SHARE Atlanta Pregnancy and Newborn Loss Grief Support Sharing/Others' influence

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"Sharing" Our Stories/Thoughts - Along this Path

E-Mail Exchange - How family, friends and co-workers have helped.

Letters and Poems

"The Gift" by Janet (7/97)

"Through the love of friends..." by Kim (3/98)

"It's nice to know people do really care." by JoAnn (4/98)

"Surviving Mother's Day" by JoAnn (6/98)

"My Mother's Day Gift" by Peggy (9/26/98)

"Thoughtful Friends & Family... ACKNOWLEDGEMENT from family & friends means so much to us..." by JoAnn (10/3/98)

"Remembering" by Heather (1/14/99)

"Loss touches Mary Ann's family and Mary Ann takes leave at the office..."(9/17/01)

"I have a very dear friend who just lost her baby 22 weeks into the pregnancy. ... I want to do something..." by Cheryl (3/19/02)

"What to do in memory of a baby?" by a friend (4/2/02)


When a person loses someone dear to them, particularly a child, we do not expect to receive a gift. But, when my first born son, Sean, died of Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome, I received a gift more precious than words can explain.

Sean was born on July 26, 1995. My family and friends eagerly awaited his arrival. I had experienced a great, problem-free pregnancy and looked forward to getting to know my new little wonder.

My good friend, Jennifer, had a 7 month old son, and I looked forward to being able to share stories of motherhood. What a great bond we'd have between us, sharing the most important thing in our lives, our children.

The day after Sean was born we discovered he had HLHS and was not expected to live. My family phoned Jennifer and broke the news to her. When I first spoke to her after learning of Sean's prognosis, I don't think either of us said a word. We simply cried together.

With Sean's death I felt I had lost everything that mattered most in my life. I had lost my child, but I had also lost my dreams and hopes for a future as a mother. I had lost the opportunity to bond with Jennifer on the level I had hoped.

I felt like an outsider, a failure around others with healthy children. Why were their children alive? Why was Sean chosen to be called to heaven so soon?

In this time of despair and grief, I recognized that my friend Jennifer and I were not so different after all. She had lost two babies to miscarriage, and perhaps better than anyone could understand all that I was feeling.

We spoke frequently on the phone about all the fears and pain I experienced following Sean's death. She encouraged me and lifted me up. She became my "savior" because I was beginning to get my old self back.

I feel Jennifer's gift of herself through the most difficult point of my life is the reason I am once again a happy, "normal" functioning person.

I was so thrilled when she was able to come visit my second son Brenden, born on December 3, 1996 , with her second child, Cullen. I had never really been separated from Jennifer as I had feared, but bonded through a common experience, and will feel connected to her for the rest of my days. Thanks Jen!

Janet, Sean, and Brenden

Visit Healing Mementos, Second Anniversary, and Third Anniversary for other thoughts that Janet has shared with SHARE Atlanta. Visit ""I would like to take this opprotunity to say how much I miss you Sean..." By "Aunt" Lisa (5/98)

Sean Wesley Kelly
Died soon after birth/HLHS
Miami, Fl
E-mail 7/97

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Forever in Our Hearts~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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The love and support that we have received has been so wonderful. I don't believe it. The most wonderful story is that of a friend of mine.

Nora and Gary lost their daughter Sarah 7 years ago. As a matter of fact, her anniversary date (of her death) is February 27th, exactly two weeks after Spencer's.

When Sarah died (in a car accident) I felt immediately drawn to Nora’s side. Nora and I had just become friends in the church so there was no close bond there. But for some reason I needed to be near her.

She told me later that I was the only one that understood and said the things she most wanted to hear. Some of the things I said shocked the older ladies that were sitting there, but I felt like it was something she needed to hear.

I also went with two of Sarah’s friends to the funeral home to make sure she had her "do" in place. She had this really big hair which was her trademark. We did her make up and nails and made her look like the Sarah Nora knew. We have kept in touch periodically in the last 7 years, we always knew we were there for each other even if we didn’t talk a lot.

I called Nora on Friday after I got home. She and Gary said that they would come over to see us that night.

We had decided to bury Spencer next to Mike's dad. The only bad thing about that was that the cemetery was a very long way away down town. And that was really bothering me because I knew I couldn’t get down there very often to see him. But there were no more plots available except the one right next to his dad and that is for his mom.

Nora and Gary came over that night and they visited and empathized with us very much. When they were about to leave they said that they wanted to offer the plot next to Sarah. My heart nearly exploded with gratitude. My baby boy was not going to have to be alone. He had Sarah with him.

And do you know that even before they offered that. The first person I thought of when I knew I had lost him was Sarah. She was the one that had my baby boy and was rocking him to sleep for me. I could see it very clearly. So now they lay in rest next to one another and I have some comfort.

