Monthly Archives: April 2016

The Community

It is utter shit being in this community.
None of us chose to live within it or have any part of it.
If we had a choice it would never exist. The order of life would be as it is meant to be…burying the elderly. Not the children before us.
Being a bereaved mum I live and breathe it every single day,there’s no day off,no baby sitter for. No break.
Once the first year is done, or the days that surround birthdays and anniversaries are over,people get bored.
Once they’re finished getting the attention, they also then get bored of giving the attention.
Can’t be bothered.

The community, no matter the day,whether it’s a birthday a milestone, just a shit day, they are there,with their understanding ear. (Or eyes). Remember. No nudging,no asking or even a mention.
Together standing side by side. Giving something, anything to know that within that community your baby will never be forgotten.
They’ll never be just one of those things,or an attention tool.
To them. Your baby is as important to them as they are to you.
Because simply we’re in this together. As one. We look out for each other.

Today,while remembering her beautiful baby on their birthday a fellow mama took a moment to also remember mine.

Amongst the bluebells.
We really aren’t just a community.
We’re a family.

She didn’t get in.

Had things worked out like the majority of parents, I’d be waiting eagerly to find out if she’d gotten in to the only school we’d have put on the list.
She’d have been going to play school with her little sister today,excited that she’d be going to the school in a few months.

But she didn’t get in.
She didn’t get offered a place.
She didn’t get a letter.

The tiny,secret hope that actually she may get a letter just for an acknowledgement that she was here,she existed. To see her name in an official document, outside her death certificate.
But of course that won’t be so.

She never got the chance ” to grow too fast”.
These type of days are another of those missed milestones.
Having a birth 4 years ago, but not having a four year old to do the next stage with.
Missing milestones are an ass, a type to floor you for a moment in time, counting to the next,because you know the next will be harder than a pinch.
An unused school uniform.

I’m not writing to make people feel sad or guilty for their excitement. That’s not what I want.
I’m writing today Monday 18th April to give Melody an acknowledgement that she deserves.

Melody has not been offered a place at the school we would have chosen.
Melody stopped growing.
Just another day.

Goodbye. Part Two.

13th April 2012.
The alarm bounded out.
But we were already awake, sleep wasn’t one of the options.
We had been dreading this day.
The children were restless, chatting at breakfast eyes wide with wonder.
John and I paced silently.
Numb.
What would this day bring?
Flowers arrived, was this really all for us?
The sun was shining exactly as it did on the day she arrived;
now it shone for the day she would be leaving.
Set on auto pilot, we washed we dressed.
We remained calm, following the children’s examples.
How were we going to get through this day?
In fact any day.
We made our way to our car hand in hand,
brightly dressed so she could see us clearly,
desperately hoping she could now open her eyes without pain.
We were still too early, clock watching to the last moment, the final second time stood still.
We arrived at the church to a small line of people, I can’t remember the order but there were people.
My legs felt like jelly, my bones had been removed, yet somehow I managed to keep up right to keep breathing.
Again we had no choice.
We followed the smartly dressed man into the church. Hands tightly held the four of us, too scared to let go unless we lost one another.
I could just recall the haunting sound of Bagpipes playing Amazing Grace,
I could feel myself detaching.
We were here for someone else. This wasn’t our story.
We continued to walk closer to the front of the church, when we looked forward,
there she was a little pink box on another little table.
Only now we wanted more than anything for it to be
the big clear box that she had been in 2 weeks before.
One last chance, one last hope that this had all been a horrible mistake,
her final chance to let us know everyone was wrong.
“Dragonflies and Water bugs”
Was read to us all, the children concentrated on every word.
Joseph clung to every word.
Leah nervously waited to do her part.
She wanted to do something for her sister.
A picture she had drawn, a love for her sister that would grow with her forever.
Another song was played, instead of hymns, she was far too young to have hymns, the song had far more meaning.
“My Love”

