Is anything expected or unexpected when your baby dies?
I started all of this with the mantra of I don’t know what’s right in this situation, so how can anyone else.
I still stand by that. How can anyone know how to approach this? It isn’t a module in NCT. No one expects to hold a dead baby in their arms. This whole shitty journey is unexpected.
Today’s #MayWeAllHeal prompt is Unexpected Losses. Secondary losses are pretty common I gather from hearing about other peoples journey. It ranges from friendships, family members, marriages, jobs, money. The list is endless.
I didn’t know what to expect of people in the beginning. I don’t think I gave it an ounce of thought. We offered family the opportunity to meet Leo. We didn’t expect either way, we accepted it would be everyone’s own personal choice and that is absolutely fair and right. They all met him, those that could, and I’m grateful of that. To have been able to share him, show that he is real. He is our baby.
So what have I lost that I didn’t expect to loose? Given I didn’t expect to loose anything. I lost everything. Everything is my unexpected loss. I lost feeling normal. I lost being able to say hello to someone in the street with ease. Why is that so hard? Probably because for nearly four months my ‘circle’ has quickly become a small dot. I hadn’t realised how isolated I have let myself become. Hiding behind a keyboard. The few times I’ve talked out loud about all of this, to those that haven’t been here, every step, every beat, every moment and move… Well, I think my count is probably twice. Maybe three times I’ve seen someone who isn’t one of my very few closest friends or family. Except his funeral.
Is that me whose lost that? Or is it them? I don’t know. I don’t even try anymore. I don’t put the effort in. It’s too hard to try. To muster the ability to deal with it all. Is four months an appropriate time to consider it a loss?
We’ve acknowledged that none of this is helped by the fact that we live nowhere near our oldest friends. Distance. Physical. Emotional. I can’t tarnish everyone as a loss just because I haven’t seen them. Or spoken to them. Some people I know will always be there regardless. It’s those that play radio silence or denial.
What would I do, if I wasn’t me? Probably no different to what everyone else who isn’t me, is doing. Before. I hope I’ve learnt the hard way how a little goes a fucking long way in someone’s self-esteem and mental recovery.
Distance. It’s a safety net isn’t it. Why hang out with the grieving one, the one whose baby died inside of her, who delivered him, who held him in her arms for three days. That sounds like a friggin’ barrel of laughs. Who would you choose to hang out with? That or someone who is going to shout you a round of cocktails? Friendship goes deeper than a fucking mojito people.
It’s materialistic to be bothered about superficial friends, I think. The flakes are and will always be flakes. I’m not into that anymore. I need to trust. The ones that bother me the most are the ones who I’m not actually surprised by. I guess I always knew, when tested, it would fall to shit. I’m disappointed in bothering to try in the past. Tip – if you meet a new friend and you aren’t sure of its worth, have life shit on you, then see who hangs around for the clean up party.
Emotionally, the unexpected losses probably run so deep you’ll never really know until you need it. Strength. People say we are strong. Bollocks. This isn’t strength. Faking strength maybe. Glimmers, perhaps. We’ve lost confidence. Trust. Faith. Hope. Belief. Ease. Ease of doing anything. Freedom. Tolerance. Patience. Though, I’m practising that one.
It’s more than loosing friends. However shit they were or are. It’s what the loss of friends or family does to you at the time like this. I remember being so scared people wouldn’t come to Leo’s funeral. Or want to. Not wanting to and not coming – to me, that told me that those people didn’t value his worth in this world. I could not and would not let that to be the case. He is someone. And everyone deserves people to care about them. That’s what people being there meant to me.
It doesn’t just end at his funeral. It’s now, everyday, in everything. If people show up, care, try, listen, let Leo’s into their hearts – then he mattered, he has worth, he is real. For your friends or family to deny that something catastrophic has happened in your life, to disappear into the unknown of radio silence, to play pitiful lip service to your heartbreak with minimal effort. To me, that tells me that they don’t care about my son. That’s what it boils down to. That is the unexpected loss. That fucking hurts. Not as much as him dying. But close enough to be the first thought in my mind when people mention secondary losses. It’s a hard pill to swallow. It’s not loosing a friend. It’s loosing a bit of your son that could be flickering away in someone’s heart.
How do you deal with that?
I try and tell myself that they just don’t know what to do, but when other people can overcome that, I don’t have much sympathy for them. I’ll just light another flame for him in my heart. I’ll speak up louder. More often. His name will be bigger. Brighter. In my life. And in the life of those who do care. His flame isn’t smaller. It’s just bigger in less people’s hearts than I would have expected.