Tag Archives: grief

October guest post submissions

October Guest Post Submissions

Once again I am opening up a corner here for October Guest  Post Submissions. I am running a series of posts throughout October – Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month.

Last year I opened it just for Neo and post-neonatal deaths.

This year I would like to open it up to anyone who has lost an infant; included during and shortly after birth. You may not want to specifically share your baby, your story but maybe raising awareness of how you come to lose your little one. I, for one never knew babies could die of sepsis even before leaving the hospital; I had always thought it was an infection you pick up going about your daily business.

Maybe you have a letter to your little one or something you want to say to the world.

I would like to run a mini-series to run alongside to include grandparents, aunts, uncles and siblings of children lost. Looking at a different perspective of losing such a young relative; or watching your family member go through such pain and maybe feeling helpless.

 

Special Information

  • Submissions are open from 14th August 2018 – 14th September 2018.
  • Posts should be a minimum of 300 words
  • You can add a photo if you wish
  • All gestations welcome
  • All ages welcome
  • I will link back to any blog if requested.
  • I will share on my social media outlets
  • If you wish to stay anonymous then please let me know.
  • I will schedule the posts from October 1st

Mums, Dads, Grandparents, Siblings, Aunts/Uncles who have lost a child, grandchild, brother/sister, niece/nephew.

Having an understanding of such a complex type of grief can be so difficult, leading to feelings of loneliness.

For one month, I am aiming to bring not only awareness of baby loss in general, but to bring people together in their grief. It is incredibly hard to understand something when you’ve not been through it.

 

If you would like to add something then please email me

melodyandme35@gmail.com

We’re in this together.

Little Daffodils

Little Daffodils – In Memory

Little Daffodils
When we first lost our daughter, there was virtually nothing to support us. Cruse came out and were brilliant – but only for me.
Other places, we found had set policies and how people are supported. Which meant that her age put a barrier, too old, too young or didn’t die the “right way”.
It made us all the more isolated, which is the opposite of how we should have been treated.

Setting up little daffodils was my way of trying to bring awareness that all losses needed to be supported in the way they deserve.

Now it is the last thing I have to do with Melody. The last thing I can do to change things in her memory. I’ve thought many times of giving up, doing this sort of thing alone is bloody hard work

The thing I find incredibly difficult is that I have to fight to get melody recognised, she’s official in the eyes of the law; birth and death certificates, but when it comes to baby loss awareness Post-Neonatal gets lost. It feels like a fight to get little-daffodils out there. It wasn’t meant to be this hard. That said, I can’t just give up little-daffodils, it is literally the only thing I have left to remind me that she existed. It is the only thing that I HAVE to do.

The blog I can take a break from whenever I want to, but the group is something I need to keep going to. It is incredibly painful when her type of death doesn’t get mentioned, over and over I have to wonder about her being as important as all the other babies who die. She mattered too. It’s the last thing I can do for her.

I started this in 2015 to make sure she and other babies are recognised and their families get the support we never did. I can’t turn my back on that, I can’t let her fade away if I stop little daffodils I think that is what will happen. Because I fear I may just forget. That is not what I want. In her memory, I wanted to raise awareness, and change the way families are treated. Nobody should ever be left in the dark…

ALL BABIES MATTER.

Coping and Sharing #togetherforchange

Coping And Sharing

I think we all cope differently, we can empathise with each other’s stories but the way react can be completely different to the next person. I think that is why child loss is so difficult to understand.

 

When Did You Tell People?

Death was no longer in our daughter’s plan, we had been given a discharge date to go home – we were given hope. So, the morning of her death when we phoned over to them, as we did every day we were told to make our way over to the hospital as she wasn’t feeling very well; we assumed they were considering transferring her to a bigger hospital. We never expected what we walked into that morning.

I used Facebook a lot throughout her pregnancy, I was poorly they helped, so we placed a status asking for positive vibes as they were putting her back on a ventilator. When she died at 9:30 we came outside to inform our close friends and family, but were still receiving get well soon messages; so by 11:30 we decided to announce our daughter’s death on Facebook – basically hit and run just to stop the positive messages coming through.

 

How To Deal With The Return To Work?

I chose not to. I chose to completely walk away from the profession that I had done since I had left school. I couldn’t face doing that job any more, I knew this quite early on; I loved the profession but I was done.

