Day 11. Honour – March 15 is a very significant date for our family. It’s Emilia’s birthday. The day she was delivered stillborn. There are a lot of different emotions parents feel the day an anniversary rolls around. Sadness tends to be a commonly shared sentiment. I, however, greatly look forward to March 15 each year. For my family, it is a time of celebration. We get to celebrate a little girl that we so fiercely love! My husband takes this day off from work so we can fully immerse ourselves in nothing but memories of Emilia. We sift through Emilia’s items: things we brought home from the hospital, cards we received from family and friends, etc. We visit North Kansas City Hospital (where she was born), release balloons, and share homemade birthday cupcakes with the labor and delivery nursing staff. Afterward, we have a birthday dinner at The Cheesecake Factory. Although this day is very much a celebration, I do always shed tears. I wish I were baking and decorating these birthday cupcakes for an ornery little girl to eat. Instead, I must be satisfied in knowing that she is enjoying something so much grander up in Heaven without me.
Day 12. Just Breathe – An expression related to loss that really bothers me is “Everything happens for a reason”. I don’t believe this statement is true. I don’t believe God chose for Emilia to die for a purpose that I will just never understand. There is nothing that can ever justify why my daughter died. I cope with this statement by just having an understanding that the other person has probably never lost a child. I cope by knowing that they don’t understand what they are truly saying. They don’t realize that this statement is offering a justification for why my daughter died. What people could rather do, is validate my feelings and tell me it’s okay to hurt. It’s okay to cry. It’s okay to take time for myself. It’s okay to mourn. Don’t tell me why my daughter died, instead let me grieve my loss. Even if there is a good reason for why Emilia died, It would never be a good enough reason for me.
Day 13. Educate – My grief is never-ending. Just as my love for Emilia is endless. This excruciating pain exists because love lived first. It really is incredible to know that our lives can be opened to a lifetime of love from just one little soul. Emilia was only physically with us for 7.5 months, but the love she left behind will stay with me forever. I gladly welcome every tear, every sorrow filled and sleepless night, every catch in my throat when I am missing her most. These are not just ‘symptoms’ of grief, but rather proof that love lives forever. Not even death can steal it away. Next time your bereaved friend is filled with sadness and grief, don’t rush to tell them to find happiness in the memories — that their loved one would prefer to see them happy and not sad. “There is a sacredness in tears”… and tears are just one of many ways our love continues to survive. “There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are the messengers of overwhelming grief, of deep contrition, and of unspeakable love.”
Day 14. Connection – There are many reasons my husband and I created Emilia’s Wings. The greatest reason was to keep her memory alive, therefore allowing purpose to come from her life and for her to touch the world in ways others cannot. Until now, I had never put much more thought into what drove us to create Emilia’s Wings. I now imagine that it has always been our way of connecting with Emilia and keeping her a part of our everyday lives. Every remembrance walk, every support group meeting, every Pregnancy and Infant Loss event I have ever attended isn’t just to honor and remember her. It’s my way of connecting with her and living life for her. We may be separated from one another by life and death. But in those moments — in that short amount of precious time where I reach out with others to honor our children — she lives.
Day 15. Wave of Light – Today is October 15th – Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. Today I remember and honor Emilia Madeleine Rose Clough, my daughter born asleep on March 15, 2017. Today, she would be exactly 19 months old. I remember and honor all of the other angel babies who gained their wings far too early and I hold their families close in prayer. If you would like to join us in celebrating these tiny little lives, light a candle at 7:00 pm to help create a continuous wave of light around the world for 24 hours.
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