inspired by the memory of Margareta Sol Kubitz

I’m off to Brighton today .Because of the weather we’ve decided to give the nudist beach a miss and head for fish and chips in Fishliquor and classy cocks in Twisted Lemon . My lovely job-share, Juliette, lives in Brighton , so she is my suggester of places to go . Anyway before I head for the station , I thought i’d write a bit of half-term drivel on this-odd-sort–blog-thing ( to be honest ,I’m still a bit embarrassed about it – even though I passed on the link to one Of The Soupy Guests on Sunday, I like to think of Rosie’s life and pictures shared with every person who might be interested ) . I was going to write about the usual old stuff , keeping busy , going to Rye on the train , seeing Marnie’s Bench ,watching great TV – Fargo, The Job Lot and Catastrophe, but all the time thinking about Keith Richard . Did you hear him on Sunday’s Desert Island Discs ? In the interview, he spoke about the moment in 1976 when he heard about the death of his two-month-old son Tara. He says he felt compelled to go on stage that night – or he would have ended up ‘shooting himself’.

He’s in the same bloody awful club as me .

But that old phrase has become a bit of a cliche.So I googled it and this is what I found

”I am a member of a club I don’t want to belong to. I didn’t voluntarily sign up for it, yet I’m forced to be in it for the rest of my life. The cost of admission to this club was at an impossible price, but it was taken from me anyway. The price was my child’s life. My membership card is my child’s death certificate.

I am the parent of a dead child.

I have found that this club tends to keep to itself because its very existence makes most non-members too uncomfortable. Members of this club are the unwelcome reminders that a family’s worst fear can come true. The death of a child has often been described as “unnatural”, and yet it happens every day, all over the world. And still, these parents and their families often grieve in silence long after the funeral ends. There is no “getting over it”; they grieve as long as they are a member of this club.

It doesn’t matter the age of your child when they died; membership in this club changes you forever. It changes your understanding of life itself. It changes your demeanor. It changes your reactions to everything around you. And these changes can have some nasty side-effects. It can cause long-standing marriages or relationships with family or friends to abruptly come to an end for a variety of reasons. It can challenge your faith and rock your belief system to its core. It can cause health issues, or even lead you into deep depression and further isolate yourself from the world.

Membership in this club also brings a torrent of everyday challenges that non-members just don’t understand. For example, once simple questions like, “How are you?” or “How many children do you have?”, become sources of great pain and internal debate. Should you answer honestly and risk exacerbating your pain and feelings of isolation due to the expected horrified look or obvious discomfort of the person asking when they hear your answer? Or do you lie and give the expected answer based on whether you think you’ll ever see the person again, but then feel further isolated or even guilty for seemingly betraying your dead child? This is just one of many examples of dilemmas you never thought you’d have to face.

Even though the pain will last forever, over time, being a member of this club can offer some unexpected benefits. It can give you a greater appreciation of how precious this life of ours is, and make you no longer take certain things for granted. It can teach you a deeper sense of compassion, empathy, and gratitude. It can improve your relationships with yourself and others. It can even lead you towards a life with a greater sense of purpose and meaning. I have experienced all of these benefits, and am truly grateful for these gifts. But given the choice, I’d give up my membership in a heartbeat.

I’ll always hate being the parent of a dead child.”

And sadly , all of that is true

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