C.S. Lewis once said that “No one ever told me that grief felt so like fear”. Sixty three years ago today, my parents’ first baby was born and died. Her name was Ann.
I can’t imagine that kind of grief. My mother was younger then than my own daughter is now. She must have been filled with fear each and every day of each pregnancy and though each hour of labour before delivering each of her three subsequent babies. As I’ve written before my mother never spoke of this event, and grieved silently in all the years that followed. Dad said that sometimes she just stayed in the bedroom all day – that she remembered the detail vividly. I often wonder how Mum coped with so many people no doubt telling her that the death of her baby was ‘God’s will’. She must have wanted to scream, but instead kept that grief bottled up.
When Mum died, it was like a cork stopper came out of a bottle and Dad was able to talk about that horrific events of that day and beyond. And all the years that followed.
Part of caring for an elderly parent is more about caring about them – and that means caring is sometimes doing nothing but sitting and listening and giving a long hug, even if you’ve heard the story before.
Thinking a lot about both my mum and my dad today.