My best friend from college called me yesterday. We got to connect, cry, laugh, and share the details of a week no one ever should have to experience.
Even though my friend is only a month older than me, she was reaching the milestone of Grandmother far sooner than I (she already has the irreverent knickname of "Ancient One" for that month, now she was stepping into the full mantle of the knickname).
Her first grandchild was due at the end of the month, but they needed to do an emergency c-section, so the celebration got moved up two weeks.
So, we were talking about all of those sweet "firsts" that happen in the first few days... giving the first bath, first swaddling in a receiving blanket, those cute foot and hand prints...
In this case, it all happened in the first 28 hours. The baby, my friends' first grandchild, did not survive to reach 2 days old.
And after the sweet "firsts", the conversation went to the other details.
The stories of human compassion in the nursing staff who went so far above and beyond their "job" to make sure memories were made - attention to the details that the rest of us take for granted (a plaster hand cast that is designed to wrap around the mother's finger......so it is like the baby is grabbing your finger......something this young mother will never experience from her firstborn; to the crematorium who understands the emotional devastation of arranging services for a newborn - and offers that service for free.
Such pain at a time that everyone expected to be so full of joy......
Bringing back memories of my own loss.....and gratitude for what my TODAY looks like.
Yes, there is pain. Yes, there is loss. Lots of loss. And yet, there is joy, and hope, and love.
I love you, my dear friend! And to your beautiful daughter, please let her know that there will be a time when the pain is not quite as raw and stinging - and to be patient while she travels to that time.
When I look at this picture, I can say with absolute certainty, that I have an abundant life.
And to the one I lost, a reminder that has survived 20 years: