October

October 13, 2010 at 5:00 pm | Posted in Death, Grief, mourning, parents, pregnancy, silver lining, traditions | 15 Comments

Many of you know that October is Breast Cancer Awareness month.   What you might not know is that October is also Pregnancy and Infant Loss Month.  In 1988, President Ronald Reagan proclaimed October to be Pregnancy and Infant Loss Month.

In October of 1988 I was a freshman in college.   Not only did not know about this proclamation or personally know any bereaved parents, I could not have envisioned in a million years that one day I would be a bereaved parent who would bury two children.

This past weekend we participated in a Walk to Remember.  Across the country thousands (maybe millions) of families walked to remember their little loved ones.   Thank you so much to  the organizers of our walk – Tara, Megan and Aimee.

Evan and I have walked since 2006 in memory of Jake.  Now we walk for Sawyer too.   The event starts with a few speeches.  I am always in awe (and in tears) during these speeches given by bereaved parents.   The stories are all unique in many ways but also the same.     They all have the same tragic ending.

This year I looked around the crowd.  So many families.   So many babies who are no longer with us.   So much heart-break, sadness and loss.   We, along with the other families at the walk last weekend, have the “fear of the unknown. . .behind us, for most of us, because we have already taken a long look at hell.” The Bereaved Parent by Harriet Sarnoff Schiff

After the speeches there is a very short walk.   Note:  Just to clarify this year and last year we did not actually walk.   One of the twins had an accident requiring a two adult clean up right before the walking part of the event this year and last year

The twins writing to Sawyer and Jake

The last part of the event is a balloon launch.   We all write notes to our babies on butterfly shaped paper.  This year the twins had a big discussion about what to write on their notes.   We are not exactly sure about the topics covered in the discussion but they both completed their notes to their brothers.   We then had to explain to the twins that we needed to attach the notes to the balloon strings.   Attaching the notes to the balloons was ok with the twins.   The next part, letting go of the balloons, took some convincing.    Evan and I have gone to great lengths to emphasize the importance of holding onto balloons.   We were sending very mixed parenting signals.   However, we finally were able to pry their little hands off of the balloon strings.    And the notes were lovingly sent to Jake, Sawyer and all the other babies we remember.

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  1. This is so beautiful, Lanie. I really admire how much you are sharing with the twins in an age-appropriate way. In bygone eras, all the surviving children could see was that Mommy and Daddy were heartbroken, and that talking about it might upset their parents. This seems a much healthier approach to a loss (or losses) that affect everyone in a family in many different ways. I’m holding all six of you in my heart. Love, Karen

  2. One “correction”: the stories don’t all have the same tragic ending. Jake’s and Sawyer’s stories are not over, just as yours, Evan’s, Alyssa’s and Fletcher’s relationships with them are not. In all you’re doing with the kids, each other, yourself and the world–through this blog–you’re working to write a different kind of ending, and a quite unique one, for them.

  3. It’s a beautiful image that you’ve presented. I am so glad the twins were able to be a part of the experience.

  4. Lanie, I love reading every single one of your posts. This one is particularly special. I love that the twins are so actively involved in loving and remembering Jake and Sawyer.

  5. My dear friend, you write so very well and you’ve created through this blog such a great journal for your children to read someday. Just as your written words help so many of us, those same words have created a living legacy of Jake and Sawyer so that Fletcher and Alyssa will never forget their brothers. My love to you.

  6. Lanie, I agree with the comment that this isn’t a tragic end. A tragic end would be for you to ignore your feelings, but you are brave enough to face the grief and work through it and honor your boys in many, many ways: this blog, the walk, the releasing of balloons. You are a strong, amazing mom. Jake and Sawyer (and the twins) are so lucky to have you!

  7. Great pictures from the Walk. It was wonderful to see you there. I notice that people tend to stop going as the years pass since their loss(es), but we continue to go. Something about seeing Eli, Liza, and Owen’s names listed…and I think it’s important that we go as a family. Nessa is starting to ask more questions about it. Although she wanted the walk to be a race (and, mind you – she WAS the first one back!), she knew it was imporant for us to do it together.

  8. What a beautiful ceremony — how sweet to have the children involved actively and to be surrounded by such a supportive and loving community.

  9. sounds like a beautiful event. xo

  10. […] you know that along with Breast Cancer Awareness month that October is also Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness […]

  11. […] In 2007, we were lucky enough to walk while pushing the twins in their stroller.  Starting in 2010, the 4 of us have walked together every year to remember Jake and Sawyer.   The walk this year […]

  12. […] solid to stand on or you will be taught to fly.”   – Author Unknown (borrowed from the Atlanta Walk to Remember 2010 […]

  13. […] year since Jake (and then Sawyer) died we have walked in the Atlanta Walk to Remember.   It is an event to connect parents and families together to express grief and remember our […]

  14. […] is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day.  As part of the day, everyone is invited to light a candle at 7 pm in all time zones, all over […]

  15. […] is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day.  As part of the day, everyone is invited to light a candle at 7 pm in all time zones, all over […]


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