Where: scrapbook store
What: scrapbooking & chatting for 12 straight hours : )
Who: me and six other women, including my retired coworker friend, the two store owners and a starry-eyed, thirtysomething newly engaged bride-to-be, who expressed her intention to ttc right away ("the clock is ticking!").
One of the women was working on a heritage album & had a late 19th/early 20th century funeral picture of a dead toddler in a casket. This prompted a conversation about the "bizarre" practice of funeral photography, of photos of dead family members propped up in group shots with the living, of family members gathered around caskets.
I surprised myself by speaking up: "But you know, they are starting to do things like that again. There was a documentary on CBC before Christmas about families whose children are at Sick Kids Hospital and not likely to survive. There's an organization called Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep that sends volunteer photographers to hospitals to take pictures of these children and their families. They take photos of stillborn babies, too. Beautiful, Anne Geddes-type photos. And it's all free to the families."
Several of the women: "Oh, I don't think I'd want that" & other similar comments.
Bride to Be: "My uncle has MS, & I'm not going to take any more pictures of him now. I want to remember him the way he was."
Me: "But what if these were the only photographs you were ever going to have of that person?"
Silence, & looks that showed this thought had never occurred to these people. I guess I made my point. The conversation moved on.
My friend & the two store owners know about my loss. Another friend (from my pg loss support group) & I approached the store owners about donations for the Sick Kids scrapbooking program. Word has spread, & one of the owners (who has personal reasons to visit Sick Kids every few months) takes a box full of donations from the store and its customers when she goes to the hospital to our contact, the NICU bereavement coordinator, who was featured in the CBC documentary. (What sort of photos do they think these parents are taking & scrapbooking at the hospital, & why? Do they think that every one of those families gets to take their kids home with them?)
I was the first to leave that evening & am wondering whether they mentioned anything after I left. Or (more likely) whether the conversation had already been forgotten.
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Coincidentally, this week's issue of Newsweek includes a story about stillbirth and Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep, including a web-extra story about NILM. Thanks to CLC for pointing this out on her blog.