By Kate Polley
Until the moment of Sam’s death, I had led a ‘sheltered’, even enviable life. I had grown up in a loving family, travelled the world, married the guy of my dreams and brought two beautiful daughters into the world.
Sure, life had thrown a few minor curveballs along the way, but on the whole, it had been a rather seamless ride!
Even when the fetal specialist termed my twin pregnancy high risk (due to a shared placenta), I never allowed the notion that something might go wrong to permeate my conscience. Bad things didn’t happen to me. I truly believed my boys would be born healthy, without complication, completing the picture-perfect life I had created.
Sometimes now I marvel at my past innocence, at the somewhat naive notion of life I enjoyed for almost 35 years. If only my inexperienced self, had known what I know now – Child loss does not discriminate, it can happen to anyone.
This is the truth I found myself living on that dreadful Sunday morning after Sam had died. I was no longer a proud mother expecting twins but shrouded with a new and unwelcome identity – A bereaved parent.
In the instant that Sam’s heart stopped beating, my innocence was shattered. Shock and disbelief led to unbearable heartbreak. It was a searing pain which tore through me and ripped my very being to shreds. Soon after, a deep and unmoving heaviness settled over me as I grudgingly assumed my role as grieving mother – starring in a movie I didn’t want to perform in.
Days turned to weeks and months into years. Slowly, very slowly I came to terms with my new reality. I learnt to accommodate the unwelcome guest of grief which had taken up residence in my heart, and I learnt to live, laugh and be joyful again, despite the pain of my loss.
Despite all this ‘learning’ and adaptions I had to make in my new self, there were still more lessons to be learnt along the way:
I learnt true empathy and compassion for other people’s sufferings. I learnt to never judge someone unless you have walked in their shoes. I learnt and accepted that bad things happen to those least deserving. I learnt that life isn’t fair, and no one enjoys special privileges. I learnt the beauty of the human spirit’s power, which allows strangers across oceans, united in loss only, to reach out and lift you up when you need it most.
Elizabeth Kubler- Ross said: “The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, know loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.”