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.

Friday, 25 April 2014

Grief Lasts Longer Than Sympathy

I used to spend lots of time on baby loss forums; hours of my time would be spent pouring my pain onto the Sands website, (alongside here) amongst people who truly truly understood what it was like to have a baby born asleep. It helped. But the time for that has passed. I don't find the forums in that way are helpful anymore. I cannot remember the last time I logged onto the Sands forum, or any of the other bereaved parent places I used to frequent. Often, mostly, the grief that circulates there is so new, so gut achingly raw and harrowing.

It isn't where I am anymore. Almost four years later. Please tell me how it can be almost four years. 

As the years started to pass, the people who lost their babies around the same time as we lost Anabelle posted less on these forums too. Is it us getting 'better', for want a better word? No, because better never comes. Different comes. Grief year after year is different. I think we just found other ways to pour out our grief and other ways to support eachother. I keep up with many of those Mums via facebook now. Still supporting eachother where we are; but not engulfed by the the brand new grief on the forum.

I know that my grief isn't old by any stretch of the imagination; in the grand scheme of my anticipated life, my baby girl died just yesterday. But comparing where I am to the parents that arrive and post on the 'I'm New Here' boards - I'm not there, sometimes I don't know quite where I am, but for the most part I'm not there. 

Now that time of year is approaching. It is very nearly May, which means it is nearly June. The anxious spiral is almost upon us once again, and oh my, I'm so aware it is coming. I remember last year; which so violently threw me, back to beginning, I could've been one of those parents writing on the 'I'm New Here' boards again - I felt so off course, so absolutely stricken, so ill. 

Last year made me realise how very fragile I might always be and all these months since have made me value, more than ever before those few real friends and family who stick it out with me. You know who you are and you know I love you for it. 

These days I get the support I need from those family, those friends, and from my local Sands rainbow babies playgroup. I follow a number of baby loss pages, blogs and an online baby loss magazine. I find Standing Still Magazine especially helpful. Here there are articles, photographs, quotes from people at all stages of their journey of life without their babies from recent to many many years down the line. Here I so frequently read something that leaps out at me, as if I could have written it too. It is finding something I can relate to in this baby loss community that helps now, along with blogging when I need to.

I blog 'on paper' far less often than I used to. These days I so often find myself composing a post in my head, organising my thoughts around the latest stab of pain but never finding the time to pen it down; and I feel blessed that it is this way. I have less time because I have my two rainbow boys who fill it. 

But every so often, like tonight it creeps up on me after weeks of anxt to make my peace with it.

I know there are people who find my ongoing pain unacceptable. And that is ok, because if that is the truth then they are not the people I need around me anyway. While I no longer need, or even want gushing sympathy, I do need, and do want quiet empathy. I do need my pain acknowledged and my baby girl remembered. I need it to be OK and accepted that Anabelle and all my grief is carried with me daily; acceptance that some days I carry it better than other days and meeting me where I am, accepting me as I am.

And I guess this is where my involvement with the online loss community comes into play; because sometimes I need to know what I feel is normal, that others have felt like me too, how others have coped with what has been thrown at them and because so often nuggets of truth pop up that, really, when acceptance doesn't work out that way, say it all. 


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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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