I only met this sweet girl once, back in August of last year. She was just three months old. It never dawned on me as I cooed at her and made silly faces that I would never see her again.
She lived in Canada so it's not like I thought I would see her often. But her mom and dad and her older sister were not against road trips and I knew the would make the trip to PA at least once a year or once other year.
We met because there is a group of us that have lost our babies and connected as a way to stay sane / share stories / commiserate / yell / laugh / brag...and the list goes on.
Miss Chelsea died before she even had her first birthday. She spent more time in SickKids (comparable to our CHOP) than she did in her nursery at home. She had a genetic disease that no matter how hard she tried to fight (and fight she did), she simply could not win.
Her mom and dad and sister knew that the end was coming. Originally, they had hope and optimism but as the days turned to weeks and then months, they had to face the inevitable.
Burying a child is unnatural. Everyone in our group has done it. Burying two children is barbaric.
Chelsea's mom and dad had to say hello and goodbye to their first daughter, too. They did not get the time they had with Chelsea and I am not sure if that is a blessing or a curse. Do you want it to be fast and quick or do you want it to be slow and drawn-out? There is no correct answer.
This couple, who has been though thick and thin, have created and delivered three precious daughters. They are now raising one.
What am I to do with that?
I wrote a blog about Chelsea's story at the end of last year. As a group, a support group, we found comfort in collecting stuffed unicorns and taking pictures of them and posting them on our shared Facebook page.
Individually, we are all floundering. Canada is simply too far for many of us to go and so we have to pay our respects from afar. We wanted to send flowers and trinkets and buckets of whatever we could to make our feelings known, but in the end, we are doing something that is right for her and right for us.
I will never get used to death. I will never accept that sometimes "it is what it is" or "it's better this way". There is a family grieving the saddest possible grief for the second time in under a decade. There is a sister who now has a big sister and a baby sister in heaven. There are aunts and uncles and grandparents and friends who were robbed of the chance to get to know, really know, both girls.
So. Not. Fair.
The takeaway from all of this mess? Love hard. Love often. Love with your whole heart. I am not embarrassed to pick up my daughter in the middle of a store and shower her with kisses. I am not worried about putting her in time out or taking away a favorite toy for a day or night if it will teach her discipline and respect. I am not afraid to speak my first daughter's name and share with the world how much I loved her (and still do!).
Fly high, sweet unicorn Chelsea. Tell your sister and all her many friends that we love them all so and we might just see them again some day.
We can't do it all, but we can remember. And we remember you all.
|Our Chelsea-corn at the local comic book store|