I would like to share with you a story, I promise its short, but I think it illustrates something that, as fellow bereaved parents you may relate to:
Last week I attended a Professional Development Day at the West Australian Association for Mental Health. It was a workshop specifically dealing with rather weighty topic of Perinatal Mental Health.
To my socially uncomfortable horror we were asked to partake in one of those: ‘Getting to know each other’ games –
I groaned at the very thought!
But anyway, we were all asked to stand up. Our presenter would ask us a question and we had to move to a part of the room to indicate our answer.
It was supposed to show how much we have in common with our fellow attendees.
First question up was up:
“Would you rather have a broken leg or a broken heart?”,
to answer a broken leg you moved to the right,
to answer a broken heart moved to the left.
I had my answer immediately, and I watched all other participants move to the right.
I moved to the left.
They all looked at me, their faces showed a mixture of unease, pity and concern. Why on earth would I stand alone and choose a broken heart?
A broken heart is there for a lifetime, a broken leg will only hurt for a bit then heal?
Well to me:
My heart is broken because I loved my child,
My heart is broken because when my daughter died she took a piece of my heart with her – and that piece she holds, is what connects us together, always.
It is my broken heart that keeps her safe,
and it means I am always and forever her parent.
I’ll keep my broken heart, because I would always choose to have my time with my daughter, no matter how brief. My daughter is a part of my story, and my families story.
Sometimes things aren’t perfect, they aren’t how we planned and they aren’t what we want. Even though my daughter died, I know that it’s a situation I didn’t choose nor can I change, but choose to be proud to be her mother.
So in that sense, I will always make sure she is protected and safe and she is, as long as she has a piece of my heart with her. Because with that piece she keeps with her, she will always know how much I love her.
So I hope the other attendee’s didn’t feel sorry for me with my broken heart,
because I know exactly where the other part of my heart is,
and I know it is filled with the purest of love.
It can be hard being a bereaved parent in a clinical world, a world where we are supposed to have timelines, deadlines and guidelines.
It’s hard to be a bereaved parent in a world that finds it uncomfortable to deal with the grief associated with losing a baby,
but I know somethings are constant in my life:
that I wish my daughter didn’t die,
that not a day goes by where I don’t think about her.
and I will never doubt that, through my heartache, my tears, even in those times when I doubt myself –
I never doubt my love for my child, and I will always know how lucky I am to be her parent.
So, I choose to carry my broken heart,
because in our hearts is where the love we have for our children is the strongest.
I didn’t choose this broken heart,
but now that I have it, I would never take it away,
because it is where my daughter rests with me, and she is no burden at all.
Excerpt from Speech 17/12/2017