Stillbirth - A Father's View

Saint Patrick's Day; 17 March 2013

Spring has not officially started, but I was brought up to believe that it starts on Saint Patrick's Day - we can extend that to Saint Patrick's weekend. The change of the seasons is always worthy of mention; accompanying any noticeable change comes hope.

Father's Grief started 9 months ago in June 2012. Until now, the only seasonal changes were the transformations into autumn and subsequently winter. The seasons of death suited my mental state perfectly as Ethan lay in his grave, when Father's Grief's first tentative words were published.

Time stood sentry while key dates in the calendar of grief made their assault. With others' support, my grief faded to an invisible scar. I now see no point in languishing in grief. Seeking a renewal, I look to the spring, where buds of colourful delight spring from the very soil that embraces Ethan; they contain the joy that only a child knows.

I have heard stories of, and personally witnessed, the visualisation of joy around the grave. Often the sun, filtered by cloud, marks the grave with its radiant beauty. The scattered rays highlight the sanctity of the ground as though Ethan was the only child to be lost; of course he is not.


A glance around the gardens of the Linn quickly reminds that our tragedy is not isolated. I only have to look into the joyless eyes of others to realise our dead children tentatively offer a connection. Indeed, there are many blogs that Father's Grief follows that were born from similar tragedy.

There are many who do not know how to speak out against their suffering. There are too many who suffer what we did in silence, because society is ignorant towards child death. We are conditioned to expect children to bring nothing but happiness, thus the death of a child is unfathomable to many.

Saint Patrick carried with him a staff of ash wood which he thrust into the ground whenever he stopped to evangelise. Legend has it that Saint Patrick's Catholic message took so long to instil into the locals of Aspatria (ash of Patrick) that his staff had taken root in the soil by the time he had finished.

Father's Grief didn't start out with a long term plan; it was simply a rebellion against the silence of grief. However, like Saint Patrick's staff, fuelled by messages of support and thanks from others affected by grief, Father's Grief has taken root. I intend to publish weekly posts until I join Ethan in the grave.

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As far as Father's Grief is concerned, Death has finished taking his bounty from Ethan. Next week I will talk about Grief's Bounty; how rewards can be reaped from grief.

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About Father's Grief

Death has many ways of taking a child from their parents. He chose a full term stillbirth on New Year's Day 2012 to take Ethan Alexander.

Inspired by Ethan, the mission of Father's Grief is to ensure that his memory persists, while raising awareness of stillbirth.

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