Starting with Goodbye

I want to write this blog for me, for sorting thoughts, easing feelings and hopefully for healing – although I must say the idea of ever being healed seems ridiculous right now. I don’t feel ready to write about the happy times through pregnancy, the trauma of losing my baby or the experience of giving birth to a beautiful, perfectly formed but deafeningly silent, baby girl. So I’m starting with goodbye, with an ending, with a funeral.

Isobel Olivia’s little life was celebrated and her body laid to rest on 30th June 2015. This was the date that Simon and I, our family and friends had been eagerly awaiting for months – her due date. How do you begin to comprehend having a funeral for your daughter who had so so little time to live?

We decided to have a Humanist funeral, neither Simon or I were religious before Isobel died and we have no inclination to clutch to delusions now, as comforting as they may be. No doubt I’ll rant about the religious platitudes we’ve suffered another time! Noel the celebrant spoke of how our only immortality is the influence we have on others, and the memories we leave in the hearts of people who love us. This to me is so much more profound than imagining a fairy tale world of happily ever after with a god who took us away from our loved ones in the first place! We wanted to emphasise the happiness that Isobel’s existence had brought us and the love that had already grown around our precious baby though she hadn’t yet been born, I think Noel did this perfectly. The poems we chose were heartbreakingly perfect.

  

We also had music – Blur’s ‘Tender’for the entrance, Ed Sheeran’s ‘Photograph’ for the reflection and ‘Angels’ by The XX for the exit. Angels was our wedding entrance song, when baby was there but keeping her little presence a joyous secret. Photograph had been whirling in my head since finding out Isobel would be stillborn and the words were almost perfect. Tender was suggested by Isobel’s auntie and was so apt.

In a bizarre way I enjoyed Isobel’s funeral. I’m sure enjoyed isn’t the right word. It was beautiful, the sentiment was perfect and I appreciated that so many of our family and friends gathered to show us support but also how Isobel had touched their lives and how many people cared she was gone.  Her little coffin was the smallest I’ve ever seen and the saddest thing in the world. Seeing it lowered to the ground was so painful I felt like I would vomit and the sound of the roses being thrown down to it is a sound I can’t imagine I will ever forget. And still as Simon held me I continued to breathe and my heart kept beating, like living was easy. What could have caused Isobel’s heart to stop when mine beats happily, even when I’m in agony, even when I don’t want it to beat anymore?

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8 thoughts on “Starting with Goodbye

  1. This is so sad. We shouldn’t have to experience this kind of pain.
    There’s no understanding the reasoning for our babies to be gone.
    My daughter’s funeral took me by surprise in some ways. I was pained by it and dreaded it more than anything. I even felt like I regretted inviting everyone.
    Once it was over, I felt this sense of relief…like we took our first steps in moving forward. In healing.

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    1. I think the funeral is so important for saying to the world that our babies existed and mattered. I am sure those who attended your daughter’s funeral felt honoured to be with you to celebrate her little life and mourn her passing x

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  2. I wanted to come and visit your blog by way of thanking you for reading my blog post about grieving a stillborn child and I am so very sorry to find that the reason you came upon my post is because you have just experienced the same harrowing loss.

    Reading this post, I was transported right back to my thoughts and feelings in those very first days of grieving for our baby. Even almost seven years on, it doesn’t take me much to go back to that bleak time. You clearly have a wonderful support network around you and I do believe that can make such a difference when you feel at your most delicate and vulnerable. Another lifeline to me was the online forum of the charity Sands. I don’t know where in the world you are but I was living in the UK at the time we lost our son and finding the Sands website was a major factor in me finding my way forward from the searing, relentless pain of loss. Finding other parents who were at the exact same stage in the journey from baby loss as I was, who understood all those complex reactions to the loss without judgement, was critical and all these years later a core group of us are still very good friends seeing each other through life’s ups and downs. Anonymous online forums are not for everyone, of course, but I thought I should mention it since it was such an immense help to me in making me feel less isolated in my thoughts and feelings.

    I wish you gentle days ahead.

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    1. Thank you for your comment. It’s so upsetting to think of all the mothers and families who are missing their precious babies but it definitely does help to read about different perspectives on shared experiences and how people have survived them. I’m in the UK too. I have found the SANDS forum a little overwhelming for now but I have been to one of their parent meetings and I did find it really helpful. My husband and I both went and will definitely go back again. Thank you for your kind words x

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m glad you’ve found something to help. I lived in a more remote area of Scotland so attending in-person meetings was not an option for me. That’s what led me to the forum. I didn’t use it for long but it was definitely a help in that first period and during my subsequent pregnancy. Best wishes to you.

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  3. My heart aches for you going through this loss. I know the pain of being a childless parent and, although we now have two daughters, I will always remember how society compounds that pain. I am a Christian and I am totally with you about the hurtful, thoughtless religious platitudes. As we celebrate Aidan’s 10th birthday and mourn him at the same time, I hold you and all other bereaved mums and dads in my heart and before God in prayer. Look after yourself and never stop saying Isobel Olivia’s name.

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