Saturday, April 30, 2016

International Bereaved Mothers Day

Mothers day is coming up in just over a week and I love this celebration. I love being able to celebrate my own, special mum, and also the other mums in my life, 2 step mums and a mother in law, all wonderful women worth celebrating!

I also love mothers day because I get to celebrate it with my children, because we can have a day as a family, with pictures and cards, breakfasts etc made by my kids. But I do remember that first mother's day after I had Lily, wondering what the day really meant to me, could I celebrate mothers day even though I couldn't hold my child in my arms? Could I still claim to be a mum even though I didn't have the task of raising my child?

5 years on and 2 more kids, I am certainly a mum in all ways, but I am no more a mum now, than I was 5 years ago, I may not have my Lily in my arms and I may never hear her tell me she loves me, or "Happy Mothers Day". But I have been a mum since the moment she existed.

Tomorrow, Sunday May 1st, is 'International Bereaved Mothers Day'. While these mums deserved to be acknowledged on Mothers Day (Sunday May 8th), tomorrow, please remember all the mums you know who are missing a child, you may be surprised how many people you know have lost a child. If you talk to them, mention their baby's name, tell them you are thinking of them today. And if nothing else, send them an encouraging message on the good old Facebook, remind them they are thought of, their babies remembered (even if you never knew their child), it's not hard, and it doesn't have to take you long, but it could mean a lot to that person. It doesn't matter how long ago they lost their child, it is a heartache that will never leave them, it is something they will always be thinking about.

And if, when you are talking to her, a tear runs down her cheek, don't panic, don't change the subject, give her a hug, or simply give her a moment, when it comes to our babies we can no longer touch, a tear is never far away, but that doesn't mean we don't want to hear their name or talk about them, and it means a great deal to hear you speak their name, to acknowledge they existed and remind us we aren't the only ones thinking about them and remembering them.

And if you have some time... ask the mum her story, most mums and babies have one and want to share it! Just be prepared to listen.

Happy Bereaved Mothers Day to all the mums out there who long to one day hold their baby/babies in their arms, to tell them 'I love you' face to face and of course, to hear it back. 

Friday, April 22, 2016

Surprises of grief

When I look back to 5 years ago and the memories surrounding our time with Lily there is much that I remember, both good and bad, and the grief of losing a baby, that never goes away and I am often surprised at when it comes back with force, but reading back on my posts from that time, I realise there is so much I don't remember.

5 years ago, here, I wrote about not being able to understand what grief was doing in my life at the time, the panic I was feeling at different aspects of my life that had, in the past, been perfectly normal tasks, simple things like going to the supermarket.

If you asked me to talk about what grief felt like for me and what I experienced, I would tell you about discovering that 'heartbreak' was a physical feeling, not just an emotional one, I might tell you about my experience of the emotional roller coaster that I had never experienced before, or the feeling of seeing people when I was out walking, or about specific events that I remember, like the Balloons over Waikato night glow festival that happened not long after I had Lily where I made it through without breaking down by imagining what fireworks must look like from heaven, perfection right? I might even try to explain the feeling of the first time going to the movies after we lost Lily, but the anxiety and panic over everyday things is not something that springs to mind.

Grief is such an individual journey and everyone experiences it differently, but reading todays 5 year ago blog reminds me how far I have come, grief never goes away but it does stop being the all consuming feeling that it is at the beginning. It still jumps out at me at times and I do still break down and cry and that heart break feeling, it is just as powerful as that first day, but over the past 5 years, without even trying, I have found ways to cope, to carry the grief without letting it consume me.

Zeke, almost 4, talks so often about Lily and every time he mentions her name my heart flutters and I feel like we have done something right in keeping her memory alive and her place in our family is never diminished. He talks about her like he knew her, like he met her and held her. He talks about her as his sister and says things like he wishes she didn't die, he wishes she was here and for him that's not a depressing statement, it's a beautiful statement of a boy who just wishes he could spend time with a member of his family.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

I love those reminders on Facebook about what you posted this day in previous years. It is always interesting to look back on and especially for me, around this time when, 5 years ago, losing Lily was still so fresh. I feel I knew and understood more then than I do now! Anyway, 5 years ago I posted this and it is still as true today as it was then. Having Lily was a very special time in our lives and we often speak of it in this way as that is the part we chose to focus on, but it was also the hardest time of my life and the pain is always there, and always will be. If I had to, I would do it again, every moment was worth it, but losing your child is to lose a huge part of yourself and not something I would ever wish on anyone. But at the same time, I wouldn't give it up. The time we had with Lily was all we were ever going to get, and every moment was worth it. What she brought us, was worth the pain because it was so much more than pain. In the 8 months of Lily's life, she made me a mum and I had to play parts of that role in those short months that some mums (thankfully) never have to play, instead of having years to learn how to become the best mum I could, I had weeks and while my heart will always be broken and something will always be missing, I know I did everything I could for my daughter, I fought for her, I provided the best environment I could for her to thrive, I prayed for her, I cheered for her, I hoped for her and above all else, I loved her with every thing I have.

The end of the poem says "we never wanted memories, we only wanted you" and while that is true, I am also thankful for having the memories. Memories that remind me she is real, remind me of something so beautiful and so special, it broke my heart to say goodbye. Memories are all I can have now, and that's ok (today...)

If we could have a lifetime wish
A dream that would come true,
We'd pray to God with all our hearts
For yesterday and You.
A thousand words can't bring you back
We know because we've tried...
Neither will a thousand tears
We know because we've cried...
You left behind our broken hearts
And happy memories too...
But we never wanted memories
We only wanted You.