I wasn't sure I wanted to do today's prompt because I'm not in a good place this evening but I realised that's exactly why I should do it. I knew it was going to be long one too so I wanted to post it here.
Since losing Aneurin (actually since we got his diagnosis of Downs Syndrome) people have praised my strength and grace which I feel strange about. I suppose I am a strong person but I don't feel as though it comes from me but rather than from Aneurin and my love for him. He is propelling me through my grief. My desire to honour his memory and make him proud is what keeps me going. I feel like it's my duty to be brave and talk about him openly. That isn't right for everyone and I appreciate that completely but for me, it feels right. I'm an articulate person; I'm good at analysing things and I understand my emotions more than I'd like to sometimes. In theory I know all the things I should do and I understand where I am in terms of my grief but those things don't always translate into practice. Sometimes I'm not brave and I can't tell myself to make him proud because it's simply too painful but I try my best.
This project has been incredible for me. It's given me space to process my grief by separating different aspects and allowing me to work through them. Each day has given me something new to think about and encouraged me to think about things I didn't realise were integral to healing. It's given me the opportunity to connect with other bereaved parents which I think is a really important part of child loss. People can empathise and try to understand but there's an unspoken bond between bereaved parents that can't be replicated. I've both loved and struggled to read other people's stories. Some days it was just too difficult to be presented with the reality of child loss but for every ounce of sadness there's a tonne of love and joy. It is an incredible honour to know so many names of both parents and babies. Overall, Capture Your Grief has been invaluable.
However, the reason I knew I needed to complete today's prompt is because despite all that, I am sad. I am angry. I miss my son more than I can say. I am still only 3 months into our loss and although it does get a tiny bit easier to live with every day, my heart is still so heavy and there are moments when I just cannot comprehend how I will ever be able to live a normal life again. I still struggle to catch my breath and sometimes there isn't even a noticeable trigger that clubs me over the head, it just happens out of nowhere. I might be able to articulate my emotions and understand why I feel them but it doesn't make them any easier to sit with.
I was so worried when I started this project that people would recoil from me and that I was sharing too much. That people didn't want to hear about my grief because it wasn't something I should be talking about. However, the response has been overwhelmingly positive. Every message I've received from women in a similar position has spurred me to carry on and I know that sharing mine, my husband's and Aneurin's story is important. Sure, I've had people unfollow me and some of them have been upsetting but if that's what they needed to do, that's fine. This is what I need to do. The amount of messages I've had from women telling me they don't feel like they can talk about their children any more because other people have stopped and expect them to have moved on or that nobody has spoken their child's name in years is heartbreaking. Our deceased children are just as important as living ones. Yes, our lives continue and I'm sure that one day we become in control of our grief rather than the other way around but that love for our children will never go away. I don't expect to still feel the need to talk about Aneurin in 10 years time in the same way than I do today but right now I need to talk about my son and I need to let other people know it's okay to talk about their children too. They are important and their names deserve to be heard.
This project has shown me that it's okay to speak out and that by doing so it might help others to do the same and as such I will continue to do so.
Mrs D x