Tag Archives: grief

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.

Family Holiday Minus One

We always knew that anything we would ever do as a family, would be filled with bitter-sweet emotions that come with knowing that there is a tiny human missing; nothing will ever fill that gap, I guess that part we didn’t really expect, but there is and we cope with that permanent void.

I’m not really wanting to talk gaps, I’m wanting to share a little moment whilst on holiday, which had us all chuckling.

I’ve begun taking a collection of photos to use when I write for Still Standing and for this blog too, something for Melody but without using her photos all the time. Whilst I am “lucky” (definitely wanting a better word), to have so many of them, I worry about repeating them too frequently, especially with the two areas I write in. I don’t have aging photos, so I’ve a prop in the hope I can include her a little more.

We went camping in Oxfordshire, days out – making memories, what better way to begin this project than to start while on holiday.

This one in particular I had placed my prop, ‘M’ onto this rather pretty looking Wishing Well, I have spent many times wishing that things were different, I know nothing will change, wishing is all I have.

I took a step back to capture this frame, as I looked into my camera my youngest daughter – Melody’s sister runs into the shot, she grabs the ‘M’ and throws it straight into the Well, fortunately it wasn’t deep, there was a grate covering the bottom, all the children yelled baby’s name, the prop was retrieved but it made us all laugh, it got me thinking; imagining this prop was replaced with her (I don’t think this by the way, ‘M’ is not Melody, I know I don’t have to justify myself – but still).

I closed my eyes and everything was different.

I imagined this five year old strawberry blonde haired girl, sitting on the wall of the well waiting for her siblings to crowd around her for yet another photo opportunity, only for her little sister to push her in the well. She wouldn’t have been hurt, she’d have been embarrassed, and annoyed for a few minutes, would have shouted at her sister, then the laughing would have begun, the whole picture would have been different, five laughing children, no props just them. It would have been a moment that would have been brought up in conversation about our break away.

But of course, I am here Day Dreaming, it isn’t okay, it is what it is, a day dream. While there is no changing what has happened, and that Melody isn’t here; but I can share this moment of laughter that included all of my children, for the very first time in 5 years 4 months and 23 days I actually felt her with us, I felt like I had five children that day.

I always say I have five children, I have never shied away from having five but the truth in my head has always felt there to be just the four of them, which to anyone looking at us can see. It felt so wonderful, to feel her there with us, it has been something I thought would never come; it is strange trying to bond with someone who isn’t here, to bond with a child who never properly felt like ours in life or even in death over the years. Very difficult to explain fully, because even I can’t quite understand that part.

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Not only was a new memory made but I finally feel like Melody’s Mummy.

 

Melody and Me.

xx

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Day Of Hope 2017

Day of Hope

Since 2012 I have always had a try at joining in with the Day of Hope project. A day of thought towards Melody, hope for the future of my grief. A peaceful and gentle way to acknowledge little lives lost.

I’m not religious, and I am most definitely not artistic or creative to be able to make such beautiful flags, but I have enjoyed joining in.

This year, as you can see I am late with my efforts, we were away but even in previous years I have at least attempted something for this healing project. But I felt distant towards it, may be even towards my grief.

 

Phases

I go through them every now and again, particularly as I’d felt very emotional last week. This fifth year has really knocked me on my arse; at this point, I am not even sure it’ll get better,  it isn’t constant, like the every day rawness or anything like it was in the beginning, but there is an obvious gap, that is making hurt just that little bit more.

I wasn’t going to join in with the project at all, in all fairness I wasn’t sure the project was even going ahead; so I guess in my head I had already made my mind up that I wouldn’t do it.  Then the event release came, which was good as I know it really does help many, many families, it’s certainly helped me.

I hadn’t given much thought into what I would do; I’d brought something to iron on and some fabric.

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I chucked it on my desk and forgot about it, lost the iron on patch and was left with this fabric, thought I am not going to do it this year, I don’t need to be doing this now, I am in a place where I am comfortable in my grieving skin.

But then the date remained in the back of my mind, we headed towards it, then passed through it, I had a sudden guilt, a feeling of something I had missed, something I needed to do.

I felt really bad for not doing this project, for Melody; it really hasn’t felt right not doing it as I have the previous years, this year has made me feel very torn. I guess I am so used to doing these little things for her, I just can’t bring myself to no not do them.

So this is my 2017 attempt at a prayer flag. Nothing greatly artistic, I used a blank canvas bag, wrote things which remind us of her.

 

Melody and Me

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.