#BLAW2019 – More than a week but a week is more than enough

“I’m running out of lines / I’m running out of art / I’m running out of songs to sing / ’bout this wicked world breakin’ my heart”

I’ve written before about the importance of #BabyLossAwarenessWeek and why, for parents it’s more than a week. For the most, awareness raising is not aimed at the bereaved, it’s aimed at those supporting them or for those completely out of the involuntary club that we find ourselves in.

For some bereaved parents, especially the ones with the most recent, raw losses this week feels like something to navigate carefully either by using social media filters or hiding away completely.

Weirdly, this year I’m starting to find myself in that part of the club house, torn between the flag waving, awareness raising contingent and those huddled in the corner either together or alone feeling overwhelmed by the thought of not only having to manage our own grief but the reflected trauma of others. We find our community and support and part of that is also feeling able to step aside and leave the flag waving to those with the strength to do it.

Intellectually, I know all the right things to say about self-care, putting the torch down and letting others run with it. Take that break by the fire, warm my cold, cold hands before taking a breath and jumping back in the river.

The other part of me, that werewolf part of my grief, the snarling thing that co-exists within me alternately snaps at my heels and drags me back to the flag waving to convert all that energy into something useful.

I am doing lots of little things, waving the flag or working in the comfort of the shadows to make bigger things happen with varying degrees of success. It still doesn’t feel enough, there’s always more I could be doing.

October is a difficult time for many, many reasons and there are so many events happening all on top of each other, the fear is that much like a slice of empathy pie, we’re all competing over awareness pie risking fatiguing an already drained public overwhelmed by everything. The pie is infinite, there’s compassion for all available if we allow it but all too often it feels like a competition even within our respective communities, losing sight of the possibilities of collaboration.

It’s all so very tiring contrary to the trope of ‘tireless campaigners’. For all our focus on the merits of self care this trope runs the risk of undermining all that good work. I am not tireless, I am tired, so very, very tired. I have not paced myself, burning a significant reserve of energy on Inclusion Week to have baby loss included in the agenda and drawing the links between seemingly disparate lived experiences.

I need to allow myself the space to pause. A cake sale is enough when later on the month there will be more opportunities to contribute in preparation for National Grief Awareness Week. I will continue to signal boost the efforts of others but I may have to scale back on Good Grief chats and Facebook forums. The shift to promote the international awareness month is not something I can join, a week is hard enough. Something has to give and if I’m not careful it will be me.

4 Comments Add yours

  1. angalmond says:

    There are times when we all need to take ‘time out’ and give ourselves space for the grief, and anger, and the aches. My bad time each year is mid Feb-mid March [I lost both parents and other close friends/family in that period, in different years] I note that BLA week is focussing this year on problems of ongoing provision of adequate mental health support among the bereaved. Fatigue is real and needs to be recognised and addressed. It is not wrong, and not selfish, for you to say “Right now, I can do this, and no more” – it is an honest acknowledgement of your humanity. And ‘putting on a brave face’ and keeping on regardless is no help to you, to those you love OR to others in a similar position . You are absolutely right to step back. In November the sky will be bright with fireworks, in December, Christmas Magic and Sparkle everywhere. But right now, do just what feels right, and allow the quiet moments of reflection and remembering. My thoughts are with you, H, and the family through this miserable damp month.xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ShoeboxofM says:

      Thank you Angela, I needed that.


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