To the Mummy at the cemetery

To the Mummy at the cemetery,

I saw you today, sobbing at the cemetery. Your babies grave so fresh and new, the flowers you so lovingly picked out now wilting and dying, a sad reminder of how nothing lasts forever.

There was a fleeting moment where our eyes met, a small nod of the head as we smiled through our tears, an unspoken exchange of sympathy, of sadness, a reluctant resignation that we were both in this together.

I watched you clear away the leaves that had formed on the graveside, sweeping them aside in a flurry of colour, in the exact same way that I do. You took out a baby wipe and cleaned away the rainwater that was forming on the headstone and I could not help but wonder had you bought those wipes for your baby, had you stocked up the nursery with nappies and outfits, now packed away in boxes, too painful to look at.

I watched you standing there staring down at the grave, your face wracked with grief, dabbing furiously at the tears that spilled from your eyes. And I noticed your hair, still unbrushed, your eyes red and swollen, the hem of your skirt trailing in the mud, and I saw myself, ten years earlier, still caught up in a world of grief, of anger and despair and the fear that life will never go back to normal.

And the harsh reality is that it won’t, not ever, but you will discover a new kind of normal. You’ll find a way to go about your day, just as before. You’ll get out of bed, get dressed, put on your face and go about your day in exactly the same way, as though nothing at all has changed. And yet, inside, you will know that everything, absolutely everything, has changed.

And that first year is hard, so unbearably hard, when that grief is still so raw and you can’t see a way through. Birthdays, Christmas, your first Mothers Day without your little one, the pain is agonising, and yet day by day, one foot in front of the other, you will get through it.

You will smile, you will laugh and in time you will discover that life can still be fun, that there is so much ahead of you to be excited about.  And then you will beat yourself up all over again that you have enjoyed yourself, that for a split second you allowed yourself to feel happy, that you have somehow betrayed your baby in having a moment that wasn’t entirely consumed by grief and sadness.

You may go on to have more children, who you will love with all of your heart, but they will not take away from your pain, or replace the baby that you lost. They will help you when it physically hurts to breathe, when your arms feel empty  and you just need someone to hold. You will watch them grow with a bittersweet feeling that your little one never got the chance to, and you will look at them and inevitably think, what would he have been like, what would our lives have been like with him in it?

As I watched you leave, your face wracked with pain and sadness, I imagined that once you were safe in your car you would allow yourself to let out those angry, desperate sobs of despair, and you would drive away, bleary eyed, asking yourself why? Why me? Why my baby? And my heart broke for you, it really did.

To the Mummy at the cemetery, I wanted to tell you that it will all be okay, I really did, and yet I couldn’t. Because it wont be okay, not ever, but you will survive this and that is the most important thing to remember.

xxx

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106 Comments

    • April 14, 2016 / 7:05 pm

      Thank you for reading. xx

  1. mumworkrepeat
    April 14, 2016 / 6:50 pm

    Well, that’s definitely brought a tear to my eye and I’m fighting back the rest. A truly beautiful post and as Someone’s Mum has said above absolutely heartbreaking. It makes me feel so very lucky to have a healthy little boy by my side xxx

    • April 14, 2016 / 7:05 pm

      Ahh bless you, I am so lucky to have four healthy children right here beside me. Thank you for reading. xx

  2. min1980
    April 14, 2016 / 7:58 pm

    This brought a tear to my eye. You can’t help but think “what if that had been me.” I wish that the woman in the cemetery could read this and hopefully find some comfort from it. #StayClassy

    • April 14, 2016 / 8:35 pm

      Ahh bless you, I think that was the biggest shock for me, that still birth can happen to any of us. I would love for her to read this, maybe next time if I see her again I will tell her all of this. Xx

  3. April 14, 2016 / 8:09 pm

    Thought provoking and beautifully written. Thank you for putting into words what so many of us feel but aren’t brave enough to put down in black and white.

    • April 14, 2016 / 8:34 pm

      Thank you. It’s so hard isn’t it? It breaks my heart every time I go down there and see a new grave, far too many beautiful babies gone too soon. Xx

  4. April 14, 2016 / 8:20 pm

    Heartbreaking, really emotional.
    A beautiful and empathetic letter Laura to a fellow mother surviving in tragic circumstances xx
    #momsterslink

    • April 14, 2016 / 8:31 pm

      Thank you. I hope by some miracle that she sees this. Xx

  5. April 14, 2016 / 8:40 pm

    It’s such a sad thing to see others going through such a dark place. It takes you back, and you just want to take that pain away. xx
    Thanks for linking up to #coolmumclub

    • April 15, 2016 / 8:23 am

      Absolutely. When I see friends going through hell I always tell them that they will survive it, it just might not feel like it at the time. Thank you for reading. Xx

  6. heelstowellies
    April 14, 2016 / 8:45 pm

    So moved by this. So beautifully written.

