My therapist told me that significant events and dates are especially tough and painful for the bereaved. A birthday or an anniversary intensifies the pain and reinforces your loss.
My first experience of a significant date was yesterday. My birthday. It wasn’t an event associated directly with Eddie but it painfully reminded me that he should have been here with me. It also reminded me that this time last year, I was happily celebrating my birthday with friends and my big bump. Blissfully unaware of what was yet to come.
Birthdays are meant to be happy celebrations. This one was not.
I made a big decision this week. I handed in my notice to work. They have been incredibly supportive to me since Eddie died but after deliberating for months on whether I should go back or not, I finally made a decision. I couldn’t go back.
When I walked, or waddled to be precise, out of the doors before starting my maternity leave, my life was full of so much hope. Everyone wished me luck with the birth and I promised to bring Eddie into the office after he was born. I was so excited to introduce my beautiful baby boy to my work colleagues but sadly they never got to meet him.
When something as life changing as this happens to you, some people need certainty and stability. I would normally have fallen into that camp, being so fearful of change. Now, I feel the need to change everything in my life.
Going back to work would have felt like nothing has changed at all. But everything has. Especially me.
A trigger that made my heart drop…
Yesterday, I was rummaging through my wallet to clear old receipts and I found a note with Eddie’s weight and height, written my GP. I remember being at the surgery and my GP telling me to stop worrying about his reflux. He was feeding well. He was big, healthy and strong.
I remember feeling embarrassed about being a neurotic first time mother. And so proud of my big, baby boy.
We are in Cornwall for a long weekend, staying at a beautiful guest house overlooking the sea in a town called Mevagissey. Phrases we used when going away do not translate or have the same meaning anymore, e.g. we are going away for a break from work, we need a break from it all or we need a holiday. Grief does not temporarily pause when you go away. Wherever we are, wherever we go, Eddie is always with us. Here in thought and in our hearts.
We have explored the coastal shores and discovered quaint towns and harbours. The weather has been kind, despite our track record of bringing the rain with us. But every time we stop on a walk to soak in the fresh sea air, our heavy hearts pine for our baby boy. All of our discoveries and enjoyments feel incomplete. The scenery is breathtaking but I am yet to find peace in my soul searching.
However, it has been important to spend time with Chris. Just the 2 of us. But I can’t help but think we should be 3. Not 2.
15th October 2014. A date that was of no significance to me before. It now marks 6 months since I lost my darling boy and is also international infant and pregnancy loss awareness day. It is something that I would have been completely oblivious to in the past but today it unites me with all bereaved parents whether they lost their baby during pregnancy, at, during or after birth. We are all united by the same, albeit different, tragic loss of a child.
All across the world, we are asked to light a candle at 7pm in remembrance of all the beautiful babies that have died. And all I keep thinking is in 3 months time I should be lighting a candle to celebrate Eddie’s first birthday.
It is just so wrong and so unfair.
Exercise has been helping me move through my grief. Apart from the obvious health benefits, playing tennis has been therapeutic for my mind. It allows me to focus on something other than my grief.
I have been playing tennis over the past few weeks with a friend who is an exceptionally good player. I typically lose each game (but it’s the taking part that counts, right?) and he kindly offered to give me a handicap to place us on an even keel. In my competitive state, I flatly refused his offer on the basis that if and when I finally win, it will be that much more rewarding.
And this week it happened. Without the handicap, I got my reward. I got my victory. It may have been one win out of many loses but it FELT SO GOOD. So good that I even did a little victory dance at the end (and properly embarrassed myself).
My grief is like a yo-yo. Up and down, down and up, not knowing how I am going to be feeling from one day to the next.
The other night I was accidentally copied in to a group email by my one of my (former) NCT friends. I didn’t spend too long looking at the contents but receiving it felt like a sucker punch to my stomach. It was a genuine mistake, and I have since received an apology, yet a horrible reminder of what my life should have been.
But like a yo-yo, I was pulled up a day later when support came in from the most unexpected of places. I received a lovely email from someone I had never met before. She wrote the kindest words of support and offered to give me the lamp she successfully bid on from the the silent auction we held a few weeks ago. It happened to be the lamp designed by Tony Chambers who I paid homage to in an earlier post. And it happened to be my favourite lamp of the collection.
It made me a very happy (and humbled) girl indeed.