Last week, I received a call from a friend who told me about a lady who had lost her baby. She was distraught and he figured she needed some help to tide her over this period. Immediately, my mother side empathized but my doctor side started thinking clinically. I immediately thought of clinical psychologists I knew who could help with grief counseling. The one person I knew, I just could not locate his phone number! So I called up doctor friends for some other leads. Long story short, at some point, I figured that perhaps I should have a chat with her myself. The friend who had called me had actually hinted as much.
So, I called her. What do you begin to tell a mother who lost her baby 2 days before? Well, the phone call went thus:
Me: Hello, good afternoon. How are you doing?
She (Very low voice): I’m fine. Thank you.
Me: How are you holding up? I understand your baby was ill a few days back?
Then she says: Oh no! My baby is fine. He’s just sleeping.
Okay! That was it. I was definitely not going to do this over the phone. This mother was definitely in denial and a physical visit was definitely a better option than a phone call. Denial is usually the first stage of grieving and is very normal. Nobody wants to believe this terrible thing has happened. You want to hope and pray that it was all a bad dream!
So, I asked her if it was okay to come visit her.
She agreed and we scheduled an appointment for the next day, Saturday.
I got there and met her. Lovely lady with a beautiful family. The picture of the boy who died was so ‘beautiful’, you could not help but feel he was going to say something to you from the picture. So cute!
We started talking. I asked her to just talk to me about him. It was as beautiful as it was painful. I’m a mother of 3 children and I could only imagine what she was going through! I ended up holding her hands, listening with tears silently running down my face (I hoped she didn’t notice). I tried not to offer any of the meaningless platitudes we usually offer grieving people which do not help. This was really all about her and if she wanted to be angry with any and every one, she totally had a right to… for now.
After the first session and a couple of phone calls later, I encouraged her to put her thoughts down on paper. In writing about what she was experiencing, she just may be able to begin to ‘deal’ with her grief. And that’s what she did.
Below is the first installment of her story. If you’re going through the same thing or perhaps you have gone through this, please drop a line to encourage Mrs. M (not real name). Even if you haven’t gone through, feel free to drop a line of you would like to.
Today makes it one week my baby left me to be with the Lord. It’s still like a dream.
The strangest thing happened this morning. I was in the kitchen preparing my daughters lunch box when I heard his cry as clear as day. Twice. For a few seconds, I believed he was here with me. I quickly reminded myself that he was gone. Gone, so ‘very’ gone. Left me on the 20th of January 2016. Left me while I was still holding him in my arms. I will never forget the look in his eyes. The sound of his last cry. Like…begging me to help him. After that, he rolled his eyes and was gone. Just like that.
All I have now are his memories in my head. I see his face everywhere. I can hear him laughing. My baby. I feel so numb. I won’t get to watch him sleep, carry him when he cries, change his smelly diaper. Give him a bath and watch him get so fascinated by the running water. I won’t ever get to watch him learn how to crawl. He won’t ever sleep beside me ever again. I won’t feel his little fingers wrap around mine.
I have questions but no answers. I feel like giving God a hard shake, shake him so hard and ask Him why. But the Good book says you can’t question God. He knows best. He gives, He takes.
Painful does not begin to describe it. No words can ever describe it. The pain, the emptiness, the ‘what IF’s’.
I walk around like a zombie thinking in my head this must be a very bad dream. I wake up every day realizing it’s not.
Could I have done something different? If my husband and I had taken a different decision, would he still be alive? Would it all have turned out differently? Maybe, maybe not.
The reality is, my 9-month old baby boy is gone. He left me. Just like that. I want to cry out. Shout out…but nothing much comes out. Only this hole in my heart…like a stab wound. The only difference is, the knife is still there digging deeper and deeper every day.
How do I forget every Wednesday? In my arms, I carried him when he was born. In my arms he died. Some days are better than others or worse. I don’t know how today will turn out.