Well, it certainly seems that spring has arrived... Not the weather, obviously, which is depressingly British for the south of France (OK sometimes, nice sometimes, grotty sometimes, always totally unpredictable), no, not that kind of spring, rather, a feeling of "burgeoning life"... All around me, there are new babies on the way... a British friend who lives near here is expecting her second daughter in October, our neighbours are expecting their first child, a boy, in July, the mother of one of my daughter's friends is due this week, two colleagues are also pregnant... and that's not including all my blog "friends" (ie, the blog writers I read avidly but who almost certainly don't know of my existence), many of whom seem to be pregnant right now... Renewal, new life, that's what spring's about.
But then there are the others. Those who are in those dark places I know so well. The ones who have lost babies, or those who've never even had the chance to get pregnant in the first place.
My mind is weaving in and out of those places right now. I don't know what sparked it off, perhaps reading this post, or this blog, which is just heartbreaking and makes me sob late at night when I can read it in peace, without fear of being caught "wallowing" in my own, now almost-8-year-old (but still fresh as a daisy, or a sprig of lavendar) grief.
I ache for these women and what they are going through. I feel so angry that anyone should have to go through this.
And I miss my first daughter so much... I miss the fact that she never got a chance, and my heart is broken that in the eyes of JUST ABOUT EVERYONE ON THE PLANET she never even existed. She never even got given a name, thanks to one of the nastier aspects of French law and heartless bureaucracy - if she'd been born just 3 days later, she would have officially been "a foetus", with the right to be buried (not "incinerated with the other abortion detritus", as the midwife so kindly told me just minutes after giving birth to her poor, dead, but amazingly beautiful little body), to be included in our "livret de famille" - family register, to be given a name... the right to EXIST in the eyes of the world as a whole, not just in my memories and my heart.
Yes, there's bitterness in my voice. Because these things just aren't meant to happen. They aren't meant to be.
So my heart goes out to all those women writing in the grief blogs, all those women who are suffering and in pain right now. It doesn't matter what the circumstances are/were, losing a child is the most painful experience I can imagine.
These dark places occupy my mind day and night, but of course it's mainly at night - those wee small hours when I should be in bed but prefer to exhaust myself, staying up and working, or reading, or reading the blogs I enjoy so much.
As I said, it's been almost 8 years for me now. So I'm one of the oldest members of this wretched "club" that no one ever wants to join. But my pain is still there, I've been cut to the quick and the wound will never heal completely.
I've had two other daughters since then, C, who is almost 6.5, and L, who's just turned 4, and they truly are the light of my life. I love them more than I could ever express in words. They're sweet and bright and beautiful, my blond-haired, blue-eyed angels, and I wouldn't change them for the world. But my first daughter, she was sweet and bright and beautiful too. And probably blond-haired, certainly blue-eyed. She'll always be there, in my heart, even when no one but me ever thinks about her.
I don't mean to be so gloomy, I really don't. I was hoping this blog would be light-hearted, not a "grief blog". But right now, with all these new lives blossoming around me, I can't help but feel pulled towards those who can't walk in the bright spring sunlight, those who are trapped in the dark place, waiting for the light to come back into their lives.
And, if you're reading this, I want you to know that the light will come back one day. There'll always be a dark place, tucked away for when you need to take refuge there, but the light will return and you'll feel the warmth of the spring sun once again. But you'll never be the same.