Poetry has the power to inspire and move us so much. It can express so much more with its tone and rhythm than simple words can. The rhyme seems to add more meaning and depth.
Please share your favourite baby loss poem on your blog and link it up.
Do not cry for me my parents,
For I am not lost, nor alone;
Do not cry for me my father,
For I am always here
Your rock and your stone.
Do not grieve for me my mother,
For I am always at your side.
I live inside of you both,
and my soul eternal glides,
amongst the stars, and moonlit nights
and in the shards of light.
Look out upon the heavens
For you will see me soaring there;
It was not my time dear mother,
yet you should not despair.
For I will come when I am ready,
and the time is right for me.
I live inside you both,
for now my soul is free.
So do not grieve for me Mother,
do not hang your heart in Woe,
For now I travel amongst the stars,
and Heaven is my home.
©Raphael. Monday, August 10th 2009
Sadly this weekend Gary Barlow and Dawn his wife lost their baby, their much awaited fourth child. Here in this link the BBC report upon why stillbirth remains a mystery http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-19163712
I have been thinking about this today. I visited a mortuary to talk about the services that I can offer to hospitals and we began talking about post mortems. I believe that post mortems can help us to understand the cause of stillbirth in some cases. Some cases like Finley, a cause still cannot be identified. But in many cases it can be discovered to be an infection that otherwise may remain hidden.
Post mortem rates are dropping, parents are not taking up to opportunity to discover a possible reason for the tragedy. In part I believe that this is down to fear and a lack of information about what actually occurs during a post mortem. I also believe that sad and tragic news reports where organs have been seperated from the body have not helped, and the nightmares I recall having about Finley’s post mortem remain very vivid images to my own mind.
I will be writing more upon this subject in the coming weeks.
Today the world is once again forced to open it’s eyes to the suffering that many parents face every day. In fact here in the UK 11 babies will be stillborn every day – EVERY SINGLE DAY. And another 6 babies will die within a month of being born. Do you realise how many babies that is? Over 6000 babies every year in the UK alone.
Then more shocking comes the statistic that 50% of these losses are preventable. Really? Yes really. 50% of these irreplaceable babies are needlessly lost. And then another shocking statistic in the last 10 years in the UK we have not reduced this number at all. SIDS deaths have been reduced by 75% in the same time period, but stillbirth rates have not changed at all.
Baby loss is the hidden taboo. Yet today #RIPPoppy was trending world wide. Gary and Dawn Barlow have sadly had to face this reality, they are looking to the future with only memories to help ease their pain. Little Poppy joins Finley and the many other babies today. Tomorrow the world will wake up to this story in all of the newspapers and perhaps for five minutes they will understand what we parents face every single day.
Every single day we get up to a silent house, we open the curtains in a newly decorate nursery that will never hold the sound of a baby crying, we walk with our eyes shut tight past the nappy aisle in the supermarket, we see 3 am every morning, because it is less lonely than going to bed with a body that aches to cradle a baby. Will the world open their eyes and see us? Will they start to stand up and say this is unacceptable?
2nd August 2012 began as it usually does with the cuddles in bed with a squishy almost 2 year old. It doesn’t allow a lot of time for sadness. This birthday has had a different focus for me. I have felt a pressure to not pass my sadness on to Finley’s sister. You see the realisation hit me that this is our sadness not hers. She will know who her brother is, we decided that almost immediately. But how she will know him depends on us in the most part.
If you take it to it’s basic level, my basic belief, actually Finley is magical. He is somewhere beautiful. He is peace, he is freedom, he is pure love, he is able to fly. He gives magical gifts of knowledge, he shows us he is there, he makes us see the world differently. Even my hubby sees the world differently. I caught him the other night saying goodnight to a shadow. Clearly this shadow matters to him. The first Christmas without Finley I put two silver sparkly fairies dangling from the lights. I haven’t had the heart to take them down. And sometimes when the light is right the shadow appears on the blinds.
