THE BLOG

Kia Kaha - Stay Strong

22/12/2015 11:03 GMT | Updated 21/12/2016 10:12 GMT

This is for anyone who thinks they can take no more...

But who picks themselves up, again, and again, and again.

Despite the enduring despair.

This is for anyone who is struggling today, this week, this month, this year, this life.

This is for anyone who would much rather be hiding in a dark place right now.

This is for anyone who is hiding in a dark place right now. The darkness will get lighter.

This is for anyone who refuses to be brought down by life's troubles (or not for long, anyway).

This is for anyone who is using their voice, their experiences, channelling their sorrow to help others.

This is for anyone who thinks they are not good enough (you are).

This is for everyone who is doing the best they can.

Stay Strong.

Kia Kaha.

Kia kaha is Maori for stay strong. It's one of the Maori phrases I learned when I lived in the Land of the Long White Cloud more than a decade ago now (many Maori words and phrases are in general use in New Zealand).

You pronounce it "key-ah kar-ha".

The hard 'k' gives it a really satisfying sound. Each word has two syllables, making it sound more determined than the English version.

To me, it is solid, tough, warrior-like. (Appropriate for a Maori phrase).

It can sound a bit like 'kick-ass'.

Try saying it yourself. Go on.

Have you heard of Cheryl Strayed? She's the woman whose book, Wild, the story of her solo trek across the US was recently made in to a film starring Reese Witherspoon. If you haven't heard of her story go and check it out. Now.

You'll see Cheryl knows a few things about grief, trauma, and moving forward with life, too.

I've been reading her book Brave Enough. It's brilliant, full of punchy quotes about kicking ass, staying strong.

One quote in particular is particularly resonant; it feels like it sums up everything I have been doing and striving towards since Hugo died.

You go on by doing the best you can.

You go on by being generous.

You go on by being true.

You go on by offering comfort to those who can't go on.

You go on by allowing the unbearable days to pass and by allowing the pleasure in other days.

You go on by finding a channel for your love and another for your rage.

Why is that resonant?

Because I am doing the best I can after the death of my baby son, Hugo. Living with grief and the trauma following his premature birth that nearly killed me, too (I had HELLP syndrome).

I try to be generous.

I am true - what you see is what you get, warts and all.

I try to offer comfort to others. The 'warts and all' is tough, but despite it all I am still going.

I endure the dreadful days, and savour the pleasant ones.

And - oh, the channel for my love and another for my rage. There is no other sentence that can sum up Hugo's Legacy. The love for my beautiful little boy. Those chubby little arms that I will never feel around my neck. That intense love, and the rage at the injustice is channelled into creating change in Hugo's memory.

It gave me goosebumps.

When you feel lost and alone, knowing someone else 'gets you' is invaluable.

I shall keep on keeping on.

Staying strong.

Kia kaha.

Leigh Kendall is a survivor of HELLP syndrome, mummy to Hugo, and a patient leader. She also writes at Headspace Perspective, and has a page on Facebook too.