Unfortunately employers aren’t always very sympathetic when it comes to needing time to grieve the loss of a baby, especially if you’re outside of the maternity timescales (either too soon or too late); even more so for Fathers.

Ideally having good communication is a must with management, to ensure that you aren’t rushed back to work or that you lose wages, being in debt can be the final straw when something so devastating happens. Going back too soon could have an effect on your mental health and being able to concentrate on your job role. But also leaving it too late can have the same effect, through avoidance. It is trying to find the right balance, or like me it could be the step to make a big change, for me was to change my career.

 

How To Talk To Family And Friends After Loss

As hard as it is, try to lead them through it. Let them know how much or how little you want to talk. Showing them that crying is okay; that you’re not sick that you are grieving. And at the same time, if you don’t talk or want to show emotion that is perfectly okay too. The people close to you often fear of making your pain worse by mentioning your loss, but often by not mentioning can hurt just as much.

Friends and family can both find it incredibly difficult, and often leave you feeling alone. This often ends up being a secondary loss and can be just as difficult to deal with as the actual loss of a loved one; leaving you questioning whether you’ve done something wrong.

But finding that right support network, will come to mean everything to you, it’ll be something you’ll not forget.

 

What Part Did Social Media Play?

As mentioned before, we announced her death via Facebook. But afterwards the online support for me became invaluable. There is no way I would have gotten to where I am today without them. Finding the right support has been unbelievably difficult because of our situation not fitting the right criteria for the right support. So, turning to online forums (one being a pregnancy and parenting forum) was for me the next best thing. I could avoid people’s avoidances in the street, I made friends.

But at the same time, as much as the online network played a massive part in the healing process, it can make you feel incredibly lonely in your own home community that can slow things down.

 

How Do You Cope With Announcements From Friends And Family Who Are Expecting?

In the very early days, I shut myself away, hiding any pregnancy announcements and updates that I came across, it often felt painful. There were days where I found people expecting girls harder, often boys going home was equally as difficult, as we had been told that because she was a girl, she had a better chance.

Over the years the announcements have gotten easier, but I always have the (silent) niggling worries for all the negative reasons. What I do find more difficult are those who are eager to bring their pregnancies to an end; wishing for earlier babies, trying hard to bring labour on before they’re ready. Even babies who are born when they are ready can be born poorly, and need time in special care. Even after losing Melody, as quick as a few weeks later, I remember people wanting their babies before their time – for me that hurt, as although she was very early, it means her story isn’t teaching enough.

My eldest daughter was born just a few weeks early and needed to go into special care, my son born 5 days early, just about got away with going in.

 

What Advice Would You Give To Someone Who Is Finding It Difficult To Cope And Share Others News?

Find someone to talk to, even if it online. Write your feelings down, get them out that way. You are allowed to feel anger and sadness, but you are also allowed to be happy too. It doesn’t mean you are over your loss, or people see you think you’re all okay not. That balance can be found.

Definitely take one day at a time, there is no rush and it isn’t a race.

planning music for your baby's funeral

Planning Music For A Baby’s Funeral

Music can be such an important part of life. We have a soundtrack of our childhood; remembering the moments we had with friends or the memories of songs when big things like our exams happened.

When we fall in love we have a song to remind us of our love, the songs which become the soundtrack to our weddings. Music has a way of bringing every emotion, just by sound.

I used to love rock music – I still do, but it was my go to genre of music. Marilyn Manson was one of them. In 2011 we were picking songs for our wedding, and then again for our blessing a few months later.

A year later we were deciding songs for a funeral. We decided almost straight away that we didn’t want her to have hymns; although I do wish I had sung her at least one lullaby. We felt that hymns were for older people.

Songs for her funeral

We took a little time to think and to decide; we didn’t really know what would be right, but we also knew that planning a baby’s funeral wasn’t right either. We just went with how we felt as her parents.

Amazing Grace via Bag Pipes (sadly not real ones)

My Love by Sia

Every Breath You Take – By Sting and the Police

Each were perfect for her.

 

Music Changed for Me

I still enjoy rock music, but I have opened myself up to a whole world of different genres. I deleted a lot of my Marilyn Manson collection. I won’t go into details but if you know his music, you will probably understand why.

