It’s 6 days since we lost Aurelia. 4 days since we left her little body.
Those days seem both like they were only experienced seconds ago, and at the same time a lifetime ago.
I suppose this week has been the start of our new normality. I’ve heard people say life becomes divided into two when you lose a child- before loss and after loss, and we’re currently learning to fumble through the latter. Even in these short few days I’ve learnt what this fumbling is going to mean.
And yes, it’s the old cliche of a rollercoaster of emotions, but at least with a rollercoaster you can see where you’re going. Grief is like going on a rollercoaster blindfolded, not knowing when you’re next going to turn a corner, rise high with a lovely memory or sink low into some of the sharpest and most painful emotions you could ever expect to experience.
Monday was the worst day. It’d been 24 hours after I’d left my little girl and I wanted her back. As Gerard held me I heard noises come out of me as I sobbed that I never imagined I could make. It wasn’t crying it was wailing. I could feel it actually hurt me physically to have been seperated from Aurelia. I can only further describe it as it felt like torture- you just don’t want to feel those emotions anymore whatever that would mean.
I was told Monday was also the day my hormones were most likely to have kicked in. Three days after giving birth is often when women will have the baby blues to contend with. So I had the hormones to fight with as well as battling with our grief.
And the only thing you can do when it gets that dark is to survive.
I think there’s sometimes an assumption that grief is easier with faith, and I suppose it depends what you mean by easier. For me knowing Aurelia is in a better place provides comfort and hope. I don’t have the anxiety that I’ll never see her again or that she is lost forever, or indeed in a very final sense that she’s gone.
But faith doesn’t make it any easier to be separated from your child. It doesn’t make it any less painful to be robbed of all the hopes and dreams you had for your baby before they even existed. It doesn’t stop you having some of darkest days of your life
At other times I’ve felt almost normal. This morning I got up to let the dog out and it felt no different from three weeks ago (with the exception I wasn’t waddling so much any more) when I’d have done the same thing. Or laid in the bath the other night catching up with the Archers (I’m an Archers fan and proud thank you very much) I realised I hadn’t thought about Aurelia for 15 minutes.
Sometimes it’s felt wonderful to feel a little normal again. I’m sure it’s partly your brain’s way of stopping you from going insane. But sometimes realising you feel normal can exacerbate the pain- you feel guilty for having laughed at something or for not thinking of her for a moment.
Or sometimes the normality of the situation when you feel so abnormal can cause some of the greatest pain. For instance putting my seatbelt on for the first time to drive the other day I realised I no longer had my swollen pregnant belly to contend with. I realised as well I was bizarrely going to miss all my medical appointments because at least they meant Aurelia was still with me, she was still alive and I was still pregnant. I’m also dreading the funeral being over because that’s effectively our last act for our daughter, it’s the point where you’ve said goodbye and in many ways marks the point where you’re expected to at least start to operate as normal.
But then I don’t want things to be normal again. Normal again means it’s all over. Normal means learning to live without Aurelia being here with us. And yes I know no one expects us to get over it overnight, or suddenly move on, but at some point life does have to continue for us as it has been doing for others around us all the time we’ve been going through this ordeal.
And that’s another thing I’ve grasped the last few days, is that we have been through an ordeal, a trauma in fact, and that has an impact. For instance on Monday evening I was in a lot of stomach pain. Having called the labour ward for advice they thought I should come in to have my medications reviewed. I’d never thought that I’d be particularly affected by the location of everything that happened, but the thought of having to go back in Frimley Park so soon(despite our time there being so positive and wonderful) pushed me into a desperate tizz. In the end we decided to try a few home remedies which have thankfully worked, but it brought it home actually the depth of what has happened to us and how deeply those emotions will run.
Much of the time though I’ve noticed grief is a fairly numb emotion. You just get through, not really feeling anything in particular although often it’ll just have a tinge of heaviness which sits in the pit of your stomach, reminding you all is not well.
Hence- 6 days and 50 shades of grief.