Family milestones and grief

Recently we celebrated a family milestone, the baby shower for my youngest daughter.  She is due to give birth late July and is really showing now.  Her mothering qualities are really coming to the fore and I can tell that she is going to be a lovely young mummy.  She is starting to nest and is showing motherly qualities to her younger brother, which is so heartwarming and precious to watch.

The big hurdle is realising and having to deal with the fact that Adam isn’t here.  Knowing how proud he would have been, even though a baby shower is traditionally a female event, it was still poignant to be reminded of the fact that Adam wasn’t around to celebrate this event with us.  He would have loved to perhaps make a quiet joke out of it, being a ‘girly girl’ thing, or he might have gone over to his brother’s house to have a beer with the boys, while the girls did ‘their’ thing at the baby shower.

We have all found the last few days really difficult emotionally, so there is definitely something in the air.  The imminent birth and addition to the family is not lost on any of us.  The fact that we know how much family meant to Adam, and therefore how much this birth would have meant to him, weighs heavily on our hearts.

Sara told me about a dream she had of him just the other night.  I have been talking to him in the car while I’m driving.  Ary understood.  Jude gave me a big hug, knowing that his mum was suffering and in pain emotionally.  My ex-husband knows as well, he has been kind of late, knowing how terribly difficult this is for me.  My sister reassured me just yesterday that she wasn’t going anywhere, so she knows how vulnerable I am at the moment too.  So everybody knows and is feeling their own special kind of grief.

Adam would come back just for the birth if he could, I know this for a fact, that’s how important family was to him.  This new addition to our family will be in his honour.  Even the name that Natalie has picked out is a tribute to Adam.  That will be revealed all in good time.

Grief runs as deeply as the love ran, therefore the grief that I feel is visceral, in my blood, part of my DNA now, yes, grief is part of my make up now, I can never escape its grip.  It will forever have me as an inherent snippet of meaning in the word.  You cannot separate grief and love, I don’t think so anyway.  How could you possibly?  If you loved someone deeply, you are going to feel their absence deeply.

It washed over me two days ago, one day after the baby shower.  I had been carrying my grief strongly for about a month, managing to march on through it while going about daily living.  Then it stopped me in my tracks, as I knew it would eventually.  You can only carry it strongly for a certain amount of time before it comes up to get you and make you feel its raw, primitive aspects.  That is what happened.  It hit me in the mid-section, like a blow, a hard blow which winds you and makes you gulp for air.  I was at its mercy.  There was no going back.  I had to work my way through it or be buried.

Being buried by my grief is not an option anymore.  That is what I did in the beginning, but then in the beginning I had no tools to help me through the shock of it. Drinking alcohol kept me sane in the beginning.  Now I can breathe through the waves of grief without alcohol.  It is still difficult to breathe through them, but breathe I must.  I had to go to an appointment this day, and I still went, I didn’t make any excuses, but I spoke to Adam on the way there whilst I drove and he got me there in one piece.  The tears just came and came.  Luckily the woman with whom I had the meeting is a spiritual type, an understanding female, who was able to help me breathe through it and realise that it is okay to feel this grief, in fact I would not be normal if I did not give it acknowledgement.  This grief needs acknowledgement.  If you don’t acknowledge this deep grief you are in for a world of pain.  It is painful enough, but to push it down and not give it a voice?  This would be wrong, not normal and definitely unhealthy.  This deep, penetrating grief that is reserved for mothers, needs to be heard by others and by me.  It is a part of me now and to deny its existence is to deny my existence, and this is not part of the equation of life as I know it now.

So, there you have it, the family thus far.  With an upcoming birth to give some sense of opposition to the awful, heartbreaking death occurrence that we had just over 9 months ago now.  Birth instead of death.  Birth in place of death.  Birth alongside death.  Birth with death, as the cycle of life dictates it must go, just sometimes the order is plain wrong.

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