Today is my daughter’s 7th Birthday. She was born and died at 4.45am on the 19th March 2014. Today is Grace’s Birthday.
Grief is weird….and I mean that in the most basic terminology. Nobody will truly understand it or when to expect it. There is no rhyme nor reason with grieve – the only time I could truly understand it and meet it head on was at the very beginning of my journey.
Those raw, roaring, loud, deep, drowning first moments – first days – first weeks. Grief is almost tangible then, you can feel it in the room – you can feel that huge mass of black swirling around your entire body and taking your breath away.
As time goes by – the grief morphs and this is when it becomes an enigma. You cannot expect how it will affect you, it can creep up silently or knock you over when you least expect it. That huge mass of swirling black we felt at the beginning is alive but silent – like an active volcano, always activity under the service, we always feel the pain deep in the pit of our stomachs, but sometimes when we least expect it 7 years on, 17 years on it bubbles up to the service and makes itself visible once more. Once more you can almost reach out and touch it, you can wrap your arms around it as it takes you on its own journey you have no idea where you will end up.
The 18th of February to 19th March each year – we go on a journey. We walk into that sonographers room and we get the news of Grace’s condition, we make the journey to Dublin and have it confirmed. We make the decision to deliver her early in the UK, I relive those 4 weeks begging for help from someone. I relive that airport, the plane, the Paddy’s Day celebrations in Liverpool, pizza hut for our last meal as 3, having a coffee in Marks and Spencer to pass the time while we waited to be admitted. The colour of the ward in Liverpool Womens Hospital, the smell, the fear, the unknown, the pain, the waiting, the pain, then days later after one last push and my last duty as her mother, silence. The 19th of March Grace was here in our arms. We had 12 hours with her, took 10 photos and a live with a lifetime of pure love and pure pain.
This year, Grace’s 7th birthday is a hard one. Maybe its because I cannot get to the place we spend all her birthdays – the Beach – maybe its because of this bloody lock-down – who knows. This is a hard one. Time does not make things easier – it doesn’t become easier – you become an expert and learning to balance that black mass swirling inside you and everyday life. It is you, not time that make things more bearable – you do this with your strength. I do this with my strength. Sometimes though, on days like today – its okay to let go of that grip and just let it be – just allow yourself to ‘feel’, to sleep, to scream, to go to bed throw the covers over your head and leave everyone outside. If you can.
So today I write this piece in the hope it helps someone to understand – there is no right time to feel better, there is no right emotion to go through. We will have bad days and that’s okay, if you need to stop. Sit down and just be – and then once again we will have days when that black swirling mass is less heavy and you can carry it better… you laugh, you give out, you gossip, you work, you shop, you live your life and that, is living with grief.
Happy 7th Birthday to my darling baby Girl Grace xxxx