How and How Long does a parent mourn a child?


I don’t want to know what killed her, I just wish to find out how and for how long l should mourn! 

Today started out fairly normal. Hey, I was even all smiles and dressed to please myself, the weather and in souvenir of Cameroon my motherland. I had a Rhumatologist appointment and since l found out the doctor was Cameroonian, I was looking forward to some nostalgia.  l had actually chosen him based on that and well, we did talk of our motherland.

Shortly before going to my "waterloo"
Shortly before going to my “waterloo”

But something had been happening in me since last night and I couldn’t figure out what. I just wasn’t my normal self at some dinner we attended and l was sent off to bed.

The moment I walked into the hospital, I knew

When I walked into that hospital, I knew why. Although it’s been six good years since l lost her, l still don’t know if I mourn well or for how long l will still have to mourn. I passed a pediatric unit and all those toys, I saw the neonatal unit and saw those incubators in which she spent that one and only night, l passed the gyneco and obstetric ward, and all this was tormenting.

Why does it hurt so much?

It’s not like I think about Ange Claire every other day, no it’s much better now. After all, she just survived a day so maybe I am better off than those parents who bury Children with some accomplishments and futures ahead? Or maybe it is actually that I didn’t mourn right and for a ‘right’ period of time?

When my girl was born, she looked just like me and this picture of mine reminds me so much of the hair she had.

Marie the baby.

l loved her so much although l didn’t even get to suckle her even once. All l did was cradle her a minute and give her kiss before she was taken from me and put into that incubator. She had developed a respiratory deficiency barely 15 minutes just after she was born. I am thankful her elder brother had survived a similar problem too. He had battled in the incubator for one whole week shortly after his birth.

Did I mourn right and right?

I remember the doctor telling her father and l that night that she needed a special drug, which unfortunately wasn’t available in their pharmacy. It was maybe 9.30 pm and there was only one pharmacy in town where she was sure it could be found. Her father asked her if he could go get it in the morning, and she said yes. I was so tired after having laboured for more than a day and having to go through that, l just couldn’t pick another argument with him to go then.

l couldn’t sleep straight. l dozed off at midnight, had a nightmare and woke up at 4am. l told him we should go and check on her. Sure we got there just as the doctor was pronouncing her DEAD. l just went to my angel and kissed her then l went back to the room and hid under the bed. l quickly entered the denial gear or whatever that could be called.

l only managed to call my mother. Who came in and left soon thereafter with her father and co to bury her at her paternal grandparents’. She later took me to her home where l spent a week mourning in whatever way.

Friends l had called last night to announce the birth of my princess, were told a different story when they called to find out how we slept. Some stopped by and by then l had already switched to ‘am ok’ gear. l didn’t want to discuss the ‘matter’.

The only person l really wanted to talk and or cry over it with, was my husband. But he didn’t want to. Until I left his house, never did we discuss that ‘matter’. I hallucinated for six good months, lost sleep and any sexual appetite, l was so scared he may die, l did’t want him to travel, touch me or even be merry around me.

Then I thought I had mourned enough

l however gradually pulled myself together and was always ‘seemingly so strong’ so much that my sister who flew in to visit soon thereafter, remarked later on that she thought l never ‘cared’. She was surprised that l talked about that incident in my 35th birthday message to all.

Yet, when a cousin of mine lost his baby when his wife was 5 months pregnant, l was erratic. l stayed up all night and cried and spoke to whoever until dawn. You see, I have also lost another baby to a miscarriage too.

Finding strength in what remains

So after I left that hospital today, ( I haven’t been to a hospital since she died, clinics yes but hospital no), I couldn’t move. I knew l had to steady myself. My blood pressure even showed an increase although when the doctor asked l just said it was stress.

And then, my Darling Darling who had been out of town, just got back. He’d tried to call when I was in there and only left a message. He tried again and told me to wait for him right there. You see, he knows what it is to lose a child. He’d lost one too.

We are best friends and l am so grateful for him. He has even agreed to go with me for my results and the doctor’s control.

l know we shall all die. But, l really think that children should bury their parents and not the other way round! I am equally glad l can write to heal and help others and that l can share my struggles and all.

Dear gentle readers and followers of mine, do you know how and how long a parent mourns their child? Do you want to share or just leave a gentle comment? Thank you in anticipation.

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20 thoughts on “How and How Long does a parent mourn a child?”

  1. I don’t normally comment on posts I read but this one struck a cord. I lost a baby to a miscarriage, almost five years ago. In the same pregnancy, I had an ectopic and had to go through losing that as well. Two years ago, I went into pre-term labour and lost my beautiful son. The doctor had to pull him out of me and they wouldn’t let me cradle him for 20 minutes as he slowly passed away. They thought they were doing me a favour by not letting me bond with him. I don’t think about him everyday anymore, but when I think about him, I still cry. Parents never stop mourning their children, the bad days just get farther apart and the crying bouts get shorter. Even then, there are days that will make you weep like it all just happened.

    Be happy, keep living and when the bad days come, take them n your stride. We should not have to bury our children, and when we do, it is okay to cry until we die. They are a part of our future that has come to nothing, a little of our soul lost that we will never get back.

    1. Dear only me,

      Thanks for stopping by. Even writing this post took a lot of determination. But I write for therapy and to help others too. I know sharing and talking about ‘trauma’, helps a great deal.

      I can feel your loss and all. Needless to say more. But as you rightly add, we have to be happy and keep living and when the bad days come, we let them flow through.

