*Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month
*the month that Clairisa was supposed to be born
My friend, Rebecca, just wrote a beautiful post about her little boy, Hollis, who died from SIDS. I would create a link but it is a private blog. I remember going to Hollis' funeral. It was so heartbreaking. I remember sitting there looking at Rebecca and wondering how she was doing it. How she could go through such a difficult trial and how my own mother went through the same one. I marveled at their strength and I remember saying to Cory, "I could never do this."
When my brother died at 4 months old, I remember my mom crying for days and days. I remember crying too. I remember blaming myself. How did I not wake up? He was sleeping in my room? During the night his crib had collapsed and he had suffocated between the headboard and the mattress. I remember my family standing in a circle while my dad held his only son and we all said our goodbyes before the ambulance took him away. On the day of his funeral, my mom said that I stood at the casket and held his hand. I was only 5 years old, but I still have some memories that are still so vivid that it seems like just yesterday.
Growing up, Kelly was always a part of my life. I talked about him, I drew pictures of him in our family, and when people commented about me only having two sisters I would immediately correct them and tell them that I had a perfect brother. On my wedding day, I know that his spirit was in that sealing room. On my bedside table, I have a frame that has a picture of me holding him. It was one of the only pictures I have with him. Throughout the years, as I have looked to that picture, it has given me perspective, joy, and peace, and hope. I know that I will see him again and I know that his short life changed mine and my family's forever.
As hard as it was to lose a sibling, I had no idea the kind of grief and agony that my mother felt, until I lost my very own baby. Although the situations were different, my mother's example of enduring strength was and has been paramount for me. She stayed by my side for about a month after I lost Clairisa. She helped me get through emotions that I didn't know how to deal with. She helped me to understand what I was feeling and assured me that everything would be okay. She warned me ahead of time that people would say some really dumb things but to not take offense because they just didn't know what else to say (which happened a lot, by the way) She and my Dad helped me in a way that nobody else could have. On our moving day, I stopped by Clairisa's grave to say goodbye. It was so incredibly hard and as I drove away with the tears flowing down my cheeks, I knew that I needed to call my mom. She had done the same thing when we moved to Texas and she would understand.
I know that there are so many people out there who have lost an infant and/or child. Each experience is different but they are each a loss. A loss that continues to bring heartache and emptiness, even years and years later. How grateful I am for mothers who continue to share their stories because in doing so, it brings comfort and hope to others. It helps us all to remember that this life is short and is nothing in comparison to the eternities to follow. It reminds us that families truly can be together forever and that death is not the end.
I hate it when people refer to this baby in my stomach as my third. She is not my third, she is my fourth. My third little girl will always be part of my heart and my family. It is important to remember. Not only to remember my own perfect daughter but also to remember others. To remember Rebecca's perfect son Hollis, my mother's perfect son Kelly, and so many many others. May their perfect lives always be a reminder of what ours may become, and may we never forget that it is only because of a perfect Son who overcame death and provided a way, the only way, for us all to return to our heavenly home where my brother and daughter are waiting.