Nora has had many ADC (after death communication) from Sarah and she had four in the week of Spencer’s passing. One particularly stands out to me.

She was at work and feeling really sad for both of out lost children. There was this display in her shop with a paper chef’s hat on a box and a heavier cloth one on top of that. This display had been there for months. There was no one in the shop, no breeze nothing going on at all. Nora was leaning against one of the racks (she works in a small uniform shop) and thinking of the kids and feeling really sad. All of a sudden the heavier chef's hat fell off. She said okay Sarah I know that you have Spencer, and that he is okay.

Mike called them a few days after his service and asked how much they needed for the plot. They said "Nothing." They said that we did so much for them when Sarah passed that it was their gift to us. My heart nearly burst with gratitude. It was not only the money part but the gesture was so much.

Mike received about $200 from people at work and we are going to buy a tree in his memory. I have already bought two charms for my bracelet, one angel and one of balloons. His blanket that is keeping him warm has balloons all over it so I feel that that is his symbol.

Mike's friend at work might come into some money soon and he said that if he did he wanted to buy the marker that we had picked out. It cost $650. Mike said that Ray told him not to tell anyone unless the deal came through. I told Mike that if Ray never gave us a dime it wouldn't matter. That the fact that he offered such a grand gesture to a child he didn't know was the greatest gift he could give.

There is this mom at Adam's preschool whom I had met just once in December at a breakfast trying to decide about the Christmas party for the kids. She was very sweet then I thought. Well, when she found out she was so kind. She came to Spencer's service even though she knew she would know no one there. That is very hard to do.

She has come and gotten Adam a couple of times and taken him to the park. She and several of the moms in his class gave us dinner.

But the most touching gesture came on Monday, March the 9th. That was supposed to be the day that I delivered him. Mike and I were pulling up to pick up Adam and she came to the window and handed me one white rose. The card said that she and her prayer group knew that this would be one of the toughest days since his death and she was right. That was a wonderful gesture and it helped me so much.

Visit "Spencer's Story" and "Why Grieve...Spencer" by Kim (7/98). Also, read Gifts - Naming Your Babies after 41 Years

Spencer Calvert
Fullterm Stillborn - 2/13/98
Duluth, Ga

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Forever in Our Hearts~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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"It's nice to know people do really care."

Marcia, Thanks for posting my poem. I've read it several times since I wrote it. I even e-mailed it to my closest friends & a couple of pen-friends (mothers who've also had stillbirths). I received some positive comments. It's nice to know people do really care. Sometimes I get in the "rut" that to others my loss is "old news."

I visited Ian's grave yesterday and someone planted spring flowers. They are purple and white, sort of the size of violets but I'm not sure what they're called. My parents told me last night it wasn't them, so I'm curious "who did this" now. Of course I bawled when I saw that Ian had other visitors; it makes me happy that others visit him, too.

JoAnn's Diary...A mother's reflections in loving memory of her son, Ian ~ E-mails to SHARE Atlanta from 9/97 for over a year's time. JoAnn shares her highs and lows in an effort to understand her loss and pain on her path of healing.

Ian Marcus Walter
Binghamton, NY

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Forever in Our Hearts~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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Surviving Mother's Day

For several weeks preceding Mother's Day I was a basketcase of emotions; my son, Ian, was stillborn on 9/11/97 so May 1998 marks the first Mother's Day without him and the following day 5/11/98 was the 8th month anniversary of his birth.

I decided to schedule 2 days off from work on the 11th & 12th, not knowing what my emotional state of mind would be like. However, I think we need to do that; plan for the unexpected, do whatever we think is right to get through the pain.

My husband and I visited Ian's grave on Mother's Day in the latter part of the evening, just before dark. I broke down in uncontrollable tears when I saw a gift someone had left; a white rose was left by Ian's grave with a card. The card stated (as if it was written to me from my son), "I'll always love you Mom, love Ian." What a wonderful gesture! I'm still not sure who did that, but it shows how much love & support he/she had for us. I'll never forget that. I plan to dry out the white rose and place it with the card in Ian's scrapbook.

My husband bought me a gold necklace; 3 small blocks, each one with one of Ian's initials engraved. I'll cherish it forever. I also received 2 Mother's Day cards from close friends; how thoughtful they remembered.

Just when I thought that no one would think about Ian, or us ... it made me able to cope so much better with the day. I thank them with all my heart.

JoAnn's Diary...A mother's reflections in loving memory of her son, Ian ~ E-mails to SHARE Atlanta from 9/97 for over a year's time. JoAnn shares her highs and lows in an effort to understand her loss and pain on her path of healing. JoAnn had a subsequent baby girl in 2000.

Ian Marcus Walter
Binghamton, NY

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Forever in Our Hearts~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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My Mother's Day Gift

On the first Mother's Day following the loss of my daughter, Annie, I went to a retreat at a convent. This was a very hard time for me. I had lost my mother when I was 18 but this year I was a mother but had no baby with me.

