Thursday, 24 November 2011
Last friday we made cookies, painted and Oh yeah went for a walk to the park. I got the kids all bundled up in winter waterproofs and dragged them our for some fresh air. En route we did a little shopping, Archie was great in the shop, helped me and didn't run away! At the green man he did his usual and pressed the button, however it was a really busy road and I wanted him on the buggy board which meant he didn't get to wait for the button underneath to start turning, to which he commented "that's ridiculous!!!" - took all my mummy powers to stop me laughing. At the park we had a blast, both Archie and Sadie can now play pretty much independently at the playpark. Archie wanted to go for a walk to the bridge, so we had a slow walk round playing in the leaves and chatting, Sadie was in teh pram and hapiily shouting at every dog that went past. At the water garden/bridge Arch wanted to play in the stream - he was road testing his cool new wellies so I was ok with it, then he tried to go further - I hauled him back, next thing I know he is off - squealing an running through the reeds - I got the fright of my life, leapt over the barrier and ran through the reeds after him ( I had no idea how deep the water was......) I was up to my knees in muck - white converse and all, he was laughing so hard. Not for long, he was shoved on his buggy board and I squelched/marched my way home, him screaming the whole way "I want to go park" and eventually " I want to be good" (I caved at that point and gave him a cuddle). Got some funny looks as I squelched home with muddy feet and screaming child. To top the lot though, every fews days since he rbings me my now ruined cons and says "look, clean now mummy!" - cleaner than they were when I was knee deep in mud that's for sure.
Friday, 11 November 2011
Lately I've been pondering the word' missing', and a few nights ago in the middle of the night it came to me -after 4 years I realised I don't miss him, I miss what I had imagined as our future - he is however 'missing'.
Missing from my family, missing from our cosy mornings in bed, his birthday will be celebrated tomorrow and he won't be there - he'll be missing - forever missing from my life.
Which leads me to think, how can someone I never knew, someone I haven't heard cry, seen smile or heard shout mama have left such an enormous gap? After 4 years, I had thought I would have come to terms with his death, however if anything it has become harder. The raw grief has passed, but as every year passes I am a year further away from him, from his smell, his touch his softness. He is frozen in time and I guess a part of me has too. I am a fully functioning human, mother, wife,daughter sister, friend, teacher - however a teeniest part of me remains stuck- frozen back on the day they told me my 1st child was dead, nothing now will ever recover that time, its gone and its as if a part of me seems to have left with him.
I guess, the word missing is the closest word people have to describe the emptiness, the total lack one feels when they lose a baby. There doesn't seem to be suitable language to describe the emotions one feels - as though losing a baby is so 'un -normal' its never warranted a word to describe it, instead we have to borrow language from other situations - hmmm now I know I'm not making sense and I'm sleep deprived. People say 'I don't know what to say' - is it because we don't have the words to describe the awfulness of what has happened, or because as a society we've never needed them, because historically our babies weren't fullyfledged members of society and therefore one didn't need language to discuss something that simply didn't exist.
Last year on Alfie's anniversary for the first time I felt an emptiness in the gestures we made to mark his special day. Those gestures seemed to emphasis the lack of him rather than celebrate him.
I listened to an interesting debate this week about babyloss and one of the panel, a psychatrist was discussing the lack of rituals surrounding babyloss. This idea resonated with me, it is so true - and the sad fact is that recognised rituals don't exist simply because society doesn't recognise our babies and therefore they don't require a specific ritual. We have to make our own rituals, which are recognised by other people who've lost a baby - these rituals appear macabre to anyone outside the group, and to be brutally frank I think that prior to Alfie's death I would have found the idea of a birthday cake for a dead child odd. We are, however forced into creating 'special' things to do, to validate our childs existence.
This week someone at work did the usual "now you've got two wee ones to look after..." I am well aware of the beauty and awesomeness of Archie and Sadie - I don't need to be told that, and certainly not as a vehicle to avoid discussing the 'missing' child.
Hmmm on re reading this I realise I'm clearly feeling hostile - bracing myself for the overwhelming sadness that is to come.
