Christmas Cards

Just a short one, probably a depressing one too, sorry for that.

It all started with the Christmas cards arriving.

My first card this year, ironically came from my dad’s wife, it hit hard. 

Suddenly it’s arrival made me realise that is it for the ‘daughter’ cards. Those beautiful, heartfelt, well chosen, well thought out cards that only a parent buys, in fact my mum would buy two (or three some year so). In its place comes a card not in the hand that I see my cards penned. A card from a multi-pack. A card that probably found her facing her own thoughts of Dad on this first Christmas without him. A card that I’m sure she struggled to write and to me was bordering on devoid of all emotion. I’m not blaming her for this.

I hate the fact Cancer has taken both my parents from me, I hate the fact that Christmas is hugely lacking with both of them gone. I haven’t spent a Christmas with my father for quite some years but I always spoke to him on the day and enjoyed buying him gifts (more so after Noah’s arrival, being able to share our love of photography with a beautiful [in my mind] image of my boy). This year his wife requested that presents wouldn’t be sent either way, a request that I’m sure will stand from here on in. I find myself battling with this. I want to send her something because she has been part of our lives for 26 years, she was my dad’s wife, she is family, but I also feel I should respect her wishes. I find myself browsing my Dad’s Amazon wish list and feeling robbed, whilst doing this I found my Mum’s, untouched since 2007 and feel absolutely devastated.

Whilst trying to buy a card for D from Noah I’ve stared at the Mum and Dad cards on the shelves in the card shops and had to hold back the sobs knowing that I’m looking at something that I will never buy for my own parents and that hurts. Hurts beyond belief. I remember now thinking it such a chore finding the ‘right’ card, now I’d find it so easy. I’d buy the fucking lot if it meant that they would read them and realise how much I loved them, how much I respected them, how much I thought of them, how much I miss them.

I’m sat here at home alone listening to the gentle hum of the baby monitor whilst D is on his works do, quietly dreading Christmas this year but also aware that Noah is starting to get excited about it. I want, more than anything, for Noah to be totally unaware of my hang ups and feel the pressure of trying to make it extra special as a way of making up for my feelings of lack of enthusiasm. 

I find myself struggling once more and hate it. I know I have more grief coming, more anniversaries, family events, milestones, all without my parents there.

So as I go through the motions of preparing for a Christmas without the love and thought of a parent I think more deeply of those in a similar situation. I’m not ‘alone’ yet I know (especially in my previous line of work) there are so many out there that are and realise how much that must hurt at this time of year. I just hope they have atleast received one card with a heartfelt thought behind the words written in it.

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Baby Loss Awareness

My partner messaged me from yet another of his hotel restaurants to let me know, whilst holding back tears, that it’s baby loss awareness week this week and it got me thinking. Thinking about awareness weeks… not about my baby losses because I think about them every day and no doubt will do until the day I shuffle off this mortal coil.

I wonder who decides when these weeks will be and whether they ever really make anyone more ‘aware’ of the subject matter or whether it’s just a week that makes those who are directly affected remember with more vigour.

I’ve found myself thinking more deeply into my own losses this week, thinking more about the four beautiful babies I never held but still love with all my heart, wondering more deeply about who they would be and thinking over, once more, why we had to suffer these losses. It’s an awareness week yet I don’t see anyone talking about it. I find that when I bring the subject up with a lot of people their eyes glaze over and their eyes wander, I can almost hear them thinking “here she goes again, how am I going to get away” (I’m not talking close friends here).  I find the only time you’re allowed to talk about your own losses after a certain time is when someone else has lost, and even then only if they ask to hear your story directly because they’re going through their own hell and (quite rightly) don’t need to listen to yours too, but from experience it’s nice to know that you’re not alone and it happens to more people than you are aware of.

I find this doesn’t only happen when discussing baby loss, but any loss and have come to the conclusion that we just don’t like to talk about grief in whatever parcel it’s delivered in. There seems to be a period of time where you are ‘allowed’ to express your feelings and grieve and no matter who you talk to they will listen, or at least politely pretend to. Then suddenly, and it’s pretty soon I think, you’re not allowed to talk about it anymore. People get bored of listening and if you persist in mourning your loss you stop seeing these people because they just can’t deal with your misery.

I remember being told on a number of occasions, on the loss of my mother and then subsequent miscarriages and then the recent loss of my father, that I shouldn’t ‘dwell on it’ or ‘wallow’ anymore… As if I choose to feel this cutting grief, as if I enjoy it, as if I’m purposefully prolonging my own agony, as if I should just forget they ever existed.

So as I light my ‘Wave of Light’ candle for my four babies that weren’t given a chance I think of everyone else who has suffered the loss of a baby, or a pregnancy and give them strength and hope that the future does brighten. I want to tell them that their feelings matter, regardless of how many years have passed since their loss and that they are not alone. 

I spent half an hour of the WoL hour sitting on the edge of my bed listening to and looking at our beautiful boy as he slept peacefully and thanked the universe for him, aware that others aren’t as lucky as we are. 

So perhaps that’s the idea of awareness weeks such as this, not necessarily raising the awareness of those that haven’t suffered, but to make the affected aware that they are not alone.