Last week, I found a poem I had written while I was pregnant with my second child. It was soft and full of springtime analogies. I have the most poems written about my firstborn, obviously because I had more time. My second got a sprinkling, and Reece, my last baby, well, he was lucky to have an entry in my pregnancy journal on a weekly basis. I recently wrote in my journal, that began as a pregnancy journal and continued as a grief journal, that I was frustrated in the fact I would never have the section in the journal that describes Reece as an Earthside being. His sleeping habits, the day he figured out nursing, the day he started table foods, things his brothers did that made him have a hardy belly laugh. There is no “Reece as a growing person” section. In fact, most often when I write about Reece, I am merely writing about myself. Arica as heard in the post-Reece Apocalypse.
When you lose a baby you barely knew, the baby’s story is so intertwined with the mother’s that the stories can’t help but to merge. There is no separating the two. His story is my story and my story is his story. There wasn’t time for Reece to develop a personality, favorite nursing positions, sleeping patterns. His life was so heartbreakingly brief. But the impact is deep and it has forever changed my perspective of the world, my perspective on the sanctity of life, what it means to be a mother, and what it is I want to teach my living sons.
I knew from my firstborn’s earliest years that two life values were most important.
Having worked years in the public school setting, I knew the impact and importance of kids who were kind to one another. Now, as my middle born is older, he too is getting a big dose of “being helpful is important.” In a family, everyone helps each other. God willing, these boys will grow into fine men who help one another through life. They will carry the legacy forward to spread helping hands and kindness to those they meet and those they are blessed enough to parent.So many days I wish to be covered in Reece’s puke and poop, complaining about lack of sleep and a non-existent sex life. Still smug and innocent and blissfully unaware. But. This is post-Reece Arica now. Two stories merging into one. There are no tradesies on the really horrible stuff in life. Reece’s legacy is now my legacy. How will I live my life to honor him? To spread helpfulness and kindness?
I had posted before about our family’s decision to purchase and donate a CuddleCot. We did so almost two weeks ago. Just yesterday I received word from the recipient foundation that the Cuddle Cot would be used for the first time. Eleven days. It was only in possession for 11 days before it was needed and utilized. As long as there are babies being made, there will be babies being lost. That is a fact that was so blissfully unknown to me just nine short months ago. My heart has never felt so broken and so full at the same time. Reece’s name is out there, helping this family through their heartbreak, giving them the gift of time with their precious full-term baby. And yet, my heart is so heavy knowing WHY he is helping them. Even in his death, my third son is being helpful. A legacy he cannot carry forward himself. So my husband and I will. And we will do so boldly and without apology for anyone’s discomfort. Our son died and we miss him every day.
If the love for our Reece inspires us to help others, then he has not died in vain.