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

Entry #9 ~ July 25, 2001
~ Surviving Alyssa's Birthday

Oh what a hard month!

I have put off writing and taken so long to write because the emotions have just been too hard to handle . . . and to tell you the truth I have lost a lot of motivation this past month to do anything. The strength has just disappeared somewhere, and I guess I am now nurturing myself to get my feet on the ground once again.

Alyssa's birthday, the 12th July came and went so quickly. I had planned another balloon releasing, a cake, a present for her and to do something ceremonial. Instead . . . I lay in bed, like a zombie crying like I hadn't cried in years, unable to speak through the gush of tears and pain I felt. That pain when you cry that hard is debilitating. It takes every inch of your energy and spits you out like an old rag. I felt like an old rag, so tired and worn, with nothing left in me that would be of any use that day.

My husband, the brave man, kept busy. I don't understand how he does it, or how he survives. But he does. He deals with it the way men do. He went out and bought this beautiful angel statue made of marble that I had on layby for a while. It was Alyssa's birthday present. Underneath the statue is a hollowed out section in which we intend to put Alyssa's ashes into. That will be another feat in itself. Looking at her ashes . . . the remains of her beautiful tiny body that I once held. It will be so depressing and so sad. I am not sure if I even want to do it now. But the statue will be placed in the garden, near the wind chime and in a place where I can go and be alone with her.

Instead of the cake idea, I lit Alyssa's candle - her candle with its sweet scent. The candle last burned at Christmas, and before that her funeral. The smell reminds me of her.

My Mother called me on her birthday. She is so sweet. I love her so much just for thinking of me. I tried to be brave but I couldn't help but cry. It was suppose to be a happy day where my only Daughter is opening all her presents anxiously. Instead there is only pain and heartache. My daughter should have been 1. Yes 1 in heaven, but not celebrating with us.

We received flowers that day, some from my husband's family and some from my Mother. I cried when I received them. I can't believe how incredible people are, how they had us in their thoughts, how they had Alyssa in their thoughts too. Of course they would. I received a beautiful wall hanging from a lovely lady overseas that had lost a baby herself, and yet thought of us. Such selfless acts.

The day of Alyssa's birthday passed in a blur. Our Kyle, now 3 years old, sang Happy Birthday to Alyssa and kissed her urn. He is such a precious child. The baby now in my womb kicked me all day. I felt guilty for being so upset and hoping I had not put strain on our growing baby but the kicks reassured me that there is hope around the corner.

My life has completely changed this past year. I have grown within myself, found avenues that I never thought existed. I have never felt pain like I have since Alyssa's passing. I just miss her so much. It's useless even saying that because it doesn't even touch base on how deep I really do miss her.

On a lighter and happier note, even though my Alyssa always makes me happy to think about, we attended our ultrasound of baby bean. Everything looks perfect. We have an idea of the sex but the baby was adamant to keep its foot well within its groin so we may be wrong. It can only be one or the other, and either way I really don't mind! I have been constantly tired this pregnancy, tired with anxiety, tired with our busy lifestyle but hopeful for a new start.

I think once December comes and the Baby is due I will be very anxious, but I am trying to enjoy this wonderful experience of being pregnant. It is truly an amazing blessing.

I feel for those who grieve in such a different way, trying to conceive and yet having so much trouble having a Baby themselves. It is a type of grief that I could never understand but I can only imagine the heartache and failure they must endure.

As I look back on this past year, two things that have really gotten me through is drawing in the peace around me and living moment by moment. Taking snapshots of happier days and remembering those days when the bad ones come. The days where I would chase after Kyle who would be looking over his shoulder laughing so hard he could hardly keep up the pace, and me looking over my shoulder with my husband trying to catch me and tickle me to the floor. It's those snapshots I take in my mind and use them when I am in a pit of despair for Alyssa.

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There are days when I can think of Alyssa and only smile. Her bright blue brown eyes that newborns have wide trying to take in everything around them. It took along time to get to the point where I could smile at the thought of her rather then collapse into an emotional heap.

Apart from the intense grief, my relationship with my husband hasn't always been easy. It's like suddenly you have to tackle all this grief for loosing your child, attempt to nurture your partner, and sometimes children and try to maintain the healthy relationship you once had with your husband. It can be so demanding; I know it was for me.

As I have probably said previously, it takes its toll. The loss can either severe your relationship or make it stronger. It's tough because you grieve so differently, and you can't seem to get the support you need from your partner who has no clue what you need because they are on a different path to you. When I cried, all I wanted was my husband to hold me. Instead he would walk away, and even go out sometimes. To me it was like a kick in the face. To him it was unbearable to see the pain, and he had no idea that a hug could help me. It took a lot of talking just to get through things. It takes a lot of time and patience too.

Things are better these days. Instead of counting 6 out of the 7 days a week where I wish I could die under my bed sheets now it might only be 1 day out of 7 and the pain is not so intense now.

There is hope. There's a lot to live for.

Until next time,
Beth

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