Today is Infant Loss Remembrance Day. I have not known the pain or grief of miscarriage, stillbirth or infant loss, but my mom has. I was only three when my baby brother was born. I remember demanding to see “my baby” when my parents came home from the hospital. My mom held the baby blanket in her arms like it was a security blanket, but there was no baby. I will never forget the look on her face when I asked her where my baby was. She tried to smile through her pain and sadness. In that moment I felt like I would do anything to make her happy again.
My dad had taken my sister and I to the funeral Mass a few days prior to my mom coming home from the hospital. I remember sitting up in the front row of church which was unusual. I knelt on the pew alongside Daddy, and I looked at this little white box up in front. So many of our family and friends were there, but Mommy was still in the hospital.
After my youngest Skeeter was born, my dad’s three sisters all remarked in the hushed, reverent tones that they used to talk about him, “she looks just like Christopher”. The only pictures that we have of my brother are Polaroids that my aunts took after he had passed. I look at Skeeter now, and I wonder if she still looks like her uncle that she will never know.
I know not a day goes by that my mom does not think of my brother. I know that it was a painful loss for both my parents to endure. The reminders of that loss kept coming up as both my sister and I had children of our own. Would her grandchildren have the same heart defect that my brother had – pulmonary atresia? Thankfully all four of her granddaughters are healthy and happy. With each successful anatomy ultrasound and each health birth, my mom seemed to breathe a sigh of relief. I do not think that she was even aware how much of that emotion she was keeping in.
Today I think of my beautiful brother and the loving family he left far too soon. We miss you very much, and we love you. You are always in our thoughts, and your memory lives on in our hearts. We are blessed to have a beautiful family, but we are still missing a part of our family, you. No one or nothing can take your place in our family. We are grateful for our blessings, but we also mourn your loss.