I lost Emma in December 2014. It was heartbreaking. She was something I'd dreamt about for a year. Blonde, curly hair, big blue eyes, and my smile. I often imagined her as a toddler, her chubby hand in mine. That thought was how I got through a difficult course of physical therapy in fall 2013, and a big part of why I can walk today.
After seeing more fertility specialists than I thought possible, I conceived my baby girl. Unfortunately, even though I was in my second trimester, because of an extraordinarily stressful event that occurred in early December, I became sick.
I moved to Atlanta in July. One-thousand miles away from all of my friends and family in New York. All but one. He lived here, in Georgia. At least, I thought he was my friend. Turns out, he wasn't. Because, while visiting family in Florida over Thanksgiving weekend, he disappeared. I went into shock after that and fell deeply ill. What followed was a defining tragic moment in my life. One my "friend" never even acknowledged.
Pregnancy is risky for all women. But for me, a cancer survivor, it was particularly so. When I found myself suddenly abandoned--I became really sick. I had several newer friends in the area, but no one I felt comfortable calling on. Atlanta is a big city, renown for it's traffic, and, real estate. Both of my local friends were at least an hours' drive away from me. Both also have young families. I wasn't about to call on either of them to drive two hours round trip to help me bathe, or eat, or make sure I had clean clothes. That wasn't their job; it belonged to someone I thought cared about me. At the very least, as a human being.
I managed to get myself healthy enough to drive back to New York on December 11, 2014, thanks to the encouragement of far-flung friends, friends who are still helping me survive after my double whammy in December. But the stress finally took it's toll. After two weeks of struggling, I lost my baby girl on December 12, 2014.
Mitchell and I connected in November of 2014. We were instant-friends, as if the cosmos knew something we didn't. Mitchell has four daughters of his own. Though he's lived all over the world, and is currently preparing for a major concert tour, he got in touch last week to talk after hearing about the loss of #Emma. Mitchell, a very soulful man, shared his own experience with me, saying he was going to write me a song. For #Emma. I was so touched by Mitchell's offer, I hardly knew what to say. Tears welled in my eyes. And yes, even though I was in the middle of a very busy Starbucks in Marietta, close to the college campus where I now teach, I began to cry.
This amazing man, halfway around the world, was thinking of me, praying for me, and was willing to take time out of his hectic schedule in order to help me heal. It was humbling. And I wanted to show Mitchell my gratitude through my art--these very words.
I'd be headed into my eighth month now. #Emma would be arriving on or before May 11th. Late spring here in Atlanta, when all the flowers are in bloom and the world comes to life once again.
Though I will not be bringing new life into this world, Mitchell's song has helped give me a sense of peace about my loss(es). Because, through his beautiful music, reclaiming agency over what can only be described as a tragedy is now somehow possible. So is moving forward.
Thank you, Mitchell...#YourLight shines like a beacon of hope. You are a #blessing to this world. As is your music.
If you would like to listen to more of Mitchell, you can find his album on iTunes or Rhapsody:
And don't forget to #Follow Mitchell on Twitter: @mitchell_baines
Until just a few months ago, Mitchell was a total stranger. The kindness of strangers indeed....