Monday 27 October 2008


Grief is a strange companion. It's not really welcome but along with my physical pain it is a weird continuing link to the tiny life that we have lost. I'm not hanging on to my pain, believe me, I want it gone! I'm simply telling you how it is.

It is a raw wound only a week old.

On saturday I left the house for the first time since leaving the hospital and I wanted the world to have stopped; to have taken a grand pause with us but of course it hadn't. It was bustling along as normal. Ray felt it even more acutely when he went out on his own a few days earlier.

It reminded me of the W H Auden poem, "Stop all the clocks". How can normal life go on in the world after an event of this magnitude?

We deal with our grief in different ways. I held our baby and I have photographs and a card with hand and footprints. Ray saw George when he was born but doesn't feel the need to see him again nor look at the photographs. That's his way. With me sadness sweeps over me and tears just flow at odd times; my brother sent me a lovely card; I fit into my jeans again on saturday. For Ray there's a feeling of flatness and depression, little things make him well up such as a silly advert. Fortunately we can and do talk long and late about how we are feeling and we support each other in the bleak moments. This has brought us even closer together if that is possible and I feel incredibly lucky to have this extraordinary love in my life. Sometimes there aren't enough words to express it.

I know that everything each of us is feeling is normal and natural. Grief is an unwelcome guest but fortunately not one that stays forever, although we will always carry the memory of our perfect tiny baby made with love. As for the future. I am going to get myself better physically and then we are going to try to get pregnant again. We have so much love that it would be a crime not to share it!

On Saturday we are going to collect our son George from the hospital and bury him in a peaceful pretty natural place. This poem kind of sort of explains my beliefs about death and beyond. We are all stardust.

We Two—How Long We were Fool'd
Walt Whitman. Leaves of Grass.

WE two—how long we were fool'd!
Now transmuted, we swiftly escape, as Nature escapes;
We are Nature—long have we been absent, but now we return;
We become plants, leaves, foliage, roots, bark;
We are bedded in the ground—we are rocks;
We are oaks—we grow in the openings side by side;
We browse—we are two among the wild herds, spontaneous as any;
We are two fishes swimming in the sea together;
We are what the locust blossoms are—we drop scent around the lanes, mornings and evenings;
We are also the coarse smut of beasts, vegetables, minerals;
We are two predatory hawks—we soar above, and look down;
We are two resplendent suns—we it is who balance ourselves, orbic and stellar—we are as two comets;
We prowl fang'd and four-footed in the woods—we spring on prey;
We are two clouds, forenoons and afternoons, driving overhead;
We are seas mingling—we are two of those cheerful waves, rolling over each other, and interwetting each other;
We are what the atmosphere is, transparent, receptive, pervious, impervious:
We are snow, rain, cold, darkness—we are each product and influence of the globe;
We have circled and circled till we have arrived home again—we two have;
We have voided all but freedom, and all but our own joy.

W. H. Auden

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone,
Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone,
Silence the pianos and with muffled drum
Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come.

Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead
Scribbling on the sky the message He Is Dead,
Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves,
Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves.

He was my North, my South, my East and West,
My working week and my Sunday rest,
My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song;
I thought that love would last for ever: I was wrong.

The stars are not wanted now: put out every one;
Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun;
Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood.
For nothing now can ever come to any good.


  1. Hi Barbara
    Just found you. So sorry for the loss of George. It is all so sad. I'm only very new to this club too. I had to comment on this post, as I have been thinking about the Auden poem for a while now, and I was actually thinking of posting it on my blog too. Guess you beat me to it. Anyway, honoured to be your first follower!

  2. Post the Auden poem too!

    It just seems to perfectly express the agonising experience of new grief.

    I find the Whitman poem to be more hopeful; more about acceptance.

    I cycle through both sorts of feelings.



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