This morning hasn't been great. Already a lot more shouting than anyone would want. It's been an exceedingly hot few days which also means no one is sleeping well. It all mounts up. Sometimes this blog is for me, and this is one of those times. This is unedited and raw.
Content warning: stillbirth
This morning I'm trying to work on a client project, some stupid data wrangling and I can't concentrate. The kids are asking me questions that I'd normally be happy to help, but instead I'm getting more frustrated and angry at myself. I can't solve this computing problem and I'm making repetitive mistakes.
And then there's the lockdown since late March. In those 4 months, I've seen two friends. I've not been the gym (though it reopened a couple of weeks ago). I've outgrown my medium t-shirts and am now filling, once again, my large t-shirts. Julie, my partner, to say has her hands are full is an understatement. She has all the same pressures I have except that her full time job is our kids (during this lockdown), and being a full time parent is ten-fold more demanding that some stupid data wrangling. That's to say, in the scheme of things I don't really have anything to complain about. But I do. And I don't really have anyone to talk to.
I can feel my chest is tight. I'm struggling to concentrate. It's not just all the crap we're dealing with. My body remembers. My body remembers that it would be Tia's tenth birthday this month. In a matter of weeks. It's like a foot that stands on my chest, just enough to make my breathing hard.
Ten years today, I remember driving down the road (just around the corner where we live now) and I remember thinking at the time, this is level 10, we're right on 9 months and baby is coming real soon. This the level 10 boss and I need to drive carefully and play through this level carefully and not do anything unsafe because we're nearly there. We're nearly at the day that we meet our first child.
Tia died during birth. Stillbirth. Though I don't like to say "stillbirth" because some people confuse stillbirth with miscarriages. It's not simple (both ways). We know that Tia was alive the week she was due. We think, as much as it hurts to think, that she kicked the day before we went into hospital. But she had died. We don't know why. I didn't and don't want to know why. I never wanted anyone or anything to blame. If there was something to blame then it might have been preventable and that path of madness is too much for me.
After she was born, the days and weeks that followed I saw Tia in another universe. In a universe where Julie, myself and our newborn Tia were happy. Going for walks in the new pram, enjoying the sunshine and happiness. I'm not religious but wondered if I could have the chance to see Tia again after I died. It's something I ran over my mind over and over, something I needed to solve. I didn't believe in heaven and the variables involved was too much (was everyone in heaven… etc) but I could see the appeal of Belief.
I don't think about that anymore. Not all these years later. When she was born it was like our snow globe of a world had been thoroughly shaken - everything was unrecognisable. It took a long, long time for it to settle. Time doesn't heal, it changes you. Tia's loss is part of me, it's part of our family. I carry the pain as matter of fact. In the first year I feared that if I stopped hurting I wouldn't remember her and that I'd lose her. The pain is still there, the hole in my life is still there, it's just I carry it now. It's there: the hole of her not being in our daytime lives is part of me.
And I need to cry, but I can't. Though this could be the anti-depressants I've been on for the last 4 years or so (please don't send unsolicited opinions on this). The the drugs help me in ways that I can't describe (they're not for Tia, they're for something else), but they do seem to put a plug on my ability to cry. I'm unsure whether it would make any difference, but that foot on my chest and that need to cry is like something on the edge of my vision that I can never quite focus properly on.
I've got some time off around her birthday. The hope is that I'm able to disconnect myself enough to stop. To stop properly and to let the memories and emotions wash over me. This writing helps. It helps to know that friends see me and know about Tia. For her 10th birthday - a word that will never sit right but we don't have other words - we're having her gravestone cleaned. It's made of sandstone, enclosing a mix of heather plants, small stones, butterfly trinkets and a number of small soft toys. The headstone is heart shaped with the inscription:
31 August 2010
Our sleeping beauty.
We will always love you.