I wrote this passage a few days before what would have been Henry's 14th birthday.
September 28th, 2017
I have often wondered, over the last 14 years, why it seems like the days leading up to Henry’s death, my own near death, and my Dad’s heart surgery seem almost more unsettling than the actual anniversary day itself. I have wondered if it’s because the anticipation of how something might feel is often worse than the actual experience of re-visiting it. It occurred to me today, as I walked home in the rain, from walking Jens to school; (the rain always reveals some deep realities to me) that maybe it is because the days leading up to all of those things were filled with joy, optimism, health, security, hope and happiness; an innocence of sorts. I was with the love of my life, in a healthy pregnancy, about to give birth to our first child and my Dad was still a superhero. All of those things took a good long trip out of town for me that day; October 1, 2003.
I share this, not to garner sympathy nor to stay locked away in my grief process. I share in hopes that acknowledging and validating it gives it less power. I share in hopes that being vulnerable gives others permission to be vulnerable around their pain as well.
Please know that if you encounter me, or my husband in the next few days and we seem a little scattered, or distracted or easily emotional; be kind. Our hearts are just a little closer to the surface right now and we could use a little grace.
These are the words I had to offer last night at the candle lighting. It is my hope to offer services and events that encourage healing, hope, and community for those who have suffered this heartbreaking loss.
This night we will be here holding space for our babies and each other. By holding space, I mean we are here to take a pause, light a candle and be present with each other in this space. Often there are few words to help; to bring comfort. Often what can do is simply be in the same space alongside one another.
My son Jens will come and light the first candle for our son, Henry, his older brother who died at 37 weeks due to HELLPS Syndrome in 2003. When Jens is finished I invite each of you to light a candle for your baby. You may say a few words, just say your baby’s name or birth date, or simply light the candle in silence. This process belongs to each of you. We will all be here in witness for one another.