Friday, July 29, 2011

Kitchen Table..Glow

I'm taking part today in the Kitchen Table posts over at Glow.


1. How much time has passed since the death of your child(ren)? Do you mark grief in months, weeks or years? Does it seem to be going fast or slow?


It's two years and one week since Florence was born and died. I guess that means I'll start counting in years and weeks/months now. up until last week I was counting in months.


2. Do you have an end goal to your grief? How much time do you think that will take? How much time did you think you'd need to get there right after your loss? How much time do you think you need now?

Hmmm, that's such a hard question. I don't think in the early days after Florence's death I could even think about time, it was all I could do to breath. I know I realised quite early on that if I just kept on keeping on, putting one foot in front of the other every day, then one day ,I hopefully wouldn't have to think about putting one foot in front of the other.

I think I did have a vague idea that there would come this magical time when I'd transform into a wise and dignified bereaved mother, that I would cry sometimes,but that I would have stopped grieving.

Recently I realised that's never going to happen. this grief is forever, some days it's calm and no one would know, other days I can barely breath again, and there are all the days in between. There will always be triggers. I will always miss her, always wish she were here, always always love her.

I'm mostly ok with that, it is what it is.


3. Rather than a clear end goal, is there a milestone or marker to indicate that you are feeling grief less acutely, i.e. going to a baby shower, listening to a song that made you cry early in grief, driving past the hospital? How long did it thttp://www.blogger.com/img/blank.gifake to get there?

About three months ago I went to the hairdressers, and while I was having my hair washed a song began to play that *always* makes me cry. Initially I panicked, I didn't want to cry in the hairdressers, so I made a concious decision to smile. I thought of my beautiful girl, her lovely soft skin, and her beautiful long fingers, of that moment I held her, before we knew, and I smiled.I also thought of another special little girl, that the song also reminds me of. That was a breakthrough for me.


4. How do you view the time you had with your child, either alive (within or outside) or already deceased? Before you all answer "Too short! Not enough!", did you have time to "bond" or develop a future imagination about what this child would be like? Perhaps depending on whether yours was cut short, how do you now feel about the nine-month period of gestation -- too long or not long enough?

I was so so very happy when I was pregnant with Florence. I loved almost every minute, I felt so lucky to be having a fifth child. I thought of her often, my instincts told me she was a girl, and her name came to me in a dream when I was just seven weeks pregnant. I was bonded to her from very early on, and remember remarking to another mother how I already felt her presence in our family, I already felt like Mummy to five. (Sadly I also remember a feeling of dread as I said this.)

I was standing as Florence was born, Woody and the midwife caught her on her speedy exit. I couldn't see her, and asked "where's my baby?". My midwife passed her up through my legs, and I held her and it was like meeting an old friend.

Florence died in my arms, and in turn Woody's arms. She didn't leave our arms for the rest of the day.
I had twenty plus vials of blood taken from my arm, and all the while I held on to Florence.
I washed her, I dressed her, I rocked her,walked with her and told her how all my kisses would be with her forever. Mine and Woody's tears fell on her face, and we wiped them away.

I'm so thankful for that time, it brings so much comfort to know she was in our loving arms for as long as she could be.


5. One grief book suggested that it took 2-5 years to incorporate your grief into your life. Where are you on this timeline, and you do you find that to be true?

I think that sounds about right, maybe something will jump up and take me by surprise,but I think I have incorporated my grief into my life.There might be others on the outside looking in who disagree,but it feels to me like I have.


6. There's a familiar saying, "Time Heals all wounds." Do you think this is true? Or do you subscribe to Edna St. Vincent Milay: "Time does not bring relief, you all have lied"?

Time does not heal, it creates a distance from which to view the wound, and sometimes it's all too easy to be whipped right back in time to the moment the wound was open, raw and bleeding.

7. Has your relationship with the future (immediate and far) changed since the death of your child(ren)? How about your relationship with the past?

I could not think of the future at all in the immediate aftermath of florence's death, infact it took until some time after Ernest's birth that I could even look just days into the future. Honestly, I still find that hard, I don't plan more than a couple of weeks ahead. I even struggled to buy Ernest's birthday presents ahead of time.

There is a very large part of me living in the past. I've said this before,but I still think it's 2009, I know it isn't, but my heart is back there, still trying to save her.


8. How long did it take to answer these questions?

Not as long as I thought it would. These questions looked too hard at first glance, and I let them settle, but I think it's taken me about thirty minutes.

9 comments:

  1. It is a huge regret to me that I stayed so little time with Freddie and that I didn't go back to see him. At the time I know all those things were right, the girls were frightened and knew what was coming and prolonging their fear and distress was unfair and somehow after hovering over Freddie alive, I didn't want to replace those memories. But now it is the thing that makes me cry.

    That song makes me howl too. I can't watch Stardust now.

    I think you were very brave answering this. I have the same issues with the future. I just can't plan.

    I am so grateful I have been able to have you in my life over the last 16 months. While I was busy resenting all the crappy ttc, I did at least get to see that the other side of the coin has a price to contend with to.

    Much love, as ever.

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  2. Oh Merry thank you for your lovely comment, you just made me cry! (in a good way)

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  3. One thing that ALWAYS pours out of your posts is your utter adoration for Florence -and it's here too. Your description of her time in your arms really teared me up. And I am so very touched by your mention of my little Emma, it is precious to know that they are remembered by others.

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  4. Couple of things really stood out for me:
    "Time does not heal, it creates a distance from which to view the wound, and sometimes it's all too easy to be whipped right back in time to the moment the wound was open, raw and bleeding."

    And: "It is what it is".

    That's just it, isn't it?

    Your love for Florence always shines through. xo

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  5. Reading this gives me hope for my own journey and comfort to know that (sadly) I am not alone on this path. Florence is so beloved by her mummy and dad... sending you love Jeanette.

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  6. So much to relate to here, and also to gain much inspiration too - thank you Jeanette for sharing your take on how time has ticked onward for you.

    That beautiful song gets me by the throat too

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  7. When I was pregnant with my eldest, I had some bleeding at 32 weeks and had a short hospital stay, where I met another pregnant mum, who's 1st baby had died minutes after birth. She and I were up late in the patients lounge one night and she told me all about it, her fear of looking at and holding a dead baby, the photo's they took that no-one else wanted to look at, the little booties she still carried everywhere. She was in hospital for a planned induction and she was terrified, maybe that's why she told me everything like she did. I was 19 and about to have my own 1st baby, but the funny thing is, I wasn't more scared after I had spoken to her, or afraid of catching 'dead baby' from her (I know you have talked about that before). It made me realise everyone's story is different. I am aware of how painful this is for you to talk about, but I know you are helping people who have gone through similar experiences. You are also helping people who haven't, become more aware. Now I am 41 I know more than one family who have lost a baby, and your posts probably reflect some of the turmoil which they keep hidden inside.
    V
    xxx

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  8. Hi, I've come over from Glow and just read your kitchen table post.
    Your Florence is just beautiful and your post so heartfelt and full of love. I hope you don't mind me reading. I'm sorry she's gone.
    Kate.

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  9. Beautiful, and so thoughtful, you said all the things that I have wanted to say and many that are simply yours. as always with love

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