Tuesday, 21 May 2013

The weekend that was, and forward we go

Firstly, thank you. It's all I can say, really, because the warmth and love by which I felt encircled last week was beyond words. I don't think I can adequately convey the gratitude I feel knowing that not only is my boy remembered, but continues to inspire moments of beauty and laughter. You guys are simply amazing. All the comments and emails and beautiful pieces of artwork that you made in honour of S. The cartwheels, the time spent playing with rambunctious puppies, digging in gardens, picking wild bluebells; the candles and the colouring books.

Just...thank you.

We spent the weekend away, arriving home yesterday morning. Friday was a beautiful day, in spirit if not in weather. There were tears in the morning, gently soothed by the sound of the lapping waves and the breeze in the sea grasses as we sat on the sand dunes, remembered, and looked out towards the horizon. The tears - and the sadness - were neither as copious nor as tinged with bitterness as they have been in past years, giving us both a sense of affirmation that we are indeed intact, as is our sense of hope for the future; just as we release our previous expectations of life, and forgive those versions of ourselves that held them. Our love, too - for what has gone - remains.

And just as there were tears, there was much laughter on Friday. There was digging our toes in the sand and getting very dirty and collecting seashells. There were jokes about H's rather tyrannical vision of a historically and architecturally accurate medieval sand fortification, (I insisted S would be as bored with the notion of historical fidelity as I was, while my dear husband insisted any son of his would be as avid as he. But really...a toddler?). There was ice cream and meadow walks and forget-me-nots and frolicking newly born lambs and freshly caught seafood (because if he can inherit an interest in military history from his father, then I would surely nurture a fine palate and appreciation of local bounties in my boy). And after dinner and a long day in the fresh air of the countryside, there was a quiet and contemplative walk through the twilight of a beautiful little coastal town of winding, cobbled streets. (Some of which appear below, in case you're interested). And so importantly, this commemoration felt woven into the mundane fabric of our lives and our routines in a totally natural way. And S was present everywhere, not least in the tiny space between H and I when we cuddle and comfort one another. In some ways, the love grows deeper, the connection stronger, and I marvel at the experiences that my son continues to inspire me to seek.

A contemplative spot

S's castle, complete with seashell entry gate and accurate (so I'm told) fortifications.






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This blog has been a bit of a love fest for my husband lately, hasn't it? In recounting my thoughts of the weekend, I want to offer up one more sickly sweet ode to H, and then we'll return to our regular programming.

After posting this I realized that I too fall prey to the fallacy that we are not active parents, that our parenting will happen in future tense. Of course we struggle. It's not easy learning how to parent a baby who is not here, especially in a society so death averse as ours is. But we try to find ways to express our love. We have to be creative. We learn to honour and include that which we cannot see but know to be present. And H is a master of these touching gestures of devotion. It was he who staked a claim on the 17th as a special day for S, and it has made the ambivalent feelings that come with each birth day anniversary so much easier to bear. It was he who proposed a day of childish pursuits each year, something we hope to be able to include our future children in as years pass. He masterminded the sandcastle.

He is an amazing father. I am so happy to be sharing this journey with him.


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And now we are back and life, with all its banalities and tiny moments of the sublime, continues. There are work projects to complete and summer holidays to plan for, blogs to catch up with and, because the moment for jungle time happened to poignantly coincide with this past weekend, there is a two week wait to begin. Because we are resilient, and even as hope wanes, there's no harm in trying. Or in obsessing.  

22 comments:

  1. It sounds like you had a good day with S on his third birthday. I love how you could feel that he was with you everywhere, and that you and H spoke of what characteristics S would have from the two of you; Jon and I do the same thing with our kids that aren’t here.

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    1. Thank you Brianna. I think talking about our babies as regular kids is something that freaks out other people, and probably contributes to them thinking us mad (that's been my experience), so probably only another loss mom could understand. We find sharing these kinds of little jokes and wondering about what he'd be like very comforting though. I know it's the same for you guys.

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  2. "There's no harm in trying, or in obsessing". That made me smile like a crazy person.
    This sounds like a beautiful weekend and I am glad you celebrated S. The photos are beautiful and the place sounds idyllic. Ice-cream and forget-me-nots are amongst my favorite things.

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    1. It was all very idyllic, and much less laden with grief than I think either of us anticipated. It almost feels like after three years, we're truly incorporating this reality into our story. It was very healing, and also frees up some energy to for the hoping/obsessing about the future ;)
      Thanks for being here Amanda.

