Monday, October 31, 2011

My Invisible Daughter

She's just not important to most people, not relevant, they don't need to know she even existed. It doesn't matter to those who ask about my family that I have five or six children, both are big numbers, both raise an eyebrow, but the dead daughter makes people shudder, and shift uncomfortably in their shoes, so I don't always mention her.
It doesn't really matter, except it does, because each time my heart breaks. My beautiful girl, my beautiful beautiful longed for, loved little girl, and she's just not relevant, not worth mentioning.
She was 9lbs, 3 1/2 ounces, she had a little red/brown hair, and long fingers and toes just like me. She had big feet and a round tummy.I think her eyes were blue....she is so so relevant, and I love her, I miss her with every fibre of my being, and I have to keep it in, speak the right words at official meetings, not upset anyone, but I want to scream, and cry and yell.
I want to say "yes, Sid is a reserved little boy, and yes he always was, but he's thinking thinking all the time. And did you know he held his baby sister in his arms after she died? Did you know, my beautiful boy who doesn't say much came to me the other day to tell me he knew why his sister died? He wanted to go and tell the doctors, it was because her heart stopped. He thought he had the answer"
I don't say that though, I say yes he's a quiet little guy, yes his writing is coming on, and his maths too.."
And anyway I don't want to scare his lovely new young teacher with stories of dead children, I don't want her to think I'm that strange woman who relates eveything back to her dead daughter...

21 comments:

  1. My heart breaks for you Jeanette. Florence is not irrelevant and she is not forgotten, at least not by me and many others.

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  2. When you posted the portraits of your two big girls, I almost commented, but then wasn't sure that I should, "All of your daughters are so beautiful, Jeannette." I should have. Because it's true. All of them, most definitely including Florence. Her life has certainly shaped your family: she matters. We'll remember her with you, and shed tears with you.

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  3. I am sorry that you cannot talk of your little girl. I did not have a full tern stillbirth, but lost a son at 18 weeks. I, too, have a large family of 11 living children. It hurts when I get comments about why did I not have another and round it off to an even dozen. I do have a dozen!

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  4. I understand why you feel the need to keep it in, but Florence is very much a part of your lives,and I think its much healthier to let it out. A slightly different scenario but my Aunt died suddenly 5 days after giving birth to my cousin. My grandparents were of the generation of not talking about things,so they adopted my cousin,brought him up as their own and hardly talked about his mum. At the age of 29 my cousin exploded at a family gathering, a major breakdown, because for all the years, he thought it was his fault (my Aunt had a rare genetic condition). Like I said, different, but grief is handled so badly in this country. I would be inclined to tell the school if they don't already know. I have no idea of the reality of your situation, so of course I know you will do what is best for your family.
    Hugs Jeanette, sincerely.
    V
    xxx

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  5. Oh wow, this spoke volumes in so many ways. What do I tell Xavier's future teachers for when he starts school next year? They need to understand the dynamics of his family. That he is the eldest of 4 boys, but the youngest one died. They need to know. They all need to know. The fucking WORLD needs to know, for you, for him, for her. She is missed. She is relevent. She is loved. She is Florence. I ache for you and Florence's siblings. I ache for you. What a beautiful Mama you are. xo

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  6. Oh I'm just sitting here crying now. Remembering your beautiful Florence xoxo

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  7. I agree with Valerie; Florence is important and most certainly is relevant and Sid's teacher really should hear about her. She will no doubt respond with sadness but that is to be expected. I see no reason not to mention it, unless you felt you couldn't cope with her response? If that's the case maybe you could ask another teacher who already knows to speak to her. Hugs xxxxx

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  8. I hear what you are saying. I feel you frustration and deep pain. Florence is relevant, important and always a part of your family. She is not forgotten and is sorely missed.

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  9. Not here but not invisible, in your hearts and because you shared her in our hearts too.
    Let the teacher know if you can, in a note perhaps?
    Nicky
    x

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  10. She may not be here but she is definitely not invisible and most definitely not irrelevant - she is part of you and your family. And stuff what people think of you - it's what matters to you that is important.

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  11. Florence is so completely and utterly precious, beloved and totally, totally relevant.

    I mentioned Emma to my son's new teacher at parent's evening and she said "Yes. We talked about Emma. I told him the same happened to me when I was 5. My mum lost a baby too ..." You just never know.

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  12. Whenever we're at Slingmeet or elsewhere and I see the children playing I'm always aware there's someone missing who should be there... she's not forgotten here xx

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  13. If folks feel uncomfortable that is their problem, not yours.

    You all have endured a tragic loss and life never is the same when this happens. All is relevant and it consequently shapes who we are from the biggest to the littlest. Don't feel ashamed about sharing Florence with Sid's new teacher if you think it would help, her to understand him better.

    Love San xx

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  14. What a sweet, tender-hearted soul your son is. And his mother, too.

    I do not think there is anything strange or morbid or weird or inappropriate in talking about real people who really lived and really matter. And they always will.

    What's strange, is that if you never talked about your still-living children, people would judge you for that. And now that you want to talk about Florence, they want to act like that's somehow different?? Is she less of a person, just because she died?

    Obviously, she's not. I just don't understand why people are so unwilling to let the dead be as much a part of our lives as the living. Because they are.

    Your love for your Florence - for all your children - pours off the page. You are a beautiful mother.

    Cathy in Missouri

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  15. Thinking of, remembering and missing Florence with you. How I wish she were here with you. And what an amazing little boy you have there. He sounds like such a compassionate, caring soul.
    Love to you.
    xo

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  16. She's not forgotten Jeanette

    I'm sure Sid's teacher would listen if you told her - Florence is such an important part of Sid's family story

    Take care xx

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  17. oh bless him (((hugs))) she's remembered hon xx

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  18. Oh I get it, I really really get it. I feel the same when asked. I mean really, who wants to know I have a child who died. I have two who lived, that to me seems like all anyone wants to hear.
    I will listen to you talk about Florence all day and forever.
    She matters.
    xo

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  19. Oh Jeanette (()) hugs xxx I just wrote such a long heartfelt comment but it got lost! The general gist was, sod em all, speak loudly and clearly of your daughter whenever you want to. We live in a society that expects us to be polite n smiley and say what is expected of us, but THAT SUCKS!! Florence is important, so precious and relevant!...and don't bite your tongue, speak of her. Don't worry what people think. If they are good people they will think good things. If they think anything unkind or just incorrect, well that's exactly what they will be. She is remembered and real here, and she always will be (()) XXX

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  20. I think all of those things too, it feels horrid most times, and I often find myself mentioning him in passing, not even explaining it, just for ME, nothing to do with them. Don't be afraid to confuse them, dont feel like you have to explain anything, you have every right to talk about her. Love to you...M

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