Friday, 17 June 2011

I'm here

Hello all you lovely people who have made comments and are worried. I am here. Always here. I've just found it very hard to write recently. There is so much going on in my head. I feel as though I can't be as honest as I was, because people who know me, expect/want/hope me to be a certain way. I can't lay everything out on the table, or I might upset those close to me. So instead, I've written a list about all the things I find difficult and heavy and confusing. I might take it to the counsellor next week, I might not.
There are two Alice's at the most. The totally normal seeming, high functioning, hard working one that sits in an office where most people don't know my story. Where people think I'm quite nice and amusing and normal. When they talk to me, sometimes it's fine. I am in work mode and I get things done. Sometimes, they talk, and the voice in my head just says 'you have no idea' 'I am so sad' 'I don't care about what you are saying.' This is absolutely not personal. Everyone I've met is so nice. In fact there are a couple of people I really want to tell. I want to tell them because it makes things easier. I don't want or need their pity. I hate pity. If I hear another person tell me they are so sorry about my life, I might just sit there and scream. But at the same time, I don't want them to ignore it either. There are so many confusing emotions. This is just one.
So I want to tell a couple of people at work, but I don't know how. It isn't the easiest thing to drop into conversation. And I know I will cry when I tell them. I just know I will. There is nothing wrong with crying. But it's a heavy burden to pass on and this is confusing and makes me keep quiet. So I keep quiet, and then I have to find this strength to be normal. And that is hard too.
This is just one example of the things that make me feel weighed down. There was a purity to my grief at the beginning.
The other day, I read back over my first few entries and I was moved by the words. There was a poetic quality to my grief (I don't want to sound like an idiot, but it's the only way I can explain it). It was the stuff of films. Pure, painful and kind of extremely beautiful in its absolute sadness.
Not there is so much mess in my head. This is what makes grief so difficult. Every day I am thrown new obstacles. Some so small I barely notice them and others just floor me.
I was at a work event the week before last and I was caught completely off guard. A photographer thought I was pregnant (my body, don't even get me started on that one) and in her excitement to talk about babies, she turned her computer around to show me her three month old son. So many thoughts rushed through my head. Obviously, I told her and everyone else who happened to be sitting around the table the truth - I couldn't not. It was the first time I was caught completely off guard. The work Alice had her hat on and then suddenly, if fell right off. It was so sad. She felt so bad and so sad and all I could do when she kept saying how terrible it is, was to agree. I didn't have the strength to steer the conversation somewhere better. To reassure her as I've been able to in the past. I just sat there and cried and it was lovely because I showed her Bear's photo too and she was incredibly moved and I felt a bit like a normal Mummy. But it was so incredibly painful and exposing too that it put me out for a week. In fact, I think it's still pushed me a bit off kilter.
I'm in Los Angeles at the moment working. Thank goodness my dear dear friend is here and we can talk and she can be normal with me and I can let myself flow quite naturally. The Amiee time is intertwined with work, so it's that brave face again too. Up and down, round and round, my days are just an endless series of different extreme emotions.
I was moved by a speech I hear last night at an awards ceremony. I didn't care about the celebrities, I cared about the producer who said this, 'Everyone woman in this room has a story to tell. A personal one and a professional one. Tell your stories loud and reach for the stars.' I felt as though she was talking to me. And obviously, it took mountains of effort to keep those tears inside my eyes. I wanted to rush up onto that stage and kind of hug her and talk to her. I didn't, thank goodness, I'm not completely mad.
So I haven't really wanted to write because I have so much to say (this is a tiny portion) and yet, I've sat down, compelled to do so by another lovely, reassuring comment, and a lot has poured out. And I don't mind that. It is good.
Toby has a piece in Grazia magazine this week about what's it's like for the Dad in this terrible situation. He did it so that I could accompany the editor to Downing Street with a petition about improving late pregnancy antenatal care. I am looking forward to being the Mummy who gets to tell her story to the man at the top. To urge him to do something, but only really, because it means I can tell another person about my lovely son, who I miss so much. Who is meant to be here. Whose death has thrown my life all over the place. I don't blame Bear for a second. He is another innocent victim in this bloody mess.
I am angry though that this is my life. I'm not at peace with it yet. I can't accept how things are, and that is so very hard. I think it's this that means the tears are always under my skin ready at any second to flow.
Oh goodness, I could go on. I won't though, because I'm tired.
It's nice to be back.
I won't go off again.
Thanks everyone.

