This week several things have happened which have prompted this post. Early this week, I received a message on Instagram- tragically a lady’s friend had lost her precious little babies in the second trimester. In her message she asked me how she could help her friend.
I know that if any of my friends could get hold of a magic wand, time machine or a spell of some concoction to make the course of my life sit back on the road where we all thought it would be, they would. In a blink of an eye, if they could change it all for me, they would.
If they could make the pain go away or take just some of it on so it was less for me to bear, I know that they would without question.
But no magic potion, no wizardry or witchcraft can lighten the load; there is no reset button or opportunity to go back in time and change the events which led to me writing this post.
But they are there. They have been there since the very beginning of my pregnancy and when I very suddenly became a mummy to a baby in the sky, they were there. There was nothing they wouldn’t have done for me, they were my strength and support and whilst they probably had no idea what to say or do, they did everything perfectly.
In response to the question, ‘What can I do to help my friend?’ I thought back on what my friends had done for me. They did everything. They made sure I was never alone, they made sure my children were looked after, they brought things to the hospital, to my home, they listened, they wiped away my tears, they cried with me, as well as saying nothing at all when there were no words to say.
But the most important thing they do is to say one word.
They speak of him all the time. He is part of our family, he is part of my friend’s lives. He will always be spoken about and their children will know that they have a little friend who plays amongst the stars. My closest friends have his photo on their walls, they have a little teddy from his funeral sat in a special place in their homes.
One of the first times I saw Gabriel’s name written on something was when my lovely friend came to see me just before Christmas and gave me a beautiful bauble with his name on. And not only did I have one on my tree last year, and will do every year to come, but she bought one for herself and our other close friend. Hers still sits on her mantle piece as she just doesn’t want to put it away.
At Gabriel’s funeral we had balloons to release and on the end of each balloon was a small bear for everyone to take home with them after sending the balloons up to the sky. I was at my friend’s house a few weeks ago and her little boy came into the kitchen with one of the little bears and told me, ‘Gabriel’s bear’. He knew it was Gabriel’s bear because his mummy had told him about my little boy; he is spoken about, he is remembered and he is celebrated.
The examples of how my friends remember Gabriel are endless, whether it’s his initial laid out in stones on a beach in Sicily, a beautiful print of a tree with the fingerprints of my work colleagues on it and Gabriel’s name underneath, or a conversation about how he is happy in the sky being looked after by my friend’s beautiful mum, they all mean the world to me.
A little later in the week, another lady on Instagram sent me a link to a video Nicola (@onedayofwinter ) had recorded with BBC Radio Derby and her words resinated with me so much. We never want our babies to be forgotten, they were here, they were, and are, real and they are so loved. We want to talk about them, we want to say and hear their names and they have a story to be shared-and to be acknowledged as becoming a mother, whether it is the first time or like me, for the third time.
And lastly, today I watched @_strengthfortoday‘s stories and she spoke about a conversation she had with a therapist on the phone; within that conversation he asked her if she had any other children. In those few quite simple words, her little Harry was acknowledge as her son and this can mean so much to a parent who carries their baby in their heart rather than their arms.
So many people don’t know what to say and I completely understand that, I don’t know what to say most of the time because often there just are no words. So what was the ‘advice’ I offered when I was asked?
Talk to her about her amazing babies, say their names, keep their memories alive and celebrate her as their mummy.
There is no magic wand, but for me the magic word is Gabriel because it is so full of love and I picture his beautiful little face and I smile. He is my son, my third child and always will be. I will always say his name, will always share his story and I know my friends will too.