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  1. 1. notes Summer 2007 vol. 25, no. 4 A support group for parents who have experienced miscarriage, stillbirth, or infant death. © UNITE Notes is a quarterly publication of UNITE, Inc. P.O. Box 65, Drexel Hill, PA 19026,, 1-888-48 UNITE Lost and Found My TreasureEver since you died, I’ve been lost in a world I see my little boy every time I see a beautifultrapped by sorrow and grief. sunset. I feel him whenever I hear the whispering windSome stand at the gate of this world through the trees.and quietly whisper, “Are you o.k.?”To which I reply, “No, I can’t find the light I see him when there are other children playing.which will show me the path to healing!” Its the kind of feeling that drops me to my knees.Then one day, my Mother opened the gate to this I know hes there each night when I look up at theworld and carefully made her way to where I was moon in the sky.sitting. I see the brightest star and know he is there, and all“My sweet baby, why are you here?” she asked. I can do is cry.I sadly replied that ever since my child died,I can only see darkness, sorrow and grief. Anything beautiful or breathtaking in this world that gives us all such pleasure,“My beautiful child,” she answered as she handed And I know he is there watching over me with care,me a copy of UNITE Notes, “All you need to do is my beautiful boy,realize you’re not alone and the light will be there to my you.” Peggy PhelanAs I opened the first issue I ever received of UNITE In loving memory of Henry Michael Phelan IIINotes, I looked up and realized for the first time--ina LONG time--I could see the path to healing,and I finally found the light.For every mother who has realized, throughUNITE, that they are not alone.Also for my son, Gabriel Jaylin Davis-Danridge,stillborn on 12-21-2004. I love you sweet angel! Your membership in UNITE, Inc. enables us to provide support to bereaved parents.Submitted by Jocelyn Danridge See page 11 for details. If you or your organization would be interested in sponsoring an issue of UNITE Notes please contact us at 1-888-48 UNITE or via email at Thank you for your support!
  2. 2. UNITE Notes, Summer 2007 2 After All These Years For the most part we’ve settled into ease, you (wherever you are) and my heart, now I know there is no thing unendurable. Still, a gift exquisite: the clear blue of winter’s sky, a gliding heron, Hows That Go? snow on Fisher’s field or a stab of sorrow: Hows that go? Please tell me again - day darkening to night, A broken heart in time will mend... a lone bird’s call, an ambulance keening But, what do you do with all that time - pulls, How do you mend whats been lost? provokes, “Oh Anne.” Please ease my mind... For Anne, born 1989 My hearts been broken, youd never see Thats what it actually used to be... Submitted by Nancy Hickman Shards and pieces are all thats left behind, theres just a hole in its place, easy to find... So, hows that go? Please tell me again... Dora Eaton (early thoughts on losing Hunter Gabriel Eaton, 11/2/2003 - 11/28/2003)
  3. 3. UNITE Notes, Summer 2007 3 GoneWithout you in my life, I feel lost.You were my guiding light.Bright and Shining,full of the future and the promise of a better day.You gave me a sense of direction…a purpose…a dream.And for once in my life everythingmade perfect sense. Let It RainThen, like a thief in the night, you were gone.And I am sitting here all alone in the darkness When the sun is shining and everyones out walking their dogs and kids all about,Waiting…Waiting…Waiting… something inside me gets turned inside out. Those are the days that I want to pout.Waiting for all that hope and promise of abetter day to return back into my life. I find myself saying God please let it rain. Send something my way to help ease the pain.I am so lost without you. I know it sounds selfish and what have I to gain.I’ll always be searching and looking for your bright Some days the sun hurts me and I find comfort inlight! the rain.Love now, forever and always, The rain and the pain somehow go hand in hand, something that most people would never Mommy understand.For Gabriel Jaylin Davis-Danridge And as much as I can love the warmth of the sun,Stillborn on 12-21-04 my heart prefers rain when its all said and done.Submitted by Jocelyn Danridge Peggy Phelan In loving memory of Henry Michael Phelan III
  4. 4. UNITE Notes, Summer 2007 4 torrents of tears. Name that child? Id named my daughters years and years before. There, on my knees, I had no doubt that their tiny souls had been pestering me for all those years, to acknowledge them. I spoke to them, now. "You are SarahAs all of us do, during my first pregnancy, in 1969, Elizabeth," I said, "and you are Maureen Elaine.I envisioned the child to come . . . and in my heart, Your mommy loved you.” And, as a peace I hadntthis child was Sarah Elizabeth. Sadly, Sarah felt in 15 years washed over me, I finished, tellingElizabeth was not to be. I miscarried at 3 months. my daughters, "go to God."When I think back, I cannot imagine what thosearound me put me through, with unsupportive Submitted by Jeancomments. "I hope you arent going to lose yourmind over this," and "Grow up and accept that thisis just a part of