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.

Saturday, 4 October 2014

My World Got Bigger

"Because she died, my world got bigger..." Holby City 

Almost two weeks ago, it was my blog's birthday. I've been using this space as my organising chaotic thoughts screaming board, my journey and family diary for four years now.  I look back at my first post and although we're clearly in a very different place to where we were then the truth of it is so much of it still rings so very true.

'Me and myself  - we're different now.' I can't remember who I was, or what our lives were really like before Anabelle anymore. It takes so much energy to build a happy life around grief that my former self seems to be a distant memory. I continuously feel old before my time. Next year I will be 30, but in many ways it feels like the care-free youth of my twenties was stolen from me long ago. My twenties feel defined by Belle, because certainly her death, her birth has been the turning point for who I was, and who I am. 30 feels older than maybe it really is. 

Four years ago I could barely keep my head above water. There have been many times over these last four years, as the huge waves of grief roll in that I've had to fight drowning once more. I look back and I still cannot comprehend how we survived it, how we survive it. Human resilience is a wonderful thing.  

Four years ago we were so profoundly broken I couldn't imagine a life where we would ever be happy again. I couldn't believe we would have our very own personal rainbows. But we have our rainbows, and those rainbows saved me. 

Four years ago I couldn't imagine where our lives would be. Recently when watching Holby City a line caught my attention - 'Because she died my world got bigger' - it spoke to me. We've lost friends, but we've gained far more. We're part of a group of people that no-one wants to be part of but what a wonderful group of people they are. Even though we're not in those early days anymore, I'm increasingly thankful for my involvement in my local Sands. Four years ago I couldn't face 'real-life' support and increasingly lived in a virtual world, I frequented the Sands forum daily. Today I have a different virtual world and my local Sands is my branch of support. 

Rainbow Babies group in particular has been a wonderfully beneficial, because only those people know the mixed feelings, joy and pain of parenting earthlings while desperately desperately missing their sibling. Next week we're going out for a meal with other local bereaved parents for a Sands evening. Four years ago I didn't realise that I would consider a charity my friend. 

Because she died I've had opportunities that would never have happened if she'd lived. Namely my visit to Downing Street just before Zachary was born. Of course, I'd have Belle here over Downing Street any day, but I hope you see the point in the way it was intended. I was able to represent my daughter at one of the most iconic building in this country - and that is huge, one of my proudest moments for Anabelle, even in her absence. 

I read Still Standing online magazine regularly. Often I read about people describing their journey after loss as healing. Four years ago I couldn't comprehend 'healing', whatever that was.  Whatever it is. I'm still not sure. Four years ago I didn't even want to heal. To heal then felt to move away from Belle. Today I'm not sure what the concept feels like. I certainly don't feel 'healed', but I do feel in a different place to that of four years ago. Anabelle continues to be at the centre of our family, our little world has been built around our grief for her, we're leaning to live alongside it. We're learning to enjoy being an earthling family of four, when really we should be a family of five. We're learning to accept that we're allowed a happy extraordinary life as well as intensely hurt for the life we had taken away. 

This blog has evolved. It continues to evolve. I blog far less frequently than I used to because my life has become bigger, bigger and more than just my grief. I still grieve, of course I do. This month saw that milestone where Belle should have started school, it has pained me, this month I have felt more teary than I have in a while. I still frequently pen a blog in my head, when a new slither of hurt comes my way I think it out 'up there' as if I was penning it down here. But rarely do I find time to get it to page. My time is blessed and filled by rainbows and there is little of time left for me and organising those thoughts like I used to anymore. 

Is that the definition of healing? 

So today, if we're making my blog's fourth birthday, and where my journey is now; my life is filled with rainbows and you've no idea how overwhelmingly appreciative I am of that. Those boys, my boys. 

Life, Death, Joy, Heartbreak. But most of all love. 


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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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