I was merely a spectator in this sad story, but even as such, find it nearly impossible to believe.
My wife and I met Sam and Jason awhile ago. They were acquaintances from the Twitter and Instagram worlds first, but OMG we met IRL and became BFFs at a BYOB BBQ. (Yes, that was as horrid to write, as much as it was horrid for you to read.) They’re transplants from Vermont, and most of their families are still there. They don’t have a connection to Minnesota, other than their newer friends, and Jason’s job.
They’re wonderful folks, and Mary (my wife) and I were thrilled when we heard they were pregnant. We have two little girls – a three year old and a one year old, so the more of our friends who are having kids, the more they understand how little of a life we have right now. Having kids is an absolute blessing that I wouldn’t trade for anything, but folks without kids don’t always realize the craziness that ensues. We were excited, because Sam and Jason were ready for that chaos – regardless if they knew it themselves or not. (Pro tip: you never think you’re ready, just get over it.)
They were kind enough to stop by a few weeks ago and help us prepare for our youngest’s first birthday party. Twisting craft paper, and making little gift bags was the task, and everyone was happy to be doing it. That’s cause they’re awesome. Jason spent time watching the girls (no easy task), while Sam put her craftiness to work – at about 8 months pregnant.
As with everyone around that time of a pregnancy, they seemed nervously excited at the prospect of their little girl being born very soon. It was an exciting time.
That was about a week and a half ago now.
But last week, I got a phone call that I never wanted to get.
Now, my job is such that I tend to ignore my wife as I’m invariably busy. I know she’s reading this, so I know I’m in the doghouse, but it is what it is. That’s why on the rare occasion when she calls, I know something is up.
I was at CoCo Minneapolis giving a tour to one of our vendors of their amazing space. My phone rang, and like I said, my wife knows not to call unless it’s an emergency, so I answered.
I couldn’t understand. There was too much crying. Too much sadness. Too much. After a short bit, it finally came through that Sam and Jason were at the hospital, because at 8 1/2 months, little Alice had lost her heart beat.
My heart sunk.
Those around me stared, as they knew something horrible had just been reported.
Now whether it be good or bad, my chaos management went into effect. Although my wife could hardly really be understood, we decided that it was time to call my parents and see if they could watch the girls so Mary could do what she does best – be there. Naturally, my parents are awesome and had no hesitation to do their part.
The things that followed were incredibly difficult to comprehend – including no real understanding behind why such a travesty occurred. No more than a day later, Alice was still-born, and the grieving went beyond comprehension.
I’m not going to share much more, but know that there are two things you can do. A collective of friends (and strangers) have put together a website where you can shop various goods that were donated, and all the proceeds go to Sam and Jason’s unexpected costs – including travel to and from Vermont for them, and their parents. Anything that is raised above and beyond the expenses will be donated to an organization that I wish didn’t have to exist. They’re called Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep, and they do the unthinkable. They photograph the children of these tragedies and help document their memories.
We’ve been chugging along on the site: http://alice-was-here.org and it should be up in full swing Monday (hopefully), with more vendors donating all the time. Interested in donating your goods/services to raise money for Sam and Jason? Shoot a note to firstname.lastname@example.org
Most of all, send them love and prayers, and once the site is up, do some shopping. You know you want to.