A Grandmother’s Pain of Infant Loss

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As part of my connection to Empty Cradle, an organization that supports pregnancy and infant loss in the San Diego area, I spend time facilitating support groups for those who are grieving the loss of their child.  When I joined the organization as a facilitator, my goal was to use my five years of experience of grief, loss, and recovery to help support others.  I know in my heart that my contribution has significant meaning to those who are suffering but I am also amazed that each time I attend, I walk away feeling as though I’ve been given the gift of deeper insight into the experience of my own loss.

At the meeting this month, I sat across from a mother without a child.  A child who she carried full term and would have been ten this year.  To her immediate right was her mother, who sat uncomfortably, with gentle tears rolling down her face silently as she listened to her daughter sit in vulnerability as she shared her story of loss.   The love they had for each other was palpable and, on this night, a gift they shared with the entire room.

We discussed the duality of the grandmother’s pain for the loss of a grandchild and the pain of watching her own child suffer.  We discussed her daughter’s experience as a mother, suffering a tragic and unexpected loss of a baby and how the experience derailed her life and consumed her very being until suddenly, after ten long years, her experience shifted and she knew her own daughter, although physically gone, was still with her in spirit.  The moment was bitter sweet and one I won’t forget any time soon.

As the grieving mother thumbed through her memory box of pictures and mementos of her sweet baby Isabel, she pulled out this poem, written by her mother shortly after her daughter passed away.  I want to share it with all of you so that you too can experience the beauty of both the love and pain of these words.

My Granddaughter

By Sherry Lott

 

Lord, you took my grandchild to sit upon your knees

But with this deeply grieving heart I beg you please

How is it possible for a child to develop so long,

For a life to be there, precious and dear, then simply gone?

 

There were dreams and wishes so well thought

All things “baby” were prepared and bought

The room painted pink, the crib sat ready

And in the corner, a pink ruffled teddy.

 

Father, I know You love and care for me

I know in this life that some things must be

I know that You have heard this mother’s cry

Please Lord, why did my grandbaby have to die? 

 

Written in honor of Isabel Rose Lott, 41 weeks in the womb,

Died September 27th, 2007 and born September 28th, 2007

 

 

Catherine McNulty

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After losing her infant son in 2011, Catherine embarked on a journey to do more than survive grief. The loss forever changed the trajectory of her life and sent her looking for meaning and purpose for the life she was given. She channeled the love for her son into her own healing, self-growth and personal empowerment. Today, she has created a framework to grief that disrupts conventional ways of looking at loss. She challenges her clients to step outside of a victim mindset and regain control of how they navigate grief. She teaches how to grow through grief and encourages speaking openly about grief to break down the walls of silence around grief. Catherine lives in San Diego with her family where she speaks, writes, and offers coaching to those who want to do more than just survive grief. She is a board member of Empty Cradle and volunteers at Miracle Babies and the Ronald McDonald House. Her business, Grief INSPIRED supports those who are grieving and guides them to create a new normal that honors the ones they’ve lost.

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