You’re left dazed not understanding what just happened, you have no idea where you are, who you are or what is going on around you. You recognise nothing, you’re frightened and vulnerable. Bit by bit you realise you need to find your way back to your old life, you cannot stay here, so you start to look around at what your life is now. It resembles a desert wasteland, there’s no one else around and everything is lifeless and colourless. You slowly stand up physically your injured, you’re bleeding, you’re sick, you have a high temperature and you’re tired but you need to find your old life. You left something there you don’t know what it was but you know you need it back. You stumble around trying to stand properly only to realise you have no idea where you are going to go. There is nothing all around you for as far as you can see. You don’t know whether to go forwards, backwards or side to side, when you begin to move you’re not even sure which way is up or down. You have no concept of anything. You try to run, you’re running and running as fast as you can physically manage your feet are aching your heart is pounding in your chest but you need to keep going; you need to find what you left behind, but your too weak. The journey is too long and you don’t even know the way.
You give up, you fall down crying, screaming and begging this to be a nightmare that you can wake up from. Maybe you stay down for a few hours, days, weeks, months or years but eventually everyone gets back up again. You start to walk, a numbness takes over as long as you put one foot in front of the other; you keep going, you keep breathing. You fall back down again, not once, but many, many times. Sometimes you get up quickly other times it takes you longer. You physically begin to recover, you’ve stopped bleeding, your body resumes the shape you remember before this all happened but you are hurt far beyond the physical pain. There is something much deeper, you carry it in your eyes. It’s so raw and desperate that no one else can bare to look at you, they flinch at the pain they can see inside.
Eventually you begin to notice that you are not alone, there are others around you. Men, women and even children. They have all been caught in the hurricane, it hurt them in a different way to you, everyone has a different story to tell about the damage the hurricane did to their worlds. But you are all on the same path, you are all trying to find what you left behind, some have been on this journey for much longer than you. You all help each other to walk, when one person falls everyone else will help to carry them. These people want nothing from you but are willing to support you and give you all they have. Some people say that they have seen colour since the hurricane; they call it a rainbow. They tell you that maybe you will see this colour as well, maybe you won’t always see just black and grey. You don’t believe them, you can’t believe them because until you get back to your old world, full of colour, how could you possibly see any other colours? You believe that this will always be your life now stumbling through the empty, desert wasteland with no colours trying to find what the hurricane stole from you.
Last year I wrote about the raw anger, grief and emptiness I felt having given birth to my first and only child just 15 weeks before. In the short time I had been a bereaved parent I felt I had learnt so much about society and how simply many people just do not care. No one cares that your baby is dead. No one cares that your heart is broken and that your every waking moment is a nightmare that you wish would end. Since writing that blog I have sadly had this knowledge cemented in many ways. People have flinched when I talk about my daughter, they have ignored her, changed the subject and told me to move on. They are too busy to even remember the special days like her first birthday. But I have also learnt that some people do care, there is a wonderful side to some people that I have never noticed before and that life does not have to be the black, emptiness of nothing that I once felt it always would. I have discovered many beautiful, incredible things since Maisie died that I never thought would be possible. My life has changed in so many ways, mostly for the better, it is thanks to her and the gift she gave me of becoming a mother.
In just one year I have learnt that my priorities for my life were completely wrong: that money, career, status, holidays and everything financial and materialistic simply does not matter. It doesn’t matter if I am a manager or if I step down and become ‘just’ a sales person on 1/3 of my previous wage. It doesn’t matter if people that I thought were friends now want nothing to do with me, none of that matters anymore. All that matters is my family; my husband, Maisie’s memory and the future family we hope for. Last year I would have said that the worst had happened to me and nothing else could ever hurt me again, that I was not frightened of anything and that I would welcome death with open arms. But I have learnt that is not true, I have a lot to live for, to be grateful for and a lot to want to hold onto. I have learnt all of this because of Maisie, it is the legacy she has left behind. Never before have I truly understood what the saying ‘even the smallest footprints leave a mark on this world’ really means. Yes the worst thing in the world has happened to me, something really, really terrible that no one can ever put right. But, I have a wonderful life, I have so many things to be thankful for and my life is a good one. No one tells you when your baby dies about the gifts they will give you in their death, how they will forever change you not just for the bad but for the good. Maisie has made me a better person, she has opened my eyes, mind and heart to things I never would have considered before and she has made me appreciate things I once took for granted. I know that had she lived I would never have learnt these lessons or become the better person I am today.
Today I am 6 months pregnant with my rainbow, something that I never believed would happen for me. It has been and still is such a hard journey that I cannot believe will have a happy ending but I have to hope. Hope that colour will enter our world again is sometimes all we have left.
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You can read Stacey's post from 2013 here: