It has been such a long time since I last wrote in here.
This is a pre-lude to my final post, so please, humour me and read on...if you've shared in or read about the journey thus far, it's important.
I started this blog after the death of little Polly, and the realisation of how much writing helped me to vent my feelings, or to be able to share her with the world.
I was doing a Shirley Valentine - but where she talked to the wall, I, in turn, wrote on my blog.
I haven't written for a long time now, and the main reason for this is, oddly, when I was nominated for a MADS Blog Award, I became very aware of exactly how many people were reading this blog...and it scared me, for a moment. You put you blog "out there" but truly, I didn't expect anyone to ever really read it, never-mind people to re-visit time and time again and nominate it for an award. I suddenly felt pressure.... to write... but also to use my blog for some "purpose" and to give it some direction.
I think I knew, when I wrote my Season Of Goodwill posts, that I was starting to round-up my blogging days.
I've felt guilty about not fully sharing my journey of parental grief through blogging, in order to offer others hope & support, but it is because I have become slightly braver. I currently don't write to the wind and expect people to identify with me - instead in recent months I have finally felt able to offer my hand out in person, and step forward and say "I'm so sorry" to those who have experienced similar losses. A subtle difference, but a very positive move forward. I can use the devastating experience of Polly, and my experience of losing her, in a positive light, in the same way that others used their experiences to help me through my darkest times.
It has taken an ENORMOUS amount of time to get to this point, to where I feel comfortable enough in my own thoughts and feelings to do this. And we're here.
For now I will concentrate on my family, on life itself, on utilising my experiences in a positive & supportive way, which includes my return to work, full-time. Now returned to a role where my passion lies, with re-found faith in my own ability as a professional.
The job thing, actually, was my final piece in my post-Polly jigsaw puzzle. When you lose a child (although I suspect this is the same for any life-affecting moment / illness / bereavement, etc) you are rocked to your core. Not only, in it's basic form, do you not anticipate or prepare in any way for this happening (how can you, it's not "meant" to happen, is it?), but the entire world in which you live changes. It is an extremely gradual process of re-building yourself as a mother....and a daughter...a sister....a friend....and as a professional.
The final piece, as I say, of my jigsaw puzzle, was finding myself as a professional. In my last job - which I did for a year & which was also my first since we lost Polly, I made a tough choice. On Day 1 I knew I'd be asked "how many children do you have" and I carefully thought through and prepared my answer which was, and has always since been "well, I have twins who are 5 and a toddler". I didn't say I have 4 children (which I do), but nor did I say I have 3. I don't define myself, on that first moment of meeting someone as "bereaved Mummy", but nor do I omit my beautiful girl either. Instead, I gave my colleagues at my last job, a clear run to getting to know ME.
It felt a gamble, an emotional one. But I do believe it paid off.
Later down the line, much later, I spoke about Polly, and happily & comfortably so. But by that point my colleagues knew me; we worked hard together, we laughed, we joked, we put the world to rights, and my colleagues knowing about Polly didn't, by that point, make any difference to how they viewed me. The funny jibes, the mickey-taking, the laughter..it still continued. Which over time, allowed my confidence in myself as a person, but importantly a professional to grow again.
The pieces of my puzzle are all now, I feel, back in place. In a different way round to how they might've been before, but one which still works.
And they'll never know....they'll never know, those lovely ex-colleagues of mine, how important my time with them was. How much it was so lovely to meet them, especially the ones I will stay in touch with... but even for those who I won't, how each and every encounter between us in the professional sense was part of fitting that final puzzle piece into place.... the triumphant moments, and the challenging ones also...to all of you... thank you.
*Dedicated to my ex-colleagues and my long-suffering readers and supporters both of the blog & myself/my family...... thank you*