Friends and Family

I’m struggling to remember the days properly. I seem to be regaining use of my faculties rather slowly, if i’m honest. When we came home from the hospital, i had literally lost the ability to control my body temperature, through shock or tiredness or 11 days in SCBU and shivered all night unless i was right up against Max. Perhaps it was just hormones, or perhaps it was needing to be sat with a little warm baby body in my arms and the aching loss that goes with not having that.

I’m learning that accepting death has occurred is a very different thing to learning to live with loss. And accepting that other people deal with death and loss in different way and at different speeds is hard too. Hard to do without getting angry, anyway. And understanding how quickly the monumental gaping hole that has been torn in our life can become unimportant to people who ought to care more, is more than hard. It is, honestly, impossible.

I’ve learned very fast this last few weeks who the people who love us most are. I’ve had some shocks too. I’ve got a shelf full of cards, a blog full of comments and an phone full of texts from the people who care. And i’ve also had a houseful of people ready to drop everything to help us without asking anything back from us.

More pressingly, i seem to have lost my memory rather and i’m feeling rather marooned inside snickering flashes of what i can remember – without enough people, or enough instant access to people, who can remind me. Having to remember that sometimes not only i count and the person i most want to unlock them for me is in too much pain to do so. That’s hard too – trying not to ask for help because i’m not the only person who counts. I want to be the only person who counts. But i’m not.

Today, i am hurting from loss. One month from Freddie’s birth, i’m hurting from a body that already knows it isn’t breastfeeding, a body that mocks me if i have a bath because there is no sign left of my baby, a body that is still tired but with no reason to rest. A mind that is stopping me from remembering. A body that gave birth, finally and triumphantly the way i always hoped for, but is shattered by not having a baby to hold. On my birth plan i asked, if my vba3c was successful, to be the first to hold my baby, some skin to skin time and a cup of tea. It wasn’t much – i didn’t remember to ask for a healthy baby. I’m hurting from empty arms, breasts that haven’t fed a baby again,  body that needs to remember not to over-eat, a bed that i can rest in without due care, washing that doesn’t have baby clothes in it, children who are not having to remember to be quiet and gentle.

Josie said sadly, quietly, that she “isn’t a big sister any more.” She is hurting too, as i feared she would every time she kissed my bump goodnight. She carries Freddie Monkey with her everywhere. Max is hurting because i can’t get through a day without crying. I’m hurting because he wants me to.

But this week i have had love and hugs and texts and calls and comments and cards and visits from everyone who needs to matter to me.

On Monday we had an afternoon with Zoe and the girls, which was lovely. Then i took them dancing and after all my careful planning, i forgot that Josie’s ballet teacher had been on honeymoon and of all my children, it was little 5 year old Josie that had to tell a cheerful adult that actually her new brother had died :(

On Tuesday Michelle and Chloe came and we met up with Zoe and co at Burghley House for a day together. I wasn’t in a good place that day, but they carried me through and let me be – that is friendship.

On Wednesday we were surrounded by people from Freddie’s world, who came to be our friends outside what was asked of them. The girls had my mum, and Little Flower and Auntie Sue – and that was what they needed. In the distance, from a distance, our friends and my sister held us up, hugged us and sympathised as the day unfolded in ways we had and hadn’t quite expected.

On Thursday we had The Portico for a flying visit, more hugs, more tears, more talking, more love from people who put us first. And a lovely parcel that made me cry and proved again that good can come out of the worst of things – and that friendship is not to be thrown away lightly. I’m so glad of that consequence.

On Friday i had my little heart shaped lump cut off my hand – i’m expecting it to scar as a perfect F shape or something ;)

Kate looked after the girls and we had a chance to chat, before she went on to do brilliant things with them that made them all happy (and probably consider putting in for a mummy transfer!) Kate and i who are now so shockingly thrown into reverse – the unspoken belief between that one day she would have to bury her child while i, the lucky one, would have all of mine. And now suddenly it turns out that while her role for us was to live a life that would show me my future and give me courage to make it otherwise, my place in hers is probably going to be to put my arms around her and say “i know how this hurts, i will lead you. I will help you.” How life alters.  And how much i admire her, knowing even more than i always have, how brave she is.

On Saturday Max’s dad came and brought us pieces of pig. See? People need family :lol: My brother, far too faraway in Oz, phoned me and let me rant at him about how angry i am at the way life has kicked us all.

Last night i dreamt that a plane crashed on the village i grew up in on to my birth family, and another in front of me and i ignored the village and climbed into the wreckage in front of me and stole a living baby from the arms of an injured woman who wasn’t dead. I wrapped her in the blue blanket that i knitted for Freddie, fearing secretly but not knowing that it was the blanket i would use only to wrap in in until he died. I don’t know whether to be more angry that i’m mad enough to dream of stealing babies or that my dreams would let me replace him.

