This article was written by Kimberly Paris in memory of Sydney, born still on June 25, 2003, and “Peanut Paris,” miscarried October 2003.
Tomorrow night is the first night of Chanukah, a holiday that Jews around the world celebrate for eight nights. Like its American counterpart, Christmas, it is a time for celebration, festivals and gift giving. But more importantly, this is a holiday that celebrates miracles. In ancient times, it was the miracle of victory—that the Maccabees could triumph over the much larger Syrian army that oppressed them. That miracle was topped with an immediate second one—the miracle of light. (Despite the fact that the Maccabees only had enough oil for one night, it actually lasted for eight!...hence, eight nights of Chanukah.) Throughout their history, Jews have looked forward to Chanukah as a time to remember and celebrate these and the many other miracles that people have had and continue to experience in our own daily lives.
During Chanukah 2002, my husband and I celebrated our own miracle—the news of our pregnancy. It had taken us a year to conceive her, and we were beyond excited. My husband and I used our holiday celebrations to share our wonderful news with family and friends. As the first grandchild, Sydney's arrival was to be much-anticipated, and the family glowed with excitement. My husband and I felt truly blessed with this unbelievable gift from God. But for us, like many others, that miracle never happened. We lost our beautiful baby girl, Sydney Isabelle, as the result of a cord accident at 33 weeks in June, 2003. She loved to dance and twirl and apparently spun one too many times and got herself caught in a knot. “A strike of lightening” the doctors said.“Unbelievable based on our circumstances.” But still, faster than our miracle was bestowed…it was taken away. Our beautiful miracle had quickly become a “freak occurrence.”
So, as we come up on our first holiday season without Sydney, there has been little talk of celebrations and no acknowledgment of miracles. Instead, we are left with the empty feelings of
sadness, loss, grief and the pang of WHAT SHOULD HAVE BEEN! Thoughts of parties with presents and dreidels have now instead given way to the reality of quiet family non-gatherings instead of joyous first celebrations; of silence and tears instead of laughter and smiles; and of eight presents left on a gravestone instead of being opened among family and friends.
Still, what is remarkable as I fear this upcoming holiday is the miracle that I still feel hope. So, in honor of Chanukah, I would like to simply celebrate this miracle by sharing with you eight little hopes that I have for my daughter, Sydney Isabelle Paris:
1. The hope that she is safe and happy
2. The hope that she knows how much we love her
3. The hope that she has found her grandfathers for whom she was named, and that they are looking after her
4. The hope that one day we might be with her again
5. The hope that her spirit and memory will always live on within the people that love her
6. The hope that she will always be proud of her mommy and daddy for holding each other up and being there for each other through every day
7. The hope that one day she will be blessed and become a big sister of an Earth angel
8. The hope that our little princess is still twirling today.
Happy Chanukah to our beautiful Sydney Isabelle. Mommy and Daddy love you very much!