Just recently I went to see my doctor. It was nothing more than a yearly appointment. Each year when I see her, she always asks how my kids are. Then our conversation turns to, “how long has it been?” She’s referring to my first child, my son Joey. She then shares with me how strong of a person I am and she doesn’t know how I do it. How I’ve been able to adapt to life after losing Joey. See, I was 38 weeks pregnant and lost my son because of something fluky- a true knot in the umbilical cord. My doctor tells me how much she has learned from me and my traumatic situation, and how I’ve helped her and taught her how to be there and be even more supportive of other families with similar situations. Every year she asks if she can share my name and number to support a family going through what I did. It never fails at my appointment, that she’s recently encountered a family dealing with the loss of a baby. It means so much to me that she thinks I’m able to help others.
There’s quite a bit that has gone into me being able to help others in a time of loss. First and foremost, I thank my son- Joey. Even though he was only physically with us for 24 hours, I learned so much about love, God, and not taking things for granted. Next, I thank my nurses. When Joey was born, Karen (my nurse) immediately put him in my arms. This was my baby. There was no time to think or be afraid. I was his mom and Joe was his dad, and nothing was going to change that. So when he was born, we held him and didn’t let go. My family and friends……my family and friends were and are an integral part of my healing. My family both my side and Joe’s, were there for anything and everything that we needed. We were all there for each other. My friends were amazing…Seeing them all for the first time was difficult, but we hugged, cried, and eventually we smiled. They were there for me. All these people gave me strength and courage.
My strength and courage was challenged only 8 months after losing Joey. It wasn’t a phone call from my doctor, it was a conversation with my principal. You see, I’ve worked in the same school district now for 23 yrs. Joey would have turned 18 this past January. So 8 months after losing him my teaching position was changed to a new grade level and a new school. My mom was actually with me the day my principal came to talk to me. We were setting up my new room. She went on to tell me that one of the teachers in that building had just lost her baby. She was 6 months pregnant. My principal wanted me to hear the news of this from her. I was devastated. It was bad enough that I had to go through what I did, why was this happening to someone else? Why was I moved to that building when this was still so fresh of a wound for me? How am I supposed to face this teacher when she returns? I don’t want to be here now! Why…why was this happening? I was angry and heartbroken. Needless to say that was the end of me setting up my classroom that day. As I left, the principal handed me a piece of paper. On this paper was the teacher’s name and phone number. I didn’t know what I was supposed to do…I can’t call her, she doesn’t know me and I don’t know her. I put the paper in my pocket and we left. I was moved to that building for a reason I never quite knew…I didn’t know until that day the strength my son had bestowed upon me. I found the strength and courage to pick up the phone and call this teacher to support her and her husband. I was there through everything with them. That’s why I was moved to that school. That’s the reason I now know. I was put there to help this family. Together we both made it through the school year. We became close. The next year my job changed again, including going back to the school I came from. I just thought it was God’s way of saying, okay you did your job and thank you, now you can go back to the school you know best and to the people who were there for you. Little did I know that a couple years down the road, I would again be in another situation to help a family. A teacher and friend lost his baby. I was once again in the right place to be able to help and support them through this devastating time.
Over these 18 years I’ve learned to take one day at a time…live every moment as best you can, make the most of today. Not a day goes by that I don’t think of my son. I love you always and forever.