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  3. A beautiful post, Sadie. I'm glad that you were able to spend this angelversary in such a wonderful place. It sounds like there's a lot of healing that happened and I'm certain S was roaming the dunes with you and H. Sending love.

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    1. Thank you so much Cristy. It did feel very healing, almost like for the first time in three years we have turned a corner, letting go of some of the negative and difficult aspects of our loss, and just holding on to the love. It's a step in the right direction, and S remains a huge part of our story and family.

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  4. Where are the photos taken? I love the winding cobbley roads. I can't wait to get back to England on Friday for my visit.

    Sounds like you both had a lovely day, and H sounds ever so supportive and active in the grieving. I like that you are remembering that you are a parent in the present tense.

    Lots of love xxxx

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    1. We spent the day in East Sussex/Kent, which is such an idyllic and calming part of the countryside. It was very special, and one of the things that has been very healing for me has been the way in which H has increasingly present with his grieving/coping, because for a long time I feared we were moving in separate directions with our grief. Things are so much better than they have been.

      I hope you have a wonderful visit! Will this be the start of the big relocation for your husband too?

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  5. Beautiful photos and beautiful words, as always. Thank you for sharing all of this with us - I'm still misty eyed... over the historical accuracy of the sandcastle (kidding). Thinking good thoughts for you two over these next two weeks.

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    1. Haha! It may sound odd to others, but it is precisely these kinds of normal, silly family interactions that bring us comfort and remind us that we're healing in the face of our loss. Call me crazy, but talking about historical accuracy of sandcastles, and imagining my son's mischief (as well as his father's tantrum!) as he knocks over the walls of sand...Well, it really does make me all misty eyed, in a totally good, warm and fuzzy way.

      Thanks for being here Sarah, and for allowing me to share.

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  6. gorgeous pictures and gorgeous words! thanks for sharing this important weekend with us. this is such a nice tradition and i am so glad you have a great person to share this journey with!

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    1. Thanks my friend. It's been really important for us to establish this tradition, and gone a long way in facilitating the healing process.

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  7. So, so happy to have found your blog... you write just beautifully (I know that I'm echoing every comment here, but seriously...you do). You chose such a touching way to honor your son, and I'm sure that he too would appreciate its fortified status. Doesn't stuff like that just tear at your heart? I try to imagine how many things about the girls would resemble Eric and myself, and it just makes it so much more "real." I'm glad you could find some peace in that idyllic setting. Very excited to continue following you on your journey.

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    1. I think now, as hard as those moments of realization can be to weather emotionally, they are also so important in healing. As you said, they make our children real - that much more miss-able, but also more love-able - when often we're discouraged from feeling that way in our experiences. It's taken me time to find comfort in that though, and I hope you will too, one day.

      Thank you so much for stopping by my blog. I'm so pleased I found yours, and look forward to following along and cheering you on.

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    1. Thank you SO SO much for your thoughts and deeds in honour of my boy. It means more than you know.

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  9. Such a lovely post, Sadie. When I started blogging I hoped that I would find others that had known a similar loss to my own but you have given me so much more than just a feeling that I am not alone. Reading your blog has given me courage, hope and the belief that remembering the ones who have gone can be a pleasure and not only pain. You write so wonderfully about where I hope one day to be. You make it seems so possible to find joy through the sadness. Although I am a way behind you, your words are picking me up and pushing me forward. I can't say thank you enough.

    And, not forgetting the future, good luck with your two week wait. I hope that this is it for you.

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    1. Wow, Ana. This comment is amazing. Before I started blogging I dipped my toes in by reading the blogs of other women who had experienced heartbreak and loss in building their families, and it made me feel less alone and understood. One of my greatest hopes was to pay that forward by writing about my own experience. I'm so touched and so thrilled that you find some sense of hope in my words. Firstly, because it reminds me that I'm not as much the pessimest that I imagine myself to be, but more importantly, I feel like my son's life, and my love for him can have some ongoing legacy that touches others as well. That's what all parents want, I think.

      So really, thank YOU for your kind words, and for those reminders.

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  10. I'm so glad you and H enjoyed your time away, remembering S and having a lovely time in his honor.

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    1. Thank you Daryl. It was a really special day, and I' glad to have people I can share it with who 'get it'.

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  11. Oh, what a special weekend for you, it sounds very healing and bonding. I love this, and how you both take an active part in the process of remembering your son. Much love.

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  12. Just simply beautiful and inspiring.

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