By: Katy Bone
The 2021 Angel of Hope Candlelight Vigil featured an encouraging address by Share parent Katy Bone and her mom, Karen Hart. The following is a transcript of Katy’s words.
Hi, I am Katy. I have two little boys in heaven, and I’d like to introduce them to you. In 2016, I had a miscarriage and that sweet boy we had nicknamed Little Bit. In 2019, my son Barrett was born, and we realized quickly after his birth that something wasn’t right. We never knew how serious it was until we were given his diagnosis. Devastation doesn’t begin to describe how we felt and how we still feel. Barrett died at 28 days young on July 12, 2019, from a rare and fatal lung disease called alveolar capillary dysplasia.
I want to let you know that I’m sorry you’re here. I’m sorry you’ve experienced the unimaginable of the death of a child. I’m sorry you have an empty space or spaces at your table.
We live with this pain every day, and it’s a pain no one really understands. Sometimes I feel completely isolated with this pain I carry every single day. I want you to know I understand and know however you grieve is okay. Grief isn’t linear and grief changes over time.
I wanted to talk a little about hope during the holidays. What do we do when what we hope for is beyond our control? I went to a grief group recently and one idea really spoke to me. We discussed the power of AND – validate the pain: yes, the holidays would be better with your child in your arms or your child at home – and yes, it is okay to feel sorrow in the midst of joyful celebrations. Creating a space for your grief is so important in knowing how to manage it. I miss Barrett terribly during the holidays AND I can enjoy seeing my other children as they experience the wonders of Christmas. Everyone’s AND is different. But that is my example. I can grieve Barrett deeply AND find joy in helping others in his honor. And I also want to reiterate that it’s okay to not have an AND, to not see the joy. Some days I can see the joy and some days are darker and I cannot or don’t want to. I often think if I’m not outwardly grieving all the time that it means I don’t miss Barrett enough. That’s fear. It means what I make it mean. That really spoke to me. Grief and joy can often walk side by side. You can experience grief and joy in the same moment and not negate how badly you’re hurting.
Something my husband and I do to give us more hope during the holidays is to donate to charities. We also have a group on Facebook where we paint and hide rocks to bring joy to others in honor of Barrett. We have a special tree in our room that has ornaments for our babies. These are just ideas of ways to remember loved ones during the holidays.
It’s ok to grieve and again there is no timeline on your grief. We grieve because we love, so as long as we love we will be grieving, and that’s okay. I just know for me personally I wanted to be given “permission” to have joy again and to be able to still hold on to my grief at the same time. This is my grief and I do have the power to hold space for it and to also hold space for my joy.
We hope you know that your grief is validated; however, you choose to grieve this holiday season is okay. However, you choose to celebrate, or not celebrate, is also okay.
We wish you, your loved ones here and the loved ones gone a Merry Christmas.
About Katy Bone
Katy is a wife and momma of 5 sweet babies. Katy and her husband have 2 kiddos at home, and she is pregnant with their fifth baby. Their sweet Little Bit is in heaven, along with their son Barrett who passed away from a rare lung disease at 28 days old. Barrett is forever their hero. Katy strives to do her very best to juggle being a good mom to her living children while carrying on the legacy of her children who are no longer here. They will never be forgotten.