For some, 2012 will have been an amazing year. We're told all the time, through the media, how it was an exceptional year for Britain. The Olympics, the Jubilee - it felt like the whole nation spent the summer celebrating and the rest of the year basking in it's reflected glory.
My husband recently took part in a project for our local news. Called '100 Faces' it asked people to write in saying why 2012 was memorable for them. My husband chose to write about the adventures we've been having this year - our 'Marvellous Macho's Year of New Things' that's seen us doing new things in memory of our son and blogging about them. He was chosen to take part and was included as one of 100 people with a line in a song created for the project. Seeing him deliver the line 'We tried to keep the memory of our stillborn child alive' was a very proud moment for me. The song as a whole made me really think about what this year has meant to different people. How one year can be the worst, or best - or something in between - in someones life.
For me, 2012 will be the most difficult year of my life. For those of you who know I lost my son the year before - in 2011 - this may come as a surprise. But, you see, 2011 was wonderful for eight and a half months. I was overjoyed to be pregnant, after 3 years of trying. We had our 12 week scan in the January and after that the year flew by, full of joy and anticipation. On 15th August it all changed when we were told that our son - nearly 2 weeks overdue by that point - had died. What followed - his birth, his funeral, registering his death - all took place in a blur of disbelief and shock. I honestly think shock is created to shield you from what's happening - even visiting him in the funeral home I felt detached, like it couldn't be my son in the coffin, and later, that it wasn't his ashes we collected. After the shock started to wear off, those last few months of 2011 were so full of overwhelming, all-consuming, gut-wrenching grief. Grief where you feel you might actually die from it. Grief I can't really describe to people who haven't been through it.
So, why was 2012 the worst year of my life? Because what's left, after the massive tidal wave of grief, is the devastation, the destruction. It's the trying to rebuild your life, the repairs you need to make to your emotional and physical well-being. It's the little waves that continue to knock you - things that you would have withstood without issue before - that now knock you down, you're so bruised and battered. It's the getting back to work, the trying to fill your spare time. It's the trying not to think about the silence of your house, about how things might have been. It's the thought that others have moved on, that your baby might be forgotten, or that others might think you've forgotten him. It's the trying to keep his memory alive; the new things in his memory, the lanterns, the candles, the names in the sand. It's the crippling realisation, and later, acceptance, that no matter what happens - the good things, the happy times, the little wins and the big ones - are all done without your child. Forever. For as long as you live.
As I look to 2013 I am lucky enough to have a delicate but growing sense of hope. Time, as well as the new little life that kicks away inside me, have given me that. But 2012 will always be the year we had to come to terms with life without our son. When we had to make room in our lives for long-term grief, and to find ways of keeping our son with us always. I hope that those of you reading this have a gentle and peaceful new year. xx