A Letter to My Love

My Love ~

 

The marking of Fathers day on the calendar reminds me afresh that you are worthy to have a whole day designated to honor you.

We have been through a lot; so much, you and I, that some of the events, circumstances and some of our responses to them sometimes – too often in fact – feel as though they stand between us.

The differences in which we reflect on our experiences and how they visibly impact us seem as though we are offering an exercise in polar opposites, and with each new difference, with each new misunderstanding, misinterpretation or misjudging of our reactions we seem to become even further apart.

Days of not knowing how to honor you while being true to this transforming role I have fade quickly into weeks and dare I confess months of feeling separated from you in a foundational and critical way.

They say that each child a couple has becomes a person between them, that it is harder for the partners to reach one another for all of the little people between them.

I say this may be true for living children as well as children not alive.

I interpret, display and perform my role as a mother much differently than you do yours as a father.

And too often, this can make me feel insecure, make me feel as though my actual wellness, my very value, is conditional upon your positively reflecting back to me that my interpretation, display and performance of my role as a mother is appropriate and accepting to you.

And too often, this can make you feel even further obligated to interpret, display and perform your own role as father in even more of the same manner that actually stirred my very insecure and conditional feelings to begin with!

And so you try to lock the doors, protect our home from negative intruders, forcing out the things that seem to disrupt sanity and serenity.

I love you and I need you to protect our home and family, from negative intruders who seek harm and destruction.

But, my interpretation, display and performance of my motherhood is not an intruder.  I promise it’s not, even when it seems like it.

And, your desire to keep our home, family and life as safe and serene as possible is just what you do as a leader and protector, and I share with you now that I will work to see with fresh appreciation what was once an admirable, attractive quality in you and that, since the death of our baby, has become an area that I have been tempted to find blame, insecurity and as a condition to my own health and happiness.

I love you.

We are parents, and, we are parenting differently.

I am learning to see this, and I am learning to discover the goodness in it.

May you have a good father’s day, and may we both feel anew, the ease, wellness and delight we once held as we saw one another in fullness and in total appreciation for the uniqueness, intrinsic value and love that we each give to one another.  May we discover the treasures that there are in our differences, and may we embrace the ways in which we have grown, and continue to grow, as individuals, as parents, and as a couple.

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Deosculate – Abide – Discover

If ever there were a little treasure map for you, darling,  it would be this.  If you ever feel lost on the journey, My Love, please just start back at the beginning.  Come near to me, hold me and kiss me.  Go slow.  Abide in a way that is lingering, giving permission and offering patience.  Then, I will be reminded that I can trust in your direction.  I will not feel threatened that the path you invite me on, then, is a way to shrink who I am but will trust that it is the path for each of our greatest growth.  In the end, if there is something in my journey that can use correcting or refinement or guidance, you will be more aware of the journey and have a clearer vision of the path by having and exercising the course of this map.  And then, sweet Love, we will know what to do, together.  Because together is what my heart desires, not just in spite of but because of our differences, and I give this day to honor you by making this clear.  I love you.

1dad

 

For more, see: About the DaD logo

 

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Jaisie’s Daddy

Shared by: Jalisa

My husband and I have been married 5 years, and have struggled with infertility just as long.

He has been my backbone and encouragement through all of this emotional strain. I don’t know where I would be without all the love he has for me and our precious angel baby. He attended every doctors appointment and does everything he can to make sure his family is always taken care of. I’ve never met such an amazing person as him.

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I Can Still Praise

Shared by: Your Son’s MotherSee More

 

Dear Cae’s Daddy,

International Bereaved Father’s Day, wow, just wow. Twelve years ago neither one of us would have ever imagined that such a day could exist. In fact as naïve as it sounds, I am not sure that either one of us ever imagined that babies died. Not that we lacked the intelligence to know it was untrue, but such things happened to others, to those making poor choices, to …those without proper medical care, certainly such a horrific thing could never happen to us. And then, in an instant everything we ever thought we knew about life, death, love, and longing changed forever.

Do you remember that day? That weekend? That moment when everything changed? We had we just moved into our new home and had spent the entire weekend dreaming of how we were to decorate the nursery. We had learned just weeks before that the child I carried was a son, and we were eager to see him once again as we made our way to the doctor’s office the following Monday morning. The tech helped me onto the table as I answered her questions, yes I felt him often I assured her with a smile as I exposed my already round belly. You took my hand as she spread the icy cold goo and we all turned our attention to the small, still screen. After several minutes of silence you ask what would be the first of many questions. “Doesn’t the heartbeat flicker?” The nurse moved the wand upward placing it on my own chest, “Yes, the heartbeat does flicker. Do you see that? Do you see your wife’s heartbeat there?” We both silently shook our heads as she moved the wand back to my belly and continued, “See this? This is your baby. This is your baby’s heart. No flicker. I am sorry…the doctor is on his way…I really have no answers for you…I am so, so, sorry…” She continued on and on and as promised, we were meet by doctors, and nurses, and counselors but I didn’t hear anything that they said. Did you?

Later the same evening we arrived at the hospital. The lady at the check in desk smiled and ask if I was in labor. No, I answered, I was here for an induction. “Oh you must be so excited to meet your new little one! Do you know if it is a boy or a girl?” And that is when, for the first time I would have to allow myself to speak the words that would become our reality, “He is a boy, he is a dead little boy. He died inside me. I am having a dead baby boy.”
I must admit that I remember very little of the next three days as we waited for the arrival of the child that had already left our world for the next. This was the only thing that brought me any comfort and yet you were so angry with God that you did not want me or anyone else to speak His name. I do remember demanding another ultrasound just to ensure that my faith alone was not enough to have made what we had been told to be untrue. I know you must have gotten tired of me pleading with God as I struggled to accept what you could not. I knew even then that it was too much for you. I knew that your heart was broken and that what little faith you had carried was now gone.
While I was confined to the bed you spent countless hours wondering the halls, running out side for “fresh air”, or maybe you were just trying to hide how much you too were hurting. In case I have never told, I forgive you for not being there with me the moment in which our son slipped into this world. I say slipped because it was nothing at all like my fist full term delivery in which I had felt wave after wave of intense pain and then had to push with all my might, no, this was not at all like that. One minute our sweet little baby boy was within me and the next he was there before me. I had delivered his still, quite body all alone in that still, quite room.

I am not sure how much time had passed since the moment of his arrival and when you walked in and found us there. I remember the room was no longer still nor quite. As the doctors and nurses stirred about us, we were finally introduced to our son. He was so perfect. Together we counted his ten tiny fingers and ten tiny toes. The skin on his upper lip and just below his teeny nose was wrinkled and pruney as was his thumb. We were told this was because he had sucked his thumb in the womb. All of your strong, dominant features were there and everyone remarked at how much he looked like you. After covering his body in tears and kisses, we wrapped him in a blanket and took turns passing his tiny, lifeless, body between us. Both of our parents came to say their goodbyes yet you and I both selfishly clung to our son. Did you think it was as special as I did that it was only our embrace that he knew?

The days, the weeks, and the months that followed are much of a blur to me. I am sorry if I never thanked you for taking care of all of the arrangements for me. I am also not sure if I ever told you how sorry I was that I was too ill to attend the service with you. I can only imagine how awful it must have been to bury our child alone. I promise it was equally as difficult to know such was happening without me. I will always be grateful that your parents were there for you when I could not be.

In the weeks that followed parents returned home, our first child was entertained by my parents, friends and family who did not know what to say neglected to call or visit, new neighbors kept their distance, you returned to work, and I was all alone in our lovely new home. All I could think about, all I could talk about, all that consumed my very existence was my desire for the child I lost. I apologize as I know realize this was the last thing you wanted to hear.

Your inability to discuss our son, the son which meant every bit as much to me as our other children, is a big part of what I believe finally pushed us apart. As the years passed I submerged myself in my faith, in it I found the peace and assurance that someday I would reunite with our son in heaven. You however allowed yourself to become more and more bitter with God claiming that you could never understand a God that would take our child from us. I prayed you would one day see things as I saw them but instead, you decided to turn your anger on me.
I am so sorry that I could not help you grieve. I am so sorry that you could not express your pain and your confusion. I am sorry that your anger escalated to violence and fearing for my safety and the safety of our other children, I fled. My sister said you told her that you knew I was gone and that I had no plans to return because I had cleared all of our son’s things for his shadow box and his memory box and teddy bear were missing along with me and the other children. You never tried to make it right. You never admitted you had a problem or that you needed help. You know I would have helped you. You knew I loved you more than you ever allowed me to show you.

