Lessons Learned Through Grief

It has been more than two years since we said goodbye to our little boys. In some ways it feels so recent that it seems unfathomable that years have passed, yet at the same time so very distant, in the way that I barely recognise the person I was before they died. I feel as though I've aged and learned so much in these past few years. Grief has taught me some profound lessons, and I am thankful that William and Noah's death has not just brought me sadness and despair, it has also enlightened me in ways I never imagined.

When I was pregnant with William and Noah, we were always waiting. Waiting for the next scan, the next bleed, the next trip to hospital. The awful uncertainty of it all meant life came to a halt. We longed for the mundane and trivial complaints we used to have, when the biggest decision we had to make was what to eat for dinner. Suddenly our problems had become a matter of our children's life or death, and instead of shopping for baby clothes and nursery furniture, we were in hospital, time and time again. 

Our days were spent in hospital, surrounded by midwives, consultants, paediatricians from the neonatal unit. Our nights were spent reading about PPROM, and researching the risks and longterm outcomes of premature babies. We read about survival rates. We read about cerebral palsy, blindness, deafness, learning difficulties. We tried to come to terms with the fact that we may have a baby in the NICU for months and months, perhaps without a successful outcome. We desperately searched for answers, and found none. This was how we spent the days of my pregnancy. 

And then the loss of all hope, when I went into labour too early and I knew it meant giving birth to death. So now nothing really bothers me, or stresses me out, because after waiting for, and watching my children die, nothing can compare. It is all so insignificant. Death is a stark reminder that some things just do not matter. 

Truth Manifests Through Hard Times
It is during the worst time of your life that you see the true colours of everyone around you. We felt humbled by the unexpected comfort of strangers and acquaintances when they showed great empathy and gentle understanding. We experienced the shock and sadness when we felt the callousness and judgement from people we believed would be supportive. During the last two years, we've lost friends and family as the relationships have become irrevocably damaged and estranged, but there are a few special people who have been like shining lights in the darkness we faced, who always remember William and Noah's birthday and the other difficult days, and whose love and support mean more to us than they can ever know. 

Strength of Human Spirit 
When I think of William and Noah's death and the horror of it all, I feel strong. I survived the death of our precious children. I sat in a hearse and buried my children when I was 25 years old. I survived something I never imagined myself being able to survive, and I have come out the other side of that deep, dark, bottomless pit. Although my grief stays with me, and always will, I am over the worst of it. And if I can survive that, I can survive anything. Grief has shown me that I have the courage to do anything, try anything, because I had the courage to make the most terrifying decision I've ever made - to go through another pregnancy when my babies had just died.

Life is Precious
Our sweet boys were taken from us before they even had a chance to live. They never felt the cool breeze on their skin, or the sunshine on their faces, they never even looked into the eyes of the two people who love them most in the world. We held William as he took his final breath, and there is nothing like watching your own child die to remind you that life is a gift.

Grief taught me that life is precious. Too precious and too much of a gift to be spent expending time and energy on negative people. It taught me to choose wisely who I surround myself with. Some people are toxic, sapping your energy and dragging you down, whilst others lift your spirits with their enthusiasm and zest for life. You get to choose who you spend your time with, and I want to surround myself with love, positivity and happiness.

Through grief I've learned to try to take nothing for granted. I count my blessings and practice daily gratitude. The presence of death is a reminder that life is for living now - you never know when it will end, so follow your dreams and surround yourself with positivity.

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