Friday, October 7, 2011

Remember Us.

I have been thinking~
And when I've been thinking, I usually need to come here.

October 15th has been set aside as a national day of remembrance- To remember people like me and our babies who we lost either through miscarriage, stillbirth or infant loss. If you are driving near a hospital and see balloons of pinks, blues and whites flying into the air, chances are that you are witnessing a balloon release. And those balloons you see... they represent the life of someone who was wanted so very, very much. Each balloon was held by someone with hopes and dreams for a child, who- like the balloon- they couldn't hold on to.

The words I write here of course are of my opinion and I do not claim to represent nor speak for everyone in this secret society. The truth is that we are all very different- as unique as our losses. Some long for you to remember and some may want you to forget (or at least act that way).

I have recently seen many posts on facebook about October 15th, and how important it is to remember people (like me) who have had a loss. I like seeing them. One struck me recently though. She wrote that when she asked people to remember October 15th- to remember her child- the only people who mentioned her baby or commented on her posts were people of this (loss) community. That made me pause and wonder and ask myself... why?

I wondered- because that hasn't been my experience. When I woke up on September 15th, and checked my email, my facebook, my phone messages, my mailbox... I had loads of messages from friends remembering my son. And while they wrote such kind things that had me in (happy) tears, what I really treasured was that they wrote (or said) the one thing that mattered to me ~his name~. There is something about hearing the name of someone you thought everyone else forgot that can lift you. Make you pause. Bring (happy) tears to your eyes because they remembered!

Of course many of the people I heard from were friends I know from this community- but there were a large number who have never had a loss- or had a child- or even wanted one. I wondered why it would be that my friends would (and do) acknowledge my Andrew and E, while other people's friends do not. And while I may say that it is because I have the best friends out there... (I think I do), I know that that is not the case. Everyone in this life has someone out there who loves them, cares for them, and remembers. So why don't they wake up with the same sweet messages in their inboxes on the anniversaries? On October 15ths? I am no more special than anyone else- Why haven't my friends 'forgotten' like others have?

And then I got to thinking, I don't think that their friends forgot. I think that perhaps the difference is, I have a big mouth. I have said Andrew's name so much (especially in those early days, months, years) that people who know me and know my living children are able to recall his name just as easily as the children who they see each day. They remember though not just because I speak his name, but because I have given them permission. I have told them what I want from them. What I need from them. I need them to say his name. I need them to remember, for when they do~ it matters. It matters more than I could ever express.

I have only been married for a decade but I learned early on that though I'd like to think my husband can read my mind and know what I am thinking, the truth is... he can't. If something matters to me- if I need something- I need to say it. Tell him. Similarly, I think that we in this community- if we truly want our friends to remember- need to guide them, tell them what we need. They want to help us, sometimes they just can't read our minds- and we need to forgive them for that...

All of this has reminded me of that beautiful quote I have referenced before:
"If you know someone who has lost a child or lost anyone that is important to them, and you're afraid to mention them because you think you might make them sad by reminding them that they died~ They didn't forget that they died. You're not reminding them. What you're reminding them of is that you remember that they lived and that is a great, great gift."
Elizabeth Edwards

Share with your friends. Tell them what you need. Tell them what you want.
I just did.
Remember.
And say their name(s).

6 comments:

  1. Remembering Andrew and E.

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  2. This is so true. After reading your blog I've been able to approach my aunts and a few other friends who I never would have before and just said, "I have not forgotten."

    I think I was always afraid to mention them before (as were other people in the family) because we thought we'd upset them or make them sad. But, I saw their face light up. "They remembered my child..." You could see it on their face. I've even had conversations with other people in my family about the fact that we can't be afraid to talk about the babies/children that have left us too soon.

    I know you've helped me understand that and I know you've helped many others understand that, too.

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  3. Thank you so much for posting your blogs. They have helped me so much with my own pain and 2 of my daughters. Even though theirs are so different. I wish many others could read this. Maybe once people who have not had a loss could understand the pain and sadness and how it does help just to hear their name. Thank you agian. Debi

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  4. That is a beautiful quote and I agree with your words. The reasons are different but I too have to tell my husband what I want. He just doesn't think like I do. I have a sweet friend who has two wonderful boys and last February she had a miscarriage. I of course mailed her a handkerchief and she said she never realize what I was doing for the woman who lost a baby until she got one of her own.

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  5. I agree Laura...that is a wonderful thing sometime...(to have a big mouth!). You talk about Andrew and baby E so openly...which makes people (speaking for myself) more comfortable in talking with you and saying "Andrew...he is missed not only by you, but the rest of us as well". As a fellow "big mouther" and going through something very different...but, yet similar in a way...vocalizing these things make people more comfortable...there are no secrets. It is a pain...a joy...a sentence that you feel you can share. That is a wonderful thing. (I don't know if any of that made sense!)
    xoxo

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