Friday, 13 September 2013

Cassandra: A Letter to Lukas

Dear Lukas,

Five months ago you were born on the early hour of a Saturday morning. I will never forget that day because I have permanently imprinted it in my heart, mind and soul. The next morning you earned your angel wings, and I will never forget that day as well. I have never felt so much sadness filled with so much love at the same time. When I held you in my arms as you took your last breath it felt like the world had collapsed around me but yet it was such a peaceful and gentle moment. I like to think that the tears I cried at that moment blessed you with my eternal love for you. I wish that my love for you could have healed you and saved you.

Five months on and here we are. I still think about you everyday, I still miss you everyday, and I wonder about you all the time. Five months on and my love for you grows by the second. I never knew this kind of love existed. The kind of airy love that floats around spiritually. Its a love that is alive, a love that is yours.

Love Mummy

Cassandra writes about her journey of grief, love, hope and trying to find peace after the unexpected loss of Lukas, who died at 26 hours old, on her blog Lukas in the Stars.

Saturday, 7 September 2013

James: Good Grief?

When a child dies, you will always be in grief. This grief will follow you to your own grave.

This society measures grief by negative emotions associated with loss and by the volume of tears shed, but this is not the only measurement of grief; sometimes grief is good, providing a constructive outlet for its relentless energy.

Personal walls make it difficult to gauge whether or not someone is grieving. Only those who know what loss is can measure grief; only those who have lost can see through the cracks of the thin veneer of normality that grievers put up in public.

It is easy to label the bereaved, to think that one person suffers more than another. Assumptions that one person's loss is more painful than another's are always flawed; each instance of grief is unique to the individual bond between parent and child. Simply because a griever isn't demonstrating classic signs of grief, such as crying or lethargy, doesn't mean they are not in grief.

Apparently, grief is never uniform, preferring instead to constantly fluctuate. While most days are unbearable, particularly immediately after a loss, some days offer respite. We might even feel happy, imagining our child singing in the clouds around heaven. Alternatively, we might fleetingly forget them, while embroiled in the here and now of our day to day existence. Even on days like this, Grief is energy is always there, thrumming in the background.

Grief can be masked through denial or personal coping mechanisms. It is no surprise that, on average,  parents of the dead tend to endure shorter lives than those who die before their children. Such coping mechanisms could easily take their toll on the living cells that trap our yearning souls; this is destructive grief. In many ways, such denial is a waste of grief.

The energy of grief can be harnessed and channelled into something worthwhile. When this happens, society often doesn't recognise this as being grief, perhaps incorrectly construing it as a signal of the griever's recovery; but there is no recovery to be found in grief, only change.

There are many examples of courageous individuals who have used their grief to make a difference to the world around them, often helping others come to terms with the same tragedy that they endure.

I suggest that an individual's grief remains constant after their child dies; whether this grief is negative or constructive is the variable. You will always be in grief when your child dies, but it does not have to be destructive. There is good grief and bad grief.

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