I’m humbled and honored by those of you who have responded to my invitation for guest bloggers this month.
Our third guest blogger is Linda Lewis.
My life was changed one very dark day when my two month old daughter, Jade, died of SIDS. I apparently needed the most severe wake up call possible to realize I needed to do some serious soul-searching and changing.
Almost 32 years ago now, I was such a lucky woman, but I didn’t appreciate it. I had a loving husband, a 2-year-old
healthy son. My husband and I had a nice home. We both had jobs. We were all healthy. I gave birth to a daughter, and our family was complete.
I was very unhappy, though – overwhelmed – I guess they call it post partum depression now, but back then, no one discussed it. I was swamped by responsibility, actually feeling resentful that I had no energy, felt alternately stressed and irritable, crying a lot, feeling sorry for myself. I resented how ‘tied down’ I felt. Sometimes, I even wanted my old life back. My husband suggested I take a class at the local university one night a week for six weeks. I jumped at the chance to get out of the house and do something ‘interesting.”
I returned from the second class to my home, which had every light on, inside and out. My inlaws were there. I went in to find my life changed forever. My husband wasn’t there. He was at the police station. My inlaws told me Jade was ‘gone.’ My son was hiding in the hall. A few days of sheer hell later, the coroner said Jade had died of SIDS. There was nothing anyone could have done. My doctor worried that the day before she died, she had gotten the “two month shots.” The experts are still not sure if the shots have anything to do with SIDS. My husband thought the coroner was being “kind,” and felt there must have been something he could have done to prevent our loss. We were both suicidal, except for the fact that our son needed us. Experts said my son wouldn’t understand or remember the loss, but he did.
He brought out her blanket and threw it in the trash, saying, “Broken.”
I tell you this because this horrible event changed my life for the better. It FORCED me to look at my life in a totally new way. In an instant I finally grew up. I finally saw that my life wasn’t just about ME, or what ‘I’ wanted. I finally saw how very lucky I was to have a family who loved me, and who needed me. I had a husband who desperately needed me to make him see that this wasn’t his fault and that he had two people who needed him. I had a son I hoped I could raise to be a loving, caring man. I had so much that some people never have. I had taken all this for granted and only wanted more. Talk about an instant ‘cure’ for post partum depression!
Even though the hurt will never go away, I HAVE to consider this a “gift” that allowed me to throw off the complete selfishness that enveloped me. It made me treasure all I have. It allowed me to value the people in my life beyond price. It made me want to give back and help others. I learned that you never know the burdens or life-changing events that have happened to all the people around you. I’ve learned to give others the benefit of any doubt I have, to be kind when I have the chance, to try to get others to also see the GOOD things in their lives.
I’ve just celebrated 42 years with my husband. Since we dated for nine years before that, I’ve loved him all my life. I’m still greedy, in that I want as many years with him as I can get. :0) Our son is almost 33 now. He has a really good job as a senior computer software developer in Florida. He’s a beautifully caring, creative man.
We’ll always miss Jade and wonder what her life would have been like. Her loss in some strange way made our family stronger and able to embrace life more fully, appreciate each other more every day, and help each other live through all of life’s challenges. We love you, Jade.