life; miscarriages happen all thetime." (I was not a "child." I was a 23-yr-oldmarried woman, and less than a week from the loss.The first quote was my husband, the second, hismother!) A year later, a second child wasconceived…and, although I had some early Happy Fourteenth Birthday,spotting, I carried this one up to nearly 5 months…at which time, the doctor told me flatly, "the fetus Brad Sebastian!has died." I was devastated. In my heart, shewasnt "the fetus." She was Maureen Elaine. Time does not erase what the heart remembers.Strangely, over the coming years, although we wereto go on to have wonderful, healthy children, those With our love, always-two names were to "pop through my consciousness" Sister Brooke Elizabeth,like popcorn, always in tandem, and at odd times Brother Brian Matthew,when my mind was at rest, "thinking of nothing at and Uncle Albertall."Fourteen years later, by that time, happily, the BRAD SEBASTIAN WARRENmother of a daughter and two sons, I attended a 14 JUNE 1993"Spiritual Healing Service" at my church. Althoughwe are Episcopalians, this service was led by aRoman Catholic nun . . . who led the congregationthrough a series of sort of "generic" events whichoccur in peoples lives. Id only come to the servicebecause I was very active in the congregation, and Ifelt my absence would be an affront to its planners.Yet, there I was on my knees, with the rest of thecongregation as this little nun droned through aseemingly endless list. Then, she got to "Some ofyou may have lost a child before birth. Name thatchild, and commit the childs soul to God."It was as though a bolt of lightning had struck mebetween the shoulder blades. The grief Id not beenallowed to mourn now streamed down my face in
  5. 5. UNITE Notes, Summer 2007 5 Healing Power of the Pen by Alice J. WislerThe first year after the death of a child is like Some people think only the creative types write,having the worst noise possible running through when in reality, writing through the pain is availableyour head each day and night. There is no way to to anyone who has suffered the loss of a child. “Iturn the horrendous sounds off because there is no don’t have time,” many say. “What will I write?”off button. others wonder. The blank page scares some because they think they have to fill it withI wrote through that noise. I wrote from the heavy something profound.bag of emotions bereaved parents must carry—anger, guilt, sorrow and confusion, all the “what But just writing a memory of your child or a fewifs” and “how comes” and “whys.” lines about how you felt after he died is a notable start. If we think of writing as a private endeavorI wrote of longing for a blond-haired boy with blue and an effective tool, not a paper to be graded by aeyes whose laughter brightened hospital rooms. A high school English teacher, we will conquer manyquiet spot under weeping willows at a local park is of the doubts about our ability. In time, we will seewhere I carried my pen, journal and pain. As I that writing helps us become better in tune with ourwrote over the course of many months, I was, feelings and thoughts. It clarifies our lives andalthough I didn’t realize it at the time, providing gives us understanding.therapy for myself. Other reasons to take the time to write are:Some days when the weather did not permit a trip tothe park and my body and mind harbored • To experience personal growth.excruciating pain, I shut myself in a room, awayfrom my other children and husband. I’d grab my • To leave a legacy or a keepsake so that therejournal and let the experiences of the day and my will be recordings of what and who our childfeelings freely emerge onto each white page. was.Grammar didn’t matter; penmanship went out thewindow. These aren’t a concern when you are • To demonstrate a way of cherishing our child.writing to survive. • To feel a connection to our child as weWriting the heartache, complete and honest, is a remember the things we shared here on earth.way of healing. Our cry is, “Help me with thispain!” We find ourselves lamenting as King David We also are honoring our grief, our pain and whatdid in Psalm 13:2, “How long must I wrestle with has happened to us. We are validating its thoughts and every day have sorrow in my As studies have shown, writing is healthy for ourheart?” David wrote many of his psalms starting minds and bodies.with anger and agony and gradually, ending with Professor James Pennebaker claims that writinghope. actually helps the physical body when the writer isWriting can do that for us. We enter into our able to open up, by sharing deep feelings on paperdevastation, get a good grip on what our struggles over a period of time. In his study, half a group ofare and something about seeing them on paper students at Southern Methodist University in Dallas,causes us to realize the pain is not only within us Texas, wrote their heartfelt thoughts and feelingsanymore. It is shared, even if only on a sheet of about a stressful event from their lives; the othernotebook paper. It is documented and the more we half wrote about superficial topics. Each groupwrite, the better we are able to understand and deal wrote for twenty minutes a day, for fourwith our intense sorrow. consecutive days.
