Month: April 2013

Friends with Death

there is not shortcut through grief

there is not shortcut through grief

As strange as it might sound: I’ve become friends with death.

I remember my relationship with death started when I was about 7 years old and my very own Guinean pig died. I was devastated. I don’t remember what my parents said or how they explained it but I remember that I found it lying motionless in his cage one morning, stiff and cold. I didn’t understand and I now realised that I was fearful of the uncontrollable force that could suck out all live of my precious companion.

The next significant meeting was at my grandfather’s funeral, when I was 13. I didn’t have much contact with him so I couldn’t really relate to the sadness of some if my relatives and felt awkward for bit being miserable. Next was my one grandmother, which I also wasn’t really close. I was aware of my dad’s sadness and dispair and observed grief in someone who wasn’t really openly showing emotions. My grandfather, which I was very close to while growing up, died while I was away traveling in the days prior to mobile phones. By the time I  found out I was so distraught that the holiday trip I was on with a friend came to a sudden halt, realising that there wasn’t time enough to return home for the funeral. This was an intense personal experience of grief for me, especially given the situation that I was alone and the other family members were gathering some 960km away.  (more…)

At Least You Have Got ONE

amnamRecently again I’ve been hearing the statements about ‘at least having one child’ and ‘you should be happy’… I have just read another bereaved mother’s words who has put it so eloquently, talking about her rainbow baby: ‘They soothe your pain and fill your aching arms.  But they cannot heal your heart.  They cannot fill the space that belongs to their sibling.’ 

That’s exactly right. Ananda Mae does not fill the space that is left empty as her twin sister has passed away. Of course I had and always have to deal with a different story to mothers who experience stillbirth, yet one child does not ‘make up’ for another. Even though I brought home ‘a’ baby, my body carried twins, my hopes were for sisters to grow up together, my dreams included them playing together…

Yes, I’m grateful to have Ananda Mae, of course, how could I not. That’s not to be questioned. I love her to bits. And I also do know that I am meant to mother 2 children. The wish for a child does not have a logical timeline and does not work on rationally making sense of percentage of chances.

Stages of Grief

~ you will never be forgotten ~

~ you will never be forgotten ~

I’ve been reading a lot about the stages of grief by Elisabeth Kübler-Ross, bevor the death in my family and also after. Her book ‘On Death and Dying’ is a must read for anyone who has no choice but having to deal with death and who’s interested to understand more about the topic.

She talks about the 5 stages of grief:

  1. Shock / denial
  2. Anger
  3. Depression
  4. Bargaining
  5. Acceptance

Rather than stages where, once gone through them you’ll return to a ‘meaningful life’ I’ve come to understand grief on a personal and professional level as a grief cycle: We go through the stages again and again. Sometimes it seem that we haven’t progressed at all, as we are yet again facing anger, for example. It still means progress because the anger will have changed, not necessarily become easier to deal with but you will have gone deeper in the process of grieving.

I guess I have become less social due to my process of grieving and some people find it hard to just be with what is in the moment, which adds to the social alienation.

Just recently I read a post from another grieving mother on Facebook, which I found very useful, especially in the case of loosing a child:

The 10 stages of a mother who has lost a child.

1. Shock- You don’t know what is happening
2. Comprehending -what happened to my child
3. Questioning-why my child
4. Lose Faith-Am I being punished for something I did wrong
5. Blame-If only I would’ve done this
6. Guilt- Why am I alive and my baby’s not
7. Acceptance- My child is gone
8. Depression- I can’t cope
9. Grieve-Repeating steps 1-8, maybe all in one day, maybe in a
different order, maybe some more than others
10. Bereavement begins
Steps 9-10 have no limit, it could possibly be a lifetime of healing.

Grief is Personal

amwinter3I’m being reminded how personal grief is lately. My father has removed things that reminded him about my mum. Someone’s blog I follow is reliving a miscarriage from a year ago. Yet another person apparently went back to work a week after a stillbirth and does not want to think or talk about it.

Some talk, some don’t. Some cry every day, some don’t. Some pray to God, some have lost faith. Some ‘spiritualize’ their experience and some don’t. Where I think we go wrong is when we tell someone else how to live with grief.

Grief is ever changing. Since I’ve held my daughter in my arms while she left her body and subsequently buried my mom less than 4 months later my grief has changed and is still changing constantly. Monthly anniversaries are changing. Everything has to do with the meanings I’ve changed (or they changed themselves) around those things.  (more…)