Here are the words that I attempted to say at Ada’s memorial on August 31st.
I’d like to start with some words paraphrased from CS Lewis. This is from his book “A Grief Observed” which he wrote after his much beloved wife passed away.
Getting over it? These words are ambiguous. To say the patient is “getting over it” after appendicitis is one thing; after he’s had his leg removed is quite another. After that operation either the wounded stump heals or the man dies. If it heals, the fierce, continuous pain will stop. He’ll get his strength back and be able to stomp about on his wooden leg. He has ‘got over it.’ But he will probably have recurrent pains in the stump his whole life, and perhaps pretty bad ones; and he will always be a one-legged man. There will be hardly any moment when he forgets it. Bathing, dressing, sitting down and getting up again, even lying in bed, will all be different. His whole way of life will be changed. All sorts of pleasures and activities that he once took for granted will have to be adapted. His work, too. At present I am learning to get about on crutches. Perhaps I shall be given a wooden leg. But I shall never be a biped again.
Just as an amputee learns to walk again, it takes time, and help, and he will never be the same. That is how I feel, how we feel after losing Ada. We will regain our strength, though we are forever changed.
I can say with confidence that the only reason that I am able to smile and laugh between my moments of sadness is thanks to my husband, and our family and friends. I may not have had the energy to say thank you at the time but please know that you are appreciated and loved dearly. I am honored to have received so much support and look forward to continued support over the years.
The loss of a child is incomprehensible and I can not say that good came from Ada’s death. Still, I can say that Ada has taught me some lessons about life and helped me grow as a person.
First, I better appreciate my friends and family. It’s so easy to get busy with all the little things that we need to do. But we have to take time for those we love – cherish the time we have, because it may end tomorrow.
Second, I try to always remember what other people might be going through. When our loss was fresh, the kindness of strangers was incredibly meaningful. There’s no way that the person at the grocery store check out could have known how hard it was for me to be there, but if they smiled, if they were kind, it made it just a little more bearable. Remember that the person who isn’t being as friendly as they could be might have just endured a loss, and maybe they need your smile or a kind word, just as I did.
Third, although not last, Ada taught me that all babies are miracles. So much can go wrong during pregnancy, childbirth, and even after birth that it’s a wonder there are so many of us here. At first, I was saddened when I saw children, especially little girls that look how Ada might have looked. They were a reminder of what we do not have, what was taken away from us. Now, although it can still be hard at times, I try to remember that any child is reason for joy.
Ada was our daughter, our only child at this point. If we are lucky enough to have another child, they will not replace Ada, who will always be in our hearts.