The Present (Written February 2011)


Day should be light. Crying should produce tears. Mothers should have babies.

The heart of my baby stopped beating while I was supposed to be keeping her safe. The sound of silence reverberated in my womb, causing contractions and devastation. My body failed me and the future shattered in thousands of pieces.

Sophia’s stillness at birth did not hide her beauty. Her rosebud moth, dark hair and gorgeous features were evident to all that came to view her. We held her in our arms and showed her off through the shower of tears.

When the funeral day dawns; the sky produces light and vibrancy – maybe to give us the will to get out of bed. My husband and I get in the sleek, dark car and the doors were promptly closed. In between us is a coffin. Coffins shouldn’t be made that small. It is white and perfectly formed.

I hope to never to see one that small again.

The way forward, so clear and set in my mind, is the hardest to adjust to. The nursery’s not needed. The car seat can come out. My sanity is not a given.

People move on. Our lives are interesting to others for a short period of time and then they go back to the main feature. Why do we worry about what other people think when the time that they give to thinking about us is so fleeting?

I’ve come out the other side of grief. It’s not circular, its not a figure eight like I’ve been shown. To me grief is like a whirlpool, dangerous at its centre but like rough, choppy waves on the outside. It feels ok to be in the water because you know you can swim. For me the water will never be smooth, happy and light with buoyancy again as a constant but that’s ok. It is sometimes.

When people have near-death experiences its clichéd to say that they somehow see life in a new perspective, they enjoy life more and live each day to the fullest. I think death is a specter that can also bring new light to life. My baby died three months ago but I feel like I’ve stepped off a treadmill somehow. I search within my body, my bones and I can feel it. Its there. I’ve let go.

We wanted babies and lots of them and we wanted them now. We were on our way to two kids but we have one and that’s ok. The desperation for another baby, born out of grief and the rush for the want of a bigger family has subsided, in fact I almost can’t hear its call in my body. Even throughout my pregnancy, before grief, I wasn’t relaxed, I didn’t use any time to just enjoy the grass in my toes at the park, the feeling of sunshine on my face and the cuddly  nature of my firstborn. My 13kg bundle of joy still clings to me like a koala many times a day, despite being able to walk, run and jump. He is new to life and its wonders and he needs me by his side. A solid presence in case the wonders become too much for him.

Writing is part of my joy. I made it part of my to-do list for too long and I’ve now realised it’s part of my soul. I look after my babies and I write. Sophia needs just as much care and attention as Julian and my heart and soul spend time with her on a daily basis.

My little boy is such a nice child and my throat constricts with pride when I think of him and how he is turning out. I’m proud of who he is, my husband and I have been able to give him the stable home and love he needs to become himself.

Part of the terror of my grief was thinking I would be unable to give him joy.  I was afraid that because I was so sad he would reflect it back to me, like a mirror, and it would damage him.

My organs have let go of that tension now. I’m not going to spiral into that whirlpool again. I’m going to stay on its edges where life can be wonderful. Looking inside my body and staying close to myself has helped. What we see on the faces of others is not our true reflection.. I have been shaped by my past and am currently moulding myself for the future but this is who I am now. I am a woman on the borders of grief with an overwhelming pool of love surrounding me. I can dip into this at anytime. I can get it from my husband, from my son, from my family and from friends. I am lucky and appreciative of all I have.

For the first time that I can remember I am content and filled with the specialness of living. There are days of course when I have tears in my eyes and I can’t makes sense of why this has happened to me but that’s ok. My tears are for Sophia and I can imagine that each one is telling her how much I love her.

As new life blooms within me, my body meets with my mind in understanding. I take each chance in life and follow its path.

Sophia, who has no future and no past has given me the Present.

7 Comments

  1. This piece truly touched me and brought me to tears on more than one occasion. I am so glad you got through it and made it to the other side xxx

  2. … as I said, I just stumbled upon your blog, and now this post, which leaves me so sad, so emotional and, yet, also, in awe of your amazing ability to put words, difficult words, on “paper”. I am so sorry for your loss, and happy that you are healing, and been able to move forward. Thank you for sharing. x

  3. I just read this and my eyes filled with tears as I looked over at my two precious boys. Both of them threatened to leave me in their 1st trimester and I am so grateful that they stayed with me. I’ve had friends who have been through your experience and I just can’t imagine how you are able to stay strong and sane through it. you are strong and amazing women. xx

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