CAROLINE REVERCOMB: Ode to Ada June

I became a grandmother one year ago today.  Precious darlin’ Ada June Grimm came into – and left – this world on Valentine’s Day 2023.

Although I love to write, I couldn’t – until now.

Nothing can prepare you for what’s “not supposed to happen.”  My daughter Ellie’s pregnancy had gone very well and for the delivery, she ended up at an excellent medical center with a NICU.  When my son in law Beck called around 4:00 am on February 14th and I heard my daughter crying and not the baby, I knew.  I knew before he uttered a word that something had gone terribly wrong.

Ironically, Ellie and I met for coffee several weeks prior to her due date, and I thought to myself afterwards that I had never seen her so happy.  From the day Ada was in the NICU and subsequently taken off of life support, however, I had never seen my daughter suffer so greatly.  And there was absolutely nothing I could do to make it better.

I have known loss – as a daughter, niece, cousin, friend, aunt, great aunt and sister in law – not as parent – but this was different.  It was double grief for my granddaughter Ada as well as for Ellie and Beck.  It was unfamiliar and excruciating.  I felt unmoored – and helpless.

I don’t know what I would have done without my family and friends who “got it” – as well as those who didn’t – and were there for us.  I don’t know what I would have done without my Lord ushering me into a entirely new level of Trust when nothing made sense.  And I don’t know what I would have done without my husband Stuart who has been, in a word, my ROCK.  Coffee and devotions with him are my very favorite part of the day.  For countless days during this time I cried, sometimes to the point of sobbing, and he “just” sat with me, listened and loved me – fully and unconditionally.

I want to also offer heartfelt thanks to the Moms and Dads who lost their precious babies (one as long ago as 30 years) and took the time to meet with us and help Ellie feel not so alone – and who spoke their truth and gave us hope.  To hear their stories, see their eyes well with tears and detect the clutch in their throat talking about their child they never saw grow up –  as well as to enjoy their laughter and bear witness to their eventual healing – was life-giving.

I’ve learned a bit about grief over the last nearly 60 years that I’d like to share.

It has no trajectory and certainly no end point.  Grief is evidence that you have loved deeply.  You don’t move on from it, you move on with it.  And the loss of a baby, whether by miscarriage, still birth or infant death, is especially heartbreaking because it can be so “invisible” and the topic, so readily avoided.

I’ve also learned a bit about grief-stricken parents I’d like to share, too.

Don’t hesitate to simply ask, “How are you?” or to say, “I’m so sorry.”  Try not to begin a sentence with “At least …”.  Texts matter, phone calls matter, hand-written notes matter – not just in the beginning but in the weeks, months and even years to come.  Speak of their gone-too-soon children by name.

Ellie and Beck are expecting another baby girl in June.  They are understandably quite anxious, yet I am in awe of how they have soldiered on when the pain of Ada’s death has felt unbearable – and managed to find ways to help others in “the club no one wants to be in.”  Ellie created a pamphlet that will be included in a care package when grieving parents leave the hospital – without a baby in their arms – with all the information she wished she had known.  She also started a blog on Instagram in which she has shared her journey and spoken, at times, the unspeakable – to process her difficult emotions which, I truly believe, has helped other Moms process theirs.

And today, Ada’s 1st birthday, Ellie and Beck are delivering Valentine’s treats to the hospital along with notes written to the nurses and doctors who took care of mama and baby last year to thank them – each and every one.

As for me (Grammy), I feel excited and a bit nervous – yet largely at peace – by the grace of God. For He has all things in His sight … of this I have never been more sure.

Caroline Revercomb

– Caroline Revercomb

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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