with Grace in my heart

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To my dear friends, Kimmie and Jason, whose beloved daughter, Grace Evelyn Smith, was born still on November 12, 2012 at 30 weeks after being diagnosed with a genetic condition called Trisomy 18.

Watching my beautiful friends, Kimmie and Jason, receive this devastating diagnosis for their baby girl, cherish their time with Grace during pregnancy, and navigate the rough waters of living after loss has been both heartbreaking and inspiring. Through a deep love for their daughter, they have found the strength to honor her memory by speaking on panels about infant loss and by sharing Grace's story on their blog.

As parents, we have an intimate relationship with fear. We bring helpless, beautiful, perfect little creatures into this world. We are charged with the heavy responsibility of keeping them safe. Of loving them, taking care of them, shielding them from pain. Grace's story reminds us that not everything is within our control. The world is a scary, but beautiful place. I am more aware than ever of the deep pain so many have experienced. That loss is part of life. That what we have is each other, right now.

I hope that by sharing a small part of their story in this space, I can further honor Grace's memory and her parent's journey. There is a long road ahead and my greatest wish is that they know they are not alone. They are loved. Grace is loved. She will never be forgotten.

I will end with the letter to Grace that I wrote her while she was still in her Mama's belly:

Dear Grace,

I’d like to start by introducing myself. I’m Miranda, your Mama’s friend. I met your mom four years ago. We started out as co-workers, but today, your Mother is one of my dearest friends. When my daughter Fiona was born and your Mom came to meet her for the first time, I answered the front door to your sweet Mom shaking excitedly with tears in her eyes. I knew in that moment that your Mother was a very special kind of friend and I felt so lucky that she loved me and my new baby so much. I looked forward to the day that I would feel that same excitement and love about your Mama’s baby. And I did!  When your Mama told me she was pregnant with you, I got to feel that joy! You were such a wished for, loved on baby right from the start.

Grace, you have brought immeasurable meaning to the life of your parents and changed them both forever. You have made them parents. The greatest gift in all the world. You have opened their eyes, and the eyes of all who love you, to what life is all about, just by being you. We have learned hard things about the world. That although your life is a perfect little piece of the universe, it will not last nearly as long as we would like. But we have learned beautiful things, too. That life is precious and delicate, and that every moment is a gift.

But, I can’t write this letter without acknowledging the hard truth. It’s not fair, dear little Grace. You should have been given more time here. You should have had time to experience what our world has to offer. I am so sorry you don’t have that time. I am so, so sorry. I can’t pretend to know the way the world works. I don’t. My one consolation is knowing that you won’t miss out on the very greatest thing the world offers. Love. You’ve got that by the bushel full.

I will always think of you, Grace, and you will forever have a place in my heart.

All my love,

Miranda