This story is kindly and lovingly shared by Hazel’s wonderful mum, Laura Rowney.
6 years ago today I said hello and good bye to my precious daughter Hazel. I went into labour at 37 weeks thinking I would be bringing our baby home and that we would be starting a new chapter of our lives. I will never forget the moment we were told our baby had no heartbeat, I will never forget holding her lifeless body in my arms and having every ounce of my body aching for her to just open her eyes or to cry out to us.
Every year I spend this day reflecting and remembering that day. I try to honour her little life everyday, but leading up to her birthday I always have a sense of needing to do something particularly ‘big’ on the day. The reality is I often end up wanting to hide away from the world, while holding onto my living children extra tight. I remember standing staring out the window of the hospital the day she was born and thinking ‘these people are just going about their day, do they not realise my baby has died’ – the same thing happens on her birthday, my world stops (well it feels that way, it has changed now I have living children who still need me) but everyone else’s lives continue on like it’s another day. While the pain is very different now from 6 years ago and I can often think of her with love and see the very precious gifts she has actually given me, her birthday will always be hard. I will always wonder what we would be doing if she was here. We actually try to do just that; our living children get to choose what they have for dinner on their birthdays and we put it to them to decide what Hazel would want – I find this a really lovely way for the kids to honour and remember their big sis too. I have also learnt it makes it easier when we do something in her memory. This is usually a random act of kindness, something like paying for someone else’s lunch at a restaurant or as simple as paying for an extra coffee.
So what have I learnt over the last 6 years? Grief comes and goes in waves, in the early days Hazel was all I could think of and it just plain hurt! Some days it still hurts but it is not as consuming – I can see the path I have gone down because of her and for that I am thankful. The people I have met and the parents I have been able to support because of Hazel gives her little life purpose.
My life is split in two time frames now: Before Hazel and After Hazel. I continue to grow because of her, a new self that comes from grief. She continues to be a part of our lives and I carry her with me always. She is the soft breeze, she is the lapping of the waves, she is the warm sun, she is the brightest star and she is the stillness of the night. This is how I keep her close to me and this is how I put one foot in front of the other each day.
“There is no end to my grief journey because there is no end to my love for you” – J.S. Goulbich
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