I received this poignant email about a heartbreaking topic, but Kelly has found inspiration in her loss, and that's the message I'd like to pass on to all of you:
Dr. Laura:I listened to a call you took from a woman who had lost a baby (a twin), and wondered how to handle this as she tried to go forward in life. I thought I'd share how my family has coped with our loss.
My son was stillborn almost 13 years ago now. He was my first baby, and the loss was devastating, especially since it was such a struggle to conceive him at all. Three months after the loss I became pregnant again (huge surprise!). How could I be happy for this baby when I was still mourning my son? It was scary and hard, but I was determined to notice what would become good memories, so that I would have them to share with this child as she was growing up and wanting to hear how happy we were as we anticipated her arrival. But I still struggled each year as the anniversary of my son's birth/death approached.
And then I read a story about a woman who had been raped and left for dead. After years of agonizing fear and dread as the anniversary of her attack approached each year, she decided to do something to change all that. She used that date each year to celebrate her life, and the fact that she still had it. By this time, we had already shared with our daughter that she had a brother in heaven who watched over her. I decided to take that a step further.
Rather than trying to cover up or explain my sadness at that time each year, I decided to make it a time of remembrance and appreciation. If nothing else, my son's death taught me just how fleeting this life is, and there is not a moment to take for granted. It took me a long time to get to this place, but now, on that day each year, my husband, my daughter and I take that day off (no matter what) just to spend time with each other doing something fun, and remembering how appreciative we are that we have each other.
We've been camping, spent a day at the park, went to the beach...anything that immersed us in each other. And we take time out to remember our son, and thank him for that awesome lesson. When it comes to the loss of a child, I really think every person has to find his or her own way. I just thought I'd share ours, in hopes that it might help someone else.