As mentioned last week, Thursday 17 July was Lily’s due date. Weeks ago we decided to take this day off work and celebrate her life and the precious time we spent with her. It was an emotional but very special day which I’ll talk more about in a later blog post.
Those who have seen me recently know how exhausted I am. I am completely drained and my emotions feel like they’re balancing on a knife edge – the slightest thing can put me in tears. I’ve had to protect myself by keeping my guard up, and some days needed to keep to myself, but have found this near impossible with work and our normal social outings.
As Lily’s due date has drawn closer, I have felt like a constantly inflating balloon, increasingly on the verge of popping at the slightest poke or prod. A couple of weeks ago, out of nowhere, I popped on the phone to my energy company whilst trying to sort out our electricity bill that they can never get right. This call was the catalyst for all sorts of emotions to come flooding out:
These are not the emotions I should have been feeling at this point in my pregnancy, if Lily had gone full-term. I should have been feeling:
While I have lost grandparents and friends, this pain is like nothing I have ever felt before. After nearly 4 months without Lily I finally said to Pete last night:
“Why me? Why us? It’s not fair!”
We often have to guide people on how to interact with us: reassuring them that it’s OK to talk about Lily, but equally that we don’t have to talk about her all the time. The easier path is to not be as open as we have been, to keep our story behind closed doors, but this would be a disservice to Lily. In this last week I have woken up wishing I could just have one normal day. One day where I am not a mother who lost her baby. One day where we are not the couple whose daughter passed away too soon. One day where people don’t have to think twice before they choose their words carefully in fear they may upset us.
Part of me wishes people could understand what it is like for us. However, in order to truly understand, you would have to experience the loss of a child and this is something I would not wish on anyone.
I know that people in similar situations to us will relate to this. I hope that if another couple reads my blog, and is in a situation like ours, that they know they are not alone.
In these moments, I also feel extremely grateful.
I am grateful that I have Pete as my husband. He is the one who guides me through each day and pulls me up when I’m down, whether it’s kicking me out of bed and telling me to get to work or crying with me at some of our most difficult moments.
I am grateful for my friends and family. If you’re reading this you know how much I love you and how blessed I am to have you in my life. To have friends that look you in the eye and ask how you are, then ask you again, seeking for the answer in your eyes. The ones who cry with you, the ones who are not afraid to spend time with you, rain, hail or shine and the ones who make you laugh until it hurts and leave you with a huge smile on your face. You are all very special to me.
I am grateful for my place of work and my colleagues who just “know” whether I am OK or not. As educators they are compassionate and understanding and I can’t imagine getting up and going to work anywhere else. They are the ones who have got me through the last 3 months of work. A pat on the back, a kiss on the cheek, chocolate, cups of teas and coffee. Days where they help you through the tears, chat if you need to or leave you alone to get on with your work, and understand completely if you arrive late or need to leave early.
I am grateful for every member of staff we meet at the Royal Women’s Hospital, who always take the time out of their busy schedules to ask how we are and always put us in a more positive frame of mind. Words do not do justice to the level of care and compassion we continually receive from them.
While these past couple of weeks have been difficult I have also felt a huge amount of love with calls and messages of support, flowers from lovely friends and a truly amazing gourmet food hamper from my younger brother Scott. His gift was so unexpected, and he will forever be Lily’s Uncle Scotty.
This week something extra special also happened. A beautiful public bench seat and commemorative plaque, purchased by our wonderful friends and family, was erected on the Ironman Melbourne run course at the Brighton beachfront in memory of Lily. It will be cherished by us, and many others for the rest of our lives.
I dedicate this blog post to all the mothers and fathers who are grieving the loss of their child. If you find yourself alone, find those ones in your life who care for you and will stand by your side through thick and thin. Cry with those who you love because the loss is felt by all.
Next Friday my Mum and Dad arrive from New Zealand, and I will be taking 2 weeks off work to spend time with them. I cannot wait for them to arrive, so we can sit on Lily’s bench and enjoy the gourmet hamper bought by Scott.