Best Moment Award

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It’s with much thanks and gratitude that I accept WordPress’ Best Moment Award, thanks to Moment Matters.

There are words an music that accompany this award:

Awarding the people who live in the moment,
The noble who write and capture the best in life,
The bold who reminded us what really mattered –
Savoring the experience of quality time.

I was nominated by Mike, from Mike’s Film Talk, for my Easter blog post Someone else who lost a child. I’m honoured and tickled that you would think of me, Mike – thank you so much! You;re also incredibly deserving of this award, and i’m very thankful that you’ve passed it my way, all the way across the pond 🙂 I never knew the blogosphere held such supportive and diverse members, and i’m so happy to be part of that, even though what brought me here was the most tragic event of my life.

The rules of accepting this award are:

Rules:

Winners repost this completely with their acceptance speech. This speech may be written or video taped (vlogged)

Winners have the privilege of awarding the next recipients. The re-post should have a new set of people/blogs that are worthy of this award and then you have to tell the new folks that you’ve chosen.

I’m not being original in my acceptance speech, because the one Mike posted, which was posted from the person he accepted the award from, leaves nothing to add on my sentiment. The following aren’t my words, but they ring true:

Acceptance Speech:

I accept this award with gratitude and heartfelt appreciation.

For any person who takes the time to look at my blog, I am truly grateful.

For every person that likes my blog, I am thankful.

When a person leaves a comment on my blog, I am inspired to continue blogging.

For each person who interacts with me, I am elated.

For any person who Follows me, my face lights up with pleasure.

For every blogger who shares their knowledge, wisdom and thoughtfulness, I am blessed to be in your company.

Every moment in life is precious, so make sure you do everything you can to cherish and enjoy it.

Now, according to me, the next winners of the Best Moment Award are:

Tersia Burger

Transitions and a medically complex child

Rarasaur

And the last step is to Tweet this award with #MomentMatters.

Et voila!

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Lessons

I’m different now.

I’m part of that group of people who are rarely understood, unless you’ve also been there.

Please don’t come here. I pray you never will. It isn’t a group I ever expected or wanted to join. But here I am.

Life is different now. I’m not out of the woods yet – maybe I never will be. But here are some things I’ve learned through the changes of the last month (has it already almost been a month?)

From happier times, with Wilbur

From happier times, with Wilbur

1) I will never, ever ask another pregnant woman the typical questions we all expect to hear:

  • Is it a boy or girl?
  • When are you due?
  • Have you picked out any names?
  • How is the nursery coming along?
  • etc.etc.etc.

One out of every four pregnant women you meet will not get to bring her baby home, or, she might lose her precious little one soon after, like a stillbirth, or SIDS. Some women you see who are pregnant may know they are losing their babies, and yeah right if they’re going to be talking about it. It’s a respectful cautionary thing that I will just omit from conversation.

In the group of friends we sometimes spend time with, at one point a few months ago, there were five pregnant women in the room, including myself. Of this group, me and another friend never got to nine months. For the time we spent in the happiness of expectation, the rest of our time on Earth will be spent in mourning and remembrance of the ones we lost.

2) People don’t know what to say to you.

A little over a month ago, I wouldn’t have known what to say to me either. I’ve been shocked and saddened, though, that even after a few solid weeks of blogging about this, I still get insensitive and hurtful things said to me.

I don’t know if remarks intended to be uplifting, but are actually soul-crushing, will ever not be hurtful. But right now they are, and I’m still shocked when I hear or read them, despite all the words I have poured from my heart to point out helpful ways to talk to bereaved parents. Oh well. I can’t expect everyone (or anyone) to read this, or remember anything I write.

You have your own lives to think about. This is just the way it is and I hope, over time, to find a space in my heart that only fits compassion and support rather than being an open door to everything everyone has to say.

3) Kindness lurks in every corner, especially in unexpected places.

I’ve had to make a few phone calls, taking care of business, financial stuff, bla bla bla. When it’s relevant to the conversation with the stranger on the other end, every single time I’ve had to bring up that I’m no longer pregnant, I cry. Every single time, the person I’m speaking with has been infinitely kind, patient and understanding. And these are bank employees, Service Canada employees, my local pharmacy, etc.

