Thursday, September 24, 2009

September Meeting

Welcome everyone. If this is your first time here at The Secret Garden Meeting we hope that you find this place comforting. If you would like to take part in the meeting all you have to do is copy and paste the questions onto your own blog, answer them and then come back in here and leave a link to your Secret Garden post in the Mr Linky below. We would encourage you to visit other people who have left their links as that is the main purpose of this writing exercise to share and send your love and support with those who understand.

In the next two weeks we will be featuring our first guest writer. Please be sure to stop in and read.

This month we feel that we need to focus on the positive things that have helped us in this journey so far. We know that for some of you it is still very early days and that you may not be able to see any light right now, so that is why we are sharing about things that have helped us the most in the hope that you may see something that has helped someone else that could possibly benefit you.

What has helped you through out this new life the most. Is it your family? your faith? Support groups? A ritual? Music? Physical activity? A new interest? It could be anything. Tell us about how whatever it is has helped you. Please feel free to share photo's,videos, websites, support group information and so on.


I think music has been particularly beneficial to me in this last year. When I am feeling my worst I listen to songs about love and loss; songs I associate with my little girl. The music allows the tears to fall more freely and it releases the pressure. Sometimes it allows me to tap into her when I need to feel her close to me. Music has also been good for me on my strong days. I have many playlists and some are all sad and then I have others that are energetic, hopeful and inspiring. Some music is new stuff I have found since my loss and much of it is older stuff that I was already familiar with but that took on a new meaning after I lost my little girl. There were days when I just needed to shut everything and everyone else out and I would put on my headphones and listen to my mp3 player as I folded clothes or vacuumed. Often I cry and sing along. I like being able to tune out (or in) now and then and just flow with the music and let it speak to me.

Other things that have helped is our ritual we now have about lighting candles. In my loungeroom we have a massive television cabinet and on top of it sits many, many tealight holders, candles and pictures. Some weeks we light the candles every night and other weeks maybe once or twice. Whenever we feel the need to think about her, or feel like we need to do something for her, we light the candles and turn the lights off.

I guess on reflection we've made everything we do for Jordan since her death beautiful. Whether it be releasing balloons, planting a weeping cherry tree in her garden, filling our house with beautiful and colourful images of her, collecting tealight candles that remind us of her, collecting dragonfly and butterfly ornaments... Gosh I guess it really only just dawns on me now how much we've done to make her continue to be such a beautiful part of our lives. I can remember feeling so dark at first... like it was silly because it was all still so painful and by making it beautiful we were lying about the sad and painful torturous parts of our experience... But a year on (year and half since her birth) the horror is fading. It's still there but I have to work at bringing that stuff up and if I do, I get nowhere with it. But now, yes, I guess these beautiful things have become such a big part of our lives and I can't see myself stopping. Jordan was born on Christmas day in '07' and I did not know how I could ever get through another Christmas happily. I didn't want my son to lose Christmas so we made our first Christmas without Jordan as beautiful as we could. For some reason that year dragonfly and butterfly tree ornaments were everywhere and we snapped them up as soon as we found them. People gifted them to us too. I found fairy ornaments to put on there as well. By the time Christmas came our tree was just a stunning, beautiful tribute to Jordan. It felt so special. We didn't know how we'd be on the day, but once we were there we coped, we made it the best we could. Now that our year of 'firsts' are all done, it is easier and we know that we will always make Christmas special and that Jordan will always have a beautiful presence in our house with her symbols, candles and music.


For me, not going back to work was the key. And I know this is not an option for everybody. But I'd spent nine months preparing for my baby girl and had always intended taking 12 months off to raise her before returning to my job. Just because she died, I didn't see any reason why that should change. In a way, I still have to raise her, I still have to be her mother. My role of motherhood, although I have no living children, has been tiring and demanding. I have had to learn the absolute hard way, and that has been to parent a child who lives only in my heart and memories. I just found I was able to give myself over to the grief - fully. I have nurtured my grief, if you like, given it all the time and space it needed. Not rushed anything. I know had I done things too quickly or moved in directions I wasn't comfortable with, I would have paid for it later.