      Yesterday, after that incident, l got to the office by 1pm, wrote this post, meditated some, had a cup of tea, smiled some, and then worked myself out. I got home to my Darling waiting for me with open arms and yes that’s all that.

      All the best to you too, regards Marie.

  2. Oh Marie, my dear. I’m so sorry. I can feel your pain. And I know how bad it hurts. Although I haven’t lost a baby (I’ve had a miscarriage and ectopic pregnancy) I had to mourn the death of my 2 week old grandson.

    I was the one who tried to resuscitate him after he stopped breathing. His mother, my daughter, panicked and ran away screaming. She was in shock. I will never forget the heartache and sorrow we went through. She mourned her first baby’s death for a very long time. In fact, it took more than five years for her to stop crying.

    It’s such a sad thing to lose your child. There’s nothing I can do physically to help take your pain away. All I can do is pray to God to continue to heal and strengthen you. And in time, the pain will ease. I don’t think it will ever go. But it will get better.

    Stay strong my dear. I know you’re using your experiences to help others. And I know by doing so, it will make you feel rewarded.

    Have a blessed night. 🙂

    1. June,

      You see why you are my heroine? You see how you are one big cheerleader of mine? What more do I say?

      You know what am talking about right? And l can imagine a grandmum looking forward to a grandchild who comes but leaves soon thereafter. I saw my mother ‘shrink’ too.

      Yeah am strong and that you know, and you are correct about my intentions. Stay blessed too 🙂

  3. Hi Marie,

    I would like to share a poem I wrote after I had my miscarriage. It might help if you write one too for your baby girl.

    Here is the poem:

    My Lost Love

    I woke up one morning and knew you were here,

    I’ve been waiting for you for so long,

    You were all I needed to make my life complete.

    Each day brought me closer to seeing you,

    Just a few more months and you would be in my arms.

    My precious baby, we didn’t get to meet.

    A cruel act of nature decided your fate,

    There was nothing I could do but watch

    And feel the pain and emptiness as you left me,

    Now I will never hold you in my arms.

    I know that you’ve gone to a place of love,

    And you will be a bright star shining down

    From way up in the heavens, among the angels.

    That’s where you belong now my lost love.

    Although we never met, I will always remember you.

  4. Emile Nkem.

    Tough question marie, but i can only assume the mourning never stops..or it just turns into a celebration every year the birthday shows up. You light a candle..say a prayer and ask her to intercede for you and yours..
    Whatever the case..she knows she is loved..and that matters! you loved her and still do..your heart should be at peace..she is with the Angels…in heaven!

    1. Dear Emile, thank you for stopping by. l know you read my posts but taking time to comment means this article and my humble self mean something to you.

      l am so happy to know people like you in my life. l can say the incidents are very sparse and l mostly think of her with a smile instead. Sure she will forever live in my heart.

      All the best to you and your family. Cheers, Marie

  5. Dear Marie,

    I’m so sorry for your loss. And please don’t be hard on yourself for still mourning. We all grieve in our own way and in our own time.
    I thank you also for reading and reviewing my book. I hope it was helpful to you in some way. We are both survivors. Hopefully, like me, you will find gifts from your loss. Best, Madeline Sharples
    author of Leaving the Hall Light On.

    1. Dear M,

      Thanks a ton for stopping by. Oh, l am very light on myself now if not l wouldn’t still be around. A post on why l dropped the knife is scheduled for this very morning.

      l just share my journey and my faith, that of finding strength in what remains. One of the gifts from my loses is that l have come “out of the closet” if l may use that term. I am so daring to say the least – say unconventional? Whatever, but am glad to be striving and thriving and reading books like yours.

  6. It’s more than 15 years now but I still mourn. Not every day. Not even every week. Sometimes not even for a few months. But he’s always there. In my heart. In my head. And I mourn. Like now. There is no right way. There is no wrong way. I mourn in my way for my baby boy. You mourn your way for your angel. We are both right, but it feels so wrong.

  7. Thank you so much dear governingmatters for stopping by,

    Sometimes, I feel like l have to let go completely and forget for after all l have others now. But, l just can’t help breaking down in me whenever something triggers her memory. As you say, it may not be everyday, week or month but it is there in the hearts. As long as we can’t change our hearts, that’s how long we will have those memories. In a society where people who loose children that young or pursuant to ‘shameful deaths’ or supposed ‘negligence’, you are not expected to even mourn.
    I am so glad to have broken free, come out here, and discovered blogging and written my memoir.

  8. Hi Marie
    I’ve never lost a child but have felt the excruciating pain watching my elder sisters loosing their babies either through death or miscarriages. I really don’t there can ever be a time frame sufficient enough to mourn these innocent souls.
    I was really young then when my sisters lost their babies but was able to understand how much pain they felt. It wasn’t just they the mothers who suffered this much. I remember the loss of my sister’s eight months old whom I was so closed to that passed away. I was just about 7 then but wld want to be the one to feed her, carry her when she cried and take care of her every need. I spent at least 50% of my day with her n though I found it difficult understanding what killed her, it was even more difficult for me to accept she was gone forever.
    Life still had to move on though, trying to forget the pain her death caused our family but always keeping memories of her pretty face in our hearts forever.

    1. Thank you so much Ruth. “Keeping memories of her pretty face in our hearts” sums it all. The pain is few and far between but when it comes, I live it through instead of bottling it up and pretending to be strong.

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