The loss of a child

When you can’t find the words-

It’s been a while for me since I last posted any words onto my blog. I usually write easily every 5 days or so and I usually find the words I need to say come freely. They almost explode from within and without realising I’ve jotted down everything I feel from such a deep level and when reading it back I often don’t even remember being conscious in writing. It’s like I go off somewhere, somewhere where I can connect so purely to how I really feel about the loss of my Dad and within that share, what I need to share, but the last few weeks these words have escaped me. I have felt a huge pressure within my throat as if I just can’t express what I know I need to share. There’s a block, it’s heavy, it’s emotional, I simply just cannot find the words.

A lot has happened over the last few weeks within grief, not directly to me, but to close friends and people I’m very connected to. The losses that these people have endured the last few weeks are something I can never comprehend. The loss of their child.

One of my closest friends lost her baby, and the other lost her teenage Son and although this has never happened to me, the pain I feel for these families is gut-wrenching. Nobody should ever have to lose their child. It makes everything seem totally unjust, it takes away all belief in the purpose of life, it leaves those families with a deep emptiness that will never be filled, and that to me is devastating. To anyone who hasn’t journeyed through this loss, I encourage you to sit right now and take a second, take a moment to feel how deep that is, how tragic, how agonizing that would be, the loss of a child. It’s to me, almost unbearable to imagine, so just take that in for a moment, stop reading and just hold space for those who are living this right now……

I’ve sat all week with my laptop in front of me, waiting for something to come, waiting to feel that urge to start writing. But nothing has come. So this morning whilst watching my 5 children and my two nieces play at home, I sat again with my laptop and it just hit me. My block wasn’t because I didn’t know what to say, it was because I felt I shouldn’t talk about something so very fragile and something I have not endured. Like I said I’ve never had to experience this loss, however as I say often, all grief matters, whether I’ve personally experienced it or not. This is why the loss of a child is something that needs to be shared on my blog today.

When we are given the opportunity to have our own child, whether it be naturally through pregnancy, IVF, surrogate, adoption, or any other way, we are gifted with an incredible bond. Some feel it at the very beginning, some feel it grow over time, but no matter which way, the love we deeply feel for our children is beyond compare. It’s a love you would do anything in this world for. It’s a love so powerful you wouldn’t hesitate in a moment to sacrifice your own being in order to protect them. They are your fire, your passion, also your lesson and your test, but without any doubt that bond, that connection is something that you will hold for an eternity. It’s magical.

When we are parents, whether it be husband and wife, same-sex parents, separated co-parents, friends, or any other relationship this doesn’t change that love. The family connection you share between you is deep, it runs through roots so strong, connected beyond measure. It’s as though you imagine a huge beautiful oak tree, planted firmly into the soily ground, seeing it’s branches and leaves fuelled with energy, connected to one another, connected to the centre of the earth, beautiful colours, changes in seasons, moving through life and growing stronger with time, that is the family connection. We are blessed with these children, we pre-plan their lives. We start out imagining how they’ll look, what type of character they’ll have. We then watch them grow, seeing their first smile, tasting their first foods, taking their first steps, talking their first words. We think of what they’ll grow up to be, will they be creative or perhaps more analytic? We imagine them as young adults wondering if they’ll marry if they’ll have their own children. What their adult lives will look like as we and they grow older alongside them. What we never ever think of in a million years is that it could all end before you get those moments. It’s something so soul-destroying, it’s something so painful to envisage, a life without your child to a parent, is a life you would not want to live at all. And for many people who you walk past every day, that is the life they now live in. One of emptiness, families missing a part of them, parents without their child, siblings left alone, families left broken in a way that until it has happened to us, we could never know that shattering feeling within.

I’ve sat and questioned the fairness in all this. How could this happen? Why do these wonderful people who do so much good deserve this pain? How has this become something that now those families are left to live with? Why would it happen? I can’t find any reasoning that brings me any comfort, I can’t find any words to comfort them either, all I feel is that without any doubt it is truly just so unfair.

My friend who has just lost her baby during her pregnancy said to me the other day “It’s not as bad as what you’ve been through with your dad though” And that really hit me, that automatic human response to dismiss our own journey and see another as more valid, and let me tell you it is not, nobody’s grief is more valid than another, every single person’s journey with grief matters, every single person has a story to tell, every single person feels pain, feels heartache, and all of you matter. Please never, ever, believe you are not entitled to grieve. You are so open to share, to cry, to scream. Without sharing and acknowledging our own selves we will never heal. And to not heal leaves us left with a life of nothing but sadness.

What I have been blown away by when witnessing my friends in their journeys, is their pure strength. It’s almost as if the child that has left is somewhere new fuelling them with all the power they need to carry on each day. The way they get up every day and show up every day. The way they support their partners, their other children, and families. It’s powerful to watch, It leaves me in complete awe.

Loss of a child is something that I feel nobody should ever have to go through, it’s something that seems so brutal, like a punishment, to live a life without your child. Like I said the words escape me, I don’t know what to say or where to start. So all I can do is share my compassion. All we can do is share, all we can do is talk, all we can do is be as open as possible to all who need us right now and allow them to be seen, be held and be loved. We can’t always find the words, we don’t always know what to say, but to listen, to stay present is enough. To stand strong beside another through grief is to me, one of the greatest human gifts we have.

I hold space today and every other day in my heart to all parents and families who have lost a child. Holding that light for the souls who never got to grace the earth and the souls taken from us too soon. Go gently, and to anyone needing to talk, I am here x

In memory of Callum Gutteridge

A son, a brother, a grandson, a friend. May his memory live on with passion and fire deep within the hearts of all who loved him. Rest peacefully Callum x

“Not a second goes by Callum that I don’t miss you. Hoping that you will walk once more through that door with your cheeky grin. Sitting on my bed and telling me how your day went. Watch over us and still do everything you do and always did. Part of me will always be lost without you. You turned into the most beautiful young man a mum could ever want and I was so proud of you. Promise me one thing, you will always stand by my side. I’m broken into pieces and my heart will never mend. I love you, until we meet again”

Emma Gutteridge- Callums Mother

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1 Comment

    August 15, 2020

    So deeply moving Phoebe, your love knows no bounds and comes through so powerfully in this piece XXX


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