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

Entry #4 ~ January 2, 2001
~ Holiday Grief

Christmas is over. I am thankful that it is. It was a day where I felt empty and grief stricken.

I decided to work night shift on Christmas Morning, in the hope that I could give the excuse of going to bed Christmas afternoon. We spent the morning at the in-laws, and came home about 2 pm. Alyssa received a special ornament, a baby angel lying on her belly. Kyle received so many toys he didn't know what to play with first. But I kept my spirits up for his sake.

We decided to let 10 balloons go on the 23rd of December to remember Alyssa by. We bought four pale pink balloons, one bright pink balloon and five blue balloons. I decided that we would not only remember our Alyssa over Christmas, but all the other Angels who have left too soon from StorkNet. I gave Kyle the honor of letting go of the bright pink balloon in remembrance of Alyssa. He let it go straight away! I said a prayer through my tears wishing her a Happy Christmas with Jesus. Then I let go all the other balloons and said a prayer for all the other special little Angels who had died due to miscarriage or antenatal/infant death.

On our Christmas evening, I lit Alyssa's candle that I had lit on the day of her funeral and wrote her a letter. I told her how beautiful it would be in heaven with Jesus spending her first Christmas, and how much fun she would have with the other children. I told her that Christmas on Earth in comparison was much different and full of "I miss yous" and tears.

I told my husband that Christmas didn't feel the same, that there was a piece of our family missing, that Kyle was forced to open presents alone. We took a picture that evening of the four of us. Alyssa was in a picture but I love the photo so dearly. I decided not to go to bed until after the photo because I wanted to make sure I didn't regret not doing anything on Alyssa's first Christmas away from us.

It has been a hard time since my last entry. I cry desperately at times for her. I want her back. I want to hold her again. I feel so incomplete, and not many mention her anymore. It angers me at the lack of awareness toward grief being another reason why I feel I need to write this.

Grief doesn't go away. Some expected me to be over it in a few months, some in a few weeks. I didn't get to know this child so it shouldn't be hard. How wrong they are! This is the hardest thing I have ever encountered. Reminders pop up, that emptiness of not having her a part of us physically and grieving that Kyle is alone all seem to make me feel desperate and totally out of control. We had plans for this little girl. Plans right from conception and they have been quickly torn to shreds.

Grief seems to take its own time, and I wait impatiently for it to end. But it never will. So people tell me. The good days get more frequent but even 20 years on, the bad days still come apparently.

New Years Eve was a totally different story. I think in some ways we were relieved that the year was ending, that we could start 'afresh' I suppose. But on New Year's Day, I woke up crying. It meant to start 'afresh' but the fact that her reality was too quickly becoming a memory haunted me.

On the 10th January Alyssa has been gone for 5 months. It seems like yesterday. That horrible day doesn't send me wild these days, but it still hurts and cuts like a knife when it wants to. On the 12th January Alyssa would have been six months old. It's scary. She would have showed me her personality, her own characteristics. She should have been playing with the Christmas ornaments like Kyle was at that age, opening presents with the help of Daddy and then fighting with Kyle to play with his "big" toys.

The subject of subsequent children came up recently. My husband yearns to have more when I am ready. I was shocked and hurt that he could have even think about it. But I know in my heart I would like more children, but the fear in my heart is so strong I hope I can wait. Then there is the guilt that accompanies that thought. Of course Alyssa will never be replaced, but I want to be able to get through this first year of grief first before I try again.

This grief gives no warning; it comes with no remorse. I feel totally out of control when it erupts; I feel crippled by its power and I feel totally lost in confusion and anger. I feel that I exaggerate everything else happening in my life because of this torrent of emotions. It can ruin me, and yet at the same time this grief has made me a better person.

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