(I can’t share the song as the covers don’t do the song justice)
The tears hit, the pain knocked like waves smashing into my already broken self,
Would they ever stop?
Would I ever be able to stand from this seat again?
We blew her a kiss and followed her as the smartly dressed man carried her out of the church, to her final journey.
We felt too weak to carry her; we were still too scared we would hurt her.
The blessing was a private moment between John, the children and I.
A candle lit as the blessing took place,
when all we could think of was her baptism should never have been like this.
We knelt beside her, and gave her a blanket of daffodils,
some extra warmth because we didn’t want her to get cold.
The rest of our guests came forward so they could say good bye, and send her some pink balloons.
35 balloons 35 daffodils.
One per day she was with us, not enough days.
A decision we could never change.
The chance had gone.
11am we released the balloons watching them fly high some together,
some drifted; the drifters would be as Melody is now.
We thought this was going to be the worst day of our lives, but really how could it have been.
We had already done that part on the 1st.
Flying solo, while we as a family carry her in our hearts.
People may wonder why we continue to remember these dates.
Can you remember the age your child said their first word?
Melody never did that.
Can you remember when your child first walked?
Melody never did that either.
The dates of final moments, final memories are all we have of her.
We had no choice in how happy the memories would be, this is what we have.
And shall continue to build a last memory.
Because that is all we have.

We never wanted to say goodbye. 

Thank you for reading
xxxxx

Goodbye…..Part One

2012
Thursday 12th April 2012 I had to make a decision,
a decision I had no idea whether I would regret or not.
A painful choice.
We walked to the white building hand in hand,
John had already made his choice and was set.
Yet it felt impossible.
Our names were called and in that moment my mind had been changed,
for the millionth time, where once again I took John’s hand has we closely but slowly followed the smartly dressed man…
The room was small, delicately lit with candles to add to the effect.
A small table in the centre of the room, painfully obvious, but looked no
bigger than a memory box,
but definitely bigger than a shoe box.
The next question “Are you ready?” I know took us by surprise.
Were we ever ready?
But this was not something we could put off,
because we knew that the next day would be too late.
We nodded, holding each other tight, tighter than we felt strong enough for.
Terrified we had made a wrong choice.
The crochet blanket was gently pulled back,
the smartly dressed man left.
“Have as long as you need”
But we wanted forever, you can’t give us that.
We stepped forward slowly, peeking in not knowing what to expect.
A warning, a guide but nobody is ever the same.
There she lay peaceful, make up made her look perfect.
Almost like there was no reason for her to be there,
of course this wasn’t the case.
Surgical tape had slightly embedded into her baby face,
and the obvious stillness that was blindingly obvious,
no breath sounds was just the deafening silence.
We exchanged glances, and questioned
“How was this fair?”
“Why us?”
We didn’t know if we were allowed to touch her or get too close.
I wanted to cuddle her, but was afraid I would hurt her,
although I knew that was now an impossibility.
Placing our photos and drawings the children had asked us to take,
I stroked her face, suddenly remembering her warmth had long gone,
replaced with an icy cold glow.
Still hoping that somehow she would still open her eyes.
Willing her to breathe.
We felt lost, we held on to each other’s gaze,
when we knew the time had come to tuck her in to her blanket for the final time,
to kiss her good night for the final time.
Knowing we would need to remember how she smelt,
how she felt, all in one movement.
One chance.
Our final chance.
Lifting the blanket a corner in each hand,
tears rolling down our faces we covered her,
tucking her in replacing the blanket with each others hands
walking back wards giving her a lasting Good Bye;
for the next day would be the last……

Ruins

I don’t dream about her much these days,well not dreams I remember.
The early days were awful, nightmares…I can’t even bring myself to speak about them,purely because unless you’ve encountered such a loss, it would be hard pressed to have some understanding, or even not being judged as a complete nutcase.

But last night. It hit me hard,it was the type of dream,that no matter how many times I woke the dream continued.
Waking up this morning tired,drained.

Today,I’ll share this one,simply because for me it is exactly how being a bereaved parent feels like at times.

