LIFE and DEATH
I wrote this blog piece last week, but it has taken some courage and thought to post it. So here you go, my bitter sweet reflections on Life and Death; creating life inside of me and losing one of the most important people in my life, all in a short space of time. It has been a transformational journey.
3rd March 2021
“A man is born gentle and weak. At his death he is hard and stiff. Green plants are tender and filled with sap. At their death they are withered and dry.
Therefore the stiff and unbending is the disciple of death. The gentle and yielding is the disciple of life...”
- Tao Te Ching - chapter 76 - Lao Tzu
I heard this quote months ago and it has stayed with me since. I have experienced life and death very closely to one another and felt their contrasts so powerfully and today was just another reminder of this.
I went to my 32 week midwife appointment today, and unfortunately due to Covid restrictions, had to go alone without my wife, Lora. So when the midwife used the foetal doppler to listen to the heartbeat, I decided to record it on my phone. As I opened my voice memo app I found my last recording, which I had renamed (meaning in itself it was important) “Dad breathing”. It was from July 2020 and Dad passed away the following month. I tried to not get distracted and keep the midwife waiting, and just pressed record to record the heartbeat. It gets me every time. There is a living being inside my belly! A mini human. My body has created an entire organ just to feed her and help her grow. An organ that only lives in me and exists for the time the baby needs it and then gets birthed out. Incredible and powerful bodies we have...!
I walked out of the clinic and was marvelling about the beauty of my, now head down, baby and my very resilient body. As I did that, I decided to listen to the heartbeat one more time before sending it to Lora and some of my loved ones. And I saw it again. “Dad breathing”. I decided to listen to it. I couldn’t quite remember why I had recorded him in the first place, but there are a few things we do when we know someone we love is terminally ill..and not all make conscious sense. I think I just wanted in part to remind myself of how hard he was fighting... just to breathe.. and at the same time, how that wasn’t living, he was just about surviving. I wouldn’t have wanted him to continue that way. I heard his voice in the way he coughed which was weirdly comforting, I thought I had forgotten what it sounded like, but it all came rushing back.
Weirdly, both recordings left me a sense of pride. I am so proud of the way my Dad fought and left us so quietly with his dignity and last wishes being about us. He reminded us constantly how proud he was of us and how he didn’t fear what lay ahead. I am also equally proud of how this little bean in my belly is growing so well and is so resilient and strong. I can tell already she is a little fighter, just like my Dad was.
There you have it, life and death side by side.
I miss you Babbo. ❤️ I can’t wait to hold you, Oli. ❤️
If anyone else is going through both the above or either to be honest (both losing a parent and growing a baby inside of you are pretty emotional rides) I am here to lend an ear 😊👂🏼