Every year January 27th is a long day for me and my wife. It was the easily the worst day of our lives. This is the day my wife delivered our second child – Christian. It was the worst day of our lives because Christian was a full-term stillborn.
It is hard to believe five years have passed because the pain never really goes away. My wife and I don’t still cry ourselves to sleep every night (like we did for the fist six months), but the pain, the emptiness is still there.
When parents lose children they are typically left with two things; the memories and the what ifs & whys. Unfortunately for us, we only have the what ifs and whys. We think about what if we had delivered him earlier. Why did God take him from us? Why didn’t my oldest son have a chance to grow up with a brother 18 months apart from him? What if things ended differently?
As I sit here and reflect on that day (as I do every January 27th), I am thinking about what I have learned since then. Obviously I could tell you all the reasons you should feel sorry for me, but that’s not what Christian would want.
Instead, I want to discuss some of the things I learned, how I have grown, and how I live my life a little differently.
My Wife is Definitely My Soul Mate
After Christian’s funeral things didn’t just get better, they actually got worse. I carried a “poor me” mentality for at least a year and probably longer. My wife literally cried herself to sleep for about the first six months after Christian’s funeral. We desperately wanted answers.
During that time my wife and I cried together, we helped carry each other when the other was down, and we stuck together when the going got even tougher. It wasn’t easy, but during that time we grew together.
I really believe that is one of the reasons we are so close today. My wife is my best friend and there is no doubt she is my soul mate. When I think about our relationship, I often think about this quote:
“The couples that are meant to be; are the ones who go through everything that’s designed to tear them apart and come out even stronger.” ~Unknown
I’m Glad I Held Christian
Many people think it is wrong to hold a dead baby, but it was the best decision we ever made. My wife and I got to spend about 12 hours with Christian before he was sent to the funeral home.
During that time we rocked him, kissed him, and talked to him. It was very comforting and I am glad we made that decision because it gives me comfort knowing that I got to hold him and spend a little time with him.
We even had a service, Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep, come in to take pictures of our baby. Their service is run fully by volunteers and they run an amazing organization. Because of them we have pictures to remember our baby.
I could probably write an entire book about the new perspectives I have on life (and maybe I will some day). So I will try to condense it for this post.
Instead of being focused solely on the wrong things in life, I try to seek out more meaning and making an impact on others. I want better relationships with my wife and family, more meaning from my work, and find ways to help others. That is one of the reasons I am donating a portion of my side incomes (Amazon and other ventures I am involved with) this year to the Polaris Project.
My Little Girl
Fifteen months after Christian we had our third child, Brooklyn. This is difficult to think about, but if it wasn’t for Christian then Brooklyn probably wouldn’t be here and I may not have a little girl. I can’t imagine life without her.
It’s a confusing concept, but I am so thankful for my girl and so sad about Christian. Instead of this constantly being on my mind, I try to be more thankful and believe Brooklyn was a gift from Christian.
We all want to find silver linings when bad things happen and we did. We discovered that my wife has a blood clotting disorder and it is serious.
Now when she is preggers, flies on a plane, or we drive for long periods of time she has to inject herself with Lovenox shots. During pregnancy she has to give herself a shot every single day. The shot bruises her stomach and makes it look like she went 10 rounds with Mike Tyson. This discovery may have saved my wife’s life with the other pregnancies she had. For this I am thankful.
The first year was easily the most difficult. We miss Christian, but we seek comfort in knowing we’ll see him again some day.