Sunday, 13 August 2017

Nicole: Right Where I Am 2017: Nearly 6 Years

Nearly 6 years.  I can barely believe it.  And so I start the countdown again.  Today, the last day I felt well.  Tomorrow, the last day I felt you move.  The day after; the trip to the hospital, the false reassurance.  Thinking I was in labour, being told you’d died.  The day after that; your birth.  The silence.  Then the rest of my life; a life lived without you.

Some people probably feel it’s unhelpful to think like this – to remember all the details of what happened.  And god, does it hurt to remember.  But it’s the one time of year I allow all the memories to flood in.  And, other than a few moments from the pregnancy, it’s all I have.  All that pain, and my love for you.

Barney’s started to ask a lot of questions about you.  I try to answer as honestly as I can.  Yes, you died in my tummy.  Yes, we miss you.  Yes, we will never see you again, but we can talk about you, remember you, and look at the one scan picture we have of you.  Some of it throws me.  We can be driving along, or in the supermarket, or washing up, and he’ll suddenly ask me the one question I can’t answer; ‘Why did Xander die?’  I have no response that can truly satisfy him, because I have no answer that satisfies me.  I still have absolutely no idea why a death that was so preventable, so unnecessary, happened.  Why I lost you.

Sometimes, I can comfort myself slightly by reasoning that perhaps I wouldn’t have your brothers if you hadn’t died, and obviously I wouldn’t trade them for the world.  But it doesn’t follow that I wouldn’t have them, so it doesn’t satisfy me.

I used to comfort myself by thinking I wouldn’t have set up the support group for bereaved parents if you hadn’t died.  But of course the others involved might still have set it up.  And given that I moved away from it this year, and am grieving for the lack of it in my life, this doesn’t satisfy me either.

Truth is, nothing could satisfy me when it comes to finding reason behind your death.  It all seems so bloody pointless.  If I could go back to 6 years ago – when you were still alive and safe – I would.  I’d say to that younger, more na├»ve me, ‘don’t believe that midwife. Ask for another opinion.  Don’t be fobbed off.  Don’t leave the hospital.’  I’d change the decisions I made.  I’d deliver you safely.  I’d leave the hospital with a baby instead of a box.  I’d see you, touch you, hold you in my arms, kiss you over and over.  I’d take picture after picture of you. I’d watch you play with your younger brothers. I’d make those memories and I'd see you grow up.    I’d never have to answer the question, ‘why did Xander die?’

But I can’t go back.  I can never, ever be satisfied.  So I start the countdown, and I remember everything I can about those days.  Your last movements. Your death.  Your silent birth. Anything I can about you.  It probably doesn’t help, but it’s all I have. The pain, and my love for you.  Because you are loved, Alexander Marshall Kirby, my sweet baby boy.  You are loved.  X

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Suzanne: Right Where I Am 2017: 3 years


Dear Lucia,

Happy birthday to you, my missing one. It is hard to imagine us with a 3 year old but that is what you would be, full of spunk and spitfire like your sisters, I imagine. As I have each year so far, I'm taking today off work to be with myself and to think of you. I found a meditation garden today, which happened to be more full of tourists than I had anticipated, but it gave me a place to slow down for a beat.

There is so much life commotion this year. C is getting ready to start kindergarten. We got a new dog. G is 18 months old and busy with all the new things 18 month olds do. In past years, your birthday has had more lead up and anticipation. It had a looming about it. But this year, it almost snuck up. I was so distracted by so many other things and then one day looked at my calendar and went "oh" when I saw it coming. This sneaking up gave me more than a few moments of pause (with a splash of worry mixed in), wondering if this is where I start forgetting. If this is the beginning of you getting lost in the shuffle, of you losing your place in our family.

In my more reflective moments, I know that isn't true. You will not be an afterthought or a footnote or an asterisk attached to our family story. You are etched in all the places that matter; forgetting you is just not possible. But the intensity of the grief is slipping away and I guess it is natural for the looming element to slip away with it.

