To begin, I of course want to thank my partner, Nigel, for being my biggest supporter throughout the process of healing from Michael’s stillbirth and throughout my writing of this book. Your ability to create a loving and safe environment, even amid your own deep grief, is commendable and admirable. I find it difficult to even know what to say about your love and support, as I am speechless at the extent that your presence means to me. I never thought a partner could mean this much to me in so many areas of my life. I love you, now and always. I am so thankful that you are my life partner.
I would also like to thank my son, Michael, for his presence in my womb and his impact on my life. Michael, you have made Mom a better person – more empathic, thoughtful, and appreciative. You have sparked insight and light in the lives of so many family members, and your bright light will never be forgotten. I will always miss you, but, at the same time, I know that you are here beside me and the rest of us, in spirit. Your impact and presence couldn’t be clearer. I look forward to meeting again, face to face, on the other side.
To our families, especially my parents, Nigel’s parents, and both of our sets of siblings, thank you for being our lifeline during the loss of Michael. I know that you all had to put aside your own grief so many times to be there for us. I also know that being the family members of a couple who experiences stillbirth has its own unique sense of suffering and deep sadness. Mom, Dad, Tammy, and Kyle, I think of the love I have for Michael, and I cannot imagine the deep sadness and lack of control you felt as our parents in this situation. Please know that I recognize your pain and feel an everlasting appreciation for all that you have done. Overall, to our immediate and extended family, I appreciate all of your support; you have been beyond receptive and understanding to Nigel and I as we have attempted to heal and create something life-giving of Michael’s loss of life. You have each made it clear that his presence was important and that he has and will have an impact in your lives; that fact makes my heart full as a mother. I love you all so much; please know that your support has been crucial in our healing since the loss of baby Michael.
Furthermore, to my instructor, Dr. Reinekke Lengelle: thank you for creating a course that melds academic learning with life healing. If more academic programs were like yours, I believe the world would be full of more insightful and appreciative people. Your support throughout this course, as well as in the process of writing this book, has empowered me to tell my story. You made me feel as though it is worth telling. Furthermore, as a bereaved sister, I see our encounter at this time as serendipitous. You are exactly the mentor I needed right now on both my academic and personal journeys. Thank you. Readers can find Dr. Lengelle's website at http://writingtheself.ca/.
Finally, I would also like to thank the team of medical professionals that supported Nigel and I through the stillbirth, throughout the months following, and throughout the unique challenges of a new pregnancy. This includes doctors, nurses, the nurse coordinator, counsellors, and the maternity ward unit clerk. For the purpose of confidentiality, I won’t use your names, but if by chance you’re reading this, you will know who you are and that you cared for us. Despite being completely drained and distressed, Nigel and I left the hospital absolutely amazed at the level of empathy and quality care that we received. You often hear horror stories of hospital experiences, and although our experience was sprinkled with some difficult moments with regard to gaps in care, I was amazed to find that the majority of the care was exceptionally supportive, caring, and helpful. Many of the health professionals encouraged us to heal and move forward in our own timing, which felt very personal and encouraging. I have thought of you all frequently since leaving the hospital. Thank you to all of you.