The global Wave of Light is an opportunity to join with bereaved parents, families and friends around the globe to commemorate all babies who sadly died too soon. It takes place tonight at 7pm, and if you would like to participate you can light a candle to remember someone special.
I'm not one for pouring out my personal life online, and at times I’m sceptical of events and days like this. Baby Loss Remembrance Day, Woman’s day…Pancake Day…what difference does it make? How often are the sentiments shared genuine? Is there any positive effect?
This year I have decided to share something short and hopefully not too morbid to explain why I think in some instances it’s worth it, to share your story and take part.
Seven and a half years ago on the 18th of March, 2012, I lost my daughter, Isabella. It came after a misdiagnosis from doctors and a sudden traumatic event that left me within minutes of loosing my life. I woke up in intensive care to be told “We’ve fixed the problem…but your baby didn’t make it”.
On the first day in intensive care, after facing my own mortality and the loss of my child. I was overwhelmed with even more disturbing information: You can still have children, but you would need to be closely monitored, you will be scarred for life, are you ready to see your daughter? The council can pay for the funeral if you can’t afford it? Would you like her foot prints taken? All these things unlikely sounding things came to pass, like a slow motion film of someone else’s life.
What the Doctors didn’t explain to me in hospital was that I would also be losing who I was and everything that came with being me after this happened. Although it should have been obvious, it wasn’t, and there was no advice for how do deal with the months that lay ahead.
The things I had previously enjoyed, weren’t enjoyable anymore. Things that didn’t bother me
beforehand, all of a sudden did. Very quickly, I struggled to recognise who I was, or find much positive in the world.
The friends I had had for years weren’t the network that I expected they would be in that situation…a few kept in touch, but many didn’t say anything or avoided me because it was easier than having to bring it up. Literally, crossing the street because it was easier than saying “I’m sorry”.
At a time when I had lost so much, I found myself largely alone.
I’ve faced all kinds of awkward social situations, which increase with frequency the older I get thanks to social expectations. Often people don’t know what to say, but actually, there is nothing you can say to equal the magnitude of an event like that. Simply saying “Sorry” can mean so much... as can saying nothing.
Almost everyone will carry their own pain, and be left with their own battles to face in life at some point, even if the experience is different from my own, its something we are sadly guaranteed. In a society that’s so engrossed with Facebook and picture perfect Instagram Influencers, facing bumps in the road can feel that bit harder, and add to the feeling that you are by yourself.
That’s why I decided to write something, seven and a half years later. I can now write and talk with confidence about my experience, and perhaps that will help someone wading through the waist deep mud of their own situation.
Real life is ‘bumps in the road’ with the occasional laugh thrown in for good measure. Its not having 10,000 followers and 1000 likes on your latest selfie.
In my own experience I found that it’s amazing what can happen when you talk about how you feel. You might loose some friends, but you might also find the right ones.
That’s why awareness on this subject matters to me. It’s a reminder in amongst all the plastic, that life happens, and it is a way to reach out and connect with people who might be in the lonely place I once found myself in.
I will light a candle for Isabella tonight, but I will also light it to let other people walking in my footsteps, or in another horrible situation, that they are not alone.
I've chosen the painting of Salvador Dali's 'Landscape With Butterflies' to share as I constantly saw Butterflies after Isabella passed away, and I had some painted on her headstone. Any time I see one, I like to think she is near by...