Sharing loss

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To the Editor:

Our culture has many national days or months of observance. We set aside time for people to come together or individually pause, remember, and reflect on beginnings and endings. Some endings are more openly spoken of than others. Some are held close to one’s heart, and while they dim with time, the poignancy never completely recedes. Between 10 and 20 percent of pregnancies will end in miscarriage; one in 160 will result in stillbirth. The death of a baby in utero is far more common than many realize. Yet the sorrow is silent, borne in parents’ hearts, usually without supportive ritual to offer solace, a bit of comfort.

Understandably and sadly, many don’t know what to say to a newly grieving parent. Understandable, because our culture at large doesn’t give grief or grieving people tender space in which to be with loss, pain, and emptiness. We feel awkward saying something, not wanting to make someone cry or make them think of their loss. But please know this: Giving someone the chance to cry is healing; speaking about their loss validates it, and tells them someone else recognizes their pain, that they are not alone.

When a baby dies in utero or during labor, words are never adequate, except to say, I don’t know what to say; words fail me. October is National Pregnancy Loss Month, hopefully during this month parents will know they are not alone in their loss.

There will be a Time of Remembrance on Friday, Oct. 16, from 6:30 to 8 pm at Yoga on the Vine in Edgartown (at the Triangle). People may come for the entire time, or may drop in. If you wish, please feel free to bring a stone with a name on it to add to the gathering. Details about the event are on the Time of Remembrance Facebook page.

Susan Desmarais

Oak Bluffs