Page 19 - 2017 Spring-Summer Issue
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wanted to share. I also wanted to impart that every year, 1:4 There’s a passage in my book where I write that it’s my
pregnancies end in miscarriage and 26K babies are stillborn terrible misfortune to be able to compare losing Noah, a
yet we rarely talk about them. Stillbirth and miscarriage
are largely taboo subjects, not mentioned at cocktail parties     toddler who was learning to walk and talk and was loved
over glasses of wine and I’ve had to bite my tongue more
times than I care to count. It’s time to shatter the silence.     by so many, with losing Jonah, a baby inside my belly and
                                                                  mostly only known by me. And I share how people have
                                                                  actually asked me, “Which was harder, losing Noah or

They say there’s no        But because I shared their stories,                                        losing Jonah?” To which
greater agony than       readers now know that they also lived                                        I replied: “Which would
bearing an untold story                                                                               you miss more, your
inside of you and for                                                                                 right arm or your left?”

me this was that story.                                                                                      That passage stuck in
                                                                                                             Miss Pam’s mind where
and they’ve become manifest. That is theAs an author, I share                                                it grew into a dance in
power of sharing our stories!best by writing but I                                                           which half the dancers
                                                                  can only move their arms and the other half their legs.
certainly never dreamed                                           This limitation is removed only during a brief pas de deux
that life would place this                                        danced by Bella and my niece, Ava, who represent Noah
particular tale in my hands. Eventually, I gave birth to my       and Jonah. Miss Pam and these girls have transformed the
book, Breathe, both to tell the story of my sons and to help      story of my sons and of my life into art by dancing some of
other people. This is the first reason I give in my TEDx talk     the answers I don’t always share at cocktail parties. But, as
as to why we should share our stories—to help each other.         most bereaved parents know, we’ve already done the hardest
When Noah died, I searched, desperately, for other bereaved       thing—burying our children. After that, the answers to
parents. In those days before social media, I called them. I
wrote letters to them. I accosted them in person. And I’m
sure some of them thought I was crazy. Because I was. I
was crazy with grief. And I was crazy with pain. And when every question and the challenges life places in our paths
you’re in pain, all you can think of is getting out of pain. So should all be easy.
I searched for survivors because I needed to know that the
pain I was in wouldn’t last forever. I needed them to tell me     When your baby dies, you wonder so many, many things
that I was going to survive the unbearable agony I was in.        including how you can possibly get through that next painful
                                                                  breath, never mind the rest of your life. Your life without

Another reason we should share our stories is to keep our your son, and then without your next son, stretches infinitely
loved ones alive. My family marks our gravestones with            on beyond you. You ask all the terrible questions for which

this saying: To live in the hearts of those we leave behind       there will never be any earthly answers. The why’s and the
is not to die. As long as we walk this earth, our loved ones why not’s, the why me’s and the what if ’s. And somehow, you
will never truly be dead because we are holding them in our
hearts. Before I wrote my book, the only thing people really      resign yourself to living without understanding.
knew about Noah and Jonah was that they’d died. That was
the most definitive characteristic of their short, little lives.  But to sit in a darkened theater and watch Noah and Jonah’s
But because I shared their stories, readers now know that         baby sister dancing their story on stage almost two decades
                                                                  after their deaths?

they also lived and they’ve become manifest. That is the          Well, you think, this? Maybe this.
power of sharing our stories!

Breathe was published a few years ago and after reading it,       Kelly Kittel is the author of Breathe, a Memoir of Motherhood, Grief,
my thirteenth child, Bella’s dance teacher asked me to write      and Family Conflict, and has been published in many magazines and
my story as a dance. And this is the final reason I cite for      anthologies, including Three Minus One: Stories of Parents’ Loss and
why we should share our stories—because you can never             Love. She speaks about grief and loss and presents annually at TCF
                                                                  conferences. Her TEDx talk can be viewed at:

foresee how your story will impact others. Or where that          watch?v=l1oA3w7JcTg and her website is

path will lead as you move forward. And it might just be

someplace that’s so amazing you can’t even imagine it!

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