Emma Margaret Ramos was born to heaven on September 14, 2016. She weighed 2 lbs, 5.5 oz. She had a head full of curly dark hair.
One month ago, I was in a hospital room having just delivered our second baby girl. One month ago, she didn’t even have a name yet because we weren’t ready. She wasn’t ready.
Andrew was on his way home from a business trip to Germany that was cut short.
Indie Craft Parade, the event that I work on all year long was only hours away, and I wasn't there. No one was where they were supposed to be.
Even now, I find it all very hard to believe. I’ve had many sad moments, and a few sad days, but for the most part, I would describe the last month as surreal.
I’ve been waiting for it all to sink in. For something to ‘click’ and it all to feel real. But now I’m beginning to wonder if that will ever happen. If anything, our experience — from the first call to the midwives all the way to the visitation and memorial service — feels like a dream that is fading.
But some pieces feel real, and important. I'm writing them down so I don’t forget.
Our friends, our family, and our church have all been more real to me than ever. Every other day, meals show up on our front porch. Friends threw Ella a 2nd birthday party. Strangers, acquaintances and distant relatives have reached out to offer us comfort. In fact, words of encouragement have come to us through every possible avenue: text messages, flower arrangements, Facebook, cards, etc. These people, the flowers, the food are all tangible reminders of love.
Ella hasn’t asked about the baby. In spite of months of pointing to baby in my tummy and telling her goodnight, Ella seems to have forgotten about her baby sister. At some point this might seem sad to me, but right now it’s comforting to not have to attempt explaining life and death to a two year old. Especially when I seem barely able to grasp it myself.
Art has been particularly meaningful. We already have several pieces in our house that were given to us in honor of, and in memory of, Emma. I have a better understanding of how art can speak to us in ways and times when words can not.
The fear of forgetting. Our time with Emma was so short, and there’s not much to hold on to. I realized the other day that I don’t know what color her eyes were. I never saw them open. Of all the emotions I’ve experienced in the past few weeks, this is one of the strongest.
I see babies differently. As we deal with our loss, other friends and acquaintances are having babies and announcing their own pregnancies. I’m sure people wonder whether that makes me sad, but it’s actually the opposite. It’s like I finally realize how much of a miracle babies are. I think I took this for granted a little bit because of how uncomplicated Ella’s birth was.
While it’s not exactly tangible, the comfort I have found in Heaven is very real. Most importantly, the thought that all of the things I could have possibly wished for Emma here on earth — to be happy, healthy, whole, loved — were already true by the time we met her.
Andrew and I struggled to find the right wording for her memorial service program. The smallest details bothered us. The use of the word ‘born’, which typically implies life. The fact that there was only a single date to list. But we finally landed on these words:
Our precious little girl was born to us 8 weeks early, weighing only 2 lbs 5 1/2 oz and not yet ready for this world. We named her Emma Margaret Ramos, meaning ‘whole’ and ‘pearl’. We missed meeting her in this life, but will one day see her again – we take refuge in this thought.