It has been nearly 16 months since Holly died. One birthday gone and now we about to enter another year that only Holly's memory will see. It would be incredibly easy for me to be bitter about this. It wouldn't take much effort to creep into a darkness and be enveloped in a swirl of hatred and misery.
The hard part is choosing to dodge this path and therefore putting every effort into trying to be thankful for the life that I do have. For, I DO have a life and having experienced death on my door, I understand the beauty and fragility that life holds.
Life can change in an instance. I know that, as do many people. But it is with a conscious effort that I try to not let that change destroy me. I am okay with Holly's death defining me, I am proud to carry her story but I try to avoid letting the death part, kill me too.
2017 has been a sea of emotions. Happy waves as we expected our rainbow, anxious waves as we awaited a healthy pregnancy diagnosis, ecstatic waves at his arrival and the outburst of Eleni's love for him and then tsunamis as we continued to navigate a life without our daughter.
In 2017 I have learned how to continue to carry Holly and to reflect on what I want out of my life.
It is with the realisation that life will always be that much harder and that we will always have our 'grief dips' that makes choosing to be thankful, difficult at times. Nonetheless, being thankful (with it's bittersweet and confusing parts) is the path in which I will always aim to go down. A stumble in the wrong direction is bound to happen at times but that's okay, I am learning to allow the hard times in with the knowledge that I will get back up again.
Almost 16 months on and I can tell you that grief doesn't get easier. Your heart doesn't stop hurting and the constant awareness of the absence of your child doesn't go away. I think as time goes on, grief just becomes a more accepted part of your life. There is no escaping it and there is no fighting it. So on the whole, we learn to continue because otherwise we just wouldn't continue.
I hope that with moving into a new year, I will continue to be thankful. I hope that I can continue to make Holly proud in honoring her and helping others. I hope that more people will break the silence surrounding baby death and that we will all start talking about death, because maybe then this 'thing' that happens to all of us will stop being such an awkward topic to talk about. I hope that in turn, more bereaved parents will feel that they can share their child and not be enveloped in their own swirl of hatred and misery.
We all still have so much to be thankful for. Holly died but I am still thankful that she existed. I am thankful that she has shown me what matters in my life. I chose to be thankful because Holly can't chose anything and so I chose to be the best that I can for her.
I hope that 2018 brings everyone some love and that we all remember what is important in our lives. Life is short, some even shorter than expected and so what better way is there to live it than being thankful for what time we do have?
Happy New Year my sweet little heart and Happy New Year everyone
On the 7th September 2016 at 25 weeks gestation, Holly was born, still after a battle with complete heart block.