. I know. Yes. Where is my gratitude that I could have another?  Others were not so fortunate. This bitterness. I can only be honest and admit it is there. We are as we are and I’m working on it.  Always trying to move through the pain of awareness.

Autumn leaves once morefb_img_1476774027086

A month after Fionn’s arrival there came September, a time for new beginnings. The leaves began to fall from the trees once more, scattering their golden carpet all around, for the children to kick playfully as they return again to school. For us, it is the beginning of yet another cycle of reliving. From the 30th September we relive, like a parallel universe, all that happened 2 years ago. It’s not a conscious process. More a shift in energy. An awareness that we have entered into some kind of murky fog. Perhaps, in time, the acute sting of those memories may loosen like the autumn leaves and we can sit and look at the colour and texture of the memories as we do the leaves on the ground.

A new house

One event to lighten the way ahead will be the move into the new house. It hasn’t happened yet and it’s hard to be in the moment with it all. I’m very very much looking forward to it!

Another new baby

Another positive is our very first girl to arrive into the family, after 8 boys in a row! Welcome dear little Kitty, we are all so thrilled for you and you have arrived into the arms of beautiful parents, Niall and Izzy and your fab big brothers. Many blessings to you xxx

Barretstown Bereavement Camp

So that brings us up to October and the weekend just gone. Like last time, Barretstown was another really valuable experience and we are so grateful it is there for us. I may not know the other parents too well but this one huge experience connects us deeply. For me it is a space to be. Cilly is well looked after and occupied. Meals and washing up is all catered for. The staff are so nurturing and so much fun to be around. It frees us up and makes room for reflection within a community of people who get it. The grounds are very special, full of golden, autumnal trees and sun lit walks.  Beautiful rural views and a shimmering lake (upon which I had great fun canoeing!) The sun and moon were incredible during our stay there. So bright and full.  The staff told us it had never once rained on ceremony night, when the families gather by the lake to celebrate the life of their loved ones. img-20161015-wa0000
Our celebration of life ceremony was with candles, which we placed on a raft and watched them float away down the lake. Last time we released balloons – all but one. Cilly held onto his, but this time  he placed his candle on the raft and allowed it to leave. We stood around a fire and listened silently to music, whilst the children worked in the earth, making sand sculptures. Behind us shone the most spectacular full moon. Barretstown has become my sanctuary. Rather like Yoga Borgo was and still is in my heart. I feel we are safe there. We are light.  It means so much to be looked after, nourished and nurtured. Couldn’t we all do with this?  We need these nourishing spaces in our busy modern lives. img-20161015-wa0001

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3 Responses to 17th August 2016 – Fionn

  1. Esther Maher O'Keeffe says:

    Dear Barry and Sheila,
    I have just opened my e-mails to see that you have a beautiful son and my sincerest congratulations to you both and to little Cillian. What a joy. Fionn is a beautiful strong name. I look forward to reading your wonderful blog tomorrow Sheila, when I have time to take in every word. For the moment, the photos are fantastic. God, protect you all.

    Very sincerely,

    Esther Maher O’Keeffe.xxxx


  2. Anne O'Donnell says:

    Dear Sheila, Barry & Cilli,
    I just wanted to give you our warmest congratulations. Sheila, as you may remember, I have followed your blog from its earliest days and feel a connection to you as our boys are the same age and we share a love of yoga and meditation. Your description of Fionn’s beautiful calm birth filled me with warmth and reminded me of our Éanna’s birth too (which was to Ong Namo, which was on loop….only reason I remember).
    I have just read your post to my husband and we are both moved by your beautiful writing and inspired by your strength. What struck me most about this post is that, as before, you face trauma and express it, feel it, allow it and grow from it.
    You are amazing.
    hugs and congratulations,
    Anne & Sean O’Donnell xxxx


  3. Fiona Ringholz says:

    Hi Sheila – thank you for your honesty. Anger is natural and you are courageous in embracing it and knowing it for what it is. I can’t imagine that I would ever not recirculate it. I wish you all the kindness and love of my heart that the pain of loss breaks for a moment and that warmth passes through you to strengthen you before the pain passes through again. Fionn will be his own story but it is such a shame that his story was written for a different time than his beautiful big brother. And Cilly will be a beautiful man one day – stronger for the parents who helped him understand one of the greatest trajedies of his life.


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