Friday, January 18, 2008
Sadie and her aunts
Our third grandchild, our granddaughter, Sadie Evangeline, was stillborn on December 10, 2007.
She was a beauty, a doll. We have all been walking through a veil of tears. Its has been unreal and horrible. Our grief has been intense.
Sadie will be laid to rest in the spring, alongside her great grandpa, and just down the way from her aunties, our twin girls, whose grave you see here. We will gather on that day and we will celebrate and remember Sadie's life.
I thought i had long worked through the grief of losing our girls. I have recently realized that this is not so. This gravestone is all we have. We have no footprints. No clothing. No bracelets. No photos. I have an old shoe box in my closet in which lay the ultrasound findings of their deaths and a yellow copy of my antenatal record on which my too large for my dates girth was circled on a graph. Also included in the box are various condolence cards and a cemetery record and map of the plot. I was only 5 1/2 months along when the first twin died. . another week passed at which time the second baby had died. . and another week still had gone by before i delivered them. The circumstances made for a great hesitance in looking and bonding. But in this past month and a half, as our daughter and her family have gone through the heart-wrenching loss of their little baby, and as we have walked alongside of them as parents, feeling for them and as grandparents feeling the loss of our grandbaby, the whole issue of closure has come up.
As painful as it is, it must come. As my daughter and her husband sort through what closure is for them, I realize that i have repressed a lot and have not had closure surrounding the stillbirths of my daughters, over 2 decades ago. In my own heart and its feelings of grief for Sadie and for my own babies, I have come to realize again how necessary it is to have symbolism, meaningful memory and identity. Those things are so helpful.
I had been able to see Sadie before she came out, growing under wraps as that adorable little bump, imaging what she'd look like and how it would be when she joined us. I finally got to meet her and touch her cheek and know her name and look at the clothing she wore on her first and only day here. As difficult as that was, i got to see her little face and bond with her. I see the teddy bear her mom bought. I see her foot prints on paper and it all helps me to know her and miss her. I miss her terribly.
Stillbirth is handled a lot differently now than it was 22 years ago. Back then it was thought best to hide everything away. . no pictures, no seeing, no touching, no foot or hand prints. Whisked away, just like it never happened. But it did. I didn't see their little faces. I didn't hold them.
It was too unreal.
My grief now for my granddaughter has brought me right back to my daughters and is triple in intensity. A measure of grief for each little girl. A measure of love, a big one. Still i am so grateful for each, as painful as their loss has been. Yes, I have shaken my fist at the sky and asked why, i have cursed the unfairness of it all, but as it settles in, i have learned once more about the deepening of love through suffering in the lives of those who have been refined by this intense sorrow.
With all the mingling of thoughts and love for each of these little ones. . . for Sadie whom i've seen and for her aunties, whom i've never seen, nor could bring myself to name them; i asked Rob what he thought about giving names to our twin girls after all these years. He thought it was a good idea. We asked our adult daughters what they thought. They said they'd always wanted their sisters to have names! I feel a settling peace. Little Sadie, who present absence has filled and sensitized our hearts, has been used by God to stir us, as a family, to name our daughters/sisters/aunts: Fiona Gillian Claire and Keely Madeleine Rachael