This article was originally posted in the Jan/Feb 2003 issue of the Share newsletter.
Memories for Andrew
Dedicated to Andrew Joseph born quiet due to PROM
Ally miscarried March 13, 2002
By Mum & Dad Michael & Angela Westermann
Hello. My name is Angela. I am a bereaved mum. October 22, 2001 my son Andrew Joseph was born quiet. He did not take a breath, he did not cry. In my journey of grief, at times I have felt incredible anger that the only thing I seemed to have was very few memories. The time I spent with him was oh so brief. Over time I realized that I could make memories for my son. So every corner I turn, every step I make I am always looking for ways to remember my son.
The day of Andrew’s service, after everyone had left. I placed a rose against his heart. One that I had picked from my garden as I was leaving out the door. Now every time that rose blooms I smile and think, “That’s Andrew telling me he is ok.” The afternoon after his service, my husband and I ventured to a place called Princess Point. We stood and held each other and grieved, releasing three balloons into the sky. Andrew’s balloon connected to ours raced ahead, dragging ours. As if to say “MOM and DAD hurry up, I’ve got things in heaven I have gotto do.” As we left the park a man dressed in black came walking towards us, he proceeded to the next area and began to play the sweetest melody on the bagpipes. Andrew was named after an Irishman who loved bagpipes. Again another sign that Andrew was being well looked after. To this day, I can hear the melody of the bagpipes and it brings a sudden rush of warm feelings. Sometimes memories are made and we don’t even know its happening.
Shortly after Andrew’s visit to us, we began a journal to him. In the beginning we wrote everyday. Now almost a year later it is not so often. We can write all the things we wanted to say to him, we can share all the events in our lives that we would have shared with him. What a wonderful tribute to our son.
The first Mother’s Day my husband wrote some very beautiful things to Andrew about me, his mum, in this journal. The tears flowed like water, but I was so proud of the sentiments he wrote.
For Father’s Day, I found an artist who sketched a beautiful drawing of Andrew’s and his father’s hands together. The drawing has a special place in our hearts and maintains a place on the wall.
For the 6-month anniversary my husband and I had matching tattoos placed of his footprints with his name surrounding the footprints along with his birth date. Ink spots formed together, bonding a mother, a father and a son.
It is so wonderful to realize that our memories of our son continue.
Over the summer, I went to a festival, there was a face painter there. For the first time in 37 years I had my face painted. And as I was having it done, I whispered silently to myself, “Andrew this ones for you.”
I walked around the festival feeling like a mum. It was a great feeling.
In honor of Andrew I live my life, flaws and all. Andrew allowed me to become a believer again. A believer in myself, in angels and to knowing the true depths of despair, to the purest joy. Other people may get the notion I am not “Doing Well”, not “Getting Over”. In reality I am learning to bring forth Andrew’s sweetness and spirit, Learning to live again with him right beside me.
Memories for Ally
Ally was miscarried at 8 weeks in March of 2002. My grieving for her has been a bit different than Andrew. I did not have any sonograms, not even a doctor’s visit. My memories of her are a bit harder to define. The one thing I have done for her is to name her my little portulaca, ( Any of the various fleshy plants of the genus Portulaca, especially P.grandiflora fo South America, cultivated for its showy colorful flowers that open only in sunlight.) I think of her as my sunlight.
In June I began cross-stitching design of a beautiful christening dress surrounded by roses. In memory of her.
The last thing I do each night before I go to sleep is to say Good Night to my babies.
So my friends your memories are all around you. Some come quietly, and then the next time they happen we realize the beauty of them and some we have to plan. Always our babies are there beside us, remember them always.