Thursday, 18 February 2010

Back to Work

I've called this blog "A father trying to cope with neo natal death". "Trying" is the operative word in that sentence. Emma was born on the 9th of November 2009 and died on the 11th. It's now more than 3 months on and it doesn't feel much like I'm coping.

I'm back at work now. My boss and everyone here has been great in so far as no one has rushed or pressured me back, but now that I'm here, no one has the slightest clue what to say to me. Some people pretended that I wasn't there until such a time as I spoke to them. Some people just pretended everything was back to normal. Some made the effort to come up to me and ask "How are you and Rach doing?" (emphasis on the word "doing", head slightly to one side, meloncholy and sympathetic smile, optional pat on the arm). They genuinely mean well, but they are pretty relieved when I say something like "we're okay/ bearing up/ carrying on/ taking things a day at a time/ trying to get back to normal/ getting into a routine" (if you've been through anything similar you'll recognise the stock answers). Because they do mean so well it's unfair to give the honest answer that's circling my mind; "Actually, and I'm glad you asked, me, I'm an almighty mess. I am holding on to whatever level of composure I have by a fucking thread and am fighting back tears more often than having cups of tea, and I drink a lot of tea!"

It sounds like I'm being harsh on my colleagues. I don't mean to be. I can't blame them for not knowing the right thing to say to me. I don't know the right thing to say to me. There isn't a right thing to say to me. If people ignore me, I think "why in Christ's name won't you acknowledge the big elephant in the room i.e. my daughter died" if they offer genuine concern, I think "Jesus, you have no idea what to say to me do you?". The emotional side of my brain has staged a coup, hijacking all of my thoughts, the logical side is under house arrest and can only look on as an observer. Well not just as an observer, it also acts as spokesman for the new regime, editing out the crazy and giving out the "we're okay/ bearing up..." stock answers. Propeganda I suppose.

Seeing as I've been so positive all the way through this I may as well end on something that frightens the living daylights out of me. I have lost family members that I have been close to before. It's been tough, but you grieve, you move on and things get better over time so that you can look back on the times you had with the loved one and it doesn't hurt so much. You gradually get over your loss. Rach and I have been to a couple of support group meetings and from listening to others who have lost a child we have found out that you never get over your loss. Ever. You have more children, you still don't stop aching for the child you lost. This gets easier, but it doesn't get better, ever. Not years later, not ever. Jesus, how scary is that?

1 comment:

  1. Mark,
    Thanks so much for sharing your storry of sweet Emma (I love that name, by the way!). I am so sorry to hear of your loss. November 9th,2009 was my due date with my precious Lillian. She was born still four days later. I see that you follow my "Letters to Lilly Bean" blog. Check out my primary blog,
    God bless!