Erin's Journals

Thursday, March 24, 2022

Just a thought…

As always, you can watch a video version of this journal on my Facebook page, or here on YouTube.

Welcome in to a special day in our lives: the day 31 years ago that Rob and I became parents to a wonderful little girl. 6 lbs 12 oz and three weeks early, we named her Lauren Dawn – the Dawn after my middle name and my dad’s first name (with a spelling variation), the Lauren because we had recently met a hauntingly sad little girl by that name. I thought it stood for strength and beauty, as in Lauren Bacall. Otherwise, she might have been a Carly, a Jessie or a Maddy.

Today we’ll go about our usual Thursday food deliveries, spend some time with our dear Mira and then come back and have birthday cake, as per Colin’s request. He’s asked for balloons, too, but we’ll see about that.

I’m talking about our girl today because I don’t mention her on the day she left us anymore; I’m not the only bereaved mom in the world and I don’t feel we deserve any more attention than anyone else. How my heart is heavy for the mothers and fathers who are losing their children every day – especially in the uselessness of war. So much waste, so much loss, so much sorrow.

But on this day, we are meant to celebrate. When everyone’s lives are filled with worry and sadness, illness and angst, isn’t it a choice to share a cake and light a candle for someone who brought us so much joy?

I could share pictures with you for hours, but none of them can even begin to tell you of the life in this girl. The “pure joy” that she expressed, literally, about becoming a mom, before what we believe to be the use of the drug Domperidone stopped that heart the night after her first mother’s day. She was taking it to breast feed and I will urge you to ask anyone in your life to get their heart tested before they take it. And yes, it’s still banned in the US. Here’s a link if you’d like to know more. 

Let me share a picture you probably have not seen before.

I was looking through travel pictures the other day for my St. Patrick’s Day blog and didn’t find one to use, but came across this one taken on the same trip of our Loo on a lake in Scotland. I hadn’t seen it since it was taken 18 years ago; she was 13 here.

We travelled a lot and take heart knowing we did all we could for our child to have a good life, just as any parent would. We gave her a good upbringing and, despite my faults, she ended up being level-headed, bright and, best of all, kind and empathetic. She was wise beyond her years, everyone who worked with her said, and I couldn’t agree more.

So here we are, another birthday without Lauren, and we are living the “at leasts” that we caution people not to use when talking to the bereaved. As I say in Mourning Has Broken, we are allowed to use those two potent words: at least we have our grandson. Lauren left us a beautiful baby boy who has grown into a strapping, handsome, smart and kind seven-year-old, thanks to his loving Dad and Brooke, the woman who took on the role of Mom so early in his life. We have a beautiful granddaughter that came to us by opening our hearts to that new family addition. And, miraculously, we have them living close to us. At least, at least, at least.

I rarely cry; if I do, it’s a few quiet tears when my mind takes a rest and my heart takes over. But I don’t mourn. We have wishes and regrets, but none of them about how she lived her life, or how we lived as a family. We are grateful forever and know that this is an agreement our souls made before she came. You may not believe in that, but everyone believes something different, don’t they? In my heart, I know it to be true and that our souls will dance again one day. And then we’ll travel together on to the next life, hopefully wiser for whatever it is we were to learn this go-round.

For Rob and for me, it’s all about being grateful and open to change and opportunity and ideas that maybe aren’t in the mainstream; being compassionate and holding on to the memories that warm our hearts instead of breaking them.

Like the day she arrived at St. Michael’s Hospital in Toronto, today, 31 years ago. And even today, Life is Good because we chose to make it so, just as she would want it.

Rob WhiteheadThursday, March 24, 2022