This Couple Had A Stillborn Baby.
Story by D. Anne Jones
Each Christmas, I advertise for my portrait business. I do custom portraits of people, pets, houses, boats, etc… This year, I got an unusual request. Many of my friends thought it a rather morbid request, but it had an altogether different effect on me. On a Tuesday, a lady named Tammy called and said she had seen my advertisement on the bulletin board at the local supermarket. She said that I might think she was nuts when she told me what she wanted, but it was something she had given a lot of thought to. Apparently, Tammy had a son a few years ago who was stillborn. She had two other children, and they had photos all over the house of their girls, but none of little Alexander, and he was still very much a part of her heart.
I have drawn many portraits of loved ones who have passed away, and I understand the need for a reminder of those we love and don’t wish to forget. Sometimes a portrait can even be therapeutic, because I can make an image of the person in their favorite shirt with a pet or friend, etc…It often removes the sadness of the family’s last memories of a sickly or injured individual and replaces it with a smiling face — happy and healthy.
The problem that Tammy had with her son’s photo was that even though he was a perfectly formed little child, his face had become discolored by the time the photo was taken — terribly discolored. She wanted a simple line drawing of his tiny features. It was the only photo she had, and she explained through tears that many parents of stillborn children are filled with regrets after the shock has worn off — regrets of actions that can never be taken now. She wished she had bathed his little body and dressed him, but she was too shocked and riddled with grief to do so at the time. Some parents never even hold the child, although Tammy did.
I was deeply affected by this visit, and realized that our “slim pickins” Christmas was really nothing to be upset about. As the day wore on, I could not shake the grief that I felt for a family who will never celebrate Christmas with their son. I have been blessed with five beautiful and vivacious children who are intelligent (if not trying at times). What a fortune I have in them! What great wealth has been bestowed upon us to be able to celebrate holidays and birthdays with these we hold so dear! How many of those people who have great wealth would not give it ALL just to be able to hold a tiny baby in their arms and feel its warm breath and smell its clean skin?
Though many of us struggle with financial difficulties at this time of year, Lord, let us keep in perspective the fact that you VOLUNTEERED your ONLY son for us, and didn’t lose him at birth, but after he lived a lifetime of sinless existence only to be hung from a cross for people who would never appreciate Him. Help us to keep Christmas in perspective and know that our lives are what are important, not how many gifts are under that tree to be hastily opened and eventually discarded. Help us to cherish each moment that we have with our loved ones and never, never lose sight of how precious and valuable they are to us.
I was eventually able to do a drawing of little Alexander in color. I made him look peaceful and pink, nestled in a cloudy blanket with angels wings surrounding him. It is my hope and prayer that Tammy and her family will find comfort and strength this and every Christmas by looking at that portrait and knowing that Alexander is awaiting their arrival and knowing that they, like Our Heavenly Father and His Son, will spend all of eternity together!