“I have five children, but I parent four. One of my children died.” I can see the look that changes your face in an instant. You don’t realise you’re doing it, but I can see it: the twist of pain, the looks of discomfort as you’re unsure of how I am going to take this conversation.
You tell me you’re honoured about hearing of her—our little girl who didn’t make it. But in the same breath, you tell me that it hurts your heart, and you often don’t know what to say. Me telling you makes me instantly a different person to you. You look at me in a completely different way—Your eyes look heavy. I can hear that deep breath (that you thought was silent) because you fear that maybe I will share too much or maybe even infect you somehow.
Then I find myself saying sorry. Sorry for upsetting you; sorry for mentioning her; sorry for not keeping her a secret; sorry for having a daughter who died. Sorry that the loss of our daughter caused you to cry or to seek help.
Related: The Cloak Of Shame
“I don’t understand these people who keep talking about IT, who feel the need to share their losses, why don’t they just get on with it—I did.” I remain quiet because I fear that I am different, for not being over it as quickly as the next person. I question, “Am I even coping the way I am meant to?”
Am I ill for talking about HER? Should I be moved on? How am I supposed to just forget her?
I’m sorry for bringing her up again. I’m sorry for grieving too long. I’m sorry I am not grieving the right way. I am sorry for talking about my daughter who died.
Related: Facing Trauma While Grieving
I watch as the children move from one year to another, school holidays, new uniforms, new start. Another year where we are minus one; another year of never knowing who she could have been. No friends, no clubs, no teams. No school reports.
I’m sorry that I am glad my living children are growing up and that I don’t want them to stop growing. I’m sorry that just sometimes I feel sad that one of our children isn’t moving up.
I am sorry.
As I hear time and time again the wonderful work the healthcare professionals do to provide care, I am sorry that not all are the same. I am sorry it fills me with a deep and heavy sadness when places get praise because I just wish our baby could have been one of them, too. I wish her heart hadn’t stopped. I wish everything were different. I wish I could have done more to save her.
I could have left her in the past.
I could have felt the shame of having a baby who died.
I could have given up.
I’m sorry our daughter died.
My heart hurts too.
Photo Credit: Canva
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.