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Friday, 4 May 2012

Farewell Our Beltane Baby

On a wet and windy Beltane afternoon we laid to rest the newest member of our family, tragically born too soon. A day that should have been a celebration of new life became a day of tears.

This fragile child, this tiny life, clung to this world for a full ten minutes before he slipped away.

I wanted to scream and shout and rip heads from shoulders. I wanted to stampede through hospital corridors demanding retribution from those whom, for over a month, repeatedly sent his mother home when she went in bleeding, saying nothing was wrong when obviously something was wrong becuase we not only lost the baby, but almost his mother too. Most of all I wanted to do something very painful to the doctors and nurses who spent a day calling him 'baby' because he was a live birth but then reclassified him as a miscarriage and started calling him 'clinical waste' and wanted to send him away for mass incineration.

For a week now I've been smothering my anger, trying (and sometimes failing) to hold it together for those who needed me, watching my family self destruct around me and helpless to do anything.

Yesterday, I baked bread. Lots of it. I pounded out my grief and anger on the soft dough. I'm still angry. I still hurt. It doesn't lessen the insensitivity the hospital showed, or right the wrongs. But I feel a little better, a little calmer. There are big thank you's that need to go out to the paramedics that arrived in force in response to the emergency call, and to the police who escorted them to the hospital with blue lights and sirens, giving mother and baby the best possible chance. I am grateful for the kindness shown by complete strangers who made the dreadful task of making his tiny casket a little easier by charging little more than pennies for the materials needed, as did the florist too, and to the council officials and cemetary staff who set aside much of the red tape and opened up a family grave with speed and understanding. Great kindness has been shown by many, and that is a comfort to us all.

And so on Beltane the family gathered to lay our little boy with his great-grandmother. The rains helped to hide our tears and the wind ripped blossoms from the trees to shower them upon him as his father gently placed him in the earth with white roses and a teddy bear, every little boy needs a teddy bear. We had planned a ceremony between us all, each of us writing something, having been told we couldn't have a 'proper' funeral without a death certificate, but the last minute addition of a priest who kindly dropped everything at a moments notice once the situation had been explaned, brought comfort to the Catholic side of the family. So in the end his funeral was a strange mix of bible readings, pagan prayers and heartfelt poems.

I was sad at first that Beltane would be spent saying goodbye to the little boy we never had time to get to know, but the more I think about it I'm glad he had a special day. He deserved it.

Dillon, your life was fragile and all too brief but your spirit was strong and will live on.
You will live on in our thoughts and hearts.
In every new dawn and the stars above,
In birdsong and the rustling of the leaves,
In the softness of snowflakes and the warmth of the sun,
You will be there and we will remember you.
As the cleansing rains fall,
And the four winds call your spirit home to the meadows of the Summer Lands,
We will smile for you,
And wipe away our tears because we know you rest safe and warm in the arms of the Lady.
May she shower you with blessings and bring comfort to all with pain in their hearts.
Little one, you are much loved and will always be a part of us.