Friends I haven’t spoken with in a while have popped up with incredible support and gestures of selflessness and kindness, like Anita, who set up a charity page in Henry’s name with Water Aid. Parents of friends have helped us with weekly tasks, and have left us food, flowers and messages of love. This tragic event seems to have opened people’s heart to us, and we’ve spent a lot of time in teary-eyed gratitude.

I have questioned myself for what I would have done if this happened to a friend of mine instead of me. The new Mel knows the answer, but I’m concerned about the old Mel – would I have shown as much compassion as we’ve been shown in the past month? I’m not going to worry about answering that.

I know that my life is going to get to a new normal, and I am taking my time with it.

4) My last lesson is a work in progress – which is to try to learn the difference between actually feeling ready to do something, and forcing myself to go outside my comfort zone to do something, like I would have normally done. I guess I have to give myself time to see what new Mel will do.

Thank you for reading this very self-centred post!

Gratitude through grief

When I lost my dad eight years ago, I was a daughter mourning her father. My mother was mourning her husband, and my grandmother/aunt/cousins mourned him in their own way according to the relationship they had with him.

As I mourn Henry’s death, I feel so fortunate to be grieving the loss of the same relationship with my partner. I hate having something so painful in common with him, but we draw a lot of comfort from each other. He has been my rock, and a constant source of love and support.

We’re together, but separate, mourning in our own individual ways. Some people pour themselves in to work to restore a sense of control and normalcy after something as devastating as losing a child. My partner had no choice but to start working pretty much right away because of deadlines, etc. I can’t do that, but I’m lucky to be a freelance writer with a bit of cash in the bank to help me coast for a little while. This means I don’t have to rush back to a job if I’m not ready, and my editors are kind enough to give me the time I need to feel ready to write professionally again (if any of you are reading this, thank you from the bottom of my heart).

I rely on my fingers to fly across the keyboard for my livelihood. But in the first days after learning Henry’s diagnosis, and the days following his delivery and death, I couldn’t make sense of my computer. I misspelled everything, got confused, and just closed up shop, only writing to a few friends to tell them the news. I let go of all of my commitments (even a beloved pottery class), and just existed (I don’t mean to sound like this is in past-tense… I’m still just a breathing, sitting blob).

Through the past two weeks, I have also been floored by the graciousness and generosity of my friends and family. This has been, without a doubt, the most difficult time of my life.

This post is about other things that I am thankful for.

We received a beautiful bouquet flowers from my old workplace, and I don’t know how many meals from friends and family, left innocently on our front porch. And I thank you for each fork-full that I didn’t have to cook myself, each kind thought, and every card that has passed through our door.

Thank you DSF

I’m also very appreciative of my friends, who have been so kind and decent as to leave my partner and I in peace with our pain. We haven’t received any surprise drop-in visits or any mournful, uncomfortable phone calls. We’re still not ready, but we’re getting there, and we thank you so much for your patience while we stay in our cocoon.

We have literally been hiding, spending days in bed. I feel that I’ve made some progress because I’ve been camping out on the sofa rather than our bed – which is getting kindof grimy and full of crumbs. But we’re exhausted, even though our days are very sedentary.

I’m also trying to find the motivation to take care of myself now that I no longer have a baby to keep me eating healthy and exercising. While I was pregnant, Henry gave me every motivation for self-maintenance, like flossing and eating veggies and completely cutting out coffee and wine.

Now that my belly is empty, I find it hard to care whether I eat in a day, floss, or do other regular self-maintenance tasks. I’m thankful for my mom, who has gently urged me to speak with my naturopath to make sure I don’t go completely off the rails, and who is arranging that I get a massage eventually. Maybe one day in the far distant future, I’ll even get a hair cut and go for a walk in the day time.

Lastly, I’m very thankful to whoever is reading my blog. It is my hope that other grieving parents, no matter how you lost your child, reads these so that they feel they’re not alone.

With love and gratitude,

Mel