Today i have mostly cried. Tears that just well up from nowhere and go away just as fast. Tears that don’t even have the sound of sobbing to accompany them any more.

(Edit: I added this to the babyloss letters category later on. It isn’t a letter but I wrote it one month from Freddie’s birth and have kept that date as a time to write later letters. They help me to see where I’ve been and how far I’ve come.)

Comments

  1. says

    just hugs for you again. inadequate but I am reading, I am hearing you. Keep going, keep on writing, keep on writing, keep on grieving. Why? Unanswerable really… but hang in there… so sorry you and Max are (inadvertantly) making each other hurt… This too will pass I suppose xxx

  2. Kirsty says

    You dont know me, but Ive been following your blog….
    I just wanted to say something… but I cant think of the right things to say to you.

    I want to hug you and help dry your tears. You are a fantastically strong person, and I think about you a lot – you and your family. And your gorgeous Freddie who is up playing in the stars. Far too precious to stay, and has left an enormous amount of lovely people.

    Im glad you have such an amazing network of people to help you through. I havent lost a child, but weve lost our nephew just a week after he was born. I know how much that has hurt me. I cant even begin to comprehend how you must be feeling. A mother without a gorgeous little boy to cuddle.

    Thank you for your post of the days between his birth and his going to sleep. It has helped me understand my sister a lot. It has made me upset also, but no where near what you and Max and your darling girls are going through.

    Much much love, and hugs, and I hope you dont mind me posting this… Im not sure if I put across what I wanted to say well enough. I hope I have.

    Kirsty x

  3. Michaela says

    I don’t know you well enough to know what to say that would help, if indeed there is anything, other than that I’m still thinking of all of you. Poor Josie. Hugs to you all x

  4. says

    The disorientation (re: memory) is very normal. It often takes time for our minds to sync with a traumatic event. I know how bewildering that can be, I am sorry. Keep writing, keep crying, just let the words and tears flow. It is healing.

    Many trans-atlantic, ethernet {hugs} to you and Max and the girls. Funny place, the internet — I wish I’d had something similar, all those years ago.

  5. Carol says

    I dont have the right words to say. Only love, hugs and sympathy. Thinking of you xxxx

  6. Lindsey says

    Oh Merry. In all of your posts you always consider the feelings of the other members of your family, as if you put them before your own, but you bonded to Freddie before he entered this world. You carried him inside you, you felt him move around and you loved him. It will take you longer to deal with his death than others because you were closer to him. You knew Freddie for months, not weeks, and your body is still dealing with the physical effects as well as the emotional. Dont be angry over a dream, it is just a way that your subconscious is trying to make sense of things. Once upon a time I used to dream of stealing babies too, but they are just dreams. Freddie lives in your memories as my lost babe lives in mine. xxx

  7. Joanna says

    I keep thinking I want to leave my girls with their Daddy for the weekend and come and visit, and then I think that I wouldn’t be able to do much good, esp as I don’t know the girls all that well, but I will if it might help. Just know that I am always thinking about you all. Poor Josie indeed – knowing how much that would hurt Isabelle if it were her. A million more hugs for you all xxx

  8. Jenny says

    I wish there was something I could do or say but youve said comments help so Im leaving one. I guess then I will say what I feel.
    I wish I was there for you in some way. You were for me without even realising it.When I considered home educating when my children and I were desperate and so unhappy your blog was one of those I read and the most persuasive! So really, you were “there” for me and I so wish I was there for you.
    You are all constantly in my thoughts and prayers. He was so precious, so wanted, so welcome and gone too soon. Freddie has touched so many people and because youve blogged about him probably people you are yet to ‘meet’
    I hope one day I will have the priviledge of meeting you and your wonderful girls.
    Lots and lots of love and please, be kind to yourselves and just ‘be’

    Jen xxx

  9. Shoshana says

    I’ve thought about you a lot and wondered how you were.
    (((hugs))) to all of you. x

  10. Ruth says

    I’m still here reading, still crying every time I read, still wishing I had something adequate to say ((love to you all)) xx

  11. says

    You are allowed to miss your baby. You are allowed to grieve for what happened and what might have been and you are allowed to take as long as you want to.

    My mother lost a baby when I was only four and I remember it. I remember being so angry at the hospital when I arrived with my Granny and crying hot, angry tears because I thought I had come to take my baby and mummy home. I totally blamed my mother, and made sure she knew it. She was amazing. She just loved me more.

    That was 28 years ago, and still, when it is mentioned from time to time, my mother clouds over. BUT the amazing thing is, when she talks about it to other women, most have personal experience, either they have lost a baby themselves, or a know a family member or a close friend who has. It is such a taboo thing to talk about, and I don’t know why.

    I don’t know if knowing this helps you. I just wanted to let you know that life, no matter how short, is remembered by those that loved that little person.

