**Trigger: This post refers to baby after loss**
I knew it was coming. I could feel it. It’s been a storm in the distance for quite some time, gathering pace, and so far I have been able to avoid it by constantly moving and darting out of its way when it has neared too close. But I have been able to feel the force of it as it grew stronger . . .
And this week, it didn’t just rain.
Grief, it seemed, came back with a vengeance and threw me into the ocean that I felt I have been safe from for quite some time.
I thought I’d found an island. And I have. But it turns out that even islands get hit by fresh storms once in while. . .
I am more than aware of what my emotional triggers are. One is stress. The other is anger. And thankfully, these are personality traits that I don’t exhibit on a day to day basis. I like to think I am fairly chilled and don’t get angry very often. But this means that when I do, my triggers are magnified and therfore my grief for Evalyn is magnified too.
It hasn’t been any one particular thing, more of a succession of events and moments that hit me at the time but I managed to push the grief and emotion back and suppress it, telling myself I’ll deal with it later . . .
The past couple of months we have hit 18 months without Evalyn. 18 months. And in realising this, I also realised that time doesn’t heal. It just changes grief. It makes it easier to cope with . . until you find a day when it’s not easier to deal with and the floodgates open. . . .
I am watching Iola growing up and feeling blessed for every moment, but I also feel an inner sadness that I never got to share these moments with Evalyn. I watch Iola playing and laughing and I feel robbed because I will never know what Evalyn’s little laugh sounded like.
For a second year now I am finding myself negotiating my way through Evalyn’s significant dates, telling myself that two years should make it so much easier, but it doesn’t. Ieuan told me the other day that he wished he could have both of his sister’s here. Me too, I told him, swallowing the lump in my throat.
Some people don’t mention Evalyn as much as they should, focusing on Iola like she is my only daughter. Strangers still don’t know what to say when they casually enquire and I have to explain my ‘situation’.
Since Iola’s arrival, I have started to find the courage to not only finally look at Evalyn’s photographs myself, but to also show close friends and family who wish to see her. All but one person told me she was beautiful. One person said that her image was shocking. I don’t neccessarily believe for a single moment that they meant this in a hurtful way – maybe they were trying to express their own feelings – but this was hurtful to me. My daughter’s image is not a reflection of the word that was used to describe her. My daughter’s image is of that of a sleeping baby. And she is beautiful. . . .
To be honest, I’ve been so busy focusing on Iola sice her arrival that I’ve managed to hold alot of my grief over Evalyn back. And in turn, these little moments have built up and built up until there was no more room to store anymore. There were no more avenues to escape from. . . .
This week the dam burst. And I let it. To be honest, I didn’t care. I needed to let it out as it has been consuming me for so long.
Grief doesn’t go away.
But it’s how you deal with it that has the ultimate impact.
So, I let myself have my ‘down’ days. I let myself be thrown out into the swirling ocean once again and when I was done, I started doing what I always do.
I started swimming back to my island. . . .
I don’t think I’m quite there yet. But I’ve had alot of time to think along my journey. No more supressing my emotions. No more holding in my voice for fear of upsetting someone at the expense of my own feelings. No more trying to push back my grief on any level.
Just let it in.
On the darker days, just find little ways to be OK again. . . .
This morning, I went to the girls room where I keep Evalyn’s memory box and I opened it up. Because when I feel my grief for her becoming too much, all I want is to be near her and sadly, this is the only way I can be. I opened up her box, traced her handprints, her footprints. Held her beautiful photographs in my hands and brushed my finger over her cheek as if I was doing it for real. I read over the paperwork of her life. . .
And I do feel better for it.
Grief, you are a bit of a bastard, if I’m honest with you. You take and you take and resurface and then you take again . . . . .
But I will never let you win.