Dear grieving mother,
You don't know me. You would pass me in the hallway and never know who I am, but I might know you by your tearstained face, your hollow eyes, your not-quite-shrunken postpartum belly and your empty arms.
Your baby died. I'm so sorry.
I don't know anything else about you or your family or your situation, but I know your name because it was on your baby's toe tag, body bag and death certificate.
You see, after your precious little one passed away or was born still, he came through my morgue. The funeral home you carefully chose to use to try and say goodbye to him came to the hospital to collect his body, and I was in charge of releasing him.
It's the discharge nobody wants. It's the body none of us wish to have to release.
Your daughter looked so perfect, wrapped up in her blanket inside a body bag. She could have been sleeping. The way she had her hand curled up close to her face and her delicate little eyelids reminded me so much of my own daughter when she was born. I closed my eyes for a moment and let the pain grip my heart, knowing that what you're going through is a million times worse, and hoping that for maybe an instant your grief let up just a touch while I carried it for you.
I want you to know that I softly traced his cold cheek with my fingertips and gently ensured that the tag encircling his wee ankle matched the name on the outside of the body bag before tucking him back in. I smoothed his hair back and sent out thoughts of peace for his soul.
I want you to know that although you don't know me, and I don't know you - our lives touched for a moment. Your daughter was cared for gently and respectfully, and for the few minutes that she was my charge, I loved her. I loved her deeply, and in the same way, I loved you as well.
I can't do anything to bring back your precious child, but I thought maybe it might bring a few seconds' respite to the unending pain you're living through now to know that someone else, a stranger, was also touched by your baby and your grief.
I'm so sorry.
your local hospital's pathology tech