Thursday, February 18, 2016

Because I Know...

I’ve always felt sad when the news would pass my ears of a child dying through illness, accident, miscarriage, stillbirth, etc.  It’s the feeling you have when you see a story on the five o’clock news of someone dying prematurely.  But it was just a fleeting sadness.  If it was a friend or acquaintance I might send a card or a meal, give a hug, check in with them for a week or two.

Recently a person I’ve never met that I don’t really know posted that his daughter died at 97 days old from Trisotomy 18.  I instantly teared up.  Thinking about it, tears are welling up in my eyes.  Because I know.  I know what it feels like to have part of your heart ripped from your chest.  I know what it’s like to have a piece of you taken away until Heaven.  I’ve cried those tears and mourned that loss.  I know.

When my baby girl died last December, the most comforting person was my grandma.  She lost a child two and a half years before I was born.  So when my baby died, she knew.  She cherished the photos from the hospital and the hand and footprints.  She gave me a special ornament for my tree that year.  

More than any family member, she checked in with me.  Most family wouldn’t even speak to me about my baby after we buried her or the two that followed.  She knows better.  She’s cried those tears, mourned that loss, walked that road for 33 years before I started walking it.

On Memorial Day weekend I was at my mom and dad’s where we had buried our baby girl.  I took a small flower I’d purchased to place on her grave for both Memorial Day and because it was almost her due date.  There was already a flower decorating Faith’s grave.  I knew instantly from the arrangement and type of flowers it was from my grandma.  Six months later, she remembered.

She heard about donating wedding dresses to organizations that make dresses for stillborn babies.  Not only did she want to donate her 50+ year old dress, she wanted to share it with me and honor Faith in that way.

Grandma was the most supportive family member I encountered.  Because she knows.

I share my losses, my grief, and my journey to healing to help others who find themselves in my situation.  When I hear about the loss of a child, I do all I can for them.  Most importantly, I honor their loss and recognize that their child existed.  Because I know.

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