Friday, September 8, 2017

Litty's Loop

On the day we found out our daughter's heart stopped beating, Justin and I looked at each other and asked the question, "Do we still call her Lydie?"

Lydie was a name to be cheered at soccer games, yelled when she was dawdling instead of putting on her shoes, announced proudly in a crowded auditorium.

It was a name for a living girl.

We didn't verbalize it, but I think we both thought the same thing, Do we save this name?  For a living child?

As a side note, that's exactly what used to happen.  My grandfather, whom I called "Opa" was one of seventeen children.  Two of his siblings died in infancy, and in both cases, the subsequent child was named the same name.

It didn't take us long to answer our own question. Yes, we still call her Lydie.

No one else could ever be Lydie.

When we picked up her ashes from the funeral home and I held her tiny urn in my hands, I stared at the certificate that accompanied it.  Lydia Joanne Welliver, age 0.  The name I had scribbled countless times on the side of my meeting notes, after Sydney and Emma had been decided against. The first time I ever saw her name in print was on a cremation certificate that will be needed if we ever decide to bury our daughter's ashes.

I gave my daughter the most beautiful name, and I mourned that I'd never get to use it as we planned.

Over a beer with the Dead Baby Club (my brother told me he wouldn't babysit again if I referred to the friends we met at support group this way), I admitted out loud that sometimes I liked to think of Lydie as "Litty."  Litty sounded the same but wasn't nearly as pretty, and so, therefore, it didn't make me as sad that I didn't get to use the name Litty as planned.  It epitomized the fucked-up nature of life after loss so well, we roared with laughter and choked on our beer, joking about how the wait staff purposefully sat us in the back of the restaurant because the DBC just wasn't appropriate enough to be around other patrons.

I'll always grieve not getting to shout my daughter's name during loud swim meets, but I am grateful that her name is used regularly these days.

It's just as beautiful of a name as it ever was.  A beautiful name for a beautiful girl.  I still scribble it on the side of my meeting notes.

Now I also get to see her name scrolled across headlines, on t-shirts on loved ones and strangers.  I get to hear her name come out of the mouth of strangers.

That's right, it's Lydie's Loop season again.  (Or if you prefer, which I no longer do, Litty's Loop.)









This makes me cry 9 out of 10 times. And yes, I've watched it that much.

We are less than a month from Lydie's Loop. I'm busy trying to find a photographer, trying to find a balance between successfully promoting the event and annoying people, calling Meijer 15 times to ask about my letter requesting food donations, deciding on the shirt design, and picking up raffle items.  Of which we have over 35 confirmed donations, most of which I'd love to take home, including 4 Browns vs Packers tickets, 4 2018 Indians tickets, 2 sets of Blue Jackets tickets, a family membership to YMCA, a Portraits by Dana portrait, bread every day for a year from Panera, 3 Night Sky posters, a memory chest made by my uncle, a Kate Spade bag, just to name several.

We were so BIG (280 participants!) and so SUCCESSFUL ($21,200!) last year that I worry we will not be able to live up to that this year.  But then again, if we don't, we don't, and any amount of participants promote awareness and build community and any amount of funds help prevent stillbirth and comfort grieving families.  And either way, no matter how many people or how much we fundraise, I get to speak and write and read my daughter's name. And in all my hours and hours of volunteer work, I get to actively be her mom.

When people ask me about my kids and their ages, I respond: "Benjamin is 4, Lydia would be almost three, and Josephine is almost two."  If they catch it, they often ask, "Would be?"  And sometimes I say, "Yes, she died just before her due date.  But I chair a nonprofit organization and run a fundraising event in her name, so she still takes up a lot of my time."


To those of you who have signed up, thank you.  And to my baby loss friends, I'm glad your child's name will be written with Lydie's.  I'm glad you get to wear your speak and write and wear your child's name, that you so lovingly chose, and that we can parent our children together.


Would be remiss if I didn't share these links...
www.lydiesloop.org
https://www.facebook.com/events/380074122362962/

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