Jonathon's Closet

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Tripping Over Landmines

Yesterday I learned of a young woman who only a few days ago gave birth to a baby girl. The husband is out of work (MI economy is tough right now, 2nd highest unemployment in the nation). I have a box of untouched tiny pink baby clothes, tags still attached, that have sat in the closet in my guest room for quite some time now. I decided that these items should be given to someone who needs them.

When I opened the box, I stumbled on something I had quite forgotten existed. It's a photograph of my Chloe; a beautiful black & white photo of what appears to be a sleeping baby. Chloe's image is permanently seared in my mind, but I had forgotten that a photograph existed. I called my best friend, who reminded me that a neonatal nurse at the hospital had taken the pic, and brought it by the house about a week later. (She's obviously quite a photographer, and what a beautiful way she has found to help grieving families.) At the time, I had barely glanced at the photo and simply placed it in the box of baby items and put the box away.

Needless to say, when I stumbled on it my heart nearly stopped. I couldn't catch my breath. The room was spinning - or maybe it was just my head. And I quickly tried to reach the friend that I knew I could count on, the friend that I knew would understand.

I rushed to make arrangements for Jona to spend the night with a friend. I was seriously in "flight or fight" mode.

Those of us who've lost a child really are the best support for each other. We understand what it's like to be simply walking thru life and all of a sudden hit one of these landmines. We know the pain, we know the sorrow ... and we know that there's really precious little we can do for each other, aside from being there.

I couldn't reach the friend, so I simply left a voice mail stating I was on my way. My voice was shaking - I didn't even sound like me to ME! Upon arrival, I simply handed the photograph to my friend, who instantly understood.

"Is that ... Chloe?"

"MmmHmm"

... ... silence ... ...

"Wow- she's beautiful!"

"MmmHmm" (sometimes I'm so eloquent it's scary)

"Just like her Mom"

... ... silence ... ...

"I'm so sorry", he said quietly, and the tears flowed down his cheeks and mine.

I spent last night in the arms of the one person I knew would understand.
I spent last night in the arms of "The Man".

8 Comments:

  • It's nice to have a safe place to land after you're temporarily blown up by one of those landmines. I'm glad you have "The Man" as your safe place. And I'm glad you have the picture of your precious baby girl.

    By Blogger Catherine, at 7:01 AM  

  • HUGS!!!!! I'm glad you had a safe place last night.

    By Blogger scrapperjen, at 7:31 AM  

  • You are so lucky to have those loving arms to run to. I envy you.

    And to find that you have a solid memory photo of your sweet girl, I know it hurt but what a treasure.

    By Blogger Valerie - Riding Solo, at 7:52 AM  

  • Between this post and the last (both which have filled my eyes with tears) I think The Man is a very good man.

    By Blogger Oh, The Joys, at 8:35 AM  

  • Somewhere in a hospital basement (I hope) are pictures of my son Holden. It's been almost six years and I've never had the courage to go and look at them. Maybe now I will.

    By Anonymous Becki, at 5:07 PM  

  • Oh Kate - it is the "landmines" that make us terrible - and remind us of the beauty even in grief!!! Hang in there girl and give "The Man" a hug from one of the girls!!!
    You are often in my thoughts!!

    By Blogger Heather, at 6:07 PM  

  • I'm sorry...i am glad you have a safe place to go to. And it is very very kind of you to give away those clothes.

    I didn't realize your daughter was named Chloe too and i am so glad you have a beautiful picture of her ((((((((hugs)))))))

    By Blogger kate, at 9:00 AM  

  • The landmines are difficult, especially when they are so unexpected....but I imagine that even though it was painful, it was also nice to see your lovely little girl again...

    I'm so glad you have someone in your life who understands...although of course I'm sorry that any of us have to know what it's like to lose a child.

    And also, lastly, what a lovely act of kindness to give the clothes away.

    By Blogger Depressionista, at 2:53 PM  

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