Darkness…. and sometimes there’s nothing happy to say!

You will always be my incomplete melody.

How do I find my way out of this darkness Henry? even when its light outside, even when the sun is out I have clouds, big dark clouds that have surrounded me and not in the warm embracing hug kind of way, but in the they surround me so tightly I feel as though I’ll suffocate and can not breathe properly… Nothing helps me see through them, some days they are so incredibly thick I wonder if I will catch a breath.

Your Dad brings with him a little light, he’s the only one who can completely reach in through the clouds to find me in there, I suppose it’s because he is the only other one I know who understands exactly how I feel, he’s the only other one I know misses and longs for you as much as I do, he’s the only one who loves you as much as I do.

One day, one day I will be with you, as a mother should, one day I will get to hold you tight, show you all this love I have for you, one day… I can’t tell you the amount of times I have wished for that day, the amount of times where I have had thoughts when driving of ‘I wouldn’t crash my car but if it did crash I wouldn’t mind’ or of those moments before I finally find sleep thinking ‘I wouldn’t care if I didn’t wake up in the morning’ Its not that I’m seeking out and acting on ways to be with you but if those things just happened well as I said I wouldn’t mind.

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I have had a tough week Henry, last week I found some peace in planting, gardening, in hope… hope that we will have siblings for you, hope we will find that light in the darkness, hope that we can get through despite the pain and will have better days… But this week all hope was gone, tears come thick and fast on various occasions, my period arrived another shattered piece to my already broken heart. “It’ll happen” people say “Don’t stress” people say “Relax”…… ‘Yep, yep, yep, and yep’ all easy to say when they haven’t lost whats most precious to them, all easy for them to say when they haven’t experienced ten years of infertility before hand and then lost their first child due to negligence and all easy of them to say when they don’t have empty arms and broken hearts, I know they mean well Henry I know they do and I appreciate that people care but no one knows what will happen and relaxing is hard when you are where we find ourselves.

I feel as siblings may be the only way we find some light back in our lives. Yet each month that passes its harder to hold on to that hope that it will happen. I know it hasn’t been long in the big scheme of things Henry, but when you are living day-to-day to get through, weeks can seem like months and months seem like years and then there’s the dreaded age factor that comes in to it too, all my life I have tried to keep myself healthy, all my life I have kept positive, I haven’t let my circumstances get me down… For ten long years I longed to be a mum and then finally I knew about you and that all got taken away, because someone didn’t want to do their job. Siblings will never replace you but they may bring a joy to our lives, they may help to fill the empty arms we have although in those arms and our hearts there will always be an empty space that is for you.

I feel as though I am stuck in the middle of the ocean in a row-boat but with no oars to row, so I just am going wherever the tides and waves of the ocean take me and I am holding on in that boat for dear life, pleading for it not to tip over and pleading to stay inside, the sea is sometimes so incredibly rough and the boat is everywhere up and down as water pours in over the sides, sometimes so much so I feel sea-sick and other times the ocean is calm but the hot sun pours in over me burning my skin, other times at night I am cold, wet, lost and its so dark.. In that darkness I put my feet over the edge wondering if perhaps I should just allow myself to slip in to the water.

Thoughts, emotions, feelings so intense, seem so uncontrollable I wish for a way for the pain to end. I want the what ifs to leave me for a while, I want my mind to stop asking ‘why us?’ as there is no answer to that, I wish for the flashbacks that occur oh so often to stop to just give me some peace from the heaviness.

Death, loss, depression, grief all hard subjects Henry, yet I find baby loss, the loss of a child remains more taboo… People are willing to talk about their dead grandmother Henry the one who lived a good long life surrounded by those she loved, but to talk about you, our baby the fact you died… it is hard, it makes people uncomfortable and I get it, its unnatural, its out-of-order, its hard… but you know whats harder, is the thought of just forgetting you, of not talking about you, of acting like you never existed, the thought that some people think you can just be replaced by another baby. I know Henry I know others don’t know what to say, they don’t have too, honestly I find the times I want to talk about you I will lead the conversation, it’s just when there’s a reaction of changing the subject, of not acknowledging what I have said, well that just creates a bigger barrier.. I feel sometimes though, some people feel as though if I talk about you I am stuck, I am not ‘getting better’ but you are my child so just like any parent I want you acknowledged here or not.

