Faces of grief.

Yesterday Henry, I did ok, I couldn’t keep still… I needed to be busy. I went to get a coffee in the morning, go to an appointment. After this your Dad and I came home to have something good to eat and I was off on to my next appointment, this all took up a lot of the day which was good. It is good sometimes to be really busy at other times its tiring. But yesterday I navigated through the day ok.

I started typing my submission in to the parliamentary enquiry in to stillbirth, that was difficult, it was hard to see the words on the screen in front of me, starting to tell our story. Our story about you, about how it all went wrong, about how things could have been different. It is confronting putting all of those details together in front of me. I got a phone call not long after I started from a really good friend to check in, it was welcome and nice distraction. It’s a friend I have talked about before and worked with her, she’s like a mum to me, we talked about you about how we were feeling about work and how I  don’t feel up to going back, not that I need to make any decisions there right now as I still have my paid maternity leave.

Last night Henry, last night a beautiful friend dropped a card and letter in our letterbox, Your Dad brought it in and handed it to me, I sat and opened it. The card was from four people, four people who have contributed and organised to a workshop that is running soon, a workshop they thought might be good for me, may help me to find some peace and work out some direction, the workshop is called Stand Tall workshop and retreat  will be held next weekend, along with these four people your Dad’s family…. who are my family contributed to this as well, they all put in together to be able to send me to the retreat. I was so shocked as I read the words put in to the card as I looked at what had been done, I cried. I cried and wondered how anyone would do this for me. So next weekend I will spend my days at this retreat its close by so I will be coming home at nights to be with your Dad. It is such a beautiful gesture and I am still in some shock.Â

Last night as your Dad and I went to bed, the plan was to read, but your Dad decided he was tired and would go to sleep, but as usual couldn’t sleep. We talked about siblings for you again “It would all be practising at the moment wouldn’t it?” your Dad asked “Well yeah” I replied “there’s only that slim chance each month, only a couple of days” we continued to talk as your Dad made jokes, ‘Arthur and Martha’ is the name he has given to your siblings in the interim. “Do I need to talk to them like you do?” I asked your Dad laughing at him, referring to while we were away and he had spoken to his gonads….. Theres a song Henry that goes like this ‘Hello muddah hello fuddah here I am at camp Granada’ your dad often sings it “Hello Arthur, hello Martha” I started singing your Dad laughing, I couldn’t think of a second line then finally sang to him “Hello Arthur, Hello Martha its time to come out of your father” we both started laughing “Good job” said your Dad “although you know we will not be able to take this seriously at all, we will think of that song all the time now” “Well” I said “I can’t sing it now anyway as we don’t want them to come out yet, their friends can but not Arthur and Martha” I replied “Oh they are all Arthur’s and Martha’s in there” he said to me “Oh ok I am glad I know how it works now” I said and sang it one more time to make us both laugh. Your Dad says I shouldn’t write this in my letter Henry, he thinks the car to take me away may pull up out the front..

Your poor Dad Henry didn’t get much sleep last night, he was up and down with a stomach bug, so we both were tired. This morning Henry I woke up so very sad, I felt so much sadness, crying and crying as I thought about many different things and circumstances, my mind trying to make sense of so much, but it will all never make sense…… no matter what none of it brings you back. I cried in to my pillow trying to will myself to get up for the day ahead. I messaged a friend who has been through this many years ago, who had lost her two beautiful baby boys, twins. ‘please tell me this shit gets easier’ I started my message off with ‘ I’m not gonna lie… it doesn’t get easier it just sits next to you differently…’ was part of her reply.

This morning as I got out of the shower Henry and your Dad got in, we compared bellies, we did this so often as my belly grew with you, since your birth mines gone down, your Dad has gone up. I shook mine a little “I am proud of this” I said to your Dad “I am so proud of it and the other changes in my body, as my body did an amazing job carrying our baby our Henry”.. “You should be proud” your Dad replied “and I am glad that you are”. It’s the first time Henry I have been truly happy with my body and haven’t cared about the bumps or extra lumps or if I don’t fit in to those jeans. This body of mine carried you with so much love.

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We finally got ourselves going and decided to spend some time outdoors, we headed to blackhead to see if we could see any whales, Something we had planned to do with you most mornings… Something we used to do so much while I was pregnant with you, on your Dads days off and before I would start work we would go get a coffee and chocolate milkshake and go sit or stand overlooking the water…  As we stood there this morning watching I was drinking my coffee and I felt ill, It was like deja vu “I feel sick” I said to your Dad “I don’t feel well I feel like I am going to be sick” the only problem was that feeling of wanting to vomit was like a trigger as it reminded me of morning sickness 😦 so many things are a reminder and having suffered HG with you I was sick a lot.

We decided to head home I wanted to work more on my submission when we got there, but on the way home I got a call from the hospital, the call made me angry, it got to me, I spent the next hour or so angry until your Dad said to me “Let’s go walk on the beach” so we did, we drove to the beach and walked barefoot across the sand your dad being brave at first and feeling the water with his feet, “It’s freezing” he exclaimed trying to get me to walk in, finally I did I walked and let the water rush over my feet, it didn’t feel to bad, I wondered is this because my body wanted to feel numb I stayed there and walked in a bit further “come on Kristy Jean come out of the water” your Dad said to me and I walked back to hug him, truth is though Henry so often I just want to walk in to that water and have it swallow me whole.

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It was good to walk on the sand in the sun even though the wind was cold. we walked for as long as we could just taking in our surroundings, I feel like sometimes my eyes look down more these days, maybe it’s because its hard to see ahead, its hard to look forward when all you want to do is go back in time.

I looked in the mirror today Henry, I looked at the bags under my eyes, I looked at the dark circles, I looked at my tired skin, this Henry this is the face of my grief. I cried, as I cried I realised I barely take photos anymore, If I do I make sure my sunglasses are on. I look down instead of looking ahead. Once I wiped my tears I snapped a picture. This is what grief looks like today. Tomorrow it could look a little different, tomorrow there could be a smile over the pain, my eyes might show a little bit of brightness… but each day it’s there… and it’s changed me.

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Today has been so damn hard Henry, I have cried so many times, I have just felt angry and then sad, then angry then sad again. I miss you so much. Today I have even questioned am I Mum? As its hard to feel like one when I am not looking after you…  I said to your Dad after we ate dinner “Its been a really tough day”, “That is ok” said your Dad “just let it be and feel it” I nodded and hugged him, I decided to have a hot shower as I haven’t been feeling well this afternoon. As I stood in the shower the hot water pouring down over me I felt the tears, tears turned in to sobs as I felt I couldn’t stand I crouched in the bottom of the shower “I just want you here if only” I said to myself going through all the if only’s in my mind “I just want you Henry” I said out loud between sobs. My body aching, my throat hurting. I just don’t know that I am a Mum I thought to myself. I know I am your Mum Henry and I am so very proud to be your mum, but I must admit it’s not easy being a mum to an angel.

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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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