I am back at work. Back in an environment where I can temporarily remove myself from my grief and switch in to work mode. Like an actor, I know my script well and I can perform. My mask is firmly on and has little space for manoeuvre.
I am working part-time for my sister’s company and I feel fortunate to be in an emotionally comfortable environment. But the biggest upside is being surrounded by adults. No kids. No babies. No danger of me bumping into buggies. It’s actually quite refreshing.
The rest of my time will be dedicated to our charity, Teddy’s Wish. The charity is where Chris and I feel most in balance as it allows us to move forward and grieve at the same time.
But there is still a long journey ahead of us, as we tentatively take each day at a time. Slowly we put one foot in front of the other. And at the forefront of our mind, is our darling baby boy. With us every step of the way.
Something I have noticed recently: I am most comfortable when talking with friends about the past and our shared experiences. In fact, I seem to spend most of my time talking about the past as an attempt to re-live good times. As the future is full of so much uncertainty and the present is so painful, reminiscing about the past is where I feel most at ease.
Of course, Chris and I remain hopeful. But the past is certain. It happened. And sadly, I was a happier person way back when…
In an earlier blog post of mine, I wrote about connecting with other bereaved parents. All bereaved parents speak of an elite club we are now part of. Not through choice.
I met another bereaved mother a few weeks ago. I immediately connected with her without consciously knowing that she, too, had lost her son to SIDS. We discovered our shared loss later on, via email. It’s uncanny how grief unwittingly draws you to people.
In her email, she said “one can always spot a parent that has gone through the death of their child a mile off… there always seems to be a light out in our eyes”
So sad. So true. But maybe one day, that light will be re-ignited.
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.