Being able to reach out to others....

One of the greatest gifts I got from Kathleen's life was the feeling that I was better able to understand other people's pain -- especially when it involved the loss of a child. There is something about being a member of this "club" that provides a bond with others who have shared at least a similar experience. While I would give anything to not be part of it, I have to admit that my life seems a lot richer for having met so many wonderful people ... people that I got to know only because we shared the loss of a baby.

I know that especially for those whose loss is more recent, the thought of having the energy or even desire to be pillar of strength for someone else is not high on your list of things to do. But I hope you will consider how much the understanding and compassion you can offer others with similar stories means to them.

For those of you who have been a part of a support group, you probably can better understand what I'm saying. Sometimes just being in the same room with other bereaved moms and dads can help with the loneliness and feelings of hopelessness. While there will be a time when you know it's right for you to move on from that group, you will have likely gained a lot of strength from the stories you heard, the outlooks on life you witnessed, and the wisdom that was shared.

Almost 20 years after Kathleen's stillbirth, my nephew and his wife experienced the full term stillbirth of their daughter, Lillie. The circumstances were eerily similar and there was no doubt that it was difficult to have so many painful feelings brought to the surface once again. But ... I honestly believe that they received the outpouring of support they did because of the things we, and our entire family, learned from Kathleen's death. The bond that we now share with them is one that no one else can completely understand, and that makes it incredibly special.

Have you found yourselves relating to others in a way you would not have prior to your loss? Does it make you angry that you know how they feel, or does it feel good to know you are there for them?