I have to give you a warning, this will likely not be a very funny blog. In fact, it won’t be funny at all. I’m about to pour out a whole lotta pain, and if you’re not up for it, this may not be the blog for you to read.
In March 2005, I gave birth for the first time to the most beautiful baby girl who made me a mommy. She, as all firstborns are, was so spectacular and new, and she was her daddy’s and my heart and soul. All births are amazing, but there is something about the wonder of a mother’s first, how profound that moment is when you are forever changed… It is now 2010, and this past March, we observed her fifth birthday. Then, on July 5, we observed the fifth anniversary of her death. My beautiful baby girl died of Sudden Unexpected Death in Infancy, a diagnosis which falls under the very large, and more familiar umbrella of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). In true SIDS, there is still no known cause, in the case of Brady Judith Lindstrom, my baby, they were unable to rule out environmental factors. What this means is that her environment likely contributed to her death. In other words, in Brady’s case, she was placed on her stomach to sleep by a caregiver, and was found with her face turned in to the mattress. Her beautiful body was lifeless and despite best efforts, she could not be revived.
I was there for my baby’s first breath. I was not there for her last.
This year, my baby girl would be starting Kindergarten. I can only imagine her gorgeous round face, crowned with a brand new first day of school haircut of her red locks. I can only imagine it. Most days, the pain of her loss is an ache, like learning to live with a chronic pain, I assume, only it’s a chronic pain in the heart. On her birthday, the anniversary of her death, and on holidays the pain is intense, sometimes unbearable.
I can’t run away from it. All these kids going to school. Living, breathing, happy, giggling kids filled with the excitement. I remember holding Brady in the first days of her life, and calling my mom hysterically, “Mom, how am I going to put her on the bus?” This, of course confused my mom. What bus is she getting on? Why would I be putting my brand new infant on a bus? I was thinking about that first day of school… about that amazing moment as a mother where you let your little one use their wings.
Today is that first day of school, and while my heart is leaping for joy for all my friends whose children are testing out their wings, I miss my little girl, who has a different set of wings. As a bereaved parent, there are days that you dread and anticipate the sadness of for weeks, and there are days that sneak up on you, and then ambush you like a sniper hitting target. Today is one of those days.
Why do I share this? Not because I want people’s sympathy. I share this because I want to give voice to this experience. We are all around you, mothers who have lost our babies. For the most part we keep our pain to ourselves – mostly because unless you’ve walked our road, there is no possible way for you to understand. And believe me, we don’t WANT you to understand. Our hearts break every time another mother joins our club. We are a small club, and a usually quiet club, but when we are given a chance, we will speak loudly. We honor our babies by keeping their memory alive. I thank you for giving me that opportunity.
On September 14, Brady’s little brother will be off to preschool. I can’t wait to watch him use his wings!