Just about a year ago, I stumbled out of my house on a cold, dark night and drove ten minutes down the road to the hospital where Henry was born. I wended my way through the halls, took a deep breath, and walked into a conference room for a meeting of Empty Arms, the local SHARE group.
Henry had been gone just over a month. I was so numb yet raw, so lost. How did I get here? It didn’t feel real—his death and sometimes even his life.
I missed my baby. Losing him devastated me shook the core of my world. I used to live in a world where babies only died in far away places, in poor places, on TV, to other people. I don’t like living in a world where babies dying is a part of a terrible daily reality, my reality.
And I didn’t know who I was any more. What does it mean to be a mother when you have no child to care for? What was I going to do with all the baby stuff? with my time? with my love? How did I hold on to Henry when I had already had to let him go, told him it was okay, released his spirit as I held onto his body? And how would he stay part of our family if we welcomed new children into it, children who couldn’t remember him because they had never known him?
I met Carol who showed me how very real her daughter Charlotte is, how very much a part of her life and her family. She was five years down the road, five years ahead of me in this journey. And she gave me great hope and a sense of possibility. Months later I found her blog, which made me cry, but which again touched my confusion and fear and sadness.
She is one of my beacons, the people ahead of me on this journey who have helped me along the way. She has continued to inspire me, help me, and now rejoice with me. I am so thankful to have found her.