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Because family life matters

Abigail, so nearly beautiful

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Michael, Helen and their son Sam share their feelings after the stillbirth of their daughter Abigail

After a difficult pregnancy, our daughter Abigail was stillborn in October 2008. As her father I was struck by the number of similarities between the birth of my son a few years earlier and the subsequent birth of this our second baby. Whilst my son’s birth was the most wonderful event of my life so far, my daughter’s birth was without doubt the hardest thing I had ever been through. Both events took place in neighbouring delivery suites of the same hospital. In the days that followed, we were surrounded by cards and flowers and a constant stream of visitors. As we planned a simple funeral service our minister said I should consider if I wanted to carry the coffin down the aisle. Without thinking I replied that what I really wanted was to be given the chance to walk my daughter down the aisle on her wedding day! In that moment it was so clear what we had lost, a precious life of such potential and beauty. One morning I had all these images going through my head and I sat down and wrote ‘So nearly beautiful’.


So nearly beautiful

So nearly beautiful
Seeing the images on the scan
The clock stops, the doctor speaks
And all the beauty is gone

So nearly beautiful
Hugs with midwives and tears
The pain of labour
The first glimpse of our child
Holding our daughter in our arms
Saying the special words, saying goodnight

So nearly beautiful
The drive home from hospital
The sleepless nights, the restless wander
The mother’s milk all ready to feed her
The cards and the flowers
The family and friends visiting

So nearly beautiful
Planning her special day in church
Walking down the aisle, daughter in hand
Giving her away
So many reminders of what might have been
All was lost with her heartbeat
All so nearly beautiful
So near
So far

Thoughts of a 3-year-old brother

I’ve never had a little sister, so I’m not sure how to lose one.
And how will you get to heaven when you can’t even walk?
I said my daddy was the best daddy in the world,
but mummy says God is even better.
I asked if there was ice-cream with sprinkles at the party
you’re at and mummy was sure there was.
They were less sure about trains and planes
and helicopters (I am train-mad)
they said it would be even better than that.
Have you seen the angels fly?
My mum and dad must have loved you so much, because they’re really sad.
I think I am glad it’s over, because it has taken a long time.
Will you come and live with us when you’re as big as me? Daddy says you can’t.
We will see you when we get to heaven, but first we need to die.
We’re sorry we forgot to meet you. We hope that you don’t mind.
I’ve never said “Hello,” but for now, Abigail, I’ll say “Good-bye”.