The letter below was submitted by one of our authors, in connection with her story and poem for Chapter 14. Sarah wrote this letter to support grieving parents, after her own devastating experience with a miscarriage in 2011.  Please read Sarah’s story here:

A letter to grieving parents in honor of the un and barely born

Dear Family

I may not know you, but I am thinking of you and holding you in the light. Though I have not walked in your shoes and cannot possibly know exactly what you are feeling or experiencing through the tragic loss of your child, I have recognized a small slice of your pain and was compelled to do something on your behalf to honor the birth and death of your precious baby.  May you recognize that you are not alone, and with that awareness, I pray you will also find some courage to face your deepest grief, experiencing it as only you know how to do, and eventually, finding your own peace and healing as you wade through this horrible nightmare that has become your reality. 

Here is a small excerpt of my own story.

Sometime after my miscarriage in the spring of 2011, I was at Midas waiting for an oil change. I had spent at least two weeks just sitting at home in our rocking chair staring blankly, crying, meditating, and communicating with our baby—conveying my deep love and apologizing to our unborn child for not being able to protect it.  At the mechanic, I could not sit any longer.  I was completely numb and vulnerable. Everything reminded me of my loss.  I did not want anyone to see me like this—all teary-eyed and ready to cry in an instant, so I went for a walk. I wandered aimlessly until I spotted a second-hand baby store. It was the last place I would have expected to want to go, but it beckoned to me, and I ventured in. I found nothing of interest in the store but it was therapeutic for me to pretend that I was shopping for my baby like I was supposed to be doing. And as I did so, I knew what I needed to do next.  I had already bought the book Something Happened for my daughter Taylor.  She had requested that we read it together multiple times daily.  At the end of this book, the family decides to plant a tree for their baby so they will have a place to go and remember. I had known that I also needed to do something to honor my baby, and in this moment I finally knew what.  I wanted to purchase an outfit for my child.  I walked about a mile farther to my favorite second-hand store where I’d purchased items for my daughter Taylor. When I got there, I saw Joann Fabric and then I knew that I needed to look for a memory box, which I found and purchased. Next, I walked to the second- hand children’s store. I found a pair of duck sandals, a little onesie that said “I wished for a little fish”, a pacifier that says “Calm” and a little baby popup book.  I choked down my tears to ask the lady at the counter how much the book cost, and she must have recognized my pain, too, because she looked at it for a second and then placed it back in my hand, simply saying “it’s yours.” 

To honor my baby, I created a square memory box.  I placed this box in the now- deserted room that was supposed to have been our nursery.  This small gesture made such a huge difference in our grieving process.  It gave us space to feel and it honored our baby for who it was, including all of the dreams and hopes we had held for it and for our daughter Taylor as a big sister. 

I hope that you too will find solace and rest in a place where you can hold tight to your child, remember him/her, grieve for all that is lost, and perhaps one day a long time from now, look back with sadness, a lot of love, and a rested settled feeling, knowing that your baby has shaped you in ways that you could not have imagined and that even though it is incredibly tragic, you are a better person and your life is richer for having known him, carried him, held him, for even the briefest moments that you were granted.

May the deepest peace be with you as you begin your journey of grief.

With much love from another grieving mother.

 —Sarah Blanchard