I learnt it is possible to smile even in the most heartbreaking moments. Just a week after Lexi died, it was Christmas Eve. My husband and I were determined to make it as special as possible for our two other young children. Grief often makes everything feel like wading through treacle, so although determined, even the simplest of tasks felt hard. That Christmas Eve, as we sat with my sister and her partner wrapping and putting together countless toys, we found moments of escape from the devastation that had consumed us in the previous days. Take those moments for in the beginning they are so fleeting.
I learnt that hope can be just as strong as love and cannot be broken by even the heaviest of traumas. Just four months after Lexi died, I found myself rushing in an ambulance with my eldest daughter to hospital, suspected sepsis ringing in my ears, I did not lose hope. Even when my husband and son were in intensive care and high dependency unit at the same time just a year later, hope was still present. And as I have taken countless pregnancy tests all showing negative, I still remain hopeful. In a world where I can control so little, hope is something that remains firmly my choice. A stubbornness which has in a lot of ways been a key to surviving. A deeply rooted feeling that I will never give up. And while hope can’t protect you from the pain, it can provide a little glimmer of light to find a way back up again.
I learnt I had the strength to walk away from anyone or anything that takes joy from me. I didn’t feel the need to remain through obligation anymore. Something we do all too often and yet it is important to hold on to joy when life can be so painful.
I learnt that for some there are no words when a baby dies. And for me the silence hurt the most. I found writing my blog was a way to say all the things that some people couldn’t be present to hear. I needed to share my pain even if no one was listening. Writing it all out was my way of expressing my grief. It is important to find an outlet for all the pain.
I’ve found that death is not the end if love truly existed in life. My previous experiences of death had been so final. Even though physically absent, Lexi is ever present in our life. We have found ways to include her in our everyday. I continually mourn (and I’m sure always will) the lack of physical contact with her. What I’d give to hold her again and watch her grow. By talking about her and fundraising in her memory, she doesn’t feel quite so far away.
About Sophie Mace
Sophie’s daughter Lexi died from sepsis in December 2017. Sophie writes a blog about navigating loss alongside life with her other two children and her husband, who recently underwent a kidney transplant. She fundraises for Great Ormond Street Hospital in Lexi’s memory with The Lexi Mace Brighter Future Fund. You can follow her on Facebook and Instagram.