Dear Friends and Family,
I wanted to write everyone an individualized thank you letter for your love and support during this difficult time in our lives. However, I found myself writing the same message, over, and over, not because it was surface level and superficial, but because it is so raw, full of emotion, and important for me to let everyone know. You see, I have been trying to come to terms with why my sweet daughter, Nora, needed to leave us so soon, before she even took a breath in this world. What could this possibly teach me?
Well, Nora has taught me so many lessons about life in her short time with us, but the one I want to share is about love and you. You see, at a time when I should feel lonely, depressed, and hopeless, I feel the opposite. Through Nora’s brief life and her untimely death, Nick and I have since been surrounded in love and support beyond the depths of our imagination. Don’t get me wrong, each day, I mourn the death of my beautiful daughter and the hopes and dreams that we had for her that will never be, but through this experience I have learned so much about love.
Nick and I have been brought closer together from the moment we found out we were pregnant to today, where we still grieve our loss. But, I have learned about how beautiful the world is and the abundance of love that we have for each other as a community, despite what the news might tell us every day. I feel so much overwhelming support and love from all of you.
During this experience and in our grief we have been encompassed in love, starting with the love and support of our parents, sister, brother-in-law, aunt and cousin who were at the hospital with us that sad day. Where we were gently and empathetically cared for by the nurses, doctors, and social workers at Abbott Hospital who guided us through our first stages of grief and sadness. To having friends from high school and college that we haven’t seen or talked to in years drive over 250 miles to the Cities for Nora’s funeral. It was heartwarming to see over two dozen military men honoring Nora by dressing in their formal attire with tears in their eyes attending my daughter’s ceremony. We received condolence letters from multiple close friends, but also our friends’ parents, or our parents’ friends, and our past and present co-workers. And in these letters people reveal some of their most heartbreaking personal stories of loss of their own children either in pregnancy or after birth, or of other loved ones, things that people don’t share in every day conversation. A friend of my cousin, a person I have only met in passing, wrote me a letter and reached out to me sharing her own story of loss of her baby girl. My teachers from elementary school sent me a card of condolences, people I haven’t seen in 20 years. Classmates from graduate school dropped off food at my house and I haven’t been great at keeping in touch. Family on the east coast have facebooked me to send me resources and support to “just check in” even weeks after Nora’s passing. And friends across the country and ocean, everywhere from France, Hawaii, D.C., and Arizona to name a few, have reached out through e-mail and cards. And we estimate that between $800.00 to $1000.00 has been donated to Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep in Nora’s name, to help other families who are in similar situations like ourselves. All because of your donations.
You see, our daughter was only in our lives for 284 days, and never breathed the air of this world, or opened her beautiful eyes to see the light here on earth. I thought that when I lost her, I had lost all the love I would have for her as well, but I love her more every day, and due to her I have seen the abundance of love and beauty there is in humanity. Nick and I are surrounded by love, though not in the way we had hoped, but in a way that is still a true miracle in its own right.
In the few weeks before I left work to give birth to Nora, I had a client who said she needed a sign that there was still good in humanity. I chuckled at this and told her I hoped that she would receive it. I only hope that she can experience the love and support of humanity like I have.
If you are receiving this letter, it is because you have made a difference in our journey through grief and your gesture, either large or small, has shown us how truly loved and supported we are. Thank you for showing us love. Thank you, Nora, for teaching me one of many great lessons: That life surely is beautiful and humanity is good.
Peace & Love,
Lindsey & Nick
(Nora’s Mom & Dad)