From The Other Side…. (Guest post by Teddy’s Grandma)

People who know me well, know that I knit. When Eleanor told me that she was pregnant, I was immediately in full knitting mode. Whilst knitting all the little clothes and the blanket I made for Teddy (although at the time we didn’t know if it was a boy or a girl) I felt that I was putting all my love and hope for that new grandchild in every stitch. I think that those who make and craft, whatever it is they are making, will understand this feeling of investing emotion in the finished article. In a way it embodies the hopes and dreams that we have for a new child or grandchild when the gift is for them . I pictured him/her playing in our garden with Boris and my three dogs. Maybe he/she would sniff the flowers in that wonderfully exaggerated way that small toddlers do!

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The word “expecting” is often applied to pregnancy and for a very good reason. We expect to have a new life, a new family member to cherish and spoil and love. In our family there had never been (as far as anyone knew) a stillbirth or neonatal death. It wasn’t something that entered our minds when we thought about this eagerly anticipated arrival. It was something that happened to other people. So when Eleanor phoned me at 7.30am the day after Teddy’s birth (which had been too late in the evening before for us to visit) I knew at once from the tone of her voice that something serious was wrong.

They were to be transferred to a specialist NICU unit later that morning , as Teddy had stopped breathing during the night and had to be resuscitated. I was very worried and upset, but surely these days there are wonderful resources at the disposal of specialists in the NHS? Surely once he is in the right place, I thought, all will be well?
We met Teddy for the first time that day and I was struck by how beautiful and cherubic he looked lying in his little tank, even attached to multiple tubes and monitors. He was a perfect little man. I didn’t get to hold him that day, but stroked him and talked to him for a short while.

The next time we saw Teddy was on Thursday 19th May, two days later, when we were back at St Peter’s. Eleanor and Nico had been told that the consultants wanted to have a meeting with them, which we and Nico’s family were welcome to sit in on. I think we all hoped against hope that they were going to tell us how they would proceed with his care. Sadly, they told us quite the opposite. Teddy was not able to survive with the condition that he had. I can’t even remember the exact words they used, I was blinded by tears and there was a roaring in my ears which seemed to want to block out what was being said. I understood, but couldn’t quite believe what I was hearing. I held him for the first and only time that afternoon and felt joy and grief at the same time.
As I watched Teddy drawing his last gasping, tiny breaths as he was held by Eleanor and Nico, my heart physically ached. It was not only for Teddy, who I would never have the chance to watch grow up into a lovely young man, but equally for my darling daughter, my baby, whose heart was clearly breaking before my eyes. I realised at that moment that it was the first time in her life that I had been unable to make things better with a hug or some advice. My girl was having to face the unthinkable.

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In the days that followed we stayed at Eleanor and Nico’s house. It felt as if we could do something by making sure they ate properly. Most of the time was spent talking, crying, hugging and staring blankly in disbelief at each other. Sometimes we managed to smile at some little thing, but it seemed wrong somehow to feel any happiness at that point. In the weeks and months that followed I have tried to just be there if ever I thought that it would help.

We had a funeral for Teddy, but not until many weeks later after the post-mortem. It was unlike any funeral I had ever been to before. When I went to my parents’ respective funerals there was a life lived to look back upon, in spite of the grief. I felt that we had been cheated of Teddy’s chance to live the life he should have had, so instead of helping to provide “closure” (how I hate that over-used word) it made me more angry that he had been taken from us all so unfairly. It seems that the world is somehow turned upside down when a child dies before parents and grandparents.

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I have tried to ease my daughter’s pain this last year, as have all the other members of our family and Nico’s, in any way possible. It’s not something I ever expected to have to do. I have been completely amazed by her determination to make something positive out of her grief with the fundraising that she has done for the neonatal unit at Ashford and St Peter’s Hospital in Chertsey. I am as proud of her as it is possible to be. She has done so much good in Teddy’s name.
I hung up the shirt that I was wearing on the day that I held Teddy, and it has stayed in my wardrobe ever since then. I cannot bring myself to wash it. Teddy’s knitted jackets and his blanket wait in the nursery for his little brother or sister. They will surely be as proud of him as we are.

Carol x

(Forever Teddy’s Grandma)


42 thoughts on “From The Other Side…. (Guest post by Teddy’s Grandma)

  1. It’s confusing when you only know someone through an instagram account to feel such overwhelming emotion when reading the words you have just put down on paper. I cannot even comprehend how you must all be feeling on such a difficult day, however as I sit here in tears I am sending all of my love to you. Completely blown away by everyone’s strength xxxxx

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  2. I cannot imagine how you feel, how much your hearts ache and how much pain you live through. You are all so very brace, a life lost way too soon. Life can be very cruel.

