For the Love of Siblings

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Once again the holidays are here and with those come a myriad of strong feelings both wonderful and scary. These feelings happen unexpectedly, intensely and sometimes simultaneously.

Thanksgiving was hectic at my house this year. It was a larger than typical group and it required a lot of loving attention to the needs of others. But just when I thought I was going to chalk it up to finally being over, I sat down and listened to my adult daughter talking with some of our out of town visiting friends of friends. She was asked if she is the oldest child in our family. She said that she was not. She went on to describe herself as a middle child and that her older brother and sister had died in infancy. She also mentioned having a younger sister and a younger brother. I was stunned. We always remember Forrest and Annie, but after many years, there is far less public acknowledgment of these precious babies. I was so sad for the reality of our losses, but so proud that my daughter so easily included all her siblings in the conversation.

I have been a part of Rainbow since its beginning in 1982. I am very overwhelmed by the changes in the level of discussion and acceptance of support for grieving parents. I am proud to be a part of a continually expanding group of resources for families. I know there are still far too many sad and isolated times for bereaved parents, but I have hope that the collective consciousness is raising a little.

December 6, marks the anniversary of my son’s birth and death. I know I will approach that day this year, with more courage and gratitude, more acceptance and peace. I will be forever grateful to my oldest middle child for her gift of perspective and love.

There are opportunities to remember our beloved children this time of year: through church services, support group meetings, community programs and with trusted family and friends. We all do the best we can as we donate to causes in memory of our children, or as we buy ornaments that are meaningful, or even as we simply go through the motions of the day. I hope all families struggling with the loss of their babies can find moments of peace this year. And if not this year…maybe next year.

Thinking of you this holiday season with much love and remembrance for our children.

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