Shoebox full of Memories

This blog covers some of my experiences following the stillbirth of my twin sons and shares useful blogs and articles on the subject of grief, bereavement, stillbirth and miscarriage.  It also covers the research on preventing stillbirth and some of the actions going on to address the issue as well as the areas that need more attention.

This blog covers the day itself, the funeral, aftermath and random bits and pieces around memories and remembering.  It’s all very scattergun so I’ve added a page to help map it out a bit more so readers can see what’s relevant to them or what may be of most interest.

There’s also a reading room collecting lots of articles and blogs on the topics of grief, baby loss and remembrance.  If you would like to be added to this or the Quality Reading blog list please let me know!

For light relief there is also a playlist for the songs referenced and included in this blog.

As a blog about grief and bereavement there are some trigger warnings to note.  Obviously I will cover topics such as stillbirth, death and ‘rainbow’ children.  I’m aware that some people may find some of the language uncomfortable.  Not in terms of swearing but because I’m not one for talk of angels.  I know that for some people it is a comfort but its not something that works for me.

The title of the blog comes from a line in a James Dean Bradfield b-side from his solo career.  The song itself seems to be about loss of a parent but the line resonates with me.

I do have a shoebox (as well as a battered A4 envelope) of memories.  On days when I feel strong enough (and sometimes when I don’t) I go through that box and its collection of mementos.  It helps the grief feel less abstract and sparks memories of how those seemingly random bits of paper and card ended up in the box.

Sometimes I feel like my memories are framed by the photos we took on the day.  By looking at those photos I can be reminded of the parts I had forgotten.  It can be the most mundane of things like the mugs we had in the room (so we wouldn’t have to go out into the main ward to get drinks) or the surprise of coming across photos where we are laughing.

It is those memories that I want to set down in writing so that I can share them and in doing so encourage others (particularly fathers) to share theirs.  It is now Baby Loss Awareness Week and a few days afterwards will mark the 5th anniversary of the stillbirth of our sons.  Since their loss we have been lucky enough to have three ‘rainbow’ children but no amount of children will erase our boys from our lives.  There is no magic reset button and nor should there be.

Thanks for reading and I hope that I can offer some small comfort. If you can please click on the link below to make a donation to Sands and take part in your own personal 5 for 5 Challenge to raise money for supporting bereaved families and improving maternity care.

5 for 5 Challenge - Raise money for Sands and Tommy's

TOTS100 - UK Parent Blogs

22 thoughts on “Shoebox full of Memories”

  1. Beautifully written and brave. I will come back here, I promise…I will keep your blog on my list…and I will visit again when I am ready.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thank you for commenting. Some of the posts are hard to read so I understand. There are photos on some of them two which may be distressing (The Day the Whole World Went Away being the main one and In the Best Possible Way…).

      When you are ready you are welcome to come again and browse. Let me know if there is anything you are interested in or if there is anything you want warning about.


  2. You are extremely brave for writing about your experiences. I am still struggling to put my miscarriage into words…it is so hard to think about it. So sorry for your loss x

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I am so sorry about your loss. My sister just lost her baby girl at 20 weeks gestation and had to give birth. It was a sad time for our whole family. We really had to grasp our faith in God to get us through. I still miss not being able to hold her and watch her grow up. Hope you can reach out and touch others. Blessings.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Beautifully written and clearly from your heart and soul. Thank you for being a voice–you never know who will help by putting words to your experience.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. 😢 thanks for sharing all of your memory’s and experiences. It’s never easy to think back and relive every step. So thankyou for your courage for sharing this. Gives me hope

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you. Hope is a special. I hope you find what you are looking for. If you need anything in particular there’s a guide page or you can ask me here and I can point you to posts that might answer your questions.


  6. Rambles, Rants, Writings said:

    I felt cold and emotional when I read this. Really well written and you are so brave.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I’m so sorry for your loss. This is a great effort from your end to connect your heart with soul.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Thank you for sharing this very heartfelt post x So sorry for your loss

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Wow…

    Glad to be here…and thank you for sharing your life with us. It takes courage to do this, you have it. You own it.

    I am going to walk around and read through the posts.


    Liked by 1 person

  10. I went straight for the music video. I could tell there were four, and now only three. What a wonderful celebration of life for that one who is no longer with the others. Loss is difficult. Grief is difficult. Healing is imminent, but tough! Peace Be Still.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. It’s not often I am stumped for words, but I am after reading this. I am one of the lucky ones who have lost very few people in my life, but reading your post still left a little ‘hic’ in my throat.

    I hope I don’t sound condescending, but talking about and sharing your experience must be of some comfort to others in that it may encourage them to talk about their loss, whereas before they may have shied away from doing so.


    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for reading and sharing.

      You are right that writing can help encourage others to share their experience and not feel so alone. That’s part of the reason I started it and continue to write on the subject.


  12. Hi ShoeBoxFullofMemories,
    Look at all these people you are giving support to! It definitely takes courage what you are doing. What a legacy for you!
    I came by to thank you for dropping by my site today and liking my guest author’s Medium article.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for stopping by! It’s not a place many people stumble on given its subject matter so I appreciate you having a look.

      Thanks for the Medium post, I will definitely look into what posts may be good for syndicating. I’m not sure whether that should be for the personal / political stillbirth / maternity care posts or the personal personal accounts of events and struggles.


  13. rolandjb81 said:

    Hi, I’m the Daddy of Ava who who was born on the 13th May and sadly passed away 17 minutes later. This is all still very new to me and I experience different emotions every day. I have saved your blog to my favourites and over time will like to read different sections and hopefully make this awful journey a bit easier. Thank you, Roland

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Michael said:

    I was referred here by Ana and I’m thankful for that. Much of what I’ve read here relates to me. It has been nearly 4 years since we lost our sons and though the passage of time makes managing the grief easier, it introduces new complications and new forms of grief. As time and life continues, my connection to them grows more distant, like losing them again. I’m wondering if you felt similarly and if writing helps maintain a more tangible connection.

    Thank you for all you’ve shared.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you. I’m sorry.

      Writing does help. Sometimes it all feels so abstract and distant and then *POOF* I’m back in that room. Writing helps to make me think of that time and what they mean to me.

      The biggest shift was moving from a resigned acceptance that what happened couldn’t have been avoided but seeing so many stories and the research made me question that bedrock and tipped me somewhere.

      This blog is part catharsis and part campaign. Sharing to encourage others and questioning the rules of Grief Club as well as raising awareness of the work that is left to do to help prevent more babies dying of preventable causes and doing more to help families navigate pregnancy after loss.


  15. Beautifully written. Sending you love and light x

    Liked by 1 person

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