ELEVEN MONTHS

10 April 2018

Eleven months since my Thomas took his last breath. The  heart-wrenching, knee-crumbling pain I felt that day is neither less nor gone today. Every details of the day is clear. If I close my eyes hard enough, I can see his beautiful face again, searching for me whenever I moved away from him. I can see his hand holding my finger for comfort. I can see his head turning to my direction for a kiss and reassurance that all is OK, that I am OK. I can see him in pain, then calm and I can see him letting go. If I keep my eyes closed longer, I can even imagine calling out his name, my face close enough to his, asking for a kiss. Mummy kiss?

I can only see a replayed memory I dare not to forget. I wrote it all down with every hope and intention to get it published in a form of a book one day -- a book about his beautiful life and ours together, how wonderful is that would be. However, grief drowned me. I feel like I am swimming upwards (constantly), hoping to find the surface to get some air, a break from drowning. I find them, the surface, the breaks and I take in as much air as I can before the waves hit and drown me again. Sometimes I stay afloat for so long and other times I barely make it to the surface.

My grief is different from my husband's or anybody else. I read somewhere that a mother's grief is the most painful kind of grief because the bond shared between mother and child is stronger, special, one of a kind. I have to agree without dismissing my husband's grief or anybody else. Grief is personal to the person going through it. You see, I had the extra 38 weeks of knowing Thomas before anyone met him. We were one, sharing the same body, eating the same food, breathing the same air. I carried his heart and watched him grow in my belly. I had extra time with him. My bond is different, deeper.  All I know is, the only people in the world who truly understand the gravity and magnitude of my grief, are the (oncology) mothers who held their dying babies until the end. No one else.

My grief has transformed me to someone even my 25-yr old self will not recognise. My experiences in life has made me a minority. My views in life are different, perhaps, devoid of trivial complaints, gossip, superficial judgements. I have less emotional resource to give to other people outside of my immediate family and so my time and level of engagement are calculated, all in favour to my emotional capacity for that moment. I have learned to preserve my energy. My true friends know this of me. I keep my distance from anything (even anyone) that does not give me peace. That is all I ask for these days, peace.

My grief has made me parent my children differently. I no longer believe that their happiness should be my main priority. I cannot make my children happy all the time even if I try to. I firmly believe, I am doing them a disservice if all I teach them is to be happy all the time. I cannot save them from despair, sadness and disappointments but I can be there with them as they go through every storm, share an umbrella together. I can hold their hands until they are ready to stand up again. I can be there to help them feel safe. I can hug them. I give the best cuddles, don't you know? Ask my sons. They need to feel and experience all these emotions, not just happiness because truth be told, life is not all sunshine and rainbows. Resilience is only half the battle, compassion is another. One cannot feel compassion if they do not know how sadness feels.

It hasn't been an easy 11 months. I've let myself be as authentic as I can be. I am braver, yes, because I can admit I feel joy and happiness despite my desolation. I am beyond grateful because I have William. He made me a mummy, he calls me mummy. He is my soulmate. If it wasn't for him, neither my husband nor I would be where we are now, doing the things we do, making big decisions and creating dreams. When we were choosing the name for William, I said to my husband I want William because it means resolute protector, and that's who he is, a protector to the ones he loves the most.

I saw this quote and it fit Jon and I so well: "No relationship is all sunshine, but two people can share one umbrella and survive the storm together". He holds my yellow umbrella. He's my Ted.

There is a whole tribe that has been supporting me and family. Some I know and some are strangers with good hearts.

Love keeps my world go round. Love for my boys, my husband, my friends, family, myself.