*sorry about all the typos
Started 2nd May 2013
9 days after Peri was born
2444 days after Rose was born
My first daughter lies feverish and ill on the couch, having thrown up Oreo cookies over our new mattress and then projectile vomiting more over every surface over the bathroom tiles, toilet, walls, shower and door. My second daughter’s ashes are due to be picked up tomorrow at 10am and her ashes ceremony is the following day. And I am still laughing out loud at Top Gear.
It is surreal. Wrong. Every part of the above statement is hideous.
I have cried for Peri. I have worried for Rose. I have the best daughter, husband and family and friends in the known universe. I have missed out, as has everyone on the promise that our perfectly precious Peri was to be. And I can’t change that. I can worry it was my fault and allow that guilt to fester a new ulcer into my stomach lining. Everyone keeps wanting to know when the test results from autopsy will come back and i am afraid, terrified to receive them. What if I did something, ate something, drank something, lay in the wrong position, what if I believed in all the wrong things?
I can drink too much wine or whiskey or both and smoke cigarettes against my daughter’s express and fervent wishes. I can feel guilty for that too. And still, Top Gear is funny.
I still pray. i just dont know who to. i prayed for Peri to be ok, even though I dreamed she was to be stillborn and even though all the dreams thereafter were about me looking after other people’s babies, leaving me in the constant fear that I wasnt to have my own new daughter. dreams come true. I prayed for Rose to be well, for this illness (temporary and short term though it may be) to not hit her. Didn’t happen. A sad and sick little girl in answer. I can hardly face the ongoing prospect of sending these empty, hopeless wishes out into the universe and keep having them rejected. Isn’t there anyone/thing being/spirit God/Goddess out there who thinks my prayers and wishes are worth granting? No-one? Nothing?
It is unbearable. What did I do? I look after my family, I donate to charities, I support good causes, I counsel people with genuine empathy and a desire to help. Why?
I am pretty self-aware. I know I seek attention and regularly assert some air of superiority. I know those traits are annoying. I do try to do better.
I don’t think I am perfect, better, bigger, brighter. I just don’t think I am deserving of the loss of Peri.
And then I think, maybe the Universe knew I’d be no good at it. I mean, here I am nursing Rosie through her fever without even a thermometer, and I was the one who gave her the freaking Oreos after all. How would I have looked after her today, if I had a newborn girl child to nurse and care for too?
It is not me who is of little faith here. It is the Universe. Don’t test me anymore. Don’t judge my capability anymore.
I am blessed to have Craig, Rose, the boys in my life and I know it. But I just wanted one more baby. Rose wanted her. Ben wanted to prove he could be a better big brother (and he needs to know he has nothing to prove, by the way) and Josh as ever would have adored her. Craig was ready, he is a great Dad and I couldn’t wait to see him holding his new girl next to his other wonderful kids with that look of pride.
And how do I still find Top Gear funny, when all this is shuffling round my head? I have prepared a stoic and strong speech for Peri’s ashes ceremony. Part of this is for other people. And what I really want to do is howl in private, so no one can see that I am torn between loss and grief and horrid pain and the need to make sure my Rose is not feeling shunted while we focus on getting through these necessary rituals of farewell. Healing they say it will be. What if I don’t want to feel healed? And what if I heal too quickly? What if I move on too fast and Peri’s soul knows it? That is why it bothers me that Top Gear is still funny. Peri will know I am laughing and Rose needs to see that I can. Torn.
8th May 2013
Didn’t want to go to work today. Seriously thought about dropping rose at school and then returning back to bed to pull the doona over my head. But I went. I cried in the car on the way. Again. I found myself folding my arms around my body and then wondered if I just looked melodramatic. I talked to others having their work problems and tried to put forward the fair view. I tried not to say “this doesn’t matter”. Because it does matter. Whatever shit they’re worried about, matters. I try not to compare pain. All pain hurts. All hurt is real. But I hurt. I hurt. I don’t want anymore cards (I appreciate them, nonetheless). I don’t want anyone else to talk to me about brave. I know the face I am wearing. I know I am being brave. I know I am focusing at least outwardly on living life and being “up” and I know I am doing the right thing in that, because I have to for rosé.
