All I want……

Oh Henry, how much I just absolutely wish with all of my being that you were here. It has been a busy few days, Thursday Henry I went to get my hair done, as always now there is some anxiety there, going out not knowing who you may see, what may be said… So I went with that feeling in the pit of my stomach telling myself it would be good for me.

Once there my hairdresser handed me her new salon dog ‘Gertie’…… sweet little strange Gertie with her cross eyes and little tongue that consistently hangs out of her mouth, I held on to Gertie the whole time I was there, patting her as she settled to sleep on my lap. It offered me some comfort while I was there. After getting my hair done Henry it was off for a counselling appointment, where I talked, talked a lot, cried, talked some more… apparently I am doing all the right things, apparently I am taking time, I am writing, I am grieving….. If I am doing it all right, why does it all feel so wrong?

Thursday afternoon I met up with a beautiful lady, one who I have mentioned before she lost her beautiful twin boys, we met for coffee, she listened to me, she listened to me talk about you, how I was angry, how I was sad, how it will with time get different. We talked about her boys, we talked about her experience too. We talked about her boys she has here looking after as well as the ones in her heart and heaven.. She gave a me a special gift to put on my keys… She gave me this gift because she knows I had been questioning if I was a mum, The key ring says Henry’s mum. She wanted me never to doubt the mum that i am… She also pointed out how I could move it around in my fingers, it wasn’t until she said this that I realised how often I do that now, as I was sitting talking to her I had been fiddling with my ring the whole time, when at the counsellor I had been twisting the tissue around and around in my hand. Thursday I managed ok.

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I dreamt of you, I dreamt of you again Henry, in my dream after I gave birth they pulled you on to my chest as they had done, you were silent as we were told you would be, but then in my dream after taking you in, your arm the slightest movement… there it was and again, you were alive, I was so overwhelmed with joy and so thankful I hugged you harder in to my chest as your Dad and I cried tears of joy and relief… This dream felt so damn real, It was so hard waking up to our reality.. In my dreams I get to be with you, I get to be the mum I thought I would be, I get to see your beautiful face, my dreams are the best place to be, sometimes I feel like it would be better not to wake at all.

Friday Henry was hard, in the afternoon I worked on my submission for the enquiry in to stillbirth and some other important correspondence, it was hard seeing all of that in front of me, I spent hours on these things and once I stopped I broke, I couldn’t stop the storm that was going to start as tears rolled down my cheeks, your Dad Henry was out so I phoned one of my best friends and I talked to her until he got home.

Friday night we had your Nanny, Poppy and uncle over for dinner….. after dinner we helped a beautiful friend move some things in to her new place. It felt good to be able to help her. After we got back home your uncle and Dad went out, I couldn’t sleep, I looked at one of my favourite photos of you on my phone, I looked at it with so much love and just thinking of how perfect you truly are I shared it, as I want everyone else to see it too, too perfect for this shit world and that’s how I feel, you certainly are our sweet boy. You are way to perfect. I looked again and again at your picture as I just love you so much and thought of how unfair it is, this life….. the one without you.

Saturday Henry, I struggled to get up, I pushed myself to get out of bed and got the day started.. We decided to go sit in the sun with a coffee, I noticed a black mark on your Dads shirt “You have a mark there” I said to him pointing at his chest, “That’s just my boob shadow” Was his reply “they have gotten bigger they create a shadow now” he said I laughed… Your Dad began planning things he needed from the shop and asked if I needed anything “A new life” I replied to him “I don’t think they sell those at IGA” he said “We may have to go to BWS I am pretty sure they have them there” I laughed at your Dad’s bad dad joke “Put that in your letters” he said to me laughing at himself, for someone who doesn’t read my letters Henry he sure wants to make sure he is in them.

Later that day your Dad and I went to help our friend again, we helped her move items to her new home, which is in Gerroa not too far from the beach where we scattered your ashes in to the water. She is moving in to a house behind one of the cafe’s we used to go to quite often but haven’t managed to get back too since. As we moved things from the car in to the house one of the beautiful young girls who works there who we had gotten to know quite well, she came outside and she hugged me, we talked she told me how incredibly strong she thought I was and we hugged again, it was good to see her, its amazing how many people were so excited about you Henry and couldn’t wait to see you here.

Once we moved everything in, we helped to build from a flat pack our beautiful friends bunk beds for her two girls, Your Dad and I worked together as a team, there was no arguing, nothing we worked seamlessly together getting the job done, I looked out the window towards the ocean and I wondered what sort of bed we would have gotten you one day, where we would be living when you were five, would we still have been where we are, I thought about how when I was pregnant with you I had already thought of what your room might look like as you grew, how we would get you a donut looking cushion for your bed as your Dad loves donuts, how you would have lego and toys, so many books on the shelf, in my mind when I carried you so many hopes for the future and adventures planned….. Now I struggle to get up to face each day without you.

