Tuesday, 18 June 2013

James: Celebrating Father's Day Again

Father’s Day 2013 passed only a few days ago. The commercial side of this day exclusively portrays it as a time of happiness. Cards and gifts retailing at overinflated prices are peddled to children for presentation to their fathers as they spend time together.

An often overlooked side of Father’s Day is the sorrow it brings: not just for those fathers who stand at the graves of their children, but also for anyone whose own father is no longer with them. As many celebrate, there are others who quietly visit the silent, sleeping cities where love and grief unite.

Last year I was new to grief; less than 6 months had passed since Ethan died. Despite having visited countless times before, the visit to his grave on Father’s Day 2012 was surreal. As I knelt in the sun, I accepted that I could never be a father to Ethan in the normal sense. This realisation provided the spark that ignited my writing on the subjects of grief and stillbirth; that Father’s Day, Ethan gifted a sense of purpose from his death.

This year, on my second Father's Day post-Ethan, I was able to celebrate once again. Time cannot heal the wounds of child loss, but it allows acceptance to take root. Personally, time spent seeking sanctuary in the grief of others has allowed me to put my own grief into perspective.

There is an immense network of writers who share their own stories of grief; together we are all united by an unwanted bond. Together we are the parents of the stillborn, the miscarried and the children taken too soon after birth.

In a society where discussing child loss borders on the taboo, these blogs and support networks are priceless. Time spent reading these accounts has put my own grief into perspective. My own story is a personal tragedy, but in comparison to other people’s experiences, I consider myself lucky.

Despite the crown of sorrow that Death fashioned for me, I only have to look around to realise that, for now, I have been let off relatively lightly. There are many others from whom Death has plundered a greater bounty.

I consider myself lucky to have 2 of my boys with me and experience Father’s Day surrounded by the joys of my children; I am lucky enough to be able to visit my own father as I please. For these reasons, I was able to celebrate Father’s Day again.

You can read more about James and his journey following the stillbirth of his son Ethan on his blog www.fathersgrief.com

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Steven: Father's Day

My little princess, Mia Rose Greenall, was born on 4th June 2012 via caesarean section due to a huge placental abruption. She was born terribly ill because of this and we had to say goodbye to her the following day. This short piece is about the feelings and emotions that Father's Day brings. I have my own blog where I talk about all of my experiences and feelings, please visit and share it:

Father's Day 2013 is my second since I lost my princess, Mia Rose. Last year, Father's Day was only 12 days after we said goodbye to Mia and the day before we laid her to rest so understandably it was not a time for celebration. I have never forgotten that I am Mia's daddy but it can sometimes be difficult when people see us with Kyran, our 3 year old and ask if we're having any more children, or if we've just got the one. The people that ask these questions don't know my situation but in the months after losing Mia, it was too easy and convenient for me to confirm that I've only got 1 child. This however, is so wrong and the guilt felt after telling someone this is unbearable. I'm now in a completely different frame of mind from those early days and can now confidently state that I have 2 children, one of which was too special for this earth. The biggest thing is now, I can say this (most of the time) without crying.

Father's Day has always been one of my favourite days of the year, certainly ranked higher than my birthday. We have never really splashed out on Father's Day, just little things like cups, glasses, key rings etc that say "To My Daddy" or "Worlds Greatest Daddy" on them is all we have ever done. The big difference this year is that these little gifts will be from both of my children, the 2 children that I am so proud of. Kyran, my 3 year old boy makes me proud on a daily basis, whether that be from his spelling and writing or from him coming out of his shy little shell on holiday and suddenly appearing on the stage in front of hundreds of people. Mia made me proud the way she fought for those 31 hours that she was with us. The doctor was surprised she made it through the night and it's that fighting spirit that she had that she has instilled in her mummy and daddy. There is no way that we could have got through this past 12 months without Mia's fighting spirit, and that is why I can now openly say that I am so proud to be Mia's Daddy.

What I like about Father's Day is the togetherness and family spirit. It's traditionally a day spent together, our own little family. The toughest thing about these special days is that our little princess isn't with us. Instead of her being here to join in, we have to go to her garden, the only place that we genuinely feel close to her, to involve her in our day. Children should visit their dads on Father's Day, shouldn't really be the other way round.

Mia may not be here with me like Kyran is, but does that mean that I'm not her daddy? Of course it doesn't, I'm every bit Mia's daddy as I am Kyran's. Mia is included in everything we do, on a daily basis. Mummy and I talk about her all the time, and Kyran is involved in that. He knows who his little sister is and he talks about her openly at will.

No one can ever take away from me that I am Mia's daddy, and I'm so glad that I can finally say to the world that I am proud of my little girl. I will always talk about Mia, she is just as much a part of me as every other part of my life. Anyone that can't handle that should probably give me a wide berth from now on. I will never forget my princess and anybody that thinks any differently is not worth having around.

I'm looking forward to Father's Day, it will be a nice day as it always is, but this and every one after this will always have that missing piece, Mia Rose.

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Carla G: Heart Bombs

Carla started her blog Luca D'Oro Grossini-Concha after her firstborn son Luca D'Oro sadly passed away in March 2013, just a day after he was born. Carla has kindly given permission to publish this post, something which we think many bereaved families will relate to.


They are everywhere, these heart bombs. Sometimes they appear with a memory, sometimes they show up when I look in the backseat where there is an empty space that once held a car seat.

Sometimes they  sit on my chest and stop my throat when I see a newborn in a wrap, or most specifically a baby boy in a Tula.

Other times it happens when I step out of the shower and see this great big scar under my belly, a scar I would take 100 times over if I could get more time with him.

Today at the market, we saw a women from our birth class and her baby boy. She was due just a week after me. We passed her pushing her sweet pup in his stroller, looking so proud of her child, so proud to be a mother.

I wish I could be her. To be so proud and loving, the fierce mama that I want to be, to a living child, a living Luca.

All these milestones, these events, these sights. The pictures of friends and their newborns, those who were going to be a part of Luca’s life. The silence from people around me who won’t speak his name.

They set off these explosions in my heart. They crack me open, leaving me exposed, raw. Lonely.

I’ve been told this contraction that my heart is feeling, is going to one day allow for this magnificent expansion. Think about it…….. our muscles contract and then expand, tighten and then loosen. From this hurt and loss, will come so much love and compassion, because our hearts will be so much bigger that we got to love him and be his mamas.

And yet, I can’t wrap my head around this, because at just three months out I get caught up in the why? Why did this have to happen? Why him? Why us?

Still, with all the sorrow and pain, I feel such immense love and gratitude for having had the opportunity to be Luca’s mother at all.