Saturday, April 7, 2012

Remembering Hannah

Last night it was important for me to go to the hospital to visit someone I love who is very ill. As we waited to go in to the room, a tiny baby in an incubator was rushed past us. Suddenly, I was right back in that time when my daughter Hannah died eight years ago. The same hospital, the same corridors, the same waiting and waiting, not knowing what was going to happen and when. The waiting seemed to last forever.
Hannah would have been eight last Sunday. I couldn't figure out how I was feeling. Empty was the only word I had. But last night, in that same hospital, I figured it out. Right now, I am angry. So angry. Hannah never had a fighting chance.The medical knowledge that might have saved her life is just not commonly available. When I say this, it is not about blame but a simple statement of the reality.But as I saw that tiny baby all I wanted to do was roll back the years and have someone, anyone give Hannah that fighting chance that she never had. I wanted to hold her in my arms and will her heart to beat and her lungs to breathe. I wanted to bring her home in my arms and not in a box. I wanted to wake up this morning and hear her voice and comb her hair. All the things I cannot do. I have learned that no peace comes from fighting these natural feelings. So down I went into the anger and the pain. And up I came again in the certain knowledge that Hannah WILL be remembered. Her name will sit proudly in our family tree. She will be recognised for the gift she was and is to us. We will not compound the pain of her death by silence and secrecy. Hannah is my daughter. Yes she died. But she also lived and she will not be forgotten.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

I forgot how to enjoy ANYTHING....

Some time after Hannah died, I realised I had quite simply forgotten how to enjoy ANYTHING. Even when I was at the stage where I wanted to, when I knew it would not be disloyal to Hannah to enjoy my life again, I just couldn't. This took me on a journey to find meaning and joy again in my life. I wrote a little book of tools that helped me. Now I have created an e-Conversation. This e-Conversation contains absolutely nothing about grieving. But it contains absolutely everything I know about starting to notice the good things in life again when we are completely at rock bottom. There are daily suggestions for 30 days and a once weekly confidential email conversation with me. I am inviting people from different parts of my life to join me in this conversation. I have called the conversation Living with Gifts. If it feels right for you, I would be honoured to walk alongside you.
Living with Gifts
30 day e-Conversation

Saturday, December 17, 2011


Preparing for Xmas without Hannah is bittersweet. Buying presents for my family is so joyful and I do wish I was thinking up gifts for Hannah too. Stocking up with everyone's favourite goodies is so much fun and what would Hannah like if she was here? Planning Xmas visits means spending time with beloved family and friends and oh how I wish that we weren't visiting Hannah in the graveyard. Setting the table on Xmas day with a lovely table cloth and all the pretty dishes will be such a pleasure but as I do it my heart will skip a beat because my darling girl will not be with us. What I wouldn't give to see her beautiful face across the table and hear her squeals of delight to find that Santa had come in the night and left her wonderful toys. She would be nearly eight now.
Once again, I will hold joy in one hand and sorrow in the other. And oh how I wish with all my heart it wasn't so......

Sunday, November 6, 2011

My truth

I believe that every child that comes into our lives brings gifts. Hannah brought me many gifts.She brought me love. There was so much love in my house before she was born, and after too. Hannah taught me how to say No. She taught me to stop 'doing' and begin to learn how to just 'be'. I had spent my whole life striving, Hannah taught me to stop.
I learned a new and deeper meaning to the Serenity Prayer that I had learned in Al Anon. 
"Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference."
I couldn't change the fact that Hannah had died. No effort on my part would bring her back. I couldn't control the circumstances that led to her death. However, I learned that how I responded to her absence in my life was within my control. I could pull the duvet over my head and never come out again. Or I could look for a way to live my life again. I could live a different kind of life. I am living that different kind of life now, today, even as I write these words.
I understand now that even as floods or earthquakes come, so too stillbirth comes into some of our lives. We didn't choose it, none of us wanted it, but it came anyway. Stillbirth is not God's will, stillbirth is not a punishment, stillbirth is not the act of a spiritual Universe which wants us to learn some kind of spiritual lesson. Stillbirth sucks just like earthquakes and floods that destroy the homes that people have spent their lives building.  
But in a way, not unlike the survivors of an earthquake or a flood, I now have a choice. The question facing me is how will I rebuild my house? And the answer is... step by little step. I will not give up on myself and those who love me. I will not pretend that Hannah never existed. I will not pretend that waves of grief do not crash over me, even now, seven years later. I will not pretend either that I haven't experienced real joy in my life since Hannah died. 
I will tell the world that I am the proud mother of three wonderful daughters and I will say that one of my daughters died. I carry my daughters in my heart every day of my life, and that includes Hannah. I love each and every one of them, and that includes Hannah. My life is forever changed because of the earthquake of Hannah's death. I am forever changed.  I cannot and will not deny this.
But that is not the end of my story, it is only the beginning.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Letter to everyone, the day I found out Hannah had died

