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.

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

I Get By With A Little Help From My Friends

Ah, another of those cross rambled blog posts. I seem to be doing a lot of those these days. 

Sometimes I read of the experiences of other bereaved parents and I am astounded.  You know, the 'Don't have a clues' (DHACs) they encounter. I've written about DHACs before.   Over these last 2 years and almost 3 months we've encountered our share of DHACs, been hurt by people we shouldn't have been hurt by. I know there are well-meaning but misguided DHACs, and then there are the other nasty kind of DHAC. 

Sometimes people are just so uncaring, flippantly unkind. But what is even more astounding is when these people are supposed to be the bereaved parents friend.

Tonight, I've been reading about a bereaved Mum, who's angel sons third birthday is coming up. On his previous two birthdays her friends have rallied around when invited to help mark her son's day. Joined her in a lunch in honour of her little boy to mark his birthday. Eaten, chatted, celebrated him, supported her. 

Friends going out for lunch for a child's birthday; not difficult huh? 

But apparently, this year, his 3rd birthday it is too difficult, too inconvenient. This Mum has noticed her friends are disinterested. Now one friend has phoned to say that she thinks it was time she let it go, that she can't let this keep haunting her forever. Basically that there is no need for a birthday lunch.  

There was more, but I don't think it is relevant after that point. 

Let it go? Can't haunt her forever?  'It' being her son of course. 

Time to let her son go? 

Really?

Nice friend huh? 

This person is no 'friend' to this lady at all. 

It makes me furious that anyone thinks it is their right to imply our dead children should be 'let go', that we should 'move on', tell us enough of remembering your dead child now, tell us how we should be behaving or grieving or whatever. Is it time for me to publish my Wish List again? 

Hello DHAC. You really don't do you. So tell me which of your children would you like to discount from your daily concerns today as you think we should so readily do? 

Quite frankly if we invited friends to help mark Anabelle's birthdays and they said that to me it would be exactly like them saying it me about Xander's too. Because as far as I'm concerned my one child is not more important than my other, just because the one is dead. Can you imagine somebody saying to me on Xander's 3rd birthday?  Basically, that they cannot be bothered to help celebrate because they've already been around for the first two parties, so that is their fill of his birthdays now.  Can you imagine somebody saying to me that I should 'let him/his birthdays go' now?' 

What a ridiculous thing that would be considered to say to me, about my living child.  Ridiculous to say to me about my dead child too. 

What because its been 3 years we should forget now? Maybe you don't think we hurt as much any more, or if you think we do, maybe you think it was about time we stopped hurting. 

Do you forget one of your children's birthdays? No? Then why should we forget one of ours? Do you have your close friends part of your children's birthdays? Yes? Then why shouldn't we have our close friends around at our children's birthdays? Isn't that what supportive true friends do? 

If we invited you to our living child's birthday celebration would you come? Probably. So why not come along if we invite you to our angel baby's birthday celebration too? Is a meal, or a balloon release or anything really that inconvenient? Because it makes you feel uncomfortable? Why? And frankly, tough. Real friends put up with a moments discomfort to show love and compassion for a friend in need. 

Is it really so unreasonable to ask your close friends to join you in a birthday lunch for your angel baby son (or daughter)? If that is what it take to help you get through the day?  Is it unreasonable to ask your friends to acknowledge all your children's birthdays, living or otherwise, like they would acknowledge all of yours?  Can you imagine your friends remembering one child but completely ignoring the other? Would you think that acceptable? No? Then I don't for my children either.  

We've been so incredibly lucky in our friendships. We have always felt able to be open about Belle as a member of our family, not once have our friends made us feel like we should shy away from her name, or not to talk about her. I talk about Anabelle with my friends regularly, there isn't a day that goes by without her coming up in a conversation somewhere.

Our friends have remembered her 'remember day', remembered her birthdays, we've had friends make the effort to travel and visit her garden to leave their own floral tributes on her birthday, given us memory gifts, pass things to us for her to take with us, sent cards to us to tell us they are thinking of her, invited us out for a meal to mark her birthday. We have friends who have remembered her and honoured her in their weddings. We have friends who 'get it' as much as they can do and for that we are blessed. 

I hope (and I'm sure it won't) that doesn't change because it's her third birthday, or fourth birthday or whatever birthday when June rolls around again each year. 

I'm already anxious of Anabelle's third birthday. I know it is nine months away, but living without her doesn't only happen to me in June, it happen's all year around. For her third birthday I know it already falls on a work day; I already worry how on earth I'm going to cope in work. 

For her third birthday I worry people will expect me to be better. And it won't be better. There'll be another lantern, another decorated grave, another balloon into the sky, another cake. Another year of birthday rituals because she turns three but won't all at the same time. Another year of living without her again, until the next birthday and so on and so forth, forever.  

Same for this lady on MN too. 

There is no better, there is forever, but to quote the Beatles; there is getting by with a little help from your friends (and family).  



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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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