Ethan snuggles under my arm. After breastfeeding for a while, he wriggles into a comfortable position. His little hand starts to grope around in the dark, moving across my face, to my ears, and then settling on my hair. I can feel him playing with my hair, twirling it in my fingers, sometimes pulling it … More Ethan
Like many people, the last few days I have been fixated on the news coming out of Ukraine – doom scrolling Twitter, discussing the events with my husband, and spending many hours thinking about the people – the families fleeing, the civilians taking up arms, the baby born in the metro station. Over the coming … More What Might it be Like?
The glass crunches beneath my feet, thousands of tiny shards piercing my skin, leaving a trail of crimson footprints in my wake. I am running, racing for help, my two-year-old son in my arms, whimpering quietly. A woman sees me and screams, her face recoiling. I don’t know it at the time, I can’t feel … More Rivers of Glass
I miss my engagement ring. I feel like I shouldn’t say that, but I do. It was beautiful. A half carat solitaire diamond set in a simple band of white gold. My husband bought it in Singapore, and, typical of him, he didn’t just buy something that looked pretty, but did considerable research beforehand. He … More Counting Our Losses
To my darling boy, my fat fat, my bubbalou, my heart and soul, How can I possibly put into words everything that you mean to me or begin to describe the gaping hole that has forever been left in my heart? Absolutely nothing I write will ever be remotely adequate. My Darling Boy, you did … More To My Darling Boy
One year ago, a devastating explosion ripped through the city of Beirut, killing over 200 people, including my two-year-old son Isaac Oehlers, the youngest victim of the blast. Every night since that horrific day, I have gone through the same ritual. Climbing into bed, I cuddle one of Isaac’s favourite teddy bears close to me … More Justice for Isaac
Sometimes, the grief creeps its way up though my body until it reaches my chest. Suddenly, I feel like a hand wraps around my heart and crushes it with an almighty force. My throat closes and I can’t breathe.
This is what grief looks and feels like for me. … More Stages of Grief
On 10 March 2021, I spoke on a panel for a high-level side event to the 46th Human Rights Council. Hosted by Legal Action Worldwide and Human Rights Watch, the topic of the panel was “The 4 August Beirut Explosion: Can the Lebanese Investigation Deliver Justice?” Panelists included Ralph Tarraf, Ambassador of the European Union … More Can the Lebanese Investigation Deliver Justice?
When Isaac was just over four months old, he was baptised in the Catholic Church. I am not religious, but my husband Craig was raised Catholic and it was important to him and his family, so I agreed. Truth be told, despite my initial hesitation, it was a lovely day. We held the ceremony in … More The Speech
On 4 August 2020, I lived through something that defies comprehension – the Beirut explosion, which destroyed most of the city and took with it the life of my two-year-old son, Isaac. I can recall the moment when the scale of what we had lived through, and lost, in the Beirut explosion really started to dawn on … More The Losses That Define Me
Ever since I started writing about my grief for Isaac, the response has been overwhelming. I have been contacted by so many people showing support and sharing their own stories of loss. I also had the honour of being contacted by Melissa Fleming, the head of United Nations global communications. Melissa invited me to be … More Awake at Night
How do you continue to parent your child after they have died? One of the first things I noticed after the death of Isaac was the silence. The past two years had been filled with laughter, music and the occasional tantrum. Then all of a sudden, it was just so quiet… Isaac was an outgoing, … More Once a Mother, Always a Mother
Five months ago, my son died. As I write these words and read them over and over again, they are so incomprehensible that they might as well be in a foreign language. Again and again I read them, unable to grasp that they relate to me, that they form part of my story. These words … More Five Months