Smile (Though Your Heart is Aching)

  Yesterday was my oldest friend’s wedding day. Unlike the wedding of a random relative or acquaintance which I can sometimes dread, the wedding of a really close friend, whose family I know well, attended by my other close friends, is always an event I really look forward to and cherish. In all my visions of yesterday’s event, Simon and I would be proudly showing off our baba who would be around six weeks old. I was hoping to be breast feeding so was planning on having the baby with us. I had excitedly discussed this with the brides cousin, due the week before me, who I’d met up with a few times during our pregnancies. Like all our hopes and plans, the vision of the wedding was another one that went to hell. Instead, my friend’s wedding day marked six weeks since my baby girl was born asleep and what should have been a joyous celebration became a challenge, a day to be gotten through, endured in the spirit of being there for my friend. 

Crowds, noise, small talk, sympathy, babies, religion, and even being away from home are all things I’m struggling with right now, so the combination of all these while putting on my happy face made yesterday one of the hardest days since Isobel died. While part of me was excited to see my friend on her special day, to celebrate her love with marriage and to spend time with my close friends, the more dominant part of me was filled with anticipatory anxiety and overthinking how I should ‘be’ on the day. Too sad and I would kill the vibe for everyone, people might think I shouldn’t have come. Too happy and people might think I wasn’t mourning for my baby, that I’m heartless. The fact that I was even stressed about this frustrated me greatly, this is not my personality, I am not a worrier, I don’t usually care so much what other people might think. The new me is not to my liking.  

I survived the day as I knew I would. There were some lovely moments like seeing my beautiful friend in her wedding dress for the first time, watching the happy couple exchange vows and laughing during the speeches (sometimes at, sometimes with, the speakers!). There were a lot of nothing moments, where I was disconnected, numb, not really present. And there were some very painful and tough moments. Seeing the bride’s cousin with her little baby, just a week older than Isobel should be was very upsetting, the starkest of reminders of how my arms too should be filled with a sleepy milk drunk baby. I also had a wobble seeing another cousin who was heavily pregnant. I’m ashamed to remember how rude I was, failing to greet her and staring at the ground as my friend asked her how she was keeping. I teared up a number of times when family members of the bride offered sympathy for our loss but really appreciated that they made the effort to do so on their day of celebration. I think the worst part however was watching a little girl on the dancefloor with her mother. The little girl was about four years old and she looked so like her mum. I can’t believe I don’t get to see what Isobel would have looked like as she grew. At every celebration for the rest of my life, there will be a little girl missing. It just feels too much to bear. 

Talking, smiling and laughing with our friends all day was beyond exhausting. Just after the couple had their first dance Simon and I looked at each other with the general consensus that it was time to go home. When we got in to the car both of us started to cry. I felt so sorry for us. Why did we have to be the couple leaving because we were grief stricken? Why were we not inside enjoying the party or at least leaving because we were exhausted due to night feeds and nappy changes? I am so bitter about the unfairness of life. I had the thought that our friends were probably glad when we left because they could properly begin to enjoy themselves. I know that is rubbish – that these type of thoughts even come in to my head annoys me so much. We spent the car journey home tearfully debating the point of life. My longstanding conclusion is that there is no point. And yet I will continue to live, in the faint hope that somehow in the future I will feel like there is a point to being here. I will smile, though my heart is aching, and maybe someday it will be a real smile and the ache won’t be so heavy. Hope. A tiny ounce of hope. 

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6 thoughts on “Smile (Though Your Heart is Aching)

  1. You’re so brave. I’m already dreading my brother-in-laws wedding and that’s not until May. I had just pictured us being there with our baby so much. We didn’t know until he was born that he was a boy so I had spent plenty of time looking at cute suits and dresses that our little one might be wearing on the big day. The lack of his presence will always be felt, just like you will always feel that your little girl is missing. You both did so well to go to the wedding. Xx

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    1. Aw thank you. So much of it is imagining the worst before you go. A family wedding will be very tough but if your imagination is anything like mine it probably won’t be as bad as you imagine it could be!

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  2. I once left a family reunion in tears because there was an infant there. Just got up and left without saying a word. I’m sure no one thinks you were rude. It’s been 2 1/2 years since my Benjamin was born sleeping. But sometimes it feels like it was just yesterday.

    Hope you find some sort of peace.

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