Miss Clara Rose

This is the story of Miss Clara Rose ♥ She is my beautiful and much loved niece. She is also an angel and lives in heaven. I never got to meet Clara physically, however, I know without a shadow of a doubt that I know her in my heart and she is with me always.

She has helped and guided our entire family through some very tough times and she continues to guide, love and touch our hearts every single day. We are very blessed to have such a force of unconditional love bestowed upon us. She is amazing.

Stillbirth and neonatal death is still very much a taboo subject. People don’t feel comfortable in discussing the issue- sometimes out of ignorance and a lack of information on the subject and sometimes out of embarrassment or fear of saying the wrong thing and causing further upset and distress to grieving parents.

This is an interview with my sister-in-law, telling us about Clara Rose, her precious life, how they manage on a day to day basis as a couple and their perspective on the ‘taboo’ subject.

–Please could you tell us Clara Rose’s story, starting from the decision you made to start a family together…

“Robert and I both knew we wanted children, but we wanted to get married first.  We celebrated Valentine’s day that year and headed off for a weekend together where we both agreed we would start thinking about having a family.  A few stressful things had come up in between times and it wasn’t until the summer that we were completely ready to have a family.  In December of that year we found out the best news any young couple wanting a family could hear, yes, ‘Pregnant’. We were overjoyed, if not a little bit nervous. We were pinching ourselves that it really was happening. Very happy.”

–What helped you get through day to day life when Clara was born sleeping?  

“When Clara Rose was born, the minute we saw her we were overwhelmed by how beautiful she was, yet destroyed with sadness.  Labour was very difficult and exhaustion was kicking in, yet every minute was precious, every minute together so loved, everyday I wish we could have had more time.  At the beginning when we still had Clara in our arms, all we wanted to do was make memories with her, we gave her kisses, hugs, sang songs and played round and round the garden, so precious to us now.  We both knew she was gone, but every time we held her hand, her little fingers would grasp our finger, each time we just felt she was holding onto us, we still believe that.

 
We used to visit Clara every day, it felt wrong not to, we just wanted to be near.  Looking back we both missed her so bad, grief and depression was setting in.
 
Time went very slow, looking back now it all seems so hazy as days just went into each other, it was awful, just awful.  Our GP was very supportive to us and we started to go to SANDS meetings.  We both were very apprehensive to begin with, but it had to be worth a go, as things were that bad, nothing could have been worse.  We expected a large group, but on our first meeting, it was just ourselves and Emma, our local representative and Stephen, the Regional representative.  We were nervous but on speaking to both, we saw how strong both were and on listening to all the positive things they had done in honor of their children, we felt inspired to try our best to make happier memories for Clara and to do something for her that will keep her memory alive and perhaps save others.  At that point we decided we would fundraise and we decided to do a golf competition.
 
Some days we were exhausted, but other days our love for Clara made us feel we could climb a mountain.  We just got stuck in and that kept us going and we began to put wheels in motion for a fundraiser, firstly by booking an event day at our local golf club.
 
Every day we made a promise that we would try and do something nice for Clara, even if it was visiting her and telling some lovely stories, singing her a song or just going for a walk.  Every day we would say, “What will we do today?”, and we included her in our thoughts everywhere we went.  We both feel that we will meet Clara again one day and we want to have memories for us all to chat about.  My family and friends were very good to us and would buy little token gifts for Clara, say little prayers and send lovely messages always asking about her, it made us feel she was not forgotten and very much loved.

 

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Wave of Light in October and Lights of Love helped us through the end of the year and in Spring we began hard work for Clara’s fundraiser.  Every month we went to the SANDS group and each month Emma helped us get through each milestone, and helped us deal with receiving Post Mortem results, meeting with Medical Professionals, Christmas and just living.  Emma was so caring, she just knew exactly how to help us, and as the months went on friendships grew and SANDS became something we would look forward to, SANDS almost certainly saved our lives.”

 

–What organisations have helped you and how? How did you get in contact with them?