Kisses to my darling boy xxx Mummy loves you whether you are missing or not
Sunday, 6 November 2011
Archie asked me this the other day at silly o'clock while we were making cookies (the things you find yourself doing at 6am). I attempted to explain about seeds sun rain etc......his response "that's weird". When did my wee one become so grown up?
I know its great that he is so inquisitive already asking what things do and what they are for? try explaining the point of fireworks to an almost 3 yrs old.....My current fave Archie asked chat is "i really love you mummy" or the"i love you too" (before anyone tells him they love him) - i hear it easily 25 times a day an never tire of it.
Thursday, 3 November 2011
Woke up this morning to Haha Shouting "i want daddy" so clear i thought it was a dream. She has been saying the odd word for a few months but its clear now to non-family.
Words so far.
Juju - juice
Bubas - i want boob fed.
Tata - dummy
So odd to hear such a teeny wee thing talking, specially because Archie doodle was well over 2 before he spoke. Sadie has only just started walking and still prefers to crawl, they done the opposite to one another. Shame they are with thrashers - Haha seems to be following her brother on that score, her long standing favourite is emptying the food cupboard-10 times a day. Hmm should put a lock on it, but that would spoil the fun
Friday, 14 October 2011
Step one - How one deals with this fact is entirely personal. Some of us mourn publicly loudly for a long time - others quietly and quickly and then pick up the pieces and 'move on'.
When Alfie died, I was horrified at the idea that one day I would be one of those women whose life is consumed with loss. Who wears jewellery with their child's name around their neck, publicly announcing my child died(i opted for a more subtle bracelet with his tiny photo and a lock of his hair), I have a teeny teeny photo in our house which unless you looked carefully you'd never see.
I never wanted to deny my boy, however he is mines and lives in my heart - I don't need to look at his photo - nor wear a t-shirt that says 'angel mummy'. I rarely put up a facebook status about Alfie, except on his anniversary and in babyloss week, I know that might seem cold in comparison to other mums who post constantly but I feel happy with my way.
That is not to say, those who do go down this route of mourning are any better or any worse than me - it's simply a means of survival and what works best for one.
Of late my life has been consumed by sands and hence I feel I have become one of those mums who lives and breathes bereavement, how did I get here?
I was the positive one, the one who wouldn't be defined by my loss - I wanted to be much more than that 'women who lost her baby'. I fear in some eyes that's what I've become - this is not the case, as such life goes in waves...right now I'm in a sands phase, which will hopefully settle and my other more 'normal' life will return,. By normal I mean my normal - because really what is normal? What the majority do? What my peers do? who the hell knows what to do when a baby dies, who the hell really knows what to do when anyone dies - whether expected or unexpected one is never prepared for the harsh stark reality of loss. The curse of the human condition.
Step two - it's a continual learning curve.
Every time I think I've got it nailed something else comes up! I dot along in my cosy bubble loving my children I hold in my arms and loving the child I hold in my heart. I am surrounded by other mums who've lost a baby and it has become second nature to 'chat' about our wee ones, both living and lost.......HOW on earth did I not realise that others just don't want to hear that? One forgets that my 'normal' isn't everyone else's - I always thought/hoped one of the positive things about losing Alfie was that it had made me a more compassionate person - yikes, maybe not. When did I become so self-absorbed I forgot about others feelings.....
Thing is, it doesn't consume me, I very rarely cry anymore ( maybe I should, rather than this once a year malarky, which is all consuming and exhausting), and never chat about him at work or with boob club mums. I no longer need to scream out 'I LOST MY BABY' quietly inside while others are chatting about their live children. This is partly due to time and my darlings who I can cuddle and love daily. I know Alfie is with me in memory and that's enough now. The rawness has most certainly subsided - however like Karma, grief come back to bite you on the as. Just when life is dotting along the bubble bursts and it all comes rushing back. Grief is hard enough without feeling judged about the way one copes and survives through it - see we really do need a manual - then no one would be offended or hurt, there is plenty enough of that being doled out by life in general.
