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Dear Alexander,

Your arrival was a surprise to us. Our hearts were filled with love and hope the first time we saw you.

We remember how you responded to our touches and our voices that day. However, we knew it would not last. We were about the experience the life cycle in reverse. Instead of you preparing for our death, we had to prepare for yours.

So you will remember us, we have given you a few items to take with you; pictures of us with Rembrandt and the house you would have grown up in, a teddy bear to amuse you and a blanket Grandma knitted to keep you warm.

Alexander, you are gone but not forgotten. You will be in our hearts and thoughts for the rest of our lives. Until we meet again, you are our guardian angel.

We love you,
Mom and Dad

By Harrison Paist
2003

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A Baby’s Love

I don’t understand how this can be
When it’s been your brief life
That has shined upon me such light
and given me a new sight
to see the magnificence of just one day.

Your rose petal lips
May never utter spoken words
But in my dreams
Those heart-shaped lips
Will sing to me bringing me peace.

Your eyes saw light momemtarily
But never were they sad
For the hours I have spent starting at you
Memorizing every inch of you
I saw all the love that brought you into being.

The lock of your hair
Your little pink hat and tiny white shirt
Hold you powdery baby scent
I’ll forever cherish as my keepsake
and it will serve as my path back to you.

I never would have thought
As the hourglass emptied the final grain of sand
That my baby girl could teach me
The art of surrendering in love
and the significance of one hour.

Now in the reflection of your face
I feel our souls intertwine
I see the new horizons in your eyes
I feel eternity in your small hand
Spirits are not contained by time
Though I may not understand this circumstance
Destiny has laid at my feet
Still I rise each day in appreciation
That God had privileged me with
The grace of your beauty and love.
I stand in awe and amazement
O how your small light shined so bright
It brought even unbeleivers to their knees
In Christ, your life was no less lived.

Now I can rest assured knowing
Today is not our last embrace
I will sing to you lullabies again
For you are more than just a precious memory
Tiana, you are my daughter eternally!

Written by Kristina Nava
for Rhonda & Jason Velez
in Memory of Tiana Rose Velez

2003

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This is Emily’s Bear. We got it for Christmas after she died, because we couldn’t endure the emptiness that she left. The absolute glare of the space she left vacant around the Christmas tree.

Some people suggest that it would be better to never have been pregnant than to go through that kind of grief. It took a long time, but I came to the realization that it is, as the saying goes, better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all. I truly believe that and understand it now. Emily was inside me for forty weeks. She and I shared the most beautiful and intimate time. Her daddy and I were so excited to feel her move and to make plans for her. We have devastated by her death, but enriched by her existence. At first it was hard for us to see little babies. Now we smile at each other when we see a four year old girl (not without some longing), sharing the knowledge that this is what she’d might be like today. Yet, Emily is and always will be our baby. I’m glad we had her.

This is Emily’s Bear

By Linda Thompson
2003

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I am writing this letter to you six years too late. I want to apologize to you for not holding you and not saying good-bye when I delivered you. I didn’t know how to cope with your dath and I thought I must have done something so bad for your little life to be taken before I could show you what a good Mom I would be.

I was counting down the weeks till your due date when a sonogram showed that your tiny little heart had stopped. So did mine. My doctor encouraged me during the three days I was in the hospital awaiting your birth, to hold you and say good-bye, but I was not strong enough.

I know you are my guardian angel and I feel so loved to know my daughter is guiding me, your Daddy and your little sister, Colie through life each and every day.

I know that in heaven you and I will be together again, and I promise to hold you and ver let you go, but I will never say good-bye, just “I love you.”

I love you and miss you each and every day.

Love, Mommy
By Missi Sutter
2003

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Be thankful they said, it might have been worse.
Had he lived for a month, or a year, or more.
Be hopeful they told us, you are healthy and young.
There’s time to have another baby, or more.

They tried to be helpful, to look on the bright side,
They gave us consolation, compassion and care.
A baby lost early, he might have been sickly,
For only a few months, was he really here?

Be strong they told us, there’s always tomorrow,
To wake to a new day, with a hole in our hearts.
You know what I mean; I know that you’ve been there,
I’ve seen that pain that has set us apart.

Our pain in complete, no limit confines us,
Our Cup or sorrow overflows with our tears.
The bond that connects us, they can’t comprehend,
Our loss will not lessen, despite days or years.

Our pain in complete, no limit confines us,
Our cup of sorrow overflows with our tears.
The bond that connects us, they can’t comprehend.
Our loss will not lessen, despite days or years.

