*** Warning: This post is a real downer. I'm not going to apologize for it, but I am going to give you fair warning. So there, you've been warned. ***
My brother-in-law and his girlfriend lost their unborn baby girl last week.
She was full-term, 36 weeks, and perfect. Perfect except for some small thing. Something so small, that no scan caught it. So small, that there was no warning. Just one day she was alive and kicking and her parents were organizing baby clothes, and the next the doctors were giving her mother a pill and their condolences.
The doctors don’t know what happened. There was no sign. There are no clues. Just one perfect, small life, that never lived.
This little girl was wanted, planned, sought after, and loved. This little girl now waits in a cold room, in a small box, for a ceremony that is supposed to give her family closure. This little girl who never lived.
Her parents will miss her more than I can even imagine. I actually cannot imagine, my brain shuts down, the thoughts half formed. No, it seems to say, you can’t handle that sort of grief.
I hold my child tighter. There’s guilt there. Guilt because I got lucky. Guilt because my little girl is alive and healthy: Survivor’s guilt by proxy. It is, of course, irrational. One little girl lives, another does not; there is no rationality in the matter, no one to complain to. It’s not that I did something right or someone else did something wrong. Something just happened. Something happened to the little girl who never lived.
They are holding tight to each other, my brother-in-law and his wife. There is grief and there is steely resolve. They will not let this most horrible of tragedies rip them apart. They will grow closer together. They will have more children. The room in the apartment they bought for their growing family will someday be filled with laughter and tears and midnight feedings and all those things parents love to hate.
But until then. A grandmother finishes a blanket that the little girl will take to her forever-bed. She’ll have a little stuffed monkey to hold on to. We will have to hold each other, as we say good-bye to the little girl who never lived.
*** Please do not leave any comments telling me that God loved her so much that he took her to heaven. Any God who loves children so much that he takes them away from their parents is a dick. ***