Now this isn’t a how to guide far from it. Grief comes in waves like the ocean does.
Sometimes it rushes in, sometimes it stays out far enough to just see but not feel and sometimes it comes in slowly lapping round your feet little by little.
When it rushes in you’re knocked off your feet a little bruised and winded. You feel tired and in need of a break from the waves. When it stays out you feel great you feel you can overcome this and become you again but then it creeps back and you start to wonder if you’ll be the same again.
Grief doesn’t really pass not ever. It will forever be there because to get rid you would need to deny your love and that simply can’t happen.
It does improve. In the 14 weeks since Elva’s passing things have changed. I may take 3 steps forward and 2 back but I’m heading forwards all the same. When she first died I never knew I would even be this ok at this stage. I thought that suffocating, heavy chest feeling would last forever or at least a long time but it doesn’t it lifts.
You’re left with a sense of loss but hope does begin to return. However this is where the waves come in they like to creep up or rush in and make you feel rubbish again. They make you feel like you’re back to the start again like a game of snakes & ladders. However you can never go back to the start each wave brings newness with it. Each wave takes an old grief with it.
Feelings of being let down and guilt slowly wash away with each wave. You learn to deal with those feelings more and more. You learn to be rational about it and realise you did nothing wrong.
However you do need to take steps so here’s a short list of what I’ve been up to the last 3 months and that I feel has contributed to me being able to even function.
- Keep busy. Sounds simple but cleaning lots like everyday in the early days helped the days pass a bit quicker
- Getting out. This is the hardest step trust me I know but there’s places you can go that you don’t need to face people and it can make it a bit easier to build up to going places you will have to
- Craft. I’ve always crafted but since Elva I’ve changed crafts. I did crochet before but I do crochet ALL the time now. I’ve reduced my sewing which I don’t feel will ever pick up again there’s just too many memories there and I can’t bear it. I have also been scrapbooking and hope to do some needle felting soon. It gives me something to look forward to something I know I can achieve because relies on me to finish it and only me.
- Blogging. I know you know I blog but this has been an important step. I would post to my Facebook with my feelings and friends would comment including how they saw it was helping me. However I felt like i wanted to repeat stuff so what better way than to permanently record my story. I also wanted to give hope to others things would improve after the early days of being told it never gets better. I refused to believe this.
- Learn new skills. This is a bit of a cheeky one because I’ve not learn any new skills. However I plan to and have put plans to motion to achieve just that. Having a new focus a new future helps you get through the time when you thought you’re time would be spent changing nappies, loving, feeding all those things that suddenly seem so exciting yet aren’t to be. A new focus can be just what you need and sometimes you can use it to do good for others, to do something in your babies name and memory
- Talk and share. For yourself you need to let it out. Sharing with other baby loss mums validates your feelings, makes you realise what you’re feeling is normal and ok. Sharing with others who haven’t lost can be hard but it can be fulfilling too. You teach people who don’t know and may never know this pain. You open their eyes and maybe introduce them to a world they never knew. They also tell you of your strengths. Strengths only they can see. Other baby loss mums see you feeling same and connect to you. Those who don’t care to understand wish you would stop but those who do care help you see your progress they help you see how far you’ve come rather than how far you’ve to go
- Time. The most hated word when you’ve lost a baby.Everything is about waiting once more, giving things time. It’s frustrating but true. However by mentioning time I mean give yourself time. Allow yourself to feel sad don’t feel guilty about it but equally don’t feel guilty at being happy. Once I let go of the guilt from being upset and the guilt from smiling or laughing it was so much easier to feel.Anyone who makes you feel guilty needs ignoring or kicking up to you but seriously you lost your child and not everyone has to bear that burden.
Looking to a future that has dramatically changed can be hard so by changing that you are able to move forward. At first it was all about getting a rainbow baby and getting back to what I was suppose to be doing but I soon realised I couldn’t do that, It was my initial grief response and it just wouldn’t work. So instead I set about thinking how I would best like to help others through Elva.
That’s when I decided to make it my mission to get every hospital providing nappies for angel babies and I wanted to donate some items. I also plan to learn photography skills so I’m able to help other families with precious pictures.
Without Elva’s death I would not being doing those things so for me they are in her memory, it is her driving me to do those and even though those people I help may never know my daughters name they will experience her kindness and memory. For me that has to be enough.