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" -- 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...


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


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

  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.

  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*)

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

  5. God bless Loribeth...big hugs.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.


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

  10. 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.

  11. 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.


  12. PS...I've decided to try to start blogging again....check me out if you get a chance..