A Loss Worthy of Grief

It’s been fifteen years since Confronting the Loss of a Baby was published, and a lifetime of births, bar and bat mitzvahs, weddings and the usual ups and downs of family life. Too many people continue to need the book, the calls and letters flowing at a steady pace.

Ari Goldman, professor of journalism at the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, noted that writing a book is like putting a letter in a bottle and sending it out to sea. Over the years I have heard so many stories of lives shattered by the most unnatural of losses. The stories find me in the most unusual ways.

Two years ago I was having coffee with a therapist who works at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. We were discussing a paper she was writing on infant loss, and as I was leaving, a young woman who overheard parts of our conversation stopped me and asked if she could share her story. While all stories are, of course, different, all are similar in the most fundamental ways: the pain of coming home with arms aching to hold a newborn, the despair of a promise unfulfilled, the utter shock of one of life’s most aberrant circumstances and, of course, a marriage facing the unexpected while one’s world is sent into abandoned turmoil. I listen and listen.



About The Rev. Thomas C. Jackson

Ordained to the priesthood in December, 2010.
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