Carolyn ColeAnother March 8th has come and gone, and I feel that finally, after all these years, I can get through this day without too much pain. You see, on March 8th, 1972, I gave birth to a son. He was deformed and very premature, and lived only two hours. Standing beside my husband at the grave and looking at that tiny casket was one of the hardest things that I have ever had to do. I wanted to curl up and die too, but I had a daughter just a year old, and I had to keep going, for her. I didn’t do it for me, and I didn’t do it for my husband either, because I figured he would eventually carry on, but my baby really needed me. I had to be there for her.

I made myself go through my daily rituals, but inside, I was numb. I wouldn’t let myself feel anything because that was much too painful. But every time I saw a little boy, my heart would lurch and my throat would constrict, until I thought I would smother. I knew I had to get help.

When I asked my pastor if he knew of a Christian counselor, he gave me the name of a wonderful lady. She listened to me, then asked me pointed questions about what I thought of this or that, and asked me to list the emotions that I was feeling. At first, it seemed kind of weird to me, but it seemed to help me so much, that after only three visits, I did not feel the need for it anymore. Instead, I decided to help myself.

Every year, when the dreaded day would approach, I would choose a boy that would have been close to Charlie’s age that had impressed me at some time during the year. After approval from his mother, I would buy a set of clothes that I liked and would have bought for Charlie, and gave them to the child. His mother would take a picture of him in the outfit, and give it to me, or bring him to see me, and let me take the picture. I did this for about 12 years. I still have a collection of photos of various kids at various ages, wearing cute clothes that I had bought.

When I got to the point that I could go through that day without tears, I decided to reach out to others who were suffering the same loss. Now, when I see in the obituaries where a couple has lost a baby, I mail them a card, offering love and sympathy, and words of comfort. Sometimes it is a personal acquaintance, and sometimes I don’t know the parents, but they need comfort just the same. This has become a ministry to me, and one that brings great comfort to me as well. I believe Romans 8:28, "For we know that all things work together for good to them that know the Lord". I think that this personal tragedy happened for a reason. There are so many hurting people. If I can relieve the pain of just one, my life will not have been in vain.