Monday, March 9, 2009


It is hard to be helpless, but we often are.
I have a cousin, and we have never been close, and his baby is dying right now.
They brought him home from the hospital last week on palliative care.
And so what can I offer?
The answer is, probably nothing.
Nothing at all.
When I think of their struggle with the leukemia, and the seizures that followed, and the multiple infections and bleeds and everything that came with everything, I feel as if I have nothing that I can even offer to them.
But when I think of them at home on his fifth birthday, with a cake and his siblings and no Andrew to show for it, I do feel like I have so much I want to offer.

Honestly I know that probably they will never want a thing from me. But I am sitting here anticipating the heartache that they will feel, and I think that when somebody's gone, and you have this void in front of you, things seem a little more universal.

All this makes Charlotte's death seem so simple and easy. And that's hard for me, too.


Hope's Mama said...

It is times like this that makes us realise just how helpless others must have felt around us at our time of loss. I have a feeling you will know just what to do and just what to say Carol. I just do.

Meg said...

I'm so sorry for little Andrew! That poor family! I think Hope said it well. That's how people felt for you, too. But you will know what to say, and if they don't want it, it's ok, too. They have to deal with this loss their own way. But, you have my sympathies for that little baby and for all of you.

Dalene said...

Oh, this is heartbreaking. You can offer a perspective and understanding that many friends and family member will not be able to. You've been there and can be there for them, somehow.

mama said...


This is just horrific...I am so sorry. I am so much more than sorry, and I am helpless as I sit here and type these words. I want to wrap my arms around you and tell you that I just know that you will find the words and you will lend your strong heart to your cousin in their time of great need. Charlotte will guide your loving heart as she always does.


Charlotte's Mama said...

I think this is the thing: I feel illegitimate, or I feel as if I appear illegitimate to them. It seems to me that from their perspective, I DON'T have anything to offer, because my baby was born dead, while they had to watch theirs die. So I even hesitate to offer suppport, because I don't know if they will even see that I have anything of value to offer.
So complicated.

Sara said...

I can't tell you how your cousin will see you, but I can tell you that you have much to offer them.

You have helped me immensely. As you told me once when I commented on the differences in our experiences, in the end we are both missing a baby.

You have a lot to offer them, whether or not they realize it.

Cara said...

Carol - just the way you move and talk around others oozes understanding. You will be a comfort because that's just who you are.

Great trip - I'll call soon.


kris said...

Oh Carol. Sending love your way. As I read this, I think of all you have written about losing Charlotte--and the fact that someone's silence about Charlotte and the loss was worse than fumbling, bumbling words and efforts. You have so much to offer, so much to give, and I know you'll find a way to say it. Hang in there.

Hennifer said...

I'm so sorry to hear about little Andrew. Since you mentioned his struggle he, and your cousins, have never been far from my thoughts/prayers.

Jen said...

Just from my outsider, non-babylost perspective: I think you have so tremendously much to offer, Carol, and such a deep and thoughtful response to profound loss, even if every situation is different. I know you will find the words you want to say. I suspect you will not allow the feelings of helplessness and illegitimacy to stand in the way of offering basic love and support and bearing witness, and you will ride those feelings out.

Gal aka SuperMommy said...

Could you just reach out and show/share your incredible precious compassion? Let them know they're not alone in feeling how messy and unfair it all is? From a place that is familiar?

Rachel Elizabeth said...

I am continuing to keep this family in my prayers.