Tag Archives: eddie

grief in time

A dear friend of mine shared an article with me recently about the concept of time when faced with the inevitability of death. Tragically the author had been diagnosed with cancer and died just a few weeks after the article was printed. 

Beautifully written and poignant, it struck a chord on how Chris and I view time since we lost Eddie.

Time is the strangest concept in grief. Time used to mean so many things: planning our future or reminicising about our past, time away to have a break, time to ourselves, time for other people, time for a change, give it time, haven’t got the time. And so on…

Time, in its essence, indefinitely moves us forward. As we approach Eddie’s first anniversary, society and some religions dictate that the year of grieving is over. It’s time to get on with our lives. 

We feel far away from these societal expectations and still find ourselves navigating through the murky waters of grief. We have lost our first and only child. Not only are we grieving Eddie, we are also grieving our lost identities. We were once parents. We are parents. And we try to channel our need to continue to parent Eddie into everything we do and keep his spirit burning brightly.

Life ebbs and flows with time, punctuated by the very highs and the very lows. We have been shown how, without warning, life can take the cruellest of turns. Such is the severity of the loss of a child that it is almost impossible to believe that life will indeed take a turn for the better.  We cling to hope but this lifts and falters from one day to the next. 

Time, for us, is a dichotomy. It moves us forward but we are stuck in transition. In no man’s land. As time moves on, it has become our friend and also our enemy. Yes, we have more coping mechanisms but it has not lessened our pain or our longing for our darling boy. And what we want most from time is an impossibility. You can’t fast forward, or press pause, and you can’t rewind. 




 

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Leaving 2014

A friend said to me the other day “you must be really looking forward to 2014 coming to an end”.

Yes and no. 2014 gave us Eddie. He was, and will remain, the most precious gift we have ever received. Then 2014 cruelly stole him from us. It has undoubtedly been the best and worst year of our lives.

Today, as I was about to start writing, a post came up in my news feed by another bereaved mother. What follows, pretty much sums up how Chris and I are feeling about entering a new year and leaving 2014 behind:

“If you are moving into a new year without your darling baby in your arms, be gentle with yourself. It is yet another milestone on a long list of milestones. I was surprised that my first New Year without Xavier brought with it the same depth of emotion and confusion as Christmas. I had not expected it to affect me so deeply. That first Christmas felt empty without him. The first New Years felt like moving on without him.

If you are supporting a friend who has lost a loved one in 2014, please don’t assume that they are happy to move into a New Year with all its promise of new life and healing. When you have lost someone dear, you hold to all that reminds you of them. You hold to things that surprise you. And no matter how devastating the events of the year may appear to you, it will also hold precious, precious memories that will be desperately clung to forever.

Time is a great healer, but it is also a thief – it dulls the pains and the memories in equal measure. There is grief in that too”

The full post can be read here : http://chasinghissunshine.com/2014/12/31/what-new-year-means-when-your-child-has-died/

Goodbye 2014. You have left an indelible mark in our lives.


return

I have taken a bit of a break from writing over the past few weeks. It was needed. I found myself in a negative spiral of self-pity and I didn’t want to use this platform to put those feelings in print. I needed some time to grieve privately whilst still relying on the support of close friends and family.

That’s not to say everything is ok now. This journey of grief is long, unpredictable, and quite frankly, exhausting. We have some testing months ahead of us with Christmas, Eddie’s birthday and his anniversary all fast approaching. We are terrified of facing these firsts without him.

Tragically, we have no choice.

Despite this, there is no doubt we are learning more coping mechanisms, to make our lives more manageable. We can wear our masks of normalcy with much more ease these days. Only those closest to us know that on the inside, we are desperately sad and our hearts are still broken.

The coping mechanisms we have learnt are like shields for our armoury. They protect us. But sometimes grief is powerful and knocks us down most unexpectedly. And when we fall down, our hope comes tumbling down with us. So we pick ourselves up. Because if we don’t have hope, what do we have?

In stark contrast to our grief, last week was quite a big achievement for our charity, Teddy’s Wish. We launched the website with the help and support of some truly amazing people. We also announced 3 fundraising projects we have been able to fund, which would not have been possible if it weren’t for the incredible generosity of others.

We hope these funds will go some way to help try and answer those recurring questions of how and why tragedies like ours can occur. We have to find answers so in time, there will be no more grieving parents.The charity has been set up because of Eddie but it is also for Eddie. We want to keep his memory alive. And more than that, we hope we will always make him proud of his mummy and daddy.

(our website can be seen here: http://www.teddyswish.org)


back to work

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.


here, not there

We haven’t visited Eddie’s grave since his funeral. Visiting a cemetery implies that our darling baby boy is there, away from his mummy and daddy. It’s too hard to fathom. His shell may be there but I believe his soul and spirit is here. With me. With Chris.

Over the past 6 months I have dipped in and out of bereavement books, read and re-read beautiful poetry and prose. They have become a companion on my journey of grief.

And so today, as I think about the reasons why I choose not to visit Eddie’s grave, I refer to a poem written by Mary Frye.

Do Not Stand At My Grave And Weep

Do not stand at my grave and weep,
I am not there, I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glint on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you wake in the morning hush,
I am the swift, uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circling flight.
I am the soft starlight at night.
Do not stand at my grave and weep.
I am not there, I do not sleep.
Do not stand at my grave and cry.
I am not there, I did not die!

Mary Frye (1932)


dates

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.


work

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.


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