I couldnt send them a message directly so I have created this in the hopes it will be read by them
Dear Upworthy, Please help me share my message so that my sons death can mean something, so hopefully other people can learn from my journey, from my experience....
Deep Breath... Ok... This will be a long post but bear with me.
It's taken me a few days to have the courage to post a message like this.
On the 2nd of October 2015 it marked the day that 5 months previous my heart broke and my world as I knew it ended, but it also marked the day 2 months later, I began trying to put back the pieces.
It's been 5 months now since I lost my darling 6 year old son Bailey in a tragic drowning accident when he was visiting Balina NSW (Australia) with his father and brother.. I was 31 weeks pregnant at the time so thus I began my healing journey 2 months later with the birth of my son Oliver, I wish to share my story and offer advice in the hopes I can find something positive to come out of this experience.
The thought of losing a child is horrific, enough to keep any parent awake at night ( You see things like that happening to other people on TV, but never quite so close to home) In reality when it happens to you it is very hard to reconcile in your mind, the horror comes later, at first your mind copes by becoming numb, you are devastated of course but the true reality hasn't sunk in yet.
At Bailey's funeral, I looked at his perfect little body lying in the pristine white coffin and I kept expecting his chest to move with an intake of breath (My brain was screaming this it wrong) but, he was still I knew he was my Bailey but at the same time he wasn't him at all. Every one of my motherly instincts was telling me to pick him up and comfort him, I felt like I should be at least trying to make him warm... I had trouble looking at raw meat for quite awhile after that, because for some strange reason it reminded me of Bailey's little body, just flesh and bones.
Before the funeral it was painful to imagine him in the chilled morgue, so I let his father decide the arrangements of what would happen to his body afterwards. Neither option sounded particularly appealing - Burned to Ash - or - Left to Rot. He chose to go with cremation, I know this makes his older brother Chase sad because he tells me that "Bailey is just ashes now" he is 8 and it breaks my heart that his best mate circa his whole life to him is "Just ashes now"
Grief is a funny thing, you can cry and laugh at the same time, or be doing housework with tears running down your face like it’s the most normal thing in the world, it can give you a headache or even make you throw up.. I've experienced these things and more, to some degree I can expect to feel this way for the rest of my life. Sometimes it hits you at the strangest times and over the strangest things, I remember being confused and because I was getting angry at the advertisements on television, they were just so normal, and quite often about stupid meaningless things. Experiencing a loss like this changes your perspective in a big way, some days nothing seems important compared to the value of Baileys life, material things are just that .... material... replaceable.... I often make a mental list of all the things I would sacrifice or give up if it could only make a difference... But it won't.... I know it won't yet still I find myself making that list...
I have good days, bad days and some days when I collapse to the floor in a blubbering heap
One of the hardest things I have tried to reconcile in my mind is; Bailey IS such a character, everything had to be his way and by his rules... This great shining, stubborn light has gone out.... like if you walk into a dark house, with only one light source... a lamp... you switch it off and are plunged suddenly into that eerie darkness. I say to Chase "To a Mother, her babies... her children are a piece of Mummies heart living outside of her body..... That is why Mummy is so sad about Bailey, a piece of my heart is missing and Mummy is heartbroken"
My story does get better! As much as a story like this can! Here is the good news! Amazing Oliver.....Two months to the day that Bailey grew his beautiful (every shade of Blue) Angel wings, Oliver Bailey Rushton-Jardine burst into this world -
I'd been having irregular contractions in between 15 and 20 minutes apart, lasting between 15 and 30 seconds,completely bearable, I was feeling upset because It didn’t seem like it was going anywhere and I was convinced it was going to stop again...as it had about a week and a half previous...it was about 12:30am I was outside having a conversation with my partner and my mum, I decided it was a good idea to have a lie down with my partner as last time this had caused the contractions to stop and I was able to get some sleep... well as I was laying there I felt one really big contraction which lasted 2 minutes .... during which I felt a pop … my waters had broken... I walked down to the toilet thinking I would catch some of the liquid in the toilet, when I noticed some blood dripping down my leg, this is when mum and my partner decided to call the ambulance, mind you the ambulance station is 4 minutes away....
