You know, I’m always amazed at the connections I have all over the world because of what I do. It’s just one month short of 11 years ago that I meant another girl named Bethany. She was in my discipleship group on my very first mission trip with Royal Servants. Now, 11 years later, I work for Royal Servants; and we are still in contact.
After hearing about our recent loss, she referred me to a blog written by one of her other friends (Wegen Tales). It chronicles the journey of another mom whose babies are all in heaven. As painful as it is, I found it also very encouraging to hear how this mother is approaching life. I found comfort in a woman I had never met but feel that we have a similar connection.
This woman has started a non-profit organization called Owl Love You Forever. Her desire is to bring comfort during a time of deep sorrow to families who lose babies (whether born or unborn). Hospitals hosting this organization give these mothers a box containing a variety of items to help grieve and remember. One of these items is an adorable, stuffed owl.
When we returned home from the ultrasound appointment, one of the first things I did was head to our storage closet and dig out a bin containing some of my keepsakes. This particular bin was at the very bottom of a stack of other bins. When I took off the lid, right on top was my favorite childhood teddy bear (named Teddy, of course) next to a pair of duck baby slippers I’ve been saving for a few years. It’s a ragged and worn old bear I actually acquired as a small child at a church garage sale (I have a soft spot for underdog animals). This bear spent every night for probably 15 years by my side, traveled the world, and went to college with me. It has comforted me through many different experiences. This time, I hugged it to my chest and cried. It spent the next two nights with me before I could put it back in its storage space.
I can’t really describe what it was that compelled me to reach for something so old and dear, something from my past. It’s small teddy bear arms reminded me of a baby’s arms. Maybe that sounds more painful, like a constant reminder of the baby I wasn’t going to hold. It was–a little; but the comfort of holding something small and dear was greater.
Owl Love You Forever provides women with stuffed owls for just that reason. “No mom should have to leave the hospital with empty arms.” I agree.
This morning, Brian and I donated a box in Promise’s honor for some future mom who will experience the same tragedy. It is part of our healing process.