**trigger warning of pregnancy and baby loss, and a mothers grief**
Grief is different for each of us we feel it in different ways and each express it differently. This is a story of a friend of mine who i have witnessed express her grief in a different way, from a different way of being, and by reaching out to her community.
I feel strongly about sharing the experience to show our society there are other ways to deal with grief other than conforming to the more widespread and restricting views on bereavement and the process of burial.
Before i continue I want to raise awareness that it is a highly sensitive subject which involves the passing of a baby.
I had just completed an initial Doula training week in Brighton and was full of excitement in being a doula and supporting pregnant mums with the birth of their babies, I hadn’t really thought of the other side of what being a doula can involve too. This experience was one of learning for me and I hope it will be one learning for others reading this too.
I was out shopping when I received a phone call from a friend (lets name her Rose for confidentiality, and her son Ash). I knew my friend was pregnant with her third baby, Rose had rung to tell me some sad news, her son had passed away in utero at 27 weeks gestation, she told me her story of his birth over the phone.
It was incredibly upsetting and I knew I needed to be there to support her in any way I could.
I went round to visit, she told me her story in detail, i listened, and we hugged. No words can help, and it was hard to sit and listen without wanting to make it all better.
Being of pagan belief Rose had firm believes that helped her to process her son's passing emotionally and mentally.
Most inspiring of all was that Rose wanted to create her own ceremony for him, and the ceremony she chose to create was just incredible. Unlike any funeral I have ever attended.
We all met by the downs in a car park and walked to a sacred place near the sea they had chosen. The area, steeped in history, and with a lot of meaning to my friend and her family. Rose walked down to the site with her baby in a beautiful basket under her arm, a surreal vision of beauty and emotion.
At one point we stopped for an ice cream, not something you do during a typical funeral ceremony.
Imagine my friend... she had an ice cream in one hand and her baby by her side in the other, she strolled down chatting to people, laughing and smiling along the way. She was incredible, and her strength was super inspiring. We all carried bags, food, and items for the ceremony. To my surprise I realised once we had arrived at the site the bag I carried held the baby’s placenta, it felt such an honour.
The sense of community resonated deeply.
The ceremony itself was perfect, it was open, and fun. We shared food, poetry, and everyone gave something to the family in words and love, Rose held the space so well. She had just lost her baby and there she was raising energy for a ceremony to be with her baby and acknowledge his life with her family and friends in the best way she knew. Not one person left the ceremony with sadness in their hearts, but with joy, upliftment and a sense of loving community from the ceremony and all said they were all touched by his sweet short life and the way his parents celebrated his life to the end.
I feel in many ways we have lost our sense of community that we need when grieving. My friend Rose appeared to be grieving on a different level because she was making peace by creating her son’s ceremony, with informed choices, and was still able to be a mum to him by doing everything she felt was best for him. She still had him nearby and was even able to bury him herself in a woodland site of her choice. Each step of the way since his passing she had choice and carried out the entire process herself.
I realise it must have taken a huge amount of strength we don't all have as we are all different and I know the loss of a child is too immense for words.
Her son's life has touched so many people around him, his parents are now looking to set up a healing centre in his name and thinking of training as celebrants to help other bereaved families.
I hope as life continues I see more funeral ceremonies like this one, death doesn’t always have to be tragic. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could accept death as a part of life and celebrate our loved ones, their lives, and the gifts their lives bring. To feel empowered, and create a ceremony in a way they would like too, .
It is my hope that by sharing this experience, others may be inspired to discover a new way on the journey of grief and saying farewell to their loved ones .
( The names in this replace the real names for confidentiality, and this was written with my friends loving permission).