I've had a lot of "depressing" things on my blog lately, not the least of which was Thursday's birthday wish to my friend to my friend Carol on her stillborn daughter's 7th birthday. And today I have another one...today is Willows' birthday. He would be three today, had he lived. But, 28 minutes after he was born into this world, he passed away in the loving arms of his mother, one of my dearest friends, Laura.
But know what? If she had to do it again? She would...in a heartbeat. (How can you say that? you ask...the saddest day of her life and she would do it again??) Yes, she would. Because in addition to that day being the day she got to hold him and talk to him, you need to know that in those 28 minutes he was living, he taught her a mother's love. He taught her what it was like to birth a piece of your heart and hold it outside your body, for as long as you might have to hold it (and really, none of us knows how long we have to hold our children). This lesson that he taught her, this love that cannot be described, she is now able to pass on to Willows' little sister, born so wonderfully alive last year and now toddling around with the same beautiful pouty lips as her brother. Do it again? Yeah, she would.
So as hard as it is to live in this world that I live in, where I know so many people who have lost a piece of their hearts, there are moments when you just have to know that all of us, all of us who live with this missing piece, are going to make it. We are going to take the lessons we have learned and use them as we continue down this path of living with grief. I know that Laura and Carol will never know how they would have mothered their first child or how their losses have changed their mothering, but I do know that, watching them now, they are incredible parents, not taking a single thing for granted. Now, I know many parents want to be able to say that about their little ones, that they don't take anything for granted...but these moms? These moms know, really, really, know what they have. And they are not going to waste a second.
Happy Birthday, dear Willows. Thank you for what you have brought to your family, and mine. And Laura (and Erik and Wynn!)--your strength never ceases to amaze me. I'm so glad you have come into our lives!