By: Rachel Helden
This is my first time writing to you since you left this world only a few short weeks ago. How can it be? The excitement so fresh before me, before us, and now you are gone. Really gone.
I spent days convincing myself that surely what doctors told us had happened to you, hadn’t actually occurred at all. They were mistaken. That news must have been for some other poor soul and most certainly not for me, not my baby, not you. Anything but you.
My body revolted as it began to ache and wretch and I cried out, “Oh my dear God, this can’t be good. It’s happening again, isn’t it?” No one knew about my first miscarriage. Too early to show, it was a silent loss I had carried with me for years.
This time I had a loving partner who wanted you as much as I did. The fact that I must talk about this in past tense is so unbearably painful.
We wanted you, we still want you, we will always want you.
Grief had become an old friend of mine, a welcome weight that I learned the intimate workings of. But losing you proved different. I could understand when death came for those around and outside of me, but you were within. You were and are a part of me. How can I go on living without this piece?
Your daddy and I hadn’t even gotten the chance to share our unbridled joy, even though we wanted to shout it from the highest mountaintop. Three months we were told. Wait for the first three months… just in case.
Once we began to approach that mark, we planned our grand reveal. How we would tell our families and all of those dearest to our hearts, “We have the greatest news of our lives to share with you! Let’s celebrate and give thanks together!” Before we could, you left—so suddenly, so completely.
On our way to the hospital that horrid night, I saw a street sign above me as I laid back in the front passenger seat. Out of the dark nothingness of the night sky came a name, Harmony. Which means,
- agreement; accord; harmonious relations.
- a consistent, orderly, or pleasing arrangement of parts; congruity.
- Music, any simultaneous combination of tones.
Its origins mean “framework” and “to join together.” *
As I fought to breathe through the terror of contractions that were far too early, we knew it was your name. You were the promise of harmony in our lives. Now in your absence, we feel the farthest possible from that unreachable place.
In the aftermath, we bought a wind chime at the local hardware store, a substitute in a sense, and think of you every time we hear its chimes. It’s a beautiful reminder as tones and pretty melodies ring through the air. “Hello sweet baby,” I answer back when I hear you talk to us.
I’m left here trying to make sense of it all.
Why did this have to happen? Where did you go? And where are you now?
I suppose we will be searching for the answers for some time. Many women who have gone through a baby loss have told me it stays with you forever. It becomes a part of you, and I guess it is true. You were a splendid gift and part of me for those first few glorious weeks as I felt you growing and living inside of me, and now, even after your passing, you always will be.
About Rachel Helden
Rachel is a photographer from the greater St. Louis, Missouri area. For the past four years she has been working on Free Way: An Adventure Through Loss, an illustrated memoir about a solo road trip she took after going through a divorce and her father’s passing. Rachel’s search for healing took her to all 50 states in the USA, most of our national parks, and twenty other countries. She sees the book as a grief manual, an account of how one person dealt with losing a past self. Rachel is currently working to self-publish Free Way. You can find more information about the project on her website at www.rachelhelden.com and follow her adventures on Instagram at @_photonomad_.