She wrote me lots of “I love mum” messages yesterday when she was drawing pictures at work. She sat through a meeting with me, and was so patient, even though bored and hungry, and everything she wrote was about love. So I must keep affirming that love through my actions, and bearing. I must bear up. I just think I need a little collapse … In private, maybe when and where no one else will see. I can’t talk with anyone like a counsellor, they will only say what i already know. i can’t keep talking about it with family and friends because it would be like I am belabouring the same issues over and over.
But I hurt. I hurt and I want what I can’t have and I don’t know what I did wrong, or what I should have done differently.
And now I will make dinner.
13th May 2013
Found a Periwinkle flower blooming in the ground cover at the school, while I was searching for Rose’s Monster High doll’s missing leg. Poor Rose, crying her eyes out and I have Monty Python’s “ooh, a leg? Yes I think there is one in here somewhere,” running through my head. Knowing that wasn’t going to be funny to a despondent 6 year old, I kept it to myself, resisted the urge to pick the flower and tried to comfort little red with the hope that someone could return the leg to lost property.
We made dinner early and watched Scooby Doo. Rose got her finger stuck in Lift can, cracked her toe, hit her heel on the chair, and that is life.
14th May 2013
There is a new baby boy in the Crome family, a new baby girl in the Parker family, two new babies born in war torn syria’s refugee camp. I am genuinely happy for those families. But it breaks me inside.
Rang doctor who advises that monash has not completed analysis etc, however the placenta came back with both old blood and new blood on it, which suggests placental abruption, where the placenta detaches from the uterus. This can cause stillbirth. No clear answers on what can cause it to occur, but the listed possibles are not things that occurred to me. Maybe some of the symptoms were felt by me, but I didn’t pay them enough attention, or they were not severe enough to warrant me seeing the doctor. Maybe I should have seen her anytime I felt something weird.
Without the Monash results, though, it is too early to say if this was the cause.
Anyway, nothing can change anything.
16 May 2013
I still cried on way to work. I had a little cry in the dead of night, but then I had to get up to clean the cat vomit from the lounge room floor. Then I had to get up to let her back into the room, because I locked her out, but then felt bad. Ha ha, poor pussy cat.
I am hoping it is placenta abruption as the cause, simply because I know there wasn’t anything I could do. I still miss you Peri Wren, my Periwinkle .. And I won’t get past that, ever. I don’t know how to process this. I don’t want to process it. I want a small, beautiful, complex, baby in my arms now and I want all the lovely, hard stuff that comes with you. And I can’t have any of that. And that is unacceptable, and yet I have to accept that. My mouth thins into a small line, my tears blind me, my head hurts and then there is all the love I have for Craig, rose, josh, Ben, our family, our friends and I must see the light that shines from all that and all them .. And I do.
I got a bit angry with your grandad Ian when he was telling me how nanny wendy was so Sad, and I didn’t mean to. It’s just that I can’t offer anything to comfort mum, when I am trying so hard to stay strong. It is a brittle strength, but I am truly not bitter. It is a selfish emotion though, and despite my better wishes, I want and need to be selfish. But I do know that all your family feel lost because of this. Your dad is stronger than me, but not so strong that he can fool anyone. Your brothers and sister feel for you and for us and your grandparents, uncles, aunties, cousins feel your loss too … They are so sad, and trying hard to care for all of us … Peri, you were my girl, you were going to be my best girl, just like rosé is my best girl and I didn’t ever care about the conflict that created for the English language. I was well prepared for two favourite girls. Two best girls.
I am sorry Peri. Sorry I couldn’t bring you into this world, sorry you never heard more than my heartbeat and sorry you never felt the warmth of my arms around you. You were warm, when I first held you and I know that is because I held you warm. Your cheek was smooth and soft and I stroked it often. Your lips were crimson red, and I thought they were beautiful. Your limbs were so soft, your hands and feet so delicate. I love very part of you.
