Our Family (April 17, 2008)
This is the only picture that exists of our family on the day Molly was born and died.

I have had mixed feelings about it for years.

It means so much to me to have a photo of the four of us together. I love the expression on Sean’s face and how sweetly Bob is holding our son. I also love that we are all touching Molly.

However, I have never liked (to put it mildly) how I look in it.

My face and body were swollen. I weighed the most I ever have in my life that day, and had been retaining water for weeks, due to something called mirror syndrome (as my doctors explained it). Molly had edema (also known as fetal hydrops) all over her body and thus also looked very swollen.

Of course at the time and to this day, I believe our baby girl was beautiful, just the way she was.

That said, it has always been hard for me to appreciate this picture, the way I have wanted to be able to.

One time, not long after Molly’s birth and death, in 2008, a loved one was visiting our home. I had this picture in a small frame on a dresser in Sean’s room, so he could remember the day he got to meet and hold his baby sister. Our loved one commented how much Molly and I looked alike in it. I know in my head and my heart she meant well, but I struggled to take it as the compliment that I believe she intended it to be.

Recently I was discussing this with a close friend. I don’t recall exactly how or why it came up. But somehow I found myself telling her about some of my regrets from the day Molly was born. Those regrets include that we only have this one family picture and how I don’t find it very flattering of myself. I haven’t displayed it in our home for years, though we have it in photo albums.

A few days after our initial conversation, my friend and I were together again. Somehow the topic came up and my friend told me she had been thinking about the picture, especially what I told her I see, when I look at it.

My friend went on to share that she doesn’t see our family picture the same way I do.

She assured me that she understands where I am coming from, not loving how I look in the photo. But then went on to explain, that through her eyes, she sees a woman and mother who went through so much physically and emotionally to get our baby girl to her birthday. My friend talked about what a gift she believes it is, that I did what I needed to do to be able to carry Molly to almost 30 weeks gestation. She told me she thinks it allowed our baby girl to be born into loving arms and for our family to get to spend precious time with her on that special day, when she was born, died, and we believe she also went to Heaven.

Then my friend reiterated,

“So, that’s not what I see when I look at that picture and I hope it’s not what you see.”

Thank you so very much, my dear friend.

Because of you, I am able to see this picture from a new and wonderful perspective.

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Happy 6th Heavenly Birthday, Molly Marie!

Another year has come and gone since we last celebrated your life and honored your memory.

Another year has passed that we didn’t get to have you here with us, in our home and through our travels, though we believe you are always with us in spirit.

Six years.

Kindergarten.Kids at Molly's Grave - April 2014

A new school.

New friends.

Going to the kids mass at church.

Dance classes?

Theater?

Music?

Soccer practice?

T-Ball games?

Swimming?

Riding your bike?

What else might you be into?

Do you miss us as much as we miss you?

Your brother and sister still talk about you often.

That makes me happy, to know that they also remember and honor you.

They continue to ask questions about the afterlife and what you are doing there.

I want so much to know what Heaven is really like.

Are you happy there?

I hope, pray and trust that you are.

Abby is the same age now that Sean was when you were born and died.

That is surreal and bittersweet for me to think about.

In many ways your sister’s life is different at 4 1/2 than your brother’s was. Not better or worse, just different.

Your daddy doesn’t talk about you much, but I know that he cares, loves and remembers you too.

We will celebrate you today, as we do every year on the day you were your born and died.

We will do special things as a family and with close friends, break bread together, visit your grave at the cemetery and attend Holy Thursday mass in honor and memory of you and Jesus.

I look forward to the day I believe we will be reunited and this Holy Week/Triduum is a powerful reminder of that promise.

I am grateful for the time we had together when I carried you.

I find comfort imagining you are safe and at peace with our family and friends who have gone before us. 

I will never forget you.

I love you so much.

Happy Birthday, Molly-girl!

Love always,
Mommy

Bob, Sean & Molly

I have you in my heart. ~ Philippians 1:7

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Remembering Molly:

5 Years

4 Years

3 Years

2 Years

1 Year

Her Birthday

Always in Our Hearts: For Molly and Babies Benson from Kathy Benson on Vimeo.

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T-Ball (Then and Now)

April 16, 2014

THEN – 4 1/2-year-old Sean and me on his first day of T-Ball at Mt. Greenwood Park, the day before his sister Molly was born and died (April 16, 2008): NOW – 10 1/2-year-old Sean, 4 1/2 year-old Abby and me on her first day of T-Ball at Mt. Greenwood Park, the day before their […]

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Lunar Eclipse – Chicago (April 2014)

April 15, 2014

Getting there… Going, going… Blood Moon! Photos taken with my Canon EOS 70D, looking south from the back porch of our home, in our Beverly neighborhood, in Chicago, IL, on Tuesday, April 15, 2014, between 1:00 – 3:00 a.m. (CST).

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Dare to Be Great

April 14, 2014

“I’m looking for a dare to be great situation.” ~ Lloyd Dobler (Say Anything) 25 years ago today (April 14, 1989), one of my all-time favorite movies, Say Anything, was released. I was in eighth grade and, if I recall correctly, went to see it with a one of my good friends, who I met […]

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Is it Time for a New Tradition?

April 12, 2014

For the past six years, on Molly’s Heavenly Birthday in April and at our perinatal bereavement support group’s Walk to Remember in October, our family has participated in beautiful and therapeutic balloon releases in honor and memory of Molly, Babies Benson and other babies who left this world too soon. In the early years all I knew […]

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