I have started going to support meetings again. Three weeks after Patrick's death I went to my first, stopped when I was about six months pregnant with Florence, and have started attending again. The meetings are such a relief, comfort, and help.
I will not say that I look forward to the meetings. Like everything else, I wish I did not have these meetings to attend; I wish that I was still blissfully ignorant to the presence of stillbirth and infant death. I wish this was not what my life involved. However, the meetings are a comfort every month. For the simple fact that I can go into a room and talk about Patrick, they are very much a comfort. The fact that I can go into this room with other people who understand in a small way what I am going through, or who will not judge me for the sometimes irrational thoughts that I say, I will be eternally grateful.
You see, once I reached a certain amount of time (about six months) after Patrick's death everyone expected me to move on. Move on to where; on to what? Especially after having Florence, another child after Patrick's death, the world assumes that I am healed somehow, that I am 'back to normal', that I am no longer grieving for my son. I will always grieve for Patrick. This I know. My grief is always there. His absence is always present for me. The sadness of losing him never goes away. This is either not understood or people do not want to address it. So, support meetings become my solace once a month.
When the world expects me to stop feeling anything about Patrick's death, the support meeting allows me to express the pain I have over losing him. And when the world assumes that Patrick has been replaced by another child and therefore I am healed, the support meeting allows me to openly talk about Patrick and what he means to me. He has changed my life in so many ways. He has changed my personality, my ambitions, my view of the world.
Although everything is repeated (there are no new memories for me and Patrick) the meetings are therapeutic. I can dedicate those two hours to Patrick. I can talk about all those thoughts and feelings which I find distressing, confusing, manic, or just depressive and void of hope. It is comforting to know that there are other people in my position, other people who I can talk too, other people who have some understanding of this life sentence.
Talking is excellent therapy. Next month I will dedicate another two hours to Patrick. This is what I have; this is what I look forward too.