Two special memories for our family patchwork
*This blog was first posted in May 2015
I’ve always pictured life as a patchwork quilt with shades of bright and dark, sewn together with love – each square a different memory.
Three weeks ago our family quilt gained two new squares when our twin boys were born and died at 18 weeks. Technically it’s classed as a ‘miscarriage’ but, after a 12 hour labour and with two perfectly formed babies to cuddle, that word doesn’t begin to cover it.
Our beautiful tiny boys are among the most important moments of all, one of just a few terribly sad and traumatic times in our wonderful life – against this heartbreak every other moment and colour of our life seems brighter.
Their place on our quilt was sealed from the moment we learned of their existence, though we had hoped for a happier outcome. Yet talking about them openly feels a little taboo.
It wasn’t until we experienced this tragedy that we realised how many others have too. It’s not that we intend to wallow but our twins did exist and honouring their memory and their place in our family history means they must be acknowledged.
I’m not sure if it’s a British thing or if it’s the same the world over but this fear of talking about anything sad isn’t getting us anywhere. Others may not have had the privilege of holding our boys and we will never know them but they did exist and they do matter.
Life is beautiful but terrible things happen and friendships run much deeper if we talk about those things.
Their squares on our theoretical quilt are the yellow of the blanket the hospital wrapped them in, the white of their tiny coffin and the green, purple and pinks of the tulips we laid on it. Their patchworks sit alongside other tragedies like losing my mum and a dear friend and all stir up memories which are both happy and sad.
Far more plentiful are the squares that hold only happiness – childhood memories, promotions, new homes, good meals, dancing, running, my sister cutting my hair (badly) aged 6 with the Mickey Mouse scissors, holidays, the day I met my husband, the night he got down on one knee in a Japanese restaurant, our seaside wedding, the birth of our son, his first steps and first word, the moment my mother in law poured soup on a sponge pudding because she thought it was sauce and the colour my mum’s face turned when she roared with laughter.
Those memories get much more airtime but sometimes we’ll want to talk about our boys without fear of making people uncomfortable.
Some friends thought we would feel sad around others with small babies - nothing could be further from the truth. We don’t want any baby; we want the babies we lost. Nothing is more beautiful than new life - the chance of a cuddle with a friend’s newborn could only ever bring happiness.
We’ve been overwhelmed with kindness, cards and flowers. Grief really sets in when the routine of life restarts but talking about what has happened and spending magical time with our beautiful toddler will only help us heal. We are blessed and look forward to adding many more squares to our beautiful patchwork life.