    Teddy is a very fortunate baby boy to have a family with the strength you all have.

    Love, hugs and healing to you all. Thank you for sharing

    Serendipity Loves xx

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  3. Dear Carole what a heartbreaking but also eloquent piece you have written about your lovely daughter and the tragedy of the loss of beautiful baby Teddy.
    You are justifiably proud of how strong and courageous Elle has been since the loss of her darling boy.
    My daughter is expecting her first baby in July, (we both follow Elle on instagram and love her posts) and I can but only imagine how hard this past year has been for you all.
    Sending you all lots of love and hope for what I’m sure will be a brighter future, I know Teddy will always be a huge part of this , Sally xxx

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  4. Beautifully written Carol. I lost my six year old son three days before Christmas last year. I count the weeks of how long it has been. It will be 21 weeks this Thursday. I don’t know why I count them.

    I found Eleanor on Instagram in January and she has helped me than she could ever contemplate. Eleanor says the words that I cannot utter for tears. I thought losing Finn was the hardest part but it’s the living without him.

    You can feel the pride you have for your daughter in every sentence. I watch Eleanor on Instastories and think if she can get up this morning then so can I.

    Thinking of your family today xxx

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  5. I am completely in awe of the way you have put your perspective across so eloquently writing what must have been the hardest few paragraphs possible…thank you for sharing your experience, it was heartbreaking to read but wonderful to hear how amazingly supportive you are of Elle…such a beautiful family….
    Lots of love,
    Kirsty xx

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      1. I adore Instagram for allowing us into the lives of people like Elle, her spirit, her bravery, the money she had raised in Teddys honour is overwhelming…
        I hope today has a little sunshine in it for you all…xxxxxx

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  6. Someone else has commented about the strangeness of feeling such strong emotions for someone known only through Instagram….it’s so true, we feel utterly devastated for Elle and Nico, and of course for you all, having never met any of you. I hope that knowing this gives the tiniest sliver of comfort, in an otherwise hopeless situation. This is a heartbreaking post, but so beautifully written. Wishing you all lots of love xxx💙

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  7. What a beautifully written and heartfelt piece of writing. I am sat here in tears and feel like I know Elle just from following her Instastories. I can completely understand why you are as proud as can be, she is such a wonderfully positive person and a fantastic mummy to Teddy.
    I have a baby girl, and whilst I was pregnant I had a scare and had to have a scan, I remember on the way to hospital thinking that if anything is wrong how would I tell my Mum. I felt as though my mum would suffer as much as me and I thought about that moment whilst reading your post. The truth is though, my mum would have been there for us and helped me along the way, just as you have done fantastically for Elle. Keep as positive as you are are now, as I am sure that Teddy is looking down and thinking how proud he is of his Mummy and his lovely Grandma xx

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  8. What a truly wonderful family you are! I too have grown up daughters & grandbabies I cannot imagine how you deal with wanting to put everything right for your darling girl & knowing that you can’t! You are all so inspirational & Elle is a credit to you, as Teddy is to her! Sending you all a big hug to help you through the next few days. Xx💖💙

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  9. I am sitting in tears reading this, knowing that what you have written is exactly how my mum would have felt if she had been in your position. Every child within my family has been eagerly anticipated by the entire family and the grief you all feel must be immense. To then be able be strong for your daughter and son in law is inspiring and must have been so difficult.

    Thank you for sharing, I am in awe of Elle and you must be so very proud of her. x

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  10. Oh my word, what an utterly heartbreaking and moving story. I sit here with tears stinging my eyes and don’t know where you get the strength to get up every day. You have been so dignified throughout this horrendous time even though the pain you feel each day must be all consuming. I really don’t have the words other than get up each day and take one step in front of the other, in time the rest will follow in some shape xxxx

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  11. Well now we can all see the art of stringing words together so beautifully clearly runs in your family.
    As Jemma said above it is so overwhelming to feel such emotion dor a family that you know through the world of social media. You are all very special people to turn such a sad situation in to something so very positive. With love to you all, Emma xx

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  12. Mrs M that was so beautiful, a truly honest and heartbreaking read but I can feel exactly what your saying, I feel the pain behind the words but also the overwhelming love, your words are so true! You have been such a rock for Elle, Nico and everyone and everyone should have a Mrs M in her life not just at these times but always! I love you Mrs M almost as much as your daughter! Xxxx

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  13. Carol you write beautifully and from your heart just like your incredible daughter. Thank you so much for sharing this with us, such precious thoughts and memories that I feel priveledged to have read. Thank you Carol. Sending you all love today and everyday. Roni x