  7. Kat
    April 15, 2016 / 6:29 am

    Yeah the tears are falling from this. What a beautiful and heartbreaking post. I just can’t imagine this. Loss is such a hard thing to deal with but you’re right, one step after another, you develop a new sense of normal and you survive. #momsterlink

    • April 15, 2016 / 8:21 am

      Aww bless you. I think that’s all you can do isn’t it? When tragedy strikes you can either survive it, or not. For me I had to survive it, I had a 2 year old you needed me and a family willing me to get through it. Thank you for reading. Xx

  8. Biola 'Leye
    April 15, 2016 / 9:47 am

    I don’t know you or her but this gripped my heart. She is in my prayers and I hope she has a strong enough support system.

    Thank you for sharing.

    #PoCoLo

    • April 15, 2016 / 9:48 am

      I thought about this lady for a long time afterwards and hoped that she had someones arms to fall into when she returned home. I was so lucky to have a supportive family and friends, not everyone is that lucky are they? xx

      • Biola 'Leye
        April 15, 2016 / 11:54 am

        Not everyone is truly that lucky…one can only hope and pray for her.

        Seriously, no parent deserve to lose their child -born / unborn and I wish nobody have to go through this, ever. But then, life happens.

  9. April 15, 2016 / 10:05 am

    Oh my. This is so beautiful. I can’t begin to imagine how hard it is to lose a baby and I am so grateful for that. #picknmix

    • April 15, 2016 / 10:07 am

      I think it is impossible to understand most things unless you experience them isn’t it? I thought that I would crumble and die after we lost Joseph and although I did crumble, how could I not, I did survive and thank god I did. I keep thinking about the Mummy I saw, I hope that she finds a way through. Thanks for reading. xxx

      • April 15, 2016 / 10:14 am

        Thank you for writing it. My mother in law lost one of her twins at three months old. My sister in law is now 35 but we still mention Jennifer regularly and when my MIL actually sat us down and told me and my husband the whole story 10 years ago she still cried. I guess it never goes away. It’s just different. Xx

        • April 15, 2016 / 10:15 am

          Oh gosh how sad. I think losing a twin must be so difficult, there is that constant reminder every minute of every day isn’t there? Joseph would have been 10 this July and there are days when I still cry as though it was the day that we lost him. Others are so much easier, and there is so much happiness in my life from my four healthy children. You’re so right though, and if different helps us survive then that’s what it will be, just a new kind of normal, forever. xxx

  10. April 15, 2016 / 10:55 am

    Oh this is becoming a regular occurrence, me crying at your posts! It’s so beautiful and heartfelt. I can’t even imagine what it’s like to lose a baby but I am so glad you write about these experiences. You are wonderful. #stayclassy

    • April 15, 2016 / 10:59 am

      Aww I’m sorry!! Thank you for still reading them, even though they make you emotional, its lovely to share these posts and hopefully help someone who needs it right now. Xx

  11. April 15, 2016 / 11:38 am

    Hi Laura, your post bought a tear to my eyes. I can’t begin to imagine what it must be like to lose a child and I hope that I never find out, but for anyone who has lost a child your post must mean so much.

    It’s a shame that the lady in the cemetery doesn’t know you wrote this for her (or maybe she does!) as she must be in a very lonely place right now.

    xx

    • April 15, 2016 / 11:40 am

      Thank you. I have been thinking about her a lot, wondering if she has somehow seen this, I think if I see her again I will speak to her and perhaps share my experience with her. Thanks for reading. Xx

  12. April 15, 2016 / 11:42 am

    I’ll be honest, I started reading this last night then had to stop and try again this morning – having kids does that to you right?! Also I never know the right thing to say on subjects like this, everything seems to sound so lame. I really cannot imagine what it must be like to lose a child but I just wanted you to know that I think your positivity and warmth shine through your posts which are so beautifully written.