  12. Allie says

    Merry,
    Though weve never met IRL I think Ive been reading your blog for six years or more. Reading everything. Thinking of you every day. Nothing more I can say. x

  13. says

    Merry, one month is so hard, so very very hard. The physical symptoms, being cold, achey arms, are all very normal. And losing track of time, oh yes! I’ve only recently realised it isn’t still last July, and I still get confused, miss important dates for family and friends…
    Keep writing if it helps, I’m here along with so many others just being with you.
    I wonder if you’ve found Glow yet? http://www.glowinthewoods.com/ This site has saved me so many times, from the articles to the forums.
    Still sending you love. x

  14. says

    Me again, but this article in particular may helphttp://www.glowinthewoods.com/home/2009/11/13/one-day-at-suppertime.html hope it’s not too soon for you. x

  15. Nigel says

    I’ve been away from the ‘virtual’ world for a while but you and your family have always been in my thoughts. I echo what others have said; keep writing and let the tears flow. The memory thing sounds so familiar but its being kind to you and just giving you what you can cope with at the moment. When I look back at the early days / weeks its a total blur and it amazes me how we all get through these things. I’m so pleased for you that you feel well supported and cared for…wishing there was something I could do !! Lots of love and hugs to you all xx

  16. says

    Jeanette, that is a good site – and a good article. Thank you. And i know it to be true because i have already walked this path, secretly, once before. Oh how it hurts. It even hurts to know that one day it will feel less awful. It already feels less awful because i know that one day it will not make me sob. And that hurts more. God, what a self eating snake of a circle that is.

    I’m reading all these comments, every single one. I want to answer all these kind and thoughtful writings and outpourings of other peoples grief and pain and repair. I really do. I just can’t quite do it. But i’m thinking about them all and truly grateful.

  17. says

    many years ago my friend marie lost her daughter sarah aged 5 after complications following heart surgery i felt i lost a child too because we saw them almost every day sarah also died on my daughters 4 th birthday which was hard for everybody . one lovely girl gone and another left bewildered because her little pal was no longer there to celebrate with herand her family.many times we just sat and talked and talked about sarah cried and cried about how unfair it was and marie was angry too .now 19 years later we talk about sarah and sometimes shed a tear but we never forget . iknow freddie was only here a short time but we have been priveleged to know all about him and see him through your pictures and we are angry too on your behalf that he could not stay .keep talking its ok to cry and mourn your little son its okay to be angry too .some day in the future you will cope better you wont forget him and neither will we .hugs to you all just take it one day at a time .lots of love anne and family

  18. Greer says

    All these comments make sense. Bits that leap out at me is that your brain is just trying make sense of something in your dreams…. It’s OK to be angry… It’s OK to cry and it’s OK not to…. that it’s OK to feel responsible and it’s OK to want to be the most important person as well as feeling like you need to look after everyone else.
    Just lots of everything makes sense in reflection of something that makes no sense at all whatsoever.
    I personally think that being in whatever company makes you feel OK to be whatever you need to be at the time you need to be it… is the most important, vital thing. Keep talking to ppl you feel you can talk to xx

  19. Amanda says

    Merry, imho dreams are about making sense, trying to put things in order. Grief is not one emotion but many mixed up together in different degrees. You need to be kind to yourself, give yourself permission just to be.

    xx

  20. Nic says

    Thinking of you lots, sending love, ready to visit you / have you visit us as soon as you want / need. xxx

  21. Lou, Joe and girls says

    Oh Merry what a beautiful, poetic and heart-wrenching piece – you must all be going through such turmoil, and every day, week and month must seem like a poignant reminder of what you’ve lost. We think of you every day, and do let us know if there’s anything we can do, or if you fancy getting away from it all and having a few days in Sunny Devon. Lots of love to you all, Lou, Joe and girls xxxxxxx

  22. HelenHaricot says

    always thinking of you and with lots of love, even when no phone reception. happy , always, to share my memories of freddie. xx

  23. Emily O says

    Hello I’ve just discovered your blog and have been reading about your family and the desperately sad loss of your son Freddie. I can’t imagine what life must be like for you at this moment. I’m not really sure what else to say other than you write so well and eloquently about things which are so painful.

  24. says

    Our experiences have been different, though I too lost the most precious baby boy in 2005. I found doing a montage of our memories of him really helped me though I only felt up to this maybe a year and a half after we lost him. Please feel free if ever you feel you would like to, and pop over to my blog to have a look. In my blog search box put his name in Joshua and all posts relating to him shall come up. Infact loosing him was probably the main reason I blogged as a kind of release to help me with my pain.

    Thinking of you very much

    Mary Xx

  25. says

    Still wanting you to know that you remain in my thoughts and prayers. The memories will come ~ give yourself time. ((hugs)) Cxx

  26. Julie says

    *sobs* You write so beautifully and have made me cry reading most of your recent posts. You’ve been through so much with Freddie and I can’t even begin to imagine what it must be like to lose a baby. I don’t know what else to say except to let you know that my thoughts and prayers are with you all xx