There is something about being by the sea that helps ease my sadness, dulls aches of pain and surrenders my body into a nice calming state. It’s always been a place of comfort for me. A ritual, I suppose; the sea can be both, a place to remember and a place to forget. It’s by the sea I feel most connected to the world outside of my own head – and a place where I can sit for hours and run through the happier “what if” moments of my life. After I had the surgery last year, Conner booked a day trip, and we ran away to Brighton. Brighton is the closest seaside town to us in London and it took an hour and a half to get there. I was still physically recovering and well it was a painful journey. But whilst there, Conner and I ate fish and chips by the sea, watched the waves lap against the sand, pulling it out and pushing it in over and over again. For the briefest of moments, all emotions were washed away and I felt at peace.
I am always overcome with a sense of relief when the salty sea air hits my nose. When I am standing by the ocean, I feel more connected to the world, and to the people who I know longer share this earth with. The one thing that life does not prepare you for, is how it feels when someone is a part of your life for so long, but in an instant they can be gone. I’ll never understand how one day, things were perfect and the next, they were not.
In rituals though, we can find a safe space, to feel what we want to feel.
April is my favourite month I think. Spring is in full swing and the new season is upon us. I remember the moment I really started liking my therapist. It was when I was opening up about my feelings and using the seasons as a metaphor. I started seeing her in the fall, and it was at the time when all the last leaves were still hanging on. I told her how I felt like the leaves, I was clinging onto the branches in fear of falling because what came next? And she said so simply, ‘a new season’.
Spring has bought many feelings with it. Feelings of guilt, hope and my old friend anxiety, but where am I today? That is a good question. It is a question I ask myself every morning when I wake up. As of 9:17pm, the night of writing this, I am feeling a little lost. I have also just polished off three Blue Ribbons and have basically cried at every bite because my Mum used to buy them as a snack for lunch boxes.
If that doesn’t sum up what it is like to grieve, I don’t know what does. It’s in the little things that you don’t ever expect. I was walking to work the other day, minding my own business, not even thinking about anything and it suddenly hit me. It was like a fist to the face. It has been been over a year since I last spoke to my mum on the phone. But that wasn’t what got me. It was the immediate thought of ‘I can’t remember how we’d start a conversation’.
And just like that. I was floored. I had to stop walking and catch my breath because I felt like my lungs were suffocating me. And that it what it is like every day. I feel like I spend most of my days in limbo, I’m trying to let my emotions in, but sometimes they can really over power me. We’re now four months into the New Year. Although I find days hard, I do feel a little more like me. But then my heart breaks a little bit more with every day that passes, with every day that her voice drifts further away.
I also find it difficult these days because had things gone differently, I would be on maternity leave, I’d be nursing and my life would be thrown upside down but with happiness instead of sadness and longing.
Nothing can really prepare you for loss, of any kind. It hits you like a brick and the recovery is long and painful. Most days are so hazy, some days a little bit extra. But if you look really hard, there is some light that filters in every so often, you just have to feel all the bad to appreciate the good ✨
When you are struck with loss, people are quick to react with words of comfort, sometimes you are even met with silence because people don’t know what to say, but most of all, people are so good at reminding you of how strong you are. But that’s the thing – you’ve got to be. You either embrace the loss and stand up taller, or you fall to pieces and break.
For every loss I’ve suffered, I’ve stood up tall. My soul is the essence of grief but it is something that has made me who I am today. One thing that grief has taught me is how strong I am, and about how much courage it actually takes to stand up and say you’ve been struck down by grief.
It takes courage to tell stories about grief and about the losses. It’s impossible to put into words. We can only try. There is this unconditional feeling of love rooted in the deepest of sadness when it comes to loss.
The essence of my being is rooted deep within all of these losses. These losses have made me who I am and I’m proud of ME. Even on days I don’t feel like me. I am a survivor. Grief is a battle but we cannot let it win. We must embrace it, for it is now the biggest part of us.
What does one mean by the word purpose? For purpose is a very individual thing; like that of grief. My purpose for doing this project is to shed light on the heartache that comes with grief and to show its healing process – to show that healing is not a straight line. You never get over your grief. There is no right or wrong way to grieve. You simply learn to walk alongside it. You make peace with the fact it will always be there. You adopt it like another body part, you adapt and carry the weight.
The losses I’ve experienced have certainly taught me to love a little harder and appreciate that every day is, as challenging as it is, a new day. A day to simply be lived. I’m grateful to breathe the air and feel the wind on my face and the chill in my bones. I feel it even more for the fire in my heart and the flames of those I carry. it’s tough. It’s really really tough. The fire never goes out, it’s a constant burn that aches and pains you. But the light also guides you. Loss changes you, for better or worse. You’re never truly the same person after a loss, but that’s okay ✨ grief is simply love, with no place to go.
Maybe that is the purpose after loss, to understand that you as a person have changed, and to adapt to that change. A purpose of life is a life of purpose. Find yourself. Embrace the loss and learn to find your new normal, no matter how long it takes.
Back in 2018, I stumbled upon the project ‘Capture Your Grief‘ and it was something I wanted to participate in. The prompt is a World Wide Community Project that is designed to help bereaved parents mindfully document their grief experience. I was using it as a way to document and navigate the loss of both my mum, and my unborn baby. It was a prompt I stumbled upon when I needed it most. I was documenting the project over on my own personal Instagram, which since then, got hacked.
