Monday, April 20, 2015

Why We Run


It was a beautiful sunny day as Peter & I set out with our daughter for this year's Mini Sun Run. It's the smaller kids run that accompanies Canada's largest 10K road race. This is our 3rd year participating. It's quite a festive event, and perfect for families. Our daughter enjoys it. Every year as the SLC team prepares for the bigger event, she asks if we can do the Mini Sun Run. She knows it's for her baby brother.

This is not an easy thing for me to do. Other parents are pushing strollers, carrying younger siblings in carriers. I have a picture of my baby attached to my backpack. It feels awful but I do it anyway.

We run not just for our own baby, nor all the babies who have died. We run also for all the babies who will die. Tonight, tomorrow, in the days, weeks, months, years ahead. Families will be facing some of the same struggles our family has faced for the last 3 years. Bereavement support is important, but even more important is prevention. Awareness and prevention go hand in hand.

The other day our daughter made a little friend at the playground. The friend asked if she has any little brothers or sisters. The conversation went something like this:

Daughter: "I do have a brother but he died."
Friend: "He died?"
Daughter: "Yes."
Friend: "But where is he?"
Daughter: "He died."
Friend: "Ohhh...do you want to go on the swings?"

So sweet. I picture the little friend telling her parents and the parents being angry that we are talking about death at the playground (or at all). Except to us it's not "death", it's just our family. I worry that someone will say to our daughter: "Well, you don't really have a brother." Or: "My mom says you shouldn't be talking about that." Just as I worry that someone at the Mini Sun Run will tell me that my photo of my baby is inappropriate, unwanted, too sad. That my broken family is not welcome at an event for whole, happy families.

No one at a festive event wants to hear about babies dying. They don't want their good time ruined. Similarly, no one wants to hear about stillbirth when they're pregnant. Exactly when they need to be hearing about it. It feels awful, I don't want to do it, nobody wants me to do it. I do it anyway.

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