Thursday, 13 June 2013

Driving ghosts away

An angel in Chichester

Last month we were attending a wedding in France, one of DH's cousins. 

The groom came in first, his mother holding his arm. Then the bride and her father. DH pointed out to me that the groom was crying and I nearly cried too!

The couple talked about their wish to have a family and the priest centered his address around children too, while our two youngest ran up and down the side of the church!

And it felt so poignant to consider this young couple, happy and insouciant. Friends and family surrounded them, some only too aware that the words 'for better or worse' are not just words but the reality of life.

It's really when we start a family that we loose the last remnants of insouciance from our childhood, isn't it?

I thought that I would quite like to attend a Saying Goodbye service...

DH and I are both catholic. We used to attend mass in our own village but now we have to go to a bigger church, some ten miles away.
We'd stopped going for a while, after we lost our second son, René.I found i t too hard to stand with people who did not know anything about our boys.I wrote here about how I kept faith in grief. It's always been important for me. It was a special time, for me and my boys, the time spent in church, but how could I be in communion with people who did not know about the most important part of me?!

I found a long time ago that grief came with many ghosts, haunting ideas...

All the boys I have carried died.
But then I had a healthy little boy.
They both were born in October. It would be forever the month when they died.
I got pregnant without having planned to and my third little girl was born in October, a beautiful month!

I am the mother of a little boy and nobody knows about it in the whole village. For everyone who sees me I'm not a mother.
I lost another little boy and a whole community knew I had more children than the eye could meet. A whole community was grieving with me and hugging me (almost literally!).

I never held Jean.
I held his brother and it was like holding Jean too.

I will never stand again in a church, thinking about my babies and knowing that everyone around me knew about them.
I stood in Chichester cathedral and thought about my babies, and everyone knew I had lost, everyone knew about them when I rang the bell twice.

So, for me, the Saying Goodbye service might have been about driving another ghost away.

And I hope it helped my daughters, especially DD2. She was only two and a half when her second brother died and it was more difficult for her than for her big sister, I think, because she couldn't talk about it (she wasn't talking much yet).
During the service at Chichester she kept telling me, at the beginning, that it was too sad and that she wanted to go home. But after she'd lit a candle for her brothers she was happy again :)

It's her in the picture!


  1. Very moving, I lost a baby a couple of years ago now. I don't know if it would have been a boy or a girl but to me the baby was Poppy as the due date was Rembrance Sunday.

  2. very moving post, thank you for sharing. I can't imagine what it is like to lose a child. I would hope that my faith would also remain, but I imagine it would take a big knock.

  3. Beautiful picture, it was certainly a stunning cathedral wasn't it. I really hope it helped all your family, including you lovely lady. It was so great to meet you in person XX

  4. A beautiful and moving post x