Saturday night we had two friends over from your Dad’s work, your Dad and I prepared and he cooked two courses and I made dessert, it was amazing food. I remember before they got there I had tears saying to your Dad I don’t know how to do this, your Dad said we get each other through day by day. It was a nice night, by the end of the night I fought back the tears as that sadness crept up on me and tapped me on the shoulder and said to me “I’m back” I managed to fight back the tears until they left.

Sunday Henry your Dad was going to the football, the state of origin in fact, your Dad Henry loves his football. So he was going on a bus with friends from his work, going to be gone the whole day until the early hours the next morning, after he walked out the door I cried, I cried because it’s hard now, your Dad and I are like a security for each other, I cried as I never want anything to happen to him. I cried as I wonder each day how we continue to get through this pain.

My closest friend, she came to visit me Henry, drove all the way from Sydney to come and spend the day with me, she walked in the door and we hugged one another after greeting the puppies and talking for a bit we decided to go and get coffee and visit your part of the beach, as we approached there was an eagle, again always an eagle… we sat on the sand for hours talking, talking about life, about how I don’t know what to do, how it feels like this pain of losing you will never lift, we talked about directions and not having any, we just talked about everything. She stayed with me until late. She sat with me in the moments I cried, she agreed when I said this wasn’t fair we agreed it was shit.

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When I went to bed last night Henry my thoughts of you raced, I wondered how we keep going, what we do, how does this pain get lighter, I hugged your cushion tight to my chest. I scrolled through instagram for a distraction as I looked at some of the posts I thought about how I didn’t care what was a bargain a Kmart or about that skincare product how can I care about those things when my heart hurts, my arms ache and I just want you. I have on instagram unfollowed all of the pages I had followed with baby products, all of the ones I followed with cute little clothes I wanted to buy for you, I can’t bear to see the pictures of baby clothes, the specials for nappies, the babies they use in pictures wrapped tightly in their mothers arms.

Today Henry I didn’t want to get up when I woke I cuddled your Dad tightly hoping if I just shut my eyes I might fall back to sleep, yet as always thoughts ran through my head, reality sunk heavily in…. There was no going back to sleep. I got myself up with enough time to get ready and go to a PT session, as the sunshine hit my skin I got stuck in to it, my wonderful PT and I chatted when I wasn’t running out of breath, we talked about lots of things….. she asked me if I had thought about things I might like to do, my reply to her was all I wanted was to be a mum, as I said it I felt that familiar anguish “I just can’t think of anything else as that’s all I want” I said to her glad my sunglasses hid the tears that were forming in my eyes “How do I let go of it when all I want is to be looking after my baby, when that is what I should be doing” I said to her…. my identity Henry is lost, it was lost the moment we lost you.

I came home and your Dad and I went out for a while, as we drove past the doctor surgery I go to, as we did a mum, dad and their newborn walked out the door… Your dad saw them too “The universe is testing us” he said “The universe hates me” I replied.. “You are an amazing mum” he said to me “and you will be a mum to more soon” “I hope so” I said… I try Henry, I really do try to remain positive about it as everyone says, but how do I? how do I when it took so long for you to arrive? how do I when you were taken away in an instant? There is no guarantee, when people say “You can have another” well you know what it doesn’t replace you…. and no there is nothing that says for sure we can… “Everything happens for a reason” well no, unfortunately that is something I can not believe, I can not believe that, as there is no reason for you to be gone, for you to be taken from us, there is no possible good reason why this could have happened… Sometimes really messed up shit things happen to good people, sometimes they happen to not so good people, but I won’t live my life believing everything happens for a reason as why would the world be so cruel.

I got a phone call from a beautiful work colleague, she phoned to see how we were, she talked to me letting me know she did not know what to say, she talked about my letters to you and how she reads them and how she can feel the raw emotion through my words, she reassured me you will never be forgotten. It was a beautiful call to receive.

I received another phone call today, a phone call from someone following up on some things for us, I had been doing ok until this call… I was travelling alright but you can’t choose when something might trigger you, you can not choose when it all might get too much, when it may build and build and build….. and you break.. After this phone call I came inside and just uncontrollable sobs on the lounge as your Dad came and hugged me tightly…. after a while he got me a hanky and then he hugged me tight and asked “hot shower or bath?” I nodded “Hot shower, bath or cannabis” he then joked laughing… “Option C” I replied laughing and crying in to his shoulder, he then sat me on the lounge. Your dad moved to get a piece of paper and came back out of the kitchen with this and a box of matches… Your Dads version of pretend cannabis to make me laugh.. I’m not sure smokey mint with paper would be the same but it made me laugh, enough to get myself up and go run a bath.

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I look at your beautiful room Henry, set up for you with so much love. I look at the loving things people bought in anticipation of your arrival, of things your Dad and I set up, I wonder some days what do I do with it? Are there things we should keep? Are there things that should go? whether it is here or there or gone, it doesn’t take away what we are feeling, it will not take away the hurt, it will not take away the aching, the missing, the thoughts, it won’t take away the love either. All that love we have for you.

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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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