Baby Loss Awareness Week - A Grandparents story
When thinking about the loss of a baby before, during or shortly after birth, most people are likely to think about the parents of the baby and the impact on them. It should be remembered that the loss of a baby can impact the wider family too. To show this, today we have a story of loss from a grandparents perspective.
I wandered down to the park near my home. It was early summer. The day was overcast but warm and the birds were singing. As I passed the children’s play area I stopped and sat on the empty wooden bench. A Grandma was happily enjoying the company of the two youngsters with her, a boy about 5 and a girl about 3. The little boy had short dark hair and I could see that one of his front teeth was missing. He was wearing a Toy story tee-shirt and shorts; his sister wore her hair in pig-tails, finished with pink ribbon and a pretty pink top and jeans. Grandma sat down on the grass and emptied her large bag onto the grass and took care to spread out the food onto paper plates. She called the children and smiled at them. They both ran to sit next to her, excited to have crisps and a sandwich, chocolate swiss roll and a fruit shoot. The picnic was devoured quickly, followed by a well earned short rest before starting the fun all over again. The little boy headed towards the swings, with a face and hands covered in chocolate and pleaded with his Grandma to come and push him and she obliged, whilst the little girl was now calling from the roundabout for her Grandma to come and help her. I sat on the bench and watched this happy family picture. The children were screaming with utter delight, full of fun and mischief, running around and doing what all children should have the absolute right to do.... enjoying the moment; enjoying life.
But I was struggling with my emotions. I should have been happy to see them all together enjoying such special moments but I didn’t know whether to try and smile or just cry; in truth I felt absolute pain and fierce jealousy, so I just continued to sit and watch in silence, one tear and then another, slowly rolling down my face, just trying to breath.
My Grandson Jacob had been stillborn and a few years later my Granddaughter Thea died when she was just two days old. As I watched the Grandmother with the two children making beautiful everlasting memories, I felt robbed. I am old and have lived most of my life, so surely the ones who were really robbed were my beautiful Grandchildren. They never had a chance of life. They were never to feel warm sunshine on their little faces and breathe fresh air. Never to take their first steps only to stumble and get up and try again. They would never play on the swings and the roundabout or jump in puddles and get covered in mud and kick the golden autumn leaves. Never to have the magic of Christmas; trying so hard to stay awake on Christmas Eve to get a glimpse of Santa. Never to have the joy of a long awaited new puppy or kitten; experience the wonder of the first day at the beach trying to build sandcastles and letting the icy cold surf tickle their tiny little toes and looking for pretty seashells. Never to put their first tooth under their pillow and waking early to see if the tooth fairy had swapped it for money; having their first day at nursery then moving on to infant school; senior school and making friends that would last a lifetime. Never to have their first job or dreamed of first kiss; never to fall in love and marry. Never to have their own children and to know the joy and tears that comes with sleepless nights and cut knees and that moment of absolute joy when your child holds your hand, gives you a cuddle and tells you that they love you ; never to see their own children grow into adults and have a family of their own.
Never to have that special moment of a picnic in the park; with their own Grandchildren.
How I wish I could have given them some of my time.
In Memory of Grandchildren Jacob and Thea