Getting started on this project has been one of the toughest things we have had to do. Any sort of traction is easily lost because every part of it reminds us of the totality of our loss, what we are missing and why we are forced to honor our daughter in this manner vs tucking her in with a kiss at night like most parents are allowed to do. Like we should be allowed to do.
Emmie was born on November 3rd 2007 at 2:34am. I was actually hoping she would make it until the 4th with that being my grandmother Grace's birthday. Like all three of her sisters, for those who don't know Danny was 12 weeks pregnant when Emmie passed and Avery Emerson Hitchcock was born September 16th 2010, I welled up when she was born. Childbirth is an amazing thing for a parent that can only be truly understood by experiencing it. The second hand story does not do it justice. You can read about it. Hear about it from close friends, etc. However until you experience it you really don't have a clue. I'm sure many out there can relate to this.
Losing a child is exponentially the same way. You can read about it. You think of my god how awful that must be. You know people who have lost children and your heart goes out to them. You get a microscopic view into that world.
In the summer of 2009 when we were still blissfully ignorant to the fact that something like this could happen to us Danny and I were watching TV and the girls were playing in front of us. A news flash came on the TV that there was a car accident and a young boy had tragically been killed by an elderly woman. We were horrified like any parent would be. Our hearts went out to the family and we conversed about how awful that would be. We were utterly clueless to the reality.
After Emmie passed we started to look into grief groups for Cayden and Reese. The Cranberry Hospice in Plymouth runs one. Anybody who knows us knows this type of thing would never be our cup of tea. We were never going to do couples retreats or anything of the sort. We are very private. Just writing this blog is so out of character with who I am. I can be very outgoing but that doesn't mean you get to know how I feel or anything I consider private.
We get there and the group is eating pizza and we just want to flee the building at the speed of light. The level of hurt at this stage of grief only two weeks into it is so omnipresent it has texture in the air. People can feel it and sense it. They want to run away as badly as you do because they cannot deal with this level of negative emotions. They have that luxury. So they break off the children into their own groups and the adults go into another room. We are asked to share our loss and somehow we are both able to choke out details.
When we are done the woman running the meeting introduces a woman named Tina who lost her son the previous summer and prompts her to offer us some words of wisdom as her son is the closest in age to our loss and she's the closest in time bereaved to us as well. As she starts to speak to us it all hits me like a ton of bricks. Her son Royce was the child from the previous summer who was hit on his bicycle by the geriatric woman who had no business operating a vehicle. I think back to that day when I thought oh my god how awful that must be. I think how naive I was and how I could not have started to grasp this dark reality.
I consider Tina a good friend now. A friend I wish I didn't know. A friend who I wish didn't have a reason to know me. A friend I wish I met under other circumstances. My daughters play with her daughter. Her daughter Sarah was there when Royce passed. Cayden and Reese where there when I went to get Emerson up from her nap. They all witnessed the horror. I wish they hadn't. I wish they didn't loose that innocence. I wish they didn't have to grow up like this.
Emmie passed in her sleep during a nap. The medial examiner's office could find no cause. .In children under one year of age who die suddenly of no cause it falls under the banner of SIDS which is Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. Most people have heard of this. At 28 months Emerson falls under SUDC which stands for Sudden Unexpected Death in Children. I had never heard of it before and I'm sure most of you haven't. We belong to the SUDC foundation and their education and support has been excellent. Their guidance has been invaluable.
We want to accomplish a few things with this foundation. One is giving back to organizations like the SUDC so they can help other parents and continue their research into causes so this won't happen to other families. Second we want to sponsor local projects and kids events in Emerson's name so that others know about her and what she meant to us.
A misconception that people who haven't lost a child have is that you'll upset the parents by bringing up their child. This is a complete fallacy. We talk about Emerson every single day in our house. The girls bring up stories about things she would do and say constantly. They are encouraged to do so. She is part of our lives. On occasions they'll bring up something Danny and I had forgotten about and that becomes a cherished memory.
This has become more lengthy than I wanted for a first post and if you've made it this far thank you. On the other hand I could fill a thousand page novel and not get it all out. If I could close with two thoughts first thank you for any support in the past and in advance in the future. Second always talk to a parent whose lost a child about the child. You cannot break them more than they have already been broken but while doing so don't pretend to get it, you don't. Don't draw on a past experience to try to empathize. You can sympathize and know it's bad but the reality is so much worse.
We miss you baby girl. Your smile, your laugh, the twinkle in your eyes, the compassion you had way beyond your years.