Posted by: Louise | May 27, 2011

right where I am: 2 years, 2 weeks and 2 days

Thank you, Angie, for suggesting this and remembering you suggested it……

I went to a DIY shop with the kids last Sunday – a big ware-housey one, crammed with everything from gardening equipment to light bulbs, cat food to shower trays.

The Little Boy Racer disappeared.

After about five minutes searching I went up to the customer service desk and explained the situation. The manager, who clearly had not tuned into the world of five year olds for a very long time, went over to the microphone and said “Would the Little Boy Racer please report to the reception desk?!” I tried explaining that LBR hadn’t studied reception desks in school yet and even if he had, wouldn’t have a clue where this particular unlabelled desk was situated in the shop, then went back to my searching, looping the shop with a more helpful young man who knew that under shelves and behind bags of dog food were the obvious places to look.

The Giraffe Princess found him 20 minutes later out at the car.

Was your chest pounding with anxiety? a friend asked. It must have been terrifying.

I couldn’t tell her what was actually going through my head as I called his name and walked around and around and around – Two down, two to go.

Right where I am, I know children die. It’s not an impossibility anymore.

**

I think love is physical, at least the love we have for our children. It’s not an idea. It is so much more than that. There is no way an idea can hurt this much or hang around this long when the object of it is gone. So I think that when our babies are growing inside us, the love is growing too. It is an actual physical part of us. Laura is gone. Our babies are gone, but that love is still here, searching every day for the child it was destined for.

And as I write, Astro Boy has snuggled up on the bed beside me, read over my shoulder and whispered in my ear – I think there are parts of our bodies that doctors and scientists haven’t discovered yet.

**

I was thinking I would like to make something that I could wear so everyone would know – MY BABY DIED AND MY HEART IS BROKEN; like a black mourning band or a badge or something. I wondered what would be appropriate. Something that wrapped me completely, that enveloped me like this grief, something I could wear … like a coat, maybe. A coat might bring some comfort, some warmth. But then I thought I would need to put weights in the sleeves so my arms didn’t feel so empty, and maybe a heated insert just around my chest and … then it hurt too much to think anymore.

**

K says it is weird because it is like sometimes everything seems normal and yet it is so very very un-normal.

We are watching “Deja-vu” and the scientists are explaining to Denzel that they can see the past because they have managed to wrinkle time and are actually travelling parallel to the past. And suddenly the hope of Laura alive is back and I am realising that all those early feelings (the disbelief, the agony, the raw raw pain) have not gone away. They are like sediment, settled in my heart, always there, easily churned up again. Always there.

**

Tomorrow we are going out to celebrate my completing my MA. Celebrate? Did I say celebrate?

It doesn’t feel weird though or disrespectful or false. It is just right where we are at. Everyone who will be there knows about Laura, misses Laura with us. It is (remarkably) still possible to celebrate with a broken heart.

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Responses

  1. Yep, I sometimes think I want a permanent marker that signifies my baby died and my heart is broken. The gentle way I have found is to wear her name around my neck. Though her name is Hope, so I think most see my necklace as some sort of statement, rather than the name of my precious firstborn who never came home with us.
    Thanks for taking part in Angie’s lovely project. Glad to have found you.
    Missing Laura.

  2. Hi Louise,

    This is my first visit to your blog. I’m so sorry for your loss. I just read Laura’s birth story and I’m in tears.

    I thought this was beautiful:

    “I think love is physical, at least the love we have for our children. It’s not an idea. It is so much more than that. There is no way an idea can hurt this much or hang around this long when the object of it is gone. So I think that when our babies are growing inside us, the love is growing too. It is an actual physical part of us. Laura is gone. Our babies are gone, but that love is still here, searching every day for the child it was destined for.”

    Congratulations on completing your MA. I know it feels a little off somehow to celebrate, but it is quite an achievement. I finished mine almost three years after we lost C. For the longest time, the research and work sat untouched on my desk. I almost withdrew from my program without completing it, but somehow I found my way back to it. I dedicated my thesis to her.

  3. This took my breath away. Each section for its own reason. Maybe it is because this is right where I am too. But also because you are fucking brilliant writer. Sorry to use the eff word, but it is true. Sending you love and thank you for participating in this. xo

    • I avoided the eff word all my life, up until Laura came along, but I’m quite fond of it now. Thank you Angie

  4. Hi Louise thanks for sharing your story of where you are now. The un-normalness is felt here too.

  5. I think the hardest thing about parenting living children is the knowledge that came with the loss of our babies. The realization that children die, and that we are so far from being ‘immune’ to this reality. It is one of the most difficult realities that we are handed in the days after their deaths… the fear sets in for the other living children.. and it will never ever leave.

    I too wrote about wanting to wear something to symbolize my life of mourning. I wish there were something.. I settled on my tattoos, but even they don’t scream, loud enough.. but then can anything?
    Sending love and light….

  6. My goodness, there is so much here that simply takes my breath away. Glad to have found you, but so sorry for the circumstances. x

  7. I love the idea of sedimentary layers–that is just so accurate. It’s impossible to ever forget any of those feelings. So sorry that Laura isn’t here with you.

  8. There’s so much here, but the way you write about love being physical is really wonderful – “Our babies are gone, but that love is still here, searching every day for the child it was destined for” – it made me cry and smile, and I know I’ll be returning to that idea again and again. Thanks so much for sharing it here.

  9. Thank you all for reading, making contact, making the lonely walk a little less lonely….. xx

  10. I didn’t understand that the love for a child is physical until I had my own, but I don’t think anyone can understand this. That physical manifestation of love is now also accompanied by a physical manifestation of grief. Amazing how the two are so intertwined now and I can’t seem to tease them apart. Of course, maybe they should not be. They are one in the same.

    Thank you for sharing this.

  11. The idea of parental love being physical, that feels so right to me. It’s gut and muscle love.

    Congratulations on completing your MA x

  12. Amazing post.

    Your description of that coat . . . ah, it does hurt to think about a coat like that. Sometimes I’ve just wished for something that would hide me away.

    it is like sometimes everything seems normal and yet it is so very very un-normal

    Absolutely perfect description. And I love the idea of that sediment being stirred up every once in a while.

    And I think Astro Boy is right, in fact, I’m certain of it.

    I’m so very sorry for the loss of your daughter, Laura.

  13. I really like the coat idea….and you’re right…there would have to be additional pieces to it. Which then almost would make it impossible to wear, right? Too hot for weather…and maybe too heavy to carry at all. That’s what this feels like. Impossible to let go, yet impossible to hold onto all the time. Thank you for taking part in this writing project. I very much enjoyed reading your story and your post. You have an amazing gift of telling a story.

  14. Wow – I cannot believe how many brilliant, talented writers have taken part in this project. This post had so much in it that I could relate to – the “Two down. Two to go”? I’ve had that experience too. To know children do die is knowledge I would I didn’t have.

    And love as a physical entity. Absolutely spot on.

    Thank you for this. I am sorry that your Laura is not with you.


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