  
SANDS was the only organisation to help us.  My GP had urged us to seek help with them as we needed support.  We sent a message to the NI coordinator who passed our details onto the local representative who texted us to attend the meeting.”

 

–What advice would you give to parents and families who are going through the loss of a child?  

“My advice is to stay strong, and that you will always be a Mummy and Daddy. Make time special, make memories for your little one.  When we lost Clara, I knew I had to go somewhere special for her and just write her name in the sand and we did, it was a very special memory for us and I truly believe Clara was there and I felt so happy to do that for her, we just wanted to write her a special message, somewhere beautiful and indeed our family has continued that tradition on, she’s a well traveled little lady.

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I would also say that SANDS saved our lives.  It offered us the support we needed at the time and we still attend and still get support.  Its made us better people, we’ve met lifelong true friends, truly genuine and caring.  SANDS can help you whether you lost your child yesterday or 40 years ago, it gives you the avenue to talk about your child(ren) openly without any funny looks or uncomfortableness that sometimes you get from people who genuinely don’t know what to do when they meet you.  Wave of Light, Lights of Love and special days run throughout the year such as the Snowdrop Walk.  All special days to make memories.  The Christmas Carol Service in particular helped us make it through that 1st year, as our Clara was so fondly remembered, the service was all about the babies, so, so special.”

 

–What advice would you give to friends of these families?  

“My advice to friends of families, is to be there for your friends, appreciate that the parents need to feel that they can talk about their children and will want to make them feel every bit a part of their family, making memories everyday.  The most important thing to a Mummy and Daddy is for their child not to be forgotten and always loved.  We are blessed with amazing family and friends.  Emma baked Clara a beautiful 1st Birthday cake and our Florist, Judith made a beautiful cake made from roses.  Kimberly and Jason take Clara on her holidays all the time, making special memories in Vegas, memories that make me cry with happiness everytime I hear the story about the pennies and the fountain.  My friend Paule visits Clara regularly, talks to her and about her and buys little gifts that just speak to her, she just gets it perfect.  Our little girl won’t be forgotten as we are blessed with good friends and family who appreciate Clara as our beautiful baby girl xxx”

Another good friend, Dermot, had a star named after Clara Rose. Her very own star in heaven! Robert and Clare display the map and co-ordinates lovingly on their living room wall.

 

–What helps you manage with missing Clara Rose today?    

“We miss Clara everyday, but keeping her memory alive is what helps ease the pain, she’s with us everyday, we want to make happy memories for her to treasure, we want her to have little cakes, girly days, days out with Daddy, everything.  I also believe that Clara Rose will and has already helped save lives and indeed has helped others like ourselves through her amazing fundraiser, where we raised £5000, matched by another £5000 provided by Santander bank in their community fund.  3 cuddle cots will be purchased, training for staff and memory boxes that contain very special bears, Clara has her bear, I’m so glad she has it.”

–Is there anything else you would like to add about Clara Rose and her story?

“We’re proud parents to a very special little lady Clara Rose, she sends signs of love to everyone that loves her, her Aunty Kimberly can vouch for that.  She’s our daughter, she’s beautiful and every day we grow old, she grows with us, until we meet again xxx”

Clara Rose will always be a major part of our family, with us at every celebration and joyous occasion. I talk to her every day and she sends me little signs- usually little love hearts- when I’m out and about, walking to work. Usually when I need a little lift the most, one will appear right in front of me  Our family and close friends of Robert and Clare’s feel blessed to have Clara Rose, she could never be forgotten, that could never happen. There’s too much love and presence. She will always be a daughter, a grandaughter, sister and a niece, and we will always be parents, grandparents, siblings, aunties and uncles 

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Happy 2nd Birthday, Clara Rose! Sending you lots of hugs and kisses!

With lots of love from,

Mummy, Daddy, Matthew, Nanna and Grandad S, Granny and Grandad H, Auntie Zoe, Uncle Jason and Aunty Kimberly. xxxxx