I made a new friend on Instagram over the past few years. Her name is Rachael. We somehow connected due to our fertility journeys - I was blogging about my decision to cease IVF at the time while Rachael and her husband were (and still are) on a mission to have their rainbow baby after the death of their daughter, Mackenzie.
Mackenzie was born with Spinal Muscular Atrophy and passed away at 7 months of age. Rachael and her husband have since become fierce advocates for genetic testing and have written an incredible book about their journey, which was released a few weeks ago.
As I got to know Rachael, first through DMs and text messages and then in real life, I noticed how much she posted about her daughter.
Watch: Robin Bailey on losing her Dad at a young age. Post continues below.
I thought to myself, and I probably even verbalised to my husband, “She talks about it a lot. I think maybe too much. I don’t think she’s found the tools to move on or get over it.”
Though in the past few weeks I have come to understand Rachael.
Last month my father passed away, at home in palliative care, after a year-long battle with brain cancer.
I’m not, even for a second, saying that I feel or can imagine the pain Rachael experiences. Outliving your child is unnatural, it’s not the way it is supposed to be. The death of my father, while crushing, is the natural course of life.
From it though, I have learnt now why Rachael talks about her daughter who died, still. And so often.
But people don’t really want you to talk about your loved one who died.
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There is a house. A home. I know it in the light and I know it in the darkness, too, for it has always been my home. The rooms are quiet now. There is no light and there is no noise. There’s no sunshine pushing through the blinds or laughter at the kitchen table. No flicker from old golf games on the telly. There’s no light from the freezer or clink from the ice cubes for a late night scotch. No duck quacks to make the baby giggle. There isn’t a rattle of Tic Tacs or a request for prawns. No softly spoken affections or gently lent ears. You were the light. You were my home. You were my dad. ❤️