Coping with losing a child

Dealing with the unexpected loss of baby Alissa (article)

September 17, 2017

In the early hours of the 4th May 2014 our beautiful second daughter Alissa Willow Primrose arrived silently into the world. After 41 weeks of very healthy pregnancy and in early labour she was suddenly gone, no cause was found.

The shock, devastation and raw pain of those days still haunts me. I clearly remember my first words to my husband when it was confirmed that she had gone was “how will we survive?”

The outpouring of love and support from family and friends helped us limp through the initial few days and weeks. We were given the opportunity to be kind to ourselves to rest and just concentrate on our surviving daughter. When so much love and support was shown I found it difficult not to decide that I would fight to find a new normal. The painful raw grief was overwhelming and exhausting, although I desperately wanted everything to be about Alissa we found our way to survive was by allowing ourselves time to focus on her for a period of time every day. This meant we could do our best to get through the rest of the hours without it all seeming bleak and feeling the pressure to always be sad. My husband and I used walks to connect and talk about Alissa and how we were feeling, a walk gave us a good beginning and end to discussions and sadness if we wanted. We also decided to have counselling together, it was difficult to find the right person but once we had I felt that I could pass responsibility for the path of our grief over to her. I was scared as we had no marker to know if what we felt was normal or if we were heading towards trouble but I trusted her to advise us and this lifted a burden from me.

We decided to get Alissa buried as we had no memories we wanted to create something for her. She had a beautiful funeral with friends and family overflowing the chapel. I remember the funeral as a good day it was Alissa’s day. We celebrate her birthday each year by making special memories for her including a gathering at her grave with close family and friends who have always been there. We used to visit her grave very often but now 3 years on we visit her grave every other week as this feels right for us now. It is a special time for me giving the chance to feel that in our busy life Alissa also has some time for her too. I also reflect on how time has helped us move on, from the days when it felt like her death was a huge weight which I carried around to now when she is has found her place as a part of our special family which includes her new little sister.

Alissa’s legacy is seen so many parts of my life and I also know how she has touched friends and family in many different ways. Our children will not be shielded from the pain of death but I feel this makes them stronger in life. Although I have lost the innocent confidence that everything will be ok which at times throws me into complete panic, ultimately I know that with the help of others whatever happens it is possible to find a new happy normal.

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