This prompt was so special to me and I was so hurt when my Instagram got hacked, that I stopped the project and didn’t start up again. But I want to kick start it and I’ve made it my mission to finish it. So without further ado, here’s to day one.
2018 was one of the most emotionally hard and physically painful years to date. It may well possibly be the worst. My heart continues to hurt, my body continues to aches and sleep is something that is very sparing. There are days I wake up and feel as if I would like the world to swallow me whole. Some days I struggle more than others, but there are still more days that I would like, that I’d rather stay in bed. But the sun rises every day, and so, I do too. If I’ve learned anything over the past year, it is that life is for living and when the people you love most are lost, you must live every day, not only for yourselves but for them as well. Even when getting up and motivating yourself is so physically trying and by the end of the day, you’re so mentally drained. It is a reminder. It 110% okay not to be okay.
As the sun rises, take a deep breath in and exhale long and slow. The air fills your lungs and it is a reminder that you are alive. The pain and the hurt will let up and your lungs will not feel like fire every day. It will take time, but for now keep watching the sun rise, and move into a new day.
I had a dream about you last night. In this hazy cloud, I saw a head full of fuzzy brown hair, soft brown eye and a toothless gummy smile. A delicate oval face and pink puckered lips. I awoke with this image, clear in my mind.
I went to bed thinking of you, or more so, of what could have been. I had that unsettled flutter in my stomach, it is the usual sign of an anxiety-filled day ahead, but as I was resting my palm against my tummy, Conner’s hand holding mine, I could feel the pulse of my heart as it pumped the blood I once shared with you, around my body. It created the rhythm of my heart, a soft but subtle flicker. I fell asleep wondering if that was what it would have felt like, had we got the chance to feel you kick.
On the 14th May this year, it will have be a whole year since I found out about you. 13 weeks of surreal, magic wonder. I’ll ignore the anxiety and dread; I would give anything to have those 13 weeks back. I would welcome the nausea, the sickness that came with the smell of coffee, eating twisters at 7am.. I would give anything up for 13 more weeks with you, healthy and growing.
In another life, you would be approaching your third month in this life. Your estimated due date was 14th January. My guess is you would have probably been late. I cannot imagine how my life would be now. I’d be in that milky new motherhood haze. Instead I’m now 22 days away from flying to New York, I’ve booked a holiday to Croatia and am going sailing in Corfu. All these materialised things that I have no doubt will bring me joy and happiness. But I can’t help but think of the joy and fulfillment I would have experienced had things turned out differently…
I have not really expressed my experience with this kind of loss, particularly due to privacy and partly due to the inability to put into words. I have read so many devastating stories of loss after loss, struggles to conceive, stories of shattered hopes and longing dreams of finding the rainbow, that I wanted to voice my gratitude. I am a mother, unconventionally so, but a mother all the same. I am grateful that my body had the ability to hold you for the 13 weeks we shared. 13 weeks of growth and you were already perfect.
Before we were told the news of your neural tube defect, we had the most breathtaking experience of seeing you. We got to see your little hand wave at us; you had ten fingers, ten toes, two legs, two arms, two perfect eyes and two perfect little ears. Your heart was strong and fierce. I hear it whenever I feel my own heart racing.
There is no doubt that you will always be my greatest gift, but you will always be my hardest goodbye. You fell into my world and all of a sudden, my life was consumed by you. I cherish the thought of you, in all the days before we got to ‘meet’ you, and in all the painful moments that have passed, since our hearts broke and we had to say goodbye.
I will continue to love and cherish you, until that faithful day when I will finally hold you in my arms. For now, although my arms are empty, my heart will forever be full.
Until we meet again my little beanana, for I’ll be waiting in the place between sleep and awake, the place were we can remember dreaming.
After my latest post, I naturally needed an uplift. So here we go.
OH OH OH We’re going on a summer holiday! Or at least I am. I have a few places on my adventure list this year. I’m off to Rhodes in 7 days (the prompt for this post), staying at the Rhodes Horizon Resort, all inclusive – MUCH EXCITE. We booked this baby back in February on the First Choice website, and the count down has whizzed by, much like this year. I’m also popping off to Edinburgh for a few days for a long weekend with ma lady Amy to explore the sights up North and experience the Fringe festival. But to top it off, I’m celebrating my 26th birthday, hopefully very very drunk with my favourite girl, in the middle of the sea (well I think we will be on an island somewhere in Greece) for our boat holiday. Could you imagine two 20 something gals getting pissed on a boat? Mmhmm probs not the best of ideas.
So there we have it. I have a fair few travel plans that filter into my August, and these travel plans are much needed after the start of this year. But we’re not going to dwell. I have 7 days left before I jet off to 30 degree weather (which is apparently not uncommon in London right now…) but whatever, I’ll be sunning myself on the first of many Greek beaches and dipping my toes in the ever blue sea with all inclusive cocktails coming my way. But with every sunny summer holiday, you need a good book to read right?
I’ve placed a decent order on Amazon for some books that have been on my TBR list, and I thought best to mention them here for anyone else looking for summer reads. Plus I am going stir crazy at home by myself. There’s only so much washing and tidying I can do.