Here we are,the final day of the Capture Your Grief project. A month that has been able to give awareness, let people,friends old and new how it is to be Melody’s Mum. Of course it is never “just one month”. But it is a snippet to just some of the emotions, that can be presented after losing a baby. I’m aware I am incredibly open, but I am also very aware on how people question (not always to my face) my openness, aware of how uncomfortable people also are too.
I wanted to teach the world about the child, I don’t even know. To tell you how hard it is to love someone, you barely had chance to meet, the regrets surrounding her death and how we dealt with things after that we cannot change. I don’t want you to be uncomfortable, just as much as I don’t want to be the mum with a dead baby.
I speak about her often, not only because she is our little girl, but at times I get scared I’ll forget her, sometimes my head builds a wall between my memories of her, and her not existing.
Sometimes I wonder whether she did at all, then I see the pictures.
I’m supposed to think about her every day, you know exactly as you do with your living children, exactly as I do her siblings; you know their whereabouts, what they had for tea, when they’ll have a bath.
Honestly, I don’t think of her every day, I don’t talk about her often either, although I am sure you think even that is too much…but not as much as I should, had she been alive, but I have nothing new to share.
I can’t even share my four early losses any more because my brain can’t focus or concentrate on them. My heart has shut away from them. Because my head only sees Melody.
Today whilst everyone made their gardens into cemeteries, fake headstones and dressed their children as skeletons, I, we visited a real cemetery, dressed a real headstone and well…
There are days, many days where I believe Melody’s story is not ours; when I tell people I have four children it is easier, it is quick and painless.
This year, I’ve been detached from the project, I know from previous years readers have also been detached, due to numbers dropping, when I use this project to heal, but nobody is listening.
It is boring, it is sad. But I am your friend, your family member, she is our child.
Reflecting on baby bereavement as a whole not just this month. Life really does move on.
Time does heal provided you’re not the bereaved, provided it isn’t your story.
I put my trust into people after she died, when I shouldn’t have.
I expected far too much from people to understand and be kind, not use her death for their own gains or against me. When on reflection the only people who truly understand are those who are walking this path.
This project is insightful, even to me. It is an education. Learning from mums who have lost their babies but not in the same way, to know that we’re not alone but our losses, our pain is all individual and unique.
Nothing is wrong, nothing is right in how we, as bereaved parents (dads matter too) choose to pick up the Cellotape and fix our broken hearts.
Nobody has the right to tell us either.
Today was about performing an act of kindness. To give away a bit of love.
I failed. I’ve barely left the house in days. So random acts of kindness hasn’t been always possible.
I do like to think since this journey has begun,that I have successfully given love and shown kindness where I can. Sometimes planned,others spontaneous.
People need to be kind, no prompts,no subject pieces. Kindness goes a long way,particularly in this journey.
I’ve not been feeling myself this last week. So a healing,loving self care is how today for me went.
Even almost five years since she died, I still beat myself up over so much. I over think too much.
I feel at times suffocated by the way I can’t trust anyone or anything.
I do remind myself that our daughter died, but I always the think there are people worse off than me, then the brief compassion I may have for myself goes. When I speak about her, in raw form I always assume people think I am out to get sympathy, but actually I find it incredibly difficult to break the walls down to accept any form of sympathy. I don’t think it is a deserving thing. It is protection maybe, if I give in to compassion, I may just crumble. I don’t know.
I’m not sure where I am going with this.
How can I show compassion, when the people who do leave? There are so many times where I feel I simply don’t deserve it. My baby died. I left her with people I could trust.
I need to learn how to self care, how to give myself a break.
I’m really lost for words today…sorry.
Right from the word go I wanted to make a difference somehow.
There has been fundraising to some degree, it has been hard at times to gather the interest for people to support such a subject.
It has set me back within my grief,effects me in unexpected ways. I got to a point where I hated fundraising, that I was dishonouring Melody; her name,her life her death. Aside from people who wanted to help, it felt like the world just didn’t care.
I wanted to give up.
I can’t, I’m stubborn..
When we walked out of that hospital, no baby,no hope a bunch of leaflets a butter box and broken hearts. There was the odd card,the odd phone call. But eventually told we’d been bumped down the list. Told late losses,miscarriage,stillbirth and babies up to 5 days were who they usually dealt with.
I was angry and hurt that no one wanted to help us,after all our baby was here.
I wanted to offer that support to other parents,to break the silence to let no other family feel isolated.
There was nothing in my town.
I voiced my plans over and over, was offered an opportunity in 2014 to be part of a community project.
Venues were being sought after, it wasn’t until 2015 that it was found,the ball began to roll.
It has been a slow process, due to funding for the venue.
But in 2016,thanks to charity Towards Tomorrow Together, we teamed up and Melody’s Voices was born.
Again this has been slow,but we’ll get there, I am determined.
When we left the hospital,there should have been the support set up.
But now,my aim is to not let another family feel the way we did.
We are currently working on a fundraiser, a fundraiser I know I said I wouldn’t do. But our Mayor offered the local guildhall. And I have a couple of crazy friends,a mad husband and even madder town councillor on board.
I may not be able to save babies,to stop them dying.
I know Melody will help in our particular hospital.
But I want to make sure no other family,mum,dad feels alone.
We’re in this shit together.
I will sit and hold your hand,wipe away your tears,stand next to you in the silent darkness.
But I won’t let you feel alone.
Well,I’ve still not brought a piece of jewellery with Melody’s hands or feet on. I’ve a couple of necklaces with her name included, one being a gift as being part of a sacred space project. Another given by husband, with all the children’s names.
Along with a bracelet that matches one buried with Melody.
