Friday, May 15, 2015

A special woman

Memory box for stillborn
Quinn's beautiful memory box made for us by Barbara

I just got off the phone with our bereavement nurse, Barbara, who is one of the most special people on this planet.  She cared for me in the hospital after Quinn’s arrival and she is why I am on a journey toward healing and not somewhere that is self-destructive.  

She made a clay cast of Quinn’s feet, gently encouraged me to get professional photos of Quinn, gave me a memory box for her belongings, and most importantly, gave me hope for the future.  As I bellowed and wailed, she held me.  She didn’t try to make me feel better, she just let me be.  As I screamed, “This isn’t fair,” she listened.  As I gasped for air, she rubbed my back.  As I collapsed in mourning, she picked me up.  

She told me, “This isn’t fair.  People who shouldn’t be parents are.  And you, who should be one, lost your baby.”  She also said, “People are going to say really stupid things.”  Boy oh boy was that ever true - we've had our moments with that one!  Her many words ring in my head almost every day.

I think Barbara might have one of the hardest and most important jobs in the world.  Can you imagine caring for people who have lost their own flesh and blood?  When Quinn came still, I was so devastated, I couldn’t find the strength to hold her or look at her.  I just didn’t think I could go on.  She helped me find the strength and I am forever grateful that she did.  “Go on, I think you should hold her again,” she said in a whisper.  What if I never held Quinn or kissed her?  What if I never rocked her or sang to her?   What if I never looked at her eyes or touched her skin?  What if I didn’t have any pictures of her?  I know this happens to people and my heart fully goes out to them.  I cherish these memories and it’s all because of Barbara.  

Barbara was so gentle and kind.  She was wise.  I feel like I owe my “after Quinn” life to her.  I’m so scared to think of where I would be without her.  In the hospital, Josh and I blindly fell into a dark crater and there were two ways out.  One way was to go further down, through tunnels where we could fuel our darkness and despair.  The other way out was to go up, starting in the darkness of the crater, but each step up was a little lighter.  Barbara put us on the path that goes up and it is because of her that we can look forward and see light, although sometimes we fall down and tumble back into the blackness and depth of the crater, and need to start again.  

I learned that Barbara finances all of the tangible items for bereaved parents at the hospital from her own pocket.  I just had a hopeful conversation about how we, in Quinn’s name, can help other parents who have fallen into the same deep crater of child loss.  More to come on how our angel will help other angels.  Thank goodness for people like Barbara in the world.

Stillborn footprints
Quinn's clay footprints made by Barbara

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