The Hardest Goodbye

Tonight is our last night with you before we finally have to say goodbye and I don’t quite know how I’m going to manage.

10 weeks ago, you came into our lives and instantly made them magical. You were so unexpected but so wanted and so loved. You may have been a surprise but you were the best kind. You were more than a foetus, you were hope, you were happiness, you were a promise that life was working out as I’d always dreamed it would. In such a short space of time, you made it hard to imagine life without you.

But the reality is, now we have to.

Tonight, you still lay wrapped in the warmth of my love…and my womb and even though I know you are already ‘gone’, I hope you can feel the strength of our love. I hope every day of your short lived life, you have felt our love, mine too irradiating inside me.

I loved watching you grow and my god, you were growing just perfectly. As my third baby, you made no point in trying to be discreet. From 5 weeks, you were visible for the world to see. My perfectly rounded bump was the best proof that you were snuggled inside but tonight, I look down at my still slightly swollen stomach and wish so badly that things were different, I wish so badly that you could stay. Now, I am so deflated in so many ways! Excess weight sags, the remnants of your perfect existence but the real deflation stems from our grief.

You are still there, so why do I feel so empty? You are still there, so why do I feel so alone? You are still there, so why can’t you stay?

Everyone tells me how common this is, statistics show that every 1 in 4 pregnancies ends this way and even though that supplies the recognition that I’m not the only person to ever feel this way, I am the only person to experience the way that I am feeling and I don’t know how to comprehend it. I’m angry, I’m sad, I’m drained, I’m devastated. I feel tired – both physically and mentally. I feel numb.

I feel guilt.

How can I ever forgive myself for losing you? How can your Daddy ever look at me the same way? Since he found out about you, he’s looked at me so admiringly and he’s felt so proud but how can he feel those things now that I’ve let him down? Now that I’ve let you down? People tell me that I can’t blame myself, that this is not my fault and maybe one day, I’ll accept that but right now, all I feel is guilt and uselessness. What if I drank too much coke? Why didn’t I listen to everyone who told me to slow down? What did I get so wrong?

The worst part is, I have to accept that I’ll never know.

I’m so sorry, my beautiful baby. I’m so sorry that our love couldn’t protect you. If it had been able to, you’d have lived an infinite amount.

I think back to all the excitement you brought – everyone wanted you – me especially! I say that in case you ever felt my early doubts. Please know how very much I wanted you and how very much I needed you. I hate to think you left us feeling like my fear was anything more than nervous excitement and each day you were with us, my want for you became undeniable.

We were so lucky that at 8 weeks and 1 day, we were able to watch your heart beating. Seeing the pulses so strong and so powerful made us so hopeful that you were here to stay and we had so many aspirations for you already. We’d named you, we knew what your hobbies would be, we thought about all the wonderful things you would be! How could we ever know that only hours after we saw you, your heart would stop beating forever?

It hurts so badly that I’ve carried you for two weeks, blissfully unaware of your passing inside me. For two weeks, I’ve caressed my swollen bump, told friends and loved ones about how excited we were and made plans for our future. For two weeks, I’ve talked to you, promised to keep you safe and loved you unconditionally.

We all have…and we always will! I hate that your Brother and Sister will never get to meet you, I hate that you’ll never know their love. I’ve been so eager to tell them, I know they’d have been as excited and as proud of you as me and your Daddy have been.

Tonight may be our last night together but you’ll reside in our hearts for all of our lives. How ever short your stay was, you impacted on us greatly and I will be forever grateful that I got to be your Mammy.

Tomorrow, I have to let them take you from me and that is something I never want to be true. Tomorrow will be the hardest goodbye and I don’t ever think we’ll be ready.

I hope you are in heaven with our family, I hope you are being loved on the other side. Tonight, I can’t bear to say goodbye so instead I’ll say goodnight and god bless…goodnight and god bless my little prince or princess…until we get to hold you in our arms, we’ll be holding you in our hearts.


I’ll Love You Always, Remember You Forever

So this is it – the first day of the rest of my life without you. It’s a day I’ve dreaded for as long as I can remember, a day I’d hoped wouldn’t come for yet another decade. 
I held your hand yesterday, as you finally allowed yourself to sleep. I sang you a lullaby under my breath, said my prayers for you. You were beautiful your entire life but in that moment, you were radiant. I saw the peace in your heart, the relief in your face. 
We were relieved too. Thankful for your calm departure. 
Thankful is a word I want to use a lot today. You see, you’ve given me so much to be thankful for. For you alone, I’m thankful.
You’ve always inspired me – even as a little girl. You taught me how to read and write before I went to Primary School. You sat for endless hours on your sitting room floor showing me how to curl a C. You patiently reiterated word after word as I read aloud to you. As I grew, you continued to instil a love of English into me. You listened to my poetry, told me how talented I was. You read my stories, encouraged me to write more and more. At 30 year old, I still find pleasure in the passions you nurtured. You gave me the confidence to pursue a career in English, the confidence to publish my writing for others to read.

You gave me the best advice. You were always the first person I turned to in a crisis, the one I’d believe could make me see sense. I’ll always be grateful for the time you spent advising me. You watched me transition into a woman, put my mind at ease at every uncomfortable or daunting moment. 
The day my Husband left me, you discovered me lying alone in my Mother’s hallway. The pain of my heartache had rendered me physically unable to move. You sat beside me, stroked my hair and reassured me that I had the strength within me to get up and move on. You made me see my worth, appreciate that if he never returned, I’d do so much more than survive. You held my hand as I steadied to my feet. Like a newborn Deer, my knees buckled and weakened. You held my hand, made me straighten my back and carry on living.

When he returned, you wished us the best and told me you were proud of the strength I’d shown, that sometimes it was stronger to try and make things work than simply disregard them. You had a way of making me feel as though I’d always made the right decision (even if you believed I hadn’t).
The day I discovered I was pregnant, it was your advice I wanted to hear. I could never imagine becoming a Mother without your guidance or support. You were there the day my son arrived, you were there throughout his colic and when my heart broke over not being able to breastfeed, it was you who showed me that there was no shame in formula. You who made me see that his eating habits are nothing to become stressed about. From the day my Daughter arrived prematurely, you taught me to panic less, to be dramatic less. You’ve loved my children with the same unconditional love you showed me and my Brother. You’ve told me over and over again that I’m doing a wonderful job. I couldn’t be a Mother without you. The Mother I am is down to your advice and relaxed approach. Thank you for making me feel like I’m doing alright. 
I owe my sense of Adventure to you. My Mother, a natural born worrier, would have seen me swaddled in cotton wool. You encouraged me to experience life. Told me that I shouldn’t ever let fear or worry prohibit me from living. It was that courage which made it easy for me to leave my profession and seek new challenges. You’ve always made me see that change doesn’t ever have to be daunting, change can be miraculous, exciting, necessary!
The change we’re experiencing right now is harrowing and tragic but even to your dying day, you wanted us to believe that even this was for the best. 
Whilst you were still conscious, you asked us all to be happy for you. We are. We’re happy that you’re no longer suffering, no longer in pain. We’re happy that you’re with your Father again, dancing on his shoes. We’re happy that we saw you leave, had time to say our full goodbyes. Mostly, we’re happy for the life you’ve given us. 
I feel privileged to have known you, honoured to have felt your love, advantaged to have so many beautiful and noteworthy memories with you.
So thank you for your amazing grace. Thank you for making me the woman that I am.
Thank you for being my Gran, my best friend.
I’ll love you always, I’ll remember you forever.