Other songs I began to hate, while other songs reminded me of the split life – the before and the after. Like Paramore Decode; it reminded me of such an innocent time in our life. Before everything changed.

 

Songs Which Remind Me of Her

Coldplay – Yellow. ‘Her’ colour is yellow, being a spring baby and the yellow flowers.

Bruno Mars – It Will Rain. We had amazing weather during the time she was alive, glorious sunshine in March. But the afternoon of her wake it began to rain and it didn’t stop, making it one of the wettest summers on record!

Joshua Radin – Winter. This song was on a television show I was watching when I was pregnant, of course it was winter we had snow that year too.

The Wanted – Gold Forever. Back to the colour, but the lyrics too.

Ed Sheeran – Photograph.

Ed Sheeran – Castle on the Hill

Kate Havnevik – Grace

Ben Cocks – So Cold

Aron Wright – In the Sun

KT Tunstall – The Universe and U

Avril Lavigne – Slipped Away

Pink Floyd – Wish you were here.

 

 

 

Discovering Different Music.

Since her death, I have discovered the most amazing pieces of music. Some to bring the first smiles whilst some sends shivers through your whole body.

Lissie – Everywhere I go

Sia – Rainbow (Not because of rainbows after a storm, but community)

Adaline – Say Goodbye

Ingrid Michaelson – Without You

Anna Nalick – Breathe

One Two – Without You

Great Big World – Say Something

Ed Sheeran – Small Bump

Sia – Angel by the wings

P!nk – Beam Me Up

Nick Cave – O’ Children

Sara Jackson Holman – Freight Train

 

Finding any joy in music isn’t easy, because it has such an impact on our lives, some songs which are loved and reminded of wonderful memories can never be heard again.

Planning music for a baby’s funeral is not right. But it is one of the few things we have left to do for them.

melody and me

Dream Sequence

I met her in my dreams the other night; this is something which I have not done in a very long time.

As much as you’d imagine a dream to have a happier ending it didn’t, but it also wasn’t a nightmare either – at least not the ones I had come to known in the beginning. Death had still found her, but the dream brought me a second chance.

The Dream

A phone call came. I don’t like phone calls; no idea why I am just one of those who just isn’t keen. It was the hospital, a voice I recognised with a background of an echoed reception area –  I knew the sound well; behind the voice, I could hear the long beeps from machines, the long beep which used to tell us she was on too much oxygen – that sound seems to stay.

There had been a mistake, she had somehow been left behind at the hospital; forgotten maybe and that the funeral we thought we’d had for her was just an empty box. Nobody knew how or why it had happened; I was then asked whether we’d like to see her. It was hard to know what to decide; I guess even in my dream it had been years – but we agreed, surely they wouldn’t have offered if there was nothing to see.

When we arrived the people who stood before us seemed shocked; they began to explain that she was somehow perfectly preserved like no time had passed since she had. I wanted to see. The people parted ways to reveal a baby, laid in a cot – peaceful and unmoving. I looked at her Dad and he me; I had to pick her up. As I held her she seemed a little bigger than I had remembered, but it was her, the slight tape embellishments on her cheeks, her little nose much like her siblings, and her fine strawberry blonde hair that covered her head.

Never Let Go.

When she died, we didn’t know that we could have spent more time with her or that there were still more memories to make. I knew this dream would end, but I also knew I had to make the most of it, of her. We bathed her, not once putting her down, kissed her forehead – knowing that her temperature wasn’t right, only made me feel more determined to warm her with love and kisses. I was able to snuggle her in bed, which I never got to do. To sit and choose a coffin whilst holding her in my arms – morbid I know, but it is what is meant to be done when it is one of the last things to do for your baby, we never knew about the choice of tiny coffins. Everything was to happen quickly, I didn’t once put her down. the weight of her felt comfortable in my arm – I didn’t want to let her go again.

But I did. I was able to place her into her new pink coffin, placing her gently on to cotton sheet we had placed for her. It felt all so different.

I got to hold her longer and kiss her more, her eyes remained closed.

As my eyes opened.

 

 

Dreams.

