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Also see Children Memorial Albums and Memorial Albums.
(Joan D Schmidt)
Little baby who was not meant to be,
You were a person--at least to me.
Would your eyes be blue? Or hazel or dark?
Would you caw like the crow? Or sing like a lark?
Would you have ten little fingers and ten little toes?
A rosebud mouth? A turned up nose?
Would you be laughing and happy, or somber and quiet?
Would you run and jump, or rather be still?
Would you like to read, or prefer to play?
None of my questions will have an answer.
Your chance to live will never be.
The only thing I truly know--
Little baby, we would have loved you so!
For those few weeks--
I had you to myself.
And that seems too short of time
To be changed so profoundly.
In those few weeks--
I came to know you . . .
And to love you.
You came to trust me with your life.
Oh, what a life I had planned for you!
Just those few weeks--
When I lost you,
I lost a lifetime of hopes,
plans, dreams, and aspirations . . .
A slice of my future simply vanished overnight.
It wasn't enough time to convince others
How special and important you were.
How odd, a truly unique person has recently died
And no one is mourning the passing.
Just a mere few weeks--
And no "normal" person would cry all night
Over a tiny, unfinished baby,
Or get depressed and withdraw day after endless day.
No one would, so why am I?
You were just those few weeks my little one
You darted in and out of my life too quickly.
But it seems that's all the time you needed
To make my life so much richer--
And give me a small glimpse of eternity.
(Eileen Knight Hagemeister)
To be a man in grief,
Since "men don't cry" and "men are strong"
No tears can bring relief.
It must be very difficult
To stand up to the test
And field calls and visitors
So she can get some rest.
They always ask if she's all right
And what she's going through,
But seldom take his hand and ask,
"My friend, but how are you?"
He hears her crying in the night
And thinks his heart will break.
He dries her tears and comforts her,
But "stays strong" for her sake.
It must be very difficult
To start each day anew
And try to be so very brave--
He lost his baby too.
To the Child of My Heart
O precious, tiny sweet little one
We dreamed of you and of your life
We never had the chance to play.
I'll always be your mother,
But now you're gone . . .
Just know our love goes deep and strong.
No longer warmed by the presence of you
grounding me, rounding me full of expectation,
abundant with dreams of how you would
make yourself known to the world,
my grief now protects me from the elements.
Friends offer silent prayers
for an end to this sadness,
secretly wishing they could erase
this chapter of our lives.
Forever changed, we are
more selfish, less trusting,
more vulnerable, less hopeful,
but more loving.
Our truth is that we are far better
for having known you.
You were here.
It is I whose kicks you will always remember,
I who gave you heartburn that a dragon would envy,
I who couldn't seem to tell time and got your days and nights all mixed up,
It is I who acknowledged your craving for peach ice cream by knocking the cold bowl off your belly,
I who went shopping and helped you pick out the "perfect" teddy bear for me,
I who liked to be cradled in your belly and rocked off to dreamy slumber by the fire,
It is I who never had a doubt about your love,
It is I who was able to put a lifetime of joy in an instant.
In the most beautiful of gardens,
most carefully tended, there is an
occasional rosebud that never opens.
in all respects that rose is like
all the others, but some unseen cause
keeps it from blooming.
It wilts and fades away without coming
to its radiant unfolding.
What happens in nature's garden
occasionally happens in God's family.
A baby is conceived, beautiful and precious,
but with some unseen, mysterious band
sealing that life so it never comes to
its rightful unfolding.
This child, too, like the bud that
never opens, gradually fades
and is gathered back into God's
heavenly garden of souls-where all
imperfections are made perfect.
Where all injustices are made right,
where all mysteries will finally
be explained, where all sorrows will
finally be turned to joy!
Did she look like you, or
did she look like me?
Coal black hair, blue eyes.
Formed perfectly. So they say.
Why didn't I see for myself?
I thought it'd be too hard
But now it's even harder
Strangers saw. I needed to see.
Why not me? I was her mother.
I should have known.
But now I can only wonder . . .