So much has changed about the grief. In the early days, I felt like I could hardly breathe most of the time. My brain was consumed by thoughts of you. I was regularly preoccupied with what ifs and they made my heart race, as if just thinking about what could have been done differently would have erased and changed something. Back then, everything hurt and everything was hard and it was like that for so long.

But as these things do, as everyone told me it would, it evolved. It transitioned into a less panicked state that was more just continual longing. Then the longing faded to a dull missing. And now - I don't know. I guess now is something in the neighborhood of moving forward. There are less sharp and griefy edges poking at me, which is nice. I don't randomly cry at work or the grocery store - also nice. Right now feels like deep acceptance lightly stained by both gratitude and sadness. Moving forward means that your birthday can sneak up because I'm not dreading or anticipating or holding my breath for it.

When tears come now, I often feel like I'm crying more for us than for you, for that other version of us that a really crappy thing happened to. Watching it back feels, I imagine, like what it must been like for our close family and friends. Heartbreaking. Powerless. I try to avoid getting too caught up in the replay of what surrounded your birth and death by reminding myself that this limited slice of your life and ours was only, as one therapist said early on, the middle. There was so much before and there has been so much after that is tremendously more beautiful and that is what I would rather remember. So when I feel like you are slipping further away, I tell myself that maybe the only thing that is slipping away is the painful part. We are tethered together, you and I. Interwoven in the ways mothers and babies are. We can wander from each other but not far.

So tonight, we ate the cake C and I baked for you this morning. We didn't have a number '3' candle and C, for some reason, didn't want 3 individual candles so we used a number '2' candle plus a single candle to make 3. We sang a happy birthday to you. We went outside and let ladybugs out in the yard, as we've done each year. Your summer birthday means it's light and warm out until bedtime so we let the girls play outside until then. G laughed excitedly watching the new dog. C chattered to the freed ladybugs and tried to coax them onto various surfaces. G did this funny thing where she took the ladybug container when C wasn't watching and ran away with it yelling "noooo!", like a preview of C chasing her and shouting no at her (which is exactly what happened). Your dad and I sat and quietly watched. To me, it felt sad and peaceful and, quite honestly, amazing too. I'm some ways, our family (you included) feels just right.

So, little love, I hope you heard us singing for you tonight. I hope you know I think of you daily. I hope you are somewhere, some wise little soul fluttering around us, sprinkling us with little gentle whispers. As always and until my last breath, I love you very fiercely.

Mom


~~~~~

You can read Suzanne’s previous post here:

Monday, 31 July 2017

Lynne: Right Where I Am 2017: 4 years 8 days



Last Thursday marked 4 years since the day Findlay was born, tiny, silent and still. For some reason I found this year to be harder than I thought I would. The old cliche of time being a great healer isn't always true.

The days leading up to his birthday are always hard as everything involuntarily replays over and over in my subconscious - the scan, consultant appointments, the fear and devastation then one of the saddest but without a doubt best days of my life. The day my first precious son was born. The day that Findlay made me a mummy.

Last week I found myself feeling guilty a lot as we had the chaos of a house move collapsing at the last minute so I didn't get to devote as much time to Findlay as I would have liked. At the end of a busy day though I lit a candle and took some time to reflect and think about my precious boy. In reality there's not a day that goes by that I don't think of Findlay and wonder what he would be like.

Never more so than when I look at his little brother, Cameron, who turned 3, 3 days before Findlay's birthday. Looking at their pictures I know they would have looked similar but I'll never know what little personality Findlay would have developed. Cameron loves playing with other children and I feel sad knowing that he has missed out on playing with his big brother.

Alongside the chaos of my thoughts however I am constantly reminded and thankful for the love and support shown to me by my amazing family and friends who continue to mark Findlay's special dates and say his name. This is the most important thing to me that my baby is remembered always.


Right where I am - I am breathing, I smile but my heart still aches x


~~~~~

You can read Lynne’s previous posts here:

Sunday, 30 July 2017

Julz: Right Where I Am 2017: 5 years 3 months 26 days


Five years, three months, 26 days.

Or 1943 days.

2,797,920 minutes.


I have no idea where the time has gone. Our lives have moved away from the day we last saw her so quickly. There are times where really it all only feels like yesterday. The thoughts return to those days and weeks around her life and death seems so raw, so new.

