It is now almost 5 months since Erin passed away - she would be coming up to 6 months old. I see pictures of babies born around the same time and wonder what Erin would be doing now. Would she be able to roll over? Would she be babbling away? How big would she be? I will always wonder these things - all the little details about my beautiful daughter that I will never get to find out. Some of them are the most basic things, like her eye colour. Her eyes were a deep dark blue when she was born, but maybe they would have changed? Her hair was a dark blonde, just like daddy's - maybe it would have got lighter? It hurts that I will never know these things. As grateful as I am for the time that I got to spend with little Erin and the opportunity I was given to find out some things about her, I am also angry and desperately sad at the things I will never know. I will always be left wondering.....
So it is almost 5 months since we left Alder Hey with empty arms and broken hearts. I have written before about the lovely staff that cared for Erin whilst there, but today I received phonecall that has reminded me of the other wonderful staff we came into contact with. These are the team that no parent wants to know - the team that support parents following the death of their child. They rang to ask how we were doing and whether there was anything that they could do to help us. We are being well supported by our local hospital, where Erin was born, so do not really need anything from them - but it was so lovely that they asked. The grief of losing a baby can be so lonely and make you feel so empty inside that it is nice to know that we are being thought of.
The job they do must be so difficult, but it is so important. The day following Erin's death is a bit of a blur to me - we were taken by the bereavement support worker to the town hall where we had to register Erin's birth and death in the same appointment. We were given a memory box to put Erin's things in and helped take foot and hand prints of our darling daughter to keep forever. These are now among my most treasured possessions and are something that I would never have thought to ask for. Just the other day I began to panic that I couldn't remember what Erin's feet looked like or how long her toes were. Then I remembered that I had these prints and I was able to go and look. I have even had them made into a necklace which I wear always.
These things are so important, but in the depths of their grief a parent is in no position to think of them. I really admire the work of the bereavement support team and am so grateful to them now that they helped create some momentos of our precious girl that will stay with me forever. The importance and meaning of what they do can never be underestimated.
When you have your baby in your arms, footprints, handprints and locks of hair may not seem like much. When you no longer have your baby, they mean everything!