Thursday, December 9, 2010

"We had a lovely daughter"


Last night was our support group's annual memorial candlelighting ceremony. It was well attended, perhaps the best-attended one we've been to in years. (There were three large wreaths with candleholders to hold people's lit candles, & they actually ran out of space.)

Four of our dearest friends from the group were there with their families. Among our five families, we have lost eight babies: four girls, two boys & two unknowns -- two miscarriages, two stillbirths, three premature births/neonatal deaths and one medical termination. We also saw several of our former clients, and other volunteers we've come to know over the past 12+ years.

For the most part, it was the same familiar ceremony in the same familiar setting from previous years, with the same familiar poems & readings. The same harpist who has donated her talents to us for this evening for so many years to provide soothing background music as we light our candles & say our babies' names. So many candles. So many babies. So many sad, grieving families -- some, like us, whose losses were years ago; some whose babies left them mere weeks ago.

And then at the end of the program, our mistress of ceremonies said she'd like to play a song for us she had discovered. I caught the name of the song -- "E.liz.abeth's So.ng" -- and the first name of the artist. He had written it, she said, for friends whose daughter had died of SIDS -- & who were deeply hurt that nobody would talk to them about their little girl or speak her name.

The opening lines were:

We had a lovely daughter
And we thought our lives fulfilled
From the moment we first held her
We loved her then, we love her still.

I had been doing fine until that point -- but within seconds, the tears were running down my face. I could see, in the row ahead of us, one of our friends, whose daughter was also stillborn, almost seven years ago now, putting her head on her husband's shoulder. I heard quiet sobs from behind me. I held dh's hand tightly and, with my other hand, took off my glasses & my fumbled in my purse for a Kleenex.

As the service ended & we were invited to share in some coffee and refreshments, I found myself facing another friend's husband -- another dad to another little girl who, eight years ago, was born prematurely & never came home. He always comes with his wife and other children to our events -- but he'd rather talk about anything except the reason why we're all together.

He looked at me, with his mouth set in a line & pain in his eyes, & said, simply and wonderingly, "So -- it's still hard."

"That song was a killer, wasn't it?" I said. "Let's go get some coffee." And we did.

As soon as I got into work this morning, I did some Googling. And I found the full lyrics, and the singer's website.

I think that song will stay with me for a long time.

We had a lovely daughter.

We thought our lives fulfilled...

13 comments:

  1. that sounds like a heart-wrencher. Not sure I am up to listening to it tonite, but maybe i'll try later.

    hugs

    one big difference at this year's ceremony - you guys weren't the organizers!

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  2. I'm so glad you have a wonderful support group. That song is amazing, and I'm not surprised it still hurts. It probably always will. Sending you love and best wishes.

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  3. Wow. It's so beautiful.

    This post brought tears to my eyes. I am glad you have such a wonderful support group.

    Many (*hugs*)

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  4. I can't imagine a day where it doesn't hurt.
    This post made me cry.
    Love to you.
    xo

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  5. Oh my goodness. Just reading this post and I have tears running down my face. I'm sure it will always hurt to some degree. But I'm glad that you have a wonderful support group and a beautiful service to attend so you, like so many others, DO remember and DO speak the names of those loved and lost. I think that's important.

    At this time of year, so many people find it difficult; I pray that each of us finds the right way for us to celebrate and remember.

    Sending many hugs and much love to you both.

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  6. Wow - crying here too. I love the bit about talking about the child. That's such an important thing for anyone who has lost a loved one. I have a friend who lost both his siblings to cystic fibrosis and I'm one of the few people who also knew them, since they have been gone for so long now. I make a point of talking about them now and then - just so he knows that someone else remembers.

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  7. There are some days that I wonder would it have been easier if we never had experienced a pregnancy loss. As hard as it was, we had three months of joy and dreams - and I am not sure that I would give that back. But the hurt - it just never goes away.

    ((hugs))

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  8. I'm glad that you have ways to remember and people to remember with. I'm sorry for your great loss.

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  9. So sad and so beautiful. I haven't yet gone to look at the full lyrics, but the bit you quoted speaks right to the heart.

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  10. Thanks for sharing this. And I'm glad you're still blogging. We were 'blogging companions' for a while (mine was: You're Still Young) but I went down for the count after my 6th miscarriage. Crawling up again, even after the 7th this past August. I think of you, your story, your journey and your wise words often. Thank you for continuing your blog and thank you for giving me hope.

    peace
    shlomit

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  11. PS...I've decided to try to start blogging again....check me out if you get a chance..
    peace
    shlomit
    http://tellingadifferentstory.blogspot.com/

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