Every year we attend the Sutter NICU Wings Remembrance Event that remembers all the babies under the care of the Sutter Medical Center NICU who didn't make it home. Families come and attend whose baby died many years ago. Others, had just left the hospital. We come and remember the lives of our babies. To feel the love we have for them and together we long for them.
We love coming back every year to reunite with the NICU staff that were with us when Olivia was born. We reconnect with some of the same families every year. We love to talk about them. Speak their name. Hear their name. And we all know and understand each others weight of longing, missing and loving them. We write letters, send kisses to them on the wings of butterflies. Their siblings remember them through creative arts and crafts.
We shed many tears and remember the heart break. We also remember their lives. Regardless how short their life was, they are forever with us.
Every year, a slideshow is presented for the families in remembrance of our babies. These are the lyrics we picked for Olivia. It's from a song called, "Winter Bear", by Coby Grant. It was written in honor of baby who was stillborn. Click here to see the "Winter Bear" music video.
"I knew you before I knew your name
I loved you before I saw your face
I longed for you for all of that time
And I held your heart in mine
I kissed you you a hundred million times
I tasted the tears that I cried
I held you my beautiful child
And I'll keep your heart in mine
I love you to the moon and back my little winter bear
I know you know how much that is cause you're already there.
I never knew a love like this could ever possibly exist,
I love you to the moon and back as long as I live."
Winter Bear-Coby Grant
Geoff and I were invited by the Sacramento Memorial Garden For The Unborn to speak at their "Grow The Garden Tour Event" that took place this last weekend. We were connected to this group through Tanya Flores who is a friend and a Reproductive Grief Care Coordinator at Sierra Pregnancy + Health.
Toni- It was a beautiful morning to remember and reflect the lives of our babies. We met others and listened to each others stories of heartbreak and loss. We were able to share our story of loss of Olivia and two other babies to miscarriage. We shared how their lives made an impact on us and how we remember and honor them. We came to recognize and acknowledge that there needs to be a place for grief and grieving. That lives we barely knew existed and lives that we didn't get to see or hold are forever a part of us. They deserve to be remembered. That's what the Sacramento Memorial Garden for the Unborn is for. It is a place for us to come, to reflect, remember and find hope and comfort.
Geoff- I was taken back by this experience. I have noticed as of late that I am becoming emotional again regarding Olivia and our miscarriages (7 Weeks & 9 Weeks). This day was no different for me as we were minutes away from speaking I just started tearing up and feeling overwhelmed with both gratitude and sorrow. We were invited to share our story of all our losses and specifically to tell how we have chosen to memorialize our miscarriages. Toni wrote so beautifully regarding our experiences over the past 6 years ending with our most recent miscarriage in March of 2018. I was supposed to close out with a bullet point list of all the ways we have memorialized Olivia and our Brabec Babies.
The morning of the event, I asked Toni if I could actually open and close us out... She said yes of course. I only had a faint idea of what I would say. I ended up feeling moved to say "Thank you" to the Memorial Garden Group for building a special place for our family and others that have experienced the loss of an unborn child. Immediately as I started to speak I welled up with tears and found it challenging to get my words out, which is not usually the case for me 😆. In addition to saying thank you, I also shared how losses such as ours and others alike are for the most part not talked about in our society, that it is a grey area that needs to be acknowledged. After Toni spoke, I shared in what ways we have chosen to remember Olivia and our Brabec Babies. Toni and I will write a separate blog regarding this, so we can go into more detail. We are so grateful for being given an opportunity to share our story, our testimony. We both said what was on our hearts and that is always the best, Praise God ☺️
As you can see from the pictures that we took the garden is absolutely beautiful and a special place to come and not only visit but to stay and reflect for more than just a moment. The careful planning and detail that was put into everything truly came from the heart. If you or someone you know has been affected by abortion, miscarriage or stillbirth, I hope you'll remember this garden. This beautiful remembrance garden is public and open all day every day. Please check out their website https://www.sacunbornmemorial.org
- The Brabec's
Geoff and toni Brabec
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