“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.