Here and now

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On the table next to me are two candles which I have lit for my children. A cranberry scented one for Zia because such smells, especially the sweet and heady types remind me of her, and a simple white wax candle in a little glass holder with the words “family, home, together, happy memories, fun, shared joy amongst others for Brady which is what he has always and still does represent and bring out in our home. It’s a strange place to be in, mother to a four year old living son and mother to an angel. I constantly have to split myself into these two people and it isn’t the easiest thing to do. I want so much to be genuinely happy but it’s hard. My very content world was turned upside down when my daughter died and it will never truly be the same. There are parts of the old me that surface now and then, I often laugh about silly things and I still scold Brady when he is naughty, I bicker with my husband and I am able to work efficiently, clean the house when the nanny isn’t around, go to the movies and dinner and other activities which are normal. I am able to do those things but there is always a heaviness I carry in my heart for the life I should have had with both my children.

I am back from a two week vacation in the beautiful and sunny Durban, Kwa-Zulu Natal. Two weeks at the beach building sand castles and writing my daughter’s name in the sand, two weeks of playing in the water with my husband and son, watching clown shows and wining and dining. I was happy for most of those two weeks but there was also the deep sadness I felt seeing other more complete families, little girl babies in their pink swimming suits experiencing the sea for the very first time. There was one couple who stayed next door to us in the hotel with a son about Brady’s age and a four month old. That should have been us I kept thinking, instead we are back down to three in every sense of the word. I mean we know we are a family of four but there is no tangible evidence of that, is there?

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I had their names engraved on rice grains and wrote our names together in the sand but it’s still so hard to accept that we will never truly be together, that she is gone and that we are here without her. I read on a few blogs and threads about how baby loss parents actually get to a point where they “accept” that their children are gone. I haven’t got there yet. I take strength from the fact that these parents too have been here where I am and have made it to a, for lack of a better word, “comfortable” place. In which life is more bearable. I have read that the sadness is always there even years and years after the death of a child but the sadness is channelled somehow, it’s welcomed and even treasured.

Yesterday was my late grandmothers birthday, I am not sure how old she would have been, probably in her 90’s, she died at the age of 72 or so and although that was one of the deeply painful losses I remember, it does not compare to the loss of my child because I know she got to live a whole life, she had children and even grandchildren she adored and who adored her. Despite the struggles of race and creed injustice faced by our grandparents and their parents before them, they lived a full life filled with both happiness and sadness, but a life nonetheless. Zia was robbed of life, hers was too short, she never got to meet her parents, her brother, she never got to make friends and enemies, I will always feel that she was robbed of that and I was robbed of her.

As I sat in my front garden this evening looking up at the dark grey sky, I thought about the fact that I have not prayed for a few months now, I haven’t attended church services, the last sermon I heard was the one given at Zia’s funeral and then a message about giving thanks at a thanks giving my sister in law held in her home. My faith has been struck and I don’t see me healing in that area. Some people say I will, I know I will not because there are too many unanswered questions. Questions, Questions, Questions, endless stream of them. It haunts me in my quiet hours. As I enter this New Year I do so differently, I am changed in so many ways. As I sit here writing I know that is about the only thing I am certain of.   

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