How can it be five years already? It really is such a significant amount of time to have passed; so many things that are now becoming more obvious that she is missing. Of course this year she should have been going into Year One, with her younger sister heading to Reception. I was meant to have three children at the school at the same time. A missed school report and end of year photos, which include the first and last days of schools.

I really thought that everything would get better, everything would return to the normal I once knew before she died, maybe even before she was born. So many people told me it would get easier, that time would have healed everything; the pain lessens but not because I’m getting over the death of her, but because I know how to treat the pain.

I was recently diagnosed with Arthritis, it hurts, although I am still very early days I know it will always hurt. I use over the counter medications - my choice, it takes the edge off. I’m neither expected to forget about it or suffer in silence, to ignore the situation that I am in. So far I find some days are okay, no pain I can walk without limping. Other days my whole body just hurts, no matter how I sit or stand there is no comfort. These days I am never expected to just “get over it”.

This for me is what it is like to grieve my daughter, how the time has dealt with our loss. The pain of her death will always remain, I won’t ever heal. I have found ways of coping, and have also discovered the ways in which I don’t cope; I really am okay with that. For me personally it is important to have the rougher days, it keeps my daughter from slipping away completely, these rougher days don’t happen a lot now, but they do. It is just another realisation that I will never be the same; I’ll never be the person I once was, before her death, even before the moment she was born early.

I’ll never know the daughter I once held and fed, or know the colour of her eyes, or how her hair colour would have been. I never got to dry her tears, she rarely cried when we were there, we never got to make her laugh.

These are just a few things that show that I will never be the same person, and that I will never be over the death of our girl; that no matter how many years go by I will still forever miss our girl.

I couldn’t get her to stay.

I wanted her to stay.

~~~~~

You can read Julz' previous posts here:

Saturday, 29 July 2017

Juliet: Right Where I Am 2017: 8 months 15 days


You were supposed to be our rainbow.

We had passed the stages of our previous losses, you were really coming. This was really happening, we were on the home stretch. We were on the countdown...two. Two. I've never wiped the chalk from the board. Two days.

Two days until you were supposed to be here and you were gone. Our precious, longed for, wanted, loved, baby girl had died.

It's hard to remember the very first days and weeks after we lost you. Not because I can't, but because even remembering that depth of darkness is difficult.  It's hard to look back to the   days where I could do nothing. The days when the darkness was all I could see. The days when I could barely breathe. The days when the grief that felt so much like fear was all I could feel.  It's still dark sometimes. It's dark but we can breathe.

So where are we now? We're juggling. Juggling the pain of losing you. Juggling learning to live without you. Juggling the guilt. Juggling the hope.

Your little brother is set to arrive 5 days after your first birthday. I can't call him my rainbow. You were my rainbow. I can't feel the same excitement for his arrival as I did for yours. I'm too scared to do that. But I love him.  I love him, as I love your big sister, and as I love you.

I want you to know you will always be a part of our lives. You have changed us all irrevocably. We will always love you and we speak your name every day.

I’m so grateful to have known you. Those who don't know may question how I can have known you, but I did. I do. I am so grateful for all the gifts you have given me - new friends I feel I've know forever, a gratitude for what I have and a desire to do more and be more. But I wish every day that we never had to say goodbye to you. I still question why and have so many 'what ifs', I wonder if that will ever pass.

Right where I am is a difficult place. I hope and pray every day that you know that we still love you beyond words. I hope you know that you will always be ours and we will always be yours. Death cannot change that. Life cannot change that.

You are etched into my heart and soul, Grace Elizabeth.  I love you, I miss you.

Friday, 28 July 2017

Lynsey: Right Where I Am 2017: 6 years 7 months


It's been 6 years, 7 months.

In the beginning on the 18th of January 2011 our world fell apart and wouldn't be the same again when they told us there was no heartbeat we entered into a room full of silence it felt like our world was crashing down and I was on this rollercoaster of emotions.

It felt like I was trying to put broken glass back together again even through it is still breaking. Still to this day it feels like a bad dream and a blur.


But 6 years on I do truly believe I have been taken on a journey one that I didn't expect to be on, but this journey has shown me many things that were there before but I appreciate them and see them in a different light and it's Lilly that has shown me this. I like to think of Lilly in a far off place like in this little story I wrote.



Once upon a time in a land faraway lives a little girl that her parents named Lilly. She has lovely golden curly hair. Big blue eyes. She is 6 Years old and ready to start primary 2 at school. She is always getting up to mischief with her big sister Hannah and big brother Liam. Lilly loves everything pink and purple. She loves to play in the garden of memories of what was before with her baby Annabelle having tea parties and loves her princess castle, the palace of dreams still to happen.

Lilly has a lovely and very out going personality. She has lots of friends. She misses her family very much and knows her family love her and miss her lots as well. She loves her family saying her name as it soul alive like a beautiful melody. She knows that the sound of her laugh and voice are a beautiful sound that we love to hear so very much.

It is sad that her parents won’t ever be able to see Lilly’s imagination grow and see the look on her face when she learned something new.

Lilly loves to visit her parents in their dreams and always takes comfort to know that they always say her name and carry her with them always in their hearts.

“See you in the gardens of memories and the palace of dreams”

Now through it all I see Lilly is my hopes, my dreams and inspiration. I find her in the light, in nature and when my children laugh and cry. She is the wind messing up my hair and the sun warming my face. She is still our daughter, a wee sister, niece, granddaughter, great-granddaughter and cousin.

She was, is and always will be, our beautiful daughter Lilly.


We will “see you in the gardens of memories and the palace of dreams” xx

