First things first.
I’d like to thank you all sincerely for reading thus far. I know it has not been an easy read (and very much TL;DR in parts) It has not been an easy write. I’ve cried so many tears writing, but the encouragement from all of you has been tremendous and mindblowing. This past year or so has been the hardest I’ve ever had (and hopefully ever will have) and, during my time of despair, grief, and desperation, I am sad to say that I have never felt so shut down and silenced (though I have rebelled against this!). Your support means more to me than I can ever put into words.
Thank you also for the wonderful guest post love. Stuart was very keen to write it and we are overwhelmed by the responses. I’m so very proud of him and it gives you all an insight into his own personal journey.
Right, seeing as you’re here and I have your attention, how about we have a little chat about what happens next shall we? How do you move forward? Do you move forward? How do you do all those things you used to do that you took for absolute granted, when you are no longer that same person?
I often wonder how many of my readers have been through loss. How many of you are struggling with the prospect of never having another child after loss? How many of you have lost a parent (or a much loved pet even!) and don’t know how to take those first steps forward?
I saw three little words a few weeks ago on another loss mummy’s Instagram a few weeks ago.
I was kind of blown away when I read it for the first time. This other loss mummy is someone who I respect enormously and continues to astound me with her strength and enthusiasm to life. Despite the pain she has experienced. I am truly humbled by her attitude to life.
There’s a life?
Is this even possible?
“Great!” I thought.
“Yes! But….er…wait…how do I start? Where do I start?”
When we lost Emily, and then her little sibling, as I’ve mentioned previously, I assumed life after loss would involve a successful pregnancy and finally that rainbow who would help us to heal. Totally and utterly took it for granted. Like so many others in the baby loss world that I have reluctantly become accustomed to. But how do you live life after loss when that is no longer an option? When that choice has been taken out of your hands, at least for the foreseeable future? And quite possibly forever, given my age.
Slowly and gently…
It’s so easy to get caught up, stressing that things don’t feel any better. Or that (like today actually) your anxieties keep coming back and you wonder when those days that take you back a few steps will turn around.
First and foremost, kindness.
Be kind to yourself. There is no rush. There is no time limit. Do whatever you need to do to help yourself. Whatever your gut tells you. Nobody can tell you how to grieve. It’s a very personal journey and only you know the way. Nobody, not even other loss parents, will take that same journey. Be kind and, if someone triggers you or you feel distressed by something, then do what you need to do. If you need to avoid those triggers, avoid them. If you need to face them head on, then face them. Me? I’ve done something today that I’ve been deliberating about for a while now. Something that might cause conflicting reactions, but I have had to do it for my own well-being. I need to put myself first.
These next couple of months of my journey consist of getting through thick mud. Sinking mud. Right now I’m a strongman trying to pull a jumbo jet through that thick sinking mud, a vain attempt given my little strength right now when faced with those triggers. My anxieties are pretty much in fill force. An army marching over my chest.
You see, Mother’s Day in the UK was last weekend and, on top of that, lots of new babies are arriving around us. Two have already been born over the past two or three weeks, another one about to be born, and a couple more to come. These births should be lifting me with utter joy and excitement. Before we lost our daughter I’d have been very enthusiastic about them. Instead, they are making my journey ahead extremely slippery and I haven’t much grip left if I’m perfectly honest. You see, these pregnancies were announced almost immediately after that day my world came crumbling around me.
The start of my fall.
I cannot pretend that I don’t constantly wish harder than ever that I was in those people’s shoes. Day in and day out. Imagining being safely out of that hole and embracing that beautiful rainbow that I desperately need. It’s the whole oxygen and gasping for air thing again. Like I’m in a vacuum and looking out at all these people breathing beautiful fresh air.
Now, I am well aware that there will always be a few people who may not be understanding of my feelings and struggle around this. It is, after all, jealousy. Not something the human race is naturally very patient with, or accepting of, is it. but, seeing as I have been totally open and honest from the start of my blog, I intend to keep it that way. That is my part of my deal. My mind is an open book. I need to do this for you, and for me. Sometimes I have regrets. That I shouldn’t be giving so much away but, why not? What do I have to hide? This is my way of normalising grief and pain. For other loss parents. loss children, loss siblings… For people who don’t understand. It is my way of expressing that these perfectly normal and expected feelings are completely that, and are not to be suppressed.
Ok #lifeafterloss – What’s next?
