Wednesday was the opening night of designjunction and the curated exhibition for Teddy’s Wish, ‘A child’s dream’.
It was our first official big social outing since Eddie died. Socialising with strangers used to be so effortless. Now we have to wear a mask which is emotionally taxing.
But I was proud to speak to people I had never met before about Teddy’s Wish. The charity will not only help us with the ‘why’ questions, it allows us to parent Eddie. To make him proud and to keep his memory alive.
When we invited designers to take part in the charity project, they were asked to customise a product using the theme ‘a child’s dream’.In today’s post, I would like to pay homage to Tony Chambers, editor-in -chief of Wallpaper magazine, who kindly created a unique interpretation of the Anglepoise lamp for us:
“For a dreamy, ethereal feel, I sprayed the inside of the lampshade a pale sky-blue. Angel Blue was in fact the name on the can. I made a mask of the lamp’s elegantly designed ventilation holes, and spraying through this made a beautiful impression on the lamp’s base – just as Edward made a beautiful, lasting impression during his short stay here.”
When you lose a child, a part of the self is cut off. In his book, The Spiritual Lives of Bereaved Parents, Dennis Klass talks about the metaphors that parents use to describe how they are feeling. This extract really struck a chord with me:
Many parents find the metaphor of amputation useful. In a meeting, a father said, “It is like I lost my right arm, but I’m learning to live as a one-armed man”. Like amputation, parental bereavement is a permanent condition. The hopes, dreams, and expectations incarnate in the child are now gone…For the amputee, the raw bleeding stump heals and the physical pain does go away. But he lives with the pain in his heart knowing his limb will not grown back. He has to learn to live without it. He rebuilds his life around his loss…
We bereaved parents must do the same
Looking back at where we were a few months ago and where we are now, we are somehow taking small steps to rebuild our lives. And as I tap away at the keyboard, I wonder how we have got here.
How we view life has inevitably changed but how did we get here? I genuinely do not know. We’re very much living in the present. In the here and now. But it takes an awful lot of effort. Every day we wake up in the morning we have to face yet another day without our darling boy. Life carries on. The mundane tasks of daily life carry on. And it all takes effort. Chris says it feels like we’re wading through treacle whilst others appear to be gliding past.
But we battle on because we’re in the treacle together. We pull each other through, hand in hand. And we know that somewhere out there, Eddie is watching us. Spurring us on.
There is a feeling of guilt when days start to fill up with thoughts other than Eddie. Or if we do something enjoyable. People continue to tell us how important it is to try and enjoy life. But how are we expected do this when Eddie was robbed of his?
We are trying. And when we do, we take pleasure in the simple things that life has to offer. When something as tragic as this happens to you, everything gets stripped back. So we have purposely stripped back our lifestyle. A walk with Chris or cooking a meal for my family gives me more pleasure than it would have given me in my old life.
It may sound cliche but going through a life changing experience like this alters your whole perspective on life…
Sometimes its worse. Other times its better.
Our charity, Teddy’s Wish, is in full swing at the moment. My sister’s show designjunction has partnered with top British designers Anglepoise and ercol, to curate an exhibition exclusively for the show. Nineteen top designers have been invited to customise one of their products in response to the title ‘A Childs Dream’ and all bespoke designs will be displayed at the show. All products will be sold by silent auction and funds raised will go directly to Teddy’s Wish. It’s all very exciting.
I’m normally pretty savvy with social media but I’m behind the times with twitter. I have had to learn pretty quickly how it all works. Now it’s all hashtags, @ and re-tweets. I’m in a social media frenzy and my head is in an emotional spin. But it’s all worth it. Every time we get a mention or a like on our Facebook page, I know that Eddie is being remembered. And that makes me feel good.
I know it’s a lot to take on in such a short amount of time, but the charity is allowing us to do something positive in Eddie’s name. We know it won’t bring Eddie back but it may help others. And that would be a fitting tribute to honour our darling baby boy.
(More on the charity project can be read here: http://thedesignjunction.co.uk/charity/)
I was speaking to a friend the other day about gratitude. My immediate reaction? Chris and I don’t have a lot to be grateful for these days.
But it got me thinking. We wouldn’t be here, still standing, if it wasn’t for the unrelenting support of our close friends and family. They have been our pillars of steel at a time when our world has come crashing down. They are at the epicentre of our long and arduous journey. Still here, still with us. With those friends it’s easier to have normal every day conversations as they effortlessly intertwine with the loss of Eddie.
I was told by other baby lost friends that your address book changes after you lose a baby. Some friends drift away, unable to cope with the tragedy that has beset our lives. We get it. We know how difficult it is to know what to say or do. But, we also know how fortunate we are, to have those one of a kind friends who display acts of kindness and courage by regularly keeping in touch. They are the friends who have not forgotten about us, or our grief, despite having their own busy lives to lead.
To those friends, we are and will always be, eternally grateful.
I’m finding it hard to write at the moment. In part, I feel obligated to as it keeps Eddie’s memory alive to those who read my blog. And writing has been cathartic for me. It has provided another outlet for my grief. It lets the steam out of the kettle, so to speak.
Annoyingly, words aren’t flowing as easily as they did in the early days and I’m not sure why. It’s not that I’m feeling any better or have made progress. My pain has not lessened, nor should it ever lessen.
But one thing I have noticed is this: I have more coping mechanisms these days. I still can’t see a future filled with happiness, despite my well intended friends telling me so. Yet somehow I am getting through the days…
And that feels like quite an achievement for now.