Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Hospital Remembers

There aren't alot of people in my life that remember my baby girl.

Not the subject of this blog, the other one...

The one in heaven whom I never forget.

Rarely a day where I don't think of her and yet I don't know exactly what to DO with her.

She is there, she is real and yet she is not.

I am filling out the "family" folder in Kelsey's communication device when we first received it.

It is pre-populated with "brother", "sister", "mom", "dad", etc.

I delete the "brother". I delete the "sister".

Then I carefully go back in and add...

I choose an "angel" icon and program it to say "Kaitlyn" when pushed.

Weeks later I am working on the programming again.

My husband hears the device say "Family".

Then "Kaitlyn".

He says "Don't make her sad." (meaning Kelsey)

I suppose I don't know what to do.

I don't want to hide her from Kelsey.

I am sure that Kelsey feels the presence of her, probably at the most basic level.

She shared my womb with her.

And yet it is alot for a three year old to comprehend.

Kelsey's cognition is unaffected.

How we approach this now, how she grows up understanding the story of her life and how she came to be, is formed now.

Is "the event" that happened, that took her sister and harmed her, something to hide? Is it something to talk about?

I know the day will come when Kelsey will ask why she is different.

What will my answer be?

How do I let her grow up knowing her story and feeling "good" (comfortable) about it?

What are the right words and when do I use them?


I arrive home to a box full of mail.

Included is a tiny envelope.

I know this one is for her.

Even though Kelsey's school is also at this hospital, I know.

Every year it arrives, a special night just for her.

Usually it is Christmas.

I did not go the first Christmas. There was an ice storm and it was cancelled.

I do not think I could have gone anyway. It still hurt too much. Too personal to go to such a public place.

The second year I went. All bundled up with my baby girl in the lobby of the hospital.

Some one offered to take Kaitlyn's candle and light it for me, so I didn't have to take Kelsey in the bitter cold outside.

I stood in the doorway inside the hospital with Kelsey in my arms. I strained to hear her name. I love to hear her name.

Last year Bryan, Kelsey and I went as a family. It had snowed. They held it inside in the new part of the hospital. We made a luminary with her name and the messages to her. I got to go up to the front and say her name.

We put her luminary in front of the big picture windows. The snow was falling softly outside in the courtyard.

It was beautiful.

This card recently was for a different event. It went up on the refrigerator, just a as the reminder for Kelsey's field trip did.

October is infant loss remembrance month. Fitting for me because it was the girls' due date and when we chose to bury Kaitlyn.

The event was great. As I was leaving, Bryan said to have fun and the irony of "having fun" at a baby loss event was not lost on me. But it is fun in a way. To know you are not alone.

I saw families and couples, new little babies honoring older siblings they never get to meet until heaven. What touched me most was a daddy there by himself to think about his son.

There was a blonde little girl running around with her balloon.

I know that the hospital truly does not "remember". I know that some computer somewhere kicks out our names on a list that we would never choose to be on.

But at the same time, someone designed that invitation. Someone made the program. Someone address the envelope. Someone licked the stamp to send it to my home.

And for a moment, someone remembers.


Rochelle said...

Oh but dear friend, we remember Kaitlyn and always will. I think you are absolutely right in sharing her with Kelsey as you feel appropriate.

Katy said...

Wow. That is so beautiful.

I believe so firmly that every life has value--even the ones that are too short. This is a fantastic reminder of that very thing.

Anonymous said...

Telling my kids 'hard stuff' was natural-in a way....
When they would ask 'why aren't we doing....(fill in the blank)?' I would answer in words they understood. The discussions were a part of every day life- little snippets over time--and eventually the kids had the whole picture--nothing big, no unspoken tensions. Giving the kids things in pieces they could understand was hard and no less sad but our situation was just 'how things are'for us, and every family is different.