Child Death
Stillbirth > 5 Years Later

By Katie Smith

For many, the new year is the perfect time to reflect on one's life and resolve by making changes to enhance life.  As a bereaved parent, I like to look a little further outside of the box and go beyond this common ideology the new year often brings.  Reflection is one word with a great deal of meaning. 

I look back on all the new years that have come and gone.  To date,  My Son, Charles, has missed out on 5 new year's celebrations.  He was stillborn on November 6, 1999. 

I didn't want the millennium to come.  Not because of fear for the Y2K bug in that all computers would go crazy and shut down, but because I didn't see any hope for a happy new year as long as Charles was gone.  I didn't look forward to anything back then.  I was angry with the world and with God.  I pleaded with God for months by writing in my journal that first year, begging him to give me back my Son.  Asking for forgiveness and asking to wake up from this nightmare of loss and heartache. 

That first new year without Charles was a whirlwind of grief and mourning. 

The 2001 new year, my second celebration without Charles, brought more confusion then anything else.  I was in shock over how much time had gone by since my loss, while still remembering my Son's funeral so vividly as if it happened yesterday.  I fell in lust that year, mistook it as love and eventually had my heart broken by the end of that year. 

It was the first time in two years, that I allowed myself to open my heart up to another and trust him not to hurt me.  I was scared of being alone and rushed into a relationship that was destined to end in disaster.  We all learn from our mistakes though, and I certainly made my share in 2001.

In 2002, year three without Charles, I opened my eyes to all the things such as finances and bills that were burying me in debt and causing much stress.  I made the very difficult but right decision for myself to file bankruptcy.  I felt like many of the pieces of my life that had been falling apart were finally being put back together this year.  It wasn't an easy year, but it was a year that brought much relief in more ways then one. 

By 2003, year four without Charles, I felt more at peace with myself.  I have been doing little and big things in honor and memory of Charles since his stillbirth.  There will always be that empty void in my life as long as Charles isn't physically here; however, I'm not angry with the world anymore.  And I have found forgiveness in my heart.  And new experiences have entered my life. 

May 2004 continue to bring more happiness and peace, not just into my life, but into the lives of everyone.  So far, 2004 has filled me with warmth and love even on the cold and sad days.  I still cry for Charles, and I still miss Charles.  However, I have found hope, faith and willingness to move forward with my grief.  Charles will always be a part of my life.  He is always with me in my heart, soul and in spirit.  Knowing he's with me in such ways, allows me to continue surviving this life long journey of bereavement. 

Remember, no matter how long you have been on this path with grief, please always practice self care.  Allow yourself to get rest, drink plenty of fluids, try to eat healthy, exercise, read and do some journaling for reflection and insight.  Talk with family and friends that are supportive.  Consider going to bereavement support meetings.  Be kind to yourself and let yourself be pampered every now and then.  Do whatever it is you need to do to take care of yourself.   

I'd like to encourage all bereaved parents no matter how long you have been on grief's journey to share your new years experiences with Kota Press by emailing me at:  Please specify if it's okay to use your story in future articles. 

May each new year bring new beginnings with hope of better tomorrows.

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