This was a recurring theme in my research for 'How I Came To Hold You'; parents received welcome sympathy from friends and family in the weeks following the death of their child, but soon enough everyone returned to their own lives, leaving the grieving parents bobbing in their wake, in the limbo which exists between tragedy and acceptance.
The world keeps on turning: but this is no comfort to the parents whose world is full of tears and heartache. This can often turn into anger and bitterness; perhaps even resentment against those who have children, or are pregnant.
In the months following her loss, Dawn could only react with bitterness when family members shared the good news that they were expecting a baby. “I had a lot of anger,” she recalls. “It took about 18 months before it began to subside.”
“I didn’t always want to talk about it, but I wanted them to acknowledge what was going on, because to me the world had stopped. I couldn’t get my head around people going out to work. I really struggled with everyone carrying on. Who cares what the weather’s like?”
- Dawn Pickett remembering the weeks after the death of her daughter Lydia, from 'How I Came To Hold You'
“To you it’s the most important thing that’s going on,” says Jodie, “but to other people it’s not so much, and even if you’re close to people they’ve got to get on with what they’re doing. It’s understandable in that sense, but you do notice it.
“It took a long time to sink in. You’d wake up and remember, and it’d hit you again.”
- Jodie Wye on life after the death of her daughter, Scarlett, from 'How I Came To Hold You'
They say that time is the greatest healer; but, for most, it is an unfortunate reality that grief lasts longer than sympathy.