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Beth's Grief Journal
In Memory of Alyssa Kaye Bradford
July 12, 2000 ~ August 10, 2000

Entry #11 ~ October 1, 2001
~ A Better Month

What a refreshing month. It must be about the best month I have had since Alyssa died. I actually feel rested away from grief, and clear headed about life in general.

I think I have been focusing on the birth of our new baby in December and that I feel more positive about life smile. I am very anxious about the birth and life with the new baby, but somehow I think we will be ok. What else can we do? We are powerless against SIDS; the only thing we can do is ensure that the baby sleeps on his/her back, stays away from cigarette smoke, is not overheated and has a safe sleeping environment. Our baby will also have an apnoea monitor that will not prevent something from going wrong, but alert us and help us to administer CPR much more effectively and quickly.

God I hope it doesn't come to that. The fear is what gets me.

We are almost ready to place Alyssa's ashes into the statue (photo of the statue is in the last entry). It is really an emotional thing. I am waiting for the 'right' time. But when is it ever right? I don't know if I will be able to bear looking at her ashes, so I may just leave them in the urn they are in now. I do think though, it will be nice to spend time with her outside instead of inside. It is much more peaceful outside, lots of butterflies hang around, and the garden is such a soothing place to go.

It's just a matter of doing it now!

I have been delivering several babies with the midwifery course I am doing. Oh, it's so nerve-racking. One baby born would not breathe. The liquid was meconium stained, and the baby was born very 'flat' and flaccid. The baby's one minute apgars wouldn't have been more then 5 out of 10. I felt like running far away from the scene right then and there. I didn't want to be responsible for this. The certified midwife took the baby straight away for resuscitation and suctioning. It all turned out fine. I just hate being responsible for life and death. I was ready to give away the whole course that day. And was adamant until the next day. But I don't know what spurred me to continue. I went back the next day and delivered another baby. The baby responded well at birth and everything went smoothly. It was like having a car accident and getting back in the car and driving again. We need to regain our confidence somehow. The whole oxygen mask on the baby and suctioning equipment brought back too much pain from when they were trying to revive Alyssa. Strange how it can do that after over a year. But it doesn't surprise me at all.

I guess now I am wishing I had some updated photos of Alyssa. I was so grateful to have four rolls of film of her, but now they have all been looked at so many times, I wish I could take some more and have her growing up with her brother.

Kyle is very much focused on the birth of this baby. "Baby is coming at Christmas Mum," he says to me. I am sure he will look after her very much and love the new company!

We have bought Kyle's Christmas present and the Baby's Christmas present. It was actually exciting to buy something for the Baby. I am also planning on buying a present for Alyssa again this year. Something to remember her by. I am thinking about a sun catcher or something that I can hang outside near her statue. I decided to do my Christmas shopping early as I will probably won't have any time once the Baby arrives. smile

I know many of you who have emailed me have found some comfort reading this journal. That is why I always put in something for you here. Some advice, or suggestions that have helped me along the way. I really wanted to share something I wrote several months after Alyssa's death:

My Grief Journey

My Grief journey can be described as an illustration of walking down a vast dirt road. The end of the road always seems to be beyond the horizon, but they tell me the road will end, although my grief will not necessarily end, but become easier to live with . . .here is my account:

On my road, the surface is sometimes smooth, but erratically rocky with huge boulders I must climb over. Sometimes when these boulders come into view I must crawl over them. The strength of my emotional journey has disappeared, my body too weak to go on.

I fall over constantly as I walked across this rocky road. Fresh bleeding wounds appear, but I have no desire to dress them.

At times the road seems smooth, but stretch without remorse over huge steep cliffs. The cliffs always seem too hard to conquer, so I climb one day at a time.

It may take me several days or perhaps several weeks to reach the cliffs decline but even so sometimes I find havens nestled into the side of the cliff face. I can go to these havens and slumber, rest my body and my mind. Along the side of this road, I see desolation everywhere barren dry and lifeless.

I am surprised at times to see a small delicate flower growing out through the dry plains. I remember that on these days, life didn't seem too bad. Other times on the road, it seems so terribly dark. There is a wild flood of rain. There is no shelter along this road, so it engulfs me and violently throws me back to the beginning of the road. At the start of the road there is a sign that says: "You must walk this road. Once you walk, live and breathe this road you will reach the town of Healing." I wonder how I will ever reach the town of healing or whether I will ever be healed from this despair I am feeling. They say I will reach it but I will always remember my journey and sometimes that pang of hopelessness will show itself, the depression may seep through my body, but it will never be as painful as those I experienced on my many days on that road. They tell me flowers grow more often there, that the rain gently falls and does not engulf and choke me. I look forward to that day . . .
(E Bradford 2000)

Grief is an unpredictable monster that has made me feel hopeless and totally powerless at different times. It takes so much out of you, you feel like you have nothing left to give. Things are much better for me now . . . but it does take time, and I am sure a lot more time for things to improve greatly. There is no time frame where you will feel better or 'sane' again.

Its very much a personal and individual journey that takes its own course, and will rerun the course as many times as it pleases to ensure that you have grieved in a complete sense. As I have said previously, it is no use trying to hide emotions.. they will come back somehow, and only be more intense. The journey needs to be walked properly in order to get to any place of recovery frown. It's a hard task; the hardest thing I have ever had to do.

Rest; physically and mentally.

My heart goes out to you all reading this with empty arms.

It is such a hard road, I have had to believe in myself to get through. I found God no comfort throughout my grieving process. You need to find comfort in whatever it is you believe in. People have emailed me saying that only God can be my source of strength and hope . . . easier said then done. It is normal to draw close to God especially when grieving but also very normal to steer clear of God. I don't think there is a right or wrong way. We all get by on our own accord and beliefs. I have respect for both.

Just remember there is always someone there for you, whether it be a message board, email, or a real friend who you can count on. There is hope as I have seen this month.


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