    • April 15, 2016 / 7:39 pm

      Ahh thank you for reading, I think just saying somethings is enough isn’t it? Xx

  13. April 15, 2016 / 11:42 am

    Gosh, I don’t quite know what to say … Humbling and heartbreaking. I’m sorry for your loss seems inadequate

    • April 15, 2016 / 7:39 pm

      Sometimes there are just no words aren’t there? Thank you for reading. Xx

  14. April 15, 2016 / 12:15 pm

    This is so beautifully written and heartbreaking. This must be one of the worst things for anyone to have to go through and my heart goes out to the woman in your post, and to you. I think you’re amazing to be able to write so positively – I really hope this is helpful to someone out there, whether the lady in question reads it or not.

    • April 15, 2016 / 7:38 pm

      Thank you. I would love for it to help someone who is struggling, I wish someone had reached out to me at the time and told me that I would survive. Thanks for reading again. Xx

  15. April 15, 2016 / 12:23 pm

    This is beautifully written and oh so sad too. it reminded me of someone I know and how it’s been for her. Thank you. #pocolo

    • April 15, 2016 / 7:36 pm

      Oh I’m sorry for the person you know, it’s so sad that anyone has to go through this isn’t it? Thank you for reading. Xx

  16. April 15, 2016 / 12:52 pm

    all too often I’ve seen these mothers at my job at the hospital. Heartbreaking

    • April 15, 2016 / 7:35 pm

      Oh that must be hard. I will never forget the kindness that the hospital staff showed me at that time, it always helps to feel supported and cared for. Xx

      • April 16, 2016 / 2:02 am

        That’s what we are supposed to do. Wish it happened more often though

  17. April 15, 2016 / 2:14 pm

    Yet another incredibly moving and beautifully written post. Every mum who has ever lost needs to read this. Thanks so much for linking up to #coolmumclub lovely lady x

    • April 15, 2016 / 7:33 pm

      Thank you. I hope that it helps someone, even if the mummy I saw never sees it, perhaps another will. Thanks for hosting. Xx

  18. April 15, 2016 / 3:01 pm

    Such a honest, hear breaking and moving post. This must be one of the hardest things to go through as a parent.

    • April 15, 2016 / 7:33 pm

      I don’t think there is anything worse than losing a child, it’s absolutely horrific to even think about isn’t it? But I am living proof that we can survive it, I hope that this lady I saw does too. Xx

  19. April 15, 2016 / 3:14 pm

    I can’t imagine what it must be like to be in this situation but I can imagine that she would take great comfort from your words were she to hear them, because I know I would. Sometimes all someone needs to hear is ‘I know’. x #picknmix

    • April 15, 2016 / 7:30 pm

      Absolutely, just having someone say it’s okay, I feel the same way, I know what you’re going through. I also know that had someone told me that right at the beginning, I wouldn’t have believed them. It’s so difficult to believe you will survive the worst of times and impossible to believe that there are wonderful, happy times to come. Xx

    • April 15, 2016 / 7:29 pm

      Thank you for reading. Xx

  20. April 15, 2016 / 7:56 pm

    I think you’re wonderful for writing this it must bring up so many memories and feelings for you to. Thanks for sharing on such a difficult topic X

    • April 15, 2016 / 7:59 pm

      Thank you, it is always difficult but equally therapeutic for me too. Thanks for reading. Xx

  21. April 15, 2016 / 8:04 pm

    A lovely heartbreaking post. I pass a gravestone of twins who died when they were babies and also of a three-year-old little girl every time I go to the headland through the cemetery gates to walk our dog. I avert my gaze because it always makes me sad to see their headstones 🙁 I feel for that woman and you too. x

    • April 15, 2016 / 8:07 pm

      It’s awful seeing a child’s grave isn’t it? Joseph is buried in a special area of the cemetery just for babies and it would break your heart to see how many there are. Thank you for reading. Xx

  22. April 15, 2016 / 8:20 pm

    This is beautiful. An old friend has just given birth to an angel baby (at full term), I have been wanting to send her your blog info to have a read, you write from the heart and it’s such an emotive subject. I didn’t know what to say to her so I offered my words of support. It’s utterly heartbreaking and thankyou for linking up such a sensitive post #bestandworst

    • April 15, 2016 / 8:50 pm

      Oh I’m so sorry to hear that, how utterly heartbreaking. I think that’s the best thing you can ever do, just let someone know you are there. Even saying “I have no idea what to say but I’m here for you.” Thank you for reading and hosting. Xxx

