This past Saturday, I had the chance to be a part of something beautiful. A while back, I learned about and organization called the Sweat Pea Project. Founded by a mother who's daughter was born still, they "offer resources and gentle guidance for bereaved families and health care providers, a place to honor our sweet children and more." This mother became a writer and her first book, Still, is given out at many hospitals to help grieving parents. When I learned of this book and it's healing powers, I sponsored 4 books in Allie's name to donate to women in need.
Then came her second book. This time she collaborated with more than a dozen other grieving mothers and created poetry. This collection, to linger on hot coals, was published earlier this year and on Saturday, they had a poetic gathering to celebrate.
My mom and I decided to go. To connect with others like us and to honor our Allie. So we drove and hour and a half to Lancaster, PA and walked into the cute and chic art studio. We climbed up the steps towards the event and were greeted warmly. The room was filled with the sounds of an acoustic guitar playing and there was a lovely display of hummus and cheese and crackers. And wine. Lots of wine. Then, up front, behind the podium, 156 candles lit with the names of the babies that are alive only in our hearts. By sponsoring a copy of Still, you could get a candle with your baby's name. A win-win if you ask me!
I nervously walked up front to look for her candle. Mom looked on one side and I looked on the other. There were so many candles. Too many, if you ask me. Too many babies that are not here. Too many parents left to wonder why. When we found her candle, our hearts soared. Hi baby!!
After some wine and munchies, we sat down and waited for the poetry to begin. 4 women read their works live. The rest were pre-recorded and displayed on a big screen by the podium up front. It was so lovely. I cried. I was not alone. It was a beautiful way to pay tribute to our children and to be in a room with other people who understand the grief. They agony. The sadness.
Many of the readers had lost children years ago. One was 20 years...one was 6. I guess in some ways, we are new to this grief party and yet it feels like I have been here an awfully long time. Allie would have been 3 next month.
At the end, we got to meet the authors and they signed all of our books. I got to thank them in person for the work that they did and I hope to be a bigger part of their organization moving forward. It felt good to be there. It felt right. My mom and I, side by side, while my husband was home with our rainbow and texting me updates of their day.
The drive home was spent talking about which poems we liked the most and which did not resonate as much with us. We got to take our candle home and I placed it in the cup holder to keep it safe.
I am proud to be Allie's mom. Have been since the pregnancy strip came back positive. It's so nice to be able to honor her. With Miranda, I post her pictures on Facebook and I plan play dates and look for activities for us to do. I dream of the future and what it will hold for us. I can't do that with my other daughter. But I can remember her and love her and honor her. I hope that is enough.