Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Today I found out something that might not seem like good news.
To be honest I don't know what to call it, but it warmed my heart fully.
A nurse that I know told me that Charlotte had changed her. She told me a story of a baby who had died, and she told me about how the hospital wanted to deal with it one way, and how she chose to advocate for another way. She told me about how she carefully took photographs of the tiny hands and feet, and how she tried the handprints and footprints again and again to get them just perfect. She told me about how she insisted, when a doctor thought it might "not be best" for the mother to see her baby, that the baby be brought to her mother anyway. And she was. And so this nurse, this wonderful woman with the hugest heart, has given this mother a gift that might not have been hers, the gift of memory.
What would I do without that gift? What would I do if I didn't remember my beautiful girl being lifted into my arms, if I didn't remember the feeling of her soft head, if I couldn't recall the faint smell of her newbornness? What would I do without my lock of hair, my bracelet, my footprints winking down at me from the fireplace? What would I do if she hadn't been real? I cannot put a value on that gift of memory. It saves me every day, makes me whole, makes me real.
This woman thanks me, and Charlotte, for helping her to know how to give her patient the gift of memory, and for helping her to know to respect the personhood of that tiny baby who never drew a breath. But I would argue that perhaps it is more the person that knows that it is only fair, it is only just, to send every mother home with something. Those who see it differently must be hiding from something. For how could it be better to be sent home with nothing? No memory, no photo, no nothing? It never could be.
But I will add, that it gave my sweet, beautiful, almost-five-year old girl a little bit more purpose in this world, to know that she is working her magic and spreading good will. That nurse may have had this deep in her core, but she thought of Charlotte when she wrapped that baby up and brought her to her mother. And so I smile, deeply on the inside of me, to know that my loss has made somebody else's loss maybe that much easier, and I hope that this will continue to happen. May all of our blows be lessened, little by little, one baby at a time. Thank you, sweet kind nurse, because you have just made somebody's whole life completely different: a mother out there now knows her baby, when she could have never known her. Wow. That is one big deal.

1 comment:

Awake said...

What a wonderful sentiment shared by that nurse to you. Kind, thoughtful and heartwarming.