Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Dear newly bereaved mother

Dear newly bereaved mother,

I couldn’t help but see you today at the cemetery. I saw your slow walk from the car to his special spot, I noticed the pain in your eyes as you loving tended to your boy’s grave and the way you lent on your husband for support. Emotions so familiar to me were painted on not just your face but on your whole being. I wished I could have jumped out of my car and offered you some comfort. I desperately wished there was something I could do. But when it’s been one month since your baby died, what comfort is there to be had? What answers could a stranger possibly have, especially when you are standing at the exact place you said your final goodbyes to your precious son?

Sweet mumma, I know what it’s like to be so overcome with the need to go to your baby’s grave but so overcome with pain when actually standing there. I know how wrong it is to place flowers on a grave when you should be placing your baby in the cot. The need to have everything perfect at your baby’s special place is one I am well acquainted with and one that hasn’t yet gone away. I know what it’s like to mother a memory, rather than mother a cooing baby. I know how hard it is.

My story is no doubt different to yours, as each of us travel along a similar but unique path. But newly bereaved mother, it’s only nine months since I was you; nine months since my daughter was born silently and still. To those further along this road than me, I am still newly bereaved. But even nine months along, I want to offer you hope. Going to the cemetery (or holding your baby’s ashes) won’t always be so painful, one day it might bring you peace. The walk from the car to your baby’s grave will get easier, and while your husband’s support is always there, you will get stronger and be able to do more on your own.

Dear mumma, I know you worry that letting go of the intense grief and pain is somehow the same of letting go of your little one. But it’s not; nothing will take away the love you have for them. I know you think about them every day and feel a flood of guilt if there is one day when you don’t. I want to encourage you that even if you don’t actively think of them, their memory is always with you, actively remembered or not. I know the outrage you feel when someone says something that implies your little one is unimportant. Don’t listen to them – your gorgeous baby matters, they are and will always your much loved child. You have every right to walk away from people who believe otherwise, but I know that sometimes walking away takes more strength than you have. My prayer is that there will always be someone alongside you to either help you walk away or comfort you in the pain of other’s words. Not everyone understands this pain, dear mumma, but some of us do. Even though you feel it at times, you are never completely alone.

Your baby is precious, and I’m so very sorry you don’t have them in your arms. It isn’t fair.


The other mum at the cemetery


John said...

It does get, well, "better". There will be a time when the thought of your baby will bring a smile. You have been changed by your child's short time with you. (And yes, of course you and I would change any "positive" change in us, for our baby to still be alive.) But I think a child is a gift for a lifetime, even if their life with us is only inside her Mom, or only briefly out in the world. My girl would have turned 19 last month. I'm different because of her, even though she only lived two hours after being born. Going to a support group of bereaved parents was helpful to my wife and me, and may be useful for you and your husband. Read, "When Hello Means Goodbye". Blessings to you.

Larissa said...

You are so right - I'm different (in a good way) since my daughter was born. She only lived inside me, but she still lived and that has made a difference.

Ethan said...

Larrisa, thank you for your blog and for sharing your path. I just helped a mama this week when she delivered her 16 week baby, tiny and so sweet, and then tonight received a message from another friend that her sister lost her term baby today. I am so glad I have your blog and these sweet posts to share with her.

God bless you for taking your pain and turning it into love.

Larissa said...

Thank you for sharing my blog with those mamas. I hope it helps xx

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