Originally published April
Words of comfort
readers share their thoughts on Executive Editor Andrew Oppmann’s
column following the death of his son, Patrick, last fall:
TIME HEALS: My
heart truly goes out to you and your family during this difficult time. In a
very strange way, I'm touched and happy for you that you were able to share
your experience because it will and probably has already helped in the
healing process. I only write this from my own personal experience. My
husband and I lost two infants at birth and I want you to know that time is a
great healer along with many, many prayers and support from family and
friends. But allow yourself that time to go through any and all of the
emotions you may be feeling. We have two angels in heaven, Rachel and
Benjamin. Not a day goes by when I don't think of them and know they are
watching over us.
A POWERFUL THING: I'd like to pass
on some information about a wonderful book that has been a big help to us in
our journeys through child loss. “Empty Cradle, Broken Heart -
Surviving the Death of Your Baby” is by Deborah L. Davis, Ph.D.
(Fulcrum Publishing, 1991). It was given to us after our first loss and was
still relevant after our second. And although several years have passed, I
still find myself referring to it occasionally as the need arises. It covers
many types of child loss and moves from Chapter 1, “A Parent's Lonely
Grief,” through Chapter 12, “Remembering Your Baby and Moving
On.” I would also like to thank you for bringing this subject up in the
newspaper. Child loss is a lonely thing; people are uncomfortable discussing
it and don't know what to do for you, which makes it lonelier still. Knowing
they aren’t alone is a powerful thing.
Karen Loose, Greenville
OUR ‘DARK DAY:’ Feb.
our “dark day,” when a young couple of 21 and 23 went from the
happy-go-lucky, fearless, youthful people to devastated, heartbroken
grownups. On this date, we lost our first born, a full-term little boy, who
lived for one hour. He was 21½ inches long and weighed 8 pounds and 13
ounces, with lots of black curly hair and perfect in every way. We named him
Clayton Albert after his two grandfathers. Clayton Albert lost his battle for
life because of a very difficult birth and lack of oxygen. Our heartbreak and
disappointment slowly healed, but our thoughts and remembrance of little
Clayton Albert never ended and especially whenever Feb. 16 arrives.
Fortunately, we have had four healthy grownup children since then. We feel
the devastation and heartbreak that you, Elise and Andrew, are experiencing
and urge you to not give up hope.
Harold and Jean De Wolfe, Waupaca
DEEP GRIEF: Your article about
your son, Patrick, was touching, and I would like to express my deepest
sympathy to your family. Your article also brought back my own feelings of
grief after the loss of my one-day-old twin daughter, Julia, born on March
From ultrasound, we also knew that Julia had kidney problems. She was born
with non-functioning, cystic kidneys. Julia lived for 30 hours in the
neonatal unit at Theda Clark Medical Center. Thank you for sharing your
experience with your readers. Many people do not understand the deep grief
after the loss of an infant.
Kris Keller, Shiocton
SENSITIVE PERSPECTIVE: I just want
to say thank you for your last two most heartwarming and enlightening
columns. It must have been very painful for you to write them, but healing
and beneficial for you, as well. I really appreciated reading your sensitive
perspective. My heart and sympathies go out to both you and your wife in the
loss of your babies. May you know they are now in heaven with Jesus!
Karen L. Montanye,
SHE WILL SHOW US: I, too, have
experienced a loss of a child. My sweet Little Charlie was born at 29 weeks.
He lived for five weeks, connected to all life-saving machines. He had many
problems that we knew about before his impending birth, so we tried to
prepare ourselves as best we could and take it one day at a time! We have
succeeded in this! It has been 10 years since his death and the arrival of two
healthy children since. We are expecting our fourth child in June. We are sad
to learn that she has Spina Bifida. She, too, will
show us that we will get through whatever we need to do.
THANKS FOR SHARING: Your article
touched my heart and I just wanted to thank you, your wife and daughters for
so generously sharing your grief and hope. These messages impact so many
lives and as vulnerable as it is for you to share so openly, there are others
who need to know the magnitude of what you and your family survived -- even
though the pain is so grave. I am grateful that you found such love and
support in community. It is an amazing thing that having others who genuinely
and simply care does, in some odd and incredible way, make the anguish more
Dottie Mathews, Appleton
LIVE LIFE TO FULLEST: I am the
father of a 2-year old girl and often wonder how I would react if something
were to happen to her of if something were to happen to a future child of
mine. It also reminded me of a class I teach to my students at Kimberly High School, instructing them to live their
lives to the fullest since you never know what may come in the future.