Guest post by Elizabeth Hepler
The week our son died in my belly, I made this statement “When life gives you lemons, you could make lemonade…or you could throw them really hard at something until you feel better.” I trudged through the initial stages of grief just trying to focus on anything that might bring me back to “normal”- anything that I could possibly control. After a month or so, I made this statement “I’m done throwing my lemons. I’m going to pick up the pieces and make some of that lemonade.” I came to the realization that I was never going to be “normal” again, but I was going to be okay. While I will never be happy with the idea that my son isn’t in my arms, I am capable of moving forward- not on, but forward.
One of the things that hit me the hardest was realizing that my son would not exist on paper. At 19 weeks and 2 days, he was considered a “miscarriage”, not a “still birth” in the state of NC. There would be no certificate of stillbirth, no death certificate, nothing. Determined to create some sort of legacy for my son, I searched for ways to give back to the community in his name. A friend introduced me to “teeny tears” diapers and I knew I’d found my niche. Through random circumstances, I reconnected with a high school acquaintance and discovered that she too had an angel son in Heaven. Together, we started a “diaper drive” in our community, lending a tiny healing diaper to bereaved families…and a tiny amount of healing to our own hearts. So far we have sewn over 400 diapers in just a few short weeks; they are being donated to local hospitals in memory of our sons. I have been able to pick up those lemon pieces and make lemonade for myself and other women walking the same path. I might never be “normal” again, but I am better. I’m a better Mom, a better wife, and a better person. I am so thankful for my sweet little Ryan Gabriel- though he does not exist on paper, he will always live in my heart.