Sunday, September 28, 2014

In memory of B.W., at (almost) eight years

You were not a pregnancy loss.  You were not a fetal demise.  You were not "a stillborn".  You are not defined by what happened to you, by the circumstances of when and where you died.   

I do not love you less because I have fewer memories or because I didn't know you in the sense that parents desire to know their children.  On the contrary, and because my love for you is equal to the love I have for your brothers, my grief is often more bitter at the enormity of the missed opportunity. 

Your death is not easier to stomach because you died before you were born, or before some arbitrary point in time when a son becomes worthy of a mother's unconditional love, worthy of her grief.  

Your death was not redeemed with C.T.'s safe arrival in our lives. 

People feel they need to believe these things, sometimes say these things, to assuage their own fears about the death of a precious baby.  I often wonder if they actually consider these presumptions to be comforting to the person whose son or daughter has died.  I remember each and every time that someone demeaned your life (intentionally or not) or minimized my grief over losing you.  The wounds from that kind of ignorance have left many additional scars on your mother.     

You are my son, my firstborn.
You were a whole person, so beautifully and miraculously made.
All of your organs formed and perfectly placed.
You had fine and plentiful dark hair. 
Tiny eyelashes, sleepy baby crevices beneath your eyes. 
You had my lips and ears, your dad's eyebrows and long, beautiful fingers.
You had so much potential

I would have given my life so that you could have lived yours. 

I will always grieve the loss of your precious life and secondarily, the child, adolescent and adult you would have become.  I am so sorry that my body failed to keep you safe.  I still want to protect you and mother you, and the only way I know how to do that is to keep your memory alive.  I am still in disbelief that I must now do the same for your brother Zachary. 
In just a few days, you would have been eight years old. 


(In the photo above is a hand-crocheted pillow, made by a friend, as a gift on C.T.'s birth, six and 1/2 years ago.  Notice the beautiful tribute to C.T.'s deceased brother B.W., in the bear's sweater.)


  1. Gretchen,
    I am so sorry B.W. is not with you today, preparing to celebrate his 8th birthday. i am sorry you have to carry all this grief and sadness with you. As the seasons are so obviously changing (here at least), i have thought of B.W. and his birthday coming up.
    Please know that i think of you often, and will do so especially in the next few days. xx

  2. Eight is so big. I'm so sorry BW never got his chance. I've wondered for awhile now what BW stands for? His birthday marks. Good time to ask. I think of you wih all hat overwhelming newborn love for BW eight years ago, with nowhere to go. And all your love for Zachary. Where do we put all the love?

    1. His name is Benjamin, and he, his father and grandfather all share the initials B.W. Thanks, Em.