It seems that at the end of every year since losing Holly, I feel the need to write a blog post. I guess it's part reflection and part making sense in my head, that I am entering yet another year without Holly. The entering another year part doesn't really get any easier. I am not sure that the longing to have her here will ever really ease, but the part on reflecting on the year, has for me, shown that love always wins.
You see, in the early days of grief there is no light. The days go on until little by little, more light comes in, like rolling up a blind in tiny amounts until you can see enough to get up and eventually do the things that need doing. Some days that blind may slip down again but eventually, I find myself experienced enough to find my way in the dark and lift it back up.
That is what I have learnt this year. By allowing light in, I've allowed myself to make decisions for the future, which doesn't mean leaving Holly behind but instead taking her forward with me.
If it wasn't for Holly I wouldn't be in a new job. A job where I am so much happier than where I was before. A job where I am not filled with anxiety but rather a place where I feel at peace. I have made wonderful new friends and if it wasn't for letting the light in and braving on change then I would never have realised this.
I lifted the blind and allowed myself to go back to learning. Embarking on a counselling course has been beyond invaluable to me. In fact, I really encourage anyone to give it a go. I have learnt more about myself in 4 months than I probably have in 28 years. What with combining the counselling with the midwifery skills, I know that Holly has lead me onto a path that really means something for me. Lifting the blind has shown me what path I needed to follow and I am so excited to keep on walking it.
Of course, 2018 hasn't all been light and cheery. At the front of my mind there is always my grief. Some days that takes over, but that's okay. Some days I may lay in the dark until I feel ready to face the world and that is okay too. I am learning to go with it and to be who I need to be during those moments. No rush.
I am surrounded by so many people who support me and by so many bereaved parents of whom I am learning from each and every day. I have learnt that I don't have to pick between being strong and broken. The words of other bereaved parents supports me in my own understanding of my grief. I am both broken and strong and I will own that, proudly, for the rest of my life.
2018 taught me that it was okay to take my time, to be where I am today. No excuses given for when the blind falls. No feelings of having to accept things that I am not happy with. I am past excuses because, well, life is too short to not be true to yourself. Grief is here forever because love is here forever and so because of that, I will always aim for love. Some people will walk this path with me and some might not. That is okay too, because feeling anger towards that will only ever affect negatively on me and so if you cant walk this path with me, then I wish you well.
2018 has been kind. I am standing and I am doing. I have plans and my heart is forever full of love. I am living my best possible life without Holly here and for that I am proud.
Happy New Year to all my friends, family, friends with their babies safe in their hearts and all those babies dancing in the stars. A new year isn't easy but they've still got us and we've still got them. Keep lifting that blind but always at your own pace, always.
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On the 7th September 2016 at 25 weeks gestation, Holly was born, still after a battle with complete heart block.