Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to ALL...

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And to all, a Good Night!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Repeat of an older post

This is a repeat of a post I put up last year around this time, but people have asked me to post it again. The holidays are so so so very trying for people who have had a loss of any kind, but especially for those who are mourning the loss of a child and especially for those who would be celebrating their baby's first holiday. Think about it...have you recently walked into a mall and NOT seen a store with a cute Baby's First Christmas outfit/doll/bib/ornament/whatever? Believe me, they are EVERYWHERE this time of year and even if you can walk by and not blink, there are many who simply can't. Please be gentle with them.
If you are having your holiday with a sister, brother, aunt, uncle, cousin, parent, grandparent, neighbor or friend who has had a loss, it is there. Can you see it? You may be standing right on it, desperately trying to ignore it. But it is there--The Elephant In The Room. Those of us who have had losses are trying very hard not to look at it as well, least you all think we are crazy. Of course, the farther away from your loss you are, the more people think you are insane if you point it out. While you are dying to shout it out, you might just keep quiet and wait until someone asks. Oh that? Those pictures over there? Yes, that is my Elephant In The Room. I had a baby girl, and she died. If you are closer to your loss, the desire to set up a shrine in the middle of the dining room table with candles and flowers and blow horns around your Elephant is almost unbearable. THIS IS MY ELEPHANT! you'll want to yell, SOMEONE PLEASE LOOK AT MY ELEPHANT!

One of the most common questions/statements I get when I give talks about infant and pregnancy loss is something along the lines of, "Oh, I knew about [The Elephant] but I didn't want to mention it. I didn't want to upset anyone." My response is always the same--it isn't least not in the way you might think. Let's look at this. Thanksgiving dinner is coming and you notice that there is no candle or special memory card out for your cousin's Elephant. You say, "Would you like me to light a candle in honor of your Elephant?" There are two possible answers to this. A) "Oh thank you so much for thinking of our Elephant, but we prefer to light his/her candle later, with just the two of us." or B) "OH THANK YOU FOR REMEMBERING! I really wanted to light a candle but didn't want anyone to think I was forcing my grief onto you! I'm so happy you thought of my Elephant!"

See? Neither of those possible answers is upsetting at all. But the question--the question that you asked--brought The Elephant front and center. And the grieving family will thank you for it. Because here is the secret--one of the most treasured gifts you can ever give a grieving family is the sound of their Elephant's name. They want to know that their Elephant isn't just important to them, but to many. They want to know that their Elephant was real and had an impact beyond their own walls. They want to know their Elephant is remembered. And with one question, you gave them all of that. All of it.

Holidays are a challenge for everyone, no doubt. But a grieving family is eating their turkey, doing their shopping, buying gifts and trying to spread some cheer while silently remembering their Elephant. Please remember this when you are celebrating with them. It could make all the difference. My Elephant's name is Sophia Anne....

Monday, December 12, 2011

The dream

I had a dream the other night. I was sitting at the dining room table, talking to Amy. In the dream, I knew she was a ghost...that I was sitting talking to a ghost. But for some reason, this seemed totally normal to me. We talked for a long time about nothing--kind of like the weekly or even daily conversations I miss so very much. We talked about the weather, about her work (how a ghost still had a job, I have no idea, but there you have it!), about what movie we wanted to go see...just regular stuff. When she had to go, we hugged good bye and, this is the part that seems strange to me, I could totally feel her in my embrace. I felt her arms around me and I felt her body in my arms. I woke up then, at about 2:30 in the morning, and felt this tremendous, overwhelming sadness. Every fiber in my body was aching with grief and I simply began to sob. There, with the light of the nearly full moon streaming right onto me in the bed, I shook with sorrow. Chris woke up and had some trouble figuring out what was wrong. I felt stupid telling him I was sobbing over a loss that not only happened nearly a year ago but that we also had so very much time to prepare for--it wasn't like we didn't know ahead of time that she was going to die. But there it was--the cold hard truth was in that moment, I missed her so much it just exploded from me. Some dream, huh?