Sunday, 30 December 2012

2012...the year of picking up the pieces

It's been a year since I posted my first blog entry.  I didn't know then that it would help me so much!  A reborn love of writing has bloomed in me, and I get some peace from this.  A small blessing, but one I'm grateful for.

2012.  The year that the anaesthetic wore off, and I had to start putting things back together.  I feel a bit like that chic at the end of a disaster movie who finally gets to sit down and rest; covered in blood, dirt and alien slime, and in need of someone to give her a big hug.  I have been trying really hard to pinpoint the moment when I started feeling like the battle was over and I was ready to start the rebuild.  But sometime over the past few weeks, I've started to find myself feeling braver.  Stronger.  Better.

Now, I am not saying I've regained all my sanity.  I am still likely to lose my shit over stupid things, swear more than I ever have, possibly break a few more plates (I have too many anyway...), but I feel like I have some semblance of control over things again.  Grief is a very weird thing, and it takes so much of you.  It's not just feeling sad.  Grief, real grief, consumes you.  I have found that I couldn't cope with anything going wrong.  I couldn't cope with changes in plans.  I couldn't manage situation where I might meet new people and they might ask questions I wouldn't know how to answer.  I felt like a bottle mostly filled with sand and even a small scoop of anything more was enough to push me over the edge.

I feel different now.  Something has changed in me; the dam broke and some of the sand in the bottle has slipped away.  I have things.  For life.  For love. 

The past year has been hard, and there have been times when I have wondered if I could survive it.  If my marriage and my friendships and my job could survive it.  But somehow, mostly through the patience of the wonderful people in my life, I withstood being swept away with the storm of my grief.  I faced losing my child and I have learnt to manage the pain.  I'm a bit astounded, actually.

As the year comes to an end, a year with so many ups and downs I wondered many times if I would permanently feel a bit seasick, I thought it would be a good time to take stock of all that's happened.  So here goes...

  • The feeling of being so alone and frightened, and wondering if I would ever feel part of the world again
  • The physical pain that went with losing Poppy, and the fear and anger that consumed me at times
  • Trying to help Xav through his own grief and understanding of death
  • Hamish (my gorgeous nephew) battling cancer, undergoing chemo and losing his leg
  • Nana Grace passing away
  • Wondering if I could ever do my job well again
  • Losing touch with some people who didn't know what to say to us
  • Being hurt by people who didn't know what to say to us
  • Feeling like a terrible wife, mother & friend
  • The people who reached out, who didn't stop calling, who didn't stop inviting me to things, knowing eventually I would start going again
  • Knowing that not everyone would forget Poppy, and she would mean something to many people
  • Learning that my family would stick by us though thick and thin, and I would always try to do the same
  • Hamish being cancer-free :)
  • Meeting many new friends who know and understand the grief of losing a child
  • Managing to work, and still do a good job
  • Finding I work in a great place with great people
  • Knowing I have real friends, who have been there for me
  • Using the time Poppy gave me to learn cake decorating
  • Beginning to try harder to be a better wife, mother and friend
  • Learning to stop stressing over the small stuff. 
  • Being less compassionate and more compassionate at the same time
  • Learning the things about myself that I don't like, but needing to know them so I can begin to be better at them
  • Wanting the joy of another baby, but being frightened of having one, or replacing Poppy
So, I don't know?  What do you think?  Good year or bad?  Maybe I should rename the year 2012 the "Year of Learning".  About myself, about others, about grief.  A year to begin healing my little family.  We're not done with that.  We still need a little longer, maybe we'll never be totally healed.  But I, for one, feel like I can start the process. 

On the eve of 2013, I make a new promise to myself.  To be well again.  To want to live again, and make the most of this little life I have.  I'm excited for 2013.  I hope we can make it a lucky one for all of us.  'Cause let's face it, we ought to be due for a good year.

Friday, 14 December 2012

Happy 1st Birthday, My Darling

It's been a while since I wrote a post with tears in my eyes, but if I told you that was true of this one, I'd be lying.  I plan to spend today howling.  Because, frankly, a year ago my daughter died.  And it still hurts like hell.

Tomorrow is the 15th of December.  It is a day I've been dreading for a year.  It's the last of the firsts.  There will be no more firsts.  I will never see Poppy's first anything.  No first smile.  No first step.  No first day of school or first boyfriend.  This is the very last one.  Her first birthday. 

I am trying really hard to not think of all the things I should be doing today.  Wrapping presents for Poppy to tear open tomorrow, no doubt with the help of her adoring big brother.  Decorating a suitably ginormous princess-themed cake.  Hoping for nice weather tomorrow so she can enjoy her first go on a jumping castle, like Xav did on his first birthday.  But I'm trying hard not think of those things.

We've tried to do some things we might have been doing.  We went and picked out a pretty dress for Poppy.  We argued when the one we all liked wasn't available in a size 1, and then giggled about why in the hell does it matter?  We're shopping for our daughter who will never wear it.  I'm making a cake, but not the cake I would have made had Poppy been here to blow out the candles.  We're having a celebration of sorts, but not a jumping castle, or balloons, or gifts.  Not at all the shindig I'd been planning since I got pregnant with my baby.  We're trying to capture a little bit of the magic of a first birthday.  But it will never, ever be enough.

Maybe it will be a good thing, having the last first behind us.  Instead of this feeling of waiting and wanting.  Maybe, it's moving forward.  But I just wish it were different.  I wish I had been able to have Poppy here.  I wish I was sitting here saying, "I can't believe how she's grown!"...

Instead my tears fall.  And fall.  And fall.

There is no light hearted, meaningful ending here today.  I am allowing myself today for my loss.   Tomorrow, tomorrow is for the joy of my daughter's creation and what she gave us.  But today, I think I'm allowed to cry.