Day 31: Sunset (Capture Your Grief 2013)

Sunset
Sunset

So it is the last day, day 31 of Capture Your Grief (in memory of Freddie Leigh Bromley) and the subject title today is ‘Sunset‘.

I have decided to use an image of a bright, powerful and energetic sunset that I captured on day 12 of this challenge from our bedroom window.  When I look at this image it makes me feel warm and hopeful, like there is something beautiful ahead among the darkness.  It makes me want to travel to find that warm place where there is hope and life.

When I first came across the Capture Your Grief 2013 challenge for Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month – October, I thought it would be an interesting project to get involved with.  I enjoy photography and writing so it seemed perfect for me and ideal timing.  Now the project is drawing to an end I feel I have accomplished more than I set out to and reached more people than I had hoped for.

As it is the last day of October and the monthly challenge, I received the most gorgeous flower arrangement and beautifully written card from my sister who wanted me to take a moment to look back at how far I have come in 76 days since Freddie passed and also pause and reflect on what I have achieved in 31 days.

In the last 31 days not only have I helped confront my grief by taking part, but also allowed my family to face theirs by reading my daily image blog posts and gaining an insight into how I am feeling.  Although reading my blog posts may have hurt them at the start, they have now come to look forward to seeing what I have captured, created and written.  I know it is a photography challenge in the main part but I felt I wanted to explain the reason and feelings behind each image.  Although I won’t continue to write daily, doing this challenge has definitely ignited my passion for writing again and I look forward to posting regularly my continued journey through grief.

It is interesting to see how my sister has observed my experience over the challenge:

“Over the past month you have grieved, studied, reflected, paused, applied, examined, travelled, laughed, cried, created, wished, hoped, captured, remembered, loved, inspired, helped but above all else, given Freddie a voice and helped so many.”

It has been suggested by many people that I turn my entries into a book which I can publish to help support other people in my situation.  I didn’t think my little rambles would interest or help anyone but it has become clear that they do and have.

I haven’t said everything I have to say or shown everything I have to show, but what I have done is stay true to myself and speak from the heart.  However I don’t want to forget the real reason I am doing this and that is to honour Freddie and as my sister says, give Freddie a voice.  So these are my promises to Freddie in his honour:

I promise to write a book about you and get it published and raise some money for SANDS.  It make take some time as I have no idea where to start but I am sure I can do it.

I promise to continue to write down my feelings, stories and pain about you on my blog and speak from the heart, regardless who it might hurt, upset, offend or annoy.

I promise to say your name everyday and not be ashamed to say you exist.

I promise to include you in our family and never be embarrassed to do so.

I promise to say that I am a mother and have you when people ask if I have any children.

I promise to not be tough on myself and embrace the dark moments and days.

I promise to continue to love your father and keep him safe.

I promise to talk to you and keep you in my voice.

But most of all I promise to be a mummy you are proud of and accept by your side one day when we will once again be together.  x

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Day 30: Growth (Capture Your Grief 2013)

Growth
Growth

Day 30 of Capture Your Grief (in memory of Freddie Leigh Bromley) and the subject title today is ‘Growth‘.

I was honoured to grow Freddie inside of me for those nine precious months and enjoyed every special second of it.  I treasure his scans because they are all we really have to show for his life.

The day I first saw him appear on the screen in front of me at the 12 week scan he was wriggling around and the sonographer made a joke about how active the baby was.  Seeing your baby for the first time is a truly amazing experience.  Until that point you don’t think it is really happening, the pregnancy test might have been wrong.  From that point on it seems so real and so scary but so exciting.

You then just wish for a healthy baby and that is why the 20 week anomaly scan is so very important.  We went to that scan looking forward to seeing our baby again and finding out the sex, but most importantly that the baby was healthy.  I felt like I held my breath as the sonographer went through her checks and I just lay there not saying a word.  When we were offered the opportunity to find out the sex, we said that we would like to if possible.  I remember vividly the image on the screen and knowing it was a boy before the sonographer even confirmed it.  It was a bit of a shock to me at first as I thought we were having a girl but to have a healthy baby which was a boy was fantastic news.

He was so perfect, and the images were so clear right from his cute button nose, to his little heart.  The anomaly scan really allows you time to take in your baby’s features and get to know them.  The scan pictures are a bonus but there is nothing like seeing your baby move around inside of you up on the screen.

We were offered a scan at 35 weeks because his fundal height had been measuring over the 90th centile so they wanted to check on his growth.  They also wanted to check on the positioning of the placenta.  It was a privilege to get to see him again and consoling to find out that everything was fine and he was average size for his gestation.  He was rather sleepy the morning of this scan with his head tucked into his chest and even gave us a little yawn as if we had woken him up.

Having these memories of seeing Freddie grow is so important and ones we will cherish until we see him again.  This tragedy has made me grow as a person.  It has made me take life more seriously and appreciate the value of it.  I now view the world through a different perspective and I am glad of that.

