It’s been a while since I wrote my last blog post, not because I don’t have anything to say, quite the contrary. Not a day goes by without me thinking “I wonder if people would want to hear about xyz?”. My thoughts are endless. But the truth is, I just haven’t felt like writing for a while and I can’t tell you why, because I don’t really know myself.
But today I do. I do feel like writing. I put it down to having just attended a Baby loss memorial service, held in the chapel of my local hospital. The turnout was amazing, the poems were poignant, the service was beautifully sincere and the thoughtful touches were just that, thoughtful and touching. I felt compelled to write when I returned home, just to say thank you. Thank you for remembering.
When you have a miscarriage or suffer a stillbirth you find that people come to be with you, offer you support, a shoulder to cry on, even a lasagne for your dinner! But a few days, maybe weeks later, it all stops. The visits dry up, the conversations about how you are coping cease, only to be replaced by mindless chit chat or even worse an uncomfortable silence. People think it’s over, the ‘event’ that was the miscarriage is over, “it happened ages ago, she can’t still be upset about it” is what I suspect people think. But the truth is, it isn’t an ‘event’ to us, it’s not like a wedding day; something that comes, happens, then is over. For us grieving parents, it is a part of us, it is something that will always be with us, it is something that shapes us and changes us forever.
The words in the opening reflection of today’s service sum this up so eloquently… “The death of a baby whether before birth, at birth or in the weeks or months immediately afterwards is no less a death than any other. It is no less significant, no less important, and no less heart-breaking than the death of an older child or an adult. It is certainly different but is not a lesser event. We celebrate our children because their presence and their passage have made a difference in our lives and we feel differently for the mark they have left with us. We will never forget those silent hopes that have died, but more importantly, we will always remember that they, for a short time, had life. For us those silent hopes will always be a part of our lives because they were a part of our dreams”.
So when charities, local community groups, hospitals, funeral directors or places of worship organise these memorial events, it is like someone is reaching out saying, “we still care”, “we are still here for you”, “you have every right to acknowledge your baby”, “we share in your grief and your journey because we have been there too” and “you are not alone”. And on behalf of every person who has suffered the loss of a baby and who attended today’s service, I thank you Wexham Park Hospital, I thank you SANDS (Stillbirth and Neonatal Death Society), I thank you Berkshire SANDS. I thank you for today, for the beautiful words in the service, for the candles, for the memory tree, for the balloon release, for caring, for bringing us together, for acknowledging our loss…and additionally for me, for helping me find the words again. Thank you xxx