Growing up, my brother and I were so blessed to have had aunts who loved us. One aunt, in particular, is like our second Mom. She was there when we came home from the hospital, at every school function, and any sporting event we were apart of growing up. She took us to Sunday school, made blanket forts with us, and made shopping at the grocery store an adventure. She has always been there for us. Some of our other aunts we might not see but once a year but they were always there to offer a great big smile and a warm hug. Aunts who genuinely cared about us. Our aunts would take the time to visit and catch up on life with us. For that, I will always be grateful.

I couldn’t wait to do the same for my niece, Kali. I prayed I could be like the aunts I’ve had in my life. One to show up with a smile, a hug, and shower her with love and always up for an adventure, even if it was just a trip to the grocery store.

One of the dreams I had for Kali was to be my flower girl in my wedding. Just a few weeks prior to her birth and passing I had become engaged to my now husband. My Dad had an old wooden wagon he was going to have refurbished for her to ride in down the aisle. I think I started looking at baby flower girl dresses before I looked at wedding dresses.

Courtesy of Chelsie McGrew of CP Imagery

Losing Kali was one of the most devastating blows I’ve ever experienced. One that was absolutely crippling. My heart hurt for Kali but also for my brother and sister-in-law. Knowing that they will have to live the rest of their lives without her crushes me. I so wish I could fix it for them. Watching how they have grieved and move forward each day without her is truly amazing. I am in absolute awe of the strength and grace they exhibit on a daily basis.

Until Kali, I never thought of the month of October as anything other than my birthday month, beautiful fall colors, and pumpkin spice everything! This year it was different. I learned October is Infant and Pregnancy Loss Awareness Month, something that will forever be imprinted on my family and me. This year during October we celebrated and remembered Kali.

I’d like to thank Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep, without this wonderful organization my family would not be able to look and remember our sweet Kali Rae. Because of the beautiful photographs that NILMDTS captured, our sweet Kali was able to be part of and honored at my wedding. You never realize the value of something as simple as a photo until it’s all you have.

Thank you from the bottom of this Aunt’s healing broken heart for all that you do for the parents and families that have experienced infant loss.

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