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If someone who has lost a child talks to you about their child, their grief.. acknowledge them, acknowledge its hard, ask about their child, their favourite memory, I will be able to tell you many funny memories of when I was pregnant as I got to know you growing in there, the way your Dad joked with me if I tried to breathe in too much and would say to me “Stop poor little Timmy just got sucked in to the back wall and is wondering what the hell is going on”, the way we laughed as we went for an ultrasound and you kept turning the opposite way from the technician, we spent over an hour in there for her trying to get your measurements as you weren’t cooperating. The way you kicked me all through a video conference for work and I had to try to keep a straight face… the memories of conversations your Dad and I had.. If a bereaved parent wants to talk about their child they will lead the way, sometimes those conversations might be tough, sometimes it might be about how much they are hurting… On the tough days where it’s too much and they don’t talk about it or they can’t… sit with them, offer to take them out to distract them but don’t be offended if they can’t either.. its like balancing on a tight rope with weight on both sides and we have to constantly ensure the weight is distributed evenly to keep ourselves on the rope and prevent from falling.

This week, four days out of this week, I have come home at different times to find Snikkers has been in your room, she’s been in your room and gotten out your toys, leaving them around the house, so funny going from not wanting to go in to that room at all when I was setting it up for you to now she wanders in often and gets out your things, I would have loved to have seen her with you. I also heard Missy wander in there yesterday as she rustled her nose around in some bags I still have with items in there beside the chair.

Yesterday as your Dad left for work Henry, it was not only dark suffocating clouds that surrounded me but storm clouds, with loud thunder, lightning strikes and I held on to him so tight, sobbing in to his chest not wanting him to go, not wanting to be left alone with my thoughts and feelings, not wanting to…. After he left I sobbed in to my hands until no more tears fell and then stared blankly at what was on the TV until I could summon the strength to make myself dinner and find my rational thoughts again, spending some time thinking about the future and steps to get there…

An extremely bad night last night Henry where your Dad got home from work just after 1am and when he got in to bed he just pulled me to him and held me tight while I sobbed and silent tears poured down his cheeks as he reminded me “We can do this” and then he pleaded for me to say it back to him, I ever so quietly somehow found my voice and agreed that we could, but sometimes my heart wonders whether we can.

Today I found it hard to get out of bed, as I have most of this week, but your Dad turned the shower on so I got up and in to the shower where I sobbed bent over in the bottom of the shower wondering where I might summon the strength from today, I eventually got myself out and got ready so we could go food shopping, despite the strong emotions, despite how hard it is the things I know we can do is look after ourselves physically, so we do I still exercise even though I cry in my car the whole way to the gym, I still cook healthy meals even though it would be so much easier to eat jam toast.

After doing what we needed to do your Dad and I played a really bad game of tennis, out in the sunshine we hit the ball to one another where we could and missed it more times than we hit it, we laughed at one another attempts and each others antics to try to make the other laugh while on the court. I can not thank your Dad enough Henry for those little moments, the ones where I feel a little bit like the sun has shone through those clouds.

After we returned home your Dad cooked us an amazing brunch as the storm rolled in, thunder, hail, lightening and then rain but only for a short time. Now as I have washed up and tidied the house he is out in the garage making progress on our car, sanding, scrubbing, smoothing getting it as prepared as he can. I know your Dad will make you proud with the effort he puts in to it.

I sit and I type to you, I type with that constant feeling of exhaustion that I feel, I type with that longing, I type with the feeling of wondering how we do this, I type knowing I won’t always have happiness or a funny story to tell because sometimes Henry this journey is just so very dark. I type though knowing how much love I have for you and your Dad, how much love that I want to be here for him, all the love that I know despite how much this hurts I want to get to that day we have siblings for you, to experience and show them the love we have and to try to make you proud, please Henry just be next to me when it’s too dark and help me to find that light.

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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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