Today, she is at Target, getting pictures printed, of the baby boy she’ll never know.
The hospital sent them over, though, and well, I guess you get the prints made.
I cannot imagine what that feels like, how you put your keys in the ignition and make the 10-minute drive to the Target at the nearly defunct mall on the busiest street in Omaha, how you put your blinker on and wait to turn into the parking lot at that awful intersection. How you go inside and wait for the pictures to be ready. How you open that envelope.
My friend said it was awkward. I imagine it deserves a whole lot of other adjectives, too.
Heartbreaking. Sad. Unfair.
I don’t know. Others.
My friend and her husband visited us out here about three weeks ago. We talked about the baby, what names they liked, whether she thought it’d be another boy (they have three beautiful sons). She looked great. They seemed happy. It was like we hadn’t missed a beat. And it’d been so good to see her.
Late last week, she went in for her 18-week appointment. There was no heartbeat.
Every pregnant woman’s fear was realized. And her life changed, forever.
My dear friend went to the hospital to have a baby that wasn’t alive, an act no one – ever – deserves.
He was born early Sunday morning. My friend and her husband gave their baby a name. They recorded his birth date and time.
Then they set about their mourning.
I can’t stop thinking about her, about them, about their sons. I can’t shake the goosebumps I feel. The knot in my stomach. The complete admiration I have for her. For him. For them. For the strength I hope I never have to see if I have.
She told me she knew they’d get through this. That this had been her worst fear. That she’s still alive.
Where does strength like that come from?
Do we all have it within ourselves, dormant until we need it? Or do we fight to find it?
Could we all face such a heartbreaking tragedy with as much grace, with as much bravery as my friend?
To all of you women who have lost a child, you are in my thoughts – and in my complete esteem – more than ever.
Perhaps the truest of brave girls.