  6. 6. UNITE Notes, Summer 2007 6 Before writing and immediately after writing, blood pressure and heart rates were tested and a galvanic skin response was done. Six weeks later, the students had their blood tested again. The group that had written about trivial topics showed no sign of changes. But the group that had poured their pain onto paper, claimed writing had actually calmed them. Their skin was drier after writing and both heart rate and blood pressure had decreased. Their blood work even showed an increase in lymphocytes, the white blood cells that work to keep the immune system healthy. I’d face the cold; nowhere to hide Writing through the heartache of losing a child is To have you here, safe inside. some of the best therapy I have found on this I’d climb a mountain, walk for miles journey. I didn’t know how helpful it was, I just Just to glimpse your toothless smile. knew I needed to organize my thoughts and get I’d give my life, all that I am them out on paper. Now, four years since my four- If I could sit and stroke your hand. year-old son Daniel’s death, I see that when all the But I must wait, my time’s not through… evidence is presented, there is no reason not to Until the day that I’m with you… write. It causes dim skies to light up when not only I’ll count the days, the hours, the years the pain, but also the love and cherished memories, Until these eyes run out of tears. are recorded. And then I’ll come there, whisper your name My darling, will it be the same? Copyright © 2001 by Alice J. Wisler. All rights Will you still be my child and I your mother? reserved. Will you know my voice above all others? Can I hold and caress you and (used with permission from the author) Smell your sweet skin? And tell you how things should have been You should have had the chance to see A flower, a puppy, an ocean, a tree Faith A summer sunset, a bumble bee Or colored eggs at Easter time Springtime glory, nature’s rhymeWhen you walk to the edge of all the light you have Fuzzy puppies, I love them you knowand take that first step into the darkness of the unknown, You should have had the chance to must believe that one of two things will happen: To grow and live beyond your years There will be something solid for you to stand upon, And never taste such bitter tears or, you will be taught how to fly Of losing one who meant so much Whose very soul your life did touch. Be happy, my angel, and wait for me there © Patrick Overton Until I can join you, forever to share. Rebuilding the Front Porch of America, 1997 (used with permission from the author) I love you Taylor! By Kathy Shaner UNITE Notes, summer 1999
  7. 7. UNITE Notes, Summer 2007 7
  8. 8. UNITE Notes, Summer 2007 8A Note From The Editor “Seasons of Grief” -- UNITE Poetry AnthologyA few years after my son David was stillborn, wewent on a summer vacation to the outer banks of In honor of our 25th anniversary, UNITE has putNorth Carolina. We rented a beautiful and spacious together a poetry anthology containing all of thehome on the beach with five other families – all of original submissions printed in UNITE Notes. Theus very good friends. All together, there were 26 of anthology includes more than a dozen chapters withus – 12 adults and 14 children. more than 400 entries by over 200 authors and is now available for purchase. Printing of theThe house owners named their house “Santasia” anthology was graciously donated by Dan Duffy.and it had 10 bedrooms, 8 bathrooms, a recreation All proceeds from your purchase will benefitroom with a pool table, a hot tub, a swimming pool UNITE’s important work. Detach and return theand much more! There was plenty of space for following form to place your order.everyone. Please send your check or money order (made outIt was wonderful to enjoy a week, with our good to UNITE, Inc) in the amount of $20 per copy,friends, at the beach. But, amidst all the fun and which includes shipping and handling to:commotion, I could not help but remember that UNITE, Inc.there was one child missing. There should have P.O. Box 65been 15 children swimming in the