I rarely wear any of them. I’ll wear if we’ve an occasion or I feel the need to wear,but I’m worried I’ll lose them,especially the bracelet. This is the worry if I get a piece with her prints on. They’re in her memory box. The box I cannot open. Far too painful.
What I do have is MELODY. Her name written in many forms,sand,sweets leaves.
We had an American couple who originally began as friends of my husband’s, who we have never met, took the time to remember her on their wedding day.
Each and every picture taken means so much to us.
It doesn’t matter if it is taken a few doors away, or the other side of the world, to us it means that whilst her name is being written,someone somewhere is taking a moment to think of our precious girl.
I touched upon this many times. I mentioned in Beautiful Mysteries about not having signs.
I try with the symbols.
White/Yellow butterflies appear in our garden, I will say hello. I don’t really believe they’re a message from her,or her.. But they remind me of her, I cannot even explain why. I don’t even know why. Maybe that is the meaning behind signs and symbols that they appear beyond your control.
Fairies play a big part in our symbolism for Melody.
Mysterious, tiny,beautiful, mischievous.. Most definitely cannot be seen.
They’re her thing. We have them on her headstone,we’re slowly doing her a fairy garden in our own garden.
Of course in the beginning I was broken,I couldn’t be anything but tearful,confused and in pain.
But I couldn’t fully,completely surrender to the grips of grief.
My living children didn’t deserve to see that.
This is one reason it pisses me off when people say,well at least you have other children.
Rather than surrender to the tears, to stay in bed or stay in the house 24/7, I,we had to suppress the feelings,the raw crippling pain from them. They saw me cry and upset,they also needed to see that it’s ok to cry.
But I couldn’t let my legs buckle from under me,or scream in to pillows, I needed to carry their grief,they were hurting in their own right, they didn’t need to see mine to it’s full extent.
People assumed,and actually even asked the children if we sat on the sofa crying all day or rocking in a corner!
If only if were that simple.
Reading other bereaved parents attacking parents who already have children, because they have children,making us feel guilty.
But having older children, made it harder for me to grieve hard. I had to watch the pain in their eyes, listen to the questions,attempt to answer the questions,when I didn’t know myself,let alone making it all as gentle as I could for them.
I couldn’t take their pain away.
I couldn’t take my own pain away.
At times I fear if I truly give in, to the full extent of burying our daughter, watching her die in our arms,then I may never stop. My legs may never be able to carry me.
I cannot let the death of our baby consume me.
I need to show the children that life can’t be that cruel.
This is one reason I blog,and share on social media. Aside from the awareness, I needed to talk too.
Maybe one day,I’ll completely give in.
But right now my coping mechanism works for me.
I’ll cry,I’ll laugh,I’ll scream and rant.
I am only human.
I am still breathing.
Note: The picture. We had people accuse us,blaming us for putting the grief,the pain on them.
I’ll repeat myself, we did not know she was going to die.
We didn’t cause her death,neither did we ask for it.
Despite my own personal guilt and blame,it was nothing I’d done.
As you can see,they not only met Melody but they formed a bond with her. When they spoke to her she turned her head to their voices. They held hands with her, she even gave one of her first try at a smile to them.
We could not just pretend she disappeared, to forget she had been born.
She was here for FIVE WEEKS.
Rather than give them the cold hard facts of death, we were led by them,they knew she’d died and was never coming home.
They didn’t need to know the cold truth about death.
At times we were punished for doing what we saw was right.
You know what our decision to follow their lead was right.
Now,they will bring her up when they want,they won’t bring her up if they choose that too.
This picture just represents a bond, a friendship that should never have been broken the way it was.
I don’t believe, she is in a better place or that she’s all around us.
I know it is easier to think this way. I do wish I could. Occasionally I’ll say hello to a passing white butterfly, but I’ve struggled with this over the whole time.
I’ve had friends who would say, “Melody’s visiting their garden”. Or “Melody had sent good weather” for what ever occasion they’re preparing for.
It made me question a lot.
Well, why isn’t she visiting me? I’m her mum.
Why can’t I feel her? Does she hate me?
I went over and over this so many times. It just added to all the guilt and anger I was feeling anyway.
I feel envious sometimes of people who are aware of their babies.
My children have that comfort for their sister, their Cloud baby. So now I’m not bothered by what others “think” they feel in regards to Melody, as long as her siblings have found something.
I won’t take that away. It’s all cruel enough.
I, of course wonder all the time who she’d have been. The thing that bothers me the most is not knowing the colour of her eyes.
How I do not know the colour of my daughter’s eyes?
It is something we all,as parents take for granted.
Do they have mum or dad’s eyes? It’s a normal, topic.
Yet I don’t know hers.
My eldest two children were from a previous marriage, we all have blue eyes of some shade. Easy.
When her little sister was born she too had blue eyes, then around her first birthday, we suddenly noticed her eyes were like her dad’s… Brown.
This of course caught me off guard, I assumed she’d had the blue eyes for so long, she’d taken after me.
Bringing me to wish even more to know the colour of Melody’s eyes. Finally triggered once more, when Melody’s second little sister was born,after a year of waiting, her eyes stayed blue. One of each.
Who is Melody?
Okay, I know I’m rambling,but can you see?
It is impossible to imagine who she’d be. Her hair glistened blonde in the sunlight, yet we’re red heads.
She feet wiggled when she wanted to get cosy. Like me (and her siblings).
She had her dad’s nose.
She raised her eye brows when her eyes were still closed, just like her siblings.
She really is our beautiful mystery.
Our miniature hero, with secrets to hold, a super power no one could ever know..
Note: I am working on a project,have been for a while that does involve Melody, an adventure of her own.
By this project,I hope this will help with my spiritual relationship with her.