“There is, I am convinced, no picture that conveys, in all its dreadfulness, a vision of sorrow, despairing, remediless, supreme. If I could paint such a picture, the canvas would show only a woman looking down at her empty arms.” – Charlotte Bronte

In honor of October being Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, I wanted to write today about another special angel baby who has deeply impacted me, my entire life. My sister, Emily.

Emily was born still on October 1st, 1982 to Andrea and Roy Johnson. She was a very large baby, and unfortunately, the Doctor’s then did not have an explanation as to what happened. The common thought in my family is that she was left inside of my mom for too long, and she  ran out of room. My parent’s grieved for Emily then and still do each and every day. I understand that now, more than I ever did before.

When I was in high-school,  I decided I wanted to visit my sister’s grave. I hadn’t been there since I was young and for some reason, I felt like I needed to see her. I got my then boyfriend (now husband) Dustin and my best friend Robbie to go with me. We piled into my very rustic aerostar van and made our way to the cemetery.

Once we got there, it took us a little while to find her, but we did.  And to be quite honest, I was shocked. Not because it was her grave, but because I was shocked to see my whole name on a tombstone. I had never really fully realized that I was named after someone else. Someone important to my family. That resonated with me and it has provided me strength during my darkest times.

Since losing Jack, I have thought about Emily often and I have thought about my mom and dad in a different way. I feel badly for them that they did not get the opportunities I have had to grieve. Baby loss may be taboo now, but it was downright unspeakable back then. They did not give stillbirth certificates to families. There were very few support groups for grieving parents and there was no internet to use to reach out to other baby lost mommas. I am in awe of how strong my mom is for going through her loss and still having the guts to try again for me. I am forever grateful to her for having the desire to keep trying. That is what inspires me to keep going, because I know one day, I will bring an earthly baby home.

I also appreciate my parents “protective” nature of me in a whole new way. Of course growing up, you think all parents are protective, but mine always seemed a little bit more so and I never really got why. Now, I get it, in a big way. I can already feel inside of me how protective I am going to be over our next baby and how protective I am of Jack’s memory. It’s an instinct you cannot ignore. It is amazing how much of your life, how much your view of your family, is changed by losing a child.

So in honor of all babies gone too soon this month, I would encourage you to take a moment to think about these special children. While they may have only been here on earth for a brief time, their impact on the lives of the people they have touched, will last a lifetime.