Have Hope

I tell myself often, perhaps today I will write something. I tell my Husband and my mother “perhaps I’ll do some writing” Yet it seems the sun rises and the sun sets and still the page before me remains blank.

Creative writing has always been passion of mine. Putting pen to paper over the years has been both enjoyment and medicine.

I used my enthusiasm for writing to loosen and guide me through the grips of an aggressive eating disorder. Whilst suffering with Anorexia I wrote and I wrote. I wrote to my illness and I wrote about my illness. I wrote poetry and countless diary entries, I wrote until my poor fingers could write no more.

Writing through the darkness came so easily then. So why now I question, when I am so full of emotion, when my mind is so congested with a running dialogue that will not cease, when the urge to write is so very strong. Why now do I find that the words will not come?

It is not that there is nothing to say. Maybe there there is too much? I lay in bed nightly, listening to the turning of the cogs in my mind. Silently I play over the memories of the past fourteen weeks and witness each thought emerge and disburse around the unlit bedroom, like ice cold breath in the midnight air.

I wonder why my urge to write is so strong? I question why, alongside all the pressure I am currently experiencing just trying to survive each moment, why now do I feel so strongly that I should write something? I suppose it is the cathartic quality I used to get from setting my thoughts free in a manner that allowed for reflection and healing. I am fully aware that it has become an obsession for me to recite each part of Edith’s story in my mind, and perhaps seeing it written on the page retains the memories and validates her existence.

What writing cannot and will not do though, is bring her back. No amount of soul searching through prose can alter the devastating truth; that my daughter lived in me and died in me, and that nothing I do can bring my daughter back.

Learning to live with the unforeseen circumstances of Edith’s death requires acceptance of the situation. There is nothing more painful than allowing yourself to accept that the child you were so ready to spend the rest of your life with is gone, and now life just has to go on. It’s not that I can’t accept that Edith died. The cold hard facts are somehow much easier to acknowledge than the letting go of the dreams I had for my daughter and our family. Dreams that I must now accept were nothing more than dreams. For in truth, I’ll never get to know the sensation of her gentle breath and the rise and fall of her tiny body upon my chest. The sound of her cries, and the hope that I would be the only one to truly soothe her. The beautiful reflection of simple objects in her eyes, and the glory of witnessing her see these things for the very first time. That’s only skimming the surface of my pot of Edith shaped dreams. All the firsts I will never experience with her; first tooth, first word; first steps. Then the firsts I must experience without her; first Christmas, first birthday and every one thereafter.

To read my words above, I read the saddest list in the world. Within the list lies a story, and that story is my life. It is the story of Edith and of family. It is filled with love and sadness, devastation and inspiration.

There is so much for me to say and so much desire to say it, but somehow I am struggling to begin. Once upon a time it was so easy for me to write, but once upon a time couples happily ever after, and without my little girl I don’t know if there is one. In losing my child I have essentially lost myself.

There is so much of me that still remains, but so much of me that has changed. The change came suddenly. There was no choice or warning. Now I am learning to adjust to a different version of myself, looking at life through an altered lens, whilst the world carries on as normal.

Summer this year was long and exceptionally hot. At first I was angry that the summer dared be so glorious when my life was so weighted with sorrow. Slowly I grew comfortable with the heat and the light. Somehow I found solace in the outdoors. Everything beautiful reminded me of my daughter. The flowers and the butterflies, the warmth of the sun upon my the back of my neck felt like her spirit was reaching out to touch me. I wished to stay in the sadness of this summer for the rest of my life. Now the season is gradually changing. There is a slight turn in the air, a single orange leaf lands at my feet and I find myself feeling terrified that time is taking me away from Edith. The new season brings new anxieties. I’ve been so caught up in living moment by moment that a whole season has passed and the anguish of her absence is still as raw as the day we lost her.

Managing to write something today is encouraging and makes space in my head. Writing for me it seems brings a little clarity and respite. How long that clarity will last I do not know, and that is something I need to just endure. Rather than fixating on what I don’t have and what I can’t do, perhaps I should try and focus on what I do have and what I can do. Though that is much easier said than done, but here goes…

Today I can write. I have a daughter, and even without her here I can still be a mother.

I have so much hope for the future, and the thought of living my life to make my daughter proud is a driving impulse that pushes me forward into each new day without her.

I have the love of Edith’s father, a true, romantic love filled with respect and admiration for one another. We now share the joy of parenthood, and I am certain we can be the best Mum and Dad to Edith, celebrating and remembering her always. We have plans to grow our little family in time, and although it is hard to believe right now that I will ever parent a living child, I have hope.

Yes I can and I do HAVE HOPE, and for today that is enough.

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