one of the things we were told when we first went to the R.V.I. for medical management of my miscarriage was that if we wanted, we could attend a communal cremation ceremony at the Cre.m on the We.st Road. if we had wanted to have a funeral or a personal service, we would have had to pay for it ourselves, but the hospital arranges and pays for this ceremony once a month. the remains of each baby would be placed into a box and the boxes placed into a coffin. there would be a service at the Cre.m and then the coffin would be burned and the ashes scattered in the Gard.en of Remem.brance.
D didn't particularly want to go, but i did. we were told it would be held on 6th jan. and that it would not be particularly religious.
that part was a lie.
(god, back then i thought i'd be back at work by then. i wasn't back for over a month after that. i should have been off for longer.)
back then, it was snowing. it had been snowing since mid-december and it would be snowing for some time to come. and i had found this story, in which a mother turns up ten minutes late and misses the ceremony (but it turns out that her daughter was not cremated that day anyway... it's horrendous). so i was terrified we were going to miss it.
so that day i woke up at 6.30am. we were ready to leave the house just after 7.30. it was snowing heavily, and when we tried to move the car, it got stuck in the snow. we tried to dig ourselves out; it didn't work. D tried to push; that didn't work either. in the end the girl next door, who we'd never done more than exchange smiles with previously, helped push us out. then we helped push her car out. it was ridiculous.
in the end we arrived at 8.15 for a 9.00 ceremony. they hadn't even started clearing the car park. we parked and got out. walked around in the snow for a while, before looking for the waiting room and finding both it and a hot drink machine (thank goodness).
then it transpired that the hearse bringing the coffin had been delayed by the snow, so there would be quite some wait. oh, the irony. or something.
so we waited.
in the end, there were four other sets of people, i think. three other couples, and a family. complete with children and grandparents. i was quite upset by this at the time - why would someone bring children to a ceremony like that? how insensitive! - but now i realise that this will have been important to those children. to have a chance to say goodbye. i just wish someone had told us that it wasn't just for us, that we could have taken other people along if we wanted. we wouldn't have done so, but it wouldn't have floored me so much that other people did.
after the ceremony, we drove home. D was due back at work but he phoned and said he was taking the day as leave. we went for a walk in the snow. i cried on and off all day.
my family has never been the sort of family that 'does' visiting graves. i've never really understood it. but things change. i've been up to the cre.m twice since then. the Snowdrop Garden... it's peaceful, and it's sad. it's somewhere to go, and to think. it's somewhere safe.
in december, as january neared, i realised that i felt a bit weird about this date, 6th jan. i asked my line manager if i could take the day as leave. she agreed. i decided to go up to the Cre.m. just to sit there for a while.
i needed to sleep in. but i woke up as D was getting ready for work, and got up for a glass of water. i peeked outside, and there was a thin smattering of snow on the ground. it felt right.
i slept til nearly ten. i was so exhausted yesterday, it felt good. it was lunchtime before i got myself together to leave the house. i was tempted not to bother going - it's quite a trek to get there, and i'm still tired; i could have enjoyed a day relaxing in the house - but something made me go.
i'm glad i did.
when i got off the bus at the Cre.m, it was starting to snow.
as i walked to the Snowdrop Garden, the snow got heavier. it wasn't sticking, but it was coming down.
as i sat in the garden, it snowed.
tiny snowflakes landed on my bag. this was the best picture i could get.
for a long time i just sat. not really knowing what to do.
and then i started to talk. i told the baby, i miss you. that i wish you was safe with me. i wish i was wondering how you would deal with a little brother or sister with such a small gap. i will always love you, and miss you.
and i started to cry.
and as i stopped talking and crying, the snow started to slow.
and as i left the garden, it stopped.
i don't believe in signs. but ...
... this felt like one.
i miss you, baby. i miss you so much. i wish you were here. i wish i could have both you and your tiny sibling. it's not fair that i can't.
i love you loads. more than i can say.