I carried you in hope,
the long nine months of my term,
remembered that close hour when we made you,
often felt you kick and move
as slowly you grew within me,
wondered what you would look like
when your wet head emerged,
girl or boy, and at what glad moment
I should hear your birth cry,
and I welcoming you
with all you needed of warmth and food;
we had a home waiting for you.
After all my strong labourings,
sweat cold on my limbs,
my small cries merging with the summer air,
you came. You did not cry.
You did not breathe.
We had not expected this;
it seems your birth had no meaning,
or had you rejected us?
They will say that you did not live,
register you as a stillborn.
But you lived for me all that time
in the dark chamber of my womb,
and when I think of you now,
perfect in your little death,
I know that for me you are born still;
I shall carry you with me forever,
my child, you were always mine,
you are mine now.
Death and life are the same mysteries.
Your non-immaculate conception
Enough for two!
Sharing our good news
Enough for two!
Big billowing dresses
Enough for two!
Cupboards full of nutrition
Enough for two!
Daddy's arms around us
Enough for two!
Your death . . . more than
Enough for two.
(Pandora Diane MacMillan)
A different child,
There's a special glow around you.
Surrounded by love,
Never doubting you are wanted;
Only look at the pride and joy
In your mother and father's eyes.
And if sometimes
Between the smiles
There's a trace of tears,
There was once another child
A different child
Who was in their hopes and dreams.
That child will never outgrow the baby clothes
That child will never keep them up at night
In fact, that child will never be any trouble at all.
Except sometimes, in a silent moment,
When mother and father miss so much
That different child.
May hope and love wrap you warmly
And may you learn the lesson forever
How infinitely precious
How infinitely fragile
Is this life on earth.
One day, as a young man or woman
You may see another mother's tears
Another father's silent grief
Then you, and you alone
And offer the greatest comfort.
When all hope seems lost,
You will tell them
With great compassion,
"I know how you feel.
I'm only here
Because my mother tried again".
"------for Madoka Marietta Rosalie, from your mother,
Pandora Diane Waldron--------March 4, 1999.
Remembering, with love, and not with sadness,
our Special Angel, Rhiannon Roxane,
who left this world 2 years ago today."
(Helen Rice Steiner)
The Master Gardener
And from it there grew
For God in His perfect
And great was the joy
To leave Earth's garden
So, while you can't see
You know The Great Gardener,
So think of your Darling
And remember God blessed
I am not sure I understand.
Is it a babe who is born
In the hush of a morning's breath
Before the birds begin to sing?
No. This is not stillborn, though
We would like it to be.
Is it a babe who is born so quiet,
So still, that the angels hush
Their rustling wings to hear
If she will not draw a tiny breath?
Perhaps. This is very close, but surely,
it means more.
Born, still in the arms of God.
Born, still in the full knowledge of
God's love and power,
His glory and grace.
Born, still to us, but alive to God!
Surely this is stillborn:
No death, but life eternal,
No sorrow, but everlasting peace,
No separation, but
Yes, now I understand,
Stillborn . . .
Baby Angel Alice
Don't let them say I never lived,
Although my body you can't hold,
I know the pain that drowns your soul,
You'll hear that it was "meant to be
I'm watching over all you do,
There'll come a time, I promise you,
Although I never breathed your air,
(Christine Allison, from Reader's Digest January 1993)
It's hard to know what to say when a child dies, especially when no one, not even the child's mother, knew her. When my child died in miscarriage, the letters and phone calls descended upon our household like a small storm, but there was no funeral. No one brought over a casserole or visited.
Some people saw it as a blessing, nature's way of barring at life's gate an imperfect individual: an occasion, strangely, for which to be almost grateful. For many, it was a time to tell a story about their own mysterious loss of an unknown son or daughter. Until my own child died, I had no idea that for every five known pregnancies, one ends in miscarriage.
From the moment I learned I was pregnant, I believed my child was a girl.
Friends did too. After my first visit to the obstetrician, I met a friend for lunch, who ceremoniously handed me a gift wrapped box.
