Today my little girl would have been five: Heartfelt memories

Today my little girl would have turned 5. She would be getting ready to start school next year. She would have had nearly 2 wondrous years of kinder, playing games, making friends, bringing home enormous amounts of art and craft that I would admire, put on display for a little while and then secretly duck out to the recycling when she wasn’t looking. I don’t think of the milestones that were never reached very often. Maybe because I am so busy with the milestones of her brothers. Maybe because I am too busy with life, work and family commitments.  Or maybe because it is just too painful.


But that doesn’t mean that I don’t think about her. I don’t think there is a single thing I do in life now that I cant relate back to what she has given me. In my work I want people to enjoy their families. I want them to know how precious these moments are and I want them to do all they can to take away the stress and bring back more of the joy.  For my own family I want to experience this joy with them. I don’t want to wish away years waiting for that next stage. I don’t want to stress over the little things and forget the bigger picture. I don’t want to spend each day disciplining and yelling and nagging. I do those things when I have to. But I don’t want to be consumed by them.


People often ask me how I can volunteer for Heartfelt and be reminded daily of the loss that families experience. I have 4 months worth of photos of my little girl and I treasure every one. Every day when I take a call from a family who would like some photos, I feel a little of their pain. I do. But I want them to know that they will smile again. I want them to know that there will be days that are so dark that they are not sure they will ever see light again. But I want them to know that they will. They will laugh again. They will find joy in little things. They will have dark days again. And moments. And hours. And even months. But they will keep getting up and putting one foot in front of the other. They will even come to a time when they can smile at their photos. Not always. But sometimes. I want them to know that sometimes its good enough just to breathe.  And other times they will feel so happy that for a moment they will feel guilty. It is then they will remember, that they are determined to be happy for that little life that couldn’t be. That they owe it to that life cut short to live each day the best way they know how. I know my photos, keeping her memory alive, help me to do just that.



If you haven’t heard of Heartfelt and the amazing organisation that it is, then please visit the website and share.

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Remembering Ava

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This Post Has 44 Comments

  1. Caroline

    Thank you sharing your story. I can’t even begin to imagine what it must feel like to lose a child. Heartfelt is a wonderful charity and it’s an amazing thing you are doing x

    1. Martine

      Thankyou Caroline, yes it is an amazing charity and I am very proud to be a part of it.

  2. Pene

    Beautifully written and touching…I take my hat off to all the Heartfelt members who make these memories possible xoxox

    1. Martine

      Thankyou Pene, yes we have so many amazing members who go over and above to give these families beautiful memories.

  3. Gaenor

    Sending you virtual hugs… I had just 4 days with my little boy…. Lie is as cruel as it is amazing sometimes x

    1. Martine

      So sorry for your loss. Yes life is as cruel as it is amazing. x

  4. Anorina @ Samelia's Mum

    Thank you for sharing. Happy birthday little lady x
    Sending great big virtual hugs.

    1. Martine

      Thankyou Anorina x

  5. Renee | About a Bugg

    Oh Martine, such beautiful words for your girl. I have friends who are also involved with similar organisations for similar reasons, and your strength and courage to support others in need is a wonderful thing. xx

    1. Martine

      Thankyou Renee. It is nice to know that her memory can somehow help others too x

  6. Heidi

    How I love to see Ava’s beautiful face- she will never ever be forgotten. She had an impact on everyone she met, such a precious little lady. Ava would be incredibly proud of her mamma xxx

    1. Martine

      Thankyou Heidi…and of course we dont go through these things alone, and I thank you always for your love and support xx

  7. Claireyhewitt

    Firstly happy birthday to Beautiful Ava. May she fly with the baby angels.

    I know the work of Heartfelt is so so precious, they truly are, but so to are the words you have written, guilt of being happy is a normal feeling, laughing again will happen, but I am sure there are days when parents of lost children just don’t believe that. Being able to hear this from a Mum who has herself lost a child is priceless.


    1. Martine

      Thankyou Claire, that is very kind. I have already had so many emails too from people who cant find the words but feel the same way, so yes it is comforting to know that you are not alone. xx

  8. Simone Nuroo


    What a gorgeous girl that lives on forever in our hearts. We are so lucky to have people like you that work for Heartfelt and make such a difference. May to continue to enjoy every moment and the beauty brought by Ava to our world. The happiest of birthdays to her, Sim x

    1. Martine

      Thankyou Sim, she certainly was a beautiful girl x

  9. Lisa

    I hope your memories give you some comfort. A friend of mine is participating in the “capture our grief” Carly Marie project heal . This is another way for people to remember their loved ones.
    Thinking of you xlisa

    1. Martine

      Thankyou Lisa, it is always great to know there are ways for people to remember.

  10. Kelly Exeter

    Oh Martine I had no idea 🙁

    Your loss breaks my heart but your wonderfulness in volunteering for Heartfelt … oh lady you are amazing. I can only imagine the wonderful comfort and hope you provide to these families.

    1. Martine

      Thankyou Kelly. I am so proud of the work that Heartfelt does and in knowing that it can bring some comfort to these families. x

  11. Kylie

    Ava would be watching you with pride Marty, the love you have for others is endless. If we could all just have a portion of your positive attitude & nature the world would be a much better place. All my love to you & your boys today & always xxx

    1. Martine

      Thankyou Kylie, my gorgeous friend x

  12. Aroha @ Colours of Sunset

    I can’t even begin to imagine what you feel, but wanted to send you lots of love. Such a selfless act to volunteer for Heartfelt. What an amazing gift they give families, and to talk to someone who actually knows what they are feeling must help. I’m working on getting my photography up to scratch and would love to be a heartfelt photographer. I know it would be very hard, but I also imagine very rewarding.

    1. Martine

      Thankyou, and we would love to see you volunteering as a Heartfelt photographer! Yes it is so very hard, but when you know what it means to the family it certainly makes it worth it.

  13. Debbie

    Martine you are such an inspiration!
    Thoughts are with you & all your gorgeous boys today xoxo
    Happy 5th Birthday to your precious angel Ava <3

    1. Martine

      Thankyou Deb and for your ongoing support x

  14. Roslyn

    Martine – Happy birthday to your beautiful girl. Your work with Heartfelt is inspirational. Sending love to you and your family today! xxx

    1. Martine

      Thankyou Roslyn x

  15. Trish

    Thank you for sharing precious precious Ava.
    Heartfelt is a wonderful organisation , I can only imagine how driven you are to help others despite the memories it must bring each time.
    I wish we had more than the few blurry photos of our daughter

    1. Martine

      Thanks Trish. And if you ever want those images of your beautiful daughter retouched, we have some retouchers who can do some amazing things with old photos. I would be more than happy to organise x

  16. Steph @ Lipstick & Cake

    What a beautiful little girl and a beautiful post. I’m thinking of you and your family today Martine.
    I love your photos and think that Heartfelt is a wonderful charity.
    Steph xxxx

    1. Martine

      Thanks Steph xx

  17. Keshvar Seale

    Martine your post brought a tear to my eye. I cannot begin to imagine the pain you went (and continue) to go through but your strength and love for your daughter are evidenced in your actions and volunteering efforts. Thank you for sharing your story and for raising awareness of Heartfelt x

    1. Martine

      Thankyou for your kind words, and yes she continues to be inspiration and my source of strength. x

  18. The Hungry Mum

    What a beautiful, heartfelt post. I cannot imagine what you are going through. Sending love.

    1. Martine

      Thank you so much

  19. Grace

    So sorry for your loss, Martine.
    Thank you for bringing Heartfelt to our attention. The guys there do amazing work. I’ve been fortunate to meet one of their volunteer photographers. I couldn’t help but cry when she spoke of some of her experiences.
    Sending you love and hugs x

    1. Martine

      Thanks Grace. Yes there are some pretty heartbreaking stories but knowing that the organisation is there to help the families create precious memories is so important.

  20. mumspeak

    I’m so sorry to hear about Ava but I think it’s so beautiful that you can use your pain and grief to help others who are going through a similar experience. It shows what an amazingly strong woman you are.

    1. Martine

      Thanks Lou xx

  21. Hi Martine, I’ve only just read this this morning and it’s left its mark. Lately, I’ve been that mum that has been wishing time away. But this has been a wake-up call and today already feels different. I think my kids will notice too. Thank you for a beautiful post. xx

  22. Victoria

    I have thought of you often over the past few years when catching sight of you, perhaps because our youngest was born not much before Ava. Your community all remember her partly because of the sheer magnitude of your loss, but also because you make such an impression on all who meet you. The first time I attended kinder with my eldest and you were there with your third, I remember being amazed that you were old enough to have 3 children and then Being super impressed at you commenting on the curry paste you’d made just before getting there. I seriously remember thinking that some people are born nurturers and that you seemed one of them. You do everything with such grace Martine and I genuinely hope you and yours can move through life here on with wonderful memories and no more loss. X

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