31 Days of Grief

This is the link where I will be adding up my posts every day throughout the month of October. It will be a nice way of keeping my posts neat and myself accountable to myself. So, here goes:

Day 1: Sunrise

1236316_10152282958066512_2797188240144417435_n

Capture your grief: Sunrise

I am joining in two writing and photography projects this month.

One is Carly Marie’s Project To Heal and her challenge Capture Your Grief, the other one is Write 31 Days. I have decided to amalgamate the two and make my 31 days of writing challenge center on grief. Some days will be photography, some days writing, some days both. The picture below will become a button this week and you can join in, if you are a blogger and a bereaved parent.

1236316_10152282958066512_2797188240144417435_nCarly’s prompt for today is sunrise. I didn’t take this picture today. I took it back in July, weeks after Georgie dies. To me, it spoke of hope, even in the deepest and darkest of pains. That there will be a sunrise every day, that the world carries on and that one day, there will be only sunrises!

Sunrise, day 1

Advice for when you have a bereaved friend

Georgie has been gone for 11 weeks now and of course we have encountered a large array of reactions to the fact that we are now bereaved parents.

5 things and approaches I have been finding helpful:

1. Let me take the lead

I have found very liberating the fact that many friends and acquaintances have allowed me to take the lead in this. A simple “sorry for your loss” usually has sufficed but for me the most precious reaction has been the utterance, either verbal or non-verbal “it is ok to feel whatever you need to feel when I am around.”

I have been very honest with my emotions. In my own terms. in my personal space, which is either my home or my blog. The chances are slim that I will burst into tears on the street or in a random conversation.

But if I lead the conversation towards Georgie and either rant about a baby blankie, shed a tear or tell you about one of our horrific hospital experiences, the most you can do for me is to…just let me do it!

So thank you to each and everyone of you who has listened and allowed me to just take out what was in my heart. It really helps.

2. Say something from the heart. Or say nothing.

Since Georgie passed away my senses have been heightened to the max. I used to be quite a good “human heart reader” but now, I sense what every reaction carries behind it. Basically, I can sense fear or awkwardness. So please try to accept in your heart, before you approach a grieving parent, that death is, as much as we would like to deny it, a natural part of life. Come to terms with it, for your own sake and for our sake. It saves in very awkward conversations.

3. Give a wee meaningful gift 

I have felt the physical need to surround myself with pretty things and meaningful reminders of my beautiful baby boy. And people have blessed my heart with their kind gestures: donating to our favourite charities, stitching a cushion, gifting a beautiful candle, creating a slideshow, ordering beautiful necklaces or creating something with Georgie’s name in it and even temporarily tattooing themselves with wee dragonflies in Georgie’s memory. Thank you for keeping my baby boy’s memory alive for me!

10646798_10152237845396512_4293625763404820217_n4. Leave comments on my blog posts/talk to me about sensitive subjects

I always feel like a pariah and an outcast when I express emotions but hear nothing from my readers. You see, at the back end of my blog I can see the exact number of people who have read my post. So when out of 100 visitors only one or two take the time to reply, I feel the sting because I do feel the temptation to hide my emotions and not be totally honest again. So yeah, if you have read my post about frustration, please do leave a comment or give me a wee wave. Let me know it is okay sometimes to feel disappointed and disillusioned. To be real!

5. Let me be normal again

Last night I sat and watched a magic show with a ten month old baby on my knee. I am so grateful to his parents for allowing me to hold him. He was calm and intrigued by the show and I cherished the feeling of baby weight on my knee and  baby smell in my nostrils. Because I do miss my baby, physically and it does bring me a tiny bit of comfort to be able to hold and cuddle another little one.

3 things and approaches I found unhelpful and hurtful

1. Making my tragedy all about you

I have said it before, and I will say it again. Please refrain. Please don’t assume. Please don’t identify with me.

Because I am different. Because I am strong. Because I can take more shit than you could or imagine I can.

So if you do get pregnant, do the following, like a very lovely friend of ours did. Approach me privately, in person or online. Let me know first about your good news. It will sting, of course it will. But the sting will soon go and the memory I will have of it will be of your approach and sensitivity.

Please DON’T protect me from my own emotions by hiding your good news. Simply because I will either hear it from someone else and feel angry at you, for assuming I am a weakling. Or I will see your tummy and have to face the fact impromptu, without any mental preparation. Talk about shock…

Generally, please, just show me respect by being honest. Even if it will sting. Because then that will be between me and God to sort out. Nothing to do with you.

2. I have seen my baby die but I am not death

Probably THE MOST hurtful reaction I have ever encountered was a mummy I know visibly pulling her baby (the same age as my Georgie) away from me when we first saw each other after he died.

And yes, I did feel where her reaction was coming from. It was a visceral need to protect her precious baby girl from the idea of death. I do get it. But hey, I am NOT death. I am just a mummy with her heart shred into bits because my baby can’t enjoy a family meal like yours was and I can’t feed him mash like you did yours…

3. Words of comfort

As I said before, death can’t be explained. Please don’t try, unless you are God.

