Day 15. WAVE OF LIGHT
On the 15th of October at 7pm we lit a candle for all the babies gone too soon.
Day 16. FULL MOON RETREAT
Today was about taking some time for myself, to concentrate on my breathing, to meditate, to watch the full moon rise. Life with a four month old does not often allow for such luxuries. J keeps me so busy. It’s a difficult balance at times, I love being with her, I love having less time to dwell on things but I know that it’s important to take care of my own mental health too. I’ve tried to do some meditative breathing while she sleeps on me but I missed taking a photo of the full moon tonight!
Day 17. SACRED SPACE
We are so lucky to have such a beautiful place to remember Lentil. After he died we spent some time doing a tour of the local burial grounds. They were some of the worst and hardest days of my life. I’d recently given birth, I should be at home, snuggled with my newborn son and instead I was desperately trying to choose an appropriate final resting place for my boy. Paul and I stood in graveyards and cried at the unfairness of it all. I’m so glad now that we took the time to choose the right place even though it was so painful at the time. We chose a natural burial ground, I’m not a big fan of gravestones and wanted to feel that Lentil was at one with nature. I love seeing how the area changes through the seasons. There are molehills and rabbit droppings everywhere. Birds sing, butterflies dance and squirrels run through the trees. It’s just a magical place to feel close to our boy.
Day 18. HEALING THERAPIES
I can’t really say that I’ve discovered any ‘healing therapies’ that have helped me. I didn’t find counselling very helpful, I think it was the wrong kind of counselling and the wrong counsellor for me. I have found talking and writing about my experiences to be the best therapy. Keeping things bottled up is so dangerous. The pain, hurt, anger, worry, guilt it just eats you up inside. It breaks you down and leaves you so broken and vulnerable. It’s so important to let these feelings out. Writing them down, even if no one reads what you’ve written is so helpful. I would have found surviving loss and being pregnant after loss so much harder without having my blog as an outlet. Hearing from other families who have lost babies and knowing that they not only survived but they found happiness again. It’s so important to break the taboos, to talk about your feelings and to tell someone, anyone when you’re not okay and you need help.
Day 19. GRIEF RITUALS
It has been just over 16 months since Lentil died and we’ve certainly done things to mark his loss. I’m not sure that they can be called rituals yet but they are things that I intend to continue.
I fully intend to mark Lentil’s birthday each year in some way. It’s made a little more complex as J’s birthday is the day before Lentil’s birthday but we will do something. Marking his first birthday was hard as I was in hospital having just given birth to his little sister! We still managed to have a birthday cake in hospital though. My parents, my sister and her partner visited the burial ground where Lentil is buried. They took flowers and a birthday card, my dad read a poem I had written. Next year we will be able to celebrate more, hopefully we can take a picnic to the burial ground or at least take a birthday cake there to share. It will be complicated by the fact that I will have just gone back to work but thankfully it’s the summer and evenings are light. I think that Lentil’s birthday will always be hard and will always need to be marked in some way.
Christmas is also a tricky time because there will always be a little boy missing from our celebrations. Last year we made a wreath and took it to Lentil, we intend to do the same this year. We also have some Christmas decorations with Lentil’s handprint on. Lots of close family members have these decorations and it’s lovely to think that he is remembered at Christmas in more houses than our own.
In order to keep Lentil’s memory alive and to increase his positive impact on the world I like to mark special occasions with acts of kindness in his name. For his birthday we donated toys to the children’s ward at our local hospital. We haven’t decided what to do to mark Christmas yet, possibly an extra donation to the food bank or some gifts for children in need.
Day 20. GRATITUDE
Not long after Lentil died I wrote a blog post about all of the things I felt grateful for. I know that some people found this to be an odd move but I did feel grateful for lots of things and I think acknowledging them helped me to see all of the good things in my life more clearly. When something really awful happens it can be so hard to continue to see good. Sometimes everything seems so dark and a tiny glimmer of light can be easy to miss. If you gather all of those little glimmers together it’s so much easier to see. You can begin to see through the darkness that envelops you. I have so much to be grateful for, my completely amazing family and friends. The patience, understanding and emotional intelligence of my husband. My incredible daughter, my sunshine, she brings me so much joy. I am a really lucky person and I have so much that is good in my life. There’s no doubting that a life in which I had both of my children would be better but I mustn’t lose sight of all the good things.
I think that writing my blog has improved many of my relationships. I’m quite a shy person and I can be guilty of keeping my feelings in. I felt the need to unload my feelings but I was wary of overburdening people. I felt that writing a blog allowed me to share my feelings without forcing anyone to listen but I’ve been so overwhelmed by the number of people who want to listen and to help in any way they can. My blog can get through the walls I’ve built up and allow others in. I’ve realised just how amazing and supportive my friends are, I’ve made new friends, I’ve become more open and allowed myself to be more vulnerable. I genuinely believe that losing Lentil made my husband and I closer but I think that being able to keep him would have had the same effect. Going through any major change in your life with someone is always likely to make that partnership either stronger or weaker and it certainly has for me, strengthening so many relationships but weakening a few along the way too.