At Mass that morning Father talked about the bond between a mother and her child - how it is similar to the bond between Creator and creation... I cried through the entire Mass.

After Mass, one of my dearest friends, Sister Angelina, brought me to the front parlor, she reached behind the door and pulled out 2 long stem roses, one with a pink bow and one with a red bow.

She said, "I think ALL mother's deserve roses on Mother's Day!" She explained that the pink bow represented Annie and the red, my mother.

What a beautiful gift! The roses were beautiful but the acknowledgement is the gift that I will treasure forever. I couldn't believe that a woman whom will never have biological children of her own could understand so much!

I have truly been blessed by great friends!

Anne Elizabeth, Stillborn
Atlanta, GA
SHARE Atlanta

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Forever in Our Hearts~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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Thoughtful Friends & Family

On 9/30/98 I went to my monthly support group meeting; it was the first meeting since my son Ian's first anniversary on 9/11/98. Presented to me at the meeting was a painting from one of the group members, a talented soul with a compassionate heart.

Carol "brought to life" for me one of my initial dreams last year after Ian's stillbirth. The painting is a picture of Ian & myself walking down a country road amongst trees full of colorful Autumn leaves. I will treasure that gift always. I hope my many tears doesn't melt the paint!

Another wonderful gesture came today from my brother-in-law and sister-in-law. Together with their 3 children, they "celebrated" Ian's birthday. They sent photos of preparing a birthday cake and decorating a room with streamers. The oldest girls decided to decorate the cake with blue clouds, a church and bright sunshine. The words say, "Our Angel in Heaven - We Love You Ian."

How wonderful to know that people do care. My husband & I also received a few cards on Ian's anniversary.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENT from family & friends means so much to us.

JoAnn's Diary...A mother's reflections in loving memory of her son, Ian ~ E-mails to SHARE Atlanta from 9/97 for over a year's time. JoAnn shares her highs and lows in an effort to understand her loss and pain on her path of healing.

Ian Marcus Walter
Binghamton, NY

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Forever in Our Hearts~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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by Elizabeth Dent

Go ahead and mention my child,
The one that died, you know.
Don't worry about hurting me further.
The depth of my pain doesn't show.
Don't worry about making me cry.
I'm already crying inside.
Help me to heal by releasing the tears that I try to hide.
I'm hurt when you just keep silent, pretending he didn't exist.
I'd rather you mention my child, knowing that he has been missed.
You asked me how I was doing.
I say "pretty good" or "fine".
But healing is something ongoing.
I feel it will take a lifetime.

Gavin Joseph
Lansing, MI

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Forever in Our Hearts~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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Loss touches Mary Ann's family and Mary Ann takes leave at the office...

I talked to a friend of my fathers over the weekend who has helped me a lot with her words. She made me feel more peaceful and helped me find what Declan's purpose was for those short 13 days.

I have forwarded your web page to others so they could learn more about how we are feeling.

My "little" sister (she's 32 but still my little sister), is the one I worry about the most. She sounds so depressed because of this. She and her husband have also been trying to get pregnant and I think with all that they have been going through and then what happened to me and Paul has compounded things for her. My hope is, that she will find some comfort not only from me but within your web page.

I will be out of the office until Monday, November 5th, on maternity leave.

Marcia's thoughts:

I think it is so wise of you to take the time now to start the grief process. It starts the minute we learn about our child's death or likely death. We grieve because we loved this little person so very much. Our innocence is gone, our reactions are intense, and our world turned upside down. All part of the process of grief.

Finding, over a period of time, meaning in all of this is one healer. If our child's presence has meaning then we know how important s/he was to us - and often to others. For some, it takes years before this is ALL understood. We weave in and out of periods of "partial understanding" and "what a waste." That's part of the process of grief and healing.

So many in our group are people who are strong and have been THE protectors of OTHERS. Now, we seek out each other to try to comprehend what we must do to survive. That to me is not a weakness - it is our strength.

I worried about my friends, my family, etc. This is a topic we discuss a lot in our groups. Because of our loss, we have shown others that we care about, that death and birth can go hand and hand. Not something that we really planned on passing on. How we grieve and take care of ourselves opens the doors for others to understand that we can survive and there are ways to cope.

Your sister probably is more worried now, and she probably will look to see how you react. My guess is that you both will find ways to move through this. Educating yourselves about grief, coping, and taking steps that can be reasuring around any future pregnancies (for either of you) is important.

Good, listening doctors are important and they ARE out there. Sometimes loved ones distance themselves for awhile as they work through their walk - other times, they become closer. Both are normal, both ways can work.

