I am reading so many books at the moment on grief, I could open a grief library. Literally. My book shelves are full of them. Amongst the plethora of pages and quotes, some quotes stick and resonate more than others. The quote below by Elizabeth Jennings is spot on. I know the pain of losing Eddie will never go away. Time may pass but like a half-stitched scar, I will never truly heal.
Time does not heal
It makes a half-stitched scar
That can be broken and you feel
Grief as total as in its first hour
It’s 10 weeks today since we lost Eddie. We’re soon going to be grieving longer than when Eddie was alive and that’s a scary thought. I hate the fact that time moves forward even though it has stood still for us. And I hate the fact that every day and week that goes past, takes me further away from my baby boy. I have said this before, I still want to do things for Eddie, to feel like I can still be a mummy to him.
So I finally got round to writing to Glenda Jackson, MP for Camden today to complain about the way Eddie’s case was handled by the coroners office. Through Eddie’s loss, I hope we can help to make some positive change so other parents won’t have to go through the same ordeal that we have.
In better news, we have planted a tree for Eddie. It’s a Royal Star Magnolia kindly bought for us from my wonderful mother-in-law and it’s perfect. It will bloom around late March- April with showy, star shaped, fragrant white flowers symbolising Eddie’s purity. It will flourish and grow stronger each year and whilst Eddie is physically no longer with us, the life of the tree will keep his memory alive…
It will be his everlasting legacy.
I hate days that exist because of commercial opportunism. Days that dictate how you should behave and feel because someone, somewhere, told you so. I have always hated valentines day for that reason. I hated it when I was single as it highlighted that I didn’t have a boyfriend and I hated it when I had a boyfriend as it felt fake and contrived. Why did we have to celebrate love on that particular day? It was an irritating excuse for restaurants and florists to unnecessarily hike up their prices. Bah humbug.
And now I hate mothers day and fathers day for those reasons. Why should one day honour parents? Every day was mothers day and fathers day for us. Every day was a celebration that we were parents to our darling boy, not one isolated day in the calendar year.
Just because it’s fathers day today doesn’t make our grief any worse, it’s just another reminder that Eddie should be here. Another reminder that Chris was the best daddy in the world. Ever.
I have always thought there is something quite special about receiving hand written letters. Along with Eddie’s memories, we will always be grateful for the words of support given to us from family and friends. In a digital world of emails and texts, letters have permanence. And we will always cherish them.
A friend of ours wrote a letter which I have re-read time and time again. So I wanted to share a quote which has provided a source of comfort in our darkest hour.
“I’ve always thought of grief as love not knowing where to put itself, and that the process of it is locating their memories, those connections, those depths of your soul in which that love can sit most comfortably. As you must be feeling, Edward’s light has not been turned out, nor will it ever be. It glows within you and all those who loved him. Of course it now glows with some pain but in time, and with your will, it will be a glow of strength, of unity, of courage, even of joy”
Leaving Portugal yesterday was difficult. Not that it was an easy time away but we were in a bubble, it was just the four of us, and we didn’t have to speak to or see anyone else. It was a form of escapism even though we were still trapped in grief.
The plane journey on the way home was particularly difficult. Hearing a baby crying incessantly only served to remind us of our desperate longing for Eddie. I think the air hostess genuinely thought we were just upset to be coming home after our holiday when she asked us if there was anything she could do to help! Little did she know.
It’s good to be home as we have work to do. This morning I met with a friend who has kindly offered to help us with Teddys Wish. The charity is still in its early stages but has given me something positive to focus on. Those moments help me feel like I am doing something for Eddie; I can still be his mummy even though he’s not here.
This afternoon I met a friend who has gone through the same tragic loss as we have but under different circumstances. I don’t know if it’s fate, luck or coincidence that she lives only a few doors down from us but I’m grateful to have her in my life. Not only has she gone on to have 2 more children but she understands exactly what I’m going through. It shows me that she has survived, and with that survival, has found happiness again. I always leave feeling inspired. And even though it may not last long, it’s a moment of light.
Life wasn’t meant to be like this. We had everything perfectly planned from the moment we found out I was pregnant. We planned the house move, the family car, the car seat, the buggy, the nursery, the family holiday, and so on and so on. In fact, even before I was pregnant I was constantly making plans.
But life hasn’t worked out as we had planned. Life is terribly unfair.