20th May 2013
I got your tattoo, the Periwinkle flower on the weekend and I am glad for it, yet i am still empty. Not of everything, but just that, it didn’t solve anything. Because nothing can replace you, Peri. I wasn’t trying to, but I need a reminder to carry always. It just doesn’t fix anything. I didn’t think it would.
Your big sister has drummed tonight, on the washing basket and you would have liked that. She is a fierce, self-motivated joy and you would have followed her example, but in your own way.
My friend and boss Graham told me that my colleague Irene was worried I was becoming / being depressed. I am just sad. Grieving, yes. Because the loss of you is not right, not explicable, not dealwithable. It just shouldn’t be. But I am not depressed. Just so sad to miss out on you. and sad about all the things you could have enjoyed. but on the former…. Your first breath, cry, smile, grimace, and then onto your first crawl, step, your first roll of the eyes at my mothering, your first smart ass wisecrack … All that stuff. I really wanted to see all your versions of that.
24th May 2013
We had a lovely night playing in the spa, Rose at her playful best and colouring my heart with the red, gold and light of joy. I did drink too much red wine though, and that is that.
I messaged mummy Parker with perhaps a strange request to go visit her new sweet baby Lola for a cuddle. She and Prue were all going to be within weeks of Peri and I had it in my mind that they would be friends, close friends forever. But Peri isn’t here and they are, so I want to hold them. It doesn’t make much sense, but instead of feeling sad when I see them, I want to feel closeness, warmth, to share a little of the love of a child who would have been close to Peri. And Raechel was so swift to say “yes” and now I know I won’t ring her to organise it, because I feel too needy. Prue Eldred can’t escape her Auntie Kate though! But again, I don’t want to appear needy, or like I am overly trying to prove I am ok. I am trying to prove that, a bit. Like a personal test of fortitude (fortitudine vincit - courage through fortitude), but I just love her, like any Auntie would love her niece (great-niece!).
29th May 2013
A Chinese baby survives being trapped in a sewer pipe. Seriously, Universe, are you laughing at me?
30th May 2013
Our Operations director, Lis told me today that she too had lost baby Christopher in similar circumstances, and that she still thought of him often, 13 years later. she has all his photos in a safe, remembers the anniversaries of birth and death. As I knew, already, she confirmed that this loss, this mourning will not end. i appreciated her telling me though, because it was hard for her. She is a private person and I was told about her most private grief. I am much more overt. But not more grief-stricken. There isn’t a scale, a ranking for this. Grief is grief and it hurts. Everyone.
2nd June 2013
The night before the day you were to be born. Oh baby girl, what on earth did I do wrong? Where are you? If I dream tonight, let me dream of you, and let me see that you are smiling. I wish all my futile wishes. I love you.
4th June 2013
I have your locket around my neck and your pretty face is upon it. I get to show you off, for anyone who chooses to look. And your hair lock is within it and a little feather because I thought it fit it.
6th June 2013
Nah. It’s shit. It sucks. It’s fucked. I hate. I am angry. I want. I can’t. Ever. I love. I enjoy. I smile. I laugh. I love. I already said that. It’s still true. I don’t want sympathy. I don’t need it. I don’t know what could be given. It’s no ones fault but mine. It must be. She only had me to sustain her and I couldn’t do it.
9th June 2013
Listening to sad songs
That always make me cry
But there is nothing wrong
Tears they clean my eyes
Tattoos and memories
Flowers blooming, singing birds
But no pitter patter of pretty feet
And never your first words
Looking at the sunshine
Rainbows, Black feathers, and night
Faith a stone around my neck
I still hope for light
Missing you who I never had
Wanting what I could not keep
Needing to see your brown eyes
Forever closed in the longest sleep
11 July 2013
Wow, I haven’t written for a while. There have been other posts and messages via Facebook, but I haven’t updated here,
Don’t know why.
