I try…..

To “move on”
Is to put something behind you
Forget about it
and never look back

To “go on”
is to forever
carry it forward with you
and never forget

A bereaved parent
will never move on
we simply go on.

~Tammy Brown~

I try Henry, oh how damn hard I try…. I am trying as much as I possibly can, to get up each day, to do, to move, to be, to do what I think I should, to do what others think I should but you know what some days everything is just so hard. People have their opinions, their ideas on what they think you should do, on where they think you should be at, on how they think you should be going…. but unless they have lost a child how can they truly know? how can they understand?. I try often to think of ways to explain, to be able to help them understand but they can’t unless they are wearing these shoes and I don’t want anyone to have to wear them….. Ever!

The only way I can explain it to everyone Henry, is that there is no quick fix, there is nothing that can make this better, that can make the pain just magically go away, a part of us has been lost, our identity shattered and to rebuild around that loss takes time, lots of time and we won’t be built the same, the pain it will only soften with time but never disappear, the sadness will be less severe but will still exist, the love will always remain and right now, right now we need people who can sit with us in the rain, we need those who don’t mind getting a little wet, those who are happy to take us as we are, whether that’s smiling and able to face the day or wanting to hide away from everyone, we need those who are willing to see us sad and angry and accept that’s how we need to be right now and not try to change that….. but just be with us in all those moments and reach out a hand and say ‘its ok’, ‘yes it really sucks’, ‘we hear you’, ‘its alright to cry’.

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Wednesday night Henry, as your Dad and I lay in bed and cuddled up as it was cold, we both lay awake in silence listening to Snikkers snore…. when the kitchen tap turned on slightly for a good 30 seconds then off again. “was that the kitchen?” your Dad asked me, “Sure was” I replied “Hey buddy” your Dad said to you “we love you” he then said to me “he’s letting us know we need to try for Arthur and Martha” “Oh ok” I said “well we better get to it then” but then we couldn’t stop laughing as I remembered the song and thought of your Dad talking to them down there too. It was nice to have a sign from you.

Yesterday Henry, yesterday your Dad and I decided we needed to set an alarm, so we did we set it for 7am, we still were not very successful at getting up at that time but we set the alarm all the same which I feel is a start. We eventually got ourselves together and went for a nice walk Gerringong to Kiama coast walk, we didn’t do the whole walk but part of it, each week we will try to do a little bit more. We stopped as I talked too and fed the cows, we walked to the cliffs edge to look out onto the ocean for whales, although we only saw the splash right out in the distance almost on the horizon, but we spent time out in nature out in the fresh air.. It was something.

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Your Nanny came to visit in the afternoon, we chatted with her while we ate our lunch, your Dad then went to begin working on your car, our car.. Your Nanny and I continued to talk I updated her on some things. We talked about you, about how things could have been different, about the hurting, the anger, everything… There is so much to your story people don’t know, but that will be revealed with time.

After your Nanny left I found myself tired, exhausted I lay on the lounge trying to sleep but my body only allowed me to rest, I felt the aching muscles from my PT session the day before, at least that’s a good ache, unlike the ache I have constantly for you. I rested until your Dad came inside when I hugged him so tight and then went to shower to try to get warm, your Dad cooked us an amazing dinner and we watched Masterchef on the lounge. Your Dad is doing so well at looking after us.

It’s so hard Henry, the wanting…. the wanting you here in our arms, the wanting another baby, the not being able to focus beyond the grief, the not being able to focus past having a sibling for you. Everyone says to you, you don’t know that type of love until you have a child, I used to listen to them, I used to think ‘ok’, I used to look at your fur sisters and know I love them as family and thought it was the same…. But since having you ‘I get it’ I now understand…. The love we have for you is unlike any other, and we just want to be able to show that love in the way parents do. My mind, my heart, my everything can’t focus beyond wanting you here so I can mother you and wanting to be a mother to more, to your siblings, I never would have thought that your Dad and I could create something so so perfect and I absolutely pray, I say out loud, I wish with all I have that we can do it again. It’s such an emotional ride.

Last night Henry as we walked Missy outside to go to the toilet we looked up at the few stars between the clouds as we always do and said goodnight to you, said goodnight and told you we loved you, your Dad and I went to bed. He made me laugh by talking to his gonads again, I made him laugh by talking to them too. Your Dad said to me “Maybe we need to be talking to your ovaries to” I responded “Like what, are you talking about how like when they talk positively to plants, that they grow better, you think my  ovaries will release better eggs if we talk to them” “ooooookkkkkaaayyy” he replied not knowing what I was saying about the plants. Either way Henry between the two of us our comments and we continued the conversation until we both laughed, we are never going to be able to make you a sibling at this rate as we end up with so much silliness it’s distracting…

Later in the night as it went on, I could not switch off, the darker the night got outside the darker my thoughts become. I relived moments in the hospital over and over in my mind. I had the storm clouds brewing, they created the perfect storm in my mind as doubt, what if, guilt and anxiety crept in tapping me on the shoulders and deciding to keep my mind company, as much as I tried to switch off I couldn’t as much as I told myself those thoughts are not serving me they stayed. I was swept up in to the hurricane of sadness and couldn’t escape. By 3am I couldn’t bear it anymore, my body began to shake, familiar tears started and fell on to my pillow to create a release your Dad who was beside me and already awake held me close to him as I let those tears fall fast in to my pillow trying not to let the sounds of my sobs and tears come out to loud in to the early hours of the morning.

