OC Walk to Remember & CHOC Walk 2014
While of course I know that October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness month, I feel like I’ve been ‘hiding’ it and it makes me feel a bit dishonest. The last two Octobers, we were privileged to hand out Special Delivery books to families at the OC Walk to Remember. In their tenth year, they’ve changed their name to Forever Footprints to fully encompass all the fantastic work that they do as an organization. This year was the first year of the 5k run and because of the timing, we decided to participate in the run and not have a Special Delivery table. (As an aside: Kat did awesome in the 5k run—she finished in 33 minutes! Not bad at all for an eight-year-old, or at any age!)
This year, partially related to my asthma, and partially related to, I guess, my grief, I did not send emails to family and friends about the walk. I didn’t ask for volunteers, didn’t ask for donations in Macy’s name and didn’t ask for moral support.
As I stood listening to the beautiful memorial ceremony (after catching my breath from the run), I kept asking myself this question: why? Why was I begin so secretive? Why would’t I tell the world what I was doing?
What I realized was that for the past three years I have been reluctant to share my story with people who don’t already know, unless it was while handing out Special Delivery books. When I make new friends, when I meet the parents of my children’s friends, I don’t really mention Macy.
Why? Well, much as I think of my little Macy every single day, I do realized that it has been six years since my journey with her began. Six years. And while I will never fully recover from her loss, I also know that many people will not understand just how difficult, how rewarding, how life-changing, and how beautiful that journey was, especially not with the simple statement, “I had a baby who died.”
It’s still hard to share those words—no matter how much I would like every parent to know they are not alone. I don’t want someone’s pity or sympathy or words of wisdom, yet I don’t want to lose my memories of Macy either.
The more I thought about it, the more I realized that it’s okay to be more open about my/our experience with Macy. Those people who wouldn’t understand why I’m still talking about her will never understand. And those who know what I’ve lived through—either because they’ve been there themselves or they’ve supported someone through it—will appreciate the unending love I have for my child.
After all, if Macy had survived, you can bet that I’d be bombarding them with pictures and anecdotes about her life. Why not one more email? (I rarely am on FB.)
So for those of you who are reading this on the Special Delivery blog, you get it. And those of you who are getting this via email and don’t know what happened with Macy, ask me. I will happily share her story with you.
The OC Walk to Remember has passed but the Forever Footprints organization could still use funding to help support families who are going through a difficult pregnancy or have an unexpected loss. If you’d like to donate in Macy’s name (Team Macy) or anonymously, please click here.
Coincidentally, the OC Walk to Remember is the same month as the CHOC Walk, an annual fundraiser to support CHOC Children’s (Children’s Hospital of Orange County). My friend, Kristina, recently emailed me to support her team for her now 2 year old premature daughter. And it hit me: I’ve always thought Ashlyn was a miracle baby (and I don’t believe in miracles. Sorry, Mom.) and defied all odds. One little thing could have led her mom to the OC Walk and infant loss rather than the CHOC Walk and survival. True, there are many families who continue to support CHOC who have lost their children over long battles in the NICU, PICU or against cancer or other devastating diseases. But many are survivors, like Ashlyn.
So I’m asking if you’d prefer to donate to the CHOC Walk, please click here, or here for Ashlyn’s page (with her mom’s permission). After all, had Macy survived, she would have become a part of the CHOC family, even if I weren’t affiliated.
And, again, don’t feel obligated to donate to either cause. I will ask if you could light a candle, either in your window or in your heart on October 15 (the official Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day in the US) and remember Macy and all the sweet babies who are no longer here but who will always be in our hearts.