Grief is a very peculiar animal.
You can go for seemingly endless time periods without it overwhelming you and then it hits you, violently, like a tidal wave.
I lost my daughters eleven years ago and there are times I suddenly feel like I have been lifted off my feet by the strength of my despair at their loss and thrown against a wall.
The garden where they both sleep has a rock at the head of it, no more than a couple of feet high. It has a smooth surface and it are the words: ‘For All Our Babies, So Deeply Loved, So Briefly Known’.
There are times when I think about that and it hurts. It hurts so much, I lose my breath. I lose my grip on the world I now inhabit that has gone on without them and I fall. Down, down, down.
I just want them with me and the shock is that they cannot ever be and there was no real reason behind why.
The naïve believe that “everything happens for a reason”. It does not. If that were true, my daughters would still be here, they would have started high school this year.
No, life/fate/ some magic sky pixie do not control how things are. Life just happens at random and there aren’t always explanations. The trick is, to get through each wave of horror and make the best of it.
It’s also not helpful to think “there’s always someone worse off”. That’s them and their problems that they have to get through – this is you and your distress and your worries. There is no point in comparison. That person has no idea on what it is like to be you or have had your experiences.
It’s okay to sit there and think “I’ve been through so much!” and it’s okay to feel sorry for yourself. There is no need for guilt or accuse yourself of indulging in anything bad. Sometimes you must recognise the pain you have gone through and still feel.
That is why I don’t give a damn about other people’s opinions when it comes to my grief. I will mourn my daughters until the end of time and then after that. I will never stop aching for them both. I will never stop needing them. I will never stop loving them.
I have no interest as to whether that is okay with you or not.
As for the most recent trigger that prompted this post, it is infant loss awareness month. In some countries it is June, others, it is October. Either way, anything that helps raise awareness of stillbirth, neonatal death, SIDS and miscarriage is find by me.
15 babies a day die shortly before, during or after birth. Miscarriage can affect as many as 1 in 4 women and is more common than you think. Yet where is the dialogue? The common place attitude or learning, talking about and understanding the frequency of these tragedies should deliver.
If you would like to show your support for the countless families this month is about, then join in on the Wave of Light, Sands (Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Society) has this advice: To join the global ‘Wave of Light’, simply light a candle at 7pm local time on 15 October and leave it burning for at least one hour. This can be done individually or in a group, at home or in a communal space. Wherever you do this, you will be joining a global ‘Wave of Light’ in memory of all the babies who lit up our lives for such a short time.