Megan, the social worker from the hospital rang about a week and a half after Thomas died. 

“How are you feeling, Sue?”

“The pain is almost unbearable. I want time to pass very quickly so I can move away from this pain towards healing. But at the same time I want to stay right here with my sorrow and hang on to it. I’m afraid my memories of Thomas will fade, even that I might forget something and then I will lose the little I have of our baby. Do you understand? Does that sound odd?”

Megan assured me that my feelings were normal and suggested I write a diary recording all the events and feelings associated with Thomas. "Then you will never forget."

I took Megan’s advice and started writing. I went right back to the day we found out about Thomas’ hernia during an ultrasound. I wrote down everything I could think of. And then with my diary up-to-date I decided to add to it regularly. I poured my heart into those pages. And it helped.

Gradually over the months, I stopped making daily entries. Every few days, I would catch up. And after a year, I stopped writing all together. My last entry was on the anniversary of Thomas’ funeral. I no longer felt the need to record anything. My heart was healing.

About two or so years after Thomas’ death, I was talking to a friend. I was telling her how good I felt. I had survived Thomas’ death and joy had returned to life. I began to wonder if the suffering had been that great after all. Surely I had only imagined the depth of that pain.

When I returned home from visiting this friend, I hunted out my Thomas diary. In a few moments, I was plunged back into grief. There was no doubt that I had suffered: the pain leapt off the pages of that journal. I thought of how I’d felt that year after Thomas died and I contrasted it with how I felt two years later. I realised that I had come through the grief. I had survived.

I no longer keep a diary but I am still writing. I write my Thomas stories. Somehow there is so much to say about our son, despite the fact he lived for only a few hours. He has affected our lives in so many ways. And often when I am writing a story that isn't particularly about Thomas, I am quite surprised when he manages to work his way into my story regardless. 

Yes, a few hours of life but a lifetime of stories.

Do you keep a diary? Perhaps you write stories or poetry or maybe you have a blog? Do you share your precious child who left you far too soon? And does it help?

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