  23. April 15, 2016 / 8:26 pm

    I read this a few days ago and it completely unraveled my heavily weaved walls! I have had 13 miscarriages and a stillbirth before having my miracle baby 8 months ago. Her pregnancy began unexpectantly 5 months after burring her older sister and then losing her twin. It felt like you were writing this letter personally to me! As I type this I am again struggling to hold my grief and relief that somebody else understands. Yes life does go on and yes on the outside I look the same however I will never be the same. I will never laugh at the same jokes. I will never believe pregnancy is a beautiful experience and my marriage will never be as simple as it used to be. However I know I am stronger than most women will ever have to be and I will never take any moment for granted! Thank you from the very bottom of my heart for this letter. I was not the lady you saw but for whatever reason I was brought to this post! <3

    • April 15, 2016 / 8:58 pm

      I am so, so sorry for your losses. I too have had several miscarriages, 15 in total, and Joseph who was stillborn. I have gone on to have 3 healthy babies but it was so hard and pregnancy was not the fun or exciting time I had hoped for, as you will know. I think loss changes you irreversibly, in all aspects of your life. My marriage actually ended following the loss of our son, we just couldn’t find a way through our grief together. Life is so different now and yet like you I am stronger and I am so grateful for the children I have. I’m so glad that you found this letter, and I’m so touched that it helped you. Much love to you. Xxx

  24. April 15, 2016 / 8:41 pm

    Filled me with tears reading. Beautifully written. I feel for you so much. Life is cruel. I hope you keep surviving xxxxxxxx

  25. April 16, 2016 / 6:13 am

    Beautifully written, I can’t imagine what you live with every day but I’m sure women in the same situation will find some comfort in this letter or at least not feel so alone x

  26. April 16, 2016 / 6:35 am

    My little star was just too precious for this earth.
    Had I of been the mother at the grave side I would of been grateful for the chat. Words don’t help but like thoughts they keep memories open x lovely post

    • April 16, 2016 / 7:39 pm

      I’m so sorry to hear that. Hearing my sons name is the most wonderful thing anyone could say to me, keeping his memory alive is paramount. Xx

  27. April 16, 2016 / 8:10 am

    Such a beautiful post. I got goosebumps reading and a lump in my throat. I can’t even begin to imagine the grief of loosing a baby. My heart goes out to you, the woman at the cemetery and all the other mums and dads who have suffered such a loss.

    #fabfriday

  28. April 16, 2016 / 8:30 am

    Thank you for sharing such a heart breaking moment. There are so many people in my life who have had to go through something similar and this is the side that you never see or hear about. It really hits home that this was what they went through in that first year. #BinkyLinky

    • April 16, 2016 / 7:37 pm

      I’m sorry for those you know, it’s heartbreaking and so un-necessary in so many cases. Thank you for reading. Xx

  29. Fuss Free Helen
    April 16, 2016 / 2:49 pm

    This is heartbreaking, and I have a huge lump in my throat. Beautifully written. xx

  30. April 16, 2016 / 3:36 pm

    Such a beautifully written post, I hope it finds its way to those suffering and helps them in their darkest days

  31. April 16, 2016 / 7:04 pm

    I was fighting back the tears when i read this, noone especially an innocent child deserves to have their lives taken from them too soon. To imagine that those precious souls were ‘born sleeping’ is absolutely heartbreaking and I am so sorry for yours and everyone’s loss. I was nearly aborted but I am so thankful that despite everything that has happened I have got to live and am still living life. Hugs xx

    • April 16, 2016 / 7:35 pm

      Oh wow I am so glad that you had your chance to live. It’s heartbreaking isn’t it, the most horrific thing to ever happen to us and it changed our lives irreversibly. Thank you for reading. Xx

  32. April 16, 2016 / 8:10 pm

    Oh gosh, now I had to swallow a lump in my throat reading this x

    • April 17, 2016 / 2:10 pm

      Awww thank you for reading. Xx

  33. mackenzieglanville
    April 17, 2016 / 4:57 am

    So unfair! Sending love xx

  34. April 17, 2016 / 7:50 am

    What a beautifully written yet heart breaking post. I can not even begin to imagine what something like this is like xx

    • April 17, 2016 / 2:07 pm

      Thank you, it’s so difficult to put into words at times but I always hope that I do it justice. Xx

  35. April 17, 2016 / 10:54 am

    I am actually crying from the last blog post that I have read and now this made me well up some more. Inspiring, heartbreaking and inspiring again. Being a human being is so heartbreaking and you need to go on and look ahead and enjoy what you have. Thanks for sharing! #pocolo

    • April 17, 2016 / 2:06 pm

      Aww sorry you are so emotional but thank you for reading. Life is hard isn’t it? I don’t know how we survive the things we do and yet there is always a way forward if we jus allow ourselves to see it. Xx

