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  • Hannah Matarazzo

The value in Loss

Her hair was glossy a smooth chocolate bob falling to her shoulders. I'd gently assisted her Mum washing her with warm soapy water, carefully drying her smooth pale skin.

We then dressed her in a party dress that had been purchased for her to wear at Christmas. I fastened the "sister" necklace that should have been a Christmas present around her neck. We put on little frilly ankle socks and then I placed my hand on her Mum's shoulder as she gazed at her little girl. It was a week before Christmas.

The look on her face didn't reflect delight at her beautiful little girl lovingly dressed in her party outfit.

The little girl would not be laughing with joy as she spun around in her best dress on Christmas day, she would not squeal with delight as she opened the necklace from her sister.

She led still and lifeless, dressed for the last time by her Mummy.

I had been in this moment before, with other children and other parents. The look, the sensation exuded from this mother's every pore was raw, unbearable pain.

I was back again, a passenger on the grief train. I would get on the train when a child's diagnosis became terminal, I rode it through the stages of end of life care and as those families come into my mind years later realise my ticket was unlimited.

The image and feelings that replay when I think of these times are clear and strong, taking a child to the hospital mortuary was very traumatic for me, I hated the place, I felt bereft leaving a child I had nursed in such a cold place, I felt empty and without purpose as I walked back to the ward alone.

These experiences however afforded me a different perspective on life. Through loss I gained an understanding of value. I am privileged to to be able to treasure the ordinary.

All of these experiences made me who I am...and who am I? I am a woman who cares passionately and compassionately for others. I desire the purpose of my life to be about helping others overcome and achieve success and happiness.

I want to truly treasure every moment of my precious life, to love and be loved, time is a gift I won't take for granted.


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