On the morning of Friday, 8th February, Abi had another CT scan – her first scan after the two operations. Taking her for this scan wasn’t a quick process for the care team; just to move her to the scanning room was a major task as all the equipment had to go with her. We left them to it and waited another couple of hours for this to be done and for her to be brought back to ICU.
Seeing your child in intensive care is a scary prospect, it’s not called ‘intensive’ for nothing! The machines are the first thing that you notice, but you know that every wire and machine is there for a very good reason so they become less daunting after a while. I almost got used to them, even the alarming beeping noises, which sound dramatic but are actually just notifying the nurses of something like needing a fluid top-up.
Picking up from my post on CPR (CPR – do you know how?), where I described the distress of Abi’s collapse, I thought I’d try to describe the panic I experienced during Abi’s transition to A&E, and how that changed to a numb acceptance that helped me deal with the hours of waiting that followed. While this is incredibly hard to recount, it is also interesting for me to examine how I felt at various stages.
My middle daughter came home from school yesterday with a pretty box stuffed full of sanitary towels and tampons. They’d had the end-of-year talk about sex and periods.
My daughter wasn’t fussed. She’s quite happy to wait to grow up and, while she knows periods will happen at some point, she’s in no hurry and would rather be dreaming of ponies. However, as I took the box out of her book bag, my grief hit me again. I was taken back to July 2012 when Abi had had the same class talk. Continue reading
It is exactly a year ago today that Abi came downstairs looking pale and complained she felt really ill. Exactly a year since our world was turned upside down and inside out.
I never really imagined what this day would be like, despite people telling me ‘all the anniversaries will be hard’.
Anniversaries? Anniversaries are a time to celebrate or commemorate something. A time to think of only that person or event, which you can forget about the rest of the year.
It’s not an anniversary of a year without Abi, it’s an anniversary of the day our entire world was shattered by something so totally unpredictable and traumatic.
In my blog, My grief observed, I wrote about death bringing the fragility of life to the forefront.
When you hear of someone dying it makes you consider, even briefly, your own mortality. When it happens directly to someone you love, it often forces you to focus on your own life/health much more intensely, that you’re perhaps only a heartbeat from death. (Of course, I’m relating this to my own experience and our society in general, people in war-torn countries will understandably have a vastly different perspective on this.)
For me, the impact death has had on me was influenced to a large degree by my age and my relationship with that person.
[This blog was taken from notes I’d written whilst sat with Abi at the cemetery around 10th June 2013.]
Four months on, is that right? Have I grieved? Have I even started…?
What is the point of all that crying if at the end I still feel such deep and painful sorrow? Crying usually releases a tension, helps me feel better. But these tears are different; they flow easily enough but the emotion changes from despair and hurt, to sadness and depression. I suppose, if I didn’t feel able to cry, rant, write or talk then I’d be in a very bad place by now. So, to grieve must be to let my emotions surface as I mourn my darling child, but it feels like that is all it is. There seems to be no benefit, no end to it. Yet, even still, I can see that recently I have been able to laugh sometimes, though not as sincerely as before; I can converse, can think, can function apparently normally.
We came upon this story when preparing Abi’s funeral and the vicar read it out. We knew many people of all ages would be there and wanted a reading that everyone could understand and, hopefully, find comfort from.
The note about what to write in a card to a grieving person in my last post seemed to strike a cord with some readers. Some recognised the uncertainty of what to do for the best, others realised they’d never considered how this simple gesture could be interpreted by the recipient, others recalled past occasions when they felt they should have perhaps done it differently. So, I wanted to focus a little more on this.
In this crazy first year as a grieving mother, I’ve learned an awful lot about bereavement. Far more than I expected to know at my age, having lost a child so suddenly. Just like many people, I was living in blissful ignorance of this feeling before my daughter died – oh, how I miss that! Now, I’m part of a different club; a club I never intended to join and can never leave. One thing I know for certain is that I still cannot believe she’s gone for good; I still pray she’ll just ‘come home’ and give me a hug, like she used to.
Grief is so many things and is different for everyone, but, for me, I find it is mostly quiet, unheard, unspoken. I’ve had amazing support from some truly wonderful and inspiring individuals, but equally I’ve experienced the side of grief that people (specialists) warned me about. It seems it is generally left to the bereaved to ‘put away’ their grief somewhere, and, indeed, the bereaved do try to find a place for it, to fit it around their ‘normal’ lives, we would surely go insane if we didn’t. But, almost a year on, on the surface I’m doing well but I live that rawness of loss as though it were yesterday every day, those early weeks before the true mourning kicked in…