Slowly I untied the ribbon, opened the box, and pulled out a perfect silver comb. "It's a girl; I know it," my friend said, and we embraced, our eyes glistening. Somehow, having my instincts affirmed made the child even more real. And though I already had three little girls, none of the freshness of this new life was lost on me. I loved her as if she was the child in the fairy tales who comes to the wrinkled, barren couple after years of waiting and praying.
I told the world immediately. Friends. Business associates. Even distant relatives. "Shouldn't we wait a few months before we say anything?"
my husband, Wick, asked as I started to make another call.
"Sweetie, you can't be 'sort of' pregnant," I said. "What's the difference between a few weeks and a few months?" I trumpeted the news to everyone while Wick looked on indulgently, privately marveling that we had been blessed once again.
The timing, though not perfect, was good enough. In a few months, we were moving from our cramped city apartment to a roomy old house in the suburbs. Wick and I started searching for a name. And I melted with pleasure when I overheard my oldest daughter, Gillea, five, say to Maisie, her three-year-old sister, "Just think, there's going to be someone new in our life!"
Someone new in our life. A mother and father see something joyous and tribal in pregnancy. But children see better, and they see someone. A baby. A brother or sister. Someone to play with.
I had never encountered problems with pregnancy. With my other three children, I had traveled to Italy and fly-fished in Idaho and written books on tough deadlines. But the moment I discovered I was pregnant this time, I slowed down.
I quit painting our house-to-be. When we began our move, I let my husband pack.
My sister, my husband and my parents took over the heavy stuff.
Yet that Sunday morning at church I had a premonition of distress. Later in the day I began to bleed. As I spoke calmly, rationally, to my obstetrician, every alarm in my body was going off. "Bed rest," my doctor advised. "A little bleeding is common in the first trimester. Getting upset about it will not help."
I stayed in bed and exchanged worried smiles with my husband, who came in now and then. My sister checked on me constantly, even lay down next to me, trying to joke and soothe and tend. I stared at the ceiling. Did I do this to my baby? Maybe it was the box of books I lifted.
Within hours I was bleeding profusely. My heart was breaking as I realized that the little 'someone' who had entered our lives so easily and magically was not going to stay. As my body began to expel my child, tears streamed down my face.
Who was she? This tiny life was the genetic fusion of a long line of Scots and English on her father's side and Japanese and Swedish immigrants on mine. The color of her hair and eyes was established. The carried her own eggs containing the genetic information she would have contributed to her own children, if she had lived to bear them.
I wondered if she would have looked like her sisters, if she would have been a sickly child, a funny child. But more than wondering who she was, I was almost obsessed with the idea that she might be forgotten, and this I could not tolerate.
A week later, I took my children to the park near our home and told them that their sister had died. They sat at my feet as I explained that she was just a wisp in this life, but that she had a soul and was in heaven now. We named her Felicity.
The children didn't cry, or say much, but on the way home we decided to go to a playground. All three girls jumped on the swings, reaching higher and higher, their hair streaming. It was hard for me not to notice a fourth swing, which sat empty and still. As Gillea wound down to a slow stop, she saw the empty swing too. She walked over and gave me a long hug.
I had always believed that miscarriage was a mother's loss, which for the rest of the family the life and death of the unborn was terribly abstract. Yet two years after we lost Felicity, and without saying why, my husband took a trip alone to a little cabin we have in the country. He cleared some brush in the woods and put a stone statue on a mass of rocks. "It's a quiet place for the girls to be with their sister," he explained sheepishly upon his return.
A few weeks later, the whole family went to visit Felicity's place for the first time. I walked into the cathedral-like clearing in the woods, ferns everywhere and light streaming down through the trees. Trying to keep my emotions in check, I heard Maisie cry out, "Hey, Mom, look at this!" She did a cartwheel, then about a dozen more. Gillea was climbing fallen branches, and Chrissie, our youngest daughter, was gaily scraping moss off boulders with her fingernails. Instead of welling up, I winked at the clouds. Felicity, I remembered, means happiness.
In my top dresser drawer, next to come embroidered handkerchiefs and sachets, lies a silver comb in a velvet bag that will never be claimed. It is no less a treasure, its little owner no less loved. Felicity may not have walked this earth, but she was someone, someone I'll always love and remember.