There are a few rules we take for granted in life. We sleep safely in our beliefs that if you are a good person, good things will happen to you. We hear tragic stories but deep down, we know these things don’t happen to us. One of the most concrete beliefs we hold is that a parent should never have to bury their child.
October is pregnancy and infant loss awareness month. Because the awful reality is, every day parents are burying their children. My best friend has suffered through losing two sets of twins through pre-term labour at 22 and 24 weeks respectively. One of her little boys –Tye – managed to fight for four days in NICU, his brother and two sisters were born sleeping. These are the five biggest things supporting her through these obscene tragedies has taught me.
1) There are no guarantees
Sure, we can plan and we can prepare as much as we like. We can do the right things, follow the guidelines to a T, we can do everything we are meant to do – but there is no guarantee that you will get the outcome you so desperately want. There is no magic formula to ensure results. While it would be foolish to live a life without making any plans or setting any goals – unfortunately the best laid plans can also lead you nowhere.
2) Getting old should be cherished
We should not have to stand at a child’s funeral to realise this, but sadly – sometimes we are too absorbed in the horror of finding a new wrinkle or a grey hair to realise that getting old is a privilege. It is an honour that is denied to too many. I am sure if these beautiful babies had the chance to stress out over a quarter life crisis, or to moan about an impending 30th, or to freak out about if they should get botox – they would have taken it in a heartbeat and not once complained about how awful living for an extended period of time can be.
3) Life is tragically beautiful
Life will break your heart. There will be moments where you can’t imagine how you can possibly go on. You will be subject to heartache and tragedy that you would not wish on your worst enemy. But through this heart ache, and in these moments where the world is completely dark, there will be moments of beauty – and these are the things that make it worth continuing the fight. The love between two bereaved parents at their childs funeral. The strength of a community pulling together to support someone in their darkest hour. The genuine empathy and care shown by a nurse to a person she will likely never see again. Life can be awful, but it can be beautiful as well.
4) You are stronger than you think
Watching my best friend fight through one of the worst situations I could possibly imagine left me in absolute awe of her strength. There were times where I thought ‘I couldn’t do it. If it were me, I don’t think I could survive’ When speaking with her one day I told her how brave she is. She looked at me and replied ‘What choice do I have?’ This is a woman who has faced one of the worst nightmares we can imagine, not once- but four times. And she can sit in her kitchen with me, drinking tea and laughing about ridiculous things, because she realised that the only choice she had was to keep going. My best friend is the most inspiring, bravest person I have ever met – and this gives me hope that when faced with tragedy, we are all stronger than we ever thought we could be.
5) Reach out to those around you
You will never know what a difference a short text, or a quick phone call to someone you love can make. And you never know when you might need them to rally around you. Don’t wait for something awful to happen. Let the people you love, know that you love them. You might not get tomorrow, you might not get another chance. Send your best friend a text right now and let them know how much they mean to you. Call your parents and tell them that you love them. Then walk outside and feel the sun (or the rain!) on your face, and smile. You are alive, and you are so lucky to be here.
Posted on Elite Daily under the heading – 5 Precious Things I Realized About Life After Experiencing Infant Loss Read it Here