Step 3 - find a way to survive it. This can change regularly, however it is easier to go with ones emotions (in my opinion) as opposed to bottling them up.
I am a talker and an obssesser - or as my mum would say 'a dog with a bone', hmmm wonder where that comes from mum?
When Alfie died I talked about him non stop, it was all I could do to make him seem real, otherwise those 9months didn't really happen. I realise I am a very open person and much prefer to deal with things head on, I always assume the best in people and think 'talking' can solve the worlds problems - well that's what I tell my school kids - how can I preach peace to them and not firmly believe negotiation is the best way forward. Duh, Clare you live in a naive idealistic world, you'd think by 40 I'd have sussed that one out!
Step 4 - always always use any emotional situation to make you become a better person.
Although I over analyse everything - and hmm truthfully nothing sometimes I try to come up with a positive spin on situations, again a teaching ideology. How, can one become a better person if they don't improve and learn from their mistakes? Of late I seem to be offending everyone with my ways of dealing with grief - so I am taking it all on board and adjusting accordingly. I will endeavor to be more sensitive to others feelings and emotions, I will not discuss my loss publicly, I have this blog to help me if I need to ponder on my wee man. The good thing is all these new realisations will help me and others, so that can't be a bad thing.
Last and final step (so far, as I'm sure I'll struggle and learn about how to cope with my loss for the rest of my days)
You can not quantify grief, nor can one type of loss be any worse or any better than another.
Losing a person who is loved, wanted, cherished cared for is hard regardless of gestation of pregnancy, how many minutes the child lived, how many years you've rasied and nurtured your child or how many years you've loved and shared life with that person - it is irrelevant the gaping massive hole they left is the same size and all the dealing/coping/surviving in the world ain't gonna ever fill it back up - that's the shitty reality.
How we deal with the reality of the loss is what makes it different and, as I said above we must all do what it takes to get through, whilst hopefully not hurting anyone in the process.
And so......I feel better after articulating all of that - I hope this helps others to understand my process of dealing with grief and helps them deal with theirs. Big love to all, xxxx
Sunday, 18 September 2011
I've been feeling ambivalent about the blog recently - it caused some minor controversy (which I can't be arsed going into), however I've decided to reclaim it as MINES. I love writing about what we've been up to, it is so precious to me - being able to keep a record of and for the kids.
Also it is getting to that time of year again - our anniversary time, 4 of us in a row - how harsh is that. So grateful we found one another in our pain and we can help ease it, specially as the years roll on and people start to expect you to roll on too I guess. Not so, never - everyday I think of my boy, so if I can allow myself a few days of Alfie indulgence I will, I feel I earn it by being so strong and capable the rest of the year. This year we are going to a bday party for 3 wee ones on the day of Alfie's birth, however it is a sands mums babies party, so what better company could I be in.
I've also been busy doing stuff for the kids ans socks for pugs but need to get organised and take photos.
Thursday, 1 September 2011
Wednesday, 17 August 2011
I spoke with some of of my wonderful sands mums tonight and the supportive, nutters at knitwits - in fact I say spoke hmmm actually cried for ages......we all agreed, one only ever learns to live without your child up to a point. After that it is just the harsh shitty painful reality of loss, nothing can fill the void. Life goes on, new babies come along (if your lucky), day to day life continues, you heal from the shock of the loss - the wide open raw pain, but then the longterm loss sets in, you know that it isn't going to get any better than this, its just a way of life to be dealt with, some days dealt with better than others. Yet, every day without fail I think of my boy - now more of what would have been, what kind of person he would be? It's hard to believe its been nearly 4 years since I've seen him, held him, smelt him.......... my mind plays tricks, some days he is seems like a vague dream I once had, others it feels like I saw him last week.
