Friday, 9 January 2015

I wish I'd held her

I remember her
Her little body looked like it was made of glass. I was afraid to touch her. They urged me to go, to pick her up, to rock her body and hold it close to mine, but I shook my head.
I didn't want to touch her
Her tiny hands were balled up into fists, her face pale.
She was tiny. God, was she tiny. And lifeless and harmless and helpless.
I wish I'd touched her
I wish, when I'd had the chance, I'd kissed her head. I wish I'd touched her fists.
I wish I hadn't been afraid. Everyone else in the room held her, touched her, cried over her, but I didn't.
Tomorrow I'm getting my memorial tattoo, a permanent reminder of my girl. Also of the person I've become since she died.
I watched a video today about stillbirth and cried.
I wish I'd held her.

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Infant loss remembrance day 2014

Today is Infant Loss Remembrance Day.
Today my facebook newsfeed was filled up with posts from mamas and daddies, aunts and uncles and grandparents who had to say goodbye to their babies too soon.
Today I remembered my own darling girl, gone too soon for my liking, but forever in my heart
Today I give a silent nod to you, all you mothers and fathers with wounds of your own, holes in your heart from missing your babies
I nod to you, new parents, still freshly grieving your loss. The hurt never goes away, but it does change, and it gets easier to deal with. You are not alone.
I nod to you, you seasoned veteran. Maybe your baby would be a teenager now, or perhaps an adult. Your wound is no longer fresh and gaping, but it is still noticeable, still there. Your loss still matters.
I nod to you, those who have lost more than one baby. Their lives mattered, and have forever changed who you are.
I nod to you parents and family members and friends of lost potential and babies of all kinds because your loss matters, and your story matters.
Do you hear me? Your story matters
Your story of loss, whatever that looks like, matters
And tonight I light my candle in remembrance of all our babies.
We stand together
So tell me, dear friend, what's your story?
If you're feeling brave, maybe comment below with the name of your sweet one and how long it's been since they left this earth
And regardless of whether or not you say a word, know I am standing with you tonight, and honoring your sweet babe(s)
Their lives matter
And so does yours

Sunday, 5 October 2014

2 years out and I have a few things to say

I haven't written in a while
Because life is busy. I spent the summer traveling. I returned to the place where my sweet daughter's ashes are scattered, and I had a sense of peace knowing that she is always a part of me and I do not have to frantically work to remember her.
This knowledge has been following me lately
Sometimes she arrives as I am hunched over at the supper table
Sometimes her quiet voice speaks to me as I am running late for my morning class
Or in the silent hours of my work day right before closing, when everything is still and my heart is full
And there are days when I can go almost all day without actively thinking and remembering. As I crawl into bed at night, I sink into the soft embrace of remembering my sweet baby. But the pain doesn't sting like it used to, not always. More often than not it is a soft, gentle ache, a remembering of what should have been but isn't.
She was never mine to keep
She was always going to journey home
Her second birthday came and went, and it's been almost a month now since that day.
I can scarcely believe that my baby would be 2. If she had lived I imagine a birthday cake with pink frosting and presents. I wonder how many words she would know, if she would be fearless or timid.
I guess more than anything I want to write here to remember.
I wanted to write here again because my life is changing, and I'm not the same broken new mama I was 2 years ago, who had lost everything
Yes, I still miss my girl. I miss the life I could have had.
But I think 2 years, for me, has brought a sense of understanding. She had to go, for reasons I'll never be able to understand. Her brief life forever shaped me, as a person and a mother. She is always a part of me, and because of her I am able to experience this life more fully and deeply.
I feel like I don't have to write it out anymore, have to repeat my grief and make it known. It's something small, something I hold close to me. It's personal and beautiful and mine.
So I may still come to this corner of the woods every once in a while, to write and reflect and connect with you other baby loss mama's and daddies.
I may also spend my time going on spontaneous adventures and working the closing shift and taking pictures and writing poetry, which is ok too
Either way, I nod my head to you, as you sit over there in your grief and I stand here in mine.
Life has a funny way of changing when you least expect it. The thing you once thought was impossible has happened.
My heart is more full then I ever thought possible on that day 2 years ago when my baby died
And even still, there is a tiny piece missing, the size of her
I am just learning to cover that hole with so much love, to make the aching just a little easier

Thursday, 13 February 2014

I carry your heart with me (I carry it in my heart)

