But then she didn’t. We had to sit confused; listening to how they were going to switch off her ventilator; to make sure she had last minute cuddles, to prepare ourselves. This was not what we were supposed to be preparing for, it most certainly wasn’t part of the plans we’d had the day before.
Related: Til Death Do Us Part
As they passed her over to us, a piece of plastic near her face to keep her going; to keep her breathing in the hope she could still hear us say how much we loved her, how much we wanted her to stay; begging her not to go. I felt her final heartbeat, her final warm breath against my cheek. Our baby daughter was gone. From that moment, I couldn’t even tell you where she had gone. I held her, my husband held her, but she was dead. Her heart and her brain had stopped.
We watched as the messages arrived, “Rest in Peace, angel.” “She’s never far from you.” Much the same repeated over and over again. Kind messages about the loss of our baby daughter. I even announced to the world that she had grown her wings. Looking back I wonder whether this was a way to soften the blow of a baby dying to everyone reading. “My little Angel”. I had become a Mum to an angel.
The visit to the chapel of rest approached; I’d get to see “my little angel” one last time. As I bent down to kiss her, forgetting that her skin was no longer warm; I started to realize that this baby, our little girl wasn’t an angel.
As I watched her coffin being lowered into the ground, I never expected that night that the nightmares would appear. Had they got her death right? They’d checked her properly, hadn’t they? There was no way our daughter was anywhere but in the cold wet ground, I had watched them place her. It’s not something you’d forget. My brain began to block the floaty angelic images I had tried to imagine; only remembering her cold skin and the tiny box now covered with dirt. She’d died; there was nowhere for her to go. How was there anywhere better than in my arms?
I was repeatedly informed that she hadn’t really gone, that she lived in my heart; she was wherever I was. There must have been something wrong with me; there had to have been; I couldn’t sense my own baby; people were telling me she had sent the flowers or a dragonfly, nice weather or just a sense of her being.
Did she blame me for her death?
Was it because I could only love her through the see-through box and wires?
Was the five weeks together not long enough for her to have realized I was – am her Mum?
What had I done so wrong that she doesn’t want to be around me?
Related: Angels Among Us
I began to feel hurt over people sensing my baby near them, the things she was ‘doing’ for them. Yet I watched her die, I watched as the tiny little coffin was lowered into the ground; how could she possibly be anywhere other than there?
She isn’t in her bed or cuddled next to me. She was born with legs – working ones, she kicked the doctors as she made her entrance. There were no wings, no angels came for her. Our little girl died, she died from Sepsis there is nothing spiritual about our loss; every single part of it is ugly.
I have fought with these feelings since 2012, with a sense of guilt, anger and sadness. I have beaten myself up so many times because I have been the one person not to sense my own baby when I am told I should be. It is exhausting to hear. To find this bond with a soul I don’t believe exists; so make her death into the fluffy angels I wish I could believe; to know that there is something other than the dirt-filled ground that she lays, the cold – knowing that every single time we visit, she is just there, within touching distance, beneath our feet or under the grass; that is the truth for me. She’s in my thoughts – she is my daughter, but she isn’t with me, and I don’t believe my daughter in an Angel.
I live in the UK, Mum to five children, one of whom could only stay for five weeks. Since her death, I have found a passion through writing to make sure nobody feels as alone as we did. I’m open and honest, that helps me to release the love I have for a girl who couldn’t stay.