Bereaved Moms Club

Within my heart is the dream of Samantha, where she will always remain because she died May 10, 1995, before I delivered her. And because she was stillborn, I never saw her eyes open or heard her take a breath or make a move, other than within me. You might think that I would miss her less than if I’d had some time to spend with her, other than in my womb. You’d be wrong about that.

Our dreams for our future are real. We’ve invested ourselves in dreams and goals – what are we without them? Who are we without our hunger for what comes next? People are not trees that endure the weather, prosper or wither through no will of their own. People have a vision for themselves. Dreams.

But most nights, my dreams are literally just that. Dreams.

Like last night when my 17 year-old daughter Samantha was sitting at the breakfast table with Mr. UnHollywood and me. We were having one of those trying conversations you have with your teenager.

“Come on, come with us. It’ll be fun,” I said, offering her some orange juice.

She swung her shiny brown hair away from her perfect seventeen year-old face and said, “Nah,” in that detached way that teenagers have perfected over the centuries. I remember her skin was flawless. Her teeth were straight and white. She had on a faded short-sleeved tee shirt and low-rise jeans. I could see her bellybutton.

“You don’t know what you’re missing. Please be reasonable,” Mr. UnHollywood said.

I didn’t expect her to go along with our plans, whatever they were and it wasn’t terribly important. At least I don’t think it was.

But I can’t be sure because none of this really happened.

In real life, I heard the dog padding around on the bedroom floor. In real life it was the middle of the night, dark outside, and I got up from bed, foggy. Having breakfast with Samantha, I gradually understood, was not real. The dog’s need to pee was.

I swung open the screen door and as the dog darted out, I took in a shot of cold air. I recognized a feeling. It was the What If. What if she hadn’t died? She’d be driving. Checking out colleges. Giving me and Mr. UnHollywood a dose of teenage rebelliousness. I could go on a very long time, but I don’t let myself do that anymore.

Instead, I plant a tree in her memory and hope that it will outlive me. I hike through the Santa Monica Mountains and lose myself among the wild flowers, oak trees and Toyon bushes. I will listen to all the sounds around me, the birds, the wind rustling the leaves, the voices of friends.  I seek solace and know I will find it. And I dream.

 

Author Description

Cynthia Baseman

Cynthia Baseman is the author of 'Love, Mom: A Mother's Journey from Loss to Hope.' She writes about motherhood, the environment and education.

There are 15 comments. Add yours

  1. 10th May 2013 | Carpool Goddess says: Reply
    This post is still as powerful and heart wrenching as it was a year ago. Thinking of you my friend.
  2. 6th January 2013 | dspence says: Reply
    Here from CDLC. I am so sorry for your loss. This is beautiful.
  3. 1st January 2013 | lifeintheshwa says: Reply
    I haven't ever experienced what you've been through but after four consecutive miscarriages, one very late, but I feel like I understand grieving possibilities even if I know my losses are nowhere near as awful as yours. It's hard for people to understand grieving an intangible loss - all the possibility that comes with new life is gone but your dreams don't stop. I don't have family pictures of all of us, and my miscarried babies weren't really real to anyone but me. I am so very sorry.
    • 7th January 2013 | Cynthia Baseman says: Reply
      There's no scale on the pain-meter. I, too, am sorry for your suffering. Hang in there.
  4. 17th May 2012 | Debbie Naiman says: Reply
    I love how your words come alive, your love reaches us all and allows us to hold Samantha close in our hearts.
  5. 10th May 2012 | ellen richards says: Reply
    We must embrace our dreams in order to embrace those we love - those who were a part of our lives and left us behind in this world much too early - and never forget their kindness, wisdom and sometimes their innocence. My father visits me in my dreams and I am so thankful for that.
  6. 10th May 2012 | Malila D says: Reply
    I recently had my first baby and can't imagine the "what if". Cheers to you Cynthia, a true strong woman. Thank you for sharing your thoughts in such a heartfelt way.
  7. 9th May 2012 | susan kolko says: Reply
    No matter what age you lose a child, its the worst thing that can happen. I have watched my parents endure it for many years now. They too plant trees, dedicate park benches and keep his soul alive through nature. He only lived until the age of 21.
  8. 9th May 2012 | Roberta says: Reply
    You write so beautifully. I'm sitting here crying. You are also a truly beautiful person. My thoughts are with you & Samantha today. I'm gonna go have one of your muffins (I froze them). xoxo. R
  9. 9th May 2012 | Carpool Goddess says: Reply
    BH Mom, thinking of you with a heavy heart and sending you hugs.
  10. 9th May 2012 | RB says: Reply
    So beautiful. Love you.
  11. 9th May 2012 | Rochelle Blumenfeld says: Reply
    I know how you feel and you have expressed it so well. My thoughts are with you and be good to yourself and happy to have an angel watch over you. Samantha's spirit is with you on her special day. Watch for signs that she is hovering nearby. xoxo Rochelle
  12. 9th May 2012 | Hayley says: Reply
    May 10th will forever remain a date where I think of you and Samantha. I am in awe of your wisdom and the beautiful way you have chosen to honor her memory. Thinking of you today and tomorrow! Love you, sis-in-law! xo, Hayley
  13. 9th May 2012 | Ellen says: Reply
    Wishing my arms could reach across the country to hold you.

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