Thursday, July 23, 2009

Eulogy for my stillborn brother


I have a brother. He would have celebrated his 40th birthday today, but he was stillborn, so we never got to know him. My mother had him with her for almost nine months, felt his kicks, his hiccups, until one day those were gone. She called the doctor, a young and inexperienced replacement, who came and told her she shouldn't worry, he thought he still heard a heartbeat. About 10 days later she gave birth to a lifeless son - the medical personnel treated her like she was a stupid, ignorant woman. My dad was not allowed to be in the delivery room with her, they were not allowed to see the baby, to see if he resembled mommy or daddy, nobody had ever thought about memory boxes with foot or hand prints in those days... They were led to believe it was for the best they never saw him - that he had 'blown up' because he had taken in all the amniotic fluid.

My dad and granddad buried him while my mom was still in the hospital. She wanted to visit the grave later, but she was afraid to ask, they weren't supposed to talk about it anymore, so she never went. She didn't get to say goodbye...

They were supposed to forget - just get pregnant again and have another baby. Don't think about this one. But of course they didn't forget, they couldn't, the pain remained, even after my sister and I were born. They didn't talk much about it, I always used to forget the date, until I noticed one of them shed a tear or they gave each other an emotional hug and then I remembered...

Now that I have been pregnant myself and am blessed with a healthy baby boy, I will never ever forget my brother's birthday anymore. I cannot imagine what it must have been like for my mom, those 10 days without feeling any life, knowing something was so wrong, but the doctors not listening to you. My parents are going to the cemetery today, for the first time after 40 years, even though the grave is no longer there. And I'm so happy Carly honored my Names in the Sand request, it is good to see his name spelled out.

4 comments:

Sassy said...

What a beautiful post, and sad, terrible story. I can't imagine how difficult that must have been for your parents, and no understanding from even the doctors.

I am very grateful to be born in the era.

Tash said...

Here from LFCA -- Just wanted to say what an incredible, lovely tribute this is. For your parents, and your brother. Remembering him today, and the expectations of what could have been. What an amazing sister you are.

loribeth said...

This was so beautiful. I hope you let your parents read this, I'm sure they would be so proud. : )

My best friend's mother had twin girls 45 years ago this week. One lived, one died. She was one of the first people to call me when my daughter was stillborn. She did get to see her daughter, which was highly unusual in those days, & she told me she was so glad she did.

Rox said...

Reading it was very sad. You were supposed have an older brother. What you have written is very beautiful for remembering your dear brother. I was very shocked about the doctor, yes he was inexperienced. I wonder if the doctor still alive?

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