As I put my stethoscope up to her back to listen to her lungs, the thin paper gown shifted, revealing the inked skin of her shoulder. I paused and put my finger up to the faded tattoo of a tiny footprint flanked by angel wings.

She’s part of the club, I thought. She knows loss.

“Who’s this for?” I asked in a voice that was almost a whisper, ready to share my secret, to envelope her in this cloak of grief with me.

“For him,” she said, pointing to her living child in the room with us.


23 thoughts on “oh

    • right? I guess not everyone got the memo. oh, and I could kind of care less about angel wings- I”m not a big angel believer myself, but its the symbolism. its the only positive symbol we have.

      • Yep. I hate when I see t shirts or pjs etc that say “mummy/daddy’s little angel”. No. I actually don’t believe in angels at all, (but Angel Princess sounded much better than Dead Princess for the blog) but I totally agree, since when has angel wings been anything but a universal symbol of death?!

  1. Wow. I don’t get that at all. Obviously means something to her to have it tattooed on her body, but it must have taken your breath away when she pointed to the living boy in your presence. Open door…, shut immediately.

  2. People get tattoos for many different reasons. My husband has many while I have none. With that being said I agree that living babies do not get angel wings. There are many other different ways that you can honor and represent your children in a tattoo…

  3. Wellll, we gotta think about how it would be if we had never lost our kids. We wouldn’t have a clue about this deep dark hole full of tears and the mixed up crazy world of hurt that comes with it. I told my boys that angels flew over and dropped feathers and there they were, sweet little babies, gifts from heaven. We’re going to feel bitter, we just gotta try to remember that this club is damn exclusive and most people are super ignorant of us bereaved mums.

    • true. and thats the only way I can explain it. they are fortunate enough to not have had an true “angel” in their lives and are blissfully ignorant to the meaning we take with angel wings.

  4. What is with living babies & wings? I had an awful interaction with a lady who got insulted when I assumed her footprint/angel wing necklace was for a “non-living” child. I call foul & bullshit & everything else. I’m sorry, Meghan.

    • omg, Carole, I TOTALLY thought of your story about the necklaces. TOTALLY. fortunately this young woman didnt berate me like in your experience (nuts!). but what is with it, right?

  5. I don’t really jive with the ‘angel baby’ phraseology for our dead babies, but using that symbolism for a live baby just seems very wrong to me. I guess angel wings just has a different symbolism for that woman, and I suppose we should be pleased for her that she doesn’t understand the ‘usual’ connection of angel wings with baby loss.

    • I dont quite jive with it either. I often feel like the angel terminology is forced upon me, and so seeing it used in a way that is not in reference to babyloss, I feel almost territorial. LIke, if people practically force me to accept it, then let me at least have it! but yes, it is fortunate for her to not understand the significance.

  6. The fact that she symbolises a living child with a FOOTPRINT–never mind the angel wings even–is strange to me. That, in my experience, is pretty universal for “baby who didn’t make it past baby.” I have a footprint pendant on my necklace for my deceased baby–anyone who notices it’s a footprint automatically “understands.” As the child, I think I would find that strange and kind of offensive growing up–being nothing more than a footprint with wings when you are right there! Growing and living and not perfect! You’d think the kid could get some kind of symbolism (like Mabel’s carrot, or for us, Seraphim’s duck).

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