The elephant in the room

For this animal themed post I wish to share the cat cupcakes I recently made for my brother in law ‘s birthday. Knowing I’d be bringing a cake he requested a cat themed one. I was told it’s an ongoing joke with his friends.  I googled “cat cakes” and found the most amazing creations. I copied the one I thought looked the most do-able. They are decorated with white chocolate buttons & smarties.


I have been struggling for sometime with the “elephant in the room”. The Cambridge English Dictionary describes this notion as “an obvious problem or difficult situation that people do not want to talk about”. One situation that always sets me back is finding myself in the company of people I know, who would rather talk about anything other than my loss. One year on my favourite subject is still Conor. Do people really think I’d rather talk about the weather? I want and need to talk about my son. I have come away from phone calls and face to face interactions where my loss is not mentioned feeling broken. On the flip side, a conversation about my son or my new life can take me out of a dark place.

As if I am not dealing with enough in my new life, I have given myself a hard time over this constant need to have my loss acknowledged and my son mentioned. I wonder if I am being selfish needing to tell my story over and over. I don’t like feeling needy. I get annoyed with myself for having too high expectations. I am told that people do care its just they don’t know what to do or say. For fear of upsetting me or feeling uncomfortable people say nothing. I asked Conor’s Daddy about why I have this constant need for acknowledgement. He advised me to stop asking Why? and to recognise this same need in all the other bereaved parents we’ve met.

This week the tv soap “Eastenders” featured a storyline about a stillbirth. Its not a show I watch and I couldn’t bring myself to watch my story played out on the small screen. The program was followed by a helpline number. The fact this topic warranted a helpline number and numerous warnings has reminded me of the enormity of our loss. I am living every parents worst nightmare. How could I not be broken hearted and how could I not be feeling this much pain. I lost my only child. By listening to me and acknowledging my pain you are validating both my loss and my emotional response to my loss. You are telling me “its ok not to be ok” and that I have the right to feel like I do. By changing the subject you are giving the message that my son and my feelings do not count. I realise am not being selfish, I am simply doing what I need to do to survive this loss.


Currently on Twitter #SayTheirName is trending. It was started by the actress who played the heartbroken mother in “Eastenders”. Lets hope we can spread the message and get rid of all the elephants from the rooms of bereaved parents. Cat cupcakes are far better company.


2 thoughts on “The elephant in the room

  1. Hi Imogen,
    Thank you for sharing this precious insight. Your writings really move me and help me to achieve a profound insight into your world. Conor, you and your family are in my thoughts and prayers tonight. Your generous insight continues to help me to support a loved one.

    I look forward to your next posting.



  2. Conor! Pure music to my ears. I love love love that name. I knew I was going to have a little boy and name him Connor Patrick since I was a young girl. I love your blog.




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