As many of you know, October is miscarriage and infant loss awareness month. I asked my friend Heather is she would share her story with us. Heather’s son was diagnosed with trisomy 18 while in utero. She tells the story of loving her son, and making impossibly hard decisions along the way. I hope some of you find encouragement from her experience. Click the link to read
We also asked Heather if she would answer some questions that some of you may have if you are facing some of these same difficulties. If you think of any more questions please comment and she will be happy to answer them.
My son passed away fourteen years ago now. Emily asked me to answer some questions from the perspective that time has given me.
How can I move on and have joy?
Strangely enough I think that the path to joy has to be directly through the pain of loss. Many people I have watched have tried to “just get on with life”, and in the process have “buried” their feelings along with their babe. Others find it hard to approach the subject of grief, because it all feels too overwhelming. It was only when I carved out time and found someone trustworthy to talk things through with that I felt I truly began to move through the process and begin to see a light at the end of the tunnel.
Will I always remember my baby, even though we were together for a short time?
Yes. You always will remember. You will never *not* be their mama or papa. But also, in the healthiest, best way possible, eventually there will be moments when you realise that minutes or hours or even days have gone by where it isn’t a constant, ever present thought in your mind. You will begin to be able to focus on other things, do other things and then come back to your thoughts and your memories when the time is right. They will ALWAYS be there when you do.
Will my heart ever be whole again?
I think if you do the work I talked about in the first question your heart will be whole again, but it will be differently shaped when you get there. Your child’s life, no matter how fragile or brief will forever change your world. You will see life and meaning and purpose in different ways. You will have new grace and understanding for others in similar circumstances. You will likely never be satisfied with glib or “easy” answers again, but you will also likely find much deeper, richer, more satisfying truths as a result.
What are some ways that my family can remember their sibling/child?
There are lots of ways to remember your precious sibling or child (or grandchild). Pictures, if you have them, are great. A scrapbook with lots of journaling telling your child’s story is wonderful for littles and bigs alike. Doing something, whether little and quiet, like lighting a candle, or bigger like doing a balloon launch, can be nice on a special day, like your child’s expected due date, or the anniversary of their birth or death. I do think, however, that we worry that our children will be forgotten, and I think maybe the thing we need to hear most of all is that, although it’s totally fine and good to do all of those things or some of those things, it’s also totally fine to decide *not* to do some or all of those things. Your child will *never* be forgotten. You held them in your heart once, you will forever hold them in your heart.