As many of you know, our family recently experienced the loss of my father-in-law, as well a late miscarriage of our baby, due March 2019. Needless to say, there have been many tears in our household in the past few months.
Grief is so weird, you know? It truly ebbs and flows like waves. One minute you’re walking along the aisle in Target, drinking your PSL, and checking out the latest and greatest from Chip and Jo. The next, you’re sobbing your eyes out in the Home Depot parking lot because the thought of picking out mums that will inevitably die is just too much to bear.
The worst part of grief, for me, has been watching my kids experience it. Annie, my precious, sassy, spunky, heart of gold girl, has taken the loss of her precious Woot and our sweet baby very hard.
After my father-in-law passed, Annie was adamant about attending the funeral service. She sat through it like an angel, even wrapping her arms around her daddy at one point and telling him that it was okay to be sad.
When I told her the baby had gone to Heaven, she screamed out, “NO!” and immediately started crying. The two weeks following that were horrible. The girl wouldn’t eat. She barely slept. Her smile faded. It was all just too much for her sweet, 6 year old heart to handle.
I took her to see one of my greatest friends, who just so happens to be a pediatrician, to make sure there wasn’t anything physical barring her from eating and causing her constant stomach ache. During that office visit, Annie opened up to Dr. Dorsey about how sad she was about her Woot dying. She also talked about how sad she was about losing the baby because she would never know what it looked like (I laughed out loud at this, since all of our kids look the same), and that she was so excited to have another baby to play princes and princesses with.
When Dr. Dorsey asked Annie what she thought might help her not be so sad, Annie said she needed pictures of Woot to keep with her at home and at school. She also had the idea to draw a picture of the baby so she could imagine what it would have looked like. I immediately ordered pictures of Woot for her, and the following morning, after yet another sad and horrible breakdown, she drew this picture:
Here’s what you need to know about this picture: Amelia was one of two girl names on my baby names list on my phone. I hadn’t shared that with a single person, not even my husband, Chip. When I saw that Annie had written, “our baby Amelia” on her drawing, it literally took my breath away. With tears in my eyes, I looked at her and asked her why she had decided to name the baby Amelia. She stared at me and simply responded, “because that was her name.”
We did not do any genetic testing. We did not find out the gender. For us, it would not have provided any more closure or healed any wounds. To me, our lost baby will always be baby Amelia, and this picture will always be a priceless work of art to our family.