Today, forty-seven years ago my mother-in-law lost her first daughter to SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.) My mother-in-law died over a decade ago.
I remember every year at this time she would be so incredibly sad. She would tell me the story of how it happened (several times) and always finish sobbing. It went something like this;
"She was so beautiful. Perfect. Healthy. Happy. Beautiful. I took her to her two month well baby appointment on Friday. The doctor said she was in perfect health. Isn't that funny? I could hear it as if it was yesterday, "Mrs. J she's perfect, the picture of health." That night everything went as normal and I put her in her crib for the night. The next morning I thought she was sleeping in. She never sleeps in...(speaking softer now) I should have known. [The crying usually started here.] I let her sleep for a while. Finally, I decide she needed to eat and went in to wake her up. She was so blue. I touched her...and so cold. I called her name over and over to wake her up! I started screaming...(softer, sobbing) and screaming! [Long pause] I don't remember much after that for a few weeks. They say the neighbor, my best friend came running and found me. I couldn't be calmed. The paramedics had to sedate me. I was kept heavily medicated for about two weeks. When I 'came out of it' there wasn't a single thing in the house of hers. My husband didn't want the memories to cause me more pain. I NEEDED her things! I WANTED her things! The entire nursery was bare. My heart was broken like I never imagined. Back then they didn't know too much about SIDS. People looked at us, at me like I had done something wrong. It broke my heart. I still don't know how I lived through it. I'm glad you'll never have to go through anything like that. [She knew I was infertile]"
Every year when I heard this, my heart broke for her. I also greatly admired her courage and strength. I knew that I could NEVER LIVE THROUGH such a thing. Her own baby. I would have lost my mind. I would have died.
She would never know that I would be able to identify with her. To know the pain. To live through such a thing. She had always felt as if she was alone in this 'knowledge'.
Even though it took me six years to do it, I'm glad I looked on the internet and found that I, (she/we) aren't alone. Though I would prefer that NO ONE EVER had to go through the loss of a baby, I find solace in knowing that your out there. I've seen so many blogs with wonderful, intelligent, NORMAL people (here, here, and so many more.) All with one thing in common. We're all mourning. I see that yes, life goes on, and eventually we return to our routines. But we NEVER forget. It will ALWAYS hurt on the anniversary. Yet, the memories are also SO BEAUTIFUL. I'll always love and remember my beautiful baby girl. I will always remember hers too. I will always be a Mother In Mourning.
I wish she could have shared in this too.