The Honor
By Vicki Lawson Carlson, mother of Rachel Carol Carlson, who was stillborn June 20, 1989 
Dedication to my husband, family, and friends for their circle of love and prayers. 
Today I couldn’t walk past you. I tried with all my might, but something inside told me to stop for a brief moment and look at you, really look inside you and feel you.

There you sat surrounded by the others, yet you remained so very much alone. On your left was a big basket of flowers from her funeral. In your hand you held a fat yellow flower. Its shriveled petals lay in your lap and around your feet.

On your face there was no expression. Your brown eyes gazed not into empty space, but were turned inward, as though you were an artist concentrating, intensely, on the finishing touches of a masterpiece created in your mind.

Perhaps you imagined that instead of the funeral basket, she was sitting on your left. Maybe, instead of the yellow flower, you held her tiny hand in yours. But no sound came from your lips. I heard no whimpers even though your face streamed with tears.

As I stood and watched you, I felt as though a knife had been thrust through my soul. At first, I felt a quick jab of pain and then the sorrow and anguish of her death swept over me, too.

She had been your tiny, unseen, growing companion since last fall. You would sit and gently rub her through your belly. She would make you giggle with her jabs and her hiccups. You made each other happy and thankful to be alive... and now you sit, alone.

Never before have I felt so aware of another’s grief. Never have I been so sad and yet so happy to realize that I can know her too. Even though I never carried her and never felt the joy of her life nor the stillness of her death... you did, and I can sit here with you and hold your hand and listen to you and cry with you and laugh with you ...

I’ll never hold your precious baby in my arms but I want to hold her in my heart. Would you give me the honor?