Well, at least that is what I thought and for the past 20 years, that is all I have been doing. “Mum I need you to fix this it’s not working”, “Mum how do I make this happen”, “Mum what do I do with this?”
If you are a parent you know them statements only too well from your children and you have adopted that role of the “fixer”. Well, I wish that was possible for me yesterday, but it wasn’t.
Nothing I could do could fix the situation we were in and I felt useless. When I received that call at 6:30 am in the morning to tell me my daughters waters had broken and she was on her way to the hospital, I sprang into fixer mode and started packing her hospital bag. We were so unorganised because she was only 27 weeks into her pregnancy and this was unexpected.
I rushed around like a headless chicken fixing the hospital bag cancelling all meetings that day and calling my partner back from work. As soon as Matthew arrived home we chucked everything in the car and headed to the hospital. I tried frantically to get in touch with my daughter on the way to the hospital, but she was not answering. 20 minutes later she called me to say she had delivered the baby but it was not looking good.
I was only 10 minutes away from the hospital at this time, now I was in shock in tears and needed to get there soon as possible. We pulled up in the hospital car park and grabbed the bag out the boot of the car and my phone rang again. It was Emily to tell me that the baby had passed away. I couldn’t breathe, I felt like somebody had punched me in the stomach. Now how the fuck am I suppose to fix this?
With tears streaming down my face I grabbed the hospital bag and ran to the special baby unit. When we arrived we were guided to a side room called the “Snow Drop” suite. The midwife could have been talking French for all I know, the only words I remembered her saying was “I am so sorry for your loss” the rest was a blur.
I just needed that urgency of holding my child because right now she would need her mother. I sat down on the sofa in the Snow Drop suite and waited for what seemed like 5 hours, but was only 10 minutes.
The double doors opened and the midwives pushed Emily’s hospital bed into the room. I turned my head back to the door and stood in the door frame was Mark holding his tiny son wrapped in a white towel.
Mark sat next to me and cried his heart out while holding his son. I held Mark and told him how sorry I was and I looked down at the little bundle he was holding. He passed me the bundle and I held him in my arms, he was still warm and he was the most beautiful thing I had laid eyes on.
His head was to the side and his mouth open, trying to get my mind to understand he was not alive was challenging. Every ounce of me hoped and prayed for a tiny noise or some movement, but nothing.
My tears fell from my cheeks onto his forehead. I passed him to my partner and walked over to the bed and sat next to Emily and hugged her and told her how sorry I was. She looked at me and said “Sorry for what mum? You have no need to be sorry”.
The rest of the morning was spent gathering footprints, hand prints and a lock of hair from David. I offered to wash him and dress him for his photo’s. His tiny body was stuck to the white towel he had been wrapped in and I had to peel the towel every so gently away from his skin, carefully not to tear his delicate skin. I wash him down with baby wipes to clean all the blood off his skin from the top of his neck to the bottom of his dinky toes.
He had really long legs, big hands and big feet, but so do all the boys in our family. His little legs had become black from no circulation or heartbeat in his tiny little body and he had a little bruise on his nose and chest where the nurses had tried to resuscitate him for over 30 minutes. I dressed him in a little white vest and wrapped him back up in his blanket and lifted him up to my face to get a better look at him. I wanted to take in every detail of his face while I had the chance. I kissed his cheek and could feel his cold skin against my lips.
I placed him back in mum’s arms and the vicar arrived to baptise him. We had a lovely little ceremony and he was blessed and his soul was released to heaven, where he lays in Jesus’ arms until the day we meet him again. I thanked the vicar for the lovely ceremony and he looked at me and said: “I am so sorry for your loss, there are no words to console your pain right now”.
I looked at him with my tear stained face and said: “Mum’s usually fix everything, this is something I cannot fix”, the vicar looked at me and said, “I know, God bless you and your family”. I shook his hand and thanked him for baptising David and he left the room.
I and Matthew spent the next hour with David and said our goodbyes forever. I took some photos of him and his foot and hand prints and kissed my daughter goodbye. This was now her time to spend alone with him until she decided she was ready to say goodbye.
We found out from the medical report that the placenta detached itself from Emily’s womb, which is why her waters broke and why David passed away. Even though this is a hard tragic time right now, I am so appreciative of the time I spent with my first grandson. I am so glad I made the choice to spend that time with him and to wash him and dress him because that will stay with me forever.
Today is a new day, and we have to move forward even if it’s a tiny step at a time. Emily is still in the hospital and the doctors don’t want to discharge her until tomorrow. So from there, she will decide what kind of funeral she would like for David and how it will happen.
I didn’t think in a million years I would be burying my grandson before Christmas, but I do know that everything happens for a reason in life and even know I could not fix this, I know there is a reason for all of this and even though it does not make any sense right now. It will do further down my journey.
Such an easy word to say, but in reality is the hardest thing you have to do. This is the part where you have to take responsibility for your reality and see the situation for what it is and how it is.
However, even though you are seeing the reality of the situation and accepting that it has happened and seeing it for what it is, you shouldn’t see it worse than it is.
You have to still remember that each day the world keeps turning and life keeps moving. You have to also understand that no matter how much pain you are hurting there is still those that need you. Those that still need you to guide them. Especially if you are someone that thousands of people on a daily basis look to for inspiration and to be led and most importantly a grandmother to another grandchild.
Throughout the journey of leadership, you have to really separate yourself sometimes from what is going on around you in order to keep focused on the things that need to keep moving forward. When people are looking at you day in day out (and we are talking thousands of people here) not just 1 or 2 who I can say “It’s alright to put this off for a few weeks and I will come back to you”. No, we are talking about HUGE dreams that have been placed in my responsibility to help make a reality I can’t just let it all crumble and say “fuck this” and walk away.
I was trusted with huge responsibility and with great power comes massive responsibility. So, even if it’s for a few hours, 45 minutes or even 10 minutes of the day I still need to lead a team to point them in the right direction of where they need to be in order to make the clients dreams still become reality.
I won’t lie it’s taking every ounce of mental strength I have daily to keep one leadership shoe on, support my daughter through the death of her son and start to help plan an infant’s funeral. Yesterday was extremely painful to lay me bare in front of you and to share the painful story of events that happened only 48 hours ago. However, like most writers, it can be amazing therapy and realise of the feelings that I am feeling so they are not locked up inside and driving me insane.
It’s also a great way for you and me to connect on a personal level. So that you can see that even though someone can succeed in so many ways it makes us no different on the human side. Shit still happens in my world and if any leader describes their life has perfect then they are talking out of their arse. Leadership is HARD and a TOUGH road and it is not for everyone, hence the reason why only very few actually make it.
There are two different types of people, leaders and followers. I was created for the leading part and in every situation no matter in personal life or business, I lead the rest of the group. Sometimes days are tough and some days it’s really really tough, but the overall outcome is priceless. I slipped into them leadership shoes for 30 minutes before the sun came up so to keep all projects on track and keep the client’s dreams on the road to reality.
Now, as I sit here and watch the sunrise on a new day, on the 3rd day of loss in our family. I have learnt to accept the situation that David is gone. My daughter has also accepted that she now needs to plan a funeral and take her first steps to call the funeral director.
One day all of this will make sense to why it happened and the pieces of God’s plan will form sensibility of it all. Until then all I know is that writing about it and sharing my journey really stops me going insane.
Thank you for all your messages, comments and love that you are sharing with me. There is too many to keep up with and reply to so I send you all one big thank you!
Here’s to a new sunrise, a new day, another little step towards healing.
Taken from David’s diary, written by Kate Gardner.