Baby loss awareness week has made me feel very reflective. I have been thinking a lot of Eilys and about other babies who have died, I have been thinking about how parents navigate grief and how the wider family and friends cope too. Sometimes I feel like that Eilys’ death hasn’t changed me, that I am the same person that I was when I had her but I am not. She altered me. She changed everything. This is a blog post about the things I wish I had known just after she died…
You are going to be ok. It may not feel like it now but you will be ok. The rawness of the pain and grief will get easier. It won’t go away but you will find ways to function around it. It will still be there all the time but it will be more in the background and less acute. In the few days and weeks after Eilys died you will feel as if every day is heavy, like wading through custard. It will be exhausting to just exist. The sadness will feel as if it is dragging on you all the time, pulling at you, stopping you from moving forwards. Time will feel like it is slower but faster all at the same time. Keeping busy helps. Monotonous tasks will help.
However you deal with the grief is the right way. There is no right or wrong way to grieve. There is no normal. It isn’t a straight one way path either. Grief ebbs and flows, it comes and goes, it appears when you aren’t expecting it and it can be triggered by things that you haven’t thought about. Sometimes you will feel as if all you are is sad but other times you’ll feel like you aren’t sad enough or you haven’t cried enough or all you do is cry but grief and love aren’t measured in tears shed. However you feel is normal but keep people around you that can help dig you out if you get too lost in it.
Feeling happier or lighter or smiling and laughing doesn’t mean that you have forgotten her and you shouldn’t feel guilty about it. The first time that you feel genuinely happy after someone dies can make you feel awful, like you have moved on. But it doesn’t mean that at all. It just means that another emotion has got through. It doesn’t mean that you love Eilys any less. In fact as time moves on it just means that you are better able to deal with the grief, a bit like if there was a hole in the pavement after you’ve fallen in it a few times then you know it’s there and you are better at avoiding it. Take the good days when they come and then the bad days are easier to ride out… in theory.
My biggest advice to myself would be keep talking with people. Keep Joe in the loop about how you are feeling, make sure you ask him how he is feeling. By being there for each other and supporting each other it ultimately will help you both in the grief. Talk to anyone that you feel comfortable talking too. Write things down if you can’t say them out loud.
Thanks for reading