"Choose a poem," The instructor of my tiny writing class says as she walks up and down the aisles, her shoes click clacking as she walks.
I picked the poem by e.e. Cummings (I carry your heart with me (I carry it in my heart))
She asks us to write an analysis describing what the poem means to us
I want to ask her if she ever lost a baby
I want to look into her eyes as if examining her for some broken piece that screams she knows my pain.
Instead I look at my page, at the others in the group. None of them know about Mia and sometimes I wish they did and other times I am quite content to keep her memory to myself.
I try to think of something to say that wouldn't betray the memory of my dead daughter.
I end up turning it in with only having analyzed metaphors and figurative language. On the front I write on a sticky note:
To my darling girl, I carry your heart with me (I carry it in my heart). Love, Mama
I set it on the teacher's desk and leave quickly, head down as if trying not to be noticed. I wrap my coat around myself to ward off the chill

I carry your heart with me, baby, I carry it in my heart

Saturday, 28 December 2013

When worlds collide

I often imagine this parallel world, one where the dead exist.
See, I have this theory. I think that we are all composed of the universe, of the trees and the stars and the ocean, and inside everyone there is this one thing, one piece of their soul, that makes them different from every other person on earth. The essence of your being, so to speak. The you inside of the universe.
So in this other world, I imagine the dead, this essence of their souls, living. They exist in a world very similar to ours, where we meet in passing, but we can never see them.
Maybe I imagine this because it brings me comfort. Maybe it's a fairytale I want to believe in because it gives me some semblance of peace.
I believe that in this other world, my loved ones exist. Not always, but sometimes.
Sometimes we happen to cross paths. When I'm riding in the car on the way home, when I'm rushing to get to work on time, when I'm in the kitchen making scrambled eggs. I can feel it, a sudden rush of energy. I whisper their names, Cam, Mia, and I wonder if perhaps, in their world, they are whispering mine as well.
It only happens for an instant. For one brief second my world catches up with theirs and there is this rush of air and all the remembering in the world is mine. It doesn't hurt, not like you might think. It's kind of peaceful.

Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Christmas 2013

I've never been much of a Christmas person.
Correction, I've never been much of a people person. After a few hours with family I'm burnt out and in desperate need of a closet in which to hide.
I also get a little nostalgic at Christmas. A little sad reflecting over this past year, and all that happened. It's usually a bitter sweet kind of sad, though. This year was no exception.
It was my second Christmas without Mia.
Last Christmas was a blur, only a few months out after losing Mia. I was a mess, and barely had time to get ready for the holidays.
This year they seemed to sneak up on me as well. I was the frazzled woman standing in line on Christmas Eve with an armful of presents and a fierce look of determination.
The Christmas Eve service I attended last night was around the theme "Fear Not."
I thought back on this year, in the 15 months that have passed since I lost Mia. There are a million things I could fear. And yet there was a strange peace over my heart.
This morning I awoke and opened presents with my family. We ate a big turkey and the extended family came over and it was jolly and merry and everything Christmas is supposed to be.
It was bitter sweet for me. It came with a pang of nostalgia and a wave of grief.
I barely remember last Christmas, to be honest. I couldn't tell you now what I got, what I gave or who's house I went to. It was a blur. I was numb.
This Christmas felt heavier.
This Christmas I felt pain deep in my body, and felt Mia's little body so close I could close my eyes and remember so distinctly what it was like in that moment when she was born.
While I've been working hard to let go of all I can't control, to accept what was, there are moments when I feel her close and I just accept it.
"Hi darling girl. Mama misses you."
I know, mama, I'm here.
This Christmas I listened to Kate Rusby and looked at the stars as I drove home, thinking about grief and love and how funerals and memorials are more for the living than the dead.
This Christmas I felt her, in a way I rarely do anymore, and smiled.

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Parallel Universe

I watched the snow fall from the hospital window. I sat in a chair overlooking the city beside my mother, who had come in to get some tests done.
She was being tested for cancer. It runs in the family. My grandmother died from cancer, my aunt died from cancer, my cousin died from cancer.
It seems death runs in our family, like a winding ribbon or a vein, tying it all together.
My heart felt heavy as I thought of how things should be.
Sometimes, in my head, I live in this parallel universe. One where my baby didn't die and my love didn't die and my mother isn't being scanned for cancer and where I'm not sitting in a hospital in December, days before Christmas, thinking the one thing that links our family is death.
I drink my tea and watch the thick snowflakes and the dim glow coming from the bright lights and I hear her voice.
"Hi Mama."
I look around. She's not here. I know she's not here. She's dead.
"Everything will be ok, mama."
They are the only words I hear from her, sweet daughter of mine.
Sometimes, in the midst of a snowstorm or late at night, she whispers to me. I can feel her hands on my face, her breath on my neck.
It's only for a moment, only a brief second in this parallel universe where my daughter still exists, where she is learning to whisper my name, when her father is just in the other room instead of buried under the frosty ground.
But a minute is enough, enough to keep me pushing forward.
"I hear you baby," I whisper into my tea, "I love you."