Dear everyone,

I am in shock, you see my baby just died inside me. Right now I can't tell you how I feel because I have no words for how I feel. I may act in a way that you think is strange and even inappropriate but I am not operating on all cylinders right now. The unthinkable has happened and I can't get my head around it. Yesterday, I was full of joy, thrilled at the thought that my baby would be here soon, full of plans for names and fun things we would do together, absorbed in baby clothes and baby catalogues. Now my baby is heavy inside me, heavy in a way no words can describe. I want the world to stop and let me off. I want to wake up and find that this was all a nightmare. I want to wake up and be me again. I want to wake up and feel my baby move inside me.

I can see myself as though I am someone else, someone who is on television. The doctor says this, the midwife says that. They are all looking at me and saying stuff but nothing they say is making any sense. I think I am supposed to make a decision but I can't remember what they just asked me. Gentle hands, rough hands are doing things to me. I want them to stop, I open my mouth but nothing comes out. They are all in such a hurry. Why are they all in such a hurry? Can't they see that time stopped and stood still for me?

Oh God here comes the pain. Gut wrenching pain. Am I in labour? No, my baby died inside me. Oh God, they tell me I will have to go into labour. I will have to give birth to my baby. Are they all mad? How can I do that? I have to do that. I had a birth plan. Oh, that's all out the window now. Seriously everyone, how am I supposed to do that? There is no chapter in my Mother and Baby book about this. I thought stillbirth only happened in my mother's generation. I thought all the monitoring I had would protect my baby. Can't you just put me to sleep and do this delivery for me? No, you can't.

I want someone to save my baby. You are the consultant, why can't you save my baby? I want someone to save me from this. No-one can.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Recreate Your Life

I am in the midst of preparing my first online workshop. After Hannah died, I had to recreate my life. I had changed so much. All my needs and wants were different. Did you find this too? I needed to take some time to figure out what this "new me" wanted and how she was going to get it. This workshop is all about skills that can help you find what works for you NOW and what doesn't. If you would like to join us you can find the link at
I really invite you to take 2 hours just for you to bring a true clarity out of the confusion that comes with our grief.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Right where I am, 7 years 2 months

Right where I am these days is in disbelief that I would come to a day when other people and things would crowd my mind instead of my grief over Hannah. Loving Hannah, losing Hannah, living without Hannah has become so much part of the fibre of my being that I feel no division in myself now. I am who I am today because of her. Every event of my life is measured against Hannah's death. Every aspect of my character has been changed by her. I accept that now.
I am still sometimes surprised that I am still here. I thought in the beginning that all meaningful endeavour would be gone from my life. In the beginning I thought I would never find peace or joy again. I have known great peace and joy since. I have enjoyed writing, helping other parents, learning, visiting new places and simple things like baking and knitting. My third daughter's safe arrival in 2006 was a time of great joy (as well as sadness because Hannah wasn't here.)
I no longer expect the days of uncomplicated joy I had before Hannah died, that surety I had that life's major challenges were over. I am often surprised by joy, but it rarely comes alone... My life is rich again and full of goodness and still Hannah is not here.