I think I speak of her so much (when I can), during my awake time; that I guess I don’t need to be searching for her in my sleep too. My brain has become so accustomed to knowing that she isn’t with me, that I guess my sleeping mind doesn’t need to search for something my awake mind has gotten used to. I have never dreamed of her as a growing child, again maybe because my brain knows she has gone. I simply can’t imagine what she would have been like.

In the beginning, the nightmares came, mistakes before she died, the most obvious one about – were they 100% sure that she had died. Those dreams faded into nothing, they all stopped. I am glad in a way that I don’t have dreams about who she could have been. I’m as comfortable as I can be with not imagining that.

 

I don’t know why I suddenly had this dream after all this time; I know there is probably the message of regret and things we weren’t able to do with her. For that night, those fictional moments I was able to hold her again.

 

dreams

Melody and Me

Memories. The Weather

The weather is always a big conversation opener, particularly at the moment whilst we have the snow – being in the South West of England, it is the first time since 2013 that we have had any snow to actually speak of. I was pregnant then, with Melody’s little sister, the year before I was pregnant with Melody.

There was snow annually; I remember not wanting to go out in case I slipped – something I have done a lot in the snow; I didn’t want to risk hurting my unborn baby. I remember looking forward to our new baby’s first experience of snow how she would react, lots of wonder.
She never got to see the snow, but the following year I was pregnant again unable to risk the snow again; fearful of making those magical snowy plans.

The winter always reminds me of her, as she was alive and a fully expected baby; it was exciting; which is exactly how it should be when you have a growing bump.
We do obsess with the weather as a nation, most often it does bring people together; where the snow reminds me of her pregnancy; it also brings some memories of her life on the opposite scale.

Heatwave

In the year that she was born – 2012, the whole time she was born we had the most amazing weather, an unusual weather for the time of year (February-April). It would be the hottest March on record. The day she was born was a glorious sunny day, I could remember just being able to see what the weather was doing through the window from my bed; I wish I had taken pictures of our surroundings that day; it makes up part of her life.

The Spring had come early that year; I guess that is why we associate Daffodils as her flower.
There were days when we had to be away from the hospital – often at their request, we’d walk into town which is a fair walk away, particularly when you have had major surgery, often without a cloud in the sky it was beautiful blue skies for days on end, we could sit in the hospital grounds to enjoy the sunshine. I wore vest tops and flip-flops; whilst my husband had his sandals; it was hard to imagine that I even got sunburnt in March.

Apparently, it is such a rare occurrence (at least according to weather records); I always enjoy associating the heat wave with her life, she was able to feel the sun on her face a couple of times too whilst she was out having a cuddle; I am glad she did. It made our visits easier; it helped us to be able to find space away from the building.

It rained on the day of her funeral, just as we began her celebration – it then became the wettest Summer on record.
These little memories are a big deal; these are the nicer ones.

memories the weather

Then she was six.

Then She Was Six.

Today is her birthday, a day where I am meant to share little things about her – a before and after picture, a celebration of life and of growth. I thought about sharing her birth story to give more words; but it is one I have told so many times, people are bored. People expect me to have moved on, grief is boring it is ugly – nobody ever knows what to say – I am so open I guess that, I assume people are okay with me speaking her name; I mean I am. But they’re not, not really; especially as it is six years. But to me, each birthday, each day that leads to her birthday and then those days which lead to the anniversary – they feel like six weeks; to everyone else, six years is a bloody long time ago – for that I am painfully aware.

It is six years today since she was born in a rush; I remember every single minute – I try hard to savour it, just as I do my other children’s births. It is what we Mums do; her birth story should not be any different. But it is.

I probably should have moved on, and I have to some degree, of course I have it isn’t as dark as it used to be; but I am still allowed to feel like shit – not all the time (even if it were all the time that is okay too); the hardest thing to process, something I will never truly understand, is why our seemingly healthy baby died.  I’m allowed to feel pissed about that. About why our baby had the best odds, why being a girl meant she should have come home, why every bloody thing was just a little too late – she never got to come home.

I do wish sometimes that I could be understood; just a little about why I continue to talk, to mention her name, to be angry even all these years later. I guess it is that unimaginable, that it makes it easier for people looking in to move forward, to forget; to tire of the baby who never even came home who died years ago. “She should be over that.”

