Friday, July 29, 2011
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.
Tuesday, July 26, 2011
I don't know why I didn't include this detail in yesterday's post. I didn't forget, but I think I'm still a little wary of that whole "signs" thing.
I think it was around seven on Friday evening when the heavens opened and the rain came. Ernest and I were in the loft, and the rain on the roof was deafening. Ernest had just nodded off on my shoulder as the rain cleared, the golden evening sunlight lit up the skies and there over the roof tops was this beautiful rainbow.
I know, so many would say it was a gift from Florence. Honestly I don't believe that, but I do believe it made my heart leap, and I dashed for the camera. (and one day I'll learn to take better pictures of rainbows)
Really it doesn't matter what I do or don't believe. Rainbows make me smile, and this perfectly timed rainbow lifted my heart for a few moments. x
Monday, July 25, 2011
And I'm ok. The run up to Florence's birthday was hard, so many ghosts. The day itself was calm and mostly ok.
We got up early,( I woke at 4.54am exactly) packed our picnic and Florence's flowers, and headed off to the cemetery via the balloon shop.
I almost burst into tears when the lady in the balloon shop asked if the balloons were for a birthday, but I didn't, and she quickly understood my mumbled reply and was very kind.
Of course, I should've bought spare balloons, not two minutes down the road and one had popped! Not really surprising with a car full of seven people, a picnic, a large bunch of flowers and eight helium filled balloons.
The cemetery was quiet, and sunny. We arranged the flowers, and the children blew bubbles left over from my brothers wedding. Then we let the balloons go.
We didn't plan it, but it just happened that we timed the balloon release for the time she died.
After the cemetery we headed off to Florence's wood for a picnic and a walk.
On the way home, both Woody and I were hit by a huge wave of exhaustion. I still forget just what a slog grief can be. Two years out and it's still so tiring, such toil.
Woody and I watched the sunrise on Saturday morning, and that's when the tears came.
I want to say thank you so much to everyone who remembered with us. We came home to flowers and cards, and messages, and they mean so much to us.
We love you baby girl x
Friday, July 22, 2011
Monday, July 18, 2011
My pump has been my constant companion now for almost a year.I'm typing now while attatched! I definately have a love/hate relationship with it, how could I not?
In many ways I'm feeling a sense of relief getting to one year, the pressure is off to a certain extent. Ernest eats more family food now, and only takes about 700 mls of breastmilk a day. I know I'm so lucky to be able to pump that for him.
Going through my photographs over the past year I was surprised to see I had taken more breastfeeding photos than I thought I had, and in some of them we even look happy.
I know it's an indulgence, but I wanted to share some of our feeding photos here.
My intention is to take more of him feeding,even with his bottle. I still hate bottles,but I want a record of how we feed,and I want to try to be proud of pumping for him.
Sunday, July 17, 2011
Friday, July 15, 2011
A year ago today, I was sat in a waiting room on the delivery suite at my local hospital, waiting nervously to begin the process of induction that would bring this beautiful little boy safe into my arms.
Today I'm typing with him snuggled up on my lap and snoring.
We wont have much time tomorrow for Birthday posts, we'll be celebrating at my brothers wedding,but I wanted to take a little moment today just for Ernest.
He's changing into a fun little toddler, adored by the whole family.
He loves to clap his hands when we sing "If you're happy and you know it", and nod his head too...actually he nods his head to any questions, including the random silly questions from his biggest sister, "Ernest, are you a baby vampire?"...lots of nodding!
He loves to let the chickens out every morning with Daddy, and excitedly says "chick chick".
He's a busy baby, always exploring, yesterday I turned my back for a few moments to sort laundry and found him having fun with a tub of bread flour. (I did tell you our kitchen is all in boxes right now didn't I?)
He was so engrossed in play, I didn't have the heart to clean up straight away, and snapped some piccies instead while he played...maybe an indulgence only the youngest of six gets to enjoy.
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
It feels like I've been waiting for July for so long,catching up with my shadows. It's not an easy month, but I'm glad of it. Sometimes I want it to always be July.
Sid had a birthday. He's six, unyet all day I kept thinking he was four, but of course knowing he was actually six.
Ernest will be one on Saturday, and my brother is getting married the same day.
I've finished my dress,(no completed piccies yet) but Ernest's outfit is still in pieces, and I have to try and squeeze around the boxes containing our new kitchen to sew it up before the weekend!
So, I'm here, squeezing past boxes, and getting on, and meeting with ghosts, but mostly trying hard to keep a lid on everything, and I think I'm doing ok.