Saturday, August 7, 2010

Balloon Release

This week we attended the annual balloon release hosted by our local child loss support group. It was an incredible service. I had no idea what was in store. It was like a funeral service, which I didn't expect. As soon as we were handed a program I skimmed it over and welled up with tears. I haven't done a whole lot of crying lately. I thought "oh no, here we go again. I hope I can keep some composure." Every meeting starts with candle lighting. Anyone who is attending for the first time can make a brief statement about who the candle is being lit for and when they died. As well as those who's birth or anniversary falls in the month of the meeting. I started crying from the first person who lit a candle. I couldn't help but think over and over, "This is so unfair! None of us should have to be here!" The service included beautiful poetry readings and songs like The.Butterfly and Who.You'd.Be. Today. I was a ball of tears. There was a new couple there who just lost their son 3 weeks ago who was born premature and lived a few hours. Their story took me right back to the beginning of our loss. They were sitting directly in front of us and as they cried I cried partly for me, remembering what those first days were like and partly just for them. I hate to see others go through this too. Life is so unfair!
At the end of the service we went outside and tied a personal message to our children to a balloon. We heard the song Somewhere.over.the.rainbow and let them go. It was a powerful thing to do, let go. I have to say though, that I couldn't get my balloons to fly away. It actually became a little commical for a moment. I tied one for our miscarriage and one for Audrey together and the weight of the messages didn't allow them to soar. I looked around and those who had more than one loss and some who tied their message toward the bottom of the string were having the same issue. In fact we were on a busy street and many cars were stopping as the road filled with weighted balloons. I wished I had my camera, it was a site to see. For a moment the world had to stop for us. Someone ran inside and grabbed another bundle of balloons so we could tie another balloon on to carry our existing ones away. I didn't get it. Instead I thought the other balloon was to replace the existing, so I struggled to untie the messages and re-tie. The balloon for my miscarriage flew away finally not being tied to Audrey's. I just couldn't get Audrey's to take flight, so finally I removed the message and let it go without, then released the one that was given to me. Later Jamie asked me why I did it that way, then explained what he did (yes we were right next to each other and I didn't notice that he simply tied the last balloon to his and let go). I think that is such an allegory of our grief experiences. He simply let go without a struggle and I'm left behind him to figure this all out. Before we left I grabbed another balloon to take home with me. The next day I salvaged the tattered message to my baby girl and released it all alone in my yard, right outside the window that would have been her's to gaze from. As sad as I felt that I didn't get the first experience in the company of others, I also felt it was just meant to be that way.
It feels like the theme of my life these days is filled with allegories. Allegories of Audrey's life, death and our grief. There's beauty in them.


  1. What a perfect allegory! I love that it was so clear and profound for you.

  2. i like to think that it didnt fly away because she isnt that far to catch it...she may have known her mommy would do it special for her from her window. In regards for your husband, isnt that just it, they get to "let go" so easily, the irony of it was just too crazy!!!

    I can imagine that meeting to be sad, the first days are the WORST days ever!!!

    thinking of you oxo

  3. sending you ((HUGS)) right now.