On the 7th of January, 2014 my first grandchild was born. A beautiful precious girl. My little granddaughter, Lorraine Bernadette Henderson.
I live 8 hours north of my daughter. But it’s nothing for me to drive that far by myself to see my family and friends. One stop and I am there. I packed my bags. I hurried to the car. But I couldn’t see the door handle through my tears.
‘Pull yourself together’ I firmly said.
‘Get over yourself, this is not about you.’ I thought as I opened the ute door and put the keys in the ignition. ‘You need to be with two people you love. You need to see your granddaughter and hold her before she is buried.’ So I started the car and drove. I told myself all you have to do is stop on the red lights and keep to your own side of the road.
I was dealing with something! Joy, love, hurt and pain. There was this feeling of emptiness and the unfortunate pain of knowing this was all real. This was unfixable! There was nothing I could do to make this better. As a mother I was generally able to fix things. But the thought of being helpless made the tears flood. I was in a place where I had never been!
I made it to the morgue.
My little granddaughter needed pink rose buds, a teddy and lots of kisses.
When I saw her I couldn’t believe how perfect she was. A little china doll. I wanted to keep her in my China cabinet forever.
My daughter and son-in-law walked into the still dark room with their tiny pink coffin in the centre. Their whole world was in that room.
Mothers can fix things, say things and help to change the course that is being taken. Normally I’d buy a new dress, a pair of shoes, pay a bill or simply pass on some advice. I am a ‘fix it’ Mum! But that day I couldn’t do a thing but be there. As a Grandmother and Mother I couldn’t take 1oz of pain away from my children. Sadly I just had to be there for them.
Over the next few days I cannot recall what we did or how we did it. Love blended with sadness and there was this immense grief. The sorrow was bottomless. I never knew that the love of one little person could be so, so powerful.
The day came for us to lay little Lorraine to rest. As a grandmother I was given some warmth knowing her other Grandmother Lorraine was already beside her to look after her.
This was the day that I realised I was a lucky Mum. I had never had to farewell any of my four children.
I held the mother and father of my granddaughter as they sent their love with their daughter. A love that will never be replaced. The loss of my granddaughter will never be replaced.
Yes, Lorraine Bernadette Henderson was my silent baby granddaughter.
Baby Lorraine’s parents ran in the Canberra Fun Run in 2017 fundraising for stillbirth research and Baby Lorraine’s Grandmother wanted to encourage others to donate and also help raise awareness.