November 17, 2010


Dear Addison,

Today would have been your birthday. Your Daddy had a flight booked to arrive at midnight on Friday the 12th. He would have spent that next day with your Grammie and Pop-Pop and then he would have traveled down here to see me and your "Biiiiiiiiig sister!"

We toyed with the idea of inducing on Monday, but I think we would have opted for today because that way your "Biiiiiiiiig sister!" would have been in school, something consistent, during part of the labor.

Instead I delivered you on October 28th. I don't think of it as a birthday. You didn't get a birthday. They don't call it death either, because in order for there to be a date for that you have to have been born, alive, first.

You actually died sometime during the night of Thursday, October 21st and Friday, October 22nd. It was probably in the wee hours of the morning on the 22nd. I know this because I felt it happen. I won't go into it now because I'm not ready to share that with everyone. I am not saying that I felt it like a "gut feeling" type of thing, though. I mean that I actually felt you fight for your life and lose.

Inside of me.

Then I carried you, dead, for a week.

Inside of me.

In one day, you were here...only not really.

I delivered you, but you were not born.

You died, but you did not live.

I get the best and the worst of this situation. I am the only one who knew you in life. I felt you move and kick and poke and flip. I knew you, in a tiny way, before anyone else.

And yet I didn't know you. I'll never know you.

I also knew first that you were gone. You stopped moving, you fought and lost and I had to carry you that way while we waited for a "good" time to deliver you.

There really isn't a good time for that, you know.

Today would have been your birthday. We would have gone to the hospital anxious to meet you. We would have been tired but so happy when you arrived. We would have heard you cry and I would have fed you and we would have held you and smelled your new baby smells.

None of that will ever be.

Today I went to the funeral home because your certificate was ready. The one that says that you cease to exist. It doesn't say that you were born and it doesn't say that you died. It just says that you are gone.

And that you belong to me.

I am your mother;
I carried you in life and death;
I brought you into the world;
I gave you the best farewell I could manage.

Your absence belongs to me.

I have to own that. I have to make that part of me. Instead of giving birth to you and taking you home I have a piece of paper. It is hardly sufficient. I don't even really want it. And yet I desperately want it because it is one of only a very few things of yours that I will ever have. We will never make memories with you. We will not be a family together. I will never care for you or teach you.

You'll never have a birthday.

Just a piece of paper.

It is hardly sufficient.

November 12, 2010

Memorial for Addison Leigh

Hello there.  I have some information regarding a memorial for Addison.  We've had people tell us they are interested in participating.  I cannot remember exactly who told me they are interested, so I have decided to post about it here and link to it via facebook. Hopefully between this and email we can let everyone know.  Please do not feel like you have to participate; many of you have already helped us greatly and we very much appreciate all that you have done.

We met with a professor at Virginia Western Community College, located here in Roanoke, Virginia.  There is a community arboretum on the grounds and within that arboretum is a children's garden.  We plan to put an educational memorial in that garden.  At this time we are thinking of a kinetic wind sculpture (video at bottom of page) as well as a child-sized bench to match the adult ones already present in the area.  I also like the idea of wind chimes being placed somewhere in the garden and if we have the resources I think that we will do that as well.

I cannot guarantee that this is the final verdict on what will be done; I do know that we really like the idea in general and these items in particular.  When a final decision has been made we will be sure to tell everyone the outcome.

If you would like to take part in the memorial, checks made out to The Community Arboretum and designated Addison Leigh Memorial can be sent to this address:

The Community Arboretum
P.O.Box 14007
Roanoke, VA 24038-4007

Any donations made can be claimed for tax purposes under the same category as a donation made to a college or university.

I know that not everyone keeps up with us here on the blog and that there are plenty who do not have a facebook account.  If you know that I have missed someone, please feel free to forward this information along.  I don't want anyone to think that we forgot them.

Again, thank you to everyone for your prayers and support; we are stronger and capable of getting through this because of our wonderful friends and family.  Please contact me if you have any questions.