This weeks blog post was written by Jeanna O'Leary, Share Group Coordinator at the National Share Office. Jeanna is mom to twins David and Allison, who were born to early to survive. She also experienced an early pregnancy loss. Jeanna also has three living sons, 7 year old twins and an 18 month old.
Last weekend my 1 ½ year-old son and I boarded a plane with my Mom and headed to Henderson, Nevada for a special weekend with our family to celebrate the first communion of my cousin’s daughter, Lauren. We had a wonderful visit filled with lots of laughter and special memories. However, the week leading up to our visit was not without some sadness. I could not help but think about how my twin son and daughter, David and Allison, would have been celebrating their first communion this spring as well. I began to envision my little David looking so handsome in his shirt and tie and my little Allison twirling around in her pretty white dress and veil. This and so many other dreams were tucked away in my heart the day I said good-bye to our son and daughter. Many bereaved parents know all too well that bittersweet feeling deep in our hearts of watching other families live out the very hopes and dreams we may have had for our own babies.
We were sitting around the table at my cousin’s house before it was time to leave for the church when my aunt and cousin presented me with a special gift. It was a lovely glass vase containing two gorgeous white roses. Attached to the vase was the most beautiful statue I have ever seen. It was an angel in pastel colors surrounded by a little boy and girl holding hands around the bottom of her gown. This kind gesture was my family’s way of telling me that they, too, were remembering David and Allison. My cousin then told me she was given permission by their priest to place the vase of flowers and statue in the front of the altar during the mass. This way I could watch Lauren receive her first communion while seeing this beautiful gift representing my babies. I was overcome with emotion knowing that I was not the only one thinking of David and Allison or feeling their presence during the ceremony.
As I unpacked my suitcase after returning home, I examined the box containing the angel statue. Eden’s Angels is the name of the series and the statue is titled, Trust. It reads on the back of the box, “With Eden’s Angels we bring you and your loved ones the goodness and beauty that can be found within the world around us. We encourage you to share the gift of grace with all those you hold close to your heart.” I have reflected many times on these words since last weekend. Perhaps in celebrating the milestones and dreams of others and sharing with them in their happiness, I am giving gifts of grace to David and Allison. My hopes and dreams did not have to end 8 years ago after their deaths. They will continue as I celebrate with those who are loved by the same heart that carries my babies.