Now

So it’s been an age since my last update. That’s mostly due to life getting in the way but also a result of me not being sure whether I could keep doing this blog.

It’s been a comfort to me, somewhere I could write what happened, at times vent my anger. Recently though it’s felt like a shrine. Like a grave. I have struggled with that as i don’t have that need to prove Jack existed anymore. I know he did.

I have moved forward and back. It’s a given that I miss him. It’s how it is. I just cannot dwell on it. I’m so sick of everything being a constant reminder of it in the negative. I need to, no, I have to move forward. Not just to heal but to have a happy life.

No one tells you about the after. When you’re in this limbo period that follows the first year. The sudden stretch of minutes, hours, days and years, all looming ahead. You crumble. The last month has felt hellish at times, isolated and not quite real. But I have come to realise that in order to live, to survive I have to put one foot tentatively out into the unknown and let myself fall or fly.

Health comes from finding some inner peace. Ridding yourself of conflict and negative positivity. It is ok to be sad, even if it makes others uncomfortable. Anger is natural, feel it. Happiness doesn’t need to be followed by guilt, let yourself smile.

There was one morning where I woke up and the sun was bright, I could hear nature outside and this huge wave of calm washed over me. I didn’t recognise it at first but I felt so happy and just optimistic. There was a familiar sense of completeness that I hadn’t felt in so long. I am ok.

Going back to the gym and reuniting with the great friends I have made there has been healing for me. I forgot that I had this whole world I used to love. Focusing on that and getting a routine is getting me back on track.

Some harsh truths from those closest to me have really opened my eyes over the last day or so. I have been stagnating. Going backwards. I can’t do that. It’s good to reset and step back and really look at yourself. Only you can change you. No one else.

Things are moving, not always in an upwards line, my steps often falter, but I’m not giving up. And right now, that’s a small victory.

– Allana x

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Grief

I see this a lot. Loss parents in so much pain that they lash out. I’m guilty of feeling it myself. When someone posts about losing a grandparent I admit to feeling like that’s just the natural order. That may be but it’s still a loss and it’s still painful. A child losing its life will always be so so traumatic and wrong but it doesn’t make it a more valid loss. By stacking up reasons and proof that your pain deserves more validity you ignore that pain.

I remember when I was early into this, I was so angry all the time. I would see people with babies and hate them. Every other loss would grate me as it took away from Jack, or so I felt. Sympathetic and often pitting looks infuriated me. But again anger is a distraction technique. To move forward and get to where I am now I had to see what was really going on, break through those walls, heal my heart.

It’s not easy. It’s taking intense CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy) and a lots of safe place visualisation techniques and grounding. Trauma manifests in many ways, one is anger, another is distracting from the issue. It’s hard, it’s painful to have to deal with loss, but take it from me, it does get easier if you do. Getting help is the key, you don’t have to struggle alone.

I’m never going to forget Jack, how could I? But his memory now makes me proud and happy, it is always sad too but that’s ok, that’s normal. I no longer think of him and then am instantly angry and wanting to lash out. I still get angry but I make sure I use my cbt tools to get through that and deal. Anger is ok, hurt is ok, it is wrong that i don’t have my baby, it is unfair, but I don’t want to live my life thinking of Jack that way. I don’t have to hurt or hate others for that to be real.

So next time you see a friend or family member sad that they have lost a grandparent, aunt, dog etc. Be kind, be loving and remember it’s their emotion and it doesn’t take away from your pain.

– Allana x

One day at a time

So it’s been awhile since I’ve posted. Over the last 2 months I have been taking time to focus on myself, going to therapy once a week and getting physically healthy too.

Therapy isn’t without it’s ups and downs. I have found that the hardest and most difficult times are the ones that make all the difference. Finding what feels uncomfortable and unravelling those emotions is progressing. There have been lots of unexpected realisations, a big one being that I felt I let Jack down. Not just by my body not keeping him safe, but by losing hope in the end. This was a surprise to me as in my front brain (what I call the conscious brain) I didn’t and don’t feel that way. That said, it’s always the “what ifs” that play on your mind.

