Interpreting Art.

This morning Henry, this morning I was tired, so very very tired I kept waking up and drifting back to sleep, your Dad lay awake beside me he held my hand as I went back to sleep again, once I woke and allowed myself to stay awake an all-encompassing cloud of sadness surrounded me I cried in to your Dad’s chest, cried because no matter how much I try I can’t stop the thoughts of guilt of having not been able to stop this from happening, I know realistically that this is not my fault, I know I did not cause it, but the what ifs… the what if I had of called them back in to my room one more time again that night, stood up more for myself when I said I didn’t feel right, instead of just waiting.. The what ifs are apparently a normal part of the process when you lose a baby but they haunt me, oh how they haunt my head, all I want is to go back in time and change it all but I can’t.

I said to your Dad “It’s so heavy, I just feel heavy and I wish the heaviness would stop” I feel like there’s a constant weight on top of me, and then my body feels like it is made of concrete, it weighs me down, right down in to each of my bones, my heart, my mind. I’m sure if I was to step in to the water right now I would just sink, I would sink straight to the bottom as I am so heavy with hurt and pain…. the only thing that may allow me to float would be my love for you.

This morning we had a late start, it took us a while to want to get up, your Dad said he’d be happy to sleep the day away, but we didn’t we got up. We decided today we would head to MONA (The museum of old and new art). We got up dressed and showered and off we went.

When arriving we noticed names along the buildings of the accommodation where people can stay, we talked about your name and about how so many people had said to us it isn’t what they expected, they love your name but said it wasn’t what they thought we would pick… I don’t think it was what we thought we would either, but as soon as you arrived and were placed on to my chest, it just suited it was you… Henry.

MONA was an interesting place, a big sensory overload, some rooms were actually quite confronting to be in with the sounds and videos playing all at once, or the flashes of light with sounds and the darkness, your Dad and I said how we felt uneasy in some rooms and we joked about how it felt like the voices and sounds were trying to give subliminal messages and how perhaps tonight in our sleep we would be running the streets naked and screaming..

We stopped at different pieces of art and before reading about them we would try to come up with our own interpretation, in one room which was full of white nameless empty books on bookshelves and tables of white paper with nothing on them, I commented to your Dad “It’s like all the words all the past has been erased, like its gone back to the beginning of time where no ones story has been created, no words written, It’s all just gone a blank canvas for the world to start again” Your Dad thought I was pretty smart for that one… As we walked on to the next piece and there were three different portraits of a lady I said to your dad it’s like they are showing her dark and light sides if your look at the difference in shadows in the paintings. I thought I could interpret it well.

Even a waterfall of words which streamed down, it made me feel uneasy, I felt as though some of the words used were dark and uninviting. But it was an interesting experience all the same and some exhibits brought us laughter too, it also felt like we were in another world and it allowed us to escape for a while.

One exhibit we stood at and looked had shattered pieces falling, pieces of glass and debris  shattered all over the floor as other bits hung down, I said to your Dad “I can interpret this one, it represents my life, it represents me all broken, shattered, pieces absolutely everywhere, pieces all over the floor and still falling down and a mess that seems to big, to overwhelming to try to begin to clean up.

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As we wandered the book and gift store afterwards, I saw some funny children’s books, one was a take on possum magic but was called ‘bum magic’ and was about a pair of bums… I smiled as I looked at the book, this would be great for little boys I thought having worked in early childhood before I know how much boys of a certain age love that toilet talk and silliness, “Are you going to get it?” your Dad asked….. but I couldn’t I had to put it back, as it was a reminder of all the books we had bought for you, I love to read and had planned to read to you every night. It was bittersweet looking at those books, as I could think of others I could buy it for, but you are the only one I want to be buying them for and I can’t…. I felt that familiar knot and twinge in my stomach, I felt that familiar heavy ache of my arms.

My mind wandered to if we ever had a sibling for you, how different that pregnancy would be…. the excitement of new life, of a life growing inside would be replaced with fear, fear of what if that life stops… The hopes for a future and plans would be replaced with not wanting to think ahead not allowing ourselves to make those future plans as we know they can all be ripped away in an instant….. The moments we spent buying cute things, would be replaced with not daring to buy a thing incase that little life was not to be….  The innocence of birth replaced with an anxiety, anxiety that if the baby didn’t come quickly, that it may all go wrong at any instant. Would we want to even share our happy news with others? as we had been so excited to do with you? or would we hide it away as much as we could? In fear, in terror that a little life could go? would we live that time dreading what could happen? regardless of what our future holds there is tough times ahead.

I made sure I got a picture outside with a truck and your little blue bear in hand.

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Tonight Henry we prepare to go out to dinner with your Uncle, as we wait for him I sit and type, I type and think of your sweet face, I type and think of others I know who have been through the same pain, who I know even with time still feel the pain but have built there lives around it. They are who give me hope, they are who provide me with a little strength to know we can do the same. That we will find our ‘new normal’ as the book I have been reading describes.

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Tonight Henry, we will go out, we will have some good food and even make a toast to you. Your Dad and I will try, we will smile, and we will keep taking steps forward even if we have to take some back.

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Author: Letters to Henry

My husband and I live on the beautiful south coast of NSW, Australia. We are currently learning to rebuild and navigate through life after the loss of our son Henry to stillbirth due to medical negligence in April of this year.

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