When i first found out i was expecting Freddie, i had just begun a course of study that centred, somewhat unusually for me, on trees. I was enjoying it very much and feeling very at peace with a new way of thinking about the world and my place in it. Then i had some bleeding which was frightening and lost what was probably a twin baby. That was… odd… i wasn’t able to feel sorry that had happened really but it started a trail of anxiety about the remaining baby which i never managed to shift away, a feeling which was probably -Â retrospectively- a very accurate anxiety.
During the time i was bleeding, i lay in the garden for days at a time reading the course materials and working on some of the ideas. At the same time i was learning some relaxation techniques and an idea came to me of a place to be, a clearing with tall trees and a beach that was just on the edge of vision, with the sound of the sea easy to hear in the distance. It came back to me before and during Freddie’s birth, partly due to a cd i listened to which encouraged me to imagine a beach and find relaxation there. But somehow, after the bleeding stopped, some form of inhibition presented itself and i wasn’t able to look at the course materials. I had a bizarre feeling that i didn’t want to risk the bleeding starting again and anything i had looked at during that might cause it to re-occur.
I thought a lot about the sense of peace and comfort that those ideas had given me while we were in the medicalised and stressful environment that a SCBU unit inevitably is and vowed to come back to it as quickly as possible. One part of the course has ideas for growing trees in a place of special peace which i dismissed as not being possible in my legoland house with its larger than average for legoland, but not huge, garden.
And then we came home, babyless, and all the comforts of home seemed rather hollow without him to show it to and share it with. It was hard to know where to start, hard to imagine home being home, this place where now 3 times i have carried and then lost a baby of one size or another. The girls and their nearly auntie weeded the garden for us and the outdoors suddenly seemed like somewhere it might be nice to be in and reflect again, just as i did in those strange and intense days when i wondered if nine months of trying to be pregnant was going to stay with me.
Funny how sometimes thought, need and deed will just synchronise. Yesterday i could hardly bear to get up and sobbed into my pillow long after i should have been upright. Then the doorbell rang and the children began to exclaim about a tree and sure enough, there was a tree – the second beautiful tree to be given to us in memory of Freddie. And then another beautiful plant arrived, from people we love but just don’t see nearly often enough. I ‘m so touched to be in the thoughts of all these people and so awed that they’ve sent things that will grow and enrich our life and remind us of the simple, if rather bitter sweet, joy of being here. The absolute rightness of the gifts, the full circle nature of gifts of trees to mark the end of a period of time which began with me thinking and hoping for the gift of life to endure.
Today i was bent almost double with the pain of realising i had just said “Freddie was…” – this awful grief which just keeps hitting me in my ribs as if i’ve been winded. And at that moment i found a parcel for me which was from another group of friends; a truly lovely engraved memorial stake and a voucher to buy another plant or tree.
I only wish i could even begin to craft the words to say how grateful i am, how much it helps. I can’t. I can’t do it justice. My friends have given me memories and something tangible to remember Freddie by, that not even the time with him was able to do. I am just so grateful; either cleverly or unwittingly, my friends have drawn the two ends of the story into a circle and bound it into a whole.