I was sat melting in a traffic jam earlier today and found myself reminiscing about past Holidays. My gap year where I travelled to Thailand, Australia and New Zealand. Exploring Europe with my now husband and last minute deals to New York. They were all just so fantastic. Not being ones to just sit on a beach and sunbathe, we explored, we island hopped, we learnt about the culture and we absorbed as much out of our holidays as we possibly could.
Then we had a baby. Our first born, our little Eleni. We couldn't afford to go exploring in our carefree ways anymore and our daughter was on so many medications for her reflux disease that we decided to make the most of my parents holiday home in Cornwall. Having spent family holidays in Cornwall since the age of 2, it was already a place close to my heart. A place where my husband and I would end up saying our forever vows.
So with Eleni being just the tender age of 4 months and stocked up with all her prescription milk and various medications we headed down to the Cornish countryside. Just the three of us, our little family, for a week of welcoming our little girl to my second home.
We had sleepless nights filled with alarms to remind us to 'dream feed' our girl and give her the right medications. We learnt why it was important to take out a fully stocked changing bag for the day. We dealt with tears in the car and having to put our daughter before what we wanted to do. It was a far cry from our previous 'responsibility free' holidays.
But to this day, it has been my best ever holiday.
There is something so magical about taking your baby away for the first time. Learning how to do this holiday business as a family. Being seen as a family. The harder parts of parenting had just washed away that week. Eleni hadn't long come out of hospital for her bottle aversion and we finally felt like we could enjoy being a family. Eleni saw the sea for the first time, she felt the sand between her toes and most importantly we were all happy. It was beautiful, it was blissful and I felt so in love.
So as I said earlier, I was driving in my car reminiscing about all of this. Beautiful holiday memories which will never fade. But the sad thing is, that when you lose a baby your life splits into a 'before and after'. The wonderful, dare I say it but easy before life and then the after where even past memories before losing Holly are now tinged with sadness and regret.
Sadness and regret that I will never experience this with Holly. Never experience a first holiday together and that feeling of bliss, despite being sleep deprived and covered with baby sick. I will never be able to welcome Holly to Cornwall, the place which means so much and the place which has the power to make everything always feel a little bit lighter.
Out of a lot of missing experiences we will have through not having Holly here, this is one of the most painful. The reality of losing a baby is that you also lose a lifetime of making memories and a lifetime of opportunities.
Grief isn't a linear line. It is unexpected, painful and very hard work. It doesn't just change you, or your present and future but also your past too. It changes your perception, your beliefs and what life means to you. I think it must be one of the most powerful 'changes' that a human must learn to live with.
As we prepare to go on our family holiday to Cornwall this week, I'll try so very hard to not have something else tainted with the ugliness of bitterness. The memories that I have will always be beautiful but I will always wonder what our memories with Holly would have been like. I will always wonder and always wish that she could be here too.
On the 7th September 2016 at 25 weeks gestation, Holly was born sleeping after a battle with complete heart block.