Teddy Bear Tins

December 9, 2010



How life has changed in the last 6 weeks.

Our little man is growing and changing, and each day I find myself trying to memorize every bit of him. I wonder if I would appreciate these moments any differently if it hadn't been for Aiden? Before Jack even arrived I think I understood in a special way how precious he is... how precious life is. I love this little man so much it's like my heart is breaking apart just so it can make itself bigger.

And while I could go on for hours about how wonderfully sweet my life has become since Jack arrived, that's not my purpose here today. Today I want to try to capture in writing what I've been experiencing as a baby-loss Auntie following the birth of my son, and that story has both sweet and bitter parts.

For what feels like a long time I had come to really enjoy the place that Aiden had settled into in our lives. There has been so much positive! Teddy Bear Tins has touched almost 100 families, and that's just the families that they have been donated to. I feel like the families who have volunteered have also found benefit. And beyond that there have been simple moments that have meant so much, like when friends learn of newly bereaved families and because of what I have experienced, they feel the need to learn and reach out themselves. Families are receiving support they might not have. Lives are being honored. My incredible nephew - he is the reason these things have happened. What a miracle and a blessing he has been.

And that's where I have been able to find my peace.

I had been afraid that there would be a moment when my son was born that I would suddenly be overcome with grief at finally understanding the connection that would be broken if your own daughter or son passed away. But much like the rest of my pregnancy, what I had envisioned was not what ended up happening.

No, I don't truly understand what a parent goes through when they lose a child, what Aiden's parents experienced. Even though I am now a parent myself, and even though I experienced the loss of a child as an Auntie, it's different.

So in a way I thought that I had made it safely past that emotional danger. But again I was wrong. And instead of a single moment of understanding and grief, what I've experienced instead is a slow sense of the bittersweet as the weeks have gone past. For the first time in so many months, not only does my heart ache for Aiden but my arms physically do again. And I find myself feeling angry, and cheated. I'm angry that Aiden's parents were robbed of the opportunities to memorize their son's little features as he sleeps all bundled up and safe at home. That they will never get to know what Aiden's face feels like against their neck when baby cries and scrunches up his cheeks and forehead, chin quivering in protest.

I find myself unsatisfied with Aiden's place in our lives. It's just not enough to have to settle for a memory. And it's so frustrating, so unfair that my brother lost so much.

The tears have started coming again in the nights as I listen to my son squeak and coo in his bassinet. I am so happy and appreciative of this new miracle in our lives. But as a babyloss Auntie, that happiness is not innocent of what has been lost. And as much as I wish it were different, I know this is the way it will always be. We'll never know what life would have been like if Jack and Aiden could have been here together. I'll never know the color of my nephew's eyes, or the sound of his cry. I'll never be able to erase the pain my brother and his fiancee have felt.

So for right now, my equilibrium has been shaken again. Which I guess is to be expected when you experience a life-changing event. I'm not sure what things will look like when the pieces find their place again. But for now I can hope that they do find their place soon, and that I find the lessons to learn in the process.