It´s Ok to Cry When You Say Goodbye

Posted on June 21, 2007 - Filed Under Personal |

I just found another great group writing contest and am going to join in. It is the
Weary Parent Group Writing Project and Contest and the theme is Teen Advice. Oh, and the prize is $24.95, which would help me get a bit closer to my rapidly fading goals this month!

It´s Ok to Cry When You Say Goodbye

I was 9 when my mom told us that we were expecting a new baby. We were so excited! I already had 2 sisters, 7 and 4, so I was really hoping for a brother this time around!

We eagerly charted my mother´s belly as it grew, listened to the baby´s heartbeat at the doctor´s office and fought over who the baby would look like and who would be it´s favorite sister. Every night, we talked to the belly and said goodnight and my mom would tell us how far along the baby was. She read the developmental pages from her pregnancy book, the baby was now this big, it could hear, etc.

It was very exciting because I was old enough to understand about babies and certainly big enough to help when the baby arrived! I couldn´t wait.

About a week and a half before my 10th birthday, Mom went to the doctor. We had to get a ride with a friend of hers who had 5 kids of her own, because my dad was on a business trip. We stayed with the other kids while Mom had her checkup. When she came back, we were eager to hear the latest.

“How´s the baby, Mom?”

“We´ll talk about it later.” She said. I remember feeling very frightened at those words and I asked her if something was wrong. She started to cry and she said, “The baby is dead.”

My father returned rapidly from his trip and my mom was induced in the hospital. The baby had been dead for three days and they needed to get it out. It took another three long days for my little sister to be born. When she was, they discovered that she had anencephaly, a condition where the skull doesn´t form and the brain is either non-existent or forms at the base of the skull. While these babies can be “alive” in a most basic form for a while, sometimes lasting after birth, they will never survive.

It was heartbreaking for all of us. My parents decided to wait to bury Rachel until after my birthday, which was two days after the birth. Needless to say, it wasn´t much of a celebration.

A friend of ours made a simple pine casket, the size of a shoebox since she was only 7 months along. I never saw my sister, but I imagined her and what she would have been like. Her death, although I never met her, affected me horribly and at her funeral, I stood there, trying not to be weak and cry.

That was when my dad leaned down and said gently, “You know, it´s ok to cry when you say goodbye.” And we all sobbed. Those words stuck with me all these years and they are so true.

I´ve since grown up and lost three babies of my own and each time, I remembered what my father told me and I mourned them with tears as I said goodbye.

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6 Responses to “It´s Ok to Cry When You Say Goodbye”

  1. Char on June 21st, 2007 12:03 pm

    This has to be one of the most touching entries! Thank you so much for participating.

  2. Best Advice Group Writing Project - Day 2 Entries on June 21st, 2007 4:04 pm

    [...] Mom’s It’s Ok to Cry When You Say Goodbye entry was very moving! What tough events to have to weather, but what a wonderful [...]

  3. Kate on June 22nd, 2007 8:41 am

    It’s OK when to cry when someone shares their pain. And that’s good because my eyes are filled with tears.

    I am sorry you and your family experienced such a loss.

  4. Drumroll Please - We have a winner on June 22nd, 2007 3:02 pm

    [...] Mom?s It?s Ok to Cry When You Say Goodbye entry was very moving! What tough events to have to weather, but what a wonderful [...]

  5. I Can?t Believe I Won : ExPat Mom on June 22nd, 2007 6:43 pm

    [...] You can see my entry here.  [...]

  6. Not Afraid To Use It on October 17th, 2007 12:02 pm

    What a beautiful lesson your father was able to pass along despite such a horrible loss. It is something I will definitely teach my children, especially my son. Grief is important, expressing it even more so. Hugs to you and yours.

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