Category Archives: Grief

melody and me

Nobody’s Army

There has been so much in the media about saving poorly children, the fight for their survival, the fight to do anything but have to bury them. I can’t imagine what these families have to go through; our daughter was only here for five weeks.

As I see the scores of angry messages, the protests, the army of people fighting for their very last rights. The media, social and otherwise are filled with these stories.

Makes me question… Did WE love our daughter enough? Did we fight or try hard enough?

We have always had questions surrounding her death – our baby had the best odds, death wasn’t in her plans, she WAS coming home, no brain damage, breathing without a ventilator, she burped, she even smiled; she had cuddles, she was fed via a tube simply because she was too tiny to have the sucking reflex, which she was fast learning.

She STILL died.

There was no time for an army, a brief message on Facebook asking for thoughts, no options of fighting when we arrived. Just the words “She won’t survive.”

I’ll always question and blame MYSELF about whether I did something wrong in my pregnancy, or had eaten something that may not have agrees with her expressed milk.

I don’t know if I loved her enough, it was hard to love someone through an incubator, did she know that we loved her?

Did we fight and beg hard enough that morning? Maybe I wasn’t strong enough to fight, I wanted to believe me, I needed them to tell me that it was just an April fool’s joke. I needed them to tell me they were wrong, but once those words had been said, like a dagger to the side, it killed me yet kept me alive at the same time. Why wasn’t I strong enough to fight for her? To keep her safe? She wasn’t meant to die.

When those fateful words of death came, the only thing I could think of doing was to hold her. To know that we loved her in her final minutes, it really was minutes, from the broken news to her final breath.

I just wish I’d held her longer, kissed her forehead. I wish I hadn’t taken our time together for granted, and took in her beauty, to remember her soft skin, the warmth of her breath, her fuzzy hair.

How were we supposed to say goodbye? We DID – DO love her. Always.

Wishes are all we have. Guarding the dreams that should have been. EVERYTHING should have been different.

Melody and Me

Different Year – Please Bear With Me

When I woke up with my pregnant bump on January 2012; I never imagined that we’d have a funeral rather than a baby. And since then January has always been different.

I like January, my son is a January baby; there are lots of magical New Year’s resolutions and plans for the year ahead. Some see it as just a day while others see it as an opportunity for a fresh start. January 2012 gave me her 20 week scan photo, and a birth date to plan for, even a start of a birth plan, with a growth scan date to break the wait up; that January we were so excited celebrating the fact we’d be having a baby *that* year. I remember it so clearly – well, almost.

The New Year brings us to that step onto the uphill climb to her birthday in February; March the month she was alive and the crash of April remembering her death, and the aftermath.

Each year I say to myself I will be okay; I will talk less, I will try to forget a little; make it easier on myself on other people around us. But I can’t. I try to keep busy – this year I have already made plans of redecorating and throwing myself into birthdays, her siblings’.

Believe me I have tried to be “over it”, to move on “I hate to see you hurting.” I don’t want or need treatment to forget her; that is definitely not something I want (at least right now).

We’re coming up to the 6th year, and this time of year for me sucks. No matter how busy I make myself; how much fun and laughter I have – it sucks. 80% of the time I think I am ok, I do just fine; but then there are other parts where I don’t and can’t cope; it is hard for people who haven’t switched their child’s life support off to really understand why six years down the line and I find certain times of the year shit.

I can be a bitch, over emotional, quieter than normal. But I can also laugh until I cry, until it hurts to breathe. It is hard.

With it being six years I can also know when people are fed up of me; they’re not too obvious, to give them the benefit of the doubt they may not even realise they are doing it but I know; like when the messages of comfort are less, people stop mentioning her, or squirm and fidget when I do – the eye rolls.

Because that’s enough now isn’t it? I have told her story so many times, shared her a lot, I have been open.

While I am being a bitch, over emotional, quieter than normal, who also laughs until I can’t breathe, I am trying to hold on the only memories I have, the only timescale of months that I can connect with her. The scan, her birth; her discharge date and cuddles, her death, her funeral and the May due date she never reached. They are all I have on repeat; I have nothing new to say – to most they must be boring.

