I follow a blog called 'glow in the woods' and today some of the writers words really struck me as so powerful and this one particular part seemed so appropriate:
"But here's the thing about family, be they the family you call your own by blood or the family that chooses you and that you choose in return, when others run away, they might just stay. If you're lucky. When others are silent, they might continue talking. When I was walking around like an open sore. When there were no right words because the only words I wanted to hear were something along the lines of, "oh this has all been some major administrative error and obviously should never have occurred. Our apologies and please do reclaim your daughter. Just fill in this form." When they had to talk on a subject that was painful and uncomfortable to them for hours and hours because I would not countenance anything else? Well it's inevitable that somebody's feelings are going to get hurt. It's hard to talk about grief and death at length, especially with someone who is as easily jabbed as I am.
I found this quote on the internet a while ago, my sources tell me it's a Swedish proverb. These words remind me of my family.
'Love me when I least deserve it because that is when I really need it.'
So often we overlook our family and the friends who are closest to us as being there and take this as an expectation that it is simply the duty they will do. They are there. They exist. They listen. They speak. They take on board every bit of pain and suffering that you pass on and they make it their own. My family and close friends were there right from the moment we told them 'the news'.
My wonderful husband was a tower of strength. He was so calm and collected and held me up. He took care of the kids, the housework, the calls, the awkward explanations, and he held me whenever I needed it and shit there were some times I needed it. I remember when we were at the hospital and I was walking down the hall to get the amnio done, I nearly collapsed simply from sadness, anger, heartbreak and disbelief and he held me up, held me close and told me he loved me. He would stare at me and not know how to solve what was happening. He was hurting and yet had to carry on also. He didn't break down like I did, he was able to keep his emotions much more together.
My goodness, my mum was so strong, so very strong and she held it together every time we spoke, every time I fell down she picked me up. She did not judge, she did not tell me what to do or how to feel, she was there and she loved me and spent time with my family, supporting in anyway she knew how.
My sister in law, she stepped in and asked questions without crossing the line and she made Grace a person in our lives. She brought treasured items that will remain both with Grace and with us. She made sure that I was 'getting through' and she was there. I felt at peace with her around and no pressure.
My best friend of many years, she was there. She helped with arrangements that I just couldn't bring myself to do but knew they needed doing and they involved facing the general public. She met Grace, she held Grace and she looked at her with normality and no amount of 'fear'. She respected me and what I needed. She listened to me talk about Grace and she gave beautiful treasures to both Grace and us. She printed photos for me and I felt safe with her and comfortable.
Other family members were there also. They sent messages, flowers and offers of help. They themselves were helpless and didn't know how to help or what to say. My father found it hard to face me. He agonised over what to say and what 'not' to say. On the day of the farewell, I remember him clearly standing by Grace's pink coffin as we said farewell to everyone. He placed his hand on the coffin and choked back tears. My brother wasn't sure how to act around me. One of my sisters helped out alot and took care of my two 'other' children. She couldn't speak to me, but she was supporting me in many ways even though she felt helpless. She was fearful of holding Grace, but she did and she found this heartbreaking. But she was strong and she did it. My youngest sister blocked everything out, it was just too unbearable. My mother in law and father in law took the kids a few times, did baking for us and said they really didn't know what to say but they wanted to help. My sister in law on my husbands side, sent so many text messages filled with love.
There were countless acts of kindness and people offering to help. Family watched over the kids while the ceremony was on. They prepared food and were simply here. There were emails filled with words of support and love, poems, quotes, flowers and food. I lost friends and I gained new friends.
I found out what it feels like to feel like everyone is staring at you and nobody knows how to talk to you. I hated it when I heard the words "it just wasn't meant to be"...why f****** not I wanted to scream at them but instead I smiled, a pretend fake smile that I got good at doing. I was good at putting on a brave face in front of people, appearing calm and 'ok'. Yet inside I was living in hell, a black hole that I didn't know or want to get out of. I felt like I would vomit when I heard of an abuse case. I couldn't face people who were pregnant. I screamed silently on the inside when I heard a newborn crying. I was broken and aching and empty. All I wanted was my baby back and for everything to be fine. I realised that when people say "its more important for the baby to be healthy than what sex it is", that is so very true. I hated my life. I hid behind my bedroom door or in the shower, and I cried and grieved held my stomach while I still had Grace there, safe and with me and then when she was gone I felt alone, angry, guilty and sad, so very very sad. I felt like I couldn't face the world and that time was ticking away super slowly. I went over and over when I must have caught the virus and then when I figured it out I was angry at myself for not taking more precautions against illness and not being vigilant enough with hygiene. I lived in a different world for some time and wondered how people said it would get easier.
As time has moved on, I realised that I had to be part of it weather I wanted to be or not. I watched my boys playing and knowing that they needed their mummy. I watched my husband and knew he too needed me. I found strength from the love and support from all my friends and family around me. Each day slowly step by step, I took it as it came, I rode the waves of grief and some days I struggled and some days it did get easier. Life will never ever be the same. I will never ever be the same. I am changed. I am a mum to two boys and one girl. I have an invisible scar, at first it was angry and red raw and now with time and some help the scar is smoothing out but will forever remain. I lost my daughter and I hate that part of my life. I am angry it had to happen to us but also know this has happened to so many families who also would have been wonderful parents. I know now that life has a strong force and life is beyond our control much of the time. Nature is powerful and nature can be cruel. Life can be gone in an instant and life is precious. Life is to be lived and remembered.
I love my baby girl Grace Mary-Kay and I forever will love her. I will forever carry her memory close to my heart and forever have a part of me that is missing, a part of our family that is missing. I hope she is happy and knows how much she is loved.