Wednesday, June 30, 2010
This concept resonated with me. Not so much the communication possibilities of stones, but the fact that a stone could mean so much to Daigo simply because his father had given it to him. Stones like these are quite possibly the most ordinary, lifeless, emotionally inert objects in our natural world, but given as a gift they can become priceless.
For Daigo, holding on to the stone was holding on to the reality of having a father.
For parents who have lost children, holding on to mementos from the hospital or nursery is holding on to the reality of their child's existence. A simple, receiving blanket can become validation of a life. A "onesie" can become a framed piece of art. Suddenly every ordinary object connected to your baby becomes extraordinarily significant in your grief.
Collect as much as you can. Create remembrances and tributes and memorials and anything you need to have something to hold on to.
Friday, June 25, 2010
There was something beautiful to be found in letting go.
After four years of art school this became a well learned and practiced lesson. Applying it in other areas of my life, well, that hasn't been quite as easy. When challenged with a crisis pregnancy, birth, or illness parents can call hosts of doctors, surgeons, pediatricians, and specialists to their aid. They can hold, kiss, medicate, hope, pray and nurse, but when the finality of death comes and they are left holding the outcome... all control seems lost. Nothing can be done.
For me this was the realization that I was headed down an unexpected path. I could fight it, deny it, try to change directions or even just hide from that truth, or I could go with it and see where it leads me. Opening up to the journey allowed me to see beauty and blessing that might have otherwise slipped by. Yes, even in the midst of the unimaginable reality of losing two children at once there has been blessing and beauty.
Anger is inevitable. Grief is necessary. Let it happen. You may find yourself in a closer relationship with your spouse, your family, a new friend. You may discover a new purpose or a renewed appreciation for your other children. What blessing will you find? What legacy is your child leaving you?
Monday, June 21, 2010
Just finishing reading this through with my wife. A great resource for parents, grandparents, and friends who have experienced miscarriage, stillbirth, or infant loss. You can easily find it on Amazon.com
Summary: The heartache of miscarriage, stillbirth, or infant death affects thousands of U.S. families every year. Empty Cradle, Broken Heart offers reassurance to parents who struggle with anger, guilt, and despair after such tragedy. Deborah Davis encourages grieving and makes suggestions for coping. The book includes information on issues such as the death of one or more babies from a multiple birth, pregnancy interruption, and the questioning of aggressive medical intervention. There is also a special chapter for fathers as well as a chapter on "protective parenting" to help anxious parents enjoy their precious living children. Doctors, nurses, relatives, friends, and other support persons can gain special insight. Most importantly, parents facing the death of a baby will find necessary support in this gentle guide. If reading this book moves you to cry, try to accept this reaction. Your tears merge with those of other grieving parents. You are not alone!
About the Author: Deborah L. Davis, PhD., is a development psychologist who specializes in perinatal bereavement, parent education, and child development. She is also a member of the advisory board for Pen-Parents, the international network for bereaved parents.
Friday, June 18, 2010
Honestly, I don't know what it's going to be. Confusing probably. I know I'm a father, but no one else does. People who don't know our story don't know that I held my sons in my arms, and kissed them, and told them I love them, and then watched them quietly pass away. If that doesn't make a man a father I don't know what does.
So, I guess, Father's Day will be what I want it to be. A more proactive approach seems needed here. I could sulk, which is valid, or I could celebrate, which is preferred. I could spend the day thankful for the few moments I had with my boys, how they made me a father, how they're making me a stronger man... a better husband. I could spend the day making the memory of Asher and Evan a joyful one. A day enjoying the legacy rather than fixating on the loss.
How have you celebrated Father's Day? Any special traditions? Any favorite memories?