Letting go of my need to comfort and be there for others is a personality trait that I struggle with. It’s how I am, but in being people’s rock and staying strong I have neglected myself. Being able to throw my hands up and say “I’m struggling, I’m angry, I’m heartbroken” is ok. Telling people to go elsewhere for comfort, is ok. Finally knocking down my walls and just being sad/angry/hurt/broken has been a great move forward. It hasn’t been easy for those close to me to handle sometimes, I never realised how much of a resolve I have. How I’ll fight kicking and screaming before I’ll shed a tear and “cause a scene”. Realising that the world will keep turning and that no one expects me to be ok and so strong as I have been is liberating.

I’m still very much a work in progress but I feel more and more like my old self. I feel that fight and need to keep going returning. I’m not quite at a run yet, but I’m definitely at a slow jog.

– Allana x

P.S. I will be doing some fundraising for baby loss awareness month this October. Please feel free to share my JustGiving link or if you have friends who need t-shirts, hoodies or baby grows visit my shop (www.shop4tshirts.co.uk) and 10% will be donated.

PTSD

So there’s a part of this road that I haven’t really shared with anyone. Not only am I traveling on the grief cycle but I also have ptsd which triggers my existing anxiety. It’s a hard thing to live with and be able to grieve fully. This is something we are both struggling with on a daily basis.

Ptsd is when your brain gets stuck following trauma. In my case it means I smell newborn smell and get silent clips of times with Jack in NICU. It’s like when you look at a memory except I can’t place exactly when the clip happened, there’s no narration or sound, it’s a very short memory clip. Anything can set it off and it happens at least once or twice a day. It’s a split second but it’s just stopping my progression though grief to moving on. This then triggers my anxiety which in turn pushes the negative depressive thoughts to the surface.

All in all it’s been a tough time and we are both taking steps to get through. I’m back getting cbt and just looking after me. I tend to try and look after others or make excuses for shitty people so that I can have an easier life. Mark does a very similar thing. No more. We are both putting ourselves and immediate family (including close friends) who matter and are there for us first. We have cut out people who have negatively impacted us. People who care and are important will always understand and be there in one way or another.

Self healing isn’t always obvious, it’s sometimes first accepting you need to let go. That maybe things need to get worse before they can get better. It’s a long road ahead but I truly believe that Mark and I will get there.

– Allana x

Mama Orca ❤️

Not my writing but I felt it appropriate:

This story has been moving millions around the world. #Tahlequah is every #grieving #mum.

Day 10. The female orcas are now taking turns helping the Mama Orca carry her dead baby across the sea… so the grieving Mama Orca can eat and rest.

This is grief. This is love. This is true, compassionate grief support.

THIS – THIS IS HOW IT SHOULD BE DONE.

Sadly this is not usually the kind of grief support the brokenhearted receive in our grief illiterate culture.

This is such a heartbreakingly beautiful visual of love and support. The orcas are showing us how it should be done. Step in. Show up. Lead with your heart. Feel your friend’s broken heart. Let it break you open. Carry each other’s burdens. Grief shared is grief divided. Your friend or family member needs you— more than you know. Literally step in, show up, and help carry the weight of grief. It’s too heavy for one person to carry alone.

The female Orcas are literally carrying this mama’s 400 pound dead baby across the ocean WITH her and FOR her. I have never before seen such a beautiful display of solidarity. Of community. Of compassion. Of love. This is how we need to support our grieving, heartbroken friends.

My wish is that every grieving person in the world would feel THIS supported, loved, held— carried.

It pains me to know this kind of support is not the norm for most grieving people.

We need to do better.

We can do better.

We MUST do better.

FULL ARTICLE: http://www.abedformyheart.com/I-will-carry-you/

#grief #loss #abedformyheart #loveneverdies