This was first featured on Still Standing Magazine.
“I have five children; but I parent four. One of my children died.”
I can see the look that changes your face in an instant, you don’t realise you’re doing it. But I can see it, the twist of pain; the looks of discomfort as you’re unsure of how I am going to take this conversation.
You tell me you’re honoured about hearing of her, our little girl who didn’t make it, but in the same breath you tell me that is hurts your heart; and you often don’t know what to say. That by me telling you makes me instantly a different person. You look at me in a completely different way, your eyes look heavy I can hear that deep breath you thought was silent, because you fear that maybe I will share too much or maybe even infect you somehow.
Then I find myself saying sorry. Sorry for upsetting you, sorry for mentioning her, sorry for not keeping her a secret; sorry for having a daughter who died.
“I don’t understand these people who keep talking about IT, who feel the need to share their losses, why don’t they just get on with it- I did.” I remain quiet, because I fear that I am different, for not being over it as quickly as the next person; I question am I even coping the way I am meant to?
Am I ill for talking about HER? Should I be moved on? How am I supposed to just forget her?
I’m sorry for bringing her up again. I’m sorry for grieving too long. I’m sorry I am not grieving the right way. I am sorry for talking about my daughter who died.
I watch as the children move from one year to another, school holidays, new uniforms, new school year. Another year where we are minus one; another year of never knowing who she could have been. No friends, no clubs, no teams. No school reports.
I’m sorry that I am glad my living children are growing up and that I don’t want them to stop growing. I’m sorry that just sometimes I feel sad that one of our children isn’t moving up.
I am sorry.
As I hear time and time again the wonderful work the health care professionals do to provide care. I am sorry that not all are the same. I am sorry it feels me with a deep and heavy sadness when places get praise. I just wish our baby could have been one of them too. I wish her heart hadn’t stopped. I wish everything was different. I wish I could have done more to save her.
I could have left her in the past.
I could have felt the shame of having a baby who died.
I could have given up.
I’m sorry my daughter died.
My heart hurts too…