I have three brothers and no living sisters, yet I was not the only daughter born into my family. On Aug. 18, 1987, my older sister, Lisa, was born at 20 weeks and amounted to the size of an adult hand. Too small and too weak to survive, she passed away within minutes of birth.
When speaking of Lisa, my mom said that, though most of the enduring pain is now gone, certain triggers bring waves of emotion. Every August, my dad especially, grieves the loss of their first born daughter and though I never had the privilege of meeting my older sister, I wish to honor her life through the following words.
To countless mothers and fathers who have lost the life of a child due to premature birth…
Your feelings are validated. Do not, even for a second, feel as if you don’t deserve to grieve this loss. No matter the number of years since their passing, you are given permission to feel pain.
To my sister, Lisa, and all other lost lives due to premature births…
You matter. We remember you. Though your lives were but a fleeting moment on this earth, your worth is of no less value.
To individuals surrounding those who have just experienced the death of a child due to premature birth…
Grieve alongside hurting mothers, fathers and families. No matter when you believe a life “becomes a life,” we can all agree that the loss of a child due to premature birth is the loss of a future – a future where this bud would have blossomed into a rose.
My encouragement for all is to understand the enormity of pain which is experienced due to the death of a premature baby. It is easy to write off the pain, discrediting it just because there was no chance to get to know and build relationship with him/her. It is easy to forget that they were a person, even though their full development was never witnessed. Yet, in the words of my mom, “the loss of a prematurely born baby is the loss of a dream.” Nov. 17 was World Prematurity Day. Utilize this time in order to empathize with those who have experienced the death of a dream.