~~~~~

You can read Lynsey’s previous posts here:
Right Where I Am 2015: 4 years 4 months


Right Where I Am 2016: 5 years 6 months 28 days

Thursday, 27 July 2017

Stacey: Right Where I Am 2017: 4 years 3 months 3 weeks 1 day

Lucky.

4 years ago I went to travelling across Italy for a few weeks with my husband. Heartbroken and inconsolable, I should have been 38 weeks pregnant. Instead my baby had died.

When I think back to those days my heart aches for the person I used to be, the emptiness I felt and the inability to see any future where I could ever be happy. The day we should have been bringing our baby into the world we were in fact in Milan. We went to Church and tried to seek some comfort but none could be found.

That evening we decided to do something to try and mark our daughter’s short life on earth, we went for a meal on a tram across the city. A tiny little thing it was designed to only fit 8 people on, we were all set ready to go and see the sights, drink wine and try to distract ourselves from the terror of our own lives. Typically, though things didn’t work out quite as we planned and a heavily pregnant woman boarded at the last minute.

We spent our evening seething with rage and jealousy watching her. Both of us desperately holding back tears as she drank glass after glass of wine and even requested several stops to smoke. Oh how I hated her. Now I merely pray her and her baby are both safe and well.

Today I have two rainbows, my daughter Florence will be 3 this year and my son Albert is 18 months. Life is busy, crazy busy in fact. Some days I forget to breathe let alone reflect on how lucky I truly am. Sometimes I need to think back, to those dark days of hell just to be able to pause and appreciate what I have now.

I know there are women out there right now going through the worst thing imaginable, the death of their baby. There are men out there desperate to be able to support their partner but silently weeping at night. I know because I’ve been there.

I am so very lucky. The days aren’t always easy but we get by and I try to remember to appreciate every moment.

Yes, I am so very lucky.

~~~~~

Right Where I Am Writing Project 2017

Would anyone be interested in submitting a guest post to us on the theme of where you currently are in your loss journey?

We have been running the Right Where I Am project since 2012 and this is what gave us the initial impetus to set up the blog.

We are in the process of writing our posts for this year's project and will be publishing them over the coming weeks. As always, we would love to feature some more stories too.

Your post should be entitled 'Right Where I Am' followed by the time that has passed since your loss/es. Here is a link to our posts from previous years if that helps:


If anyone would like to contribute, please email us at lossthroughthelookingglass@gmail.com or please feel free to comment below with any questions.

Clara, Gemma & Nicole x