Tuesday, May 22, 2012

‎20 Things Grieving Parents Wish You Would Remember

‎20 Things Grieving Parents Wish You Would Remember

1. I wish you would not be afraid to mention my child. The truth is just because you never saw my child doesn't mean he or she doesn't deserve your recognition.

2. I wish that if we did talk about my child and I cried you didn't
think it was because you have hurt me by mentioning my child. The truth is I need to cry and ...talk about my baby with you. Crying and emotional outbursts help me heal.

3. I wish that you could talk about my child more than once. The truth is if you do, it reassures me that you haven't forgotten and that you do care and understand.

4. I wish you wouldn't think that I don't want to talk about my
child. The truth is I love my child and need to talk about him or her.

5. I wish you could tell me you are sorry my child has died and that you are thinking of me. The truth is that it tells me you care.

6. I wish you wouldn't think what has happened is one big bad memory for me. The truth is the memory of my child, the love I feel for my baby, the dreams I had and the memories I have created for my child are all loving memories. Yes there are bad memories too but please understand that it's not all like that.

7. I wish you wouldn't pretend that my child never existed. The truth is we both know I had a child growing inside me.

8. I wish you wouldn't judge me because I am not acting the way you think I should be. The truth is grief is a very personal thing and we are all different people who deal with things differently.

9. I wish you wouldn't think if I have a good day I'm "over it" or if I have a bad day I am being unreasonable because you think I should be over it. The truth is there is no "normal" way for me to act.

10. I wish you wouldn't stay away from me. The truth is loosing my child doesn't mean I'm contagious. By staying away you make me feel isolated, confused and like it is my fault.

11. I wish you wouldn't expect my grief to be "over and done with" in a few weeks, months, or years for that matter. The truth is it may get easier with time but I will never be "over" this.

12. I wish you wouldn't think that my child wasn't really a child and it was blood and tissue or a fetus. The truth is my child was a human life. My child had a soul, heart, body, legs, arms and a face. I have seen my child's body and face. My child was a real person.

13. My babies due date, Mothers Day, celebration times, the day my baby died and the day I lost my baby are all important and sad days for me. The truth is I wish you could tell me by words or by letter you are thinking of me on these days.

14. I wish you understood that losing my child has changed me. The truth is I am not the same person I was before and will never be that person again. If you keep waiting for me to get back to ""normal" you will stay frustrated. I am a new person with new thoughts, dreams, beliefs, and values. Please try to get to know the real me-maybe you'll still like me.

15. I wish you wouldn't tell me I could have another baby. The truth is I want the baby I lost and no other baby can replace this baby. Babies aren't interchangeable. Besides, you do not know whether we have fertility problems too.

16. I wish you wouldn't feel awkward or uncomfortable talking about my baby or being near me. When you do, I can see it. The truth is it's not fair to make me feel uncomfortable just because you are.

17. I wish you wouldn't think that you'll keep away because all my friends and family will be there for me. The truth is, everyone thinks the same thing and I am often left with no one.

18. I wish you would understand that being around pregnant women is uncomfortable for me. The truth is I feel jealous.

19. I wish you wouldn't say that it's natures way of telling me something was wrong with my baby. The truth is my baby was perfect to me no matter what you think nature is saying.

20. I wish you would understand what you are really saying when you say "next time things will be okay". The truth is how do you know? What will you say if it happens to me again?

Saturday, May 19, 2012

May 18, 2012

It is nearly 2am as I type this blog and the day has been emotionally draining to say the least, yet I am still awake with my thoughts.  It was 3 years ago today that I last held my baby, her lifeless body dressed in a cute overall outfit and my hands holding that small white bow on her head.  She was beautiful and perfect and appeared to be asleep, only she wasn't.  She was gone.

My heart breaks and tears fill my eyes when I think back to the details of those two days and every single detail of what happened.  For some people, they remember being in a fog, which I think sometimes might have been easier.

As a family, we met out at the cemetery at Savannah's grave site.  We tied 3 big cheery birthday balloons and brought her some beautiful flowers. 

We set off 3 Chinese lanterns, each one carrying one year's worth of pain, sadness, grief, anger, love, hope, and peace up to Savannah in Heaven.

We each enjoyed a bite of Savannah's chocolate cake that her big brother picked out at the same time as watching the lobsters in the tank across the aisle in the grocery store.  It's hard for him because he doesn't remember her and he doesn't have any questions.  He tells me "Mommy, don't be sad. Be happy!"  I tell him that it's OK to be sad that Savannah doesn't live here on Earth, but somehow, it seems above the head of a 4-year old.

