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

Entry #1
~ Meet Beth

October 29, 2000

Kyle and AlyssaI've read somewhere that writing a journal can be good for the grieving process. So I thought this might be a good idea, since it not only helps me, but I am hoping it can help you as well. Let me begin with an introduction. My name is Beth, I am 26 years old and I live in Australia. I have two beautiful children, Kyle who is almost 2 1/2 years old, and I gave birth to my precious little girl, who I named Alyssa Kaye on the 12th July, 2000. But my dream of having two children was shattered on the 10th August, 2000 when my baby girl was taken from us, by SIDS. But I still like to say that I have two children, because I know she is still here with us. I just know . . .

I have a wonderful husband, Steven, who through everything, has given me an incredible amount of love and support. I studied to be a Registered Nurse back in 1993 and finished the course and begun to work at a hospital in Sydney. I love to be able to help others. Then in August, 1997 I fell pregnant for the first time, and was so overjoyed, and so sick every night! I gave birth to a gorgeous little boy Kyle John on the 10th June, 1998, weighing in at 8 pounds, 2 ounces.

My dream was to have children close together in age, because I was 5 and 6 years younger then my brothers. I felt very alone at times so this was especially important to me. So when I found out I was pregnant again in September, 1999 we were both thrilled!! My second pregnancy went smoothly, with no sickness nor high blood pressure, and I sailed through to almost 42 weeks ( I wasn't impressed at the time!). I gave birth easily to a precious little girl, whom I thought all along would be a boy. She weighed in at 8 pounds, 10 ounces, and rarely cried right from the start.

"We have the perfect family," I said to my husband. But we both knew deep down, that even if Alyssa turned out to be a boy, it would still be the perfect family anyway! We settled into life with two young children very quickly. She woke every four hours like an alarm clock, and never cried, only fussed for a bottle. Our dream was a reality. Alyssa would watch Kyle run past as he played around her, and he always quickly kissed her on the lips and say "Sister!" then rushed off to continue on with his games. It was so sweet.

Then on the morning of the 10th August, 2000 I fed Alyssa at 1:30 am, with no realization that this would be the last time I would ever see her alive again. I remember having a migraine from lack of sleep, and I sat on the couch with her bottle, stroking her hair line that passed onto her cheek. I always murmured to her "Hello Beautiful" and started up a conversation. I put her down in her bassinet on her side because of the reflux and was dead asleep by the time I hit the pillow.

Seven a.m. came and went . . . and Steven woke up and said, "She hasn't woken up!" and ran to her bassinet. I was frozen in bed, and guilt filled my body . . . I should have woken up. The cries I heard next will forever haunt my mind, and I knew at that moment she was gone. I didn't even look. I just ran to the phone and dialed the ambulance.

The strength in my body amazed me that day. I had complete control. My baby could not die from SIDS. I did everything to prevent this from happening; there is no way in hell she could have died from SIDS of all things! I was a trained Nurse . . . I use to teach CPR to people . . . I have saved lives before. So I took charge and began the training . . . to no avail. The ambulance came and treated me like a murderer. The accusing eyes and comments made it even worse; how could they think I would do something like this?

We spent three hours at the hospital, saying our goodbyes, taking foot and hand prints, taking photos. I am so glad we spent this time with her. The funeral was on the 16th August, 2000 and I held her again in her pretty pink dress and shawl. I placed some of my hair in her hand. Buying her that last pink dress was an emotional trauma in itself. But the service was beautiful.

Kyle and MumNow it has been 2 1/2 months since her death. The first two months I denied it totally. My body and my mind couldn't fathom that she was really gone. She was just away on holidays with Nana, or she was just asleep but never dead. When we got home from the hospital that horrible day, Steven got her bottles from the fridge and emptied and washed them up. I fought against him because she was just asleep! How dare he waste formula that I had prepared when she could wake at any minute. But he just couldn't cope with seeing those bottles in the fridge and had to do it.

None of this was really happening at all!!! Why are all these people here, why does everyone want to arrange a funeral??? A funeral for who? My daughter would be organizing my funeral, not vice versa. How can they say she is dead? Why are the police here? They think I killed my baby! But you got it all wrong, she isn't dead at all . . . she's in the next room!

Those thoughts went through my head constantly. And sleeping terrified me. I would still be awake after taking sleeping pills and hear the birds chirping in the morning. I wanted desperately to fall asleep, but couldn't. I'd panic when the time hit 1:30 am (being the last time I fed her) and anytime after that. I still panic to this day when we are heading for bed. I panic that Kyle isn't breathing and check on him every half hour once he falls asleep. I panic in the morning when he is still asleep and I wake. Is he ok? Oh no, why isn't he awake yet???

The two months after Alyssa's death were like a day dream. It was like moon walking in a void of blackness and despair. If someone were to hit me across the head, or try to scare me I probably wouldn't have noticed it. I had no idea that the world was still spinning, that things like bills had to be payed, that washing needed to be done, that Kyle needed to be changed and fed. I forgot to eat, and thankfully as helpless as my Mother felt, she did everything, and I appreciate it so much now. She was there, listening, and loving, and hugging. There is nothing to say in a situation like this that can make any of it right. Just a simple hug, and an ear go such a long way.

In the last month, Steven lost his job and I was sick to death of it all. We decided to move to be closer to his family and I decided to go back to work in the hospital. Packing up Alyssa's room was the hardest thing since the funeral. It took days and emotionally afterwards I was tired and exhausted. I didn't want to pack anything up. Where we live now is peaceful, but the reality has recently hit hard, and I think this is much worse then the first two months. I spend my days off in bed, wishing I was dead, and then get angry because everyone depends and loves me too much keeping me from joining Alyssa. There is no way I could leave my family, ever. But this grief is so deep and intense with emotions that I can't see a way out. It's like being in a deep, dark well of hell with no ladder to climb to the light. I get angry a lot, because I wish I could have her back. I miss her so desperately. Why couldn't have God chosen me to die? I am so glad she never got to experience the crap in life. But it doesn't make me feel any better.

Steven as quiet as he is, has pushed it all away. I know he misses her as much as I do, but it's like we are going down two different pathways of grief. I feel so alone in this. I wish somehow we could meet in a fork of the road and grieve together in the same way. But everyone grieves totally different to everyone else, and deal with it differently.

It's strange, they say there are five stages to grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. I can't ever imagine 'accepting' this. And never did they tell me that I would be going back and forth in the grief. I thought it was suppose to be five simple stages that you gently eased into and once you went through that 'stage' of the grief, you then eased your way into the next 'stage'. It's like going on a rollercoaster through denial, into depression, back to anger, back to denial and then jolted over toward bargaining etc.

This is a nightmare, but I am glad I have the opportunity to share it with you. Because sometimes I feel like I am going crazy, and it's good to know that others like you and me are going through some of the same things here. I just want her back . . . and even though I have realized that this dream has been shattered, I'll never be the same again.

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