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.

Monday, 12 October 2015

Glow In The Woods

I'm a day behind. Yesterday I didn't manage to post because we were having a wonderful day at Legoland, celebrating our biggest rainbow boy with a family fun day trip for his 4th birthday this coming Wednesday. 

Today (or yesterday) we are talking about those people, those organisations, that held us up and kept us going in those very early weeks after our loss. People and organisations that hold our hands along this journey; even now these years down the line. Our Glow In The Woods

I thought for a while on this subject and of course there are the close family and friends who have been a constant support throughout this journey. It goes without saying how much I value their love and ongoing hand-holding through those hard times of the year. Everything I said on my Empathy post is true here; I've been lucky to have been touched with much kindness and wonderfully thoughtful people. And all of that is my 'Glow In The Woods' in moments to moments. 

But I want to take this opportunity to highlight three individuals; one organisation and two people, who have been my constant. 

Sands 

Right there in the beginning I firstly turned to the online forum. The virtual world is where I immersed myself for so long. It was where I felt safe, chatting and posting with other bereaved parents, who had also very recently lost their babies. No stiff upper lip was needed here; here all those raw emotions spilled out, bereft grief, anger, fear, intense love.  There was a local Sands group, but in the beginning I didn't feel brave enough for 'real world' support groups, so hidden behind my computer screen I was connecting with people who really understood me. Before I could blog I was sharing about Belle, I was telling her story and that in that moment was 'healing' - even though I didn't know it yet - talking about her was what I needed to do. I stayed on the forum for around 18 months, after this it wasn't quite the support I needed anymore. There were more and more new faces all of the time, the rawness and newness of grief was tangible, and although I was still very raw, I wasn't in that place anymore and I realised continuing to immerse myself there wasn't healthy.  Some of those ladies on the forum I'm still in contact with via Facebook and those connections are still important, still supporting each other when we can, if we're needed.   

I pulled away from the forum and met up with local Sands ladies instead - going along to the Rainbow Babies meet up group while I could, still going along when I can but not as regularly due to working days. This group has been very dear to me, the ladies, those very special siblings of angels and the link between grief and beautiful colour. 

Sands as a charity does a wonderful work; supporting families through the very worst that can happen to them; providing support networks online, on the telephone and groups locally, providing boxes to hospitals for those incredibly short, limited but important moments to make memories, hosting memorial events throughout the year to remember our babies, funding research to lower the number of stillbirths in the UK and continually raising awareness. 

This charity is one that I will always hold near. 

My Husband 

This man must really love me. He has seen me at my absolute worst of worse, the most broken parts of me, the ugliest side of me. I've been horrible and emotionally pushed him away and still  he has stuck by me. 

We've grieved differently, not one of us more, or one of us less. Just differently. We've coped differently. And it took me a while to accept that. At times I almost resented him, so apparently 'together' while I felt like I was losing my mind. 

Where grief could've torn us apart he has patiently seen me through, seen us through. 

In those early weeks when I was practically pushing him to leave me, when I couldn't understand why he wanted to be with me; a wife that hadn't kept his firstborn baby alive. In those months, and times since when he took the rawest thrashings of my grief and just quietly held what was left of me in place, bruised and battered, holding me there until I was ready to 'be' again. A grief where the support is entirely unequal, where his grief can be largely forgotten from the outside, and indeed even from the inside with me leaning on him to keep me afloat when I can't do it myself anymore. 

And I couldn't survive this journey without him. The only person in this entire world who feels this pain like I do, because he is her Daddy. 

This man is the real uncelebrated champion of our family, the steady constant rhythm we rely on while I ride and crash the highs and lows of my grief journey. The steady constant rhythm that keeps me on an even keel. 

In April 2016 we'll have been together for ten years and married for coming up to seven in the August. Jon has consistently been my Glow In The Woods. In our very first year of marriage, boy did we live those vows. We meant them then, we mean them now. Better, worse. 


My Best Friend

The most unlikely of best friends. Sorreya was not somebody I was close to before we lost Anabelle. We worked together, she was one of the teaching assistants in my class. We got on really well in school, enjoyed group meals out together with a number of other colleagues on occasion, but that was as far as our relationship was. Friendly work colleagues. 

I've mentioned many times about how relationships change in the wake of such life changing loss; and this one was one of those, one of those that grew. 

In the weeks after Anabelle died it would've been so easy to lose all contact with anyone at work, or even anyone in the world. As I isolated myself deeper and deeper into my black hole Sorreya was one of those 'Glow In The Woods' that kept reaching out to me, reminding me she was there, that she hadn't forgotten, that she was still thinking of us. 

In those early months this lady text me almost daily and visited me weekly; popping in for cups of tea and getting me out of the house too. She has cried with me, laughed with me, been angry for me, with me, allowed me to talk endlessly about Anabelle when I needed to, she's grieved Anabelle with me, not forgotten any of those important dates, has allowed me to use her as my safe space for venting, for sharing my fears with, my worries with. Sorreya has been 'just right' - somehow knowing where to balance sympathy and gentle (or sometimes not so gentle) kicks up the bum when I need to stop winding myself up so much with my habit of the 'what ifs', or knowing just how to pitch a different perspective, or pick up a few pieces for me. 

This is the honorary member of my family and the boys Godmother.   She has continuously held my hand; through another two rainbow pregnancies, through all those other bumps in the road and celebrated those boys with me.  Another person in my life that has seen some of the worst of me and still wants to be my friend anyway.  We get much less time just the two of us than we used to now we've both got little boys, different working patterns and busy schedules but we still text practically daily and I know she is only ever a call away. 

Tuesdays and 'baby club' with her and the other girls is my favourite day of the week, not to mention our regular 'Mum's only' meet ups; we've got a really lovely friendship group and all of them deserve a little shout out! I really do love you all. 

Day 11. Capture Your Grief. Glow In The Woods  




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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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