Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Painfully Real Club

I got the photos from Rachel's service back today.  Our friend Luke took them for us, and just like all his pictures, they are beautiful. (more coming soon) This photo was taken at the cemetery during Rachel's committal service... you would never know by looking at us, but this was the first time we ever met...
Ruth and her husband John have lost two boys to anencephaly.  She heard about Rachel and came to her service.  I was standing above Rachel's casket when Ruth approached me... and when she said "I know how hard this is for you"...  well, she really knew.  It's an "exclusive club", as they called it at the hospital.  Unless you have lost a child, it really is impossible to completely understand.  Today, she sent me an email and I wanted to share what she wrote. (you know how much I love analogies!)  Don't worry, I asked first.  You need not fear that if you send me an email, I'll blog it :o)  She wrote:

I remember reading the Velveteen Rabbit to my kids thinking how true the description was to what I was becoming;

"What is REAL?" asked the Rabbit one day, when they were lying side by side near the nursery fender, before Nana came to tidy the room. "Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?"

"Real isn't how you are made," said the Skin Horse. "It's a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real."

"Does it hurt?" asked the Rabbit.

"Sometimes," said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. "When you are Real you don't mind being hurt."

"Does it happen all at once, like being wound up," he asked, "or bit by bit?"

It doesn't happen all at once," said the Skin Horse. "You become. It takes a long time. That's why it doesn't happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in your joints and very shabby. But these things don't matter at all, because once you are Real you can't be ugly, except to people who don't understand."

"I suppose you are real?" said the Rabbit. And then he wished he had not said it, for he thought the Skin Horse might be sensitive. But the Skin Horse only smiled.

"The Boy's Uncle made me Real," he said. "That was a great many years ago; but once you are Real you can't become unreal again. It lasts for always."

The Rabbit sighed. He thought it would be a long time before this magic called Real happened to him. He longed to become Real, to know what it felt like; and yet the idea of growing shabby and losing his eyes and whiskers was rather sad. He wished that he could become it without these uncomfortable things happening to him

Like the Velveteen Rabbit, becoming real for me has been a painful bittersweet process.... but I'll always love my boys.

What you have done for your girl Rachel is painful and yet you are becoming even more beautifully real - ( please pardon me for evaluating your growth after knowing you for such a short time - but you are beautiful in your sorrow). What you have done for your girl. Love, Ruth

Does "real" have to be so painful?


  1. I like that... What a beautiful way to put it. It definitely is an exclusive club. I am so thankful that I have you and the other baby loss moms who know exactly how I feel. (Hugs)

  2. Oh Stacy. I love you. I am so sorry you are hurting so much. I think about you & Rachel every day and I pray for you constantly. I will keep praying for your sister as well. Love you!! hugs

  3. Dearest Stacey,

    Your testimony is a true testament to the sanctity of life. Your courage, and utter devotion to the baby God gave you gives me such hope that maybe the world isn't as bad as it seems sometimes.

    I found your blog through a friend who couldn't wait to share it with me. She knew your words would resonate in my heart. While I have never had to face the losses you have had to face, I know what it is like to have a baby that many in the world think would be better off unborn.

    My son, Liam, is 9 and was born with down syndrome. He continues to be the the light in my life and the child through whom i always feel God's love. Liam is the oldest of three and I constantly wonder why I was chosen to be his mommy. I feel so lucky yet always unworthy. Your post about the Velveteen rabbit and becoming real really hit home with me. The journey to real has been painful but I wouldn't trade the real me I am today for the person I was before he came to me for anything. Liam has taught me about what life is really about - how unimportant all the things i used to worry about really are, and that love is really all that matters.
    Words will never be able to adequately express how much your blog touches me. It touches me because it gives me such hope that there are people out there who would choose to keep their baby that most people would abort. Did you know that 98 percent of people who find out prenatally that their baby has down syndrome, abort? The ignorance is just heart breaking. I always think, "if they could just meet Liam." And, I have had people tell me that meeting Liam changed their mind about abortion and I am sure angels sing when that happens.
    You are gifted, and certainly God is using your eloquence for his purpose. I hope to meet you someday. You are an amazing woman and mommy and I wish you all the love, joy and happiness this life of ours has to offer. You will see your Rachel again.
    Love, Sarra Dennehy


We so appreciate your words of encouragement!
Thank you! ♥ The Aubes