Monday, 27 August 2012

Letter to Daisy: Hope

Dear Daisy

Two months ago life was bathed in light.  It was shiny and happy; full of anticipation for your impending arrival.

Right now we're in a dark place.  There's no sunshine and the laughter isn't heartfelt.  There's tears and sadness, sorrow and an emptiness that words cannot adequately describe.

But I'm starting to see a glimmer of light away in the distance and I have realised: it's the light at the end of the tunnel.

It's only a speck of light.  It's not even a ray of light - just a shard of light peeking through.  But it's there, I can see it.

These dark days are the tunnel.  The sliver of light ahead in the distance is the brightness of days to come.

The light may not be as bright as it was two months ago; the luminosity might not be as it was.  Things will never be as they were.  But there is light there.

It is hope.

Hope for our future, hope that my heart will feel less heavy.  Hope that I can think of you without the stabbing feeling in my chest and tears stinging my eyes.

Although the darkness is all around, when it starts to feel like too much to bear, when it feels thick and dense and palpable around me, I remind myself that this is a tunnel.  We are cloaked by it now; but we are travelling through it.  We will reach the brighter place trickling through at the end of the tunnel.

Sometimes it's faint; it's barely there.  Sometimes I wonder if I am imagining it and if it's even there at all.  Sometimes I have to look really, really hard to see it.  It's so out of focus at times, I wonder whether I'm even going in the right direction.

But even when the darkness of the tunnel threatens to consume me and the light seems nothing more than a figment of my imagination, I tell myself that it is still there.  I need to believe it is.  I have hope; hope for me, hope for us as a family - hope that there is a brighter life ahead for us than our life right now.

I miss you every day, my beautiful girl.

Love from

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Connecting with other Mums

Two months ago, whilst I was still pregnant, I had no idea that just a short while later I would be connecting with mothers from all over the world who have one thing in common - the loss of a baby.  Daisy's death was so sudden; so unexpected.  The shock ripped our lives apart.

After Daisy died I felt very isolated; I felt like no-one could possibly understand the stabbing pain in my heart, the broken feeling inside me, the raw, aching grief at losing a child.

But I found a support network online and started to connect with other mothers - through my blog, their blogs, and Twitter.  The support from other bereaved mums has given me a lot of strength.  Their own strength, sharing their stories, their feelings, their hopes for the future, has been a great source of comfort to me in my dark days.

One of the lovely mums I have connected with is Lisa Sissons.  Lisa's beloved son Finley died in March 2012, aged just three days old.  Lisa writes so honestly on her blog, Dear Finley, about her son, her experiences, her sorrow and her heartbreak.  Last week Finley would have turned 5 months old and to mark this, Lisa has arranged a Blog Hop to allow bereaved mothers the chance to connect with other mums.

Dear Finley

Thank you Lisa for arranging the blog hop and for helping us to build connections.

Best Wishes

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Friendship and Support

Sometimes it's in the darkest of hours that you realise what friendship and support really means.  People often comment that I am being so strong whilst coming to terms with Daisy's death.  I don't feel strong; but here's where I get some of my strength.

After Daisy died, so many people reached out to me in different ways.

There was support I had expected.  Firstly, from my family of course.  My family weren't scared to see me, despite my anguish and despair.  We are so lucky - we have a caring family and they love us very much.

Secondly, from my best friends - the type of friends who have seen me through thick and thin, in both the happy times and sad times.  In this, the darkest time of my life, my best friends were there.  Sometimes I didn't want to see them, or speak to them; but they continued to offer a kind word, a shoulder to cry on, a listening ear when I needed to talk.  These are the friendships that last a lifetime.

But the circle of support reached far wider and support came from places I hadn't expected.

An old friend who I haven't seen in many years, sent flowers, a card, kind words by text.  She continues to text me to let me know she's thinking of me.

The lovely couple who drove for 5 hours to be at Daisy's funeral, and had to return back home the same day afterwards.

The email from a work colleague expressing her sadness.  Her lovely comment, "So sad, Debbie - I would have loved to have met little Daisy.  I felt like I knew her because she was with you every day at work."

The friends who stepped up to the challenge of comforting a grieving mother, not afraid to reach out to me and see me despite my tears, my ramblings, trying to make sense of the pain and sadness.

An old friend who I've known for many years - who doesn't expect me to smile and to pretend to be happy when I'm not - who accepts my pain and wants to spend time with me anyway.

The friend who asked to see Daisy's photographs.  That meant so much to me that she asked; she was acknowledging that Daisy was real, she was my daughter - Daisy was only with us for a day but she was here. I was so touched that she did that.