  36. April 17, 2016 / 6:42 pm

    I don’t know what to say. This is utterly heartbreaking xxx Thanks for linking up to the #BinkyLinky

  37. Nige
    April 17, 2016 / 8:21 pm

    A beautiful yet heartbreaking post I actually lost for words brought a tear to my eye thinking of you Laura Thanks for linking to the #binkylinky

    • April 18, 2016 / 10:33 am

      Ahh thank you Nige, I appreciate those who take the time to read my posts even when they are on such a difficult subject. It’s so important to try and share with others what we go through, perhaps it will help someone in the same position or someone who is wanting to comfort a friend in the same situation. I hope so anyway. xx

  38. April 17, 2016 / 10:18 pm

    Well written post although heartbreaking. This must have been hard to write.

    • April 18, 2016 / 10:31 am

      Thank you, it was very hard but also hugely therapeutic, it always is! Thanks for reading. xx

    • April 18, 2016 / 10:31 am

      Thank you, I hope that somebody will read it and find comfort in my words. xx

  39. April 18, 2016 / 9:23 am

    As I’ve already told you, you write so beautifully despite the sad subject and I hope anyone reading your blog who has just gone through a recent loss will take comfort from your strength and your message that it gets easier gradually.
    Thank you for linking up to PicknMix and making my eyes water again 😉

    Stevie x

    • April 18, 2016 / 10:29 am

      Thank you so much Stevie, I love your feedback! I hope that someone who needed this will see it and also those who are lucky enough not to need it can allow themselves to imagine what others may be going through. I know it wasn’t an easy read so thank you, as always! xxx

  40. April 18, 2016 / 10:22 am

    This is beautiful, as always. The way you have written this letter feels like a poem, so lovely. I am tearing up and lost for words. : ) Thanks for sharing with #StayClassy!

  41. April 18, 2016 / 2:24 pm

    So heartbreaking! Life sometimes is so unfair

    • April 18, 2016 / 3:26 pm

      Thank you for reading. xx

  42. April 18, 2016 / 4:18 pm

    As always another great post that requires tissue! I’m at the gym on the treadmill blubbering and I’m sure those around me are wondering wth? Your writing is always so touching and literally wants to make me reach through the screen and hug you. I could never imagine what you go through on a moment to moment basis but bless you for keeping on. Thank you for linking with #momsterslink, I just love reading your posts.

    • April 19, 2016 / 7:30 pm

      Aww crying on the treadmill doesn’t sound fun! Thank you so much, I would love a huge hug, maybe one day! xxx

  43. April 18, 2016 / 6:27 pm

    Such a beautifully written and heartfelt post. Thank you for sharing on the #FabFridayPost

    • April 19, 2016 / 7:29 pm

      Thank you for reading. xx

  44. Becky, Cuddle Fairy
    April 19, 2016 / 7:50 pm

    I feel just like Trista – this is so moving & unimaginable. I’m so sorry for your loss. Your post is so touching. Thanks so much for joining us at #bloggerclubuk x

    • April 19, 2016 / 8:01 pm

      Thank you so much. It’s so lovely that so many of you still take the time to read these posts, even though it’s never something we never really want to think about. Life is cruel at times, but it is also wonderful, and that’s what keeps us going! xxx

  45. April 20, 2016 / 9:42 pm

    I’m no fan of open letters but this is an exception.

    We have no grave, their urn is in our home. Before we had them cremated I walked around the cemetery looking at the tiny graves for those gone too soon. On that day I didn’t see any one but I could imagine it would be much as you describe it. Shared looks and mute appeal, cleaved by pain.

    I feel like I’m piggy backing off your posts but it also feels that you give me permission to share those early posts written in the fevered early days of the blog that almost felt too raw, too personal to share.

    Thank you.

    #BinkyLinky

    • April 21, 2016 / 8:25 pm

      Thank YOU. You always make me feel as though what I’m writing makes sense, as though you are nodding along and thinking yes, me too. That’s such a comfort isn’t it? To know you’re not the only one? Xx

  46. Steph
    May 2, 2016 / 7:05 pm

    You write so beautifully about such a sad subject. Brought tears to my eyes.

    • May 2, 2016 / 7:58 pm

      Ahh thank you, and thank you for reading. Xx

  47. August 4, 2016 / 8:36 am

    This is such a raw subject to write about, but you did so beautifully. Thank you for sharing this. xxx

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