2016 NILMDTS Remembrance Walk
The NILMDTS Remembrance Walk, "Our Journey Together"
is for parents, family members, and friends
to come together to remember a precious baby
who has died due to miscarriage, stillbirth, SIDS,
neonatal or any type of pregnancy or infant loss.
I publicly admit and wish that this organization didn’t need to exist. I wish no parent would ever have to bury a child. I would rather be at home, with my son, watching in awe and wonder at his simple being. I wish that for all of us.
After attending the NILMDTS Remembrance Walks this year, I imagined the little shadows of our children, wrapped in our arms, holding on to our legs or our hands, even playing with new friends that have just met. That image in my mind, brings hope to my heart.
I want to talk just a little bit about a new TV series out called “This is us…” The words the doctor spoke to a new father, really resonated in my soul. This man’s wife just delivered triplets; only one was born still due to a cord accident. The doctor speaks to this new father, very compassionately trying to explain what is going on. He even shares with the new father his loss from many years ago, and the reason he is a doctor. He tells this new father that he will be bringing two babies home from the hospital, and if he’s lucky…he will bring three home with him. It was those words right there that spoke to my heart. “If you are lucky, you will bring three home…”
Some of us are lucky, or blessed, whichever term you choose to use, that we are able to bring our babies home, maybe not physically, but spiritually in our hearts, in our minds and in our souls. Most of us have the love and support of a spouse, or partner. Most of us have the support of extended family, and friends, who not only remember our babies, but allow us to share them, and talk about them in a present tense. Not a past.
But sadly, there are those of us who don’t have that support. Not from a spouse, not from family and not from friends. These newly grieving families are told to forget about their babies. They are told to have another one. And they are asked, “Why do you want to remember such a sad time in your lives?” Those friends and family saying this don’t understand that, while yes, this is a sad time in our lives…it didn’t start sad.
While we all might remember getting a positive pregnancy test and being nervous, I’m sure once the nervousness subsided, we were all thrilled. And in that very second, our lives changed. Our future changed. We started planning on being a family. And remember, families come in many shapes and sizes.
While the death of my son, was a sad time in my life, and I know sad is not the best word to describe it. He wasn’t an event in my life. Our babies, are not events. They are real. Not were real. They continue to be a part of our lives, and you continue to be a parent to them.
Grief is lonely and isolating for those who don’t have the support from a spouse, a partner, family or friends. So, what do they do? They find a community.
NILMDTS is your community. A community not only made up of bereaved parents, but also siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles and friends. This is a community of understanding and acceptance.
My first interaction with a bereavement community started in Colorado. I suddenly found myself surrounded with women who I had never met before, who shared with me their story of loss, only after they had learned of mine. These women found me. These women reached out to me.
After NILMDTS was created, I found myself reaching out to others - Matthew’s mom; Daniel’s mom; Cheyenne’s mom. NILMDTS photographers I have never met in person began sharing with me the stories of their babies. These parents and volunteers, were part of my first experience in the healing powers of support in the bereavement community.
While the stories of our children may be different, our stories of loss are the same. I have become familiar with stories of families comparing their loss to another family. There should be no comparison.
It shouldn't matter if your loss is days or weeks into your pregnancy. It shouldn't matter if you loss was in your second or third trimester. It shouldn’t matter that your baby never took a breathe outside of your womb, or only lived days, months or years. What does matter is that we have all lost a child. We have all lost a dream. We have all lost a part of our future.
Our hearts are broken, we can’t catch our breath, and we all grieve. And in that sense, we all journey together. Some of us are further ahead in our journey and are the light for those who follow.
Twelve years ago, I was happy and pregnant, living in a perfect “bubble.” The death of a child only happened to other people. My mother lost a baby. I had two friends who lost babies. I never thought that would happen to me.
In the weeks and months following the death of my son, I never thought I would be a spokesperson for this community, with a part of my heart missing, but yet shining my light for you and even sometimes walking blindly in the dark with you.
The grief and the pain I experience (notice how I didn’t write experienced) - the grief and pain I experience from the death of my son has never gotten any easier. It will never go away. I have just become stronger to carry it with me. And you will too.
The best advice I can give a bereaved parent is to embrace your grief. Make friends with it. Know that your love and your grief will walk hand in hand with you throughout the rest of your life.
The NILMDTS Remembrance Walk is an opportunity to bring honor to our babies and healing to our hearts. The Remembrance Walk also ensures future support to families who will sadly walk in our shoes one day.
The NILMDTS Remembrance Walk includes a program with readings, music, and speakers to honor your baby. During the event, each baby is honored by having his or her name is read aloud. Following the program participants will journey together for a reflective walk.
VIRTUAL WALK, ONLINE
NILMDTS is offering an opportunity for anyone who cannot attend the NILMDTS Walk in person to participate in the NILMDTS Virtual Walk. We conduct an online program as if you were at the actual walk including music, readings, and the reading of baby names.