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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.