Blogging has also been my saviour. It took me a long time to find my voice in this community, but once I did, I didn't look back. I read about women at various stages of their grief and from all sorts of backgrounds and I draw strength from their experiences and wisdom. I am so moved by so much of what I read in these beautiful spaces and feel so lucky to have made so many wonderful friends. Friends in real life still find it hard to relate to me. Many still have no idea what to say or do. But there is an absolute comfortableness that comes with talking to a fellow bereaved mother. I was starved of people who understood me in those early days. Now I crave these deep connections.

My immediate family and husband have also picked me up on days when I thought I'd never walk again. They have shown me the way and showered me with love when darkness was starting to swallow me whole. I know babyloss can often drive a wedge in families (and in parts of my extended family, that has happened) and can tear married couples apart, but for me the experience has been the opposite. We are all so much stronger and connected coming out of our tragedy, although we'd go back to how it was in a heartbeat to have her back.

And my new baby boy has also been a wonderful help. Many struggle with the question of whether to try again but for us it was a no-brainer. We lost our first baby. We came home to an empty house with shattered dreams of parenthood swept away before us. We are constantly reminded of our parenthood, but truth be told most of the time we feel like parenthood for us got placed on hold. We didn't want to wait a day longer than we had to before conceiving again. Thankfully it happened relatively quickly, and now we are 31 weeks into a pregnancy with a brand new little baby boy. He has lifted our spirits and made us smile again. We fall more in love the more my belly grows and can't wait until the day we (hopefully) come home with him from hospital. His presence in our home will be the greatest help for us.


My girls are my life line. I am lucky to have them.

For me it would have to also be friendships I have made over the internet. Women I have met that understand the pain I have felt.

Music has played a huge role in healing for me. I love so many different types. My all time favourite though would have to be score music. I have a huge collection of score music soundtracks. I usually have to order them in from the US. I listen to it loud and I really feel it. My skin tingles and the tears seem to come so easily.

Physical exercise has helped me probably more than I realize. Writing names at the beach in the heat of the Summer really does keep me fit and breathing in all that salt sea air has done me wonders.

I will leave you with one of my favourite pieces of music. It is from the movie Gladiator and is sung by Lisa Gerrard.


Franchesca Cox said...

Sally, blogging has helped me too. It makes me so happy.

Carly, that is pretty neat how writing names in the sand has helped you in so many ways.


after iris said...

Sophie - finding beauty in remembering Jordan... I'm struggling to write because I'm so touched by the ways you honour her. I love lighting candles, there's something so elemental yet fragile about it that is just so completely right and fitting. xo

Sal - yes, yes, yes. Blogging, pregnancy, other mamas (and you were the first!) I love nodding along whenever I read you. xo

Carly - I've said this to you before, but I think you have created something truly special with Names in the Sand. You are an incredibly generous person and the fact that your coping mechanism has been the springboard for so many other bereaved parents to honour their children and begin their healing process... you are a beautiful person. xo

Anonymous said...

Ladies, thank you for sharing the ways you've learn to cope. Finding all of you out here and sharing in your experiences has been a huge help for me. We are coming up on the 1 year anniversary of Joey's day and I'm still learning to walk this path and find my way in this new world I call my life. You all are an inspiration and reading your words helps me have faith and know that I'm not alone on this journey. So thank you for being there for me and for all the others who have crossed this bridge before.
With love,

Holly said...

Sophie, I love the idea of the candles burning in her memory. The sight and smell of candles in a darkened room is peaceful to me and that would be a great time to remember my Carleigh. I would really like to try that some time.

Sally, blogging has helped me too in more ways than I ever realized. I'm so thankful I have been able to connect with other loss moms. I know I don't have to explain myself to you all. You just get it.

Carly, I love listening to music and when I think of the score music I think of something soothing. The music that is playing right now is very soothing to me.

Trevor's Mama said...

So...I just left a letter out of my own name in the links section. Long day....

Jeanette said...

So glad I found this place.

Laura said...

Ladies! What a wonderful topic for this month (or I should say last since I am a little late)- September is the month I lost my babies- but to write about peace- and what helped has been so helpful! I relate and agree with what you shared! Thank you for sharing yourselves- and doing this for those in such great need! you are a blessing!

Heather said...

Wow, this is a wonderful site. I look forward to getting involved in the secret garden and sharing my thoughts.

April said...

I am so happy I found this blog and that I'm able to take part.

Courtney said...

First time posting to the Secret Garden. Be still my heart.

Heather said...

I can so relate to you regarding the music aspect of things. At times it soothes my soul, and other times, it brings me to my knees.

Prayers. Always.