It’s odd to consider, I really am thankful,
for the gift of my baby, so brief in my life.
God gave those moments to hold him, to love him,
A few precious memories for me and my wife.

After all I am peaceful, my child’s trial is done,
he’s peaceful and healthy, he waits patiently.
I look on the bright side, I wait for reunion,
I’ve told you of my child, can you share yours with me?

By John Mote
2003

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Petal of hope
whispering
through winding passageways
Even in utter darkness
you are sunlit serenity
as you nestle
in
and
in
trusting in stormless horizons

Yes suddenly you have lost your moorings
born
away
on the relentless scarlet tide
we cry our for each other but you
my golden one have vanished
in another womantale
wild and common.

I am sitting quietly
bands resting like drained teacups
listening to the wind howl
through empty chambers
An there is a seed withing the sitting
a movement in the stillness
rocking
back
and forth
back
and forth
rocking
the baby who isn’t there
rocking
the pieces of myself
lying among the ruins
in skyward hands.

By Anne Pollack
2003

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It was the night of December 17, 2001, and we were signing our Christmas cards – getting ready to mail them out the following day.  On the front was a picture of my husband, our son, and myself – with a bulging belly. The inside of the card was signed from all of us, including “Baby sister to-be.” Then I felt it. Something I had felt three and a half years earlier, when I went into labor ten weeks early with my son. It was a contraction. I knew it. But this was not a moment of  joyful anticipation. It was a moment of terrible fear. I was not quite 25 weeks along. My daughter was not due until the week of Easter.

Hours later I was in the hospital being told that she would not wait  she was coming and there was no stopping her. We were scared, but hopeful. Our son was early, and he was just fine. Sure, she was much earlier, but that just meant she’d have a longer hospital stay. Kaylee Sandra was born the morning of December 18, weighing 1 lb, 10 oz. She was beautiful. We were back in the surreal, yet familiar setting of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Doctors and nurses told
us of her various complications and her odds did not sound good. Despite all that, we were optimistic. Good things happen in our family.

Then came the day we learned she would not survive. It was December 23 – exactly two days before Christmas. I held her in my arms, and her Daddy felt the embrace of her tiny hand around his finger. This was a moment so bittersweet, so conflicted. The first time I could hold my baby girl. The last time I would hold my baby girl. Waves of love and adoration crashing upon jagged boulders of sorrow and disbelief. I told myself this was our moment. I had to squeeze a
lifetime of love into the time we had left. We had about three hours together.

After she died, we had to deal with some of the pragmatics of death. The next day was Christmas Eve, and we spent it making funeral arrangements. We had to tell our son his baby sister would not be coming home. I also needed to find a way to dry up the milk supply I no longer needed. So many businesses and support people were closed, on vacation, enjoying their holiday. We had to find a way to make Christmas happen for our son. We refused to have him forever associate Christmas with the death of his sister. We went to the grocery store to buy cookies for Santa, carrots for the reindeer, and acabbage. I had been told that putting cabbage leaves in my bra would help alleviate the soreness from my aching breasts.

Before I went into labor we had planned to spend the week of Christmas with the grandparents in Southern California, so we had no tree up, no decorations. While I was in the hospital the grandparents had rallied together and bought and trimmed a small tree, and put up stockings. We had wrapped all the presents before our nightmare began,
so all we had to do was set them beneath the tree. We realized as we were going to bed that we had not filled the stockings, so we somehow managed to find a few things to place inside Evan’s.

Christmas Day was a fog. Thank God for Evan and his sweet, excited face waking up on Christmas morning to open presents! I don’t think I would have gotten out of bed without him. I watched him with renewed appreciation for the miracle of his life. What a blessing we had. There were still many tears, and I did spend a good deal of the day in bed. I had a profound sense that things would never be right again. No matter how wonderful our lives together might be in the future, we could never look at each other and say, “This moment is perfect!” No. There would always be someone missing.

The new year came and we lived our lives. Before I knew it, it was December 17, 2002. I asked Evan what he wanted to do the next day to celebrate his sister’s first birthday. He wanted to know if there was any birthday cake in Heaven. I told him that if Heaven is at all the way I picture it, there certainly would be! We released a balloon as a present to her, and bought cupcakes for the occasion and put one candle in each. He also thought we should celebrate at Chuck E. Cheese that night. So we did.

As time has passed, we have found that elusive “new normal” that we always heard would someday come. Christmas will never be the same as it was. Nothing will. We will hang stockings, trim the tree, visit Santa – and one week before Christmas, we will celebrate Kaylee’s birthday. .

By Lori Miller

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