But it is all we have.

I don’t always bring her up to the people I meet, in fear of scaring them off; but I am not strange because later down the line it is discovered that our one of our daughters died.

So please bear with me, while I wade through these next few months coping the only way I know how to by winging it and remembering to breathe.

Just don’t walk away. Please.

 

We’re not ill. 

Melody and Me

Grief Timescale – We’re Not Ill

My grandparents are in a cemetery; my Dad is in the same one, burial spaces decades old. I don’t visit them often, not because I have forgotten them, or I am finished missing them; their cemetery is just outside of our town, it is not always easy to pop out to visit them.

I talk about them; share memories. People listen and they too share memories of their missed loved ones.

In the years since I have lost my grandparents, since I lost my dad, since my mother lost her husband; it never ever occurred to me that there was a time limit of how we grieve.

Of course the loss of these people, were – are very different to losing our daughter. Losing her and watching others go through the loss of theirs; the way in which society brushes off our losses.

When we visit our daughter, which we don’t very often these days; we do at least for special occasions; like her birthday, anniversary and Christmas; more often than not carnival and Halloween too. As we walk through the cemetery and see beautiful fresh wreaths places onto graves whose names have faded, or are decades old; still loved and still very much a part of whoever tends to said graves. I would never judge, or have ever thought of this as an odd thing to do.

I certainly would never question their grief, or that they still tend or speak of them. Every single person’s grief is individual, we all wear it differently.

What has led me to here? Well I came across a news article about a Mum wanting to decorate her baby’s grave. This isn’t an issue to me, or to anyone other than the family. But I made the mistake of reading the comments from the general public – our society; whilst I have no idea who the family involved are I think it effects every single bereaved parent.

There were comments after comments about the Mum needing help, counselling; how she should concentrate on the children she does have. That seven years is too long to be grieving or visiting a grave.

I don’t think it is because I am a Mum who has buried her child; but it would never, ever cross my mind to question the grief of anyone – to judge another person visiting a lost loved one.

Can you imagine going to someone and passing comment about how they visit their husband too much? Or that they talk about them too much now that they’re not here.

I genuinely cannot understand why society feels the need to judge on such a personal thing, an emotion often raw. I am five years down the line – almost six; but there are some moments that will catch me off guard and take me back to that raw emotion of hearing the words. “She isn’t going to survive.”

With me being five years down the line, I have questioned myself about whether I talk about her too often; whether I visit “too much.” I have also often wished this had never happened, that she wasn’t my daughter; I have also debated about never visiting her grave.

But I can’t simply block her out; and I am no one of those people who doesn’t believe she lives within us, if you have followed over the years; you will know this is something I have always battled with myself about.

Letter M in a garden.

When I don’t visit I get that huge guilty feeling, especially if it has been weeks on end; I also feel guilty if I don’t take her something; I know she doesn’t know any difference –  and I am painfully aware that she is dead. But I am her Mother; just as I feel guilty when I can’t watch my son’s choir concert, or forget his University show.

The times when I can’t afford to buy my eldest the latest Now album; or the days when I accidently don’t treat them all the same.

So, when I read how society believes I should be how they think I should be over her by now; how visiting however many years is unhealthy. Let me tell you, the only thing that is wrong here; is not that I cry for her occasionally; that I miss and talk of her.  Please help me to understand.

It is that she IS dead; there is absolutely nothing I can do about that; but I will forever be her Mum. I can’t cuddle her or tuck her in to bed, I can’t see her walk across a stage ready for her Nativity; or hear her sing out of tune.

I can’t have a school report; or see Christmas Cards for her from her friends. I’ve never held her hand to walk across the road; just like she will never have a sleep over or taste ice cream.

She, we will have never experienced any of these things.

So if I am still visiting her grave; or including her this year – five years on or in 25 years; please don’t judge; be kind; don’t assume that I am ill.

I am her Mum; the only thing that is wrong about this is that she died.

melody and me

It Is Okay To Cry

I don’t cry for Melody a lot these days; I certainly don’t when amongst people. I’m open about our loss, about my grief; but the tears for me I prefer they fall in private, more I think because often society gets frightened by tears, by emotion.