I used to be such a keen runner. Running long distances at least three times a week. I was svelte and fast. I entered many races over the years and have a pretty good PB (even if I do say so myself). I have a bunch of medals from my running days. Days which I never thought I’d tire of.
Life after loss – Those three little words almost seemed unreachable but they were so close.
The day I could almost touch them was the first time I really enjoyed running since before we found out we were expecting Emily. I had kind of slowed down on the running since I discovered I was pregnant, and was worried our little bean would be bouncing around too much. I’d also given up my gym membership to save some money for our little one, so I’d not really done much exercise at all. Not like I was anyway.
That venture out was only a short four and a half km, one day in my lunch break, but it felt good. I felt like I was back on it. #lifeafterloss Yeah! dark ugly cloud that seemed to be stalking me for months and months. Fuck you. I can do this. So stick that in your vape pipe, oh dark cloud, and blow it out your arse. In the immortal words of Gloria Gaynor, I will survive. And not just survive.
I will live.
So guess what? I signed up for a local 10km race, something I am going to be doing with Stuart and a couple of dear friends of mine this weekend. I then got the bug and signed up for one of my favourite races, The Bristol Half Marathon in September, something I have been wanting to go back to for a long time, but haven’t been ready, mentally. This feels good. It feels natural. And I am going to run every single step for my boys, for Stuart, and for my girl.
Music has always played a big part in my life. From my childhood, listening to my mother’s eclectic range of taste in music. Anything from classical through to Bob Dylan and the latest pop music. The radio or the record player was always on. I used to think my mother had terrible taste in music, but I’ve since learned that it was me with the terrible taste. As an adult, I love Bob Dylan and sometimes even a bit of classical to unwind. I’ve always used music as a bit of a release. Those feel good tunes when someone has treated you badly are always welcome. Since we lost Emily, I have turned to music more than ever. The title of my blog is a line from Elbow’s ‘Magnificent’, a song that Stuart suggested I listen to which immediately struck a chord and brought tears to my eyes.
Today, a song played on my Spotify playlist as I was walking over London Bridge to get to work. A song I’ve heard hundreds of times and never really thought twice about. It was The Smiths ‘There is a Light That Never Goes Out’. I realised that, as much as I am a brand new person, somewhere deep inside me is a light that will never go out. The same one I have always had.
That light even shone, but with reduced power, after our losses. That is until that day. The day I came home clutching hope in my hands. Clutching the key to happiness. Clutching a new light bulb.
Something was very different after that day.
That light was losing power fast.
Since that day, I’ve lived in fear of the next pregnancy announcement, unable to cope with the news. I’ve lived in fear of the next birth announcement. I’ve lived in fear of the next Baby on Board badge I encounter, confused as to why that isn’t me. I’ve lived in fear of the next baby bump picture on social media causing my throat to swell and my chest to tighten and constrict like it’s being sat on by an elephant . I’ve lived in fear of other people experiencing the joy we should have right now. Situations that I cannot possibly avoid. I’ve become a bit of a prisoner really, trying to keep my head down to avoid the triggers but they are always there, fighting me. No matter how much I surrender, they keep on kicking and attacking, my throat continues to swell and my chest constricts.
But I can’t live in fear. It’s suffocating and debilitating.
I decided to try to do something about it. Something that would make me happy and enjoy life more. Something that might even change things. Give me a glimmer of light and of colour…
#lifeafterloss influenced me to make the biggest and scariest decisions since our first loss. Losing Emily and her little brother or sister has made me realise how short life really is, and how I need to take advantage and embrace the good as much as possible. Something that will make me happy. Something that might give me the strength to get a bit of Molly back. The one who used to be silly, not serious. Brave, not afraid. The Molly who could go out and enjoy herself, take the piss out of herself. The Molly who wouldn’t cancel plans at the last minute.
The Molly who would just be.
The first of my big and scary decisions was to write this blog. It didn’t seem such a feat to begin with. I didn’t really think anyone would be interested in what I had to say, so writing and sharing didn’t seem to daunting. Only since getting so many amazing reactions has it become so big and scary. Essentially I am opening up to, potentially, every single person I know. But I keep remembering that, not only is this therapy for me, I hope that it can be a tonic for others.
More of what my plans are will be revealed later, but I am thoroughly looking forward to this next phase in my life, and hope that it will perhaps allow me to one day soon fulfil my dream and maybe even find that desperately wanted rainbow which will bring that light out again.