I would like to have my baby here with me, just like you do. It does not bring me any comfort to know he is “with the Lord”, “in a better place”, “not suffering anymore”. Because this shouldn’t have happened in the first place, like it didn’t happen to your kid. Would you like to swap places? I didn’t think so, so please, do cut the…comforting words.

Have a lovely Sunday!

Silent Sunday – 28/09/2014

10716196_10152275335121512_108219745_nSilent-Sunday

Frustration

It has slowly crept in.

Like a dirty, minging dog into the immaculate and impeccable territory of a house-proud home owner.

This feeling of frustration. Of hopelessness. Of despair. Of “I will never amount to anything much.”

For years now I have longed to be of use. To my husband. To God. To society.

I have prayed. I have blogged. I have enquired. I have applied. I have kept my hope. I have fought.

Yet nothing has happened.

For I am still only a stay at home mummy. I am still only an overqualified yet useless substitute teacher. I am still only a dreamer with big dreams of communities changing through the involvement of the church. Dreaming of the reversal of the curse of generational patterns. I am still only a mummy blogger, like so many other thousands in the UK. I am still only a writer who dreams that her words will one day change and soothe and give hope.

I have so many talents. I have such a desire to help and serve and be of use. I have such love for God and for people in need, for people who need a voice.

And yes, for once in my life, I want to scream. I want to shout. And I don’t want to wait anymore.

I want to see that door of opportunity opening. I want to see that miracle, the miracle that I waited patiently and hopefully for with Georgie. I want for once in my life see that what I believe in is actually real. That one can follow one’s dreams and one can live on passion alone and one can be happy knowing that the work they are doing is actually making a difference in someone’s life.

Why?

Why would God put so much beauty and wisdom and love of life  in a baby and then take him away?

Why would He put so much potential in me and yet, never ever quite bring it to fruition and to fulfillment?

I have studied success.

I have studied and applied percepts and have striven for spiritual, blogging and material betterment.

I have realised that in most cases success isn’t based necessarily on an algorithm but, depending on what you believe, and what you choose to call it, it comes as a “stroke of luck”, a “blessing from above”, a whim.

And of course I am not owed anything. Of course not.

But then, why do I have this almost suffocating need to make a difference into this world?

Why can’t I be happy with just being a wee mummy living in her wee cosy home with her wee sweet family and never amount to much more?

frustration

I am it all…

For those who know me in person, I know that you find it strange.

I am sure you asked yourself how come my posts and pictures are so emotionally heavy yet my day-to-day countenance so “normal.”

How come I can joke and be silly and give off about the most banal of things while in the same time I mourn the loss of my precious son.

I do because I am it all:

1. I am the grieving mother who cracks up every single day in the safety of her home and the sacredness of her kitchen and cries until the knot of pain unties, just for that day, just to be able to breathe.

2. I am the angry mother who beeps her horn( I did it on Monday, in my weak defense) and calls you “lazy bum” if you park in the middle of the road at school run times. Because I have no tolerance not patience, nor do I understand why apparently healthy individuals choose to not walk an extra fifty steps.

3. I am the mummy whose heart weeps behind the mandatory smiles when people ask how I am. It weeps like the north wall of a badly built house. Constantly, maybe not visibly to the human eye but always weeping.

4. I am the mummy who orders extra and fancy bits for her daughter’s Bento box. Because I have only one child now and I have every right and feel the need to spoil her.

5. I am the mummy who thinks right ahead of Christmas and Halloween and birthdays and plans ahead. Christmas wreathes to remind us of our missing boy. Computer programs that will create the illusion of a Christmas-attired sweet Georgie. Birthday presents for Emma sent on behalf of a loving little brother.

6. I am the mummy whose heart sinks at the sight of the most trivial of things. The same blue baby blanket. The mums and tots sign across the road. A tiny beetle. The corner of a baby book. A group +1, from 9 months on, baby car seat. A Christmas card featuring a baby bear.

7. I am also the mummy who shout and screams and rants. Sometimes at my family. Sometimes at God. At the same sacred kitchen sink.

8. I am the mummy who doesn’t want to burden you with my pain so I choose not to share the whole of my experience with you. I can’t tell you how lonely or sad or terrified of having another baby I truly am. How the word “death” in the same sentence with the word “child” makes me physically queasy and wanting to run from the room, like I almost did last week, when we had to sort our life and critical illness insurance.

9. How desperately non-innocent I feel. Not bitter. Not street wise. Maybe the right term would be “life wise.” Once you witness unanswered prayer and the death of your precious baby child ALL your innocence and your belief in healing and fairies and happily ever afters dissipate like mist.

10. How tired of living I sometimes feel, having to carry all these burdens on my shoulders at all times, yet function like a “normal” mummy and wife and friend.

 PicMonkey Collage-GeorgieThis is what I have to live with, every single day.

These pictures are my treasures and my comfort and a reminder of what we lost. So, so much, we lost…

Silent Sunday – 21/09/2014

Just call him Jenny :-)

Silent-Sunday

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