When tears particularly of sadness show, head tilts and the comments of worry.

“They’ve been crying again.”

“I’m sure they should be over all that now.”

“They’re obviously not coping.”

“They should get help.”

 

Crying is okay, sadness is okay. They’re both more than okay to happen.

There was a charity event in aid of two charities; one of course is very close to my heart, involving Melody, out of nowhere the day made me feel incredibly emotional, it was an overwhelming feeling on how well the day was going.

I never expected to begin crying, I never expected it to remain like a cloud hovering over me for the rest of the day. I hadn’t felt that way in such a long time.

I get a tap on my shoulder to tell me my son was also in tears. As I did my best to remove him from the eyes looking at him, at us his tears turn to sobs; I knew then they for him were a release. They were loud, and so perfectly natural.

My children also rarely cry over their sister, they speak of her always, but never with sadness. He just let go so much, I could see in his face it was such a relief for him. He loved his sister dearly, although together for such a short time they were close. He, along with his older sister and us we all hurt over the loss over this girl, a loss which is incredibly complex, and so terribly misunderstood.

Having these overwhelming bursts of emotion means nothing of being strong or of signs of weakness. But of just how consuming the loss of baby, a child can be. Grief can pull you under, making it incredibly hard to breathe; I now know it will pull me back to the questions, to the complete brain fog of wondering how the hell we got from this tiny cuddly baby, to doing things for her in memory of.

People have often said they’re always worried about bringing up the name, or a memory of a loved one; this is very much the case where baby loss is concerned, for fear of making them cry. We’ll never forget who we’ve lost.

But there is nothing to be feared in crying, there’s nothing to be feared in mentioning a name.

Crying is good, whilst the reasons can be the ugliest things in the world, watching pure sobs, as I did with my son at this event, as I held him tight to my chest, I found it can be the most beautiful and uplifting thing to see, the release is empowering.

Children are incredibly versatile, I know today for him is a far better day. For me it’ll take a few days to get my head around things, I find the strength of these emotions very draining. But I will be okay.

I always am.

Inside Out – Right Where I Am

I originally shared this post here a year ago. Working on this year’s Guest Post, I wondered what I had written for this annual project. I don’t think this feeling will ever differ…

Right Where I am 2016 


Inside Out. It’s a Disney film, about emotions from the emotions themselves.

Joy, Sadness, Anger, Fear and Disgust.
All important roles in how our moods take us. Most importantly how we cope with things that change our lives, and almost break us.
Having seen the film, several times over now, I can understand the feeling of losing one’s marbles.
My personality islands collapsed, the day she died. No warning, I couldn’t stop them. Lost, forever.
For me, 4 years into this journey, I can associate myself with all 5 of the emotions. Some less than others.
Disgust, I guess how some parents take their precious children for granted. I feel disgusted in myself sometimes. When I have days, where I’m not quite coping. I shout, I snap. I somewhat alienate myself.
Fear. It goes without saying, the fear of not only losing my other children, but my husband, my friends. Fear paralyses me at times. I have to control it. It can take over, but it isn’t allowed.
Anger. I don’t get that raw anger very often any more. Because we should have had a different outcome, the anger was eating me, tearing me apart bit by bit, as if the bigger picture of our daughter dying wasn’t enough, but the anger, drilling through my very being. Don’t get me wrong, I get angry, really bloody angry at the whole having a dead child, I’m allowed, but it’s far more contained. I’m lucky to have a husband who will let me release it, by talking, crying. It’s not often any more.
Joy and Sadness.
Together? In the head of a bereaved mum.
Maybe.
As above I said my personality islands collapsed, fell silently away, as she died in our arms. There were no controls, no brakes. It happened.
I’ve had to start again.
New hobbies, new train of thought, new friendship circles, and how I spent my time with those friends, family. The shape of our family changed.
I never expected joy to be part of my emotions again, ever.
But I refuse to have Melody be the little blue person.
This time of year, I find just as hard as the part of the year my brain associates her with.
September to May. There is always something attached to her, from a positive pregnancy test, to her birth, her anniversary, discharge date and due date. I no longer make a big deal over the smaller dates, I always will for her birthday and anniversary. But they’re all still related in some way.
So, when June arrives, it’s like a strange come down. Every thing I do gets touched by sadness, core memory after core memory affected by sadness.
It shouldn’t be. I’ve, we’ve been punished enough.
I do believe joy and sadness can coexist. There’s a balance.
But people have to remember everyone grieves differently.
If I want to ball my eyes out 4 years after my daughter dying. I will. I don’t need therapy or medicine.
But laughing doesn’t mean I’m over her either.
I’ve found a good balance, albeit right or wrong. It is right for me.
Right now. I’m missing Melody. That will never change.
She is my bundle of joy, cuddled in a blanket of sadness.
Melody and Me

