As far as I can see it, there is absolutely no normal way to grieve.
For those of us who are struck with the tragic loss of our child it is okay to grieve however you want to.
For everyone else around us, there are normal things to say and not so normal things to say. If you are ever swept along a path that causes you to say something comforting to a mother or father who lost their child just think about how you’d feel if someone said those words to you and you had lost your beautiful child.
I have heard it all, none of these things bring comfort!
‘She talks about her dead baby a lot doesn’t she’
She will continue talking about her dead baby until she herself takes her last breath because her baby is not in her arms like yours is and a piece of her heart is broken.
‘It is natures way’
Well nature can get stuffed because preparing your child’s funeral and opening your front door to receive your daughters cremated ashes are the most unnatural thing I’ve ever done.
‘It’s been a year, I thought she’d be over it by now’
As every year passes her heart hurts even more as time doesn’t stop. Those last moments with her baby were a year ago now.
My husband said to me tonight that normalising grief becomes accepting of the fact that our life now, without wanting to, has room for grief in it. We wake every day and our daughters ashes are not far from us. We still wake up with a smile, with three energetic little people willing us to get up but we get up knowing one of our little people is missing, will always be missing.
In the first year I grieved terribly hard. I wished my own heart would stop beating so the pain in it would no longer be felt. I wished I could sleep for weeks and block out every part of life. I wished I didn’t have to drag myself out of bed and continue being a mother because it felt too hard when one was missing. Is this normal?
Who sets the rules for normal? My answer would be people surrounding you. What I felt, thought, did, said was my normal and what I needed to go through to come up for air on the other side.
Today’s photo is of my two week old Lucia. In this picture she had just weighed in at 860grams. In this picture her sister had been dead for twelve days. In this picture she was attached to a ventilator because she didn’t have the energy to breathe on her own. Is anything ‘normal’ in this picture?
This was the moment I craved and feared the most. My first hold of her. I just wanted her warm tiny body against mine so I could comfort her and so she could comfort me. The last baby I held in my arms, her twin sister, stopped breathing in my arms.
I was equally terrified that when this moment happened the wall I had tried to create would be broken forever. The wall to protect me from her if she died. The wall to protect my already broken and devastated heart. As expected, that wall hardly existed, the moment her soft, floppy, tiny body was placed against mine, my heart beat faster, my eyes filled with tears and my voice didn’t want to work. I loved her even more. I loved her so much I would fight till my last breath to ensure her survival.
I guess at the end of the day we are all very different people. We all feel differently, love differently, care differently, give differently. Which means if we suffer a great loss like this we will all grieve differently and I will never excuse the way I have done it, am doing it or will continue to do it.
Grieving Charlize is a continuing journey, ever changing and for me it is inspiring me to grow as a person to be the best I can be.
I wish for all the bereaved parents out there that you grieve however you need with no judgement and surrounded by bucketfuls of love and nurture.
‘I understood myself only after I destroyed myself. And only in the process of fixing myself did I realise who I really was.’