SHARE Atlanta - Pregnancy and Newborn Loss Grief Support
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When a door closes...
God opens...


Misty, foggy windows
Enmeshed in raindrops
Clouded dreams
Filled with despair
By darkened windows.

Clear, revealing windows
Enveloped with sun
Hope arising
Light emerging, changing visions
Seeing, healing
Through opened windows.

Mary Joe Hannaford***

My husband and me...

Life's Plan... and My Five Children...

by Marcia McGinnis

Several folks have asked about my story.

How we dealt with our loss - through the years and "as we learned together about Life's Plan".

Our third loss - the loss of Seth

Our three year old son, Joel, suffered the loss of his brother, Seth. He wanted to bring him home, and asked to stay close to him at the hospital. The picture of him kissing Seth and looking up at me and saying, "Mommy, let's take him home now." will be forever forged in my heart.

The sense of failure to provide a sibling for our living son

The hardest part of all was my sense of failure for providing a healthy, living sibling for my other child. He and I had prepared for this little person, and our entire family was ready to gather him up in our arms and take him home.

We couldn't take him home in a physical sense, but Seth David has always been a part of our family. The real picture of Joel and Seth has had a special place in our home since 1981, and the pain, love, sensitivity and understanding that were out growths of his presence have helped make our family. As so many people know, my grief around Seth, lead me down numerous paths of out-reach.

Healing and Aaron's birth two years later and the beginning of SHARE Atlanta

Two years later, when Aaron joined our family, we had been through much grief with all of its confusion and pain. I had attended AMEND and as it was closing its doors, several of us got together and started a very small SHARE group.

More healing had to happen

I soon realized that years of infertility and two early losses (before Joel's birth) still needed to be addressed.

Joel and Aaron have been included in our walk and even named our two miscarried babies ~ Catherine and Elizabeth. We always presented the truth to our boys and helped them feel included on whatever level they could participate. For us, we spoke of birth, death and loss as part of God's plan, and that our pain around a loss is how we express our feelings for the loved one that has died. We have included them in making mementos and creating traditions that allow expression of these feelings.

Our children's "gifts"

In a way, our babies' "gift" was one of learning to accept all of life's plans as normal. No one has to like all of our walk, but there are things we can do to ease our pain, express our feelings and keep the lines of communication open.

Our boys have seen that great pain can and does happen, but that we have been given the ability to learn how to cope and, ultimately how to heal. No life event is insurmountable.

I would not have chosen to lose any baby. I dearly wanted a large family, and many happy activities to keep up with. Since our three died, my path has been completely rerouted. It has not been easy.

Life's Plan?

Conflicts in my desire(what ought to be) and what really was happening were fairly constant! I have spent my life "adjusting". Perhaps, that is what it is really about! We just are lead to believe - we should be in control. :-)

I do know that I have a family I adore. Joel is in college, and Aaron is now a busy teenager. Over the years, we have enjoyed many wonderful experiences, but we are not afraid of sharing our problems, frustrations, and fears. Could this be because grief has visited us and healing was allowed?

I am thankful for all my children - each has helped to make me who I am today.

I know that I am truly thankful for all my children: Catherine, Elizabeth, Seth, Joel and Aaron and for my wonderfully supportive husband, Leon. updated - 2/98

The Love Stays
The love for our baby stays
Love gives us hope...
We will survive and love again ~
In memory of Catherine, Elizabeth and Seth
In honor of Joel and Aaron
Because ~
Every child is Special
Every child makes a difference
Every child is part of who we are
and who we become.
I thank God for each blessing,
And for the strength to go on.
Marcia M. 4/97

"The Love Stays" is written on Seth's gravestone

To my children's grandmother...

She was there from the beginning - caring for me and for my family

My mom sat with me through early labor with our second full term baby. I had called and asked for her to help at the end of a difficult pregnancy (that was now two weeks late!!) She stayed with our three year old, as Leon and I raced off for the hospital at midnight-eager to deliver this baby.

Holding Seth

Hours later, she held our son, her grandson, Seth, knowing that he would not live very long. She loved him. During this time, she shared that she felt she was also holding the two she had lost and could not hold. Those are words that I will never forget. We hugged. We wept.

Supporting us through all times

She has shared our joys in our living children through the years and helped me in countless ways through her strength. Mom has also been pleased when good things happened in SHARE Atlanta knowing that these things would spread the support base. She has donated financial help at different times and has always kept up with SHARE happenings. I appreciate this very much, and I love her for being there for me and for my family. Marcia..7/23/98

Our Precious Family many years ago...

Leon, Joel and I...
I'm pregnant with Seth
The grandparent's farm in
our March visit!

Joel, three, kissing Seth's hand...
September 24, 1981
Joel's shirt says "Big Brother"
The everlasting picture of love...

This site is based on seventeen years of experience working with bereaved parents and other bereavement groups, the grief program Windows, other workshops, readings and the loss of my babies, Catherine, Elizabeth and well as other losses in my life. My losses and my subsequent children, along with much support and love from family and friends, have led me down many paths.

****Windows/Healing and Helping Through Loss
with accompaning Workshop Program
by Mary Joe Hannaford & Michael Popkin
Published by Active Parenting, Inc., Atlanta, GA
(contact Active Parenting to take workshop and
become certified as a "Windows" Grief Counselor)

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