In honor of National Son and Daughter Day, we have compiled a collection
of blogs written in honor of sons and daughters lost too soon.

A Perfect Life

Maddie,

I think about you every minute of every single day. You’re my first thought when I wake up, and I dream of who you would be today in my sleep. You’re always perfect in my dreams.

I’ve been reflecting a lot on your life lately, short as it was, and what that means. One thing I am truly grateful for is that your life was perfect.

You never experienced any pain.

You never fought with anyone.

Nobody ever yelled at you.

You never had your heart broken.

You never had to worry or stress about school or money or a job.

You were never teased or made fun of.

You never had to lose anyone or experience grief.

All you knew was love.

All you knew were people who loved you surrounding you, holding you, caring for you, snuggling you. Every minute of every one of your 38 days Earthside.

While it breaks my heart that you won’t experience life and its trials, as painful as they can be, I find a small amount of comfort in knowing that you are at peace and you only ever felt love. That you never had to suffer or go through any of the painful experiences in life that hurt me to think about as a parent. I don’t want your brother to go through these experiences, ever. I want to keep him in a bubble and shelter him as much as I can. But I know he will experience pain in some way, just as you would have if you were to grow older.

And still, at the same time, I wish you were here. I wish you were here so that I could go through these trials with you, right by your side. I wish I had the opportunity to protect you and teach you.

Instead, I’m just trying to find meaning and all the beauty I can in your short life. I’m trying to be grateful for at least this one thing, amidst all the pain of losing you. I’m trying to be your mom, and be the best one I can, even though you’re not with me physically.

I miss you all the time.

Love,

Mom

A Poem by Debbie for her son Laydon

I stroked your soft skin and ran my fingers through your hair,
I held you tight and asked why is this fair?

As I smell your lovely scent, I knew that you were heaven sent,
sent from god from up above for me cherish, hold and love,
So why did he take you away from me? He knows my heart you carry the key.

In my heart is where you will be, everyone says God has set you free,
Free from what is what I don’t get, I’m filled with guilt and a lot of regret.
In my heart, I will never forget.

I feel angry, I feel mad, why does he want to see me so sad?
Couldn’t wait to hold you in my arms, make me melt with your charms,
To gaze into your eyes, to keep you safe and protect you from the troubles of strife.

Our time together was so brief, had to say goodbye I didn’t want to leave,
Can’t seem to find a way to let you go, to know I have to live life without you hurts me so

All my dreams have come undone, but you will forever be my son
Couldn’t wait for the day that we would meet, who was to know it’d be so bitter-sweet?

And though I miss you, I want you to be free and in my dreams you I will see,
We’ll play together and hold each other’s hand, I’ll trace your footprints in the sand

I’ll hold you close to my heart, from you I never want to part
But now its time to say goodbye, spread your wings my angel you deserve to fly.

Brooklyn’s Jellies

Brooklyn was born sleeping on August 24, 2014. This was one of the most difficult times in our families’ life. We were all taken by such surprise that it was partially unbelievable for some time. As the time went on it sunk in more that we wouldn’t have Brooklyn here with us, but we would not accept that or let other people forget about her.

Before Brooklyn was born we did the usual parenting things; we set up a nursery, went shopping for clothes and toys and furniture. The one thing that we bought that was special to us was a pair of “jellies”. My wife remembered having these same sandals when she was a little girl and when we saw them on the shelf we had to have them. We had these all set up with the rest of her clothes neatly organized in her closet. After Brooklyn was born and time went on we had to pack up her nursery. While we were doing this we came across the “jellies” and neither one of us could pack them away, we left them in the closet where they still sit today. However, they don’t just sit in the closet collecting dust. We decided that we were going to take them with us wherever we go around the world. Brooklyn has been to the beautiful beaches of Maui and Oahu, taken a boat ride down the canals of Amsterdam, walked the Tulip fields in Holland and seen the medieval town of Bruges.

Not only do we bring Brooklyn’s “jellies” with us everywhere we go, we also bring our “Brooklyn Beads” and leave them all over the world. They are small glass beads (pink, white and clear) that we keep in our pockets and purses. The “jellies” travel with us and come home where the beads stay in all of the places we visit. Friends and family have helped in this healing process, and so far we have an impressive list of places she has traveled: Maui, Oahu, Austin, Ft Hood TX, Baltimore MD, Amsterdam, Belgium, Afghanistan, Germany, Qatar, Japan, New Zealand, Australia, Wyoming, Yellowstone, California, Florida, Barcelona, Italy, Oklahoma, Vail and France.

