Guest Post by Artist and bereaved father Glenn Ainsworth.
Glenn has generously offered his skills to Sands Queensland to provide personalise baby portraits for bereaved families. Orders can be made via the Sands Queensland website.
It has been six months to the day since we first got to meet our little boy. It has been six months since our life went from the highest of highs to the lowest of lows. Six months since all we could hear was the hum of an air-conditioner instead of his heartbeat on the Doppler monitor. From that moment on our lives changed forever. He was due two days before, his name is Baxter and he is our son.
I remember feeling numb when they told us that our little boy was gone, no anger or rage, just numb. It felt almost dreamlike and while I knew in my head that it was very real, I didn’t comprehend how cruel of an experience it would be. The continual tears and sadness have been so tiring and at times almost too much to bear. But for me the worst is seeing my wife, my best friend; go through the physical pain of child birth followed by the immeasurable emotional suffering that has followed. To see this happen to such a positive person has torn me apart.
It was just something I would never imagine could happen. Until this point our lives had been truly blessed, we had travelled the world, had some amazing experiences and live in a wonderful place. We both have good jobs and a loving family, so why did this happen to us? Well why not? What made us different to anyone else? What made us think that we were immune to the same risks as anyone else? This is an experience that shows no discrimination as it takes us to the lowest depths of despair and leaves you there to make our own way out.
I suppose the solace we have taken from all of this is that we live in a part of the world where we can find comfort from others and be grateful that there are some truly beautiful people in our lives. For us it started with the amazing midwives and doctor who took care of us in hospital and has continued through to the support shown by our family, friends and outsiders which still continues without reservation. As we have free fallen through the air there has been hands reaching out to grab us, to save us and support us. These countless and selfless acts of kindness in Bax’s memory have been overwhelming and I feel compelled to pay this forward anyway I can to those that have been faced with a similar situation.
After Bax was born I couldn’t stop looking at him, he was perfect. Gee what I wouldn’t have given to see that blanket move with his breath or the room fill with his cry. As I studied him and tried to burn his image in my mind forever, I made him a promise that every day for the rest of my life I would do something in his memory. No matter how small or big, it would be just for him. As part of that pact I made a sketch of him, from his tiny nose and lips to his big hands, I captured him in that moment. I am so grateful we had that time together and that I had the opportunity to draw him has he lay there in pure peace, untainted by any more evils that the world could throw up. His picture and those thoughts are something that both my wife and I cherish dearly and if I can provide other families with a picture of their precious baby that they can treasure, then it would be an honour.
As the saying goes – We can’t change the wind we can only adjust our sails – Well this has happened and we can’t change it. All we can do now is pick up the pieces and start climbing again. Our lives are different now and while we can’t share any of the physical times we had planned with Bax, every moment we have left alive we will share with him spiritually both in our hearts and in our minds. No one can take that away.