Happy First Birthday Norah

To mark Norahs birthday, we wanted to share the words we opened Norah’s birthday picnic with today, on Norah’s first birthday.

We wanted to thank you so much for joining us today to wish Norah a very happy birthday. This time a year ago, I was lying in theatre with Dr Rob at my side, talking about cycling with an anaesthetist who didn’t realise how close to Norah’s arrival we were. The obstetric team interrupted our chat to check we were ready, as though we had a choice! A second later, at nineteen minutes past one, Norah was born. As we approach nineteen minutes past one exactly a year later, we would like to pause in the beauty of sun rising and hold Norah in our thoughts in a moment of quiet.

Before we start our celebration of Norah, I wanted to thank you all for holding us throughout a year that has been filled with unimaginable joy, turbulent grief, bittersweet peace, misdirected anger and everything in between. We can honestly say we have no idea who we would be now if it wasn’t for the love for Norah and our family that sits amongst us today, nor would we like to find out.

We asked a few things of our best friends last year when we knew Norah would die. They promised they wouldn’t let us get divorced, get fat, or get in to debt. Today we stand here, with an unshakeable strength, weighing less than last year and I’m pleased to say without giant credit card bills! My words now can’t capture the intensity of this year, nor what it has taken to hold us together, but from the depth of our hearts we want to thank you, we love you.

We are here today to celebrate our wild, warrior daughter Norah. We promised Norah we would speak her name, loud and often, and celebrate her life always. We have kept that promise and then some, Norah is at the centre of our world always. Whether that’s in our laces on our walking boots on a country trek, knees permitting, of course, or in the sunflowers and wild flowers; in the oranges and yellows that appear in our everyday; in the conversations filled with Norah; in our gardens and in our photographs; in our fundraising and campaigning; in our writing and in our drawing; in the air that fills our lungs wherever we may be. Norah, our wild soul, is in the very fabric of who we are.

Norah has achieved so much in just a year, with a little help from her family. She has raised over £2000 to help families living through a similar loss, she has given us the strength to climb literal mountains, she has inspired countless knitted blankets and octopuses to comfort babies and families, she has changed the course of my career, helped me find my voice and reaffirmed her Dad’s love for all things tech; she has brought our family together and filtered all of the bitterness out of our lives and she has sparked a love for life in so many people. We are continuously amazed by just how many people know Norah’s name, and celebrate her life alongside us.

Norahs Wild Rumpus has been our symbol for adventure inspired by and along with Norah, and today is no different. As we join together in Norah’s wild rumpus today, we want you to join in with the spirit of Norahs wild soul and celebrate her life and all that she gives us. To start our picnic, let’s raise a paper cup and wish Norah a big ‘Happy Birthday, and let the wild rumpus start!’

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