Before I lost Harry I had never fully realised the pain of being a bereaved parent. Obviously, experiencing the loss of your child awakens a new persona inside of you and you can sympathise with anyone experiencing a loss, as you realise that any loss is profound in it's own way. But, no loss can compare to that of losing your own child, whom you have carried for months, given birth to, and loved like you can only love your own child, with all of your being. The feeling of utter despair, emptiness and strange confusion is like no other.
It is very sad, that since Harry's passing I have come to meet a fair number of fellow bereaved parents. It always seems so wrong that a child should pass before it's parents and sadly this happens much more frequently than most realise.
Harry has been an angel for almost eight months now, and in that short time, it has come to my knowledge that my previous neighbour when I was growing up, lost a baby shortly after birth. Several of my mum's good friends had lost their babies to stillbirths. I have met several other mother's who have lost their babies to the evil vasa praevia, that cost my Harry his life. More recently, I have been in touch with a lady whose preemie baby who was born at 24 weeks, lost her fight at 13 days old, and had the same experience of saying goodbye to her little girl, as I did with Harry. Only the other weekend I met a lady at my Reiki course who was overcome with emotion when I told her about Harry, as she too lost her baby, at three months to a very sudden virus nearly twenty five years ago.
I lost my lovely friend Kate last year to a sudden heart attack, who had just months before had her beautiful daughter. I kept thinking about her mother and how the news of hearing her daughter had passed while living in London, miles away from her home in Melbourne. Her daughter that had gone away to make a career for herself in banking and had met a lovely man and started a family. The last thing you expect is to receive such a dreadful phonecall.
Very tragically, a similar thing happened to my beautiful friend's brother, Jon. He, too, was living away, in Sweden and also suffered a heart attack shortly after Christmas. I recently went to his funeral as I felt that I wanted to be there for my friend and her lovely family. Being at the funeral reminded me of the pain I experienced at Harry's funeral which seems like such a blur to me now, as the same pain was etched across the face of Jon's dear mother. What a cruel world we live in. To bring up your son, and to give him so much love, and to receive so much love from him. To watch him grow and flourish, and to live a full and rich life. Parents never expect to have to say goodbye, especially not at the age he was, in his early twenties. To hear his mother speak so highly of her beloved son and to recall such happy times, made me feel such sadness for her. I can relate to the pain she feels, as saying goodbye to Harry was so devastating and so heart wrenching, but this dear lady has had the son that she has bonded with for many years so cruelly and so shockingly taken away without the chance for a goodbye.
Since writing this blog, I have become a part of a blogging group, where other parents write about the issues they face, as either bereaved parents, or parents who have had a neonatal experience or a preemie baby. A lady who has been blogging for years about her experience of 27 weeker twins who are now toddlers, (http://www.edspire.co.uk/) has also got a nine month old little girl Matilda Mae. It was with such sadness that today I learnt that this dear lady has lost her daughter to what could be cot death. She sadly discovered her daughter, as an angel in her cot on Sunday morning. How devastating, and how tragic. All day today, she, and her family have been in my thoughts and my prayers. Nothing can prepare you for the loss of your child. Especially so unexpectedly and so sudden.
As every bereaved parent will agree, no words can really console you, but knowing that you have people who are thinking of you, and sending you their best wishes, their prayers and their support is a huge help. The void you have in your life with never be filled, and the sadness in your heart will always be there. You will never forget your dear child. You just learn to deal with the emotions you feel and you learn to remember them with a smile. That sounds crazy to someone who has recently lost, and I still have days where I am overcome with grief for my sweet boy. But I am still very early in my journey and with every passing day, it does get a little easier. I have been very lucky to have the support of so many wonderful people and it does help enormously. I hope, to all my fellow bereaved parents, that you too can find superb support as well, and that you can take little steps on your journeys, and that in some way I can offer a little hand to hold along the way. xxxx