I want to send a big thank you out to Mama G for including Gracie in Kheri's beach party in June. Knowing that Gracie is remembered by other baby loss families does wonders for my heart and gives me a few much needed warm fuzzies.
Some of you may be long enough followers of my blog to know that I have been involved in the fire service for a long time. Because of that, I am acquainted with a lot of people from all walks of life. I am currently treating a friend who is a paramedic supervisor in this region; during a recent treatment session our conversation took a very unexpected, almost bizarre, turn. For some reason we started talking about baby loss - I think we actually started talking about having children/babies with disabilities (he happens to be L's father), and I think we just ended up at Gracie. When we were talking about Gracie, he looked at me - kind of out of the blue - and said "You know, you'll appreciate this. You know Bill Jones (name creatively changed because I don't have his permission), right? Did you know that he takes pictures for Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep?"
I am familiar with the person to which he was referring, as he used to be a 'ground' paramedic locally before taking a job as a flight medic at a regional medical center in this area. Because he is a paramedic, and not a photographer, I was really confused. I was also really confused about how L's dad knew what NILMDTS is. So that is where I started with my questions. He admitted that he didn't know what it was or that it existed until he was talking to 'Bill' one day. He told me that 'Bill' was really into photography, which I did not know. (I have since learned that he has invested a fair amount of money into his photography hobby to purchase equipment that would rival some professionals.) He was apparently looking at some of 'Bill's' work one night, and the stuff that he was looking at included some photos taken as part of his work with NILMDTS. They apparently spent a considerable amount of time talking about NILMDTS. I was still confused about how 'Bill' had gotten involved, and I thought that they had perhaps experienced a loss at some point. Nope. No loss. He was wandering around the internet one night, looking at different photography pages, and he stumbled into the NILMDTS website. Apparently he was immediately drawn to the cause and made application to become one of their area photographers.
About a week and a half after this conversation, I happened to run into 'Bill' and his wife (whom I had never met) at a carnival. Even though we did not utilize NILMDTS services for Gracie, and even though I had no idea how to even start the conversation, I felt very compelled to say something to him about NILMDTS. I pretty much fell over my words at the beginning of the conversation, but I told him that I wanted to just say a collective 'thank you' for all of the families that he has done work for and all of the future families that he will do work for through NILMDTS, and really for the baby loss community in general - and he looked thoroughly confused. He gave me the 'I'm surprised that you even know what NILMDTS is' line, so at that point I knew that he had not heard what had happened to us. I told him that I was clueless about NILMDTS until we had a 36 week stillbirth in August, and he stopped dead in his tracks.
We talked for about 30 minutes, primarily about NILMDTS and baby loss. He told me that doing NILMDTS work has been a profoundly touching and fulfilling experience for him and that he was so glad that he had stumbled upon their website and gotten involved. He had a lot of questions about baby loss in general - mostly things that his experiences had brought to mind, but that were inappropriate to ask families that he was photographing. It was probably one of the best baby loss conversations that I have had with someone outside of my 'circle'...it was almost refreshing. And it gave me hope...that not everyone outside of the baby loss world is a complete and utter moron, and that some people really can empathize with us.
I know that at least one person reading my blog is involved in NILMDTS services...to that person, and all the others out there, I say God bless and thank you for your services.