The truest of brave girls

I have a friend back home who just might be the strongest person I know.

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.

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8 thoughts on “The truest of brave girls

  1. This breaks my heart. My son, Liam, was born April 9, 2007 and he was an absolute joy! On Thursday, May 17, 2007, when Liam was 5 weeks me 3 days old, SIDS took his life. I can say firsthand that there are days where I feel like I am wearing a 200lb cloak of sadness over me, it hurts to get up. I hurts to know you HAVE to get up and go about your day. There are days where my heart not only emotionally hurts, but PHYSICALLY hurts. On my worst days in the grief process, I am convinced I am just going to die because it hurts that bad. I have a son, who was nearly 4 at the time of his baby brothers passing and he is my sole motivation to keep my feet in the ground and keep trekking on. I feel as though I’ve had to grieve twice, for me, and for my son, who remembers as clear as day the day his brother wet to heaven and we are still struggling some days to pick up the pieces. I don’t know how I’ve made it the last 5 years…I really don’t. So I think our Lord must just somehow provide us with the strength to at least remain here, and to try to do our best every day. I feel it is my purpose in life to make those around me aware of SIDS, so many people are uneducated and misinformed about the facts. I will forever keep my sons memory and spirit alive.

    I am praying for your friend and her family at this time.

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    1. Hillary, wow. Thank you for sharing your story. I am so sorry for your loss, for the burden you will forever carry, for the sadness, for the unfairness in this world. You are one of the truest of the true. The rest of us are in awe.

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  2. My niece lost a full term baby within minutes of his live birth several weeks ago, and a baby funeral is about as bad as it gets. Gosh it was heartbreaking to think of her going home with empty arms. All of those hopes and dreams gone in an instant. It takes courage, help, and hope to recover. Time heals all wounds, but they leave a mark.

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    1. As usual, Lisa, you are full of wisdom. I am so sorry for your niece and for your family. Life can be so hard … but the sun always comes up, doesn’t it? Whether we want it to or not. Thinking of your niece, too.

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