All My Little Angels

by J.D. Richardson

Each of my losses was unique and individual by circumstances, and each were grieved differently for those reasons. Here are my angels' stories:

Willow:
This pregnancy was due to incest; therefore, as a young child, I had no chance to grieve properly. What do you do when the baby you've lost is a baby no one would have wanted to know about, to learn about, to raise? How do you love a child that is both your child but also your brother or sister in some way? What do you say when you lose a pregnancy but cannot even see a doctor because there will be too much explaining to do, because you're only 12? You have no one to talk to, and even if you did, what could you say? I named this child Willow. My favorite tree is the weeping willow. I find it soothing and comforting by its sight alone, and thought that since it is a weeping willow, this would be the most appropriate name for this angel. I weep for the innocence that was lost not only by the loss of this child, but also by the loss of my childhood. I lost my childhood long before this, but this really brought it home.

Breeze:
This baby was the result of a rape by a 'friend' who had visited my apartment and took advantage of the fact that I lived alone. This baby never made it either. Once again, tortured by the silence I kept, I grieved alone. All I remember is missing school and having to explain to very uncaring teachers why I'd been away. I wrote my own notes, since I didn't live at home due to the conditions there, but I couldn't write my excuse. I couldn't tell them the real reason, and I felt I was betraying my baby by keeping my silence. The rest of my high school years were torturous from this point on. I felt I had nothing in common with any of my peers. The best memory I have is a visit from a friend who just came to be with me, and let me talk about it. She's one of two people who knew. She brought me a card, which I still have. It's the only thing that I physically have to remember this baby with. I named this child Breeze as I needed another 'comforting' name. Now every time there is a breeze in the air, I think of the child that might have been.

Hope:
This angel was created with love. The relationship was serious, but we had just gone our separate ways because he was moving across the country and I was starting a new job. He already had a little boy he was raising, which made me love him very much for being such a wonderful father. Since I was on the road training for my new job, and I didn't know my co-workers well I didn't want to make a scene. I just kept going, forcing myself to get up and keep going through the day as though nothing happened. When they found out later what happened, they were shocked and I was embarrassed. I had never learned to talk about it very well, and didn't know what to say. I named this child Hope because I wanted some hope that someday I would be able to carry a child to full term and have kids of my own. I wanted to be a mother and I was worried that the damage caused by the abuse I had as a child. Hope was all I had to hang on to at this point.

Sunshine:
This was the first time I lost a pregnancy since being married to my husband. He always called me "Sunshine," so that was the name I chose. I had gotten so used to carrying the burdens alone that I couldn't find the words to tell him of our loss. We'd been trying to get pregnancy, and had a couple of false hopes, but this was the biggest disappointment so far in our marriage. Very soon after I got pregnant with my son Brandon.

Angel:
This was my first loss after having a child. It felt different since I had a child to hold and love. I told my husband, but he didn't know how to be supportive and helpful, as he's not the most emotionally supportive man I've ever met. He hurt me a lot emotionally by not being able to help me. I figured it would be best to deal with this alone rather than telling him and getting no support. I know that for him, things were different, but for me, this was my reality. This was a loss, and I grieved it deeply. I named her Angel since I believe in angels, and I thought it was an appropriate name.

Jaime:
This was one of my most difficult losses. At 13 weeks I thought we were safe and out of the danger zone. This time I relied only on a friend to get me through. She stayed on the phone with me and talked to me when I was at my lowest point. I bought a stuffed bunny, and named it Jaime, just like I named my baby, (French for "I Love" – j'aime). When I felt sad and alone I hugged this bunny like there was no tomorrow. I struggled with depression after this loss. I wasn't able to bounce back as I normally had. I decided to stop trying for another child at this point. However, within weeks of that decision, I found out I was pregnant with Joshua. I wasn't ready for another pregnancy, another loss, or another emotional roller coaster. I wasn't ready to get off the depression medicine (Paxil). Josh's pregnancy was difficult, and very emotional.

Samantha Faith:
This was a second trimester loss, and by far my most heart wrenching. I told my husband, my mom, my friends, EVERYONE. I figured that there was just no need to go through this alone anymore. My husband was deeply affected by our loss for only for a few days and then, for him, life went on. This just felt like someone had stabbed me in the heart. I went to church that Sunday with the kids and bawled my eyes out. The congregation prayed for me, but I haven't had the heart to return to that church, because when I do, I think of Samantha, and my heart breaks. She was the first one that I knew for sure was a girl, and we had always wanted a girl -- and I'd just lost her. We sent the kids to daycare the next day, and stayed home to grieve together. That was a first for us. My husband chose her name, Samantha, and I chose her middle name, Faith, for the faith that someday, the Lord would send me another little girl, one I could keep forever. I think of Samantha as an angel baby, in heaven, looking after all the other babies that are there. I think of her as the angel who sent Jillian to me. I think of her as Mommy's most special angel, one who looks after me from heaven, and knows how to cheer me up when I'm sad. I miss her very much, to this day; I can't bring myself to talk about her very often.

I lost another pregnancy after only a few weeks in September 2000. I didn't name this one, as I told myself it was my Jillian, but she fluttered away as it wasn't time yet. She whispered in my dreams that she'd be back and to be patient -- so I waited.

Jesse Morgan:
I lost a twin in Jillian's pregnancy. I've named this child Jesse Morgan since it's a unisex name as well as two of my favorite names. We don't need them now since we've had our last child. It was a difficult loss, but it was less painful knowing that it probably was for the best. Jillian might never have made it without that sacrifice. I wonder if she knows about her twin, if she misses him/her. I wonder what it would have been like to have two babies.

Most people that know me know that I've had losses. I find it very hard to deal with the amount of losses I've had, which is why I don't mention them. I always get such a shocked reaction when I mention how many. I hate having to explain why I lost so many, why I was so young with my first. I feel a sense of shame. I feel like I wasn't good enough to somehow be a home for those babies for nine months. I know that everything happens for a reason, hence Jillian's middle name "Destiny," and that's what gets me through. I know I wouldn't have my three kids if it weren't for these angels. It's like I had to give them up in order to have the three kids I do have, and for that, I am grateful to them.

Someday, when we own our forever piece of land, I will plant a Weeping Willow for each child I've lost. Someday, I will hold them all in heaven. Here's a poem I wrote, dealing with the losses:

Little Angel, Little Child

Little Angel, Little Child
Where Ever You May Be
I Hope Someday To Understand
The Way Things Had To Be

Little Angel, Little Child
Please Tell Us What Went Wrong
Will Someone Ever Really Know
Why One Day, You Were Gone?

All The Pain We Suffered
The Thousands Tears We Cried
You'll Never Be Forgotten, Girl,
We'll Never Say Goodbye...

So "Goodnight", Sweet Little Angel
Don't Shed Another Tear
For God Now Has You In His Arms
And He's Holding You Near

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