July: Bereaved Parents Month

July 12, 2018

By Sanda Rathamone



"Please say my child's name. I am thankful when you do. And if you see a tear fall from my eye, it's my heart thanking you."
Honestly, I didn't know that July is Bereaved Parents Month. I didn't know until all of sudden, blog posts, news articles, and social media posts about it had started to show up on my feed.

I guess that is what happens when you're in the loss community or in any part of community.

You find out that there are special days and months dedicated to certain parts of your life or life experiences. 

It was also not until we lost Elijah that I had found out about Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day (October 15th), International Bereaved Mother's Day (honored on the Sunday before Mother's Day), and International Bereaved Father's Day (honored on August 26th of this year).

So far, I have posted and shared an ocean of love and pain about Elijah, stillbirth, and life after loss on those special days. But, I was really confused on what to share for Bereaved Parents Month. It seems that I have shared so much and as frequently as I could about my baby loss experience that, well, what more could I say - except that I love and miss Elijah so much that my heart hurts.

I know that we are now almost in the middle of July, but I finally found the perfect thing to share.

Last night, I found myself rereading what I had written for Elijah's story. Of course, it made me cry a few times and took me two days to really focus and read the whole thing. Is it weird that reading my own words could make me cry?

I realized that I had remembered so many details, details that were so important. Yet, these details weren't important because they had meant the world to me, but because these details had made a tragic, but beautiful story.

A tragic, but beautiful story that was all I had left of Elijah. 

Just like the several photos, sonograms, hand and foot prints, and his teddy bear, his story being written out was all I had left and if these things were gone, I had nothing.

I would have nothing to show the world who Elijah was, what had happened to him, and why I love him so much. 

Or, why a huge part of my life feels so empty and why I may cry at random moments of the day or night or why I disappear and hide from the world and don't want to talk to you.

I also realized that I hadn't cherished and treasured Elijah's story in the same way I had of his other things. I didn't keep it safe as I have with his photos (I have hard and soft copies), his memory box (which is full of little things to remember him), the clothes we had bought for him (in another box), his bear (which I sleep with almost every day and sometimes bring on car rides), and so on.

My mind started thinking about possibilities; one of them being that if somehow, Elijah's Story was deleted from my blog or lost. If that had happened, I would be heartbroken! I had spent weeks preparing and editing his story, so that it was as perfect, true, and honest as it could be. I spent days and nights trying to remember every little thing that had happened in the hospital - even though some of those things had haunted me.

I had flashbacks for months and couldn't stop "seeing" pictures in my head about the whole thing. 

I had spent tears gathering moments and memories, so I could piece together a story about how I became a mother and what had happened to my son - who would now be at least one-and-a-half-years-old.

If his written story was gone, piecing it together again wouldn't be exactly the same, because it had taken months to remember what I could.

I realized that I hadn't necessarily done this for the world, but for myself. I wanted to remember everything I could because it was all I had left.

Because Elijah was not here to tell and live his story. 

Because I had wanted his story to live on. Because I didn't want people to forget about him.

Because his story is a part of my life and who I am now.

So, today, I spent another few hours, editing, reorganizing, and remembering. It wasn't to change it or make it any different, but to clear some of the muddied memories of so long ago. My memory is usually pretty good, but sometimes, memories can become clouded by emotions.

As I re-wrote some things (in better words) and placed some memories where they had made more sense (when I first wrote everything, it wasn't in perfect order), I realized how much more valuable Elijah's Story had become.

It is priceless, yet, it is a hidden treasure. And only someone who could see how irreplaceable his story is, could see the same value as I have.

I now have a copy of Elijah's Story on my desktop, in my "important folder" of my email, and my flash drive.

Yet, before I send you to Elijah's Story (if you have not yet read it), please allow the space for bereaved parents to share their story. Whether you personally know them or not, know that their child's story is now all they have left to share with you and the world.

Like all parents, bereaved parents want you to know that a child that is loved is never forgotten.

We share their stories simply because we are theirs.

Read the full story about Elijah:

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