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, 27 August 2016

Growing Around Grief

Earlier in the week my local Sands group chairwoman posted this picture:

It struck a chord with me; ringing true in our experience. 

This time six years ago I couldn't have imagined life like it is today. I couldn't see beyond the rawest of grief, when even lifting my head off the pillow in the morning took such monumental effort. When even breathing took such monumental effort. Life back then was a haze and a daze. I've said before that there is very little from those first couple of months after Anabelle's death that I actually remember.   I know things that happened, but I can't remember living them. I was in shock. This complete blank in time now represents how truly broken I was. 

I had no idea how I was going to heal or grow. In all honesty, back then, and for a very long time afterwards, I didn't even want to heal. Accepting recovery invoked a tremendous amount of guilt. How could I be happy when my daughter was dead? 

But slowly, slowly somehow, days seemed slightly brighter again. Somehow a life began to swell around our grief. Notably, our wonderful Alexander was born and saved me from the pit. Zachary joined him and now Lucas. My beautiful rainbows. My reason to keep challenging myself to heal. They keep saving me from myself. 

There have been many ups and many downs - all of which have been extensively documented here. There have been many times when grief has been all consuming once more.   A breakdown of epic proportions over her third birthday and struggling with family events in the year leading up to her fifth.  Still, June is incredibly hard. June still feels stuck in a cycle of 2010. June I've accepted is likely to always be my sticking point regardless of how much healing there is. 

It wasn't until the second half of last year, 2015, that I finally decided to proactively heal. To reflect on all that had passed. All the time taking small steps, giving myself permission to finally accept a happy extraordinary life (click to open) despite Anabelle's death. The Capture Your Grief workshop last autumn was good for me. Cathartic (click to open). Maybe I should do it again this year. 

Anabelle's absence is ever felt. There is rarely a day that goes by without her name being mentioned in this household, there is never a day she is not thought about. But life has grown around her. I feel like I'm there on that third picture. 

This picture reminded me of a post I wrote back in 2014 (click to open). .  My world got bigger. Because of Anabelle my world got bigger, even when for a long while I didn't think it could. Our grief has never diminished, never got smaller, a little girl missing is pain beyond measure - but alongside that, around that, a wonderful life has swelled and grown too. This last few weeks our world has got so beautifully bigger again with her tiniest brothers' arrival.  

Our wonderful boys are now one bigger. Alexander, Zachary and Lucas; even without anything else, they'll always be my reason to keep growing around our grief. 

Permission to make memories. Permission to live. Permission to have a happy extraordinary life. Permission to grow around unimaginable grief. 


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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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