Gemma sent me a lovely email a few days ago, asking me to share her Right Where I Am post. I am always incredibly grateful for emails and connections and to share stories about this experience. Gemma lost her son Isaac to a cord around his neck. As she shares, "It's been a hard and lonely road, I must say." Hopefully, this experience will help ease that loneliness. I know it does for me.
I had no idea where I was until I sat down and started to write; my son should be approaching his year birthday and instead he is still gone.
I’m not in a very good place at the moment – I have lived through the last year getting through; I keep thinking to myself – I’ll just make it to the funeral and it will get easier, I’ll make it through to the post mortem results, and Christmas, and new year and my birthday and now the next event to live through is next month – the date I found out Isaac had died; literally my life changed forever. At the moment I am questioning the relationship parents have with their children – it takes up lots of my energy wondering about how much is written, how much is an unbreakable bond.
I try not to focus on the bad and instead look at the good things I do have; I have tried to embrace the spiritual side of life because it means there is a chance that Isaac is still with me in some part, it means the feathers I see are really little signs from him , each day I work on my positive thinking, and I try to be a better person. For example my father told me yesterday to be good to my husband as if anyone loved me more than he did it was my husband – and he really is my rock; I have a lovely family and some really cracking friends – the sort I can really rely on and hope will still listen to me in years to come when I am still grief stricken; and I have my horse who is my delight – I am immensely proud of him as I bred him myself, when I am with him the pain is dampened for a while – it never goes away but it lifts the fog for a time. This is important to me – it fits in with everyone’s wise advise of “Just stop trying/worrying about it and you will get pregnant again” well-meaning people who have never had a child die inside of them and have no experience in what that would mean – how forgetting about it would simply be impossible. However I am working hard to attract positive things to my life, its taking more work than I had hoped to think about good things, I’m finding it very tiring but I know it’s what I need to do. My life hasn’t changed too dramatically which means I have attracted the right sort of friend into my life – that’s a positive a massive positive and one I am grateful for each day. In hindsight those who have been the best for me have been friends I haven’t been as good to as I should have – I hope to make this up to them when I’m feeling more together.
I am finding the stages of arrive as and when they feel like it and at the moment I’m sitting next to anger, sadness and despair – they are like a dealer I guess always hiding and waiting to rear their head when I am feeling weak, they visit me often these days and it makes me sad to see them but yet I welcome them in like an old friend calling, I know for me these emotions are all linked to the fact I have been unable to get pregnant again; have discovered un expected fertility issues and these weigh heavily on my mind. Isaac was a miracle baby, he was my personal miracle – its having loved and carried him that picks me up and makes me smile – I did that; I made a perfect little man and yet each day that goes by that I don’t get pregnant I am a day further away from being a mother with a living child.
Much of the time my grief for Isaac is tied into my sadness about not being a mother to a living child, I know that I would cope better if I was pregnant – not that it would replace him but I miss hope – I wish she would visit me again.
I can put on my outfit and get by most of the time, I don’t like to look in the mirror since he died – when I catch a glimpse of myself I feel like I’m looking at a stranger – I just look normal and this always amazes me; to all intents and purposes I can pass 99% of the time for a normal person following my daily routine – no one would know that my child died unless they asked; and they should know, because Isaac – well Isaac was everything to us. I feel quite out of place amongst smiling happy people.
I am a survivor – I have always been one of these people that breezed through life, oh yes I had some disasters along the way but they never really stuck; I was convinced therefore that I would survive this – I would do this the right way – I embraced all the stages of grief and I have grieved openly and fully; it has since come as a shock to me that I’m still struggling – this wasn’t part of the plan and then I’m angry again. I want to grab grief and shake her (grief must be a woman; she is simply too clever and manipulative to be a man) and tell her “look lady, I’ve done everything that was expected of me – I took time off, I read books on grief, I sought support from other baby loss mothers, I’ve publically grieved, I am not afraid to cry or mourn; I accepted that my son has gone and won’t be coming back and I accepted it wasn’t anyone’s fault – not even mine. So cut me some slack and let me get on and heal” but she just waves the caveat that grief has no rules and can raise her head at any time and opens the door to let anger, and sadness and despair in again.
As I mentioned before I am currently fascinated with my relationship with my father who left us when I was very little; I’ve never minded too much about this and I have a wonderful step Dad who I just think of as my Dad; and I never blamed him for not calling as often as he should – I just seemed to accept him for who he was – oh yes my relationship with my father has been a tad tempestuous at times – and yet he has been so insightful since Isaac died – saying to me only yesterday to stop trying so damn hard to be better and that “Only I could imagine that I could get through my grief in Guinness book of records time” and “I spout the right things but I need to believe in them” and I wonder how he knows exactly what I’m feeling even when I pretend to myself ? I wonder if Isaac and I would have had that, or Isaac and his Daddy perhaps?
I wonder about the kind of mother I would have been had I had the chance; I look at my husband and I know that he would have been a wonderful father – a little too soft and easily wrapped around the finger with cute eyes but it would have been the making of him – it has been. I wonder if I would be been short tempered after a million “why” questions and know that next time I will be a better mother because I know what it is like to lose the chance.
Now I just want the chance again