Thursday, August 1, 2013

Losing

Daisies are Celeste's flower
Since losing Celeste, so many women have reached out to me and told me that they too experienced a loss of a child. Some of these women had experiences very similar to ours, and others lost through miscarriage at various stages.  Several of those women have prefaced their email by saying "I know my loss is not the same as yours, but..." Or "I know miscarriage is not the same..." You know what? Of course it's not the same. You know why? Because every life-every life-is unique and precious and you lost your baby and I lost my baby and it's all loss.

The year before we lost Celeste, we had two families from our church lose children. One, a five year old little girl. The other, an eighteen year old young man.  Is that easier, because those families got time with their child? Or is it harder, because there were so many memories with their child? So many reminders? You see, it's all the same. It's all the loss of a young life.  Different, but the same.  

After we lost Celeste, my sister, who had experienced a miscarriage a year prior, said to her husband "what Corinna's going through is so much harder than what we went through." And, her husband's response was completely surprising. He said he thought we were lucky. Lucky. Because we got to hold Celeste. We held her in our hands and felt her fingers curl around ours. We got to touch her hair. I touched those tiny toes, kissed her sweet tiny head, and got to try to memorize every inch of my one pound, one ounce daughter before she passed.  And you know, that was lucky. It was more than lucky. It was a blessing. and those are the moments and the memories that I cherish most in my life. 

Of every "flashbulb" moment...walking down the aisle toward Kemi on our wedding day, or seeing Evie's face for the first time as she was raised toward my chest, I cherish the "flashbulb" memories of Celeste most. The precious kicks I felt during my pregnancy with her. The wave of emotion that swallowed me whole the moment she was laid on my chest at 22 weeks.  Choking back tears while singing "You are my Sunshine" to her with Kemi.  The moment a few hours later the nurse listened for her heartbeat and told us she was gone.  I cherish those memories most because they're the only memories I have, or will ever have of my second child. I can't make more memories with her. That's all I was given.  It just is.

After we lost Celeste, my brother in law said to my sister "I would have given anything to have held our daughter." So, I say to all of you who have lost a child, it's not easier. It's not easier or harder. It's all loss. Losing a child is a giant wound you will carry on your heart for the rest of your life. You belong to a club that you never wanted to be in and it's the worst club ever. But you're here.  And I promise you, somewhere in there, there's grace. There's grace in the suffering. There's grace in the wounded-ness and the fears and the hurt and the broken...I'm still trying to get there, too.

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