Monday, October 19, 2015

October 19 - Dear Nicholas Sparks (Guest Blogger Joanne Pedler)

Dear Mr. Sparks,

Our first baby, Isaac, was born without life, but not without love, last August. A devastating, crushing time - the longings, the urges and the dreams tumbled into a black hole of sadness and tears. I've never felt the fear and emotional loneliness that shrouded me when I woke in the middle of the night knowing our baby had died in utero. I had always been a bit of a skeptic about this maternal instinct thing – thought what I had, instinct wise, I could fit on the top of a pin. I now trust my instincts, fully. So does my husband, Peter. Through the inevitable scans, tests, still birth, tears and turmoil that followed we were overwhelmed by the love and support we were shown. From our wonderful local clinic sister, to the RFDS staff, the Doctors, the ambulance driver, hospital staff - more than just a professional passing interest. Genuine support, spontaneous hugs (lots of them), letters and phone calls. We, Mr & Mrs Independant - were learning to lean heavily on others, and to trust them with our deepest feelings and emotions at a time when they knew better than us what we needed! A big step for us! Funeral time. Self preservation, self focus. Still huddling together, and cocooned in our grief we wanted a private funeral. Just Isaac, and us, our parents, close friends. Unrealistic view in a small community. If you've ever lived in a small community you'll know that babies are " community property!" But we didn't want to expose our private thoughts and pain to these people we lived, played and worked with. We decided, hesitatingly, that we wouldn't hold a private funeral - and that we'd cope with the handful of extra people who came along on the day. Isaac was buried on a bare, open hill that was too hard to be mined for opal and chosen as a cemetery instead! It was a beautiful spring day, not a breath of wind - the type of day we usually remember for its perfection. As we said our final farewells to our little man, 90 people joined us. Tears flowed freely, tough miners turned and blew into their handkerchiefs with uncharacteristic quietness, mothers wept. So did we - unreservedly - surrounded by people who stroked, held, hugged, comforted and supported us - unconditionally. Men, who would normally pass in the street with a cursory nod clutched Peter in bearhugs, and women patted, rubbed and cuddled me. To this day we marvel at the strength and confidence Isaac's funeral gave us. We do remember it as a nearly perfect spring day - for other reasons - and to think that we nearly denied ourselves the support of a small community....... But as time passed we saw that the support was not only ours. One by one, over time, folk came to us, trusting us with their stories of personal loss, sometimes lengthy, always tragic. People who we had little to do with before would pour out their feelings, their grief, their emotions, the anguish they had experienced over the loss of their child. Isaac's death gave people in a small town a chance to relive their loss, and often grieve it for the very first time. For parents whose child was whisked away at birth, and never spoken of again - Isaac's funeral was for them too. A chance to say goodbye to their baby as well - a chance they were never given. We developed new skills of compassion and understanding. From adversity we found new strong friendships bound by trust of the innermost feelings sewn together by the common thread of the loss of a baby. In their own cruel ways, the grief and agony of the past year had a hidden agenda of wisdom, strength and maturity to guide us over the hurdles of life. Our marriage is stronger, and we talk more of feelings and expectations. We no longer feel as threatened when the other partner thinks differently, moves in a different direction. Different ways and stages of grief taught us to deal with that. Our relationship with our Doctors has improved - we now say what we feel, what we want and why! We have a mutual and healthy respect of each other. We no longer hesitate to look for support when the going gets tough.

The unkind blows dealt to us last year have transformed into a positive experience that benefit us for the rest of our lives. Thank You, Isaac. As Peter says, " Isaac taught us lessons in life we didn't know were there to learn."

Isaac's mom, Joanne Pedler (Australia)

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