What do you say when someone loses their baby? I don’t think that there are any words beyond “I’m here for you” that are remotely comforting.
When I was pregnant with Ryan I was clueless as to what I needed to survive motherhood. I had lost my mom almost one year earlier and I was having daily anxiety attacks over whether I would have everything I needed by the time the baby arrived or if he would wind up sleeping in a dresser drawer.
My friend Erin had her son Will exactly six months before I had Ryan. I owe most of my earlier days of sanity to Erin. She would stop by my house once or twice a week and would just so happen to have random baby things that she would leave behind. Clothes, bassinet, crib sheets, infant car seat, swing, monitor, hangers, bottles, nursing pillows. The list goes on. Whatever she had that Will no longer needed came to me. She was as nonchalant about it as if she were coming by and dropping off a newspaper she had already read. It was everything I needed and then some and it meant the world to me. She was the giver of no-nonsense advice and extremely easy to laugh with.
Seven months later, she found out that she was pregnant with Caroline. Interestingly, she was a little late on the “finding out” part. She went to the doctor in April expecting to get a Thanksgiving due date, only to find out that she was actually due in July. Thanks to herniated membranes she went from the doctors office to bed rest for three months and then Caroline was born. She was so tiny. And beautiful. She and her brother Will were the best of friends and not hardly a week went by that I didn’t see them at the grocery store or out and about in town. As someone who gets a little queasy at the prospect of taking both boys to the grocery story alone, I was always amazed at Erin’s fearlessness at taking both kids out by herself. Her husband worked long hours so he wasn’t always able to go out with them, but any time there was a parade or a festival in town I could count on seeing her there with both kids in tow.
I ran into her less than two weeks ago. She had Caroline with her and they were shopping. They were all doing well and things were good. We were all just getting ready for school to start back and I wondered if Ryan would be in her class this year compliments of his late September birthday status. It never dawned on me that just a few short weeks later I would be writing this.
Russ’ grandmother passed away this week. We were out of town attending the funeral and spending time with family. When I got home this afternoon I got the message to call my friend Lisa. I could tell she had been crying but I had no idea how awful her news would be. Erin lost her baby girl last night. Caroline was killed in a horrible accident at home.
I feel like I am in shock. I can’t get my mind around it and I know that what I am feeling doesn’t even begin to touch the tip of what Erin and her husband are going through tonight. I can’t stop hugging my boys. Tonight I stood at Drew’s crib, holding him and smelling his hair, wondering what would happen if he was gone tomorrow. I can’t even finish the thought in my head without feeling sick.
I attended a funeral on Thursday. It was for a woman who had lived a full life. We were so sad to see her leave us, but we were glad that she was no longer in pain. I was sad because it brought back memories of losing my own mother, but I could commiserate with Russ’ mom because know what it’s like to lose your mom. It doesn’t matter if your mom was 50 years old or 87 years old. The grief is still enormous.
But Caroline was only here for three years. She had just started her life. She was this tiny little girl who at the age of two, still only weighed 23 pounds. She is leaving behind a brother who adored her and parents who are absolutely lost in grief right now. I don’t even know how to begin to comfort them.
The funeral. I’m going. I’m scared. This, I can do. I can write about it. I can tell you how it makes me feel. But, there. Going there. I don’t know what to say. Like I said before, I don’t think that there are any words that I can say.
There is just this tiny life that is gone now, and the space that she is leaving behind will be immeasurable.