Limbo grief

I’m often thankful that we know that we are going to lose Aurelia. It sounds a strange thing to say but it’s meant we’ve been able to prepare ourselves to say goodbye.

But it means we’ve been left in a strange emotional state for Aurelia is lost but not yet lost.

We often talk of grief as something that happens after someone has died, and I’m sure our grief will be renewed when we do actually lose her. Yet grief is also a current reality for us. For now grief isn’t missing her, as we’ve got her. Our grief is the loss of all that was to come.

And it’s strange what sets off that grief.

When I think about what we’ve lost I don’t think about seeing Aurelia walk down the aisle, or going off to university, or starting school.  It’s not the big things I grieve we’ve lost. It’s the smaller moments in life. Such as I’d imagined our little girl or boy sat on Gerard’s lap when he turned 30 next year helping him blow out candles. I’d already planned their 1st birthday party in my head. I’d envisioned proudly (and tiredly) prancing down the supermarket aisles pushing our baby along marvelling how we could have made something so amazing. I couldn’t wait for the day our child reached out for my hand for the first time. I’d planned what lullabies I’d sing to our baby to soothe them to sleep.

Last month one of my crushing moments of grief was watching the lady who lives at the back of our house. She’s got a new born and she’d brought him into the garden to soothe his crying. Her head next to his, a wave of grief came over me that I would have no tears of Aurelia’s to soothe, and nor would I be able to bob her up and down with her velvety head next to my cheek.

Yet sometimes it feels disloyal to her to grieve. She’s still here – tapping her tippy toes and dancing around inside of me. Moreover I’ll occasionally get a wave of guilt where I feel I should be fighting for her in some way. So it was a relief the other day when speaking to someone who’d also lost a child in similar circumstances, that they expressed you have to decide what you’ll regret after the pregnancy. Will we regret simply making the most of every moment we have with her? No we won’t.

So we live on in a state of limbo grief. Not grieving for what we’ve lost yet, but grieving for what could have been.

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