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Belated Gifts: December 2012

I remember a few months after losing our beautiful daughter, Margaret, I went to visit the home of my dear college friend, Nanci.  As soon as I walked into the house her mother offered me an iced tea and then whisked me aside and said, “Robin, I am so sorry and I understand just what you are going through. Our first son was stillborn too. His name was Thomas and his birthday is next month… he would be 40.”
 That gesture of empathy meant so much to me at the time. It reassured me that the powerful love and connection I had with Margaret would never diminish.  It validated what I already knew: that no other child could replace her.  After losing Thomas my friend‘s mother went on to have four more children but Thomas would always be her oldest and on each of his birthdays she would mourn the milestones he did not reach.  It was a surreal realization that though I may heal like she did, my Margaret like her Thomas would always be missing.
During the holidays is one of those times that Margaret is sorely missing. She has no stocking but she has 16 ornaments, one for each missed Christmas, that we place on the tree for the 16 Christmases without her.  Though she is not with us, over the years I have become more and more grateful for our short time with her and for anything that honors her life. I believe losing her has caused me to cherish life and its small gratuities in a more sensitive and real way than if I had not lost her.
Showing our gratitude for what we have even when we feel bereft because of what we have so unfairly lost helps us to have faith and hope and happiness in our lives and, of course, peace as well.
 In the following article several couples in England received a belated gift and blessing by finally learning where their unnamed stillborns were buried. These stories are sad, beautiful and heart wrenching.  It was not until the 1980s in America that parents were encouraged to name and hold their stillborn babies.  I am more thankful each day for the memorable gifts I received with Margaret that these couples, in the 1960s and 70s did not with their babies: We named Margaret, we held her and had time with her, we took pictures of her, my mother-in-law got to hold her and we created a beautiful memorial service for her along with many yearly remembrance rituals.
This Christmas give yourself the gift of gratitude by counting your blessings with your lost child.  Seek gifts from very littlest of things; these are what count most in both life and death.  Here is the link:
www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-1366962/How-heartbroken-couples-secret-graves-long-lost-stillborn-children.
Many blessings to you!