Yesterday Rose and I drove for about 6 hours home from our little get away. I don’t cope with coming home sometimes. By bedtime I was a mess, head full of noise, overwhelmed by emotional pain. We lay together in the lamplight and I pulled apart my heart in confession: “I feel so bad at times I would do nearly anything to stop it.”
“My thoughts are turning to suicide.”
“The contrast between glowing with health and hope in pregnancy and now not caring about my body and wresting with self harm is shattering.”
“I feel like I’m letting you down.”
“I feel scrutinised and under pressure to cope gracefully or at least to hide how much this is hurting so that I don’t seem ill. I feel in a double bind where wanting a child very much and loving them very deeply is seen as a sign that I would be a good parent, but grieving them deeply and being affected by their death is somehow a sign that I am worryingly ‘mentally ill’ and would not be a good parent.”
“I want to run away from my life. I want to hide under a rock. And I don’t understand it because I’ve worked so hard for my life. I love it. But right now I hate it.”
Rose stepped into that place with me. She didn’t argue or hush me. She shared her own pain and sorrow, her own desire to run, the sense of pressure to cope. “I thought you were coping so well and I was the ‘ill’ one.” And in that sacred place of shared pain, a relief. Illuminated by the fire from our burning dreams, we lay naked in darkness and shared our hearts with gentle, brutal honesty and I felt like I was breaking and I felt like I could breathe because I wasn’t alone. There’s a kind of nakedness that has nothing to do with clothes. She wiped tears from my face and on impulse, scrapped grand plans for a big romantic reveal. She dashed into the rain and found the ring hidden in the shed and sat on the bed with me to tell me how much I’ve changed her life, how deeply she loves me in my light and darkness, how privileged she feels to be so close to me, to all of us who are Sarah. She asked us to be her family and gave us this ring.
The ring is from the same jeweller that made hers, all the coloured stones are sapphires from around the world, and the diamonds are ethically mined. The rings are similar but different, just like us. Rose’s ring:
So there in the dark it shines on my finger. She loves me as I am, not just for my best days, my successes and triumphs. Even in darkness, broken-hearted and lost, she loves me.
“I don’t want this ring to be about pain or Tamlorn’s death. But it just felt right that you need a symbol now to take with you to remind you that I love you.”
This is our family. The rain crashes through the night. “If you have to run away, I’ll understand.” I tell her, “Run and be safe and come back to me.”
“If you have to run, just tell me.” She says, “We’ll find somewhere safe for the animals and run together”. We lay blessings on each other from one broken heart to another.
I proposed to her in a forest, at a time when our lives were bathed in light, full of hope and excitement. She proposed to me in a storm, at a time of deep grief and loss. They are perfect bookends. This is who we are. She loves us, and we love her.
2 thoughts on “Rose proposes”
So powerful! The ring is dazzling. How lovely you can share everything so honestly. And please don’t feel you have to handle your grief bravely. I know the pressures. I’m still not handling Bethy’s death! Neither do any of the other bereaved mums I know; there’s some good chat rooms where everyone vents the grief they ‘aren’t allowed’ to show to others. Mums post ten, twenty and thirty years and more after a child’s loss: it’s an embarrassing secret : ALL grieving mums do NOT ‘get over’ their children’s loss: they just find ways of coping, but most don’t even do that particularly ‘well’. You do eventually find out that life is ok and even beautiful if somewhat suspect because there’s a gap where the baby was.
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Thankyou so much Sandra, your comment moved me to tears xxx