Stages of Grief

The stages that once all are completed, everything is better.
 

 Denial.

Anger.

Bargaining.

Depression.

Acceptance.

 

 The Stages of Grief.

Since 2012 when our daughter died,  I have stepped and paused on each and every one of these stages.  Several times in fact, and in no order, but they’ve all been met and fought with on a number of occasions.
Most people know the stages,  and in the beginning in my head, with repeatedly being told that time heals,  the obsession with time I had as the weeks rolled by I would attempt to tick the words off the list in my head.
Denial – ✅ 
Anger –  ✅ 
Bargaining –  ✅ 
Depression – ✅ 
Acceptance – ✅

 All completed.  

But then, something would happen; a trigger, a thought, then one of the stages will hit again.  Not all at once or even in any order.

 

The Limbo Months

I’m currently in yet another run up to a birthday without the birthday girl, the remembrance weeks of when she was alive and felt real, then the anniversary.
Each of the above arrives in waves, each wave named after each of the grief sections.
Looking through photos of her, which isn’t something I do often, maybe for a project, or – well I don’t really need to justify myself the times that I do. I can’t quite get to grips with how she died, this baby, our tiny little baby who gave us a smile, fed, pooed..how she just died.
It isn’t about acceptance or a denial thing, let’s face it none of the five titles really are equipped to be included in baby/child loss.
I am painfully aware that she isn’t ever coming home; that she is dead, we all wish that wasn’t true. It is comprehending such a thing happening.
Even now, looking at her photos, I still cannot believe this happened to us.
Yet you still get people say “It happens for a reason.”
I think this is probably where the anger part comes in to play.

Waves

Each year the run-up to dates bring the waves, since the turn of the year, I’ve hit a couple of them, I’ve now come to realise that this time of year is difficult, how can it be anything but?
Some waves are rougher than others, nothing it seems is going to change that.
For me, the firsts were extremely painful, full of overwhelming ‘What the fuck just happened’s’?
The firsts are the worst bit. But then it turns into the seconds, when you can no longer include them in the year, or say “This time last year.”
The moving on of folk who offered mere condolences, life goes on.
The stages for those who don’t feel the full ripple effects can be ticked off the list.
It is time to move on, “it’ll only make you sad…”
Another of those beautiful quotes.
I’ve found time hasn’t healed a thing, having spoken to others they feel the same too. It is hard to imagine these years getting worse.
Then I find myself back to the feelings of
 Denial. 
Anger.
Bargaining.
Depression.
Acceptance.
Stroppy Bitch Syndrome.

Too many time limits.  Too many tick lists.
I’ve added one…
That’s me, around the same time each year, I guess there comes a point where I just can’t tolerate, little annoyances, which are probably not even that annoying.
Patience is incredibly thin.

Emotions

It is such a hard thing to explain why.  Watching friends’ children turn the age ours should have done, it is such a happy event,  but it is so bittersweet,  filled with many emotions and thoughts.
Buying flowers for a child,  cards that will never be read.
It isn’t surprising that I end up with stroppy bitch syndrome.
But I do hate the feeling too, I really don’t mean to be but I know once the heaviness of the next few months lightens, then my patience expands more.

There is certainly no black and white when it comes to the stages of grief, they certainly don’t disappear once you’ve completed them.  Let’s be honest they’re not exactly an accurate guide, or at least for me, I don’t think it is.
These waves are crushing don’t let me paddle alone.  I don’t want to drown. Stages of Grief