 

Everything about the 26th February should have been different; for so many reasons. Yet today no candles will be blown out, on the cake which we have all eaten that she will never get to taste; no presents to open or badges worn to school. An empty space in the classroom, yet nobody would even notice.

birthday

But we do, we know that there should have been a girl today turning 6.

If Only.

Her Birthdays

One

Two

Three

Four

Five

 

The Waiting Game

Melody and Me

A Photograph. Infant Loss

In parenting there is such constant competition.  
My baby took their steps before yours.  
My child read a whole book before yours. 
I’ve done so much more as a parent than you. 

 

It is hard to know that even in the devastating community of baby and child loss that even then there is some kind of competition.
There shouldn’t be.

I remember feeling particularly bad because all other baby loss mums had a shelf or something in their home to remember their babies with, I didn’t.. But now I have and I don’t really like it.
Over the course of the years there’s been a lot of mention about the quantity of photographs I have for our daughter, the clothes, the memories we were able to build.
How I’m lucky I got to spend time with her.
How lucky to have a “million” photographs of her.
(of course it isn’t a million, maybe just about 50).
I know it is 50 more than other parents, but it also 50 less than others too.
I feel sad that I am made to feel less because I have these photographs, these photos like I said others may not have.
When the first photograph was taken, not by me but some random nurse, I’d not even met her, I didn’t know that the photograph that arrived in my room was the only photograph I would have knowing she was alive at that point.
I was stuck to the bed on drips, body still numb, still really poorly and I was desperate to see her, to know she was OK.
John went to see her, midwives went to see her EVERYONE went to see her, they returned with photographs and even a video.
They’re precious to me.  The first few photographs at that point were the only things keeping me going.
Once she’d come off the ventilation, I knew then I needed to document everything about her journey.
Her life, because at one point, she was coming home, these photographs were meant to be her story to tell her at her 18th birthday.  They were never meant to be.

“In Memory of.. “

I have empty folders of days I’d not photographed or days where I wasn’t allowed to visit.  To me now that kills me that I don’t have every single day of her short life.
She was not meant to die.
I don’t have cuddle cot photos, or bed sharing photographs, we didn’t get chance to spend extra time after she died, we didn’t get that option.
So when I share the photos I have it isn’t to hurt anyone else, for attention,  it is because it is all I have, I don’t expect other people to comment on “how lucky I am to have these photographs”.
I hear this often, as well as “at least you got time to with her”.  Same with everyone else it was never enough.
Well because if I had a choice, the same choice anyone in our situation would have, I’d swap the photographs for her any day.

Every single baby/child loss parent is in this shitty time together. Nobody’s journey is worth less than someone else’s because of how different the situation is.
I’m not lucky I got to spend time with her.
I’m lucky because I GET to be Melody’s Mum, no matter how long she lived.
This photo is her second photograph, (her first she is completely naked flat out in her incubator).
Here she is Two Hours and Fifteen Minutes old. There are a few taken close together.
At these moments I did not know how many more pictures I’d get.
Whether this would be the only way I’d have seen her alive,
I didn’t know a thing, apart from she was stable.
But to me it could have meant anything.

 

 melody and me
This is her second from last alive, (her last is with the three of us broken beyond repair, watching the vent being removed from our precious daughter).
When this photograph was taken, she was 34 days One Hour and Ten minutes old.
We had no idea that she would die.
We had no idea that this photograph was going to be the final one of our then normality.
We had no idea that this photograph would turn into a part of a memorial.
We had no idea that LESS than 24 hours after this photograph was taken she’d be dead.
We have photos of her after her heart stopped beating, and in the chapel of rest, only but a few have seen that one (the hospital ones only myself and John have seen those).
I cannot bear to look at them, this may sound particularly ungrateful to anyone who hasn’t got photographs,
I can’t imagine that loss, that feeling.
But to me Melody is so like her sisters, and even her brother at times, seeing her in such a devastating way, only reminds me, not just of the loss of Melody, but the unimaginable anxieties that come with being a bereaved parent.
I don’t just see her, I see them too.
I cannot imagine ever not having photos, or for the parents that couldn’t have a footprint…because there are footprints just too small.
But please don’t make my memories, my pain any less because I do have the photos.
Because if I could choose to have any of this shit, I’d have chosen not photos and no footprints just to give her one last cuddle and one last kiss.
I’d have never let go.
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.