“I feel like no one really thinks about a loss for future their children. My parents lost a child when I was little, and knowing they lost them makes me feel guilty. I bet they would have been a better person, who may have done more than I ever could. When I am really sad, sometimes I ask God to switch places with the child, because surely he meant for me to die and not them. I want to be two wonderful people inside the same body so I can give my mother all of her children’s love. The thought makes me feel like what I want to become is unreachable. How can I ever meet those standards? I don’t hear anyone speak about it, so here it is. I hope I am not alone in the ‘It should have been me’ syndrome.”
First, let me say this – you’re absolutely not alone. There were two main goals in this project – providing a safe space where we can share things that have been on our hearts for too long and giving a way to recognize that while we feel like we’re alone when these things surface, they really are much more common than is recognized. Being a rainbow baby has made me wonder many of these same things. In what ways would Nicholas have impacted the world? Would I even be here if he had made it? I’ve even wondered if I was enough to make up for that loss. Now – after losing children of my own – I have more pieces to the puzzle. Nothing in this world can make up for the loss of Luke and Jonah just like it couldn’t for Nicholas or for your parent’s little one. We wouldn’t want to do anything that would take the place of our love for them, and from my (now) parent perspective it isn’t about being enough or making up for something that was lost anyway.
At some point, a perspective shift helps a realization here that has helped me a million times over in trying to reconcile this as a child, sibling, and parent of lost children and the difference was subtle, but real; I stopped trying to figure out how to be all the things they could have been I realized that I am the way I am because of them. I am a part of their legacy, having an impact in ways that could never have happened if it weren’t for them. Several people have sent in their stories and confessions, hoping to help others and give some closure which leads to a question I have asked myself lately – if Jonah was here today, would I have had the strength and insight to do this in the first place? If I’m being honest I could never say yes. I’d be taking pictures and playing and preparing for a little boy’s first birthday party where I can see and touch and hear him. Jonah’s physical absence has led to such a surreal movement in my heart that strives to be all the things I would want to be for him. This isn’t my legacy, it’s his. I can be part of it and carry it forward in a way that honors his life beyond his death. I can help to participate in the change he would have helped create, one step at a time.
We’re just a day away from Jonah’s birthday and will keep this series going through March and into April – as long as hearts are being lifted. Send me a private message if you’d like to contribute, and we’ll help people together. #TeamJonah