As I write over and over on the site, grieving is "work." It uses energy and time. But, as we work through our pain, energy returns, and we begin to understand that we will survive. Surviving and making what happened to us a stronger part of our fabric gives this tragic event and this special person in our life something we can get our arms and hearts around.

By the way, if you would like to receive our Parent Packet which includes a years free subscription to our newsletter please send me your address and I will have one sent to you.

Mary Ann
Declan Michael Forde
Died soon after birth


"Time does heal!" - Mary Ann's Story (9/29/01)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Forever in Our Hearts~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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I have a very dear friend who just lost her baby 22 weeks into the pregnancy. She lives in NC, but is originally from the Atlanta area and her baby was just buried there.

I feel so helpless and I grieve for her and her little son daily. I want to do something in the name of her son, but I don't know what. I want to give her something to remember him by, but I don't know what. I want to make a donation in his name, but I don't know to where.

Please help me help her. ANY suggestions you have will be greatly appreciated!

Thank you in advance!


Marcia's Comments: Dear Cheryl,

I am very sorry about your friend's midterm loss of her son. It is very special that you are seeking a way to support her. As you can read on our site, this is a loss that many will not understand - and your friend may also be confused as to how to help herself and her family. It is good that she has had a funeral for her baby, and I hope she will give herself "permission to grieve" so she can heal.

Your support can help her very much as she works to cope with her loss. This child's presence will always be with her and a special memento from you and/or a donation in his memory would be a treasured gift. It would also help you as you work through your own grief about this loss and your friend's pain.

If you know where her baby is buried it would help me know if she is near where our Angel of Hope's brick memorial pathway is. (You can read about this wonderful garden on our site.) We have had friends purchase bricks in memory of a loved baby. If her baby is buried in Arlington Cemetery that would be a very special memento. Even if her baby is not buried there, she might appreciate having a memorial keepsake brick for her child. She could include the brick in her own garden or a brick in our Angel's garden may be comforting. Many of our parents find comfort when they visit the garden.

There are many loving mementos that can be given to a parent. Many of these can be found under "Coping Ideas" in our Drop Down box or under Links/Books and Resources. A small figurine, name a star in his memory, anything with his name on it - a charm, a stuff animal, etc. and/or a donation to a group such as ours who helps bereaved parents or to the March of Dimes, etc.

The important part of all of this is that YOU as a friend are remembering her son and want to recognize this special little person. Then your gift will further this remembrance so she will have it forever-to remember her baby and your support.

The next important support you can give her is to listen to her talk about her experience and her child, to guide her to my site (which has many links and informaiton and she could subscribe to our free parent-centered newsletter), and to call, write or email her over the next year or so to let her know you are there for her and you have not forgotten. Holidays and anniversaries are very difficult and having someone remember is very special.

Bless you for your care and be gentle with yourself as you cope with this painful loss. I am to this day, touched by those friends who supported me after my losses, and I hold them as dear friends. One of the most important gifts a parent can receive is support from close friends. This topic is discussed much on this site (Friends, Family and Co-Workers), and we have a local group topic "Grief and Relationships".

Please let me know if I can help you in any other way. Or if I can be more specific on any topic.

Batavia, IL


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Forever in Our Hearts~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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"What to do in memory of a baby?"

Is it considered appropriate to name a star after the deceased child? We are debating whether or not to register a star after a friend's loss. She lost the child 24 days after the delivery.

If it is not appropriate or perhaps too much, can you suggest some things a friend can do besides send flowers?

Marcia's Reply: I am sorry about the loss of your friend's baby. I am touched that you are seeking a way to memorialize their little one. Losing a baby is hard for the parents, the family, and friends, and doing something special in memory of the baby is very healing. Having friends who support them during this time is very important for the bereaved parents.

We have had many stars named after special babies. There is a link on our site under "Links/Books, Keepsakes, Memorial Ideas" in our Main Drop Down Box to the "Name a Star" site: - Here is a question about this important topic from their site:

Q What is a Memorial Star?

A A Memorial Star is for someone who has passed away. We send a different letter with the portfolio and the star is placed in a constellation that is visible all year round.

They will send a certificate to the couple. The site explains all about the issue.

I remember one mother coming to our candlelighting and a showing us all her certificate and a picture of the star. It meant a lot to she and her husband to have their daughter remembered in this way.

Our site does offer other ideas both on the page mentioned and under "Coping Ideas". Please visit these pages if you would like other ideas. I believe the one you have thought of would be very special.

You might tell your friend of our group. We have a Parent's Packet that we send that includes information about grieving, newborn loss, our Angel Garden and Memorial brick pathway in Arlington Park Cemetery in Sandy Springs, our groups, and includes a years subscription to our parent-centered newsletter. Our website with its email exchange between parents has given many parents comfort. We offer support so no one has to walk this path alone.

Please take care, and if I can help you in any other way, please let me know.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Forever in Our Hearts~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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