My Musings


Forgive and forget (phrase): To decide not to continue being angry about something that someone has done, and not to allow your memory of it to influence your future relationship

I remember lying on a yoga mat, waiting for a pilates class to start, listening to the background music, tears streaming down my face: “say something I’m giving up on you. I’ve not forgotten that.

There’s something that’s been playing on my mind, it’s something that I’m finally able to articulate, why other people are causing me so much additional pain:

If you have a child, or have ever been pregnant, and you haven’t shown me that Summer dying is important to you, if you haven’t ‘upped your game’ then what you are saying is this: My child is different to yours. My child is a nearly-child, while yours is real. You’re saying that it’s not the same. And I cannot tell you, how unbelievably painful that is.

It’s not the same, you’re right. Every child is unique – that’s something to be celebrated, but one day, that’s something to be mourned too. My day came sooner than yours. I’m part of the ‘club’ that no parent wants to be in, the one where we outlive our children. It’s unnatural and it’s heart-breaking. It’s something we have to live with. Every single day, it doesn’t go away.

Before my miscarriages, I did not get it – I’ve mentioned this a few times on Mumoirs – and though it’s not something I’m proud of, it’s something I forgive people for, if they’ve not been through it themselves. But if you’re a parent, how can you not understand it? If you’ve been pregnant, how can you forget how much you loved that child? How does this not move you into closing the gap, showing that you care? Because you are able to imagine how awful this is.

And that’s what I’ve been finding difficult to forgive.

You don’t understand my prolonged sorrow? I don’t understand the lack of yours.

As if losing my child isn’t enough, I’ve felt I’ve had to convince people that they were real and deserving of all this love, this hurt, this grief. It’s why I keep mentioning that Summer has a birth certificate, it’s why I’ve shared pictures of her hand and footprints. It’s to prove that she was a real baby. Because if I can convince you, I can feel less of a crazy person, for feeling so broken for “so long”. Instead of being given the grace to feel what I feel, I have been ignored, avoided. You don’t know what to say to me anymore? That says more about you, than me. I’m still a person, not a pariah. The people who truly cared, tried.

It is approaching eight months, and I will not forget. I know now, who was there and who wasn’t. In the hardest, darkest moments – I remember. I remember it all. The memories cast, the inaction noted.

So, to friends and family, who have children and didn’t do anything to close the gap, to up their game or to show up – I will not forget. I can forgive you, you can thank Summer for that. I have always struggled with forgiveness, but Summer dying is teaching me how to do it. But I will never forget. She didn’t deserve that, so now, neither do you. She was never important enough to you, and now, you no longer are to me.

Summer was here. She was real. She was loved. She is missed.

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(5) Comments

  1. Claudia says:

    Not sure if it was to you I said this to but…. 3 days before Charlie’s funeral one of my best friends christened her baby. Somehow I was left to feel like I was in the wrong for not being there – because how could I miss such a celebration?
    . However, I had no one at the funeral- sure with covid was almost impossible. But never was there a mention of : i wish I was there. Never an intention of coming, regardless of restrictions. As if my baby didn’t live or die and didn’t need aknowledgement. So, I hear you, I feel you. And I’m sorry. ❤

  2. Karen Palmer says:

    This is such a hard one. The topic of forgiveness, I mean. And I understand the hurt and pain you’ve been caused, and which is ongoing – the disappointment, being so badly let down by these others.
    But, forgiveness is so much bigger and more wonderful than you describe. It includes forgetting. My worry is that by setting out not to forget, the bitterness you are left with will further hurt and imprison you and weigh you down.
    If real forgiveness includes forgetting, that can seem unattainable, I know.
    I’ve mentioned to you before, I think, the book “Don’t forgive too soon”, which explains why unthinking, quick ‘forgiveness’ is often doomed to failure. Something often needs to happen, perhaps words need to be said, before something can be properly let go and fully forgiven. And I know you’ve tried to use this blog in that way. But I’m guessing that the people who most need to read it, don’t – and that even when they do, they don’t respond in the way that they should.
    But forgetting – the grace to be able to let go and fully forgive, is something wonderful and liberating. Worth achieving if you can. And certainly, an amazing gift to receive.

  3. Kirst says:

    Summer is very missed, very real and forever loved – beautiful baby girl. Summer will always have the best mummy, who continues to teach us so many important things about love and loss. Again Anj, thank you for your honesty and vulnerability. Summer’s hand and foot prints… they are special in a way that I can’t put into words.

    I’m so sorry that people continue to hurt and disappoint. Forgiveness is so powerful, especially when bestowed upon those who deserve it least. ‘Forgetting’ is entirely another matter… not sure where I stand on that… one thing I do know is that it would likely require significantly more time and processing. This is a tough journey Anj, (i think the worthwhile ones always are) and I believe you’re exactly where you need to be right now.

  4. Anupa Bhattarai says:

    The other day I was asking my counsellor “why am I expecting people to acknowledge my baby and the pain i am going through”. Why can’t I be in peace with myself? I am still in the same position, I guess. I completely hear you, Anj.

  5. My dear friend. Sweet Anj.
    I cannot tell you how deeply this resonates with me even 15 months later. Profound silence in the most tragic of times for me because “I didn’t know what to say”, “I forgot”, “Words wouldn’t have helped you anyway”, “Everything I said or did was wrong”…on and on, is not a “forgettable” incident.

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