Saturday, November 20, 2010

Be Present, Janice

Be Present
5 November 2010
by Janice

“You are so courageous and strong”
What are they really trying to say?
I’m perplexed by those statements
What do they want to see?
How do they expect me to be?

I do not feel brave
I do not feel strong
I am simply being present
Merely walking the path beneath my feet
I have no other choice
Slapped onto this path
Forced in this direction
I’d ordinarily never have considered this out of free choice
His death circumstances are not a usual course of nature but it happens… all too frequently
The stillbirth and death of an infant is an event they know not how to consider
I have no choice other than to be here
Simply just be

Some hide
Some disengage
Some pretend
Some keep their distance
Some make unforgettable mistakes
Some never talk again
Some stay boisterous in exchange
Some can sit in my pain
Some cannot find a way to reconcile
… how can I still function when the most unthinkable life event has befallen me
I have no other choice

I think that perhaps they’re petrified
Filled with fears
Not knowing how they would cope and therefore projecting bravery upon us
Unable to comprehend the death of their own child
A voyage they should not entertain within their mind
It is impossible to find those emotions through choice
These emotions exist within us all, but are only divulged in certain condition
They project from their fears
They think a death of this nature to be to the most frightening
Therefore, through me simply being I am valiant in their eyes

Perhaps they wonder how I can still engage with challenging tasks
Nothing can ever be more difficult than learning of His death and attending His funeral
Any task related to my son is all I can do for Him
I feel that I want to
I feel I have no choice

I was shattered
The shattering is so deep
It changes every moment
It lives somewhere I cannot locate
Perhaps it is etched on my soul

I have only found some pieces of myself
I am not yet solid in my sense of self
Healing is generated by gradual microscopic movements in body breath and mind
These evolutions aren’t visible outwardly
To comprehend the inconceivable you must live the experience
even them you are left with incomprehension

Incorrectly, outsiders resolve courage to be behind the actions of bereaved parents
Little do they understand
Little do they know
We are merely just doing what feels right
just like parents of living children
we too want to do anything and everything for our son

I just wanted someone to make it better
I just wanted someone to take away the pain
I wanted time to turn back its’ hands and choose a different path
But that can never be
So for them they too have to sit in their discomforts and fears.


about this piece.
I wrote this piece 23 weeks after my darling little boy Jesse was delivered still. There is such confusion and so much that will always remain unexplained when Jesse was not born alive and screaming as we had expected. Oh, great expectation! A stillbirth is a trauma to the parents and to everyone that expected their baby’s arrival. This is an unfathomable reality that is completely inconceivable to me and I believe that there is a good chance that this is how it’ll continue to be. I just cannot work out how I got here!!! I find myself being extremely sensitive to the world around me. Perhaps the readers may find my observations heightened as if they were on super steroids. This is however my norm. My husband Rob and I hear so many of the same words and experience many repeated actions and inactions from others. I think that this expression of my observations, thoughts and feelings is self explanatory. It is from this place that the words above were created. -Janice

about the contributor.
Janice is mother to Jesse Gilad who was stillborn at 37 weeks and 6 days in May 2010. Jesse is Janice and Rob’s first child and is deeply loved and intensely missed. Janice is new to expressing her emotions through writing. She has found writing to be a helpful approach to articulate her inner world, following Jesse’s birth and death, to people in her surrounding world.


  1. This hit me like a tonne of bricks. Stillbirth is such a cruel, harsh reality.
    I'm so sorry about your Jesse.

  2. Janice, I'm sorry Jesse was born still and not alive to keep you on the other side, the place where people don't really know... Captivating words, I kept reading, thinking so true and well written. Thank you for sharing it with us.


  3. Wow, this really is so true and I'm sure how we all feel

  4. I feel much of what you say and am so glad you shared it with us. Remembering Jesse.

  5. So well said Janice. I am right there with you. I lost my first son Kai in June this year and it is such a difficult path to navigate. I had lots of support from the small community I live in, though I was gone at the time. Now that I am back, I hear the same things about bravery and courage and wonder if they can picture me under the covers, tear soaked, not wanting to get out of bed- which happens from time to time. We do what we must That is what we do. Thank you for sharing yourself. Much love to you and your beloved Jesse.

  6. Hi Jan
    This is a very touching and powerful expression of how you are feeling and the ongoing nature of the intense pain that comes at you in waves. These waves come at me too on a daily basis even though we don't speak everyday. I do think of you and Rob and Jesse many times a day. I also often feel inadequate and at a loss for words to support you. We love you and pray that good things will come to you as you so deserve.
    xxx tan

  7. I am so touched by each and ever expression written. Thank you all for being so clear and open. With my love to you all.

  8. Well said. It's so frustrating - it seems people either think we are the "bravest" people they have ever met or they don't "get" why we are so broken. Hermitage is such a tempting option. Thank you for sharing.

  9. Janice, I'm so sorry you lost your beautiful son Jesse.

    I also have trouble when people tell me I'm brave and strong. I don't know what they are trying to tell me. Am I expected to be brave and strong and not break down so I don't put them in a difficult position? What about when I do? Am I not brave and strong anymore?

    I'm just getting by, trying to be the best mother I can be to my dead son and honour his memory in my own way.

    Thanks for sharing. I'd like to link to this if I may.



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