I was overwhelmed with the urge to push ...and only just managed to get back to my bed in time... mum was on the phone with the ambulance, my partner was hovering in the doorway unsure what to do.... "Catch me Grandma" the ambulance officers arrived and missed it by one minute.... he was born at 12:39am... only 9 minutes had passed, 6 minutes since the ambulance call and 4 since the ambulance left the station.... If I had of tried to get to the hospital he would have been born in the car.... I was in the grocery shops 2 hours previous imagine that a baby born with about 7 minutes warning... the hospital said they would have sent me home if I had presented with such irregular contractions! Oliver accidentally born at home, on my bed.... with Grandma playing midwife
I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to bring this new life into the world while still be grieving for Bailey, It didn’t seem fair to Bailey. As it turns out I have nothing to worry about, Oliver is so innocent and beautiful I can't help but treasure every moment, a cuddle or a smile from him makes you feel whole again. It doesn't take away the pain but it certainly does help make things easier for a little while.
Thank you for staying with me to this point, and I do have one...
With a an accident like Bailey's you cannot fathom a reason that would ever make it okay, so as his Mother I feel a great need to give it some meaning and also in some way honor his memory, which brings me to the method to my madness and the reasons for sharing this story....
I know from experience that parenting is hard, children have this uncanny ability to push all your buttons, wear you out and frustrate you to no end. Maybe they have kept you awake all night because they were sick, you pop down to the shops to grab a couple of quick essentials and suddenly its world war 3, tantrum, meltdown because you won't buy them something they decided 5 seconds ago they absolutely must have RIGHT now! You do what any stressed overtired parent does and lose you patience.... Those are especially the times I think my story can help. With Bailey I would give almost anything (there's that list again) to have those times again, I would feed him all the junk food and lollies he wanted and let him get fat, I'd let him play as much computer and I-pad he wanted even if sometimes he got cranky with the games and cry... Because then at least he would STILL BE HERE.
Please , don’t take anything for granted, read them those extra 5 bedtime stories.... sometimes give in and buy them that toy, let them have that unhealthy food you know they like...occasionally, give them those "5 more minutes" and that "one last chance" when they are naughty, they are young and small for such a small amount of time.... most of all cuddle them, make them laugh and smile anything that makes them happy (yes even if they are 13) if the worst should ever happen you would be able to look back on that time you had with them with no regrets.
I hear a lot "I don't know what to say" "How can I fix it" or "What can I do to help" Firstly that completely normal, I don’t know what to say half the time as well, secondly there's no fix, my family and I will bear this for the rest of our lives we will just get better at hiding it, it will be a long time before Oliver will even understand why mummy is sad and sometimes cries when she cuddles him. As for how to help me personally? Be my friend (I'm socially awkward and don't know how to make new friends) Encourage me to get out of the house every once and awhile, talk with me about Bailey even if sometimes that makes me cry... and most of all don’t think that because I have lost my son I won't enjoy hearing about your children.
I have been giving some thought to how best honor Baileys memory, It disturbs me greatly that all he is is memories, pictures and videos, he was so much more than that... after much thought I have decided on these following 4 things;
One of my favorite "Bailey Things" was making him smile and laugh. Generally bringing joy to his life pleased me greatly... Because I can no longer do this for him I want to bring some of that joy that he would have received to other children... I plan to be leaving a small matchbox car in random places with a card attached for other children to find with the message "Finders Keepers in memory of Bailey" And a link to my second idea of a website where anyone who finds a car and wants to know why or know more about Bailey can look and hopefully tell me how their child enjoyed the gift. I have set up a Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/finderskeepersforbailey because I have been asked if people can do this same thing in their area
Having a baby recently also let me to thinking what about the babies that don't make it home? I'm a crocheter and I know that some of those babies are too small for even 00000 clothes. Those special photo's and memories for those few hours in hospital are all those families get, I'd like to help by crocheting items that would fit these perfect angels and then donate them to hospitals in Bailey's name, then those parents will have something to hold on to and remember.
Lastly I am sharing my story and this message in Bailey's honor in the hopes that it resonates with someone if not you then perhaps someone you know so please share this message/status or comment because I need to feel like Bailey's loss is making a difference to other people's lives. I would never tell someone how to parent, whatever works for you, just do it, but please cherish them and give them the cuddles and love I can't give Bailey
If anyone wishes to help honor Baileys memory with me, find out some more information or follow along with my journey via my blog the web address is http://loveofaphoenix.wix.com/bailey please stop by and leave a comment so I can know that Bailey is making a difference
FINALLY thank you to Bailey for giving me 6 wonderful years of memories, and to Oliver for healing our families hearts one day at a time.
I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!