“What was the best thing someone did for you after your loss? Was it a gesture, a gift, a few choice words? What would you do/say for another grieving family?” – Pregnancy and Infant Loss Network
The best thing anyone did for me after Bella transitioned was save my life. My sister and niece performed CPR on me on the way to the hospital while my sister and brother-in-law drove us to meet the ambulance on the highway. They were there to support me as I screamed until I passed out, but I went limp and became unresponsive. They breathed for me when I was unable to. They are the reason I am still here.
That same family, along with my closest friends, stood up to others on my behalf when anyone would criticize me for how I was grieving. Many judged me for posting a photo on Facebook of me holding my daughters hand after she passed and took the liberty to assume I was “losing my mind.” Regardless of how many people judged me for that post, I treasure that photo and wanted to share it. I was also criticized for the amount of detail I would give in my posts about what happened but it was my way of purging the pain. I had to get it out somehow and since allowing myself to feel the pain almost killed me, I started writing and felt relief from that. The decision to share it was to reach out for support in my weakest moments. I would never directly ask anyone for help but I could write and let others share my pain. This was my way of asking for help and support without having to say the words. Those who supported me did so because they wanted to and not out of obligation.
A few months after Bella’s transition, I was approached by a local band who had written a song for me and wanted to have a small fundraiser. This quickly turned into a “Birthday Bash” fundraiser to honour the 2nd anniversary of Bella’s birth and featured 3 local bands. I was judged and criticized for the fundraiser as
many misinterpreted it as being a “birthday party” (who celebrates the birth of a dead person?). Her father is a graphic designer and created a gorgeous piece of Bella as an angel. This was the poster for the fundraiser and again, people criticized and decided it was “twisted and morbid.” Our idea of Bella being an angel is another way we cope with the loss. The band that approached us about the fundraiser wanted to donate all proceeds to the family, but we didn’t want this so we decided to create a memorial fund so we could build a small memorial for Bella. The party was a huge success and we raised enough for a park bench which will hopefully be purchased this summer.
My latest controversy is related to vaccines, which is another way I am coping. Despite accusations, I have NEVER suggested that anyone not vaccinate their children but have brought vaccine injuries to the forefront. I have my suspicions about what happened to Bella as she was unwell when she received her last vaccine (pneumococcal conjugate) and the autopsy showed sepsis from pneumonia. I may never be able to prove that they are linked but as a grieving mother, it is something I need to explore. The problem is vaccines are such a controversial topic and people often misunderstand my intentions. Reality is this is how I am grieving and no one has the right to judge me!
Our entire community was shaken by the sudden loss of my daughter. My posts reached all corners of the earth and people from all over wore pink on the day of her funeral. I had received kind words and gifts from friends and strangers, all of which have helped me heal a little bit at a time. I may not know every person by name or face but know that each one of you have helped me heal in some way. Thank you!
Grief is complicated and greatly misunderstood. The most important thing is that you actually GRIEVE and not suppress it. NO ONE has the right to judge how someone else grieves. To any other grieving families out there, don’t let anyone drag you down any farther than where you’re at. After you suffer a tragedy, you need all the support you can get, not criticism and harsh judgement. Do what you need to do in order to grieve your loss but be aware of healthy vs unhealthy ways of coping. Grief counsellors are there to help ensure you are grieving in a heathy way. Use any supports you have and reach out to others experiencing similar tragedies because we can always learn from each other. Losing a child is not something anyone can understand unless they have suffered the same loss. Let’s help each other #StayStrong❤️