Whether we have a heavenly or earthly child, we quite often place significance on dates and places. The place/date the baby was conceived, the due date, the place they were born…but when you lose a baby there seem to be a few more. Scan dates, the date your baby died, the funeral, maybe you took them home with you, or spent time in a special care unit. 

Why do we hold on to all these memories and places? Well there’s one easy answer because quite frankly as bereaved parents it’s all we have. A memory held in a place, somewhere we feel connected to our baby/babies. Or a date that allows us to grieve and hold space in our minds for what we no longer have.

I’ve never really been one for dates, and places have always felt significant in my mind if I’ve felt a connection. I’ve always said Daisy isn’t buried anywhere so I don’t have a place to ‘visit’ her, although the Forget Me Not Garden at Lytham Cemetery will always hold a special place in my heart, and that is where she has a memorial leaf on the tree. And she also has a memorial leaf on a tree at the national arboretum near Birmingham (I feel there’s a theme here) as I felt a connection when I visited with Sands a few years ago. But after my conversation this morning with the chaplain at Bolton hospital, where I had Daisy, I think my feelings may change a little.
So I have mentioned a little this week on social media about feeling like I want to make the journey back to the hospital where Daisy was born, which as I’ve just mentioned is in Bolton. Now it’s quite significant, because I also opted for her ashes to be scattered in the garden of remembrance. And not only that I have never been back since I left that hospital with empty arms on the 27th September 2009.

Earlier in the week I was brave enough to ring the hospital chaplain and ask if I needed to arrange to come, especially as I wanted to see her name in the book of remembrance whilst I was there. I didn’t think about what I wanted to say before I rang so I garbled most of my initial request. But the gentleman I spoke to was thoroughly lovely and said he would do his best to find Daisy’s entry and would call me back before the end of the week.

I received a call from him this morning. And boy has it triggered me a bit. So firstly he said he couldn’t find anything written in the book, so far. He’s going to continue to look until I go on Monday. And of course I could be wrong in my memory from 9 years ago when I was in such an emotional state, and actually her name wasn’t ever written in the book.

But he said that he had found an entry in the chaplaincy file and that her ashes were buried in the garden of remembrance along with some other babies on the 5th November 2009. The tears are free flowing as I write this. Because you see now the garden at the hospital has extra significance. Her ashes were buried there. Not just scattered, but buried. And with other babies, and of course now I want to know who they are. And the date, 5th November, I feel now is etched on my mind as that is when she was buried and finally laid to rest. And my baby got special firework displays that night to remember her by.
However, it has also raised other questions in my mind, of things I don’t know. Either because I forgot or because I chose not to know. For example, when her details were written on a memory card they gave me, they forgot to write how much she weighed and I feel a little robbed that I don’t have this information.

I feel like I need to apologise to Daisy for not knowing every detail about her. For not facing what was so horrible and to choose to try and walk away from it all. I wanted to forget what had happened, I wanted the memory to fade away. I was ashamed and unable to face the outcome of what I’d been through. To not honour and acknowledge her beautiful little life feels like I did her a disservice at the time. But now I feel like maybe I have a new opportunity. Maybe it was the opportunity I was always meant to have. Maybe this is how it was always meant to be. And I can go on Monday and truly honour her memory and forgive myself for the decisions I made at the time. Because I made those decisions as best I possibly could.

And I have been asked today, why I would go back there if I haven’t been for 9 years. Well yes absolutely, why would I? Simply because, there are memories of her there. That’s the only place I held her in my arms. A place she never left. And it feels right that it’s part of my journey to return. And as I’ve said before, although healing can sometimes be painful and heart breaking, it’s all part of my journey and her memory, and as that’s all I have of her, why wouldn’t I?

But because I never thought of Daisy actually being buried anywhere, with no grave to visit or anything. I’ve always been able to easily say that I carry her in my heart. For a moment today I have wavered over that, because now I know where her ashes were buried. It somehow feels a little more significant than them being scattered. But the beach here at St Annes will always be special to me. I have always felt connected to her here. And the Forget Me Not Garden at Lytham Cemetery will always be a place where I feel connected to her, because I feel she is remembered there with a lot of my baby loss friends and their babies too. And I always take a great deal of comfort from the remembrance service at Blackpool Hospital as I have a wonderful connection here locally, with many friends.
And another friend commented on social media this week about needing to make peace with moving away from the area and her son’s forever bed and final resting place. And I can totally understand how that must feel, to leave your baby like that is so difficult, and a place where you feel connected. But here’s the thing, I never knew that the garden of remembrance at Bolton hospital would hold quite so much significance and I have worked through my feelings and allowed myself to find comfort and connection in other ways. And I know it’s not the same, but our babies are held in our hearts forever, no matter where we go or how long for, they are always with us. There is never a need to feel disconnected from them, because we can spend a few quiet moments and go within and be with them in such beautiful ways.

And so I won’t be changing any birthday plans for Wednesday. They will remain as they always are with a visit to Lytham Cemetery, flowers, balloons and cake…of course any excuse! But maybe future years will change. Perhaps her birthday or maybe the 5th November will involve a trip to Bolton? Maybe Christmas? Maybe their hospital remembrance service will be something I want to attend? Either way I feel like I have another little piece of the jigsaw and some more special dates and places to remember Daisy by should I choose to

Love and gentleness always
Helen xxx