“All I want is for Zachary to be remembered”
It’s baby loss awareness month and also the beginning of Baby Loss Awareness Week which makes me feel like I can share as little or as much of our son Zachary without feeling judged. It’s been over 5 years since he was born sleeping, if he was still alive he would have been at school right now, settling into year 1.
We no longer cry every day that he’s gone and our lives did carry on even though it didn’t feel like it could 5 years ago. I remember it so well, waking up every morning and for a minute or two feeling okay then suddenly I’d remember what happened. It was the most devastating time of our lives.
We were so very lucky to go on to have two beautiful little girls who we believe were a gift from our boy in heaven as he knew we needed them. Grief comes in waves, on those days out as a family we know he’s missing. Zara’s first day at school, a reminder that we never got to see this milestone with Zachary. When we look at our youngest daughter Zayah when she’s sleeping and see the similarities between them. Watching a tv series and someone loses a baby or a child and it suddenly hits and becomes real again that we had a son. Seeing a child of a similar age and wondering what he would look like or what his favourite things would be. When a song comes on the radio or on Spotify and it reminds me of him. Sometimes it makes me smile and other times I can feel a lump in my throat and a sting in my eyes. We once lost his blanket (well I say we, it was Zara when we was around 2 years) in Tesco and I ran around like a lunatic crying and asking staff members if they’d seen it. Luckily I found it on the floor in the F&F clothing department and I’d never felt so relieved but was utterly shook that we’d almost lost it.
I feel like other people or outsiders must think we should be “over it” by now. They are wrong. We haven’t lost the plot by talking about our babies who we lost. It doesn’t mean we need professional help or counselling. Maybe it makes others uncomfortable? Is that why they say these things? It might make others feel uncomfortable for a moment but this is something we have to live with every day.
Birthdays and Christmas’ are still hard. We buy all of these toys and clothes for his sisters and wish there was something more we could do for Zachary apart from bringing flowers to his grave. One of the things that I know makes Reuben and I feel happier about is that we finally got Zachary’s headstone this year and it was exactly what we had wanted for him. It took us so long to finally get it done for him as it felt like one of the last big things we could do to remember him by. I know it’s not though and there are so many ways we can remember him and honour his existence. As our girls grow older it will be nice to include them and let them choose how they’d like to remember him.
Our rainbow babies Zara and Zayah know all about their big brother. Sometimes Zara will ask about him and why he’s in heaven and not here. I have to explain to her that he was too poorly to be here so he went to live in heaven. It’s tricky trying to explain to her as there was no real reason why he died but I can’t just ignore her questions. Sometimes she’ll say she misses him or wishes he was with us and I say me too baby, me too. Isn’t it amazing how even though they never met, she has unconditional love for him. It absolutely melts my heart. I’m sure that Zayah will feel the same as she grows older. We still feel so lucky to have known and met our son, even though it was only for a brief moment. We would really like to start fundraising for Sands or Tommy’s soon in memory of Zachary and all of his little friends so if anyone has any ideas please give me a shout!
By talking about our babies and children who died it can help with our grief. Grieving isn’t just about crying and being sad. It’s far more complex than that and is different with every single person. For example I know that Reuben’s grief is very different to my own and we did not grieve at the same pace. Sometimes I welcome the grief as it makes me feel closer to him again yet during another wave of grief I feel pissed off that this has happened to us as it was completely life changing. We will never be the same people we once were. It has shaped who we are now as a person. We may never be whole again but have more gratitude and see the beauty in every day since he never got the chance. We love even harder, take more photographs and have even more snuggles.
I can only hope that someone not so far into their grief journey will see this and have a gentle reminder that it’s okay to feel all of these things, even if we have good or bad days. It’s okay to laugh and smile again even though you feel like a part of you is missing forever. Most important it’s okay to talk about them, they existed and we need to break the taboo around baby loss. No one should ever feel the need to hide their feelings. The more we talk about baby loss, the more people will begin to understand.
Please join us on October 15th for the #WaveOfLight and light your candles in memory of Zachary and all of the babies who were gone too soon.