October 15th is Infant and Pregnancy lost Awareness day. Before I had a daughter, I hardly thought about what happened in a NICU, a ICU or a children's hospitals. I didn't know about miscarriages, still births and infants that died before their first birthdays. I didn't know how much love my heart could have for my own daughter. I also never realized the compassion and empathy I could have for other parents as they struggled with loss and trauma.
One of the experiences I had when I was staying at the Ronald MacDonald House while Kate was at the NICU was listening to the screaming cries of a mother who had her baby unexpectedly die. I can still remember feeling scared and dumbstruck, that I was watching this painful experience unfold in front of me. I wanted to run away. I wanted to not have this experience in my memory. I feel ashamed that I even thought about myself, when somebody else was in so much personal pain.
Since then, I have had the chance to talk to other families who have lost their babies. I handle the situations better now. I have empathy, and understanding. I am not afraid of their emotions, but instead want to act as a sponge to take some of their horrible pain away. I realize that we can not hide from pain, but instead have to experience it.
Tonight, I will pause and remember those that are not with us but whose spirit will never be forgotten.