Saturday, 15 January 2011

i kind of hope that this post might bring some small degree of comfort to people in the very newness of grief who believe that their OH does not care about the loss of their child.


i genuinely believed when i wrote that last post that D did not care about the loss of our child - at least, not as deeply as i did. i had seen him mourn a child before. it did not look like this. ergo, he did not care so much. and on some levels i could understand that. the loss of a child you love who loves you must be terrible. i know that in some ways he still regrets what happened, although he had very little choice in the matter.

but now, over a year after our loss, i can see that it did affect my husband. that he was sad that we lost our baby. that it did change him. i was just in a place where i couldn't see that at the time.

even though it was not as hard for him as it was for me, it was still a horrible experience for him. but for him, the hardest part of a horrible experience was coping with seeing me descend to a dark, scary place, without any confidence that the woman he had fallen in love with would ever return to him. and to him, that overshadowed the loss of our child. and thinking about it now, it must have been terrible for him to see me go through all that and not to know how to help me. i can't imagine how i would have coped with seeing him go through the pain i've suffered in this last 14 months.

around new years eve, D started talking about cutting his hair. it was short when i got pregnant in 2009, but he started growing it at that time. i think he thought that it would be his last chance. that he'd have to cut it when the baby was born.

but then, what happened happened. we lost the baby and went into freefall. i fell deeper into depression. D didn't - couldn't - understand what i was going through. grief is always different. even if two people suffer the same bereavement it will be different for them both. but he kept going. what choice did he have? he went into work, every day. hardly any time off sick, as always. he comforted me when i cried. (the times when i let him know i cried, anyway.) he worried about me. i didn't really realise he worried about me until i was a lot better. he hid it pretty well.

and all that time, his hair got longer.

and i didn't see any connection. until around new years. over a year later. when he started talking about cutting it. and said that it was time to stop mourning.


i've been wearing a bracelet that noone would ever think was a sign of mourning. he's been growing his hair. and i didn't even realise. all this time, even if it hasn't been visible - even to me, the person who knows him best - he has been mourning too. he's even had a visible sign on his person, like i did. like me though, it's one that's not obvious.

this morning, he finally cut his hair. i was sad when he went out. his hair looked gorgeous. all soft and smooth. i took a couple of last photos, my hubby with long hair. i stroked it and kissed it and said goodbye. i know it must sound pathetic. but i was a bit scared. i even made him cut me off a lock. to remember. i'm crying as i write this. i realise that must sound ridiculous.

he came back. with short hair. shaved at the sides. spiky at the top. it actually looked awful at first but he dived straight into the shower and when he came out it looked good. completely different from before, but good.

and today we've tidied up, a bit. and cleared out, a bit. and decluttered, a bit. and we kind of have tentative plans to carry on with that tomorrow. and my hubby looks good.

it's not that it's 'time to stop mourning'. part of me will always be mourning. but we have a chance at a living child, and whatever happens, we still have each other. this last 14 months has been incredibly hard for us as a couple, and this next 14 months will be, too. but the last couple of months, i've been really realising quite how much i love this guy. realising that he has always been there, even when he hasn't understood my grief. realising that if we can come through this amount of shit and still love each other and be happy as a couple, then we can (probably) get through anything. i'm bloody lucky, in many ways. except for the babyloss thing.


the other day, while we were waiting for the scan, i was crying. i was so scared. and then i said to D, 'even if it's bad news, we'll get through, won't we? we'll be ok? in the end?'

and he said yes. and i believed him. i still believe him. and i stopped crying.

maybe that's all there is to it.


Miss Ruby said...

You should believe him.

100% no need to ask again.

Out of everything the Guv and I have been through the last 11 years, if there is only ONE thing that I have learnt it is this:

"if you have a partner who loves you unconditionally, as you do them, then nothing is insurmountable, no challenge that could be placed in front of you could not be overcome"

Love truly does conquer all, even the really bad stuff that we sometimes believe we will never get through, never get over - if we are loved, truly loved - we find a way to get through it and we not only get through it but we usually come out the other side stronger than we went in.

Out of all the things that a couple can face in this world, I believe losing a child [at whatever stage of pregnancy or age] is one of the worst - something you have created together is no longer and when it dies it takes a part of your heart with it.

If you can get through that together - then there really isn't ANYTHING else you couldn't get through.


Brooke said...

This is a really lovely post. I recently read Joan Didion's book _The Year of Magical Thinking_ about the death of her husband. She makes a distinction between grief and mourning. Grief is the feeling and to mourn is the act of what you do with that grief. Perhaps you and your husband have found a moment of transition, when you continue to mourn the loss of your child while the suffocation of grief has lessened a bit. It's the worst experience to have to share with someone you love but I don't know how we'd survive it without them.

B said...

thanks rach. i don't like tempting fate by saying that we've got some kind of guarantee that our marriage will always work out, but i think the odds are pretty damned good for us.

thanks brooke for the book recommendation - i will put that on order. i keep meaning to add a page on here of books that people might find useful and that sounds like a good one.

you're right, i have no idea how i could have survived this last 12 months + without him. i hope i never have to find out.

a moment of transition... yes. i think that could well be it.

Big Love, Big Acceptance - or so I say said...

This is a very sweet and moving post for me to read.

Reminds me of my own journey with my husband, and how one of the hardest parts for him (or the hardest) has been standing by and watching me grieve and hurt. A few times he even said he missed his wife. It hurt me a lot to hear that, and it made a lot of sense.

I sincerely hope that our baby's death is the toughest experience our marriage ever has to endure (although I hear raising living children is tough on a marriage too - but I'm REALLY looking forward to that challenge!). :)

Thanks for sharing your thoughts and experiences.

trousers said...

B, this is a lovely post, and to me it seems like a pivotal one, in the most positive of ways. If I try to expand on that right now I'll probably end up rambling on incoherently, and I don't want to do that - but thanks for sharing this.

Angela said...

This post is beautiful. I'm crying as I think about you and your husband with your quiet symbols of grief.

You have come through so much and you are a stronger couple for it. Of course we all would've liked to avoid walking through the fire of loss, but to see where you and your husband are now gives me hope.

B said...

Thank you all. I was really shy about sharing this post, but I'm glad I did.