Sunday, 9 August 2015


I listen to an interview with a funeral director.

'It's overexposed me to death, and it's created burnout and depression. At the same time, it's allowed me to see beautiful aspects of humanity: compassion, empathy, tolerance. A close experience with death changes us. It changes all aspects of our being.'

He is not wrong. It does change us. Since I held my dying daughter I think of death every day.

Not in some quivering, hide in the corner, shuddering, fearful way.

Just that I do. Think of death. Everyday. In a weird inverse Buddy Holly kinda way.

Every day, it's a getting closer. Because it is. For all of us.

I think of my own death. I ponder many deaths.
The deaths of my parents.
The death of my husband.
The deaths of my children.

Somehow I think I will be there, to hold their hands, to tend to their feet. When they are dying. Heaven forfend. Please, please may I die first.

But conclusions?



The same funeral director was re-interviewed recently. He said that he had tried to find words. Words to speak to death. Then he realised that there are no words.

I think he's right.


Re-reading this blog gives me a similar feeling to re-reading my teenage diaries. Squirming-ly embarrassing.

My own attempts to understand what had happened to me when it felt as though the world had blown up in my face. What had happened to my daughter. That same small circle of grief that has been described and described and described, accumulating and accumulating words. Woven and re-woven and re-woven into a great, big knot. Senseless and tangled.

But I see the love and care, in that network around me. And I can't regret it. I'm glad I tried to speak, to write. So may people were kind to me when they didn't have to be. When I needed kindness so much.


I tried. I think it is part of being human. We are inclined to try. I tried to speak to death. To that strange death of someone who had hardly begun.

So many of them are very present to me. They are thought of. Those babies who never lived or who barely lived. A strange presence of someone who never knew them at all, only of them through the words of their parents.

I was bewildered.

Now I am resigned.


But I'm not defeated. My hands open. My fingers relax.

I surrender to it. I stop fighting it. Because there is nothing to fight against.

It wasn't me. (That was the longest fight of all)
It wasn't her father.
It wasn't her.
Or her sister.
Or medical incompetence.
Or a punishment.
Or a blessing.

She died.
That's all.

She died.

I still hate it. I still wish it had not happened.


If it be your will.
That I speak no more.
That my voice be still.
As it was before.  . . . 

Let your mercy spill
On all these burning hearts in hell
If it be your will
To make us well . . . .

All your children here. In their rags of light. . . 

And end this night.
If it be your will.


video NSFW but it was so beautiful that I wanted to share it and it's worth the annoying five seconds of adverts before hand.

It reminded me of all those times it felt as though I were drowning. I don't generally feel like that anymore, seven years later. But, just sometimes, I slip. Back under.

Miss that tiny child, miss all that she might have been.

And love her still.