Posted by: Louise | August 25, 2010

Dead baby land – time

What will forever be like, Mum?

I was sitting on the stairs. It was bed time. I was never any good at LIFElite so eleven was an obvious age to be having an existential crisis. It was the summer between primary and secondary school. I don’t know what the original trigger was, but I do know I didn’t sleep straight through one single night of those summer holidays. I was gripped by a fear of dying, or more precisely of the world ending. I couldn’t look forward to anything that had been planned for that summer because there was no guarantee that the world would not have ended by that day. Each plan made underlined again and again just how unpredictable life was – not that my thoughts were that clear at eleven. They were more like – but the world might end and I don’t know what forever will be like….

In this instance, my Mum was not much help. All we need to know is that we will be with God and it will be lovely, did not ease my anxiety about time going on and on and on and on and on and on and on. If I had known that time could be taken out of the equation altogether that might have helped, but that nugget of information was to come much later. Back then it was more Prince’s way of thinking –Electric word life, it means 4ever and that’s a mighty long time.

Secondary school started and all the space that summer had presented to ponder life was swallowed up. I slept again and worried in between about who was talking to who, boys, what music was in the charts and the length of my skirt.

I’m awake again at night these days. It’s not forever, but time that is pressing on my mind or what happens to time when your baby dies?

Initially of course, time stopped. not for anyone else, just us. Right about the point where they turned off the trace monitor and said “I’m sorry, that was your heartbeat we picked up.”

Time stopped. And it didn’t start again until we were burying our daughter, and then only slowly. But in the interim, I had aged. Before I was a child-bearing woman. Now I am ancient. Before there was new life in me. Now emptiness. Nothing. A void in my life. A void in my womb. A void.

There was a period (it extended several months) when the certainty of some parallel universe gave some lingering hope. Laura was still alive. We just had to find that loop in time, that window when all this started. I had it pin pointed down to a mobile phone call – a very innocent phone call- if we could just get back to that moment. Months after Laura died, I saw a phone ring on the tv and I thought to myself “It’s the hospital ringing to tell me it has all been a huge mistake.” Slowing down. Stopping. Spiraling round and round. The steady on and on and on of time is long gone.

Now I wonder, where have all those months gone. Our baby has been gone 15 months and I don’t know how that happened. Time has gone into overdrive. Some type of chronological freefall. Whole chunks of my life are being swallowed up. Did I say baby? But baby suggests the potential for new life. That is gone. All gone. Not gradually as my baby grows – just gone.

STOP

I haven’t got my head around any of this yet. I’m mourning the loss of a daughter I never met. I contained her. I nurtured her. We were one – she and I. We danced together, our mother daughter dance. I loved her. I love her still. And yet I wonder was she really here? It is a confusion of time and experience and how am I expected to get back to living my life when this overwhelming loss is everywhere I turn, between me and everything I do?

And so suddenly 15 months have passed. The kids are growing up. Have I missed that too? Is that being swallowed up into this black hole. Everything is hurtling along and dragging me with it, but I’m not ready. I’ve lost my footing. I’m out of sync with this world. How much will I miss before I tune back in?

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Responses

  1. …. and I wonder when I have thoughts like the ones you write here, am I slowly but surely going crazy?

    To me it feels like I’m a like a wheel with an engine where the crank shaft is broken. And it’s spinning and wobbling and nothing can move. It just revs and revs and revs but no progress just an almighty wobble.

    I hear you.

  2. Thank you so much.

    I logged on early thinking ‘agh! what did I write last night?’ It is so good to know my crazy is shared.

  3. Please do not ever feel you are alone with thoughts like these.

    It doesn’t help much I know, but believe me, you are not alone. Others have felt, do feel, do think these things when the bottom of their world drops out so suddenly like that. I know this.

    And I know it doesn’t help to hear that things will slowly, very slowly start to resemble a life like you knew it before Laura, only it will, one day, become a life where you can feel a warmth just knowing that although her life was short, she had a life so precious, so full of love, that she only needed a short time to give all her love to you and her family.

    I know that one day the very wonder of Laura Grace will melt away some of the pain you are feeling now.

    Thank you for writing this blog and being a source of self-preservation for me. I stumbled upon it some time ago and check back now and again just to know I am not alone in this world. And that in itself helps more than I can say.

    • Some words are a balm for the soul.

      Thank you so very much.

  4. This is exactly it Louise.. my fear of the moment: “And so suddenly 15 months have passed. The kids are growing up. Have I missed that too? Is that being swallowed up into this black hole. Everything is hurtling along and dragging me with it, but I’m not ready. I’ve lost my footing. I’m out of sync with this world. How much will I miss before I tune back in?”

    You put it exactly into the right words….


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