Living With Grief


Irrational (adjective): Not logical or reasonable

Does anyone else feel like they’ve sleepwalked into 2021? 2020 was the longest, most monotonous year, yet at the same time, where the heck did it go?

I’m wary and mindful that there might be too much pressure or hope placed on 2021. I’ve been telling myself for months that nothing is going to miraculously change on the 1st January, and lo and behold, it hasn’t! We still have a hugely worrying pandemic on our hands, the restrictions are as strict as ever and so our lives remain altered beyond recognition. I still have no real reason to get dressed every day (working from home “perks” that don’t really leave me all that perky) and I find myself sat back at my desk, truly understanding the term Groundhog Day (never really liked the film all that much, and now I’ve ended up living it!).

2018, 2019, 2020 – three consecutive years and three consecutive losses – what a (insert own choice of adjective here, for I can’t quite find the right word) track record. So my aim for 2021, is to try not to hope or plan. Hope previously led to expectation, which resulted in disappointment. So now I’m really trying not to think past each day, and if I’m feeling generous, each week. This week holds the first blank pages of a 365 page book. I want it to be a good one, but let’s face it – we’re all pantsing here.

New Year’s Eve caught me unawares. Perhaps I didn’t dread it enough (I’ve found that anticipating difficult days – the due date, my birthday, Christmas – is never as bad as the actual event; perhaps that’s the trick, crying-it-out in advance). We had no plan (obviously, given the pandemic), we weren’t sure if we could be bothered to stay up to see it in and I kept telling myself that it was “just another day/year” of which I’ve seen plenty. But then of course, midnight struck and so did the memories, the hopes and anticipation of 2019: being 10 weeks pregnant and imagining the following year: NYE 2020 with a baby! If I transport myself back to think about it, I can still feel that joy. But that’s fleeting, as the realisation of what actually came to pass, overrides.

Much worse than remembering the joy, was the thought of people disliking 2020, wanting to forget about it (“good riddance!”) because it was the year that Summer was physically here. I found it so hard thinking about “leaving her behind” in 2020, even though I know that’s so irrational. She’s been gone for a long time already and an arbitrary calendar divider, does not change that. But it hurt and that change in the headline year, it did mean something.

Reading social media posts about people “letting go of 2020” just didn’t sit well with my thoughts of Summer. I feel like I’ve made some peace with my first two miscarriages, but a baby who I held and saw – head, shoulders, knees and toes – that’s harder for me to let go of. Again, irrational, as they all lived and died, they were all held and seen, but for me, it’s different. So I didn’t make any resolutions forcing myself to buck-up or improve (remember, change can come about at any time, it doesn’t have to be enforced on someone else’s watch – we’re all more original than that, surely?). New year, new me? No thanks. I just went to bed crying and woke up missing Summer – nothing especially new there.

I do keep waking up with a song in my head though, which makes me think of my time grieving Summer, it’s my new favourite song (perhaps I’ll finally learn to play our piano this year, so I can (ambitiously) play this. More realistically, James can play it and I’ll sing along, badly!):

“You wake me up
And it breaks my heart
That you’re perfectly imperfect
You’re hurting but you’re worth it”

– Lyrics from Perfectly Imperfect, Declan J Donovan

I do feel like I can, in some small ways, start to move forward though. I’ve worked hard not to think about all the ‘nexts’ this time round; I put a ban on the daydreaming. I did not spend any time imaging a baby for my next birthday, next Christmas or the next New Year (which was helped by the fact that it’s not medically possible this year, given my pre pre pre cancer cell treatment (and therefore insert a joke about an improbable immaculate conception here). It is still possible for us to have another consecutive loss in 2021 though – urgh). Given that I haven’t indulged in dreaming, I have far fewer horrible milestones looming. Lots of people hope they’ll be pregnant again by their due date – been there, never achieved that – and I won’t be for Summer’s first birthday and that’s the next key date. Thereafter, it’s just another day, another year. No more firsts. Every calendar day would already have been lived without her, every year is another story, but that’s still all to be written.

So do I want to take on a new challenge? Nah, it’s all quite challenging enough, thank you very much. I’m taking a seat and settling in the mundane. It’s not that cosy, but it’s familiar. Sort of like a pair of jeans that need to be washed. My jeans are a step up from my pyjama bottoms though, but they’re not quite running leggings. Sit, walk, run. That’s my goal. That’s what I would like for this year – to take a few discernible steps forward, and to stay there. None of this one step forwards, two steps back malarkey. That’s what I will be keeping note of – the big steps, and when I tally it all up at the end of this year, I want to have moved forward (not quite a resolution, bordering far too closely on a hope, but I’m calling it a want). So there we have it, the ‘want’ documented. Time to live it. Eek.

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(1) Comment

  1. Rhi says:

    Totally rational and reasonable wish. I’m hoping for similar really, there are so many resolutions made in the past that I’ve not stuck to, not fulfilled, but I want to be practical this year and say that by the end of 2021 I would like to feel more acceptance of myself, flaws and all. Who really cares that my house is a little messy and I need help with getting to the bottom of my laundry basket? We’ve never struggled to fill the house with friends and so I think it is time to focus on the positives and not overwhelm myself with unreasonable expectations!

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