We are now embarking on a new life, a new life without our darling baby boy. I’m not sure what this new life looks like but I’m certainly not making any grand plans. One thing’s for sure, I’m not the same person anymore. I’m sceptical of life, untrusting of what it may bring. I’m utterly heart broken. And I want my baby back.
But Eddie isn’t coming back. However hard I cry, however hard I pray, I have to accept that Eddie isn’t coming back in this life time. I have to accept that I will never know why his life was cut so short even if we are given a medical answer.
From the bottom of my heart, I want to believe that Eddie’s still with me; his soul is with me even if I can’t see him in the physical sense. I want to believe that he’s in heaven, that someone is looking after him, maybe he’s looking after me. And more importantly, I want to believe that one day, we’ll be together again.
I said to Chris today “I feel like we are existing but not living” Everything I lived for seems so insignificant now.
Life is just about getting through the minutes, the hours and getting through the days. Mornings are the worst. I wake up and for a split millisecond I feel ok before that sinking feeling returns with an almighty thump. You know that feeling when you wake up from a terrible nightmare? That feeling of relief that it was just a dream? Well, my nightmare is real. I am living my nightmare every. single. day.
Chris and I are in the process of setting up a charity called ‘Teddy’s Wish’. We are going to raise funds to help support other grieving families and further research into SIDS, neonatal death and stillbirth. Teddy’s Wish is giving me a reason to get through the day when I question how I’m going to get through it. It’s giving me something to do for Eddie. It’s keeping his memory alive.
My dad said I need to try and hold on to moments of light. Each time I experience even a flicker of light, I should write these down and hopefully, in time, those moments of light will get brighter. Teddy’s Wish and writing this blog are moments of light.
I’ve decided to play tennis again – another moment of light. I think it will be good for me. I used to play every weekend before I fell pregnant and it was part of my identity. Tennis is the only thing I can do at the moment that doesn’t have any association with me being a mum. Except of course when I try and squeeze in to my old tennis gear. But, I still think it will be good for me.
Chris and I went to buy a new tennis racquet this morning. He told me how excited he used to get when he was a young boy buying a new sports kit. He then broke down saying he would never be able to buy Eddie his first cricket bat. That’s not the only thing we’ll never get a chance to do. We’ll never buy his first rugby ball nor his first tennis racquet. We’ll never hear him say his first words and never see him take his first step. I’ll never hear him call me mummy…
But he will always be my son.
Finding out I was pregnant was one of the happiest days of my life. Giving birth to our beautiful baby boy was the happiest day of my life. I didn’t have the easiest of pregnancies. I had morning sickness, bleeding and pelvic pain followed by an arduous 60 hours labour. But I was finally a mum. A mummy. A mother to the most beautiful boy, Edward Louis Reid, who weighed an impressive 9lbs and it was all worth it.
Eddie was healthy, happy and getting bigger by the day. He suffered from silent reflux like lots of other babies his age but other than that, there was nothing else that was obviously wrong with him. As a first time mum, I was cautious and more nervous than experienced mums so off I took him to see our local GP along with visits to paediatricians as his reflux was worrying me. They all gave me assurance that he was healthy, he was growing and he was strong. He was prescribed medication but we were also told he would eventually grow out of it. Eddie was increasingly becoming restless and uncomfortable at night, often keeping us up between the hours of 1 and 6am. We complained like other new parents about lack of sleep but it was a small price to pay to be a doting parent.
We had always known about SIDS and cot death but like most things in life, you never think it will actually happen to you. Besides, we were so diligent with Eddie’s sleeping arrangements. He never slept with us, the temperature of the room was always 18-20 degrees, he wasn’t in a smoking environment and he never slept on his tummy – he always slept on his side as that was most comfortable for his reflux. Yes, there were times at the beginning that I would worry and I remember spending hours getting him to sleep only to find myself back in his room moments later, waking him up accidentally, as I wanted to check he was breathing ok. As time went on, Eddie was getting older and stronger so it became less of a concern.
But on 14h April 2014, the unthinkable happened. I still cant believe I have to write these words but we tragically lost our beautiful baby boy in the middle of the night to suspected SIDs and he was only 3 months old.
Words cannot express how devastatingly heartbroken we are. We have lost our first born, our little man. I don’t want to recount the events of that fateful night but I want to use this blog to express how I am feeling. To document how I am surviving life. How I am surviving life without my precious Eddie.