There are two grief days that I set aside each year for formal grieving. These are the day that Joanna died, and the day that she was due.
This year has been the first official date to pass without tears, and without the horrible nervous butterflies in my stomach. It was actually a really nice family day, with little time to dwell. I'm glad that the day was nice, and I guess that I realised that a time would come when the grief would not be as acute. Like most things to do with grief I wasn't quite expecting that it would be now. That being said, it was Joanna's due date. Her birth/death date is much more complex: high emotion, terrible illness and the isolation of the experience. I was alone.
Last Friday I had to return to the location of Joanna's birth/death: the Emergency Department. I was too distracted on this trip by my very sore daughter to dwell on the location. I was very annoyed with the triage process - it took an hour just to get triaged in some new 'efficient' process. It may be more efficient, but I suspect that the triage nurse just has a higher workload than before - she was run off her feet. I was really annoyed with the delay for triage and sent a rude text about it to my husband as part of my updates. It wasn't until I saw the triage nurse's name while we were waiting for the X-Ray that I realised it was the same nurse that had looked after me that horrid evening Joanna was born.
I'd sent a card at the time, but resolved to thank her in person if I saw her during our stay. She popped by and I went to thank her. She remembered the night, and the room that I was in straight away - and the tears started - for both of us. Grief can feel like a solitary experience sometimes, it hadn't explicitly occurred to me how much impact that night could have had on the staff who cared for us. I had exceptional care that night, particularly after the hemorrhage when I was very ill and a number of doctors and nurses appeared instantly and almost with being requested to assist with the birth and getting a lot of fluid/ gel into me. I remember being really sad when my ED nurse handed me over - but then welcomed as I was transferred to the ward on the service I worked in daily. I had the best of nursing care - both the caring aspect, as well as the technical.
Of course, when you have sick children you don't have a lot of time for grieving over your lost ones: I wiped away the tears and turned back to my daughter. Although in a fair bit of pain she could see that I was upset. I explained that the nurse took care of me one time when I was really sick, and remembering that sickness made me sad. My daughter gave me one of her bravery stickers she had received from her X-Ray. She is awesome. And just like that, another unexpected grieving moment passed. Always just sitting under the surface, quick to rise. But this time the knowledge that Joanna's very short life had a great impact on those providing us with care has provided a kind of comfort. So few people know of Joanna, or her few moments of life. Knowing her birth left an impact feels like her wee footprint on Earth is a little bigger.