December Blog post 2016:
In the classic Christmas movie, It’s a Wonderful Life, George Bailey, played by James Stewart, contemplates ending his life and wonders aloud with a guardian angel, Clarence, what life would be like if he were never born. The rest of the movie proceeds to answer that question.
At this significant time of year during the Christmas season, I think daily of the newly bereaved moms and dads who will have to get through the holidays without their baby. And then I ask myself, “What if Margaret was never born?” The easy answer would be that my husband and I along with our children and extended family would not have had to endure such pain. But life is not so cut and dry or easily controlled; indeed it is much more complex than that.
The impact of Margaret’s pregnancy and birth, though she never breathed outside my body, is quite great. Yes, losing Margaret caused immense grief, but it also gave my husband and me wisdom into the world of parental loss, and though we will never stop wishing she was here with us, her death allowed me to bond with other families of loss through my peer counseling and book. Since Margaret’s birth 19 years ago, I am blessed to know that I have in some small way directly helped over 1,100 grieving families. And, over 15,000 people have visited and read my blog posts.
Also, due to Margaret’s birth and death, our children are empathetic beyond the normal realm. When a peer loses a friend or a grandparent, many children, their various ages do not know what to say, but my children know that saying something, doing something, being there for friends that are grieving is so important. People are scared by sadness and are not sure how to deal properly with those who are mourning once the funeral ends, but my children are not scared because they have experienced it. I, too, find that I am much more proactive about reaching out to those who have lost someone than I was prior to losing my baby girl.
The birth of Margaret also caused my husband and me to struggle with our faith, but ultimately, brought us closer to God and increased our spiritual lives and our understanding of the connection between life and death. Finally, besides being proud of my family, I am most proud of my book Journaling Away Mommy’s Grief. If I had not lost Margaret, I would not have written this book. I feel happy that I have been able to use my God given gift as a writer to help people and make them feel a little less alone or insane in their grief.
Finally, I am currently writing a YA book. It is unchartered territory for me, as is writing fiction at all! My Young Adult novel is about a grieving teen who moves through life and grief and ultimately towards resiliency and happiness. Without losing Margaret and learning up close about so many grieving journeys, I would never have been able to contemplate writing this book.
When one loses an elderly parent the impact of his/her long life ripples far and wide no matter what kind life was lived, yet, even my 4 pound, eyes shut Margaret has had her own profound influence far and wide.
So to all of you newly bereaved families enduring so much pain that you can barely move, speak or breathe, know that your baby’s life has and will continue to make a difference in this world. I hold you and your baby in my heart and in my prayers.
George Bailey got his worthy life back. Margaret did not get her life back on earth but she did in our hearts and in eternal heaven.
“Blessed are those that mourn for they shall be comforted.” Matthew 5:4