This time of year is forever my Alfie season, fall/autumn....summer fades and I start to re live the significant dates leading up to his death. I know his anniversary will be beautiful, a day filled with unadulterated thoughts of him - a liminal phase, where real life stops so I can give some time just to Alfie. It's the build up that sucks. My closest sands mums all lost their wee ones round about the same time of year, so we all start to feel fragile and vulnerable together, although I would never wish the pain of babyloss on anyone, I am truly grateful for these woman in my life, without whom my diffcult journey would have been lonely, with them it is filled with love, encouragement, support, genuine friendship - and not to forget the chance to talk freely about our wee ones without judgement or others morbid curiosity, or even worse the rolling of eyes speaking a million 'isn't she over it yet', or 'here she goes again on about her depressing life'. Hell we even laugh and indulge ourselves every now and again - Dakota here we came ladies xxxx
Tuesday, 16 August 2011
Mrs Williams 'welcome to rmps everyone, hope all well and happy. Lets just go round saying our names so I can write down where you are all sitting. Let's start with you - points to small boy with lovely curly brown hair.
Small boy 'Alfie'...........
Mrs Williams mumbles 'oh, eh, that's a lovely name'.
Lovely wee Alfie with brown curly hair looks at me like I'm off my head!
Isn't is shitey enough that I had to go back to work and leave my babies, that my 'Alfie' stage of life is passing by. It was all i could do not to say, oh I had a wee boy called Alfie who died - I didn't want to pass it by, however I did, of course - poor child doesn't need to know that. He is the 1st child I've come into contact with, I've never met another Alfie, nor heard the name said - not in relation to my Alfie. It's gonna be tough saying it every week in class. I told the ladies in the staffroom and had a wee tear, I think they thought I was nuts.....Sands mums will get the significance of it I'm sure.
Other than that, it was cool. Kids were great, I'm shattered - but I remember now why I love teaching.
I also looked at the kids from a mums perspective for the 1st time. I had a rather odd, awkward wee man in one class, I felt my heart twinge as I saw him, thinking his mum must be wringing her hands at home worrying about him on his 1st day in the big school. Hopefully my new found compassion for the kids will help my teaching.....
Monday, 15 August 2011
Sunday, 14 August 2011
1. Sleep when you can.
2. Time moves too too quickly.
3. How to bake, cakes, cookies, meringues.
4. How to make Jam, strawberry and raspberry.
5. How to sew, beautiful dresses for Sadie and recently cool trousers for Archie - photos to follow.
6. How to multi-task.
7. How important the woman are in my life, Sands mums, knitwits, boob clubs mums, my mum and Auntie Momo - all helped, supported and made this last year a great journey - helping me learn how to be a mum, thanks xxx
8. Life is beautiful.
My favourite Sadie things
1. She takes her tata out her mouth, puts it in mine and then helps herself to a boob feed.
2. She makes a funny face on cue.
3. Her nonplussed face when she stands and we all get excited.
4. when she puts her arms infront of her and cozzies in for a cuddle.
5. How she pulls her brothers curls.
6. The cheeky smile when she knows she isn't meant to go into the kitchen cupboard, but does it anyway.
7. Her first few words, Mama, Dada, tata and Ta.
8. Maude getting a Kissey face in the morning and a pat on the back.
My favourite Archie things
1. 'Mummys leetil baby'
2. Say mama Haha, say dada Haha.
3. Sleeping in his teepee instead of his bed, with 'mummy's blankie' - our old mattress protecter.
4. 'What you dooie?'
5. 'Where that car goey?'
6. That he strokes his arms to help soothe himself to sleep - but would rather stroke mine.
7. His sheer delight when he sees me, although his delight in sitting on me as opposed to a chair has resulted in many bruises.
8. A wee 'boob' feed before bed while fighting with sister over which boob is whose!
I return to work tomorrow and clearly feel the need to record these moments.....I worry I'll lose touch with my lovelies, leaving them - I know they'll be with there dad or grandmama and granda, but it's not ME!
Finally my darling Alfie boy, each transition into a 'new phase' takes me a step further away from you wee man. 4years is a long time darling, lots has happened and all down to you. Four years ago at this time mummy was so excited about starting her new job, getting ready for you coming - a world full fo possibilties. Little did I know what a different outcome we would have, not raising you was never one of those possibitlies. In a different world I would be taking you to Nursery tomorrow, instead I dream of what you would have been.............................sweet dreams to all my loves xxx