January 17, 2015
In one week, we will have reached Jesse's 4th birthday. It was hard to imagine making it through even one week after his passing, much less a year or years. But we have all continued with life since that day, and have made Jesse an integral part of our family. Myles and Garrett routinely draw pictures, make little gifts, create cards, talk about and ask about their little brother that they did not meet. They know that they will get to meet him, but they also have sadness and frustration at times - just like their parents do. Nicole is still some time from grasping the story of her third brother's life, but that will come in time too. In all, we have to say that we are living without Jesse as best as we possibly could. Yet, there will always be a desire to find more meaning in his life and passing than we currently understand.
Hanna and I were asked to meet with a couple that had recently lost a child before birth, in their third trimester. Sitting with them, I felt almost useless to provide anything to help ease their sorrow and clear their confusion. Every family is different, and every loss is very personal. I have no doubt that our willingness to listen to their story and to share ours was helpful - yet I also recognized how far yet I need to go in my own journey of understanding.
A few days later, I received an assignment in an MBA class to launch a small entrepreneurial venture. With $5, I was to pick a product or service to provide, promote it, and see what happens. My first thought was to buy a paint brush and advertise myself as a painter. Certainly doable, but not very inspiring. My thoughts wandered around and found their way back to the day with the couple we talked to a few days earlier. I had to do better than to simply sit and listen the next time; there needed to be some concrete resources available to the next couples that face this event in their lives. So, that was the inspiration for the fundraiser bicycle ride that I will take on Monday, January 26th to raise funds and awareness for a bigger support resource that would be provided through the Athens Birth Circle, a non-profit organization for couples in our community that are starting their own families or currently have young children. Despite the frequency of infant and child loss, those in our community who experience this event have limited resources to turn to for information and support that is so needed by parents, loved ones, and friends alike. Unlike the loss of a loved one later in life, the loss of an infant or child is difficult in ways that are unique, and often requires a unique response.
To begin to address the need for more resources for families who have lost a child, I am asking for pledges for each mile that I travel by bicycle on the roads of Athens County. The planned route is below; my goal is to ride 40 miles to mark the four years since Jesse's birth and passing. The funds that are raised will go towards the founding of a resource library for pregnancy loss, and also to support the costs of accessing professionals that work with these families.
At the completion of the ride I will post highlights and photos from the ride on this site. If you would like to make pledge, you can do so directly by using the Paypal link at the Birth Circle website: www.athensbirthcircle.com. Donations can be made until January 31st.