The emails and comments from readers of my blog.  The support from complete strangers during these dark days has been such a comfort.  So many women have emailed me to share their own experiences of baby loss - through miscarriage, stillbirth or death in the early days and months.  It helps to know that I am not alone, no matter how isolated I feel sometimes.

The other mums, further down their own journeys of grief, who made contact via Twitter and share their experiences.

The comment from "Epiphany" on one of my blog posts who wrote "I lost my little baby boy in 2009 and it has been the hardest thing to come to terms with. I felt as though I was living behind a glass wall watching everyone else living whilst my world stopped. My reason for posting was to put my hand on the glass to you and to wish you the strength to find your own path."  How beautifully put.

Thank you to you all for pausing and putting your hands on the glass.


Thursday, 16 August 2012

Not how it was meant to be...

This week has seen the start of the new school term here in our part of the world.  In the run-up to this I'd been thinking that Lizzie going back to school would give us a welcome return to a routine and help us on the road to finding our feet again.  What I hadn't thought of, or prepared myself for, was the sadness I would feel this week.  The return to school just reminded me of how it was meant to be - Daisy was meant to be with us.

I was meant to be taking Lizzie to school and going for a walk with my baby in the pram.  Instead, once I've dropped Lizzie off, I am walking home alone.  Back home to our house to consider ways to fill my days.

I was meant to be proudly showing off our new baby, with all the mums at school gathering round the pram for a peek at our newborn.  Instead, some mums avert their eyes, looking the other way - avoiding eye contact with the woman whose baby died.  Other mums are full of pity and condolences - and I cry.  I cannot help the tears - this is not how it was meant to be.

I was meant to be happy for all the other pregnant women, sharing that knowing look that passes between mothers.  Instead, I need to look away.  It hurts to see their glowing baby bumps.  Daisy was safe when she was tucked up inside of me.

Lizzie was meant to be showing off her baby brother or sister to her classmates and her teachers, excitedly sharing the news that the baby had arrived and telling everyone how she was helping me.  Instead, she has to tell her friends that her little sister, Daisy, was born - but she died.  That hurts a lot.  My heart aches for Lizzie and all that she has lost too.

My heart is heavy and there's a lump in my throat.  Sometimes it's hard to swallow it down.

Accepting that this is not how it was meant to be, but that this is how it now is, is very difficult indeed.

Thank you for reading.


Tuesday, 7 August 2012

Keeping busy... and forward planning

As the school holidays in our part of the world will be drawing to a close very soon, I've been fitting in as many activities as possible for Lizzie before she returns to school.  Keeping busy has been good for me, to be honest - getting out and about, seeing people, doing lots of "normal" things.  Yesterday Lizzie and I went swimming at the leisure centre.  Today we're going to the cinema.  And tomorrow we're off to the museum.  Just little things, little plans, small steps - but these are all, I hope, steps in the right direction, and helping us move forward as a family.

Forward planning is a big thing for me.  Those of you who have been reading my blog for a while will know that I am a planner - I'm one of those people who is always armed with a list and a plan, a focus for the future, every eventuality covered.  I plan for the day ahead; the current week; the upcoming month; and beyond.  When Daisy died, I didn't have a plan for that.  I hadn't ever considered that my baby might die after being brought safely into the world.  Suddenly everything I had planned for had completely changed and my life as I'd seen it panning out was unsure and a blur ahead of me.

At first I felt like I would never plan anything again.  "What's the point of making plans, only to have your life shattered and everything thrown in the air?"

But who I am, the planner in me, the need to organise and be in control, is still there.  Perhaps I am more cautious now; there's more worry, anxiety, doubt.  But the planning will still be done - that is who I am.

So I am tentatively making new forward plans in my mind.  Most of these plans are only a few days or weeks into the future; no grand imaginings of our lives as they will pan out, no in-depth musings over the years to come.  Just the coming days and weeks.  But I feel that is a positive step, for me - for my own recovery into the new me as I will be from this point onwards.

Thanks for reading.

Best wishes

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Getting away from it all

Last week we took the opportunity to stay in a cottage up in the Highlands with the children, for a change of scenery and some time away from it all.

We did lots of "normal" family things: we went for walks; we went to the park; we had water fights.  We had picnics in the garden; we went fishing; we played football.

We picked daisies.  Lots of daisies. 

Daisy was never far from my thoughts. 

I hid my sadness from the children as best I could.  It wasn't quite so easy to hide the sadness from my husband; he knows me better than I know myself.

It was good to get away.  It was good to breathe different air, to focus on different things.

But the saddest part of all, was coming home.  And realising that the grief is still there, as painful as ever, and getting away from it all won't make the grief go away.  The only thing I can do, is live through the grief - live it, bear it - one day at a time.