The First Snow

It is December. In a certain way, my heart is heavy. Last night, as we went to dinner, my husband said, “The first snow always reminds me of him.” I struggle with anniversaries because of their tendency to leave me exposed and vulnerable.

My lost son is always in my heart and in so many ways has been my greatest teacher.

But his lack of flesh torments me still – even as I’ve struggled and made the peace I will – to thread his death and my life.

So last night I walked in a small village to dinner with friends. The snowflakes shimmered in the halo of the streetlamps. We walked together, my husband and I. Past the window of a throwback 5 & 10 store, a bank, a municipal parking lot with a lit Christmas tree.

My words are few this month. I want those parents out there – in grief – to know that this bewildering landscape is navigable in a strange, beautiful and difficult way. For those struggling this year to cope with loss, I join with you in remembrance. Even if we never meet, we are connected.

I remember the December of my son’s loss staring into a snowy landscape even as I tried to adjust course, not lose my bearings – as I looked at snowy moonscape as the embers in my fireplace shone bright as they gave up the ghost. I recall being quite unsure of how I was supposed to continue on. How I was supposed to make toast, put one foot in front of the other, get up after I woke up.

I learned to do these things. And you will too. You will never forget your baby. Your baby lives in you – science now suggests that we, in fact, retain cells from our pregnancies in our bodies. I have thought of these remnants as compasses sometimes.

No one can ever take his formative memory from me. I will guard it always and I will share it from time to time.

And so, my friends, I send you love and healing over the Holidays – bursting with families, babies, togetherness. You baby is in all of our collective hearts. The community of the baby-bereaved makes room to nurse broken hearts.  If you feel that you are alone, know that you are not. So many join – and form a protective ring around you.

I am sending you loving and healing thoughts over the course of these Holidays. Reach out to those you trust. Tell your stories. That is your necessary gift to you.





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    Tara Shafer

    Tara Shafer

    Tara Shafer is the co-founder of Reconceiving Loss, an online resource center for people coping with the loss of a pregnancy or an infant. Her blog about baby bereavement, To Begin Again, appears on Psychology Today. She has worked as a human rights and refugee advocate for numerous organizations, including Amnesty International and Human Rights First. She has taught in the Department of Political Science at Marist College. Her work on loss has appeared in Fifth Wednesday Journal, Yahoo Shine, the Huffington Post, and on National Public Radio. For further information please visit Reconceiving Loss

    December 14, 2016

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