pool and Drexel Hill, PA 19026splashing in the waves. How I wished David could Please allow at least four weeks for with us! Please send _______copy(ies) of UNITE’s poetryOne afternoon, I was sitting in the upstairs living anthology “Seasons of Grief,” at $20 per copy,room admiring the beautiful ocean view and to:flipping through the guest book that the owners had Name: __________________________________left out for all of the guests to sign. I noticed that, Address: _________________________________on the very first page of the guest book, the owners _________________________________had written: _________________________________ “Santasia is dedicated in memory of Sharon and all of the others who are gone but who we feel closer to at lands end.”I thank the owners of “Santasia” for reminding methat David really was there with me at the beach.And even until this day,there is no place that I feel his presence more…than when I walk along the waters edge,at the beach. Linda Nuccitelli
  9. 9. UNITE Notes, Summer 2007 9 NEWSAnd The Winner is… Acme DonationsThe winner of the B&B raffle is Shay Meagher. We would like to thank everyone who continues toCongratulations Shay! The winning ticket was sold participate in this fund-raiser. For a complete list ofby Chastity Bruno, UNITE Member from the participating ACME stores please see our web siteLankenau support group. Thanks to everyone who at Not online? Call ussold and purchased tickets. With your help, we at 1-888-48 UNITE and we’ll be happy to send youraised approximately $2000! The money that we a list of participating stores.raised will help to ensure that UNITE will be hereto support grieving parents in the future. Safe Arrivals We want to hear about your safe arrival. PleaseNew Mail Address write or call us so we can share the good news!UNITE has a new mailing address! Please send allfuture mail to UNITE, Inc., PO Box 65, Drexel Fiona and Frank Purcell announce the safe arrival ofHill, PA 19026. Wren Harrington Purcell. Fiona writes “Frank and I have great news. On March 27th at 8:39 a.m. weUNITE Grief Support and Facilitator welcomed Wren Harrington Purcell. She weighedTraining in at 6 pounds and 15 ounces and was 19 and aUNITE will be offering grief support and facilitator quarter inches long. She is home and her bigtraining this coming winter. If you are interested in brother, Dermot, is taking to being a big brotherbecoming a grief support counselor or support well. He likes to "help" a lot and calls her "prettygroup facilitator, please call or email so that we can baby." As always, we wish her other big brothergive you more information. Full scholarships to Liam (10/20/03 - 12/27/03) was also here to growthese training sessions will be given to UNITE dues up with her, but we know that he is watching overpaying members. We hope that you will consider both of them for us.”helping UNITE by becoming a UNITE griefsupport counselor or facilitator! Tom and Kris Cobey announce the safe arrival of their daughter, Emma Theresa on June 25, 2007. She weighed 7 pounds 13 ounces and was 20 inchesUNITE Newsletter Submissions long. Angel brother Thomas continues to watchPlease send your original poetry, short stories, over her every day.articles and letters to UNITE Notes. The beautifulwritings that we receive from UNITE’s bereaved Michael, Jennifer, and Madalyn Swartz happilyparents are what make our newsletter so special. If announce the safe arrival of their daughter and sisteryou have written poems or articles that you would Addison Zoe Swartz born on April 11th, willing to share with other parents, please send Addison is named in loving memory of her sisterthem soon. See page 12 for details on submissions. Alexa who was stillborn on December 31, 2005.Submissions for the Fall issue must be received bySeptember 1, 2007. Jennifer and Brendan Kennedy announce the safe arrival of their triplets: Cole Joseph (5.8 lbs), Quinn Michael (5.0 lbs), and Molly Elizabeth (5.1 lbs), born on May 25th, 2007. They are always remembering their little angel, Jake Joseph Kennedy, born still on February 11th, 2006.
