Years ago, a perfect friendship evolved into a beautiful engagement that lead to a wonderful marriage that was changed forever in what should have been the most blessed chapter of our life. Our first child, Grace, was stillborn at 30 weeks. I struggled with sharing this with my blog readers, as clearly it is an intimate and precious subject to me and my family, but I have learned that there are many blessings and much purpose following great grief. Together, Jeff and I found our way out of the darkest of times and were blessed with three more healthy children that have truly completed our lives.
During the worst of days there were many well wishers, cards and calls. I felt like no one could say or do the right thing by me as I had crawled into a dark hole that I never wanted to come out of. One thing that likely saved my life was reading books that related to my plight. Today, thankfully, there are many websites and blogs that are of great support to mothers suffering from empty arms syndrome. Something so important to me at that time was acknowledging Grace and sharing her precious existence with others-
So I made her birth announcement.
A friend of my sister-in-law, a complete stranger to me, wrote a moving poem to my daughter that I knew the moment I read it that it belonged on the cover of her announcement. Inside, I added her tiny footprints and wrote a simple, but clear message. (You can click on images to enlarge.)
I sent these to friends and family who had seen us through this wonderful first pregnancy and were so supportive to us. I also needed a message to send to acquaintances and clients so that I wouldn’t be faced with breaking the news in conversation.
14 years ago I didn’t have internet service, let alone access to online (discrete) printing services. I had to walk into the print shop with my floppy disk and hard copy in one hand, a box of tissue in the other, order my announcements through tears, console the woman at the counter and return the next week to follow up in the same manner. Today, desktop printing makes small run cards and announcements quite simple and online printing services such as Overnight Prints is a great site for uploading your artwork, as they offer inexpensive, quality cards and envelopes, fast. Another great place for ordering and even have such cards designed is Etsy. You can request custom work through their Alchemy program.
I am sharing my story for this important reason- many of us feel completely helpless when someone we know faces a loss. A simple and fairly inexpensive gesture such as offering to create and order such a keepsake will be one of the most fulfilling things you could possibly do. I still offer my services in creating announcements or memorial digital collage keepsakes for funerals of friends and family whenever I can. Things such as these give my talents their greatest purpose.