Updated: Apr 3, 2022
Before our loss, Mark and I had worked on the same rosters, living and working together on the same project/s and experienced all that comes with the fly in, fly out (FIFO) lifestyle - (camp, camp food, long work hours, the money, R&R etc.)
Before our loss, Mark and I had worked on different rosters, on different projects, with a long time in between seeing each other.
Before our loss, Mark and I had lived in separate states due to our work commitments, giving the long distance thing a good nudge.
Mark and I are 10 years apart in age.
Mark and I come from completely different worlds, with completely opposite life experiences.
Mark is a country boy, and I’m a city girl (even though I’m not very good at it)
And I’d be the first to admit that nothing about our relationship has been conventional, or easy and the odds have always been stacked against us at every corner turned.
But believe it or not, we would have to both agree that the biggest challenge we faced before we lost Chayce, was learning how to live the 'family lifestyle', in our very own 4 bedroom house, with ordinary local jobs, both giving up the FIFO lifestyle.
It took us a few years to learn and adjust to each others habits, routines and expectations and there were many times both of us were on the edge of calling it quits, as that seemed the easier option because we were just so different and perhaps sometimes incompatible.
Although one thing I do know, is that Mark and I have always managed to, eventually adjust to whatever we had to, in our own unique way, in our own timeframe and in true Mark & Tayla style, with of course plenty of bickering.
But we were soon to learn that our biggest challenge wouldn’t present itself until our loss occurred late last year, and what an unexpected curveball that was. One I wouldn't wish on anybody.
For expecting parents to be given the worst possible news to ever have to hear about their unborn child, we were.. to my surprise, always on the same page - even from the get go.
After considering all the facts around the ‘decision' that presented itself, we knew what we needed to do.
We made the biggest sacrifice for our child.
We did what had to be done.
We had to make ‘decisions‘ that no parent should ever have to consider.
We had no choice but to face the worst possible time in our lives, but we did it together, hand in hand.
Heartbreaking decisions such as;
- Do we let nature take its course, or terminate a wanted pregnancy?
- Do we bury or cremate our child?
- Do we hold a funeral or service, or not?
- Which funeral home do we go with?
- What do we name our child that we will never get to raise?
- Do we consent to an autopsy, or not?
- COVID will only allow one person to meet our baby in hospital, so who do we invite?
- How long do we spend with our sleeping baby before we say goodbye forever?
- How should we announce this news to our friends and family?
I am fully aware that Mark and I could have been worlds apart on each and every one of these decisions, but we weren't.
I know in my heart that our tragedy could have so easily torn us apart, but it didn't. And truth be told, a huge part of me (the particularly negative minded part of me) .. expected that it would have.
I didn’t know how we would ever get through the days, months and years ahead of us, or how we would ever see happiness again. Both individually or as a couple.
I didn’t think our relationship was strong enough to get through what was ahead and my mind actually started to wonder how I was going to get through this alone, or even at all.
But navigating our life after our loss, through the trauma, the heartbreak and the grief, our marriage soon became stronger than ever. And this surprised me more than anyone.
We quickly learnt each others grieving style and we became respectful and understanding of what we both needed on a daily basis, and we had to work on this in new found ways. We still do to this day.
It’s hard work - it takes a lot of patience, an open mind, tears and plenty of repeating yourself.
In the early days of my grief, I couldn’t bare the thought of being alone, so we both went on leave from work and spent 4 quality months exploring our country in a camper trailer with our 2 dogs. We knew this could have been a recipe for disaster, but instead it soon became evident that this was the best random decision we could have ever have made and one we clearly both needed.
We became a tighter family unit, it brought us closer together and it resulted in us now expecting our precious rainbow baby girl at the end of the year.
But then next thing we knew after a total of 6 months off, we eventually had to come home, face reality, return to work, build the bank account back up and pick up where we left off, continuing on with our lives, even though nothing about our lives were the same anymore and we were completely different people. It was challenging to transition back into the 'normality' of life after such devastation.
With Mark now working 12 hour days, 6 days a week, with a long commute, I barely see him anymore.
While he is working his bum off, my days are filled with lockdown after lockdown, working from home day in day out, just me and the dogs and it does get lonely - yet going back out into the world after working from home for so long, scares me just as much.
Mark can’t have his phone on him and I’m therefore unable to even speak to him throughout the day.
Which leaves me missing my husband, more than ever and forcing me to manage my thoughts on my own, which is harder than it sounds when all you want to do is talk it out. Sometimes I just need 5 minutes of distraction with someone who knows how to make me feel better, even if its temporary.
It's so bizarre that being without him day in day out has become so foreign to me these days.
Even though I was so accustomed to being apart, before our loss.
It makes me realise how much I rely on him to bring me out of the thoughts my mind would take me and how his presence keeps me going.
So even though tragedy has struck us, and we miss Chayce more than we can ever express. This 'new me' is learning how to try and find a positive in every situation, even the most awful ones. I’m therefore thankful that Mark and I have been able to stick together through the darkest time of our lives and for whatever lays ahead for us.
In particular, I'm grateful that Mark is my husband, before and after our loss.
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