“In the chaos of getting ready for family pictures, my 6-year-old daughter stopped me in my tracks.
‘Mommy, I want to get a picture with Parker and Abby.’
Those two names caught me off guard. For six years, our family has been a ‘party of 3’ on the surface—me, my husband and our daughter. And this year our family picture would add one more, our rainbow baby.
What people may not know is that my daughter is a triplet. We had dreams of a picture-perfect life, with two identical girls and a boy. We imagined the girls chasing after their brother, the three siblings growing up the best of friends. But our dream was shattered when I delivered my triplets at 22 weeks gestation. My daughter’s brother and sister passed away within two months of birth. In the early days, all three of our children were present in everything we did. Our friends and family made sure that Parker and Abby would never be forgotten.
But as the years pass by, their names are spoken less frequently. New friends may not know our bittersweet journey and sometimes I find myself omitting their names when a stranger asks about my children. Some days I don’t feel like explaining or getting that all too familiar look of sadness and pity when they learn that two of my children died.
Even though child loss is still a somewhat taboo topic in our society, we never forget our children. For parents like me, the grief doesn’t go away, it simply changes over time. I think of Parker and Abby every single day. And it turns out, my daughter does too.
As we raced out of the house, I told my daughter that Parker and Abby will definitely be part of the pictures. When she was just 3 years old, our photographer snapped a beautiful photo of our family, with two shadows representing our daughter’s siblings in Heaven. That picture hangs in our family room, their lives never forgotten.
As we got out of the car, my daughter ran up to our photographer, who just so happens to be a triplet mom herself. Peyton excitedly asked, ‘Can I get a picture with Parker and Abby?!?’
I looked at my friend and smiled as tears instantly formed in my eyes. There is no handbook for how to survive the death of a child. As a parent of child loss, we face a difficult balance trying to celebrate our survivor, while grieving and remembering our children we lost. As I watched our daughter giggle and laugh in front of the camera, life felt complete. My daughter is a proud sister of two siblings in Heaven…and I couldn’t be any prouder to be their mom.”
This story was written by Stacey Skrysak, an award winning television journalist based in Illinois. You can follow her on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
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