Molly Sabourin, author of the Ancient Faith Radio podcast “Close to Home” reflects on the process of naming her daughter, Lucy, who died in the womb.
Bobby Maddex interviews Jenny Schroedel, author of Naming the Child.
(View in context on Ancient Faith Radio)
March 2001, the 17th
It’s a cold, snow-covered day in your grove as we anticipate spring and the first shoots from the bulbs we planted around your fruit trees. Today was your due date. My heart is so heavy with the sorrow of your loss. The sadness seems so fresh all over again.
I am so sorry we will never know you this side of heaven. I am so sorry and wish I knew why you had to go away so quickly. I do so wish you could have joined us here!
Harrison is getting big, growing so quickly. He loves little babies. I know he would have loved you! As he matures, I’ll share this book with him and the story of you.
Today is St. Patrick’s Day, an annual holiday we celebrate in honor of the Irish relatives on both sides of our family. It will also be an annual reminder of your birthday. Even though we didn’t get to celebrate it here, it will serve to heighten our anticipation of meeting you in the world to come.
The corned beef is stewing — filling our home with the scents of generations past. So many things about this holiday — the subtlety, the links with the past — will forever tie me to you. You will not be forgotten.
I can’t explain it, but I love you. You will always hold a special place in my heart.
Here’s one of the original apples from the original trees. We had “Griffin’s grapes” the first year, because they were so small. But the second year, we had enough of a harvest to bake an apple pie. It was a family affair.
Here is the book I made for him. For the first several years after he died, Steve and I journaled in it on St. Patrick’s day, the day he would have been born.
“For Steve and me as a couple the most important thing was to allow each other to grieve in our own way and just try to be good to each other. Another key for us was to know that although there was nothing we could do to take away the sadness and pain – we would have to live through it, we could try to focus on adding new joy to our life and honoring Andrew’s memory. I think this helped us to see that the intensity of our grief would soften in time. It’s an evolving process…there will always be a hole left by Andrew’s death that nothing can fill. Still – amazingly – your heart can grow bigger and stronger and life can be good and meaningful again.”
Here is Andrew, shown with Emma, whose life was saved by his liver.
Emma has given something very special to us. She’s keeping part of Andrew alive. She’s allowing us to know that there’s a part of him—an actual living, physical part of him—that lives on and will grow inside of your little girl. Even though we know that Andrew’s spirit will always live and be with us, we feel like Emma is also carrying some of Andrew’s spirit and that makes us happy.
Four years later, Elena still remembers the funny things Simon did and talks about him almost every day. When she and her mom pass a child on the street with curly hair, she’ll say, “I think Simon would have looked like him.”
This is a clip from NBC’s Today Show, March 5, 2008.
For those who give birth to a stillborn baby, or those who learn their baby is terminal during the pregnancy, Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep offers a wonderful service–memorial photographs, free of charge in many cities and countries around the world. The book Naming the Child features an interview with Cheryl Haggard, co-founder of this organization, and mother of Maddex Achilles Haggard.
“About holding Sam, I’m thankful that i wasn’t deprived of those moments. His sweet baby body, it makes his life more real to me. Loving touch confirms the sacredness of life, but it was painful and hard to hold him, waiting for life to end. Hearing the labor of his breathing, knowing it could – and would – stop at any moment. i could see why you would want to protect someone from that–it was hard to hold him. It was nothing like the pure bliss of holding Natalia. Nothing like to look on the suffering of your sweet innocent baby… to know that he was hurting, to know he could barely take the next breath. Who wants to see that? And yet to miss that would have been to deprive myself, not of some great memory, but of the ability to do the one small thing I could do for my son in this life.”
-Tawnya Provenzano, mother of Samuel
Maddux Achilles Haggard
February 4th-10th 2005
That next day, we sat with you, held you, sang to you and rocked you. I was even able to change your diapers. You still didn’t move. You couldn’t grip our fingers, and you never opened your eyes. But that was ok. Even though you couldn’t hold onto us, we were holding onto you. Mommy and Daddy told you over and over how much we loved you. We stroked your head, kissed your tiny fingers and toes. We whispered in your ears. We cried. We prayed. You are just beautiful.
–From a letter Cheryl wrote to Maddux
Stephanos and his son Harry visit Philip’s grave.
The Empty Place
Since you’ve been gone
there is a place
inside of us
that is shaped like you
so empty now
that place which is filled
with so much love
This video was shown at the 2008 SOFT Conference and is dedicated to all of the parents and families of babies born with Trisomy 13 and Trisomy 18.
To learn more about Trisomy, visit: http://www.trisomy.org