I didn’t know five years ago that a broken heart could be folded up and tucked into your back pocket. But it can.
Five years ago this week my daughter died.
And after the storm passed and the wind stopped howling and the ten-foot waves stopped violently slamming my brain, my heart, my feelings, my mind, my beliefs, my faith into rocks before slowly trying to drag me under, I had to find a way to function. I had to find a way to, you know, do the groceries and ring the electrician about the broken garage door and order a coffee and a muffin at the coffee shop up the road without tears streaming down my face.
So once the storm passed, I learned to smooth out my grief and fold it up like one of my dad’s worn out maps of the Sunshine Coast he keeps in the glove box of his Commodore. I tuck my sadness into my back pocket so I can function like someone who isn’t living every parent’s worst nightmare. I think about my daughter Georgie without thinking about her – if that makes any sense.
And on the days when I feel like marinating myself in my loss and my sadness I get out my grief from my back pocket and I play Georgie’s song and look through her photos and see her hand prints – I take my broken heart out for a spin. And I think about the fact that once upon a time a long, long time ago I held my own beautiful but lifeless baby in my arms in a maternity ward full of newborn cries.
I think about my Georgia Grace who was robust (3.47kg) and healthy and beautiful and had her big sister’s nose but darker hair.
This week as part of Never Forgotten: Mamamia’s Pregnancy Loss Awareness Week we’re remembering the babies we’ve lost. Post continues below.”
And I think about how I sang to her a made-up song and begged her to come back to me. Please come back to me.
And then I fold up that grief and put it back in my pocket and get on to living my beautiful happy life. Because – please know – I do have a beautiful happy life with my husband and three magical little rascals whose sleepy heads I get to breathe in and kiss every night. My joy and my sadness are content companions.
But this week, the anniversary of Georgie’s death, all bets are off. This week, like Mother’s Day and my birthday, my grief is seeping into my days. It’s water spilled on a painting and everything is starting to run.
But that’s okay. It’s how it should be – for me, anyway.
The worst bit is not my sadness this week. It’s that I spend my days looking for her.
I look for a sign. A message. A song. A flicker. A symbol. A whisper at my ear late at night. A glimpse in my dreams. Something. Anything to tell me that she’s here. Or around. Or loves me. Or something.
Maybe I’ve watched too much Caspar as a kid.
I long to see her, hold her, touch her. Look into her eyes.
I want to know: now you are five, which Disney Princess is your favourite? Do you like hopscotch or Lego? Frozen or Spongebob? Vegemite or Peanutbutter? Or all of the above? Do you live for stories or long to dance and dance and dance? Would you and Ava have been best friends, partners in crime, or niggled each other to distraction?
I don’t know. And that’s the true grief losing a baby. The missing out on. The not knowing. My older daughter has a little sister whose piggytail she cannot pull in jest.
So today I’m sad. And that’s okay. I’m not afraid of my sadness. I don’t need “cheering up”. There is no fix for this. Five years ago my second daughter died.
And I miss her.
But I’m okay. We’re all okay. We just miss you, Georgie. And we wish you were here so very much to have and to hold. We love you.
Happy birthday, darling heart.
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