On mother’s day, I went to visit my daughter. I took Felix with me, which I don’t often do, simply because it’s a pain in the butt to get him in and out of the car seat. But since the weather’s warmer and it was a special day, we went together. It was super cute to see him dance around her headstone, jumping and running in pure toddler fashion. Felix loved playing with the pinwheels I had brought her for Easter.
But the best part was just as I was walking up to her grave, another woman, maybe 10-15 years older than me walked up to the grave in front of hers. As I held Felix in my arms, I asked “Are you Jessica’s mom?”
I had always felt comforted by the graves in front of and behind Mabel. Behind her was a woman who died older and I pictured her as a grandma figure for Mabel. In front of her lie baby Jessica, who lived for 3 days. A playmate for Mabel, someone to show her the ropes, hold her hand. I told Jessica’s mom this.
We talked for several minutes. I learned that Jessica was born at full term, with an infection from which she simply could not recover. She has two older siblings and two younger siblings. Jessica’s mom likes to visit her grave alone, as do I. I shared a bit of Mabel’s story with her- how we knew she would be sick, but we were hopeful. I said how hard it must have been to lose Jessica suddenly, without warning after a full term pregnancy. She reminisced about the time after she lost Jessica and how her two living children gave her a reason to get out of bed. I spoke of how hard it was losing my first. It was validating in a way- losing your first child is a special kind of pain (not that it’s any worse than losing a second, or third…it’s a unique pain that makes you mother- an invisible one, because the public cannot see the baby that made you a mom). It’s funny how we both tried to make our losses seem less painful than the other’s- the suddenness of her loss, the pain of me having no living children with mine. We bonded over how difficult it is to answer how many children we have. I even mentioned how I had wrote about Jessica in this blog. I asked how old she would be- 17, graduating from high school. She told me of seeing her nieces and nephews the same age reaching milestones and the pang it leaves in her heart. Oh, to know I am not the only one! To know it will always hurt a little… even 17 years later…and that’s normal for our babyloss clan.
I wanted to tell her that I sometimes left a flower for baby Jessica, that I often looked at her headstone, that her daughter proximity to my daughter made me feel less alone. I think she understood without me saying so, as is so common in our clan.
Have you bonded with any babyloss strangers?