So, twelve years ago we would have never known of Bereaved Father’s Day, we would have never known of being bereaved. We would have never known the pain of losing not only our son, but each other. Both loses have taught me so many things. They have taught me to embrace every moment both good and bad, to treasure every soul that dances into and out of your life, no matter how brief the visit. These losses have also taught me to believe, to hope, and to trust in something bigger than myself.

Yes, that is right, I am still a faithful servant to a God that I myself will admit to not understanding. Because of you I had to put all the more faith in the One who promised to “work all things for my good”, the One who’s “ways are above my ways and thoughts are above my thoughts”. The One who promises that His plans “are for good and not for evil”, the One who promises me a “future full of hope”. And above all, the One who has shown me that all though our son will never return to us here in this life, we can “go to him” when our time here is through.

I received a vision some time ago in which you, I, and our son were together once again. We were all hand in hand, him in between us. I believe this vision was our son’s way of reminding me to pray for you each and every day, to thank you for giving him life, however short, as his life was for a purpose. I have found that purpose in all that I do. I have answered a call to minster to other families is their own times of loss. Again I have to thank you, much of what I have learned in our parting has taught me to feel as others feel, as I imagine you must have felt. I say felt again because of faith. I believe what I saw in that vision to be truth. I believe that one day you and I and our son will be together in the ever after. I do not know how, I do not know when, or who may lead you there, but I know it will be so.

So, until such a time as we are all together once more, Happy Bereaved Father’s Day. For everything you have given me in your presence, in your absence, and in the hope of what is to come, I thank you.

Until together forever,
Your Son’s MotherSee More

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He Loves My Rainbow

Shared by: MeSee More

To the love of my life,
You looked over my shoulder as I typed the words to my previous letter. You did not know what I was doing, but you knew I was in deep thought and hard at work. You chased our daughter, my rainbow baby and you’re first born, as I bared my soul to another man. You saw the tears building in my eyes as I recalled precious, painful memories. You placed your hand on my back assuring me that whatever the reason for my current state, you were by my side. You have however, not always been at my side. There is a time in my life that you only know though what I have shared. Deep, gapping, painfully raw wounds exposed to one who was not present when they were inflected.

Why you, you are a bereaved father as well. The same way you chose to be a father to the two children I was solely parenting here on earth, you were aware from the beginning that there was another child in which I parented in heaven. Like so many other things in which we share differing beliefs on, you never lacked an understanding of how important it is to me to parent all three of my children. So, while you may argue that you are not a bereaved father, in your love for me, you are.

I say this not because you knew the pain of anticipation meet with devastation. Not because you were the one at my side when I learned the truth that would forever change who I was. Not because you held my son’s tiny, lifeless, still body. Not because you were there in the weeks, the months, and even the immediate years that followed. I say this because you chose a me the was devastated. You accepted that I was a different person because I had suffered the loss of a child. You cradled me in your arms as I longed for just a moment or two more to cradle the son you never meet. Although you were not a part of my life in the weeks, months, and years immediately following my loss, you are a part of my life now and you are committed to forever.

Where life, loss, and love have let me down, you have elevated me to a place of peace which I never knew existed. You have encouraged me to embrace those things in life which have made me who I am, to love who I am, and to be the best me I can be. You have taught me to see obstacles as opportunities, to dream big, and to know that whatever ever path I felt lead to follow, you would be there cheering me on. It is because of you that I was able to return to school, to obtain the degree in which will allow me to minister to others, to answer a call to do what I do.

You have cheeked book bags, cleaned up vomit, attended school functions, kissed boo boos, repaired broken toys and nursed broken hearts. All the while helping to keep house as well as supporting our family financially. Long before you ever knew the love of a child of your own, you had made mine your own. No one has ever loved my children or me the way that you love us.
Here we are a little better than five years into marriage and I have the father I always dreamed of for my children, the love I always hoped of for myself, the education I had long since given up hope for, and the most beautiful, perfect, stunning rainbow baby girl that anyone has ever been blessed with. You have given me all of this and so much more. And you have not only given to me and to our children, but you have given to others. In your support of me and my passion for other bereaved parents, you have allowed me to give as well.

In my studies I was taught that there are five stages of grief. The first is denial, followed by anger, then bargaining, depression, and finally acceptance. I believe what separates the grief of losing a child from that of other losses is that it is impossible to accept the loss of a child. Not that one lacks the understanding that their child is gone and that nothing will ever bring them back, but accepting that such a thing could happen. How does one accept the death of their child? Not many are able, but you, you accept that I will grieve forever more.

I thank God each and every day that you have never known the pain of loss, yet I also thank him that you understand what such pain does to a person. I thank you so much for all that you are to me, and to our children, both the children here with us as well as those who are not. While you may never consider yourself a bereaved parent by blood, you are by circumstance. Today and every day I celebrate you.

Happy Bereaved (Step)Father’s Day,
All of my Love now and forever,
~ MeSee More

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I Know You are There

Shared by: Karen

Doug,

My heart is breaking yet again. I don’t even know what to say to you. Losing Rebekah all those years ago was so terribly hard. You saw how I suffered her loss. You were there for me no matter how low I got. You stayed with me in the delivery room and supported me through the whole process. You worried about me and suffered with me, but never made me feel I shouldn’t be so sad.

I was still mourning her loss when you became ill a year later. Going through the two years of illness with you before you joined her in heaven was so hard. It took me years, and I don’t think I ever truly recovered. It did help in some small measure to think of the two of you being together. And now, Doug, our oldest son has joined you in heaven. His loss was so sudden, I’m still reeling. It still doesn’t seem quite real. I so wish you were here to help me through this.

Derrick missed you so much. I am sure he was very excited to see you and his sister. I have always felt you and Rebekah up there watching over us. Now Derrick will too. We need your help to take care of the children. I got ours raised, but now Derrick’s children will be growing up without their dad. It doesn’t seem right for this to be happening again, but I know you are with up. While I wish you were still here to comfort me, at least I know you are with my lost babies. I’m glad to know you continue to be there for me and to keep taking care of the babies you have with you.

Your loving wife,

Karen

 

 

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Love Letters & Other Writings

 

Love Letters are beautiful ways of exploring our motherhood and our bereavement authentically.  They are ways we Mother Our Mourning.

 

We have several collections of Love Letters, including:

  • To your loved ones, for their support of you along your journey.  Rather than a series of thank you cards, one published message can be simpler for you.
  • To your beloved, deceased baby.
  • To your self or to your body.
  • To your spouse.
  • To your surviving and/or subsequent daughter (stillbirthday grandmothers/sisters).
  • To other parents who are rearing living children while grieving (we call this Holding Umbrellas).
  • To Another Mother (Hope): you can write a letter of validation, sisterhood, and hope to other mothers.
  • To Another Mother (PAL): Lindsey of Stillborn & Still Breathing has authored a special program called PAL Love Letters.  This is an opportunity for mothers who have experienced pregnancy after loss (PAL) to write a Love Letter to a fellow MOM who is pregnant again after loss.  You can offer hope, encouragement and information as you share with her what your journey of pregnancy after loss has been like.

Sharing Your Love Letters

In addition to writing Love Letters, we have ways for you to share your baby’s birth story, add your blog to our blog roll, and more.

Reading Your Love Letters Aloud

After you have written your Love Letter, you are invited to join us on the 10th of each month {this is the first day of the month that the “0” is seen} during an online gathering we call a “Stillbirthday Party” – where we read our letters aloud, through a special online meeting space held within Stillbirthday University.

 

Later, you can collect all of your letters together into one Still Parenting Journal.

This photo is from Dirty Footprints Studio,  a beautiful resource for creativity through bereavement.

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Love Letters to My Spouse

You two have been through a lot together.  Write him or her a love letter.

Just use our sharing tab, and it will be held here.

And, you can read this collection of Love Letters, here.

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