My senses have been heightened.  I feel more, love stronger and think deeper.  I see the beauty in simple things, in nature and in life.  I care less about things that don’t matter and more about the things that now do.

Day 29: Healing (Capture Your Grief 2013)

Healing
Healing

Day 29 of Capture Your Grief (in memory of Freddie Leigh Bromley) and the subject title today is ‘Healing‘.

It is still very early days in the grief process for our family with it being just 74 days since Freddie was born sleeping.  Since then it has been a healing ride of highs and lows.   I kept a short diary of the events for the first week and when I look back at it now, I can’t believe how strong we were being and that we were meeting with the funeral director just four days after Freddie’s passing.

It has been a rocky few months to say the least with additional worries for my health, family members’ health, job security and financial situation.  If I am being honest I don’t quite know how we got through the first month or so, but we have and we are getting stronger each day.  The words I keep hearing myself repeat our “we are taking it one day at a time” and this is so very true.  One day could be a strong day and then the next your defenses are down, you feel raw and it’s a weak day.

Healing is a long process and I honestly think I will partly still be healing until the day I die.  I will never get over the loss of my son as part of my heart is with him.  As time goes by the pain eases but you can be sent back off to a sad place in an instant.  So far my healing has consisted of many different things.  Mainly the love shown from my husband, family and friends.  It’s amazing to see which friends and family members come to your side during a difficult time.  I can see friendships already changing, some growing stronger and some fading.  I know I will make new friendships and develop stronger friendships out of this process.

The support that has been shown for us is amazing.  People I don’t even know hearing about our story from a friend, or family member, and going out of their way to contact us to say they are thinking of us.  Past friends and people I have only met a few times, but feel closer to me because of this, contacting us and offering their support and thoughts.

Being able to share our news and experiences with people via social media has been very helpful.  It is an instant way of informing, updating and keeping in touch with people from afar.  At the start I was very raw and found it difficult to speak to people.  Rik would field the calls for me to save me the pressure.  I couldn’t talk, my voice had gone.  I was choosy about who I could speak to and who I couldn’t.  I was able to email people and contact them from behind the security of my computer but I didn’t have the energy or drive to talk over the phone.  Face to face was easier but it had to be on my terms.  As time passes and I am thrown into ‘normal’ life it has become a lot easier as I have become stronger.

I take pride in the fact that we are helping heal others by our strength.  Many people have been in touch to let me know how reading this blog has helped them so that alone has encouraged me to continue with the challenge.  It came at a perfect time really.  It has been quite consuming so I am looking forward to not having the pressure of writing each day but when I feel like it.  I know it has helped me progress in my grieving far quicker than I would without taking part.

I feel the biggest healer will be to one day in the future have a brother or sister for Freddie who we can share his story with.  Having had all our results back yesterday the process won’t be a relaxed or easy one but knowing the outcome could bring so much beauty into our lives will be worth it.  We will never replace our dear Freddie and will always be thinking of how he fought so hard to meet us, but it would be sad to let fear be an excuse to give up on being a family one day.

I know my heart will never heal fully but I am becoming a stronger, tougher, more loving and more caring wife, sister, daughter, friend and person.  So thank you Freddie for teaching me how to be stronger by your strength and making me a better me.

Day 28: Special Place (Capture Your Grief 2013)

Special Place
Special Place

Day 28 of Capture Your Grief (in memory of Freddie Leigh Bromley) and the subject title today is ‘Special Place‘.

When you experience grief like the loss of a baby you place more importance and emphasis on things including places. I wrote about how much the area around Bordeaux means to me in my Sunrise blog post so when choosing which special place to use for today it was easy.

I took the above photograph on the morning my husband and I visited Bordeaux for the sunrise picture at the start of this challenge on Oct 1st. It is taken at the nature reserve looking out over our special bench.

This is special to me because it is near where we live and when I visited the area whilst pregnant I would always sit on the bench to take time out to rest and look out to sea. Here is a picture of me at week 39 of my pregnancy at the same spot taken by my husband sat on the bench. This is the last time I visited it whilst Freddie was alive so is a fond memory of mine.

Week 39 at Bordeaux
Week 39 at Bordeaux

We were hoping to arrange a memorial plaque to be placed on this bench in memory of Freddie.  However we recently learnt that this bench was reserved and plaques have already been put up for another family.

I am a little disappointed and sad that we have missed the opportunity to have this exact bench but there is another bench right next door to it which is at least in still the same area.  It is just a shame as the other bench next to it is not as nice and not the one we have a connection with regarding Freddie.  I just hope the bench means as much to the family as it does to me.

I am trying not to be too upset about it and keep reminding myself that if we do get the bench next door, what is important is that it will still be our special place to visit where we can stop and think about Freddie.