So that is the way I want Twinkle to know her brother. I want her to know her brother as magic, not sadness. The sadness is ours. There is nothing wrong with it, but there is no need for her to feel it as her own. Perhaps I am wrong in that. But anyway that’s how I felt.
So, I took Twinkle off to the childminder as usual, and went home. Baz and I slept for a bit (which is always heaven when you have a 2 year old who wakes every day without fail with the birds – the very noisy baby seagulls are her current alarm clock!). He then started cleaning, so I followed suit. Another rare occurrence in my house. It actually worked quite well as a I’m gonna avoid what this day is. Eventually though the urge to be with Finley got too much to ignore. I went to visit him. I sat chatting to him, took some of the cards that he had been sent down and laid them on his grave ready to open later.
Finley’s grandparents came up to be with us. They brought a cute little gnome, pot plant holder, and a lovely card. We went to pick up Twinkle, and had a lovely surprise. Her childminder had helped her make a picture. It had the number three on it and lots of stars. I was so relieved and happy that she had helped Twinkle do that. Twinkle was very excited by the balloons, walking round all the little baby graves with them. We let some balloons go as we usually do, and actually Twinkle made me smile I forgot to cry. She has this amazing ability to see the wonder in everything. And I captured a lovely photo of her Daddy and her watching the balloons laughing. We had to let her keep a red star though.
I had come up with a new idea this year. I’d written little gift tags for the little angels that I know of who share Finley’s birthday date, and tied them to the necks of some rubber ducks. We went to a little bridge over the river. Twinkle and Nanna really enjoyed dropping them off the bridge and watching them travel towards the sea. I wonder where they end up.
I ended the night reading Twinkle a book for the first time. It is a picture book called Someone came before you. I managed to read it without crying. She liked the pictures, and I am sure that the words will come to bring understanding to her.
To my sweet son Finley John,
Three. Three years since our world changed. Three years since my heart has not felt whole. Three years since I learnt to paint on the smile. Three years since I met you. Three years since I held you in my arms. Three years since we named you. Three years since your Daddy said your ears were different sizes. Three years since you wore your little outfit. Three years since we bathed you.
All the memories feel like it was only yesterday and simultaneously a lifetime ago. Tonight I am missing you so much. Your sister is asleep in her bedroom. I gave her an extra kiss for you as I always do and whispered to her your story. She knows your name, but I don’t think she knows that you are her brother or where you are. I don’t want her to be sad about you. I think it will be a special thing to have a brother in heaven. She already loves your grave and playing with the pretty things on it.
So we count down to tomorrow. Your third birthday and this year it will be in style. You have your beautiful headstone. It’s everything we hoped for, whilst wishing we didn’t have to have one. It is a little bit of me, and a little bit of your Daddy – just like you are.
I don’t know yet what we will do tomorrow. We will find a way to celebrate you, and think of you. I will come down and see you at 6am, as I usually do. Thinking of that morning three years ago when I woke up to be told your heart had stopped. I will never forget that first day spent getting to know your face. Your pale little eyebrows, the birth mark next to one of them that looked like a comma. The little Leaver dimple on your chin that runs in my family and the chubby cheeks. I miss those little cheeks so much.
I wish with all my heart that you were here with me. Everyone thinks I am brave, but I am not. Every day is a battle to keep smiling. Every day is a battle to get up and face the world without you. Every day I look at your sister and see you, but as you were, and then the you I will never see catches in my throat. Always a tear is close.
But you see always in every moment there are a mixture of feelings. I feel sad and miss you but I am so proud of you as well. No matter how many times I tell your story I will never get tired. There are always new memory’s and new things that I learn in it’s telling. And each time I speak about you, you stay close to me.
In three years you have inspired 4 training days for professionals, people to raise over £5000, a day for parents to learn to heal, me to join the Maternity Services Liaison Committee in Somerset, a book to be written, a short documentary to be made, an e learning to be created, a track to be made with your heart beat in it, a blog, a facebook page, a twitter page, helped people worldwide at their saddest time.
You are truly amazing Finley.