You speak her name, often and loud
I know you can’t breathe right now; you can feel the weight of every ounce of trauma you have endured threatening to suffocate you and take your life along with hers. You are so sure that this is all that will remain of you now, your punishment for allowing yourself a second of pure joy. You aren’t listening to anybody or anything that tells you this will get better, less raw, easier to carry; part of you doesn’t want to believe them, you think you deserve the pain that is burning throughout your body.
I know I can’t completely convince you that you don’t deserve this pain, but like I always do I’m going to give it a try.
I am so proud of the mother that you are, and I’m so sorry that Norah died. You gave more love, affection, support, encouragement and care in the months that she was a part of you, her two weeks in your arms, and in every day that has come since, than those who were supposed to do the same for you have managed in decades. You were so scared you would let your daughter down like you have been let down, but you were never going to let that happen, I promise you, you are an incredible mother. You deserved every second of joy that she brought you, and the pride and happiness you felt in the weeks you had together will shine through every bleak, desperate, grief filled moment that threatens to suffocate you in the future.
Whilst we are on the subject of things you will struggle to accept, you did everything you could for your daughter. You were, and are, the most careful and devoted mother. Every decision you made up until now has been for your daughter. You might think you didn’t do enough, or that blame should fall to you, but you couldn’t have saved her. We still don’t know why she died, we may never know, but we know there was nothing more that you could have done. You don’t need to consume yourself with why, you know we can only understand and do so much medically, you just need to recognise that you did absolutely everything right. Try not to obsess over ‘if onlys’, you will only serve to torment yourself.
You are terrified right now, and you are grasping at the stories of the families that came before ours. I don’t think you would believe me if I told you one day in the not too distant future you will be adding to the voices of hope, you will be sharing Norah’s story and building her a legacy to be proud of. Tragedy won’t overwhelm you; you won’t become a product of only grief and sorrow. You will breathe freely again, you will laugh, you will feel joy. That doesn’t mean you won’t feel grief and anguish, but the lighter days will give you strength for the harder days that follow.
I can’t promise that none of the fears that overwhelm you right now won’t materialise, it is still very early days for us after all, but the vast, unspeakable things that are consuming every fibre of your being right now are softening. You will be happy again, mostly because Norah is the centre of your world. Your life as a parent isn’t anything like you imagined, but you are still her Mum, and you love her more every day. You speak her name, loud and often, as you promised you would. You are the mum you always hoped you would be.
If you are ever going to start listening to me, let it be now. You deserve all of the love and happiness that she brings to you, it wasn’t your fault, and you will survive.