  10. 10. UNITE Notes, Summer 2007 10 GiftsAmy and Joe McFarland in loving memory ofApril McFarland and Hunter Eaton (who was in theNICU with your youngest daughter, Ainsley)Carolyn and Michael Meakim in loving memoryof Mara Meakim (2/10/03) and Michael Meakim,Jr. (2/11/03) on their 4th Birthday.Susan Ashbaker in memory of Lindsey NicoleRush Ashbaker. “Your spirit continues to changeour hearts, dear girl. Mommy”Antonio and Jennifer Tedesco in memory ofAntonio Tedesco, Jr.John and Janice Bunting in memory of their son,John Thomas.Suzanne Wilson in memory of Molly Wilson(6/22/05)Jocelyn Danridge in memory of Gabriel JaylinDavis Danridge. “My little Angel. Stillborn12/21/04.”Susan and Joe Debro in memory of their son, Jake,on his 7th Birthday.Mary and Jim Doherty in memory of ThomasReid Doherty. “Our Tommy would have been 25on Saturday, June 9.”Joanne and Don Porreca in honor of MaryCushing Doherty for all the hard work anddedication to UNITE as the Board Chair for 19years and for her continued support. And inmemory of Janis L. Keyser.Albert M. Moore in memory of Brad SebastianWarren on his 14th Birthday.
  11. 11. UNITE Notes, Summer 2007 11Joel B. Bernbaum, Esquire and the PennsylvaniaChapter of the American Academy ofMatrimonial Lawyers in honor of Mary CushingDoherty, Esquire as the outgoing President of thePennsylvania Chapter of the American Academy ofMatrimonial Lawyers.American Express Employee Giving ProgramStacey R. Diel in memory of Ava.Verizon Foundation/Verizon Volunteer ProgramDouglas SmithAT&T Employee Annual Giving CampaignJanet R. MorrisAll State Employee Giving CampaignRegina TostoUnited Health Group Employee GivingCampaignSusan MillerUnited Way Campaign DonorsTami LeatherJohn Kennedy, Jr.Special ThanksUNITE, Inc. wishes to offer heartfelt thanks toASTM International and Marge Cassidy,Treasurer, for the printing of our brochures andcontinued support.Donations received after 6/01/07 will beacknowledged in the next issue. Your donationsare greatly appreciated as they make possible theon going work of UNITE. Thank you!
  12. 12. UNITE Notes, Summer 2007 12 UNITE, Inc. Support GroupsFor information about the group nearest you, please contact UNITE, Inc. at 1-888-48 UNITE or 1-888-488-6483(leave a message on the tape). Or write to UNITE Inc. at P.O. Box 65, Drexel Hill, PA 19026. Or members must contact the group coordinator before attending their first meeting.UNITE, Inc. does not discriminate on the basis of gender, age, marital status, religious belief, race, sexualorientation or economic status.Pennsylvania: New Jersey:UNITE, Bucks County UNITE, Capital Health SystemMeets 2nd Sunday at St. Mary Hospital, 7-9:00 PM Meets as needed at Mercer Campus, Trenton, NJContact: Susan Larson, 1-888-48 UNITE (UNITE Tape) Contact: Alison Johnson, 1-888-48 UNITE (UNITE Tape)UNITE, Chester County UNITE, Princeton Health Care SystemMeets as needed at Brandywine Hospital in Coatesville Meets 1st Monday, 7-9 PMContact: Sandy Smith, 1-888-48 UNITE (UNITE Tape) Contact: Iris Rubinstein, (609) 497-4435UNITE, Collegeville UNITE, Virtua at VoorheesMeets 2nd Monday at St. James Church, 7:30-9 PM Meets 1st and 3rd Monday, 7-9 PM at Barry D. Brown HealthContact: Susan Debro, 1-888-48 UNITE (UNITE Tape) Education Center Contact: Lisa Shalkowski, Family Health Education Mgr.UNITE, Holy Redeemer Hospital 1-888-VIRTUA 3Meets 3rd Thursday at Holy Redeemer Hospital, 7:00-9 PMContact: Denise Paul, 1-888-48 UNITE (UNITE Tape) Subsequent Pregnancy:UNITE, Jeanes HospitalMeets 1st Thursday (on an as needed basis) at Jeanes Hospital UNITE, Lankenau Subsequent Pregnancy Supportin NE Philadelphia Meets 4th Tuesday, 7:30-9:30 PMContact: Rita Fadako, 1-888-48 UNITE (UNITE Tape) Contact: Gerri Wismer, (610) 645-2099UNITE, Lankenau Hospital UNITE, Mercer County Subsequent Pregnancy SupportMeets 3rd Tuesday, 7:30-9:30 PM Meets as needed at Capital Health System, Mercer Campus,Contact: Gerri Wismer, (610) 645-2099 7-9 PM. Contact: Alison Johnson, 1-888-48 UNITE (UNITE Tape)UNITE, University of Pennsylvania Medical CenterMeets 3rd Tuesday, 7-8:30 PMContact: Kelly Zapata, (215) 662-2616UNITE’s services include:• Support Group meetings in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.• Hospital Inservice Programs and community education.• Conferences for bereaved parents, professionals and the community.• Literature and newsletter.• UNITE group development assistance and training programs for group facilitators and support counselors.• Referral assistance.
