Once in a while someone else’s post comes along that makes me feel like they’ve looked into my head and written down my own feelings.
This happens quite regularly with posts in the wonderful Still Standing magazine, which is written by people who have experienced all kinds of baby and child loss. It’s written by people who ‘get it’ – and while it is sad to know there are so many other broken-hearted parents in the world, it is reassuring to know I am not alone in my feelings.
We bereaved parents identify as being members of a metaphorical ‘baby/child loss club’ – we gain membership to the exclusive club that no one ever wants to join. I read ‘I Quit’ yesterday. It’s written by a mum whose baby boy died. In it, the author describes how when she became pregnant, she signed up to a life of sleepless nights, messy nappies, and all the milestones you expect as your child grows up. Instead, she has to find ways to remember her son, and find ways to handle her grief in a society that all too often just does not know how to handle grieving people.
This paragraph was particularly resonant:
Cancel my membership, effective immediately. I want my hopes, my dreams, my joy, my sanity, my beliefs, and my innocence returned to me immediately. And – most importantly – above all else, I want my loved, wanted, and beautiful son returned to me without even a moment passing.
Oh yes, so so much.
I really hate being a member of this club. I thought I had signed up to be a member of different clubs – antenatal groups, mum and baby groups, playgroup, and the like.
It was good to fantasise for a moment that cancelling my membership might be possible.
But it’s not.
Sadly, I know membership to this club is for life. There is no cancelling my membership, not by any means.
My life membership of this club involves nurturing Hugo’s memory, and his legacy, instead of nurturing him in my arms.
I miss Hugo so much. I love Hugo so much.
It sucks. That’s an understatement. I don’t have a more appropriate word.
It is what it is.
We bereaved parents will know each other by the look in our eyes, in the sadness of the words we write, in the sorrow reading between the lines of what they say. It is our version of the funny secret handshake greeting of another exclusive club, the Masons. I am sure we all would dearly love to be able to leave the club. To have our innocence restored, our hopes, dreams, joy, sanity returned.
To have our child returned to us.