Time heals a bit, but mostly just hardens the scars #Rèmy

September 27, 2012 § Leave a comment

It’s almost three months since we buried Rèmy. The artificial flowers from his funeral were starting to deteriorate, so we removed the bulk of them on the weekend. We got a sculpture from The Warehouse of two Kea birds. We couldn’t agree on pots and flowers, and little shrubby things, so we got a weird garden sculpture. I quite like it now. We thought of it as representative of mummy and daddy, watching over our baby boy.

There have been some pretty big changes in my life in the past two weeks, namely my living situation has changed… for the better, and I finally have a dedicated space to work in. It’s awesome… I’m overwhelmed how great it is. When I was setting up my home office, I wanted something on the wall to remind me of Rèmy – not of his funeral, or his life before his death, but something else.

The hospital gives you this card after your baby dies, created by a great organisation called Sands Manukau – Baby Loss Support which has the date and time of your baby’s death, his weight and length and his little hand prints and foot prints. It’s such a sweet gesture, and we value it so much. I put the card on the wall of my new office, above my whiteboard. It feels so good to have it out and visible. I used to keep it in my diary. It did make me cry to put it up… a lot. But it’s just one of those things. I just miss him… I can’t help that. I feel like those tears christened my office and I love this space.

I went to an event last night where I knew I would bump into people who wouldn’t know what to say to me, knowing I lost my baby. There was awkwardness all round. I know it’s hard for people; they don’t want to not mention it, because they don’t want to appear uncaring, but then they know if they do mention it, perhaps it’ll open up a can of emotional worms… and take the conversation into even MORE awkward territory. So, some people didn’t mention it, but gave me knowing gestures (tilts of the head, warm and meaningful rubs on the back, sad eyes) and some did, and I delivered my well worn lines of, “I lost the baby in July… yeah, it’s OK… I’m OK.”

There’s nothing to say. Losing a baby is horrific. I don’t wish it on anyone. As time moves forward, you just get used to living with it.

Babies, Facebook and Tattoos

August 5, 2012 § Leave a comment

The fucked up thing about coming from a culture with a high birth rate is that every second day, babies are posted on your Facebook timeline. Every second day, I read the most loved up, joyous expressions of how life will never be the same, how much everyone loves this new baby, how he/she has a name so important, so loaded with love and history, responsibility and connection.

My partner keeps trying to tell me to just be happy for the friends and family who are blessed with new babies and successful pregnancies. Clearly, so much easier said than done. I tell him that its hard to put someone else’s happiness ahead of my sadness and that I can’t help how I feel. It’s not the pictures, the pictures are undeniably delicious, it’s the written expression that hurts the most. Because I know that what we went through was the exact polar opposite of that joy.

It has been a month since we buried our son. I’m getting a tattoo next week with his name. I feel bad sometimes when I catch myself remembering what we went through, losing Rèmy and then I realise that I’ve moved on, time has moved forward. I haven’t forgotten him, but you just build on the grief and life goes on. I haven’t had a tattoo in the past year because I’ve been pregnant for over six months of that time. I felt the other day that the time was right to get a new one.

God has taken my babies

July 9, 2012 § Leave a comment

People say God has taken my babies.

Can’t I just have one?



Random thoughts, grief and dreams: one week on

July 9, 2012 § Leave a comment

It’s one week since I lost Rèmy.

I woke up at 3.30am thinking ab0ut his grave. I was dreaming about the soil.

When I was shaking with fever yesterday morning, curled up in the fetal position feeling like I was going to die, I wanted to go to Rèmy’s grave. But I couldn’t see straight and couldn’t have driven. I clutched at the blanket we have kept that Rèmy was laid upon in the casket, and I felt strong.

This is a good resource for miscarriage specific grief – over the last week, my mind, body and soul has been tested to its limits.

One of the well-meaning but irritating comments I have been plagued with this week has been, your time will come – you’ll get there in the end. How do they know? Don’t they think I have hoped, prayed and wished for this? It doesn’t help. It’s well-meaning, but no one knows if this is true and therefore, don’t say it if it is not a statement based on truth.

These are just some thoughts at 4.30am. Lying awake in bed, thinking about Rèmy.

The Aftermath: when the body catches up

July 9, 2012 § Leave a comment

I’ve got the wickedest flu. Fever, cold sweats, meanest headache, achey  body. I feel like shit.

I hobbled to the doctor. My blood pressure was OK, temperature high, heartbeat racing. He said that having had the blood loss of last week, the grief and the trauma, it is natural to have low immunity and to be vulnerable to sickness and infection. As I lay in the nurse’s treatment room waiting for the doctor, I thought about all the things that could be wrong with me. I thought about dying, and having infections of the blood or uterus. Hearing the diagnosis of flu was a relief, but I’ve never had flu like this – the doctor said that it will feel more intense after having had the D&C operation, suffering heavy blood loss and low hemoglobin levels.

My fever has now dissipated, I’m feeling a tiny bit better but I’m hanging out for the antibiotics to kick in. I’m still dizzy, but not as bad as this morning.

But fuck this.

Being alone with my thoughts

July 8, 2012 § Leave a comment

The day after Rèmy’s funeral, my partner was due to go into work. We had a beautiful, deep sleep the night of the funeral and woke up feeling more at peace than we had been all week. I started making us breakfast – the kitchen was still a mess from hosting guests from the funeral at our house for lunch the previous day. I started to feel overwhelmed piling up dishes and returning things to their rightful place. We sat down to eat and I started to cry.

He put his arms around me and said he wouldn’t go to work, and I felt an immediate sense of relief. I didn’t realise how insecure I suddenly felt at the prospect of being alone. We ate breakfast, although I had lost my appetite. We did the dishes together and he cheered me up – our transition from deep sadness to humour is at times swift. He knows how to make me laugh and laughing makes me feel good.

Afterwards he sat down and played Mitch Hedberg videos on YouTube and I cleaned the lounge and kitchen areas slowly, listening and laughing, just happy he was there. The house slowly became normal again – clean, refreshed and ready for a new week.

We visited Rèmy in the afternoon – and it felt good. We looked at the other graves and headstones in the children’s area of Manukau Memorial Gardens and felt secure that Rèmy was in the presence of so many loved children and babies.

My partner’s rugby team, College Rifles, have been enormously supportive and they had planned to have a minute of silence for Taka and baby Rèmy before their game against East Tamaki. We went to watch, it was important moment for him. Watching rugby for me is the same feeling that he has when I drag him to art events – we tolerate and support each other but have limited engagement. I just enjoyed watching him enjoy the game. Our relationship has naturally intensified over this past week and I am deeply grateful to have him in my life.

The clingyness will fade. I was just afraid to be alone with my thoughts.

Rèmy and Tutu

July 8, 2012 § Leave a comment

Today I took  my father to see Rèmy at Manukau Memorial Gardens. He wasn’t here for the funeral, but was fortuitously transiting through Auckland on a trip from Fiji to Tahiti this week. It was really, really good to see him. We talked for a long time around Rèmy’s final resting place – about anchoring, symbolic gestures, about time and change. My father has lost his mother, father, brother and step-mother in my lifetime. We talked about death.

Losing Rèmy has made me re-evaluate my relationship with death. Spending time at Manukau Memorial Gardens has made me feel at ease with death – good people die, babies die, everyone dies – grief, sadness, mourning and pain are part of a process that affects every single person. I feel a sense of relief that I have deepened my relationship with death. And this experience has deepened my relationship with my family.

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