A Very, Merry Unbirthday

When I was in high school, I had a wonderful history teacher who made sure to present each lesson in a way that we would never forget. She was out one week for jury duty and we had a substitute teacher. We were left with a video from the History Channel, and print outs of butterflies to color. Some people laughed at how silly it seemed to color in high school. How was our only assignment that week to color? It was a task you assign to kindergartners! When we finished coloring our butterflies, our substitute teacher instructed us to hang them around the walls of the classroom.

Our teacher came back to class, and true to form was ready to dive into another lesson we’d never forget. She passed out papers she’d printed, and on each sheet contained a story of a person who either survived or died during the Holocaust. We went around the room reading our stories aloud and as each story met it’s tragic end, the student was asked to remove their butterfly from the wall. The room’s vibrant butterflies soon disappeared and we were left staring at mostly white walls again. As I flipped over my story to read it, my heart was pounding inside my chest. I had a hard time making it through the story as tears welled up in my eyes expecting the worst. The little boy in my story escaped death by hiding and finding refuge with a family. He was a survivor. I remember feeling so relieved that my butterfly got to remain on the wall with only a handful of others.

The butterflies had made the stories become real, and tangible. We could quickly see the devastation of that tragic time. They were no longer the black and white xeroxed copies. They were unique, colorful, and special to us.

We are all unique, colorful, special masterpieces, yet we remain works in progress. Life is always challenging us, shaping us, and teaching us to become better versions of ourselves.

I was cleared by my doctor last week, and as I reflect back on the last year I am so thankful to be able to see the unexpected gains from my loss. The strangers half a country, or half a world away who have become friends. My heart softening, and my soul reaching to do more, see more, be more. Love more. Help more.

So I wanted to use my baby Gloria’s “unbirthday” to create something special. Something to remember her and the sweet babies of my “loss mom” friends. I want to celebrate their lives, even though they were far too short. I’ve carefully cut out paper hearts (along with the help of my sweet step kids). On the hearts, I wrote names of other precious babies who were carried, loved, and gone too soon. It was my hope to illustrate their lives in a similar way my teacher was able to connect teenage students to people who faced the unimaginable during that dark time.

Behind each heart lies a story. A story of a beautiful baby and their overjoyed mommy and daddy. Behind each heart is enough love to light up the night sky, and enough tears to rival a great storm. These children can never be replaced or recreated, and though they are out of our reach, they are always in our hearts.

Each heart is beautiful, special, and unique. Together the hearts and their stories are woven together forming a beautiful rainbow, the promise of good things to come. Our love for our babies brings us together and unites us. My wish is that this brings hope to people who helped me when I needed it most. That it lets another grieving parent know that they are never alone and that their child matters just much as the names on these hearts.

My Darling Gloria,

Today is a day I’ve both longed for and dreaded. I’d hoped it would be the day that I’d hear your sweet cry, see your beautiful face, and smell your soft baby skin. Your daddy would have had a big, happy smile on his face. I probably would have cried (ALOT!) as I marveled at your tiny nose and impossibly small fingers and toes.

I am so thankful for you and find comfort in knowing that the first thing you saw was the face of Jesus. That is, if Pa didn’t take you into his strong arms first and spoil you rotten! I’m thankful that you were never cold or hungry and never knew fear or sadness. I am thankful you never have to miss me as much as I miss you every second of every day. You’re my masterpiece.

We are going to celebrate YOU today. I hope you are looking down on us with a smile on your face and love in your heart. Please know we wanted you in our arms more than anything, and I long for the day when I can hold you, kiss your face, and never let you go.

xoxo, Mommy

“Beam Me Up” by P!nk

There’s a whole other conversation going on
In a parallel universe
Where nothing breaks and nothing hurts
There’s a waltz playing frozen in time
Blades of grass on tiny bare feet
I look at you and you’re looking at me

Could you beam me up,
Give me a minute, I don’t know what I’d say in it
Probably just stare, happy just to be there holding your face
Beam me up,
Let me be lighter, I’m tired of being a fighter, I think,
A minute’s enough,
Just beam me up.

Some black birds soaring in the sky,
Barely a breath like our one last sight
Tell me that was you, saying goodbye,
There are times I feel the shivering cold,
It only happens when I’m on my own,
That’s how you tell me, I’m not alone

Could you beam me up,
Give me a minute, I don’t know what I’d say in it
I’d Probably just stare, happy just to be there, holding your face
Beam me up,
Let me be lighter, I’m tired of being a fighter, I think,
A minute’s enough,
Just beam me up.

In my head, I see your baby blues
I hear your voice and I, I break in two and now there’s
One of me, with you

So when I need you can I send you a sign
I’ll burn a candle and turn off the lights
I’ll pick a star and watch you shine

Just beam me up,
Give me a minute, I don’t know what I’d say in it
Probably just stare, happy just to be there, holding your face
Beam me up,
Let me be lighter, I’m tired of being a fighter, I think,
A minute’s enough,
Beam me up
Beam me up
Beam me up
Could you beam me up


5 Comments on “A Very, Merry Unbirthday

  1. This entire post is beyond beautiful. I am positive that little G not only has love in her heart, but pride that goes on for miles. What a powerful memory from high school – and how very relevant it has been to this project and this experience overall. I like to think that maybe Gloria and my Baby Zs have found each other – just like their mamas have. Sending a lot of love to you today

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I can’t even come up with the words to describe how beautiful this post is. The tears are literally pouring out of me, but they are tears made from the most pure and amazing love. Thank you! Your words are exactly what I needed to hear and explain exactly how I feel so much better than I could have even said myself. You and your sweet Gloria are touching so many hearts and that is very special.

    Liked by 1 person

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