Mom to Lauren Ashley
April 7, 2000 – September 9, 2000
New Port Richey, Florida
I was 22 and in a relationship that I thought was built on “love”. I was at work when the smell of cinnamon made me feel nauseous. My co-worker chuckled and said, “Uh, oh,” and we laughed. I honestly didn’t think I was pregnant. When I discovered I was pregnant, I was scared but absolutely thrilled. I shared the news with my boyfriend and he informed me he was not ready for a child. He basically gave me an ultimatum, which I wanted no part of. Basically, I chose baby and gave my boyfriend the boot. I was scared, but I had great parents and friends and knew they would be there for me. The pregnancy went by rather quickly and my daughter Lauren Ashley was born on 4/7/2000.
She was perfect and I was absolutely in love. I adored my princess and wanted to share her with the world. She loved when I started introducing cereal and regular food to her and absolutely loved her swing. I called her “Mommy’s Baby Girl” and sang one song to her all the time. I had no idea what was coming our way.
On the weekend of 9/7/2000 – Friday, I left for the Keys with some friends. My best friend turned 21 and we were there to celebrate her birthday. It was a great weekend…beach, dancing, girl fun. I left my daughter with my parents that weekend; I was to return home on Sunday. I called my mother every day to make sure everything was good and I was nervous considering it was my first trip away since her birth. On 9/9/2000, I spent the day out with the girls and we had plans to go back to the hotel and get ready for our last night of fun before our return the next day. When we returned back to the hotel we noticed a bunch of post-it notes on the hotel door that were addressed to me. Apparently, my parents had been trying to contact me and the notes read “call home, 911″ , “Becky, call your parents”, “emergency, call home”, etc. I honestly thought Lauren might be sick or just running a fever. I called the house and my little sister answered and I could immediately tell something was wrong. She informed me that Lauren was at the hospital with my parents and that the baby had stopped breathing. All I remember from this point is my chest caving in and feeling like I couldn’t breathe. Shortly after, I received another phone call from my parents and was told something that changed my life forever. She was gone…Lauren died in her sleep from SIDS.
What transpired from there is a blur because I have blocked out so much after her death. If you have never lost a child, it’s like your heart breaking into ten million pieces and someone is going behind you and sewing it back together. From there, they tell you to move on, live, continue your life.
Like you could ever go back to actually living from this point. Life seems absolutely meaningless, absurd and just unfair. You would rather be dead than deal with the loss of your child. I have replayed this day over and over in my head wishing that I had just stayed home that weekend… Maybe I would have been holding her at the time of her death and she’d still be here….maybe, just maybe, my daughter would still be here.
After her death, it took weeks before I could take the nursery down. I use to think I’d wake up and find her sleeping in her crib, or that maybe I was just having a bad dream…but, to my disappointment, it was no nightmare — she was gone.
I try and keep my daughter’s spirit alive. I celebrate her birthday by buying the “birthday girls”. They are little ceramic girls that start as a baby and transform every year. During the holidays, I hang a stocking for her and we have special ornaments on our tree for her. I created a memorial site for her on lastmemories.com. Since Lauren, I’ve had one other child, my daughter Kirsten. Kirsten is my rock and I thank God for her daily.
I hate that after 12 years, some days are just like that day–the “worst day of my life”. Some days are easy to manage and others are absolutely terrible. When does it get easy, or does it ever? I’m beginning to believe that it doesn’t and that some people just learn to live with a broken heart. I have learned that tomorrow is never guaranteed and you should always tell someone you love them no matter what.
This is a beautiful quote that I use for Lauren: “As long as I live, you will live. As long as I live, you will be loved. As long as I live, you will be remembered.”
Thank you for reading my story.
You can view Rebecca’s memorial page to her daughter at http://laurenashley-brinegar.last-memories.com.
You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.