When I was in my early teens, I started going to Compassionate Friends meetings with her. I wasn't afraid to be around this kind of loss. I so badly wanted to help these parents in their pain and deep, deep sorrow. For Thanksgiving week, I've been visiting in my hometown of Charlottesville, Virginia. On Tuesday evening, I went with my grandmother to a Compassion Friends meeting. I hadn't been since I lost my own daughter. All those years ago when I went, I never thought I'd have to go for the same reason those parents were there. The same reason my grandmother was there. The faces and the stories there made a lasting impact on me and it was wonderful to see them all again. Most people there knew of my loss, but they didn't know all the details. After each person around the table told their story of loss, it was my turn. I didn't realize how hard it would be to tell Lily's story. I go to ParentCare meetings twice a month in Raleigh, but they all know her story. It was good to be there, especially since I hadn't been to my own infant loss group in over a month. The tears came, but tears are so healing. I said what I could and later wished I had said more. But, the people there were so dear to me. They offered such love and support. One lady said she remembers me before I was a mother. That seems like a lifetime ago. It seems like I was a girl then, now I've had to grow up...in good ways and bad ways. I know of the cruelty of the world, I know of loss. I know sorrow I never dreamed possible. Yet, I knew it existed from going to this group all those years ago...Isn't it amazing how God prepares us for what we need years down the road? He's always working, always moving.
After the group was over, one lady came up to me and said that I put words to how she felt when she lost her stillborn son over two decades ago. That was truly precious. I gave my blog address to everyone and they said they will put it in the newsletter next month.
There was another wonderful lady, whose daughter died earlier this fall. When she heard my story, she mentioned that her neighbor has a daughter who lost a baby, actually four babies. She said she had just published a book and if I'd be in town for a while, she'd see if she could bring me a copy. Well, of course I said I'd love that and today she came over and brought two autographed copies, one for me and one for my grandmother, of Kathleen Olowin's book, Angels in my heart. Apparently, Kathleen and I are from the same hometown. Right when I looked at the cover, I recognized that I had seen it the day before on the Faces of Loss, Faces of Hope site! I couldn't believe it! What a small world this is, huh? It just reminds me of how tight-knit this babyloss community truly is. Next time I'm in town, I hope to meet Kathleen and remember our babies together. I'm already a third of the way through the book and am really enjoying it...you should get it too! :)