Our beautiful baby daughter Anabelle was born sleeping June 2010.
Blessed with the screaming arrivals of our gorgeous rainbow sons,
Alexander October 2011, Zachary November 2013 and Lucas July 2016.

After Anabelle - Raising Rainbows
Heartbreak. Joy. Death. Life. But most of all Love.

Thursday, 17 March 2011

From One to Another

You will remember that in January one of my pupils died after spending her short life battling illness and critical stays in hospital. You will remember my post about her funeral in February.

Today I packaged up the last of her things in school; a blanket, photographs and her record of achievement to send to her parents.  Today I wrote to her parents. For the first time since Anabelle’s death, I was the one finding the words to send to someone else, the professional to other bereaved parents.

Vastly different circumstances, same outcome; we’ve both lost our daughters.

For the first time in my career I had more insight into one of our bereaved parent’s world. A child dying is the worst part of my job; an inevitable experience when working with children with life-limiting conditions. This was the third death directly in one of my classes in the almost 5 years I’ve been teaching in special schools. Additionally I’ve been affected by a number of other children’s deaths in the schools where I’ve worked.

I knew as I sat there writing this letter that there is nothing I could say that would make it better.  I know only too well that words offer little comfort, platitudes often meaningless. I didn’t want to be one of those people who wrote only what they were supposed to say.  So I recounted my own daughter’s death, wanting them to know I truly understood what it was like to experience the death of your own child. I told them the small things that are precious to me, and that they had been on my mind to have as many memories of their daughter as I could send them. I hoped these things I was sending would offer a smile.

Smile may seem like an odd choice of word, but I guess in some bizarre way that is what Anabelle’s things are beginning to offer me. I cherish them. So bittersweet; painful to hold and look at but at the same time a smile because they are hers.

Her box of things; many of which she never even touched, belong to her.  Recently I took the blanket out of Anabelle’s box that she’d had over her for a while in the hospital. The only thing we have that she actually used. It used to smell of Anabelle, but her smell has gone now. 

But all of these things, we keep as hers, are precious. They represent everything we dreamed for her, how we imagined her to be. The pretty little girl she was going to be with all her pretty things.

I hope that my pupils’ parents are able to do to the same with all the things they have left of her. I know the action of sending memories and something tangible is far better than any words could ever be.   

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Caz
After Anabelle - Raising Rainbows. I'm Caz, Mummy to beautiful angel Belle and my wonderful rainbow boys, Xander, Zachy and Luc. Wife to Jon. Twitter @cazem Instagram @cazzyem
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