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  14. Thank you so much for sharing what was the most devestating time for you all, Elle is such a beautifully brave lady that is inspiring to so many, you have done a fabulous job as her mother. Teddy will live on in you all. Lots of love to you all xxxx

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  15. Even though I will never understand, I feel the pain in each word you have written and I send all my love and healing thoughts to you and all of your family and friends. Elle you are an inspiration, and your mother’s words and love will forever be with you. I hope you can all find peace, Teddy would have been the most amazing little boy and is watching you all with such pride. Much love to you all xx

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  16. My heart aches for you all. I have found myself thinking of Elle and Nico so much recently. I dont know them other than through IG but Elle is so endearing and must be such a support to others in similar situations. You must be so proud. Sending you all strength and love x

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  17. I can’t even begin to imagine how you feel having to watch your daughter and son in law go through this journey, never mind the overwhelming grief you must feel for your gorgeous grandson. Elle is and absolute credit to not only Teddy but to you and your husband too Carol. I am in awe at the strength and courage you as a family have. Teddy was very blessed to have such strong women in his life. Sending love and prayers to you, your husband, Elle and Nico. Lx

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  18. I came across your Instagram account and found this. I know nothing about your story but this has had me in tears. Not that it makes any difference but I’m sorry for your loss. You have to be seriously strong to deal with something so heart breaking. I cannot imagine the feeling. Thoughts are with you and you’re family. X

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  19. Thank you so much Carol for writing about beautiful Teddy. I am also a grandmother who had to go through the aching heart & devastating lose of a grandson, our gorgeous Logan. Our daughter went through pretty much the same as Elle, with Logan passing away 2 days later. This is the first time I have seen or read anything from a grandmothers point of view and it obviously touched my heart ❤ We lost Logan 4 years ago. My daughter already had a little girl, Ava who is now 6yrs and after Logan she had another daughter, our rainbow baby, Olivia who is 2yrs. My love & thoughts are with you all and I think it’s fantastic that you are making Teddy’s short life mean something. Keep up the wonderful work your doing Elle, Nico & Carol and I wish you all the luck in the world for your future xxxxx

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  20. How wonderfully you expressed your feelings in writing, I often cry when I read Elle’s posts but yours had me actually crying out. You are all so lucky to have such a loving and supportive family, I’m sure you wouldn’t have got through all this without each other. Elle must make you so proud, I’ve never know anyone so young and so strong – she really is a lesson in positivity to us all, but equally Elle must be incredibly proud of you for being such a help just by being there. Much love and luck to you all for the future. Carrie xxx

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  21. What an absolutely beautiful post, the love and bond you have with your mum is incredible. I think you guys are amazing how you have carried on and done so much wonderful fundraising in the name of Teddy, what fantastic parents and grandparents you are. I am in tears writing this such a moving piece of writing. Sending lots of love your way as you celebrate your boys birthday and as you come to the day when you remember saying goodbye. God bless you all xxx

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  22. What a beautiful blog Carol. I don’t think anyone could read it without an arch in their heart. Elle is an inspiration to us all and an all round wonderful person. I think she has won the hearts of thousands of followers. You are obviously a very close family and she’s very lucky to have such a kind and supportive mum. X

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  23. Such a lovely post, bought me to tears! You really have done so well copping with what you have gone through and its so nice to hear it from your mums point of view.
    I really admire how strong you guys are and how you have turned your grief in helping others, I have no idea how you have done it but Teddy would be proud of you.
    Hope your enjoying your little getaway!
    Leila x
    (Mum of a little rocket)

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  24. Carole – this is the only blog I read, but I am not even keeping up with this one written so beautifully by Elle. I will admit, when I saw that there was a blog post written by you, I kind of didn’t want to read it (no offence), as I knew it would send me in to floods of tears (which it did!). You are such a lovely family and Teddy’s story has brought such an outpouring of love and admiration for how those affected are dealing with this day in day out. Much love.

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  25. My dear Carole,

    I am a grandmother too, and reading your post has me in tears, I cant even begin to imagine how you are feeling. The part that struck a particular chord with me was when you mentioned not being able to fix things for your child. As a mother we all want to be able to make things better, for our children, regardless of their age, and not to be able to is so hard. Sending you much love and prayers xx

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  26. I have been following elle for a while, I knew from her posts that she had lost a child. I have not been through anything like this before and pit myself in Elle .shoes and thought I know how I would feel
    But I don’t know how i would feel , after reading your poingent post so beautifully written so every emotion you are feeling I felt it too. I have cried, asked why, but there is no answer.
    Keep doing what you are both doing, helping other people who are going through the same thing.
    And more importantly supporting your beautiful daughter.

    Linda

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