So today some friends of ours came over with their wonderful and energetic twin 5-year-old girls. Needless to say, our girls were THRILLED and the house was quite loud for the day. Evan wasn't sure what to make of it, but when the girls all went sledding with Chris and Doug, he got time to hang out with Julia and try to take her glasses. What more could a guy ask for?
Doug and Julia are fantastic people. When Chris was first visiting U.Maine as a PhD possibility, he was introduced to Julia who was already a student here. After a few minutes, they realized they knew each other from a summer at field camp back in college. When we moved here, a friendship was forged--sledding parties, backyard cook outs, hikes...you name it. When Doug and Julia finished up their work at U.Maine, we were all excited when they were offered a job at UM Farmington. Although 2 hours away, at least still in Maine and we could visit often. When their twin girls were born, Julia took a year off and she and I worked out a schedule where I would drive to see her every other week and she drove to see me every other week. This way we saw each other twice a month, but only drove the distance once. It worked out very well.
Now, as schedules have changed, we don't see them very often. Their girls are in a pre-K program, they are both working and teaching, my kids are older and busy as well. It doesn't seem to work out like it did when kids were young and more packable! But we often think about them and we know we will have to find the time to get together. Sometimes on the way back from a camping trip we stop at their house and usually they come here around the first of the year. This summer, due to the weather, we didn't go camping as much as we normally do. And this holiday season, due to the weather, they weren't able to come spend the night, either.
But they did come today and the girls whooped it up! All this information is background for what came next. Doug and Julia have never lost a child. They have never suffered a pregnancy loss of any kind. When Sophie died, Julia was always there to lend an ear--I didn't lean on her very much given the distance between us, but she was there. I guess I just never thought of her in that way--given that she had never had a loss, I didn't want to seem like I was rubbing my loss in her face. I didn't want to waste any of the precious time we had together talking about something that would make her uncomfortable. But know what? It never made her uncomfortable. Sad, yes. But never uncomfortable. She knew of family members that had miscarriages and other losses and she saw what it could do to a person. She wanted to make sure I was comfortable talking to her about it. Sometimes I did and sometimes I didn't. Either way was fine.
Today we were exchanging gifts and she had put a card in the bag--I didn't know what it was given that we had already gotten a Christmas card from them. Inside the card it said, "As you come to the close of a season of family and celebration, please know that your loss isn't forgotten. We are thinking of all of you."
I nearly cried right then and there--but I knew if the tears came, it was going to be hard to stop them. I was so, so, so touched--deep deep down--that these wonderful people, who we don't see that often and who have so little personal experience with loss, would take the time to remember.
Take the time to remember. That is all any of us want. We don't want you to understand, we don't want you to feel our sadness, we don't want you to throw a ticker-tape parade in our child's name. We want you to take the time to remember. It took Julia 30 seconds to write that...30 seconds to stop and think about the fact that we are missing someone. And that 30 seconds has made my whole month easier. Thank you, Julia, from the bottom of my heart.