This morning we stayed in bed for a while as the rain poured outside “I don’t want to get up” I said to your Dad “Don’t” he said back, but I knew, I knew you would want us to try Henry, so for you I did we got up and went for a coffee. We then later moved on to helping our friend move some more stuff to her new home, then it was on to Kiama as your Dad wanted to go to the farmer’s market there, I was filled with dread as we hadn’t been back yet, we would go every Wednesday before when I was pregnant with you after I would finish work, even when your Dad was on shift and couldn’t make it if I wasn’t away for work I would usually go.

As we got to the market the huge knot in my stomach tightened, anxiety like I have never felt before… what do I say when they ask about you? I thought to myself, what do I say without falling completely apart as I try to explain… you our baby, the one I carried in my tummy for 39 weeks, the one they would ask each week “how long now?” the one they said they couldn’t wait to see and to make sure we brought you along once you arrived…. and that Henry was another one of our plans, we had planned to take you each week to the farmers market, to get our fresh produce as we had always done, to show you off to the stall owners. I had imagined it in my mind thousands of times taking you there, your Dad and I enjoying s relaxing afternoon, planning what we might cook for the week, buying our ingredients and showing off our beautiful baby boy, we’d be the beaming parents as they would look at you, but again no, another plan, another outing, a dream shattered and just adds to the list of things we don’t get to do with you.

I feel like we’ve been robbed, robbed of the most precious thing to ever bless our lives.

As we walked around the markets we managed to avoid questions from where we get our wagyu as they were extremely busy, one fruit and veg stall we normally go to I just couldn’t I said to your Dad I can’t. I know they will ask, so he said “That’s ok” and we went to another one we wouldn’t normally but I just couldn’t face those questions today. I couldn’t bring myself to go to the potato farmer, as he had a baby boy just after us, I couldn’t go to the guy who I used to buy coffee from every Wednesday…. My anxiety was so high I felt so on edge, like I could be tipped over that edge at any moment by the slightest comment. I can’t stand feeling this way, being like this but it’s our reality now…. Some days we are going to have to face that hard question, today I couldn’t.

As we left the markets and got in to the car I just broke, I have said before how this was like riding a bike and some days you manage to ride along smoothly with small hills, other days you have to walk the bike as you might come across grass or mud and some days the bike crashes and you have to get back up again, I felt like today not only did the bike crash but that as I picked it up I must have thrown it hard down on to the ground again and stomped on it several times…. I think I need a new bike.

The tears fell in silence on the way home, as I thought of how I just want to be showing you off to our friends and family, to strangers and our neighbours, to market stall holders and shop keepers, I thought about how you should be almost 9 weeks old, about how I should be navigating being at home with you and your dad having returned to work, how I would have been thinking about taking you to a local play group, about how I would be taking you out for play dates with friends…… Even my emails decided to remind me today that by now you would have begun smiling at us, I had forgotten I subscribed to ongoing emails during pregnancy about pregnancy updates then baby ones and when I saw that email today, a knife well and truly stabbed me in the heart.

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“Do you think the twins will have as much hair as the H man” your Dad said to me on the way home to try to cheer me up, he mentions siblings for you often I think as his way to keep us going, to keep us focused, to keep us thinking there will be some joy in our lives once more… I love that your Dad does that, even when I can not keep up the positivity he does at times, I am so blessed that he tries.

I have been thinking a lot Henry, a lot about ways to raise awareness and help others, I come up with so many ideas and things and some days I feel like I can do them and others not…. the thing I have had to remind myself of is that its small steps, such small small steps and one at a time, I have to allow myself the time I need as well, so I have to recognise the small steps I am taking, by just speaking up I know I am raising awareness, by my letters to you I am letting others know it’s ok to talk about it, I am letting those who don’t know get an insight in to the impact this has on couples on families. I have my submission to the parliamentary inquiry… that’s another step, another step in helping…. I have a few small things I can’t mention going on that will help to ensure this doesn’t happen to anyone else… so I have to remind myself I am doing it… slowly but surely I am and my bigger ideas, they will come to life with time.

To my darling Henry, our beautiful boy, know, please know you are so very loved, so treasured and we feel so blessed to have you. xx

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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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