Every year, 26,000 babies are stillborn in America. In 2003, one of them was my son.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Proposed Amendment to the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA)

Kelly Farley of the Grieving Dads Project has started an online petition to amend the Family and Medical Leave Act of 1993 (FMLA) to include the death of a child as part of allowable reasons to ask for leave from work. Currently in the US, grieving parents receive whatever time off their company will allow them after the death of a child, normally only a few days. In my husband's case, he was granted two.

Two days.

I was a stay-at-home/work-at-home parent at the time, so the FMLA did not apply to me. The FMLA allows 12 weeks of time off to take care of an ill spouse or family member without fear that you will lose your job because of your absence.

From Kelly's blog:

"It is my opinion that the death of a child is one of the worst experiences that anyone can endure.  Many employers allow for bereavement leave up to 2-3 days.  Employees are expected to use their available vacation time after the 2-3 days of bereavement leave have been expended.  If the employee exhausts both of these benefits and still requires additional time off the employer has grounds to terminate the employee.

I find it unacceptable that the death of a child is not included as a protected reason to qualify for 12 weeks of unpaid leave as part of the FMLA.  If you agree with me, I ask you to do two things:  1) Click on the link below and sign the e-petition and 2) Share this link with people you know by emails it to your contacts."

If you agree, go here, and sign the petition.

Monday, January 24, 2011

"A Part of Us Died With Our Kids"

I just came across this article (thanks to Kelly Farley) about three men, friends, athletes, basketball coaches, who all lost a baby. It's on the Yahoo! Sports page online, not a place I normally go, but it's worth reading because it's true (though you may not agree with their religious understanding of why their children died, it's refreshing to read male perspectives on baby loss).

Billy Donovan. John Pelphrey. Anthony Grant. NCAA coaches. Grieving fathers supporting each other, and reminding us that it never gets easier. But at least we're not alone.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

A Quote

"That was and still is the great disaster of my life - that lovely, lovely little boy. . . There's no tragedy in life like the death of a child. Things never get back to the way they were."

-- Dwight D. Eisenhower, via BabyLoss Mamas & Maggie, on Facebook

Friday, January 14, 2011

How It Is Now

I'm thinking about how to change this blog, but I'm really not sure what to do, or if it's the right thing for me to do right now. I started this blog as a place for other parents who are newer to this journey than I am to find some support and believe they can survive.

A place to find what I needed after Ben died.

So how is it, for me, after seven years?

I have incorporated loss into my daily life, though some days I find myself whispering in a quiet moment, while doing dishes or folding laundry, "Don't go." In the first month after his death, I begged him, every day, to please, please come back. Now, though I hate that he is gone, that desperate longing for his return has waned.

But I still tell him I miss him, daily. I suspect I always will, even when I think I should stop because maybe I am holding on too hard.

I didn't think I could keep living after losing him, but I did, and I am. There are times when the pain returns, mostly around his anniversary, when I cry and rage and hate just how unfair it is to be here without Ben.

Seven years later, I am happy, but the sadness is always there, to some degree. I try to focus on the love he left behind, the love we have for Ben. I have carried on without him, at times reluctantly, at times because I am still here and need--want--to live my life. A good life, even a beautiful life.

A life still worth living. Never the same as before, but lovely nonetheless.