  13. 13. We invite you , Inc. Membership ,to become a member of UNITE, Inc. Membership is away of supporting the ongoing work of UNITE. UNITE, UNITE, Inc. is funded by your membership support andInc.’s work involves developing new UNITE groups and your tax-deductible donations. A one-year membership issupporting existing ones, training group facilitators and $25 per individual/couple/caregiver. Membership includesparent support counselors, educating the community on a newsletter subscription for one year-four issues. Taxissues of perinatal death and grieving, as well as many deductible donations in any amount may be made inother important projects. memory of your baby or a friend’s baby, or in honor of someone who has helped you along the way.— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —— — — UNITE Notes Summer 2007 , Inc, Membership Form PLEASE CHECK YOUR MAILING LABEL FOR YOUR MEMBERSHIP EXPIRATION DATE. The date that appears on the mailing label above your name is the date when your membership expires. NAME: ___________________________________________________ DATE:__________________ADDRESS: ________________________________________________________________________E-MAIL: __________________________________________________ PHONE: _______________ ______ Enclosed is $25.00 for a one year membership to UNITE, Inc. which includes a one year subscription to UNITE Notes. (I do not wish to receive a copy of UNITE Notes. ___) _____ new membership _____ renewal ____ I would like to make a tax-deductible donation to UNITE Inc.: Enclosed is $_____, in memory of ____________________________________________________. (or in honor of ____________________________________________________). (Your gift will be acknowledged in UNITE Notes. If donation is in memory of a friend or family member’s baby, please provide their address and we will send an acknowledgement.) _____________________________________________ _____________________________________________ Please mail to: UNITE, Inc., P.O. Box 65 Drexel Hill, PA 19026 Email: administrator@unitegriefsupport.orgUNITE, Inc. is registered as a charitable organization. A copy of the official registration may be obtained from the Pennsylvania Department of State by calling toll-free, within Pennsylvania, 1-800-732-0999. Registration does not imply endorsement.
  14. 14. UNITE Notes staff Editors: Linda A. Nuccitelli and Theresa M. Fisher UNITE Notes is published quarterly by UNITE, Inc., a non-profit corporation. All Rights Reserved. Administrator: Joanne Porreca Please correspond with UNITE, Inc. before reprinting Coordinator: Rita Fadako any material from UNITE Notes. In most cases reprinting permission is extended, but only with Submissions: We welcome your original poetry and proper credit noted, including author, “Used with articles. Your contributions are important to UNITE’s permission from UNITE Notes,” date of publication, work of reaching out to bereaved parents. We reserve and UNITE’s complete address and phone number. the right to edit and select from submissions. Please send all submissions to: The views expressed in UNITE Notes are those of the UNITE Inc. authors, and are not necessarily shared by UNITE, P.O. Box 65 Inc. Drexel Hill, PA 19026 1-888-48 UNITE or 1-888-488-6483 UNITE, Inc. does not discriminate on the basis of or email gender, age, marital status, religious belief, race, sexual orientation or economic status. © UNITE, Inc., 2007P.O. Box 65Drexel Hill, PA