Working in a red bricked building, a building I recognised but I couldn’t quite grasp what it was. I knew where I was but I felt lost. As I walked around with my husband,it soon became apparent I was at the hospital. Corridors,doors everywhere. They still didn’t look completely recognisable.
We could hear a baby crying,it wasn’t a loud cry, all the doors we tried were locked or had nothing behind them.
The cry remained at the same volume no matter which direction we stood,where we walked the crying followed.
We found an unlocked door it lead to a room full of incubators.
The door behind us slammed shut, we tried the door but it had locked too. Leaving us trapped in the room.
The incubators were empty.
The cot cards all said Melody, but there were nurses to each incubator,tending to an empty plastic box.
It was confusing. Nurses looked at us,pity eyes. Heads shaking. Yet no body moved from their spot. Another door at the other side of the room was slightly open.
Heads down we made a run for it.
The door led to the outside,open air.
But it wasn’t what we were expecting.
As we turned to look at the building, it was a crumbling ruin. Nothing seemed in one piece, rubble replaced the corridors we had not long left behind.
The door we’d used was the only thing that remained standing.
Incubators smashed on the floor, cot cards strewn from the wind.
There was no explosion, no earthquake.
This thing happened, nothing was the same as it was five minutes a go.

We tried to run,but the rubble was surrounded by metal fences,high with barbed wire circling the top.
The further we went the more fences appeared. It was never ending.
The building seemed a distance away,the crying baby remained.
No matter how we tried there was no escaping.
Stuck.
We fell to floor,heavy with defeat,the night sky drew in.
Our eyes closed, simply because there was nothing else for them to do.

When we woke,sky was grey,but bright. The rubble and fences were still there, but the ruin looked somewhat beautiful.
Daffodils stood in front of the door,they’d also replaced the broken incubators.
Everything was the same but different too.
Escaping was still not an option.
A new day.

I wake up. Confused.

No matter what we do,if I push her to the back of my mind,if I stop talking, sharing photos of her,nothing changes.
I’m still her mum,I’m still  a mum of 5.

I could try to escape many times over. But I can’t erase what’s happened. So this is one reason I’ll carry on.
As I can’t forget, I’ll embrace it instead.

Everything is different.

To day is the day, I have to remember the loss of our girl. A date which should never have even been in our radar, in our calendar.
April Fool’s Day.

I did everything I could to keep her safe. I stopped smoking when I got my positive. I refused runny eggs, didn’t eat a thing that could hurt her.
I rested when I was told to, when things were going wrong with my body, I did everything in my power to keep her safe.
She didn’t get to come home.
We never once caused her pain or let her suffer. All we ever did was love her.
Expressed milk so she could have the best start in life, became anxious when she had to have separate feeds.
She still didn’t get to come home.

Four years ago,at 930am. Not only did our baby die,we of course lost her future.
First steps, first day at school, finding out who she would have been. I still can’t fathom that I don’t know my own daughter’s eye colour.
I’m told not to focus on things like that. I’m not. It’s just one of the many things we don’t know about her.
We’re allowed to wonder.

We encountered secondary loss too. Family,friends,career everything changed.
It’s been the most challenging thing I’ve come through. When at times people call people like me brave,but truth be told I didn’t have a choice. Neither of us did. She may not have been here very long but she still mattered.
We’ve had to get our heads around her dying,then we had to focus on why people walked away, turned their backs…changed.

Like I said yesterday we weren’t the only ones who’ve changed.
Secondary losses for me has been incredibly hard to deal with, somewhat ashamed to admit being let down by the very people who are supposed to pick you up when you fall. We didn’t just fall…

Everything has changed.

The realisation that for some,for outsiders looking in grief is boring,and ugly. It isn’t meant to be anything else.

Since losing her we’ve had our hands held tight by the people who shine the brightest. Particularly Melody’s Nanny. Never ever failing to mention her.
Our circle of friends have become tighter.
We walked away from that hospital dazed,numb.
Not knowing what would happen from there.
It was scary.

If I were to go back to my early days self, I’d remind myself it is OK to breathe. It is definitely OK to cry. Whether it in public or at home. The only people who matter in your personal loss is you.
I regret wasting my early grief on people who quite clearly, didn’t have the patience for us.
My energy was wasted.
What ever you are feeling is normal…it is normal to you. Nobody can tell you how to behave,or to judge what you do.
None of this is normal.

We’re here.
Still standing.
Still breathing.

Yesterday,on the anniversary of her final good day,we took to the beach,remembered her as we always do when we’re close to the beach.

Today we visited her,gave her some flowers and a minion.
We had lunch. And smiled.

I love that little girl so much, she’s my 3rd baby and always will be. Nothing can ever take those 5 weeks away from us.

I wish she was here.
Forever our baby she’ll be.