Tag Archives: grief

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. 




 


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)


small victory

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).


yo-yo

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.


the search begins…

I am writing this post from Amsterdam. Driven by a desperate need to search for answers, we are here for for the International Conference on SIDS, stillbirth and baby survival. The conference is a mixture of health professionals and bereaved parents. All are united by a passion to prevent stillbirth and infant loss. All are united to support bereaved parents who have gone through a similar tragic loss to ours.

We have felt honoured to meet leading professors who are utterly determined and dedicated to fight for baby survival. And privileged to meet others who are tragically in the same club as us.

It has been a tiring few days. We have consiously not exposed ourselves to too many sessions, especially those that are very medicalised. But we have been enveloped in support and it’s the most comfortable environment to openly speak about Eddie to people we have never met before.

In the time between sessions, we have taken long walks down the canals and taken the time to soak in the fresh air and sunshine. It has given us time to reflect. Time to think about Eddie. And importantly, precious time together.

I’d like to end this post on a quote taken from one of the sessions we attended earlier today: “Grief is like a shadow. It’s always there. You can’t see it in the dark but it is very visible in the bright sunshine”


words

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.


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