Tuesday, September 4, 2012

PAILS of Hope - Share Pregnancy And Infant Loss Support as Important Today as 35 Years Ago

Share 35 Years of Compassion
This Fall, Share Pregnancy & Infant Loss Support, Inc. celebrates the organization's 35th year of touching people's hearts and helping them/ us in helping the community to understand that the loss of an infant is no small loss. A good enough reason to give them a hand.

PAILS  of Hope
In the mid 1990s I received a package in the mail from an infant loss support group based in Austin, TX. Among the reading material was the newsletter of PAILS of Hope, published by the Pregnancy & Parenting After Infertility and/ or Loss support group. Today the newsletter is shared Online under the umbrella of Storknet.

Strangers in a Strange Land
Having immigrated to the U.S. from the Netherlands, leaving behind friends and family members who had witnessed our devastation after the birth and death of our baby daughter, I felt terribly lonesome. Double bereft if you will, because of the lack of people who knew what had happened to us before our relocation. The care package from Texas was a lifesaver, reading about the experiences of others kept me afloat. A year or two later, I wrote a few reflective pieces for the PAILS newsletter. The notion that I could help others by writing about my experience was triggered, and in 1999, urged on by Dr. Yael Danieli, I published my book Creative Acts of Healing: after a baby dies.

© Judith van Praag 
There's Life after Hope
Until 2002 I would continue writing about grief, publishing both in Dutch and English, participating in forums, heading workshops about writing from the heart at conferences such as ADEC and MISS.
After having experienced my fourth subsequent miscarriage following the loss of our baby daughter, I decided that was it. No more trying, the time had come to focus on what my husband and I had together, and on what I wanted to do in the future. I became an arts journalist and am busy finishing a novel. But, as every person who has suffered a loss can tell you, grief doesn't end just because you think you're finished grieving. Our experience surrounding our loss has made us the people who we are, in that our baby daughter is very much part of our lives.

Missed Mile Poles
Today I watched a video album made in memory of a nearly 19-year-old who died recently. My heart went out to his mother (his father preceded him in death) his brother, other relatives, and friends. The photographs spoke of moments in time witnessed by an other, another person. My heart went out to those who will miss this young man for whom he had become in the time he was given. And I felt sadness for my husband and myself, for all those moments in time, sadness for missed mile poles, and the people who could/ would have been connected to us through the child we didn't have a chance to see grow up. And I thought how we are spared the pain of loss suffered for all those moments that could have been. And I know that we aren't spared that way, for with each birth date, each mile pole, each accomplishment we witness in another person born in 1993 we are so painfully aware of what we missed.

The Gift of Hope is Life
Maribeth Doerr keeps on delivering solace to people's homes with her PAILS of Hope.
35 Years after someone, some people, vowed to help those who grieve the loss of an infant or pregnancy, a loss that to the outside world seemed small, a mere promise, SHARE Inc. is as strong today as it was back when it was started.

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