About Me

My photo
My second child and our first daughter, Camille, died and was born on June, 30 2011 when I was full term at 38 weeks pregnant. I gave birth to my rainbow baby, a second daughter, on August 31, 2012. This is me trying to figure out how to be a mother to my living son and daughter and function in society after our tragic loss.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The Thank You Letter

I have a lot to be grateful for. I know many times I have thought that everything good in my life was not good enough without my daughter here and than I would chastise myself thinking that it should be good enough. It is difficult to feel thankful for anything surrounding the death of my daughter because of how completely tragic it is.

My neighbor's daughter was my postpartum nurse after Camille died. I knew her, I would see the mother and daughter walking and we would talk. My nurse went to elementary school with my husband's older brother. Small world. She was the one who finally took Camille from Daryl and I. The last time I got to kiss my daughter, she was there. I am thankful that I knew the woman who took my daughter away. I am glad my daughter was taken by someone who would love and respect her. She was not with a stranger. I never wrote her a thank you letter. I wrote about 1000 of them in my head but I would completely block when I would try and physically write one. How do I say "I am thankful" for anything surrounding my daughter's death? It makes me cry just to think of it.

Well this nurse was also my postpartum nurse with Harlow. How lucky! I felt like I wanted to thank her for being respectful of Camille's memory while helping me welcome Harlow into the world. Tricky, very tricky. I knew she liked marshmallows and so I made a bunch of fancy marshmallows dipped in chocolate and various sprinkles. I made rice crispy treats and wrapped up little cute baggies of marshmallows. I put them in a pretty box that had a beautiful design on it including butterflies and it said wish hope dream. I knew I had to write a letter but I just kept procrastinating...but the treats were going to get stale- ha. So I texted her and asked if she was going to be around and she was at work but said she would pick up what I had for her from her mom's house. I knew I was stuck now and had to write that dang letter. So I grabbed some stationary and a pen and sat down. I hand wrote a 2 page letter telling her how I felt about Camille's death and her compassion, about her wheeling me out of the hospital with empty arms, about my broken heart and journey of grief. I wrote of my gratefulness for her love and how she held my hand and my heart. I wrote of my appreciation of her caring for me with Harlow and how difficult it was for me. No rewrites, no spell checks. I read the letter once, I wish I had made a copy so I could reread it but I forgot because I was sobbing as I wrote the letter. I put it in the pretty box and walked it down to her mom's house. She texted me later that night saying how grateful she was to be a part of our lives, how she will remember Camille's beautiful face for the rest of her life and how grateful she was to be able to help me and our family through the darkest time in our life and how glad she was that she got to be there to help us with both Camille and Harlow's birth.

I am thankful that I had the courage to write that letter, that I got to finally say what I had been wanting to say for a very long time, that her kindness and compassion did not go unacknowledged.


  1. I'm glad you wrote her. Camille will forever change your family, but she has and will change others as well. And for the better. I know it's hard to see and especially hard to be thankful for, but like that kind woman said - she is grateful to have known her and to have been there for you.

  2. Oh this struck a chord with me. It was so touching.
    There were two nurses with me all day while I was labouring Alexander, and one in particular stayed by my bedside while I cried, and talked, and philosophied in my state of shock as why this baby suddenly died after we waited so long for him to come out. I was contracting, she could see it in the monitor, but I kept talking, and crying, and thanking her for baring witness to the complete mess I had become in that moment. She cried, and held my hand, and called me a strong woman - and I'm forever thankful and grateful I had someone like her in that moment. I've been meaning to write to her. To reach out to her.

    You've reminded me here today that I have to follow through.

    I'm so glad you reached out. It sounds very therapeutic.

  3. Beautiful.
    I'm glad you wrote to her.
    I too have written the Thank Yous in my head, but not with pen. Soon, maybe.

    1. Thanks for coming by and commenting KO. Always nice to see a friend from Glow..

  4. Beautiful Renel. I have always meant to write thank you notes to some of the nurses who helped us deliver A, but have found it so difficult to actually sit down and do. I did write one to my GP, but there was one young nurse named Karla. When she came into the room, about 2 hours before A was born, R and I looked at each and rolled our eyes, totally judging her as too young to possibly be as compassionate as we needed her to be. She was amazing. Amazing. This post is making me think I should just write the damn letter. It's a good time of year to reach out to people, I think; it can help us feel less alone amidst all the cheer.

  5. I also wrote the thank yous. To the amazing nurses and to the NILMDTS photographer who gave me one of the greatest gifts I will ever receive. I think it helped me to let them know how much it meant to me just at face value, but also so that they know how much what they do matters and how much it may mean to the next mama. I am glad that there is someone else out there remembering your family and beautiful Camille. Wishing you a peaceful thanksgiving!

  6. YES Renel! It is so difficult to articulate all of the feelings and the gratitude, but it is so important. Important to tell that person and important to express it for yourself - as difficult as that is.

    I wrote a thank you to the three nurses who helped us during A's labor and delivery. I also wrote a letter to their boss/supervisor informing her of their exceptional compassion and kindness. I put copies of each in A's box. That was within a couple months of A's stillbirth. Just recently (around the 1-year-mark) I finally wrote a thank you draft to the NILMDTS photographer. I plan on mailing it this week.

    Like Julie said, I think writing these sorts of thank yous are therapeutic for us as parents and also a valuable reminder to the folks who go above and beyond that they make a difference. Kudos to you for taking the time and courage to write to her.

  7. i have chills reading this.
    I felt very similar in regards to my nurse, Elspeth. To be grateful even in such a dark time... it's all about the human spirit. Such heavy and complex emotions.
    I'm so glad that you took the time to put it out there. In a way that nurse is part of your relationship with the story and with the grief. Forever yours and Camille's.
    The holidays are rough now..... Without our little ones that we will always long for.
    I'll be thinking about you.

  8. That's just so beautiful. I, too had chills when reading this.

  9. I will always be greatful for Heather, she is a nurse at the PICU that looked after Jack and when were transfered to Canuck Place the palliative care home she took the time off work and came with us and stayed through Jack's long death. She came to visit us at home a few weeks later to see how we were as well. She was awsome. None of that was part of her job but she went out of her way to be with us through the worse time of our lives, There is always one person that shines their light so we can see and renews our faith in humanity. xoxox

  10. You are very brave for writing that. I, too, will forever remember the L&D nurses who helped me. I wrote them each notes afterward, and mailed them to the hospital, and I sure hope they actually arrived to the right people, but I guess I'll never really know.

  11. We wrote to our nurses and midwives too - incredible people to help us go through what we did.

    I'm so glad you had the same lovely nurse for both of your girls.

  12. This comment has been removed by the author.

  13. This moved me to tears. I understand this being thankful for the support received at a really crappy time in our lives. Xx Di

  14. This really touched me. What a very special gift you gave to her, and I'm sure she will cherish it forever. Honestly, forever. I feel dreadful because I wanted so badly to thank some of my wonderful postpartum nurses after I had my rainbow baby. It became too much of an emotional burden to do so, and so it slipped away. But I was SO grateful to see one of them at a nursing class I spoke at as part of a parent panel of dead babies. She remembered me and thanked me for my participation. I was so glad to have the opportunity to thank HER for the wonderful support she gave after our rainbow baby.


I would love to hear what is on your mind