Awhile ago I initiated a Facebook support group for grieving parents who lost babies to SIDS. I did this largely for selfish reasons: I wanted to surround myself with more people who “get it.” But I knew I wasn’t alone in my desire for connection and support. At first the group was a little slow in forming and openning up. People would post and others wouldn’t respond…or days and days would go by without any posts. It felt really vulnerable and scary when I didn’t know if the group was going to be meaningful for anyone. But then it just took off! It’s been cool to watch these amazing women connect and share their vulnerabilities, anger, pain, frustration, sadness, happiness, confusion, doubt, search for meaning, celebrations, etc. I’ve been shocked at how many women we keep adding to this group as well! The title of the group is Utah SIDS Parents but we have members in different states as well. We’ve become a family in many ways, relying on each other, supporting each other, offering opinions, etc. There are weeks that pass when I forget to check the Facebook group feed and when I get back on, I see I’ve missed tons of posts and responses! The group has taken on a life of its own and is really self-sustaining as a source of support for almost 20 women! (contact me if you have experienced sudden loss of an infant to either SIDS or another cause if you want to be added to this awesome group of women).
Recently, one of the SIDS moms from the support group, and a friend, Heidi Hamilton, initiated a get together in Salt Lake City this weekend. She organized a play date with kids during the day and another group member, Julie Warnke, made reservations for quiet room at a fancy restaurant for just us moms that evening. Two members drove from out of state just to attend this SIDS momma get-together (one from Colorado and one from Idaho)!
I was a little nervous to meet some of these ladies in person. We are so intimate with each other on-line but it’s weird we’ve never seen each other face-t0-face! But my fears were quickly allayed minutes after getting to the splashpad with my girls. We all spent a couple hours at the splashpad and the kids all played while we talked.
We cried, we laughed, we shared photos and videos of our babies. We talked, and talked, and talked, about our pain, anger, sadness, confusion, hope, families, and anything else related to our grief experience. Even though I’m two years into the grief journey, this was a very needed and very therapeutic night for me. Close family and friends are vital sources of support in this grief process, especially as they knew and loved Charlie too. But it’s also so wonderful to have this community of grieving sisters and know we journey together!