I wrote to LibbY in response to her:
Libby: How are you traveling gorgeous? That can be a rhetorical question btw, just wanted you to know that you are in my thoughts every day xx
me: I travel … Have had too much wine and too many cigarettes, a lot of much appreciated support and love. Reassurances that it is ok when I cry. Demands that I do not blame myself. It is too final and too unchangeable and we won’t ever be able to put it out of our minds. The loss of the promise and hope that Peri was is too much for anyone to have to go through but the joy of all else, each other, rose and the boys of course, the cuddles I can give other babies are all lovely. I just missed out on someone special. And I try to go on nonetheless and I am pretty successful in doing so. But my friend, it is a fucked up universe when babies die. And I know the universe is pathologically indifferent. So luckily all the people in it especially those like you, are not. Thanks for the love. Much love to you and your special people too. Xxoo
libby: It is a fucked up universe when babies die, that is truth. No getting around it. You walk a path that most us do not or begin to comprehend. I think there is not a day goes by when the image of that beautiful flower you got on your skin doesn’t enter my mind. All my love to you. For what it’s worth every say I am siphoning something of myself off and sending it to you and Craig in the hope that we can all support the path you walk on xxxx
me: Lovely Libby, your soul is bright. Bright and sweet and we do feel your love. We can’t search for meaning nor reasoning for this thing that has no rationale. We just have healing tears and a collaboration of wounds and scars. This is why I like the analogy of filling all that is cracked with gold. Warm hearts and smart minds and open souls are the gold that seal that which is broken. I don’t pretend too much … I am no stronger or braver than anyone else who has lost and I didn’t need the lesson and I don’t like the teaching. We were so happy, so deliriously happy. I was replete with joy. And I broke it. It just broke and it took her from us. So many things to say, so much that goes unsaid. Some things bests left unsaid. One day though, you will swing by the peninsula and I will cook you a poor approximation of a meal and we will laugh at the antics, beauty and love that is inspired by our gorgeous children. Let us know when you are in town. X
libby: I can take all that you said but never ever believe that you broke it. You broke nothing. It broke, dispassionately and tragically and completely fucking awfully, but you have no agency in this. I know this is easy for me to say but it needs to be said anyway. Yes, one day we will come and see you. Please give love to Rose from Heide xxxxx and again xxxxxx
I also, on wed 10th July told Cherrie that I was Completely happy about her news that she was 12 weeks pregnant and I sent thoughts of hope to the stranger whose photo was posted with the 20ozbaby who survived against all odds. When Rose asked me to play a game where I was the daughter and she was the mother and she brought one of her dolls out as the new baby, the cumulative effect was that I cried like a broken person. Again. I feel so guilty when I feel sad at everyone else’s happiness. But I hope everyone knows that I am not jealous, not wishing bad thought, just still mourning. Just wont stop. It is too big.
4th August 2013
Is hope too big to aim for? I have embraced a peace that has come from the sun, the moon, the elements, through meditation, through lucid dreaming, through the sharing of spirit with my brother and others, through the love, love, love of my husband and the joy, joy, joy of my daughter.
I have started a story, telling our grievous pain and projecting our hope of you, Peri in another world, a world where you live and breathe, sing and walk. It is a story of hope.
And in this world, do I dare take a chance on hope? Because I would be setting all of us up again …. Can’t hide it for all of the 40 weeks. If Hope was a girl, she would be named Lucy, for the light, and if Hope was a boy, he would be named Michael for my dad.
But I am too afraid for Hope, right now. and I will still write your story, Peri Wren, because I feel you more, when I think of you singing.
26th August 2013
Your big sister turned 7 on the 23rd August and she had a ball! Bowling with most of her class, a big family gathering. You would have loved it! Your Nannies and Grandads (Melbourne) were here and your Aunties and Uncles, Cousins and second Cousins, of course your big brothers!. Peri, missing you just never stops and I want you so desperately. Another chance to hold you and kiss you. I just want you bacback. If only. Can you hear me, little bird? Can you feel all our love, understand our sorrow? Do you know how much we want you? You’ve been gone for 125 days. Conservatively, that’s 1250 kisses missed.