Often, pictures are sent to us of the special spot the Brooklyn Bead was left. Our daughter truly has traveled the world and left a mark in some of the most beautiful, peaceful places.

~ James, Father to Brooklyn Kay

Austin Cade

Austin Cade Standridge was our surprise baby #3! We had no immediate intention of having a 3rd, especially not with my daughter still just barely 1 year old. But, my son (then 7) had prayed and prayed for a baby brother and he got his wish, though not in a way any of us could have ever imagined.

The pregnancy seemed pretty routine until my 20 week ultrasound. After a rather interesting ultrasound they dropped the mother of all bombs on us and told us that our baby #3 had what is commonly known as Potter’s Syndrome and would not survive long after birth, if he even survived to full-term. We were in shock, devastated, our lives at that moment completely turned upside down.

We went from planning the fun way in which we would share the boy/girl news with our two other children and their grandparents to now having to decide do we continue with the pregnancy and if so how do we plan for what happens when our baby passes. And then to have to tell our son the news, who had begged us to skip his second day of school to go to the doctor. The hardest and most heart wrenching thing I’d ever had to do up to that point, we were very open and direct with our son explaining everything the best we could and encouraging him to ask as many questions as he needed.

My husband and I, after the initial shock wore off, decided not only would we carry our baby as long as God would allow but that we would do all we could to make the most of the time we had left with him. From a small bucket list of things we wanted to do with him to just enjoying the pregnancy as much as possible bringing both our children along with us on our journey.

On November 21, 2014, I went into pre-term labor at 32 weeks and our sweet baby Austin was born in the wee hours of November 22, 2014. He was born alive and survived just 45 minutes. Both his brother and sister were there to meet him and say good-bye to him. They allowed us to stay with our baby for quite some time as we had family trying desperately to get into town that wanted to hold him just once. We allowed his big brother to hold him often, and his big sister gave him a couple of kisses but was a bit afraid to hold him. Leaving him in the hospital was the hardest thing I’ve ever done… The next week was a whirlwind of decisions and plans and not to mention Thanksgiving, we buried our sweet baby #3 the day after Thanksgiving.

Lost and in a deep state of grief I began to seek out ways to keep his memory alive. To keep him close to us in some way, to make sure that his big brother and sister (especially since she was too young to grasp what was happening around her) remembered him and knew that they once had a baby brother who now looks over them from Heaven. Christmas came around and I needed some place tangible to go and something tangible to leave, and so did my son. It just made sense to me that we decorate his graveside and bring him some small presents and flowers. It felt right. These visits have now become deeply important to our family, we visit him almost monthly, each time stopping at the local grocery and allowing the kids to pick out which flowers or toys we are going to take to him this time. There is time allotted on every holiday to make a special trip out to see him. He gets an Easter basket right along the other kids and the Easter Bunny puts a few treats in that we take to him on Easter Sunday. There’s even a special bubble set that is reserved for the kids to take out to the cemetery and blow bubbles for him and the other babies around him. The kids actually look forward to our visits with him and ask to go, even the now 3 year old!

We’ve also got several pictures of him around the house. And thanks to our wonderful NILMDTS photographer who captured some beautiful moments with our baby, I was able to create a photo book of his story that is kept in my coffee table and we show to the kids every now and then. My daughter has since learned who he is and points him out to us. She’s figured out that she has a baby brother named “Baby Austin” and “he sleeps with the flowers”. We were given a special “angel” candle shortly after he passed that we keep on the mantle with another photo of him. We light the “angel” candle on special occasions such as birthdays and holidays to help us feel that he is there with us.

We also made sure to include him in some way in a recent family photo session, and I intend to make sure that any future sessions include him as well. We are a family of 5, just one of us lives in Heaven. It is important to me that he remain a part of the family, not just for my husband and me, but for his siblings as well. After all, he was the baby brother that his big brother had prayed so fervently for.

We’ll never know why his prayer was answered in such a way… I never want to feel like he is being forgotten or he didn’t happen. These are ways that make sense to me, that worked for our family and help me get through the agonizing pain of not having him here. They’re ways for my kids to tangibly see that he did exist.

I know that what we do does not and will not work for every family. All I can say to anyone trying to figure out how to tell their children about the sibling they never got to meet is to take your time and do what feels right to you. Be it showing them something tangible like the hospital bracelet or blanket or a picture and using that to tell their sibling’s story or taking them to the gravesite they didn’t even know existed. Whatever you do, it is keeping their memory alive in your own special way, and that’s the most important part.

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2020-08-26T14:37:17+00:00August 11th, 2020|Families, NILMDTS News, Parents|Comments Off on National Son and Daughter Day