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Parents of lost babies and potential of all kinds: come here to share the technicolour, the vividness, the despair, the heart-broken-open, the compassion we learn for others, having been through this mess — and see it reflected back at you, acknowledged and understood.

Thanks to photographer Xin Li and to artist Stephanie Sicore for their respective illustrations and photos.

for one and all > Mixed Emotions

Hi Everyone,

I lost my sweet angel Luca on 7/15/2017, it will be two weeks this Saturday. His due date was the same as my birthday 9/15 but he was born 13 weeks early at 27 weeks gestation. He was doing good but had many complications with his lungs and spent his life on a high frequency ventilator. We couldn't hold him until he was 17 days old. He passed away after he acquired NEC, necrotizing enterocoltis.

My family is extremely close and amazingly supportive and have been just as happy as us throughout this whole pregnancy. Luca became known by many many people. He had prayers coming in from friends of family members and friends of friends who had just passed on Luca's story while he was alive. People we didn't even know were asking how he was and praying for us.

I feel like I'm coping okay so far. I am at peace knowing that God had a plan for Luca and how many peoples life Luca has touched. Knowing that hes in heaven with my other passed loved ones also gives me comfort. The day that we put him to rest, a tiny little butterfly flew over and landed on my husbands hand. We were at a table full of people and this little tiny butterfly flew over to me and no one else, landing on matching bracelet that I have with Luca. We knew it was a sign from him telling us he was okay and that he'll always be with us.

I'm a ball full of emotions right now. I feel guilt, happiness, peace, comfort, anger and jealousy and I'm just trying to be the best person I can be for Luca. I'm fearful for the future, will we be able to have another child, when will be the right time, when will we be ready? Will I feel even more guilty at that time? I have so many questions and don't know the answers.

I guess right now I have a lot anger. Anger at my husbands family mostly. They have never been the best family and always seem to be in competition. Constantly talking about the others and just very negative people. I could go on and on about the things they did in the past but we would be here forever.

On the day of Luca's viewing, my sister in law sat right in front of me with her infant son (3 months old). Firstly I thought this was pretty inconsiderate, considering we just lost our infant, and now have to be reminded that hes not here. Its an emotion of "why us" and honestly jealousy. Not jealousy that she has her son, but that anyone has infant children and I don't. So I asked his mother why she had to sit right in front of me. My mother in laws response was pretty much "where do you want her to go?" with an attitude and told me not to be like that. I was actually infuriated and extremely hurt that no one was taking my feelings into consideration and walked away crying. His sister than came to find me and told me that I humiliated her and that her feelings were hurt. I'm sorry but I just lost my son and she was worried about her feelings?!?! Once again his family was only thinking about themselves. Finally after my family came to calm me and help me put myself back together I came back up and sat down, noticing that his whole family (mom, sisters and brother) had moved seats to the very back of the room, leaving my husband alone when he needed them the most, solely because they were worried about their feelings.

Once they got to the back of the room his sisters were texting him non stop about how hurt they were. Excuse me?!?!?! How hurt you are? we just lost a child and the only thing they could think about was that they were hurt? And then another text about how his family was listed second on the obituary and how there weren't as many pictures of them. Once again became a competition.

I'm so angry at them and don't even want to speak to them. I guess I don't know how to let that anger go. I want to tell them why I'm angry and hurt by them but I know they wont even understand and don't know if it will cause me more anger. I'm also hurting for my husband.

How do I let go of anger and forgive people who made my sons funeral about themselves and their feelings?

My other emotions come and go. I honestly feel much peace that we got to spend even 29 days with him, much more than others have. I find comfort in spending time with my family and being around loved ones. I find solace in knowing that Luca's short life here on earth has touched hundreds of people...literally hundreds of people were asking about and praying for Luca on a regular basis, and continue to. God had a purpose for Luca's life and I am becoming a better person for my son and trying to become closer to God than I was before.

The Bible says that "God is light, and there is no darkness in him at all". Luca's name means "the bringer of light", how fitting for our sweet angel.

Sorry this post was so long and rambling. I guess I needed an outlet to get my feelings out, and this happened to be the one.

Thanks for reading my post.
July 28, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterLuca's Mom
Luca's Mom, I'm sorry for the loss of your little Luca. You sound like your way to peace may be through prayer? My advice would be to avoid contact with your husband's family for now- just while you focus on yourself and your grief. Anger is normal and necessary to even start to process what happened to us all so my advice would be to allow yourself to feel whatever you feel without trying to rush through it and get to the next stage. Feelings aren't right or wrong (my therapist said this to me once and it was eye opening for me, who as a child and young adult was always told I should or shouldn't be feeling certain ways). Feelings just happen- and whatever you feel is ok.

Letting go of anger and forgiveness will come in time- and if you need help processing these emotions perhaps a psychologist or counselor could guide you with some strategies. But please don't feel like you need to get to that point immediately- these people hurt you. They behaved badly and it sounds like they won't realise that - and it's always harder to forgive when people don't acknowledge the hurt they have caused.

Thinking of you (and I absolutely love the experience you shared of the butterfly landing on you and your husband- butterflies are Shelby's sign too). Two weeks into this journey is so new and so overwhelming. Thoughts and feelings flood in and out. Be gentle with yourself. xo
July 28, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterShelby's Mum
Lucas mom, im so sorry for your loss. I had a similar experience, I lost my little girl 5 months ago, she was 14 weeks premature and spent 7 weeks fighting hard in NICU until sadly she contracted NEC and passed away suddenly. It was both the best and worst time of my entire life and I am forever changed. Like you I have mixed emotions from anger, jealousy, despair, guilt, sadness and occasional gratitude. I have been in that same position with extended family bringing their infant along I get it, its so hurtful and inconsiderate, but ive learnt some people at the end of the day are just in their own bubble and had they experienced a shred of what we are going through they would know better but they dont want to think about something so horrific as losing a child. Alot of people have shown their true colours to me throughout this horrific time but also alot of people who I didnt feel close to have surprised me by their support. Like shelbys mum said I would forget about his family and concentrate on whats best for you and your husband. I cant offer much advice except do what you need to and take it minute by minute, day by day. Thinking of you and your son.
July 28, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJ
I'm so sorry you find yourself here, Luca's Mom! I love his name. I wish he was here with you.

If you want to forgive your in-laws, which is your choice, and you are finding it tough going, don't try to forgive them right now. If prayer is where you would like to take this, pray to want to forgive them first. Eventually, your heart will change and then forgiveness can come. Please don't be hard on yourself, though. Your son's death is enough to work through for a long time to come. Wishing you some peace today.
July 28, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJill A.