Yes, it is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and it is so important to not only be aware of the cancer that is the most common cancer among women, but there are at least 114 other causes that claim October as an awareness or action month.
I decided to take a look at one of the others.
Admittedly, I did not know this month existed until now, but October is also National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month.
According to firstcandle.org, “Every day, 13 babies will be lost to SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) and other sudden, unexpected infant deaths; more than 70 new parents will have listened sadly their stillborn baby’s silence; and countless lives will be lost to miscarriage and other causes of infant death.”
Some people like to say to those of us who’ve lost children that “it was meant to be,” or “something was wrong and it’s God’s way of handling it,” or worse, “it was just tissue.”
Let me be straight up honest here, none and I repeat none, of those comments help a grieving mother and/or father.
This month, and really any month, is important to those of us who have experienced the grief of losing a child or children. It’s important for those who know us to let us grieve, let us remember and not discount what we had, what we envisioned having, and the child or children we had to say goodbye to.
So, if you do nothing else, give a hug, a handhold, a smile, something to someone who might just need to know it’s okay to remember, to cry, to laugh, to smile, to honor a loved, lost child.
My husband and I have too many headstones in a cemetery—one marking the grave of our triplets that we had to watch die after desperately trying to hold onto a long-fought pregnancy and another for our first-born son who came a couple of weeks too early to be considered a human being.
Matthew had all his parts. He was beautiful. He moved. He was in pain. He died. The hospital discarded his body without even asking us. They could do that because legally he was not considered “viable,” not considered a “human,” just “fetal tissue.”
We choose to remember Matthew and the triplets—Anna Kathryn, Scott and Lee—everyday, but, now I know there is an entire month dedicated to all the babies like them, not to mention the multiple other so-called miscarriages we suffered. I hate the word miscarriage.
We try to release balloons toward heaven each year for our children and a beautiful blooming crabapple tree, planted in memorial, still soars toward the sky in my hometown of Elba, where we lived at the time of each baby’s death. I can’t go through Elba without going past where we lived and looking to see if the tree is still there. And, it is. It always makes me smile.
So, in honor of all the loved babies lost and the parents out there hurting, possibly alone and silent, know that October is a special month for you to remember and to make others aware of what we front-liners already know.
Blessings from this mother to all others.
Jan Murray is a staff writer for The Southeast Sun and Daleville Sun-Courier. The opinions of this writer are her own and not the opinion of the paper. She can be reached at (334) 393-2969 or by email at email@example.com.