Ruby Josephine's Balloon TagOn September 28, 2013, we attended the annual Walk to Remember. This has become our annual memorial remembrance for Ruby Josephine. I dreaded the early morning wake up and rush out the door but I really wanted to attend. There was a moment where I felt like backing out but I am so glad we went.

I got up super early and made breakfast for my sleeping family. It was very nice having the quiet house to myself while I prepared for the emotional morning. As breakfast was baking in the oven, I took to my pump so I could be sure I had enough milk for Timmy the entire day.

We needed to be at the park before 9:45am so I woke Jason just after 8am. From there, we pretty much had to rush to get out the door in time to make it. We had a 45 minute drive ahead of us. I ensured all was packed, including three bags of breastmilk (about 1 gallon) that I was donating to a woman in need at the end of the walk.

Joey got up just a few minutes before we had to leave and didn’t complain once. I was very happy about that as I usually get some flack from him when we have to wake up early. Timmy got up and dressed with me just a few minutes before Joey got up. Timmy was his usual happy and smiley self. We are truly blessed.

We made it to the Walk in time for me to be dropped off at pre-registration and get us registered. Jason went to park the car while Joey, Timmy, and I waited in line to get our balloons. We were meeting some friends there. She is the blogger for Moonbeam Lullabies. We attended the walk together last year as well.

Jason parked the car and met us in the line for balloons. It was a really long line and didn’t seem nearly as organized as it was last year. I asked Jason if he wouldn’t mind getting the balloons while I found our friends and waited with them. It seemed so rushed. I was beginning to regret showing up so close to the event time. I really would have liked to take my time. I found them on the east side of the stage and waited for Jason and Joey to return with the balloons.Elizabeth Petrucelli with Rainbow Baby

I talked with my friend and cooed at her rainbow baby as well while I waited. Soon, Jason and Joey returned with four red balloons. We always have red ones to symbolize Ruby. There would be one balloon for each of us.

As we stood there, placing Ruby’s tags on the balloon, the song Held, by Natalie Grant was broadcasted over the speakers. I told Jason this was the song that I listened to endlessly after we lost her. You can read about the song here. I wasn’t prepared for what happened next. I began to hear Jason’s nose running. Was he crying or just trying to clear his nose? It only took a few seconds for me to realize that this was just as emotional for him as it was for me.

I had been trying so hard to be “strong” and not cry this year but I couldn’t keep it in. I held the balloons as he placed the tags on each one of the strings. As soon as he was done, I just hugged him and held on while the rest of the song played. We both cried together, knowing what we had lost. Missing what we had lost. Yearning for what we had lost.Ruby Josephine's Memorial Balloons

As the ceremony continued, we waited patiently for Ruby’s name to be read. Once it was, we released our balloons. Four balloons lifted high into the sky. We watched as they swayed from one side to another. In between names, there was silence but the silence was filled with the fluttering sound of balloons. There was a breeze that morning and balloons bounced into each other. It was very beautiful. Jason and I held each other as we imagined the balloons rising into the Heaven above to greet Ruby and let her know how much we loved and missed her.

After all the names had been read, we walked around the lake at Clement Park and then had lunch with our friends. The Walk to Remember symbolizes so much for us. Not only is it a day to memorialize and remember our own lost daughter, it is a day of celebration for the new life that was growing inside me on the same day in 2012. We celebrate the discovery that we had been blessed with our rainbow baby. That blog post can be found here.

Childless ParentsThere is one thought that Jason made to me that really made me sad. It was his statement and thoughts about childless parents. Childless parents are those that have lost children but have no living children on Earth. Our hearts wept for these parents. Parents who either were blessed with a whisper of a moment with their child or those who never held their child’s hand. Jason could seek refuge for his pain within his own children; feeling blessed that he has someone on this Earth to love and hold but childless parents don’t. My heart still aches for them. I do not know if the couple shown here were childless parents or not but I was drawn to them several times that I HAD to take a photo. I do not know who they are.

If you have never attended such an event, I highly encourage you to do so. There is so much love and support no matter when your loss was. If you never named your baby, you can simply have your baby’s name read as “Baby (insert last name).”  There were many people there that did that. We will be attending next year’s Walk to Remember. I will have my book on display in the Bereavement Pavilion again. I hope to see all of you there!