(PS sorry if there are loads of typos I can't read this all again, so whatever came out, is what's above - mistakes and all)


  1. I'm glad you posted and are ok (or as ok as you can be expected to be) that was impressively lacking in typos for something you haven't proof read as I said you're a wonderful writer!

  2. I saw Bear's picture in Grazia. He's very recognisable. :)

    I'm glad stillbirth is getting more of a profile at the moment but wish we didn't need to know so much about it. Hope it goes well with Cameron.


  3. Phew. Thank you for the post, was worried. Good to hear that you're with a close girlie chum so you can drop the act and just be you (whatever 'you' may be at any point in time - you're not bad or mad if you find yourself enjoying life ocasionally btw..)

    Please don't worry about how other people feel in your presence. The toe-curling feeling of knowing you've said the wrong thing (because there honestly isn't anything to say that isn't the wrong thing) is as natural as your grief itself. But their embarassment is relatively temporary - I suspect that your grief will go on for ever, even if the intensity fades on a day-to-day basis. They will realise that. So if you can't keep up the 'act' of normality, then don't. Do whatever helps you.

    Keep blogging however you feel. When you read your comments you'll see that so many other mums and dads feel exactly the same but would never be able to express it so eloquently. Even if they spent all night proof reading it..

    Already signed the Grazia petition and will buy the mag this week. Their campaign is overdue. I was aware of SIDS, but until I heard you on Radio 4 I had no idea that so many more families went through this awful experience. I think Bear would be very, very proud of his mummy & daddy. And this virtual stranger is certainly in awe of your strength and eloquence. Hang in there, sending you hugs, enjoy LA (been raining for days here, you're not missing much)

  4. Thinking of you and Bear. Glad to see you back writing. Cx

  5. I just think you are truly brilliant. I'm not going to go into 'Bear would be very proud' - he IS proud and it goes without saying anyway. Sorry I've not text you - I will do this week - need to delve into the bottom of my bag and dig your number out....I'm rubbish I know!
    Anyway, glad to hear you're feeling a bit more 'normal'!
    Love Amy xx

  6. I sit here crying and looking at your beautiful boy.
    I feel as though I dont have the language to express how your words make me feel.

  7. Hi,

    I lost my baby boy, Freddie, at 25 weeks on 25th March. I also lost my baby girl at 19 weeks on 17th April last year. I began a blog too not long ago, which helps me with my grief (it's not as beautifully written as yours though).

    I've found that anger is the prevailing emotion after a few months; a mixture of anger and sadness and tears. But mostly anger.

    The picture of your bump is beautiful by the way, I still have pictures of me with my bump too, but I find it too sad to look at them.

    I think that your writing is beautiful, incredibly moving and very, very important to help people understand, as much as they can, what it's like to be in this situation. That was one of the things that made me so angry last time - people who didn't seem to understand.

    Your boy is beautiful, and his beauty and your love for him are both powerfully intertwined and portrayed through your writing. So please keep doing it.

    My heart is with you,

    Abbie Reed.xx

  8. I sometimes wonder how it's possible to function at all given the enormity of the grief and the loss but somehow you make it through each day. I don't quite know what to do with myself now the first six months have passed, it's a different kind of grief altogether. So I just keep forcing myself to do "normal" things and I continue to be angry that the world dares to carry on as if this huge terrible thing that happened to us never occurred. Just keep going Alice, you're not alone and what you're doing is inspirational.