Afterwards, we went to the Olive Garden for dinner.  We all ordered food, but really none of us ate it.  We just weren't in the mood, although some Italian comfort food seemed like a good idea at the time.  The waiter was especially nice to us even though we were having a rough time.  With the check, he included a hand-written card that said "May the four of you have a blessed evening."  But there aren't four of us.  We are a family of five.

And we came home and put the kids to bed, prepped for the next day, and went to sleep.  At least Eric went to sleep.  I couldn't sleep.

I was angry and hurt that no one had called or emailed or sent a card to acknowledge that today was Savannah's 3rd Birthday in Heaven.  I was disappointed in my family, in my parents, in my sisters.  I was disappointed in my husband's family, in my friends, in our friends.  I felt like my biggest fear was coming true ~ people were forgetting Savannah ever existed.

I get that people don't know the right thing to say.  I can understand how some people might feel like bringing it up might make me sad.  The truth is, I will forever be sad, especially on these two days, and ignoring it makes it worse.  I WANT to talk about it and I want you to listen.  I NEED to talk about it.  I am on a journey ~ one similar to motherhood.  Once it begins, it never ends.  Jeremy and Irelynn will never know their sister, not in their lifetime.  It's not about me (Shannon) looking for attention.  It's about someone who was part of our family, someone very much loved and wanted, is gone and is never coming back.

Yes, I have another child and I am so grateful.  But I will NEVER stop missing or loving or yearning for my daughter, Savannah.  If I have 10 more daughters, the dates of May 17-18 will always be emotionally draining and sad for me.

What can you do?  Put special dates and anniversaries on your calendar for someone you know who has lost a baby and make the effort to reach out to them and let them know you are thinking of them, that you care, and that you haven't forgotten their child.  And don't be alarmed if tears arise.  Tears are signs of healing, just as loving supportive words and sentiments.  In fact, they help people heal more than you can imagine.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Mother's Day Reflections 2012

Mother's Day is just a few days away and I find myself overwhelmed with feelings.  I am so grateful to have been blessed with 2 beautiful children here on Earth, but I am always reminded that someone is missing from our family pictures.  Most of my blog readers are here because you know me personally or you have suffered the loss of a child.  No matter how you found me, I'm glad you are here.

For those who have not lost a child themselves, I'm sure you know someone who has suffered a loss, whether it be through miscarriage, stillbirth, SIDS, or SUID.  Our losses are very different, but we all share the same feelings.  We all share a lifetime of pain and sorrow because someone very important to us is missing.  It doesn't matter if you were pregnant for a week or 40, whether you gave birth to a live baby or a silent one, if you brought your baby home from the hospital or your baby lived it's entire life in the hospital.  Mother's Day is a reminder that someone is missing.

I am very fortuate.  I have an energentic little boy and a sweet newborn baby girl to hold on Mother's Day.  But I have many friends who do not.  This day is something they dread all year long.  It's hard to look around and see families with children who are smiling and happy and giving their Mom's handmade gifts and cards.  It's hurtful and I'm sure many of those friends will spend the day at home, away from the reminders of the day.  They are thinking to themselves "Am I a Mother?"

Those friends are just as much Mother's as you or I and they deserve to be celebrated.  They NEED to be recognized and celebrated.

Mother's Day is a day when we recognize and thank our Mothers and Grandmothers.   Some of them are also missing from Earth and this day will also prove to be a challenge and reminder of their grief and loss.

There are still others who dream of being a Mother, but struggle with infertility.  I was here myself just a year ago, and the year before that.  This day is a symbol of something they want so badly but have yet to acheive.  They cling to the hope of the children that are alive within their hearts and in their dreams, but have yet to make their Earthly appearance.

The most thoughtful and compassionate thing you can do on Sunday is to recognize with love and friendship those who are Mother's in the traditional sense, but also recognize and acknowledge those who hold their babies in their hearts.

There is a great organization, Star Legacy Foundation, which I am proud to serve on the Board of Directors.  They have a great page of suggestions of things you can do and say to those around you who may find themselves alone, isolated, or hurting this Mother's Day.  CLICK HERE for a list of Do's and Don'ts on special holidays or just everyday.  I promise you that reaching out to her will have a profound impact and mean more to her than you can imagine.  Speak with love, especially on this day, with these Mom's.  Unless you have walked this road, you really don't know